Links 21/4/2021: VirtualBox 6.1.20, GCC 11.1 Release Candidate, Nginx 1.20.0

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Benchmarks

      • Initial Radeon vs. GeForce Vulkan Ray-Tracing Performance On Linux – Phoronix

        As outlined in the earlier article, Radeon Software for Linux 21.10 delivers initial Vulkan ray-tracing support via this packaged driver on enterprise Linux distributions. This initial Vulkan ray-tracing support is just in their binary driver stack and hasn’t yet appeared in AMDVLK as their open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver build. Hopefully that AMDVLK code drop will come soon for those not wanting to use the packaged driver or running on an unsupported distribution, etc. Meanwhile as mentioned the Mesa RADV Vulkan driver is also working towards Vulkan ray-tracing but will likely be still some more time before that is ready to go and merged into Mesa.


        If you install the new Radeon Software Linux driver you should find VK_KHR_ray_query and the other Vulkan ray-tracing extensions now exposed on Linux. In my tests using the Radeon Software for Linux 21.10 driver it worked out fine across the RX 6700, RX 6800, and RX 6800 XT graphics cards (I still have no RX 6900 series hardware for testing, thus just the RX 6700/6800 series being tested today).

    • Applications

      • VirtualBox 6.1.20 Released with Linux Kernel 5.11 Support, CentOS Stream Improvements

        Three months in the works, VirtualBox 6.1.20 is here to introduce support for the latest and greatest Linux 5.11 kernel series for both hosts and guests. This means that you’ll now be able to install VirtualBox on GNU/Linux distributions powered by Linux kernel 5.11, as well as to run Linux 5.11-based distros in virtual machines.

        On top of that, this release improves support for the CentOS Stream operating system, as well as for the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4 operating system release by making sure the kernel module is correctly built, and fixes the compilation of the vboxvideo module for the Linux 5.10 LTS kernel series.

      • The 5 Best Linux PDF Editors You Should Try

        Finding a good and reliable PDF editor is a nerve-racking job with all these unwanted opinions flying around on the internet. Everyone has different preferences and use cases for their PDF editor, and choosing the one that suits you the best is important.

        The number of applications available for Linux-based operating systems is immeasurable. But when it comes to PDF editors, only a handful of the apps top the chart. In this guide we have curated a list of the best Linux PDF editors that you can download for free on your computer.

      • Nginx 1.20.0 Is Released

        Nginx developer Maxim Dounin has announced a new stable release of the by-far most popular web server on the Internet with a brief change-log listing “1.20.x stable branch” as the only changes. There is a bit more to the latest Nginx 1.20.0 release than that.


        Every website you visit is served by some kind of web server software. The Apache web server is still the kind of the kill and the go-to solution, it has dominated the web server market since 1995. Russian software engineer Igor Vladimirovich Sysoev released the first version of the BSD-licensed Nginx web server on October 4th, 2004. It gained a small user-base and went doggedly on in the Apache’s shadow until it eventually overtook Apache in terms of total websites available on the Internet in April 2019.

        Nginx served 415 million websites or 35.34% of all websites on the Internet in March 2021 according to Netcraft, beating Apache’s share of 317 million websites by a fair margin.

      • Natron is Alive and Releases v2.4

        Natron, the video compositing FX program, just releases version 2.4 today. We can celebrate as by this we know for sure Natron development is active and running. It can be installed on GNU/Linux, as well as Windows and MacOS. For Ubuntu users, included here’s Natron with screenshots running at 20.04 LTS. By this article we at Ubuntu Buzz also want to tell you that Natron is looking for developers and maintainers so everybody can look at their website for more information. Enjoy Natron!

      • The 10 Best Linux Terminal Emulators

        A terminal emulator client is a graphical application that allows you shell access to the host machine using commands. Terminal Emulator is a lifeline for every Linux distro as it enables you to unleash the true power of Linux.

        A terminal emulator of your choice will say something about you. Are you a system administrator who prefers something lightweight or a developer who requires a terminal emulator full of features and customizable options? Are you comfortable with the default terminal emulator that ships with your Linux distro?

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install NTP Server on CentOS 8

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install NTP Server on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Chrony is an implementation of the Network Time Protocol (NTP). Chrony commonly synchronizes a computer to Internet time servers or other sources, such as a radio or satellite receiver or telephone modem service. It can also be used as a time source/server for client systems.

        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 NTP Server on a CentOS 8.

      • Linux commands for testing connectivity and transfer rates

        There are quite a few tools that can help test your connectivity on the Linux command line. In this post, we’ll look at a series of commands that can help estimate your connection speed, test whether you can reach other systems, analyze connection delays, and determine whether particular services are available.

      • How to Install VSFTP on Ubuntu 20.04 – Cloudbooklet

        Install VSFTP on Ubuntu 20.04. In this guide you are going to learn how to setup a FTP server and provide access to particular directory as chroot for a user.

        This setup is tested on Google Compute Engine VM Instance running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        So this setup works fine for any virtual machine on AWS EC2 Instance or DigitalOcean or any other cloud hosting servers or VPS or Dedicated.

      • How to Install Jupyter Notebook on Ubuntu 20.04 / 18.04

        How to install Jupyter Notebook on Ubuntu 20.04 to share live code with others. In this guide, we’ll show you how to Install Jupyter Notebook on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Here we show you simple ways to install Jupyter on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04 and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint and Elementary OS.
        Jupyter Notebook is an open-source web application that allows you to create and share live code documents with others. Jupyter is a next-generation notebook interface. Jupyter supports more than 40 programming languages including Python, R, Julia, and Scala.

      • How to Create Manjaro Bootable USB – Linux Hint

        Manjaro is a leading open-source Arch-based Linux distribution. It’s a cutting-edge distribution with automated tools that require little to no manual interruption. Manjaro provides a middle ground for users who desire control, performance, and some software stability. Hence, these features make it an ideal distribution for Linux beginners.
        As a Manjaro aspirant, it is ideal to have a live bootable USB. A live USB provides a convenient way for any beginner user to experiment with the distribution without installing it on the system.

        In this article, we cover various ways to create a bootable Manjaro USB in Windows and Linux.

      • How to Dual Boot Manjaro Linux with Windows 10 – Linux Hint

        Among many other features, user accessibility, cutting-edge software, and automated tools make Manjaro the next best Linux distribution. As an Arch Linux derivative, Manjaro provides new users with an Arch experience via an intuitive interface, unique hardware management software, and stable performance.

        This article demonstrates the Manjaro Linux dual boot process with the Windows 10 operating system for Linux beginners. The guide provides details on required BIOS settings, Windows disk partition process and walks you through the step-by-step procedure to install Manjaro 20.2.1 Nibia release with a KDE-plasma desktop environment.

      • Use of “lsof” Command to Find Open Files – Linux Hint

        “lsof” stands for List Open Files. It is a Linux utility for listing down all the open files of a system. This command can be combined with different parameters to modify its output as desired. You can see the details of all of its parameters and flags by seeing the help manual of the “lsof” command.

        In today’s article, you will be able to learn the correct usage of the “lsof” command for finding all the open files in Linux Mint 20.

      • How Do I Do a Reverse DNS Lookup in Linux? – Linux Hint

        DNS process is known as forwarding DNS resolution in which it resolves the domain name with an IP address. Whereas, Reverse DNS Resolution or Reverse DNS lookup, also known as rDNS, is used to determine or resolve the IP address associated with the domain name. As the name implies, it is a reverse DNS lookup process that resolves an IP address back to the domain name.

        Reverse DNS lookup is used by email servers to validate and block spam email messages. If the rDNS check fails, then Email servers by default mark the incoming messages as SPAM. Most of the time, email servers automatically reject the messages from an IP address that does not contain rDNS in place. Therefore, if you need to add an rDNS, you can contact your hosting or IP provider to do it.

        In this article, we will explain how you can perform the reverse DNS lookup process in Linux through the command line environment.

      • How Do I Convert a CER File to PEM? – Linux Hint

        There can be different reasons that you want to convert your security certificates to other formats. One of the reasons is when your system is not accepting the existing format or if your security certificate file is not compatible with the application. Whatever your reason for converting formats for the security certificates files is, you can easily do so using the most convenient and reliable OpenSSL utility.
        OpenSSL is an open-source full-featured command-line utility that is usually used for generating CSR and private keys, installing SSL/TLS certificates, converting security certificate formats, etc.

        In today’s post, we will describe how to convert a CER file to PEM.

      • How to set DNS name servers on Ubuntu Linux? – Linux Hint

        DNS nameservers (resolvers) provide a method to translate the domain name into the IP addresses. It is provided by the ISP (internet service providers) and is used by various other devices to do the DNS lookup for a requested domain.

        We will show you in this tutorial how to set or configure the DNS nameserver using different methods on the Ubuntu system. All configurations have been performed on Ubuntu 20.04 system.

      • How can I exclude directories from grep -R? – Linux Hint

        Grep is indeed a Linux / Unix terminal shell utility that searches a document for a sequence of characters. A regular expression seems to be the term for the textual pattern to be searched. It outputs the row with the outcome when it detects the same match. While browsing across huge log files, the grep query comes in hand. So, grep –R has been used to exclude directories while using some keywords. Let’s discuss grep –R in this tutorial step by step.

      • Getting started with Manjaro Part II – Linux Hint

        Manjaro offers a unique Command-line tool that sets it apart from other Arch-based distributions. The unique Manjaro Hardware detection command-line tool allows control over system hardware configurations and multiple kernels management.

        There are currently two types of Manjaro Hardware detection commands, mhwd, mhwd-kernel. This article introduces the mhwd command, which automates the identification and installation of system hardware. As well as the mhwd-kernel command to enable easy installation and management of multiple kernels in Manjaro Linux.

      • How do I check my NIC card speed Linux? – Linux Hint

        NIC or network interface card provides an interface between your system and a network apart from one wired network or wireless. Every NIC comes with a speed rating like 100 Mbps or 1Gbps. Knowing the NIC card speed can be helpful in different situations. It can help you diagnose performance issues. Knowing the speed limit of the NIC is also helpful if you are upgrading your internet services to higher bandwidth, as it will help you to verify if you can take full advantage of the available bandwidth.

        In this post, we will describe how to check NIC card speed in Linux OS.

      • How to unban an IP in fail2ban – Linux Hint

        Many of the security tools do not protect your system from compromise. Even setting the strongest password does not solve the problem as it can also be broken with several techniques. Fail2ban is a great tool that allows you to ban the IP address that is making incorrect authentication attempts. Rather than allowing a user to make tries and succeeds, it blocks them in the first place. Hence, it prevents intrusion before they comprise your system.

        While making incorrect authentication attempts, sometimes fail2ban can block legitimate connections too. By default, the ban time is 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, a banned IP address is unbanned automatically. However, if a legitimate system is banned and you can’t wait for the ban time to expire, you can manually unban it. In this post, we will describe how to unban an IP address in fail2ban.

      • How to Install Mosh Shell as SSH Alternative on Linux Desktop

        Using an SSH client tool is always helpful and handy for the system administrator and the remote users. In the conventional SSH clients, you may find some network and auto session logout issues. As a system admin, you already realize the importance of the CLI-based remote SSH client. To solve frequent logout, lagging, and packet loss issues, you can install the Mosh SSH as an SSH alternative on Linux. The Mosh stands for the Mobile shell, which is a command-line-based secure shell client for Linux. It doesn’t require a stale and static IP address to establish the connection; moreover, the Mosh SSH shell client is also compatible with mobile devices.

      • New Linux Publication Released: How Linux Works, 3rd Edition: What Every Superuser Should Know by Brian Ward

        I am very excited about this publication not only because it is a great book covering such a large set of Linux-related topics but also because I helped with the technical review.

      • How to install the NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 21.04

        The objective is to install the NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo Linux and switch from a opensource Nouveau driver to the proprietary Nvidia driver.

        To install Nvidia driver on other Linux distributions, follow our Nvidia Linux Driver guide.

      • How to install Blender 2.92 on Deepin 20.2

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Blender 2.92 on Deepin 20.2.

      • How to install Funkin’ High Effort Ugh mod on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Funkin’ High Effort Ugh mod 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.

        If you have any questions, please contact us via a YouTube comment and we would be happy to assist you!

      • HOWTO Make Mozilla Firefox Blazing Fast On Linux

        The Firefox web browser is, by default, much, much slower than it can be on Linux. There is, luckily, several ways to make it a whole lot faster by changing one or more configuration options that are not so easy to find or understand. Newly released Firefox 88 made it easier, though you can make older Firefox versions and Firefox LTS versions faster with some trickery. Here’s the options you have and the performance they provide.

      • How to Install Guider Linux Performance Analyzer on Ubuntu 20.04

        Monitoring the real-time state and behavior of the system and each of its components is crucial for any system administrator. Guider is an open-source performance analyzing tool for Linux operating systems. It is designed to measure the use of system resources, analyze it and improve the performance of the operating system.

        In this tutorial, I will show you how to install and use Guider on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • How to Uninstall Chromium and Get Rid of It From Your Computer

        Chromium is the open-source web browser project used by Google to create Google Chrome. It has an interface and functionality similar to Chrome, allowing you to navigate the Internet and take advantage of privacy features. You can set it up on any operating system, including Windows and Mac. It’s also possible to install Chromium on Linux.

      • How to Write a Shell Script in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        A shell script is a Linux-based script in which commands are written, and when a user executes the script, all those commands that are in the script are executed one after another. Think of it this way: You have a task you need to do that requires a certain number of commands to be written by the user, so it’s difficult to write and then execute those commands one at a time, that’s where the shell script comes in.

        To accomplish this task, simply write all of these commands into a single script and save that script file somewhere. Then, when the user needs to do a particular task, all they have to do is run the saved script and the task is done without having to write all the commands again one by one. The shell is an interpreter of the commands that the user writes.

      • How to display GUI dialogs in bash script using Zenity

        We all know that Linux bash scripts are a real strength of Linux. Often we want to display a graphical user interface (GUI) in our scripts to make interaction with users easier. GUI makes any script more user-friendly and beautiful.
        For GTK in shell scripts, there are many options and tools available in Linux.

        In this article, we will show you how to use Zenity to display GUI dialogs in Bash scripts.

        Zenity is an open-source application for displaying simple GUI in shell scripts. It makes scripts more user-friendly by displaying GTK+ dialogs. Zenity is a handy command-line tool for modern shell scripting. Zenity is easy to use and a cross-platform application.

      • Steven Pritchard: Dealing with old ssh implementations

        Over the last several releases, Fedora has removed support for old, broken crypto algorithms. Unfortunately, this makes it harder to deal with old devices or servers that can’t easily be upgraded. For example, I have a switch that I can’t connect to with the ssh on Fedora.

      • How to Upgrade to Ubuntu 21.04 from Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy to Hirsute)

        Here are the steps on how to upgrade your Ubuntu 21.04 from Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla to Hirsute Hippo).

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD meetings on the Desktop

          FreeBSD on the desktop is a whole stack – X11, Qt, KDE Frameworks, KDE Plasma and KDE Gear, and Wayland, and Poppler and GTK – o my!

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Hybrid and edge strategies in an open-source world will be key focus during Red Hat Summit on Apr. 27, 28

          When IBM announced its intention to acquire Red Hat Inc. for $34 billion in 2018, it was widely viewed as a sign that the open-source train had finally arrived in the station. Less than three years later, open source has grown to encompass not only the station, but the train tracks and surrounding enterprise territory as far as the eye can see.

          In March, Red Hat released its “State of Enterprise Open Source” report, which, not surprisingly, validated the technology’s widespread enterprise influence. The report found that 90% of IT leaders were using open-source products, primarily in infrastructure modernization, networking and application development.

        • It’s no NBA Top Shot or Beeple, but IBM is making patent NFTs
        • IBM (and Red Hat) employees not allowed to use email for personal hobbies?
        • Ex-IBM Manager Tells Jury Racism Complaint Drew Firing – Law360

          A former IBM sales manager told a jury Monday he was fired for calling out racial disparities in his subordinates’ commissions, kicking off a Zoom trial in Washington federal court.

        • IBM, Red Hat Sued by Xinuos for Allegedly Stealing Code, Using it to “Crush Competition”

          On Wednesday, computer software company Xinuos Inc. filed a complaint in the District of the Virgin Islands against International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Red Hat Inc. for purportedly stealing its copyrighted code and using it for anticompetitive conduct in the Unix/Linux paid server operating system market.

          According to the complaint, “IBM and Red Hat conspired to illegally corner a market and crush competition.” Specifically, Xinuos claimed that “IBM stole Xinuos’ intellectual property and used that stolen property to build and sell a product to compete with Xinuous itself” by incorporating core elements of the stolen code into its own code. The plaintiff averred that “ IBM and Red Hat illegally agreed to divide the relevant market and use their growing market powers to victimize consumers, innovative competitors, and innovation itself.” Xinuos proffered that “after IBM and Red Hat launched their conspiracy, IBM then acquired Red Hat to solidify and make their scheme.” Lastly, the plaintiff argued that “IBM has been misleading its investors by falsely claiming all infringement claims against IBM regarding the copied code have been waived.”

      • Debian Family

        • Let’s Try Debian Unstable

          You may have been familiar with the name Debian Unstable also known as Sid and may want to try it. As an Ubuntu user, this curiosity is nothing weird, as every release of Ubuntu itself is created from it, and many persons around you may talk about it pretty often. The secret is, there is no image file to download for it, so you cannot install it as an operating system. This is why I make this simple guide to invite you to try Debian Unstable on your computer. Let’s go!


          You must have a computer with Debian Stable installed. For example, you may install Debian in a virtual machine as it counts as one computer. At the time I write this, Stable is Debian 10. Next time, Stable will be Debian 11. If you do not have one yet, download Debian 10, and install it to your computer. Please be aware that doing this will require you large data transfer and also time. As an example,in an expe riment it requires ~2GB download, ~4GB storage, and no less than 4 hours to finish.


          Finally, post-upgrade may introduce you to multiple packages need to be removed. This can be known by running simply $ sudo apt-get install without argument. It may say “some packages need to be removed by command line apt-get autoremove.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Don’t Miss: Ubuntu 21.04: What’s New? [Video]

          Six months of development have gone into curating Ubuntu 21.04 and the release is backed by 9 months of security and core app updates.

          Ubuntu 21.04 isn’t a game-changing release. Despite the hirsute moniker there’s little nothing hair-raising included, perhaps save for the switch to Wayland — but even that isn’t as prickly as it used to be!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How to take your open source project to the next level

        Open sourcing the code to your software as a service (SaaS) is not sufficient to make it actually be open source. Does that sound contradictory to you? Let me explain.

        Most services that espouse “open source” do so by simply throwing the code over the wall. It’s better than nothing but really misses the point that powers open source: enabling users to make a change to the software they’re using.

        Some other popular services powered by Open Source software, do include the tools used to operate/deploy their service. Pause for applause.

        But that’s also insufficient to actually enable users to become contributors effectively.

      • New Release: Tor Browser 10.0.16

        Tor Browser 10.0.16 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

        This version updates Firefox to 78.10esr. In addition, Tor Browser 10.0.16 updates NoScript to 11.2.4, and adds localization in Burmese.

      • Open-source software: freedom from ethics? [Ed: Media giving space for professional provocateurs who attack the freedom of software in the name of pseudo “ethics”. In his latest speech (LibrePlanet) Richard Stallman explained why all this “ethical source” nonsense is an attack on software freedom and would lead to chaos. The whole “ethical source” can of worms leads to farcical situations like, some people denying you the use of some piece of software unless you can produce proof you received some vaccination.]
      • Nextcloud Now Compatible With WWW-Inventors’ Privacy Initiative

        At Solid World April, the results of a project funded by the European Commission through NLnet and Next Generation Internet were presented. The project developed Solid compatibility for Nextcloud allowing it to act as a Solid server. The integration work allows users of the popular open source on-premises enterprise content collaboration platform to choose a safe place for their private data rather than public cloud services.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 89 Beta Released With UI Changes

            With Firefox 88 released yesterday, the Firefox 89 beta is now available for testing. Notable this time around is refining of the web browser’s user interface.


            Aside from the UI/UIX improvements with Firefox 89, the beta release also continues with privacy/security improvements, support for the Event Timing API, and other enhancements.

          • Firefox 89 Enters Beta Testing with Stunning New Look, Improved Privacy

            You might have heard of Firefox’s forthcoming new design, and it’s finally happening with the Firefox 89 release, due out early this summer. Mozilla was working hard during the past few months on a fresh new look for its open source and free web browser, and let me tell you that it looks stunning.

            The biggest change in this release being a fresh new designed to make your browsing experience more enjoyable, faster, cleaner, and easier to use. Firefox 89’s stunning new look consists of a modern and great looking toolbar with floating tabs, a simplified and cleaner new tab design that easy to customize, streamlined menus, updated infobars and modals, more consistent styling, as well as a brand-new first-run welcome page.

          • Firefox 88 Released, This is What’s New

            The latest version of the famed FOSS app enabled ‘smooth pinch-zooming using a touchpad’ on Linux systems. Additionally, the browser’s built-in PDF form filler now supports JavaScript embeds within PDF files (often used for verification).

            Mozilla says it’s bolstered the browser’s privacy credentials even further in this release by enforcing additional rules to prevent cross-site privacy leaks.

            It’s not all feature additions, however.

            Firefox 88 disables FTP support within the browser. Mozilla say the feature is not widely used and, as is, presents a ‘security risk’ as FTP is a non-encrypted protocol. The feature will be stripped out entirely in a future release.

            Talking of unused features, this update removes the “Take a Screenshot” feature from the Page Actions menu in the url bar (what sits behind the … icon).

          • Mozilla Firefox 88 Is Released

            Mozilla begun developing a brand new web browser engine called Webrender as part of a independent web browser project called Servo ages ago. They begun porting it to Firefox as part of a “project Quantum” in 2016. Mozilla has made it the default compositor on Linux in Firefox 88. It is, as of Firefox 88, enabled even if gfx.webrender.enabled is set to false in the special configuration interface you can get by typing about:config into the Firefox address bar. It is possible to disable it by setting the special gfx.webrender.force-disabled key to false.

            Webrender provides dismal performance out-of-the-box on GNU/Linux. It’s just slow. Mozilla has, luckily, introduced a brand new configuration key for GNU+Linux users using the X display server in about:config called gfx.x11-egl.force-enabled. Flipping that switch makes Firefox render the output form the Webrender compositor using EGL. It is much, much faster. Earlier versions required setting a environmental variable called MOZ_X11_EGL=1 to enable it. That route is still the only options if you are using a Firefox ESR release. See HOWTO Make Mozilla Firefox Blazing Fast On Linux for benchmarks for some detailed benchmarks of Firefox with Webrender and the old Gecko compositor with and without EGL.

          • Riccardo Mottola: ArcticFox to browse on an iBook

            I did quite some work to have “–enable-altivec” work in ArcticFox. The FireFox AltiVec test did not work because it relies on GCC rejecting it if not supported by the CPU.

            Most of the work was getting the 32bit AltiVec code actually work during a 64bit compile on a PPC970. But what about a non-AltiVec build? WIth some #ifdef’s imported from TenFourFox… I was able to get it and produce, while compiling on a G4, a usable G3 optimized binary for Linux.

          • Mozilla Firefox drops FTP. Focuses on DRM, Censorship
          • The Talospace Project: Firefox 88 on POWER

            Firefox 88 is out. In addition to a bunch of new CSS properties, JavaScript is now supported in PDF files even within Firefox’s own viewer, meaning there is no escape, and FTP is disabled, meaning you will need to use 78ESR (though you get two more weeks of ESR as a reprieve, since Firefox 89 has been delayed to allow UI code to further settle). I’ve long pondered doing a generic “cURL extension” that would reenable all sorts of protocols through a shim to either curl or libcurl; maybe it’s time for it.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • 7 Best Free Alternatives to Microsoft Excel – H2S Media

          LibreOffice is a well-known free and open-source office suite. If you are a Linux user such as Ubuntu then this Spreadsheet alternative to Excel would already be on your system. It is a fork OpenOffice project, thus we are not going to mentioned Apache OpenOffice in our list. LibreOffice Office offers a complete set of tools to perform daily document, presentation, Database, and Calculations related tasks. Its spreadsheet application called Calc is a decent Excel alternative.

          Although it uses Open Document Format (.ods) as a native one but can also open and save files in Microsoft Excel- .xls & .xlsx. Further, LibreOffice Calc offers all the basic functions of Excel, e.g. B. pivot tables, charts, text in columns, and much more. Unique features include macros in multiple languages, cross-platform support, and a large collection of third-party extensions.


          Calligra Sheets is a free and open-source spreadsheet application to replace Excel to some extent. It is a part of the Calligra Office suite developed and maintained by KDE. It is a feature-rich calculation tool for creating and editing various business-related spreadsheets. Earlier it was known as KSpread and Calligra Tables.

      • CMS

        • Translating Hugo based websites with Gettext

          In the Linux world, gettext is the gold standard for translating content. It’s powerful; there is a significant amount of tooling around it: there are editors like Lokalize, poedit, weblate and many others, and also libraries and bindings for many languages. But in the web development world, a unified internalization solution isn’t a solved problem yet. Django uses gettext; many js frameworks are using JSON as a key-value store of strings, but other formats exist and sometimes some frameworks provide nothing and everything needs to be done from scratch.

          Unlike Jekyll, Hugo provides some built-in internalization support. This includes the i18n function for translating templates, translatable menus and a way to translate markdown files by adding a translated copies next to the original English file. Unfortunately, this is not enough. There is no way to automatically notify the translators when and how a markdown file changed since a page sent to the translators is the raw markdown file. The second problem is that the translations need to be extracted and injected in three different places and various formats. Hugo uses markdown files for the content, a YAML file for the strings in the HTML templates and a YAML config file for the menu and site metadata translations (e.g. site title). A third problem is that none of these formats are directly usable for the KDE translation system and KDE translators that expect po files to work with their usual tools and workflow.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GCC 11.1 Release Candidate available from gcc.gnu.org
            The first release candidate for GCC 11.1 is available from
            and shortly its mirrors.  It has been generated from git revision
            I have so far bootstrapped and tested the release candidate on
            x86_64-linux and i686-linux.  Please test it and report any issues to
            If all goes well, I'd like to release 11.1 on Tuesday, April 27th.
          • GCC 11.1 RC Released, GCC 12 In Development On Trunk

            The release candidate to GCC 11.1 as the first stable release of GCC 11 is now available for testing. If all goes well GCC 11.1.0 will officially debut next week while GCC 12 is now in development with their latest Git code.

            Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek announced the GCC 11.1 release candidate today, which has been bootstrapped and tested so far for i686 and x86_64 Linux. He is hoping to release GCC 11.1 officially next week if all goes well.

          • Daiki Ueno: AF_ALG support in GnuTLS

            The Linux kernel implements a set of cryptographic algorithms to be used by other parts of the kernel. These algorithms can be accessed through the internal API; notable consumers of this API are encrypted network protocols such as IPSec and WireGuard, as well as data encryption as in fscrypt. The kernel also provides an interface for user-space programs to access the kernel crypto API.

            GnuTLS has recently gained a new crypto backend that uses the kernel interface in addition to the user-space implementation. There are a few benefits of having it. The most obvious one is performance improvement: while the existing user-space assembly implementation has comparable performance to the in-kernel software emulation, the kernel crypto implementation also enables workload offloading to hardware accelerators, such as Intel QAT cards. Secondly, it brings support for a wider variety of CPU architectures: not only IA32 and AArch64, but also PowerPC and s390. The last but not least is that it could be used as a potential safety net for the crypto algorithms implementation: deferring the crypto operations to the kernel means that we could have an option to workaround any bugs or compliance (such as FIPS140) issues in the library.

      • Programming/Development

        • Rblpapi 0.3.11: Several Updates

          A new version 0.3.11 of Rblpapi is now arriving at CRAN. It comes two years after the release of version Rblpapit 0.3.10 and brings a few updates and extensions.

          Rblpapi provides a direct interface between R and the Bloomberg Terminal via the C++ API provided by Bloomberg (but note that a valid Bloomberg license and installation is required).

          This is the eleventh release since the package first appeared on CRAN in 2016. Changes are detailed below. Special thanks to James, Maxime and Michael for sending us pull requests.

        • Node.js 16 introduces Apple Silicon support

          Node.js 16 was released on April 20, adding Apple Silicon binaries and additional stable APIs to the popular JavaScript runtime.

          The release is the first to ship with prebuilt binaries for Apple Silicon. While Node.js will provide separate tarballs for the Intel and Arm architectures, the MacOS installer will be shipped as a “fat” (multi-architecture) binary. Node.js 16 follows the October 2020 release of Node.js 15.

        • Node.js 16 released with Apple Silicon binaries, JavaScript V8 engine turned up to nine

          Node.js 16 has been released with prebuilt Apple Silicon binaries and version 9.0 of the V8 JavaScript engine.

          Node.js releases appear every six months or so. A new version becomes the current release, and odd numbered releases are supported for only six months, but even numbered releases become long-term support (LTS) releases. The last three LTS releases were therefore 10, 12 and 14 (or Dubnium, Erbium and Fermium), while version 16, once it has had six months to mature, will be known as Gallium.

        • How to install JetBrains RubyMine on Linux

          JetBrains RubyMine is an IDE Integrated development environment) for the Ruby programming language. It is a cross-platform application that works on Mac OS, Windows as well as Linux. In this guide, we’ll show you how to install RubyMine on Linux.

        • First year of the Fortran website

          In April 2020 we created a website for the Fortran language at fortran-lang.org. In exactly one year, it grew to be the first result when you search “Fortran” in Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Qwant, SearchEncrypt and the second result in Google (after the Wikipedia page for Fortran).

        • Rust

          • Rust Coming Soon To A Linux Kernel Near You [Ed: This title is false as it's all speculative at this point and just because the sponsor of Rust (Google funds Mozilla) wants that to happen doesn't mean it will. Google also pushed NSA back doors into Linux and it was later removed.]

            I’ve been saying that Rust will one day come to the Linux kernel for a while and finally some real work is being done to make this happen, when and if the project will go forward is still up for discussion but we may very well see rust as a 2nd linux kernel language one day.

          • Jacob Hoffman-Andrews joins the Rustdoc team

            Hello everyone, please welcome Jacob Hoffman-Andrews to the rustdoc team!

            Jacob Hoffman-Andrews (@jsha) has been contributing a lot on rustdoc front-end. Thanks to him, the pageload of the rustdoc pages is much faster. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the stuff he’s done recently:

        • Java

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • New Study Finds Satellites Contribute Significant Light Pollution To Night Skies

        The research, accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, finds that objects orbiting Earth elevate the brightness of the night sky by at least 10 percent over natural light levels, exceeding a threshold that astronomers set over 40 years ago for considering a location “light polluted”.

    • Education

      • Plan S will be a catastrophe for learned societies

        In principle, I have no problem with fully funded open access. But the current debate consistently elides the fact that research published in easily accessible journals, books or websites must be paid for. The big question remains at what point in the production process should the financial transaction happen? For journals, the most common model is that academic institutions pay the publisher a subscription fee to receive online and sometimes hard copy issues for use by students and staff. But those supporting Plan S wish to move to a situation where journal publishers are paid out of the author’s research funding for publishing a paper that is then freely accessible to anyone online.

        This model may work for science and medicine, where published papers have a relatively short citation half-life and the vast majority of researchers are funded by grants that make provision to pay for publication. But there is no rationale as to why the publication model for neuroscience must be the same as the one for ancient Greek. In the arts and humanities, the citation half-life of papers is much longer – years and sometimes decades, not months – and many scholars do not have access to such funding. The mindless managerial mantra that one size should fit all is hopeless.

    • Hardware

      • Power consumption of Game Boy flash cartridges

        Flash cartridges (= “carts”) are commonly used to run Game Boy ROMs, such as homebrew games or dumped officially released games, on real hardware. Different kinds of flash carts with various features and performance characteristics have been available for a long time, but flash carts have in general the reputation of consuming a lot of power, greatly reducing the battery life of a Game Boy system, and possibly causing other additional problems. System stability might suffer, especially on Game Boy Pocket, and flash carts can also increase audible noise. Many of these problems have become more obvious in the recent years, since Game Boy modding is nowadays very popular and many modern mods, such as IPS screens, consume a lot of extra power. Some people claim that certain mods are simply incompatible with flash carts, and sometimes people say an extra regluator mod is needed in order to safely use flash carts. There is some truth to these claims, but unfortunately the fine details tend to matter and these kind of blanket statements can be misleading!

        In order to research the topic, I tested the power consumption of several commonly available flash carts and some of my own designs. In this blog post I intend to show that there is more variation in flash cart power consumption than people might think, and a flash cart can even be more power efficient than a genuine cart!

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Is herd immunity to COVID-19 possible? Experts increasingly say no.

        What Fauci doesn’t explicitly state, but others do, is that with about a quarter of Americans saying they might not want to be immunized, herd immunity is simply not an attainable goal.

        “It’s theoretically possible but we as a society have rejected that,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. “There is no eradication at this point, it’s off the table. The only thing we can talk about is control.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Discord halts Microsoft talks: report

          Sources close to the matter told The Wall Street Journal that talks with tech giant Microsoft had ended without a deal being reached, though the possibility of rekindling them was left open.

        • Multiple agencies breached by hackers using Pulse Secure vulnerabilities

          Federal authorities announced Tuesday that hackers breached multiple government agencies and other critical organizations by exploiting vulnerabilities in products from a Utah-based software company.

          “CISA is aware of compromises affecting U.S. government agencies, critical infrastructure entities, and other private sector organizations by a cyber threat actor—or actors—beginning in June 2020 or earlier related vulnerabilities in certain Ivanti Pulse Connect Secure products,” the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in an alert.

        • SolarWinds [Cracking] Campaign Puts Microsoft in the Hot Seat

          Yet it was Microsoft whose code the cyber spies persistently abused in the campaign’s second stage, rifling through emails and other files of such high-value targets as then-acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf — and hopping undetected among victim networks.

          This has put the world’s third-most valuable company in the hot seat. Because its products are a de facto monoculture in government and industry — with more than 85% market share — federal lawmakers are insisting that Microsoft swiftly upgrade security to what they say it should have provided in the first place, and without fleecing taxpayers.

        • The Incredible Rise of North Korea’s [Cracking] Army [iophk: Windows TCO]

          North Korea’s cybercrime program is hydra-headed, with tactics ranging from bank heists to the deployment of ransomware and the theft of cryptocurrency from online exchanges. It is difficult to quantify how successful Pyongyang’s [crackers] have been. Unlike terrorist groups, North Korea’s cybercriminals do not claim responsibility when they strike, and the government issues reflexive denials. As a result, even seasoned observers sometimes disagree when attributing individual attacks to North Korea. Nevertheless, in 2019, a United Nations panel of experts on sanctions against North Korea issued a report estimating that the country had raised two billion dollars through cybercrime. Since the report was written, there has been bountiful evidence to indicate that the pace and the ingenuity of North Korea’s online threat have accelerated.

          According to the U.N., many of the funds stolen by North Korean [crackers] are spent on the Korean People’s Army’s weapons program, including its development of nuclear missiles. The cybercrime spree has also been a cheap and effective way of circumventing the harsh sanctions that have long been imposed on the country. In February, John C. Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division of the Justice Department, declared that North Korea, “using keyboards rather than guns,” had become a “criminal syndicate with a flag.”

        • [Old] The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Hutchins was coming off of an epic, exhausting week at Defcon, one of the world’s largest hacker conferences, where he had been celebrated as a hero. Less than three months earlier, Hutchins had saved the internet from what was, at the time, the worst cyberattack in history: a piece of malware called WannaCry. Just as that self-propagating software had begun exploding across the planet, destroying data on hundreds of thousands of computers, it was Hutchins who had found and triggered the secret kill switch contained in its code, neutering WannaCry’s global threat immediately.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Ubuntu Blog: Canonical & Ubuntu at KubeCon Europe 2021

                It’s that time of the year again! KubeCon and CloudNativeCon Europe 2021 are just around the corner and, as always, Canonical and Ubuntu have a lot cooking in the Kubernetes oven especially for the event. This year, we’ll be showcasing solutions and best practices around Charmed Operators, as well as streamlined Kubernetes at the edge with micro clouds.

                We’ll be at KubeCon on May 4-7th, as well as hosting a co-located event of our own on May 3 so make sure to book a meeting and come by to chat about your K8s use case anytime during the week.

              • SD Times news digest: Android GPU Compute changes, Xilinx’s Kria Portfolio, and ELISA Project expands its global ecosystem

                The ELISA (Enabling Linux in Safety Applications) Project announced that Codethink, Horizon Robotics, Huawei Technologies, NVIDIA and Red Hat joined its ecosystem.

                The project aims to create a shared set of tools and processes to help companies build and certify Linux-based safety-critical applications and systems

                “The primary challenge is selecting Linux components and features that can be evaluated for safety and identifying gaps where more work is needed to evaluate safety sufficiently,” said Shuah Khan, Chair of the ELISA Project Technical Steering Committee and Linux Fellow at the Linux Foundation. “We’ve taken on this challenge to make it easier for companies to build and certify Linux-based safety-critical applications by exploring potential methods to enable engineers to answer that question for their specific system.”

              • Linux, Lyft establish mobile developers collective to build enterprise-grade apps

                To stimulate better collaboration amongst mobile developers, the Linux Foundation has founded one of its first open-source platforms centered around mobile app development. The new group is known as the Mobile Native Foundation, and it will be a collaborative IT infrastructure intended at enhancing the building of Android and iOS smartphone applications.

        • Security

          • Make sure your NVIDIA drivers are up to date, new security issues detailed

            NVIDIA has today revealed a bunch of new vulnerabilities in the GPU drivers that affect both Linux and Windows.

          • CERT-In issues advisory over Facebook leak concerning 6.1 million Indians

            The Computer Emergency Response Team put out an alert on Monday saying that it has been reported that globally there has been a large scale leakage of Facebook profile information. The exposed information includes email addresses, profile ID, full name, job occupation, phone numbers and birth date. According to Facebook, the scraped information does not include financial information, health information or passwords. The company has also claimed that based on its investigation, threat actors scraped this data prior to September 2019, by using Facebook’s “contact Importer” feature, which allows users to find other users by using their phone numbers, said the public advisory.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • TikTok Faces Privacy Lawsuit on Behalf of Millions of Children

              Every child that has used the app since May 2018, regardless of their account status or privacy settings, may have had their private personal information collected for the benefit of unknown third parties, according to the suit filed by Anne Longfield, England’s former Children’s Commissioner.

            • A Global Tipping Point for Reining In Tech Has Arrived

              Around the world, governments are moving simultaneously to limit the power of tech companies with an urgency and breadth that no single industry had experienced before. Their motivation varies. In the United States and Europe, it is concern that tech companies are stifling competition, spreading misinformation and eroding privacy; in Russia and elsewhere, it is to silence protest movements and tighten political control; in China, it is some of both. While nations and tech firms have jockeyed for primacy for years, the latest actions have pushed the industry to a tipping point that could reshape how the global [Internet] works and change the flows of digital data.

            • Law enforcement facial recognition examined as DHS called on to halt Clearview AI use

              The groups, including Mijente, The Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) review Clearview’s censure by New Jersey’s Attorney General, Canadian Privacy Commissioners and other tech companies, and the frequent use of free trials of Clearview’s facial recognition software by law enforcement officers. DHS agencies have also not been forthcoming about their use of the technology, they say, necessitating further action while they wait for their lawsuit to access their records to play out in court.

              San Mateo Country Sheriff’s Office has tested Clearview’s biometrics around 2,000 times, and is now considering purchasing a license for it, according to the Half Moon Bay Review.

            • Feds Track Down Capitol Rioter With Facial Recognition Hit On His Girlfriend’s Instagram
    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Family of FedEx Mass Shooter Warned Police About Him. How Did He Still Manage to Buy His Guns?

        Authorities in Indianapolis say the mother of Brandon Hole, the former FedEx employee who shot and killed eight people at a company facility last Thursday, called police in 2020 to say her son might commit “suicide by cop,” prompting them to seize his pump-action shotgun. But officials say they did not push for Hole to have a hearing under Indiana’s “red flag” law, which allows police or courts to seize guns from people who show warning signs of violence. “The very thing that the law is designed to prevent — going and buying a new gun — was not even ever sought,” says Nick Suplina, managing director for law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety.

      • Mass Shooting at Indianapolis FedEx Warehouse “Follows Pattern of Violence Against Sikhs” Nationwide

        As the Sikh community in Indianapolis and across the United States is in mourning after a gunman killed eight people at a FedEx facility last week, where four of the victims are Sikh, we speak with Simran Jeet Singh, scholar, activist and senior fellow for the Sikh Coalition, which is calling for a full investigation into the possibility of racial or ethnic hatred as a factor in the killings in Indianapolis. A majority of the workers at the warehouse are Sikh, and while authorities have not shared evidence Brandon Hole was targeting Sikh workers when he attacked the FedEx facility, police revealed Monday they previously found evidence that Hole had browsed white supremacist websites. The mass shooting took place as more than 15 states across the U.S., including Indiana, mark April as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month. “This community, in Indianapolis, all around the world, is really devastated,” says Singh. “Given the pattern of violence against Sikhs, we are demanding a full investigation into the possibility of bias and racism in this attack.”

      • There are hundreds of posts about plans to attack the Capitol. Why hasn’t this evidence been used in court?

        But a new report by a private research group, and a separate review by NBC News, uncovered hundreds of social media posts discussing plans to move on the Capitol, including a map of the facility and talk of how to create a stampede that would overwhelm Capitol Police.

      • German Navy buys unmanned helicopters

        The Defence Ministry is equipping five corvettes with helicopter drones. This could bring a procurement process that has been going on for 13 years to an end.

      • Jewish women spied, smuggled, and sabotaged under the Nazis’ noses

        Batalion embarked on the project after coming across a neglected Yiddish volume in the British Library called “Women in the Ghettos,” published in 1946. The stories of young women “smuggling, gathering intelligence, committing sabotage, and engaging in combat” astounded her, not least because the author, whose grandparents were Polish Jews who fled the Nazis, had grown up thinking of escape as the only means of resistance available to Europe’s Jews during the Holocaust.

        The successes of the Jewish resistance were minor relative to the scale of the Nazi genocide. (More than 90% of Poland’s Jewish population perished in the Holocaust.) Even so, reading about the intricate underground web of fighters and spies is revelatory. “The Light of Days” traces the experiences of roughly 20 Polish women, based on their own memoirs and testimony, archival material and other historical sources, and interviews with the family members of those who survived the war. In Batalion’s hands, their stories are taut and suspenseful, but the author also weaves in important context about prewar Poland, life in the ghettos, and the progression of the war.

      • PBS documentary, CBS “60 Minutes” segment add to evidence of far-reaching state complicity in January 6 coup attempt

        In an interview clip that has been viewed over 1.4 million times on social media as of this writing, the vice president of the Arizona chapter of the Oath Keepers, Jim Arroyo, said, “Our guys are very experienced. We have active-duty law enforcement in our organization that are helping to train us. We can blend in with our law enforcement and, in fact, in a lot of cases our training is much more advanced because of our military backgrounds.”

        The CBS segment also shows Arroyo discussing civil war during an Oath Keepers meeting. “It’s not a joke,” he says. “This can happen and we need to be ready for it.”

        The production also spotlights the role of the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, a Yale-educated lawyer and former Army paratrooper. It features open-channel radio communications previously reported in court documents and on the World Socialist Web Site but until Sunday never heard by the public.

      • Will events in Chad force a reset of Sahel strategy?

        Chad sits strategically astride the Sahel and the Horn of Africa and has largely been viewed by Western powers as a critical state in staunching the spread of radical Islam and terrorism from the western Sahel region and as a buffer to the long-term instability coming from Sudan’s Darfur region on Chad’s eastern border. Chad shares its northern border with Libya and has been seen as an important part of regional strategies to stem the tide of instability emanating from its collapse since the overthrow of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

      • US embassy to withdraw staff as Chad rebels advance

        The United States has ordered its non-essential staff in Chad to leave the African country as rebel fighters approached the capital on Sunday after early election results showed President Idriss Deby on course to extend his three-decade rule.

        Deby, who seized power in 1990 at the head of an armed rebellion, is a staunch ally of France and the United States in the fight against Islamist militants in the arid Sahel region.

      • 40,000 displaced in north Mozambique after assault on Palma

        Some 40,000 displaced and urgently needing food, work suspended on a multi-billion-dollar gas investment, and scores of dead still being counted.

        The damage caused by Mozambique’s extremist rebels in their deadly assault on the northeastern town of Palma continues to be assessed. Four weeks after the rebels launched a three-pronged attack, which lasted at least five days, Mozambican police and relief agencies are working to help the thousands uprooted by the violence and restore the town to daily life.

      • Nearly a million going hungry in conflict-hit Mozambique, UN says

        Almost one million people face severe hunger in northern Mozambique, where hundreds of thousands have fled Islamist militant attacks, the United Nations food agency said on Tuesday.

        Islamic State-linked insurgents last month attacked Palma, a town in Cabo Delgado province next to gas projects under development by companies including Total and Exxon.

        The World Food Programme (WFP) said in a briefing in Geneva that 950,000 people are now hungry in Mozambique. It appealed to donors for $82 million to confront the crisis.

      • There is No Moderate Islam, Islam is Islam and that’s it!

        What tends to be more ominous is the crusade on part of Vatican personnel to present Islam as a religion of peace. This was obvious, as in what has now become a yearly custom, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, on behalf of Pope Francis, released last week a message addressed to “all Muslim brothers and sisters” to show solidarity and friendship as they start their month of Ramadan — the same can be said of U.S. President Joe Biden who also extended his “warmest greetings and best wishes to Muslim communities in the United States and around the world.”

        Notwithstanding peaceful and law abiding Muslims, there are two evident factors that would challenge the drive to present Islam in itself as a moderate religion, : the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad himself as written in the hadiths.

      • Fargo activist’s reaction to Derek Chauvin verdict

        Joseph Lewis has been a familiar face across the Fargo metro for the past year in a push for change. He says that change is important to him as a Black man because he wakes up every morning wondering if he’ll be the next George Floyd.

        Lewis gathered with friends to watch history unfold Tuesday, April 20, with the verdicts announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis Police officer charged in his killing.

        “This is just a very little step in the right direction and the work that is left to be done involves everyone,” Lewis said.

    • Environment

      • Six reasons why a healthy environment should be a human right

        At least 155 states recognize their citizens have the right to live in a healthy environment, either through national legislation or international accords, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

        Despite those protections, the World Health Organization estimates that 23 per cent of all deaths are linked to “environmental risks” like air pollution, water contamination and chemical exposure.

        Statistics like that are why the United Nations Human Rights Council recently passed a resolution reaffirming states’ obligations to protect human rights, including by taking stronger actions on environmental challenges.

        Here are some of the ways that a compromised planet is now compromising the human right to health.

      • Building back better needs radical change − by us

        We’ve got the money, we’ve got the knowhow, but averting the worst of the climate crisis needs radical change − by us.

      • Energy

        • Solar panels are reaching their limit. These crystals could change that.

          “The efficiency with which solar cells that have these perovskite materials convert sunlight to electrons has increased at a really incredible rate, to the extent that now the efficiencies are close to those of silicon solar cells in the lab,” said Lynn Loo, a professor of chemical engineering at Princeton University and the director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. “That’s why we are so excited about this class of materials.”

          Perovskite solar cells can also be made relatively easily – unlike silicon cells, which need to be refined at very high temperatures and so need a lot of energy to make. Perovskites can be made as thin sheets at low temperatures, or as inks that can effectively be “printed” onto substrates of other materials, such as flexible rolls of plastic.

    • Finance

      • Turkey Bans Cryptocurrency Payments, Says Risks Are Too Big

        The Turkish central bank banned the use of cryptocurrencies as a form of payment from April 30, saying the level of anonymity behind the digital tokens brings the risk of “non-recoverable” losses.

        The curbs also prohibit companies that handle payments and electronic fund transfers from processing transactions involving cryptocurrency platforms, according to a decree published in the official government gazette on Friday.

      • Indian Government’s Plans to Ban Cryptocurrency Outright Are A Bad Idea

        If the Indian government plans to effectively police its own draconian rules, it would need to seek to block, disrupt, and spy on Internet traffic

        If rumors of a complete ban accurately describe the bill, it would be a drastic and over-reaching prohibition that would require draconian oversight and control to enforce. But it would also be in keeping with previous overreactions to cryptocurrency by regulators and politicians in India.

        India regulators’ involvement with cryptocurrency began four years ago with concerns about consumer safety in the face of scams, Ponzi schemes, and the unclear future of many blockchain projects. The central bank issued a circular prohibiting all regulated entities, including banks, from servicing businesses dealing in virtual currencies. Nearly two years later, the ban was  overturned by the Indian Supreme Court on the ground that it amounted to disproportionate regulatory action in the absence of evidence of harm caused to the regulated entities. A  subsequent report in 2019 by the Finance Ministry proposed a draft bill that would have  led to a broad ban on the use of cryptocurrency. It’s this bill that commentators suspect will form the core of the new legislation.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Britain on the Road to Kleptocracy
      • Biden Quotes ‘Holy Qur’an’ in Ramadan Greeting, says ‘Muslim Americans Have Enriched Our Country Since Our Founding’

        Repetition won’t make this claim true. The claim that the slaves were Muslims, or a significant percentage of them were Muslims, is increasingly common. In fact, however, this is unlikely, as the African slavers were Muslims, and a Muslim generally does not enslave a fellow Muslim, just the Qur’an’s prohibits a Muslim from killing another Muslim (4:92). (There are Muslims who are born into slavery in countries such as Mauritania, but that is a different phenomenon from capturing and enslaving someone.)

      • Election ex machina

        The government has recently accelerated its drive to introduce electronic voting into our electoral infrastructure. Arguments for using electronic voting machines (EVMs) and [Internet] voting (i-voting) suggest that these technologies will ensure fairness and transparency, and improve access to voting (namely, to overseas Pakistanis). The rationale — that computers can record, count and relay votes with far greater accuracy, speed and impartiality than a system overseen by fallible and potentially compromised human actors — appears straightforward enough. To use the prime minister’s parlance, they are ‘neutral umpires’.

        But are they? Neither EVMs nor i-voting are new innovations, yet their use remains deeply controversial. Many developed democracies have either rejected them or reverted back to paper balloting. To know why, it is important to first understand what factors are involved in a free and fair election during the voting process.

      • Technology: Electronic Voting Is No Silver Bullet

        Electoral reforms are back in vogue, with a particular emphasis on electronic voting machines (EVMs) and [Internet] voting for overseas citizens. Both technologies have been around for some decades now, but have been dogged by a troubled history of security flaws and vulnerabilities, some of an extremely serious nature.

        As a result, an interesting paradox has emerged: even as developing countries — such as Namibia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Bangladesh in recent years — are eagerly hopping on to the EVM bandwagon, technologically advanced nations — including the Netherlands, US, Canada, Norway, Germany and Ireland — are rejecting machines en masse and reverting to paper elections.

        The nub of the matter is that EVMs were originally designed to automate elections, not secure them.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • ISIS propaganda in the pandemic era

        ISIS exploits opportunities offered by the information age more extensively than any other terror group in the world and uses new technological tools to its benefit. As far back as March 2018, one of its posters called on supporters to wage jihad against infidels and idol worshippers “by using your money, your hands and your tongues”—that is, through the spoken and written word. Alongside gold coins and an armed fighter, the poster displayed icons of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a computer to underline the importance of online advocacy.

      • NATO tests its hand defending against blended cyber-disinformation attacks

        Member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have banded together in recent days to confront an apparent cyberattack carried out against a NATO member’s critical infrastructure, according to the alliance.

        NATO is also working to battle a stream of disinformation about the attack against island state Berylia that has flooded social media, the alliance said.

        While many world leaders have faced off with blended cyber and disinformation operations in recent years, the NATO members in this case are not in fact facing a real threat. NATO crafted the scenario, which was carried out by a fabricated non-NATO nation-state “Crimsonia,” as part of an annual simulation exercise. Known as Locked Shields, it’s designed to test leaders’ readiness to deal with live cyberthreats. Berylia, the target of the fake attack and disinformation, is also an imagined state.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Florida Criminalizes Mass Protests Ahead of Chauvin Verdict

        As the nation braces for the verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis cop who killed George Floyd last May, the state of Florida has enacted sweeping and draconian restrictions on protest, and even given the state the power to veto local funding funding cuts to police budgets.

        Signing the “Combating Public Disorder Act” into law on Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis declared, “We are taking an unapologetic stand for the rule of law and public safety.” But the Republican, and close Trump ally, also made it plain that the true legislative intent was to criminalizing the protest tactics of those he denounced as “the radical left.”

        The signing brought immediate condemnation from defenders of civil liberties. “Let’s be clear: this is not an anti-riot bill,” said Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. “It is a bill that criminalizes peaceful protest,” he said, adding that the law is a blast from the state’s segregationist past: “Each and every provision harkens back to Jim Crow.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Senior journalist Absar Alam shot in Islamabad

        Senior journalist and former chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (Pemra), Absar Alam, was shot in Islamabad on Tuesday, he said in a video message uploaded on Twitter.

      • Two Sports Journalists, Woman Handball Player Killed In Afghanistan

        Afghanistan continues to see the killing of innocent people despite consistent efforts of brokering peace between the Taliban and the present government. Sports journalists and athletes, especially women, are being targeted by terrorists.

        According to the International Sports Press Association website, two Afghan sports journalist – Aliyas Dayee and Malala Maiwand- were killed while handball player Nooria Tabesh was gunned down.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Messages reveal far-right cops discussed killing, spying

        Documents obtained by Yle have revealed messages exchanged by two Helsinki police officers previously suspected of involvement in a far-right plot to commit acts of violence.

        The messages show that the police officers involved in the far-right group used information received in the course of their professional duties for their own purposes.

      • A Distinctly American Problem Needs Systematic Investigation

        The most constructive way that the federal government responds to avoidable loss of life is arguably in its treatment of aviation. Whenever a plane crash occurs, big or small, headline-grabbing or obscure, a team of experts is dispatched to reconstruct exactly what happened. The aim isn’t to advance a legal process or punish wrongdoers, but to figure out which changes, if any, could prevent it from happening again.

        “Aviation is safe in large part because it learns from its disasters,” my colleague James Fallows, himself a recreational pilot, has argued. The NTSB’s painstaking collection and evaluation of evidence after each accident can take months or even years, but the investigations yield insights that save lives. “From the dawn of commercial aviation through the 1990s,” Fallows writes, “1,000 to 2,000 people would typically die each year in airline crashes. Today, the worldwide total is usually about one-tenth that level.”

        What if every police killing triggered that sort of response?

      • The Chauvin Verdict Represents an Absolute Minimum of Justice

        It’s incredibly important that the jury found Chauvin guilty, but reining in the cops cannot happen through individual prosecutions.

      • Jurors Deliberate in Derek Chauvin Trial as Prosecution Urges Them to “Believe What They Had Seen”

        As jury deliberations are underway in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder and manslaughter for killing George Floyd last May, we go to Minneapolis to discuss final arguments and what is next in the case. We speak with civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong, who says the prosecution “started strong and ended strong” by reminding “the jury that they could believe what they had seen with their own eyes.”

      • Headlines April 20, 2021

        Jury deliberations have begun in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder and manslaughter for killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes last May. On Monday, jurors heard closing arguments in one of the most closely watched criminal trials in years. This is prosecutor Steve Schleicher.

      • What Police Impunity Looks Like: “There Was No Discipline as No Wrongdoing Was Found”

        A jury’s conviction of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd is a historic moment, in large part because it’s an anomaly. Officers who kill civilians are rarely prosecuted, let alone convicted — many aren’t even disciplined by their departments.

        To understand how police impunity works, it’s worth looking at another case, that of Kawaski Trawick.

      • ‘Let This Be a Turning Point’: Chauvin Conviction Sparks Calls for ‘True Justice’

        “This verdict is not a substitute for policy change.”

        This is accountability, but not justice—that was a widely shared sentiment after a jury in Minnesota on Tuesday found Derek Chauvin, a white former police officer, guilty of murdering George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis last year.

      • Chauvin Guilty on All Counts, Including Murder of George Floyd

        One racial justice advocate said that there are “no victories today,” for “justice would mean George Floyd is still with us.”

        After deliberating for just over 10 hours, the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin found the former Minneapolis police officer guilty for the murder of unarmed Black man George Floyd last May. 

      • The Chauvin Trial is Dangerously Deceptive

        The election and presidency of Barack Obama fed the dangerous illusion that racism no longer posed barriers to Black advancement and equality in the United States and that the only such barriers left were internal to Black people themselves.

        The constantly repeated lies claiming that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and was linked to al Qaeda and the 9/11 jetliner attackers permitted the messianic dry-drunk militarist George W. Bush to undertake the monumentally criminal and mass-murderous, petro-imperialist invasion of Iraq without being forced from office in a giant popular uprising – and to get absurdly re-elected.

      • Chauvinist Cops and the “Just Is” System That Enables Them

        Cops like Chauvin are vigilantes with badges, but without the white sheets. (Recall, if you will, that many of the folks under those KKK cloaks were ‘respectable’ members of the community — cops, judges, smiths, bartends, etc.) They’ve been guaranteed that, if they snuff the life of a fellow citizen, they will get their day in court. With a virtual guarantee of getting off the charge if they can successfully invoke Qualified Immunity.

        It’s this stark contrast of legal entitlements, this notion that you’re nothing at the hands of these flag-waving monsters, while they enjoy the privilege of protection, involving their Constitutional rights, that flat out rattles and enrages. And when you discover that there’s no remedy — that they can kill, steal your property, and piss on your cat — and you can’t pursue them criminally or civilly, and that little to no internal review of their actions will occur, then you have a right to wonder if America operates as a democracy under the rule of law anymore, and if it hasn’t reached, after “ a long train of abuses and usurpations,” that place in the Preamble to the Declaration where it is our “right” and “duty” to “throw off such government.”

      • Chauvin Trial Verdict: All Roads Lead to 38th & Chicago

        Minneapolis, Minn.—When the verdict is announced in the Derek Chauvin trial, George Floyd Square is full. The air has a slight nip to it, a stark contrast to the weekend’s warmth, and the official workday is not yet over. Still, on Tuesday afternoon, people continue to trickle in. Some shout. Some cry. Some hug.

        Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, had his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes. To decide if it was murder, the jury deliberated for nearly 10 hours. After the verdict is announced, the crowd begins to chant Floyd’s name.

      • The Chauvin Verdict Has to Be Just the Beginning

        Derek Chauvin did not just murder George Perry Floyd Jr. He tortured him to death.

        Maybe that’s what got the jury to find Chauvin guilty on all three counts.

      • Federal Court Tells Minnesota State Police To Stop Attacking, Harassing, And Arresting Journalists Covering Protests

        Minneapolis, Minnesota was still on edge when a cop shot another unarmed black man. The trial of former officer Derek Chauvin is still underway. Last May, Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd for over nine minutes — including two minutes after another officer was unable to detect a pulse.

      • Jury Finds Derek Chauvin Guilty on All 3 Counts for Murder of George Floyd

        The jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of killing George Floyd, a Black man, after kneeling on his neck for several minutes.

      • Ilhan Omar Blasts Democrats Over Hypocrisy in Funding Police vs Social Programs

        Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) sharply criticized the disparity between the seemingly endless amounts of money that government officials are willing to spend on the police while essential social programs go begging, at a press conference at the site of Daunte Wright’s murder in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, on Tuesday.

      • Why A Guilty Verdict For Derek Chauvin Doesn’t Change The Reality Of Police Violence

        The murder trial for Derek Chauvin was notable in many ways. Not only was it significant to George Floyd’s family, who was able to receive some semblance of the justice they’ve pushed for since Floyd’s death, but it’s also notable simply because of how rare it is for police officers to be charged for using excessive or fatal force — let alone convicted.

      • Police violence is directed against working people and youth of all racial and ethnic backgrounds

        In each of these killings, the victim was white. Each of these tragic deaths has gone unreported in the national media, which has not challenged the police account of events. There has been no questioning of the claims by police that they feared for their lives and that it was necessary to kill in self-defense. No attention has been given to why such killings happen with regularity and how the events could have been handled differently.

        As of April 14, there have been at least 265 police killings in 2021 across the United States. The police continue to kill at an unrelenting rate of three people per day, a bloody number that has held steady for years, despite popular protests and outrage over one killing after another.

      • Wisconsin community, political leaders react to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case
    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • The Do’s and Don’ts of Videoconference Oral Proceedings [Ed: Videoconference oral proceedings are themselves a big 'Don't' because they are not legal, but EPO management just breaks the law as usual and then stacks the courts or bullies judges to get its way]

          As many will be aware, there is a challenge to the legality of videoconference Oral Proceedings pending at the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal (G 1/21).[1] In particular, the Enlarged Board has been asked to consider whether such proceedings can go ahead if the parties do not consent to use of the videoconference format. Although the question referred to the Board encompassed Examination, Opposition and Appeal proceedings, the EPO has decided to continue with videoconference Oral Proceedings for both Examination and Opposition matters irrespective of whether or not the parties involved consent to do so.[2]

          A Decision from the Enlarged Board is expected to issue relatively quickly, but unlike most referrals to be Enlarged Board, there does not appear to be much confusion about the direction the EPO will take. The EPO is generally keen to embrace the digital format and recent case law from the Boards of Appeal seems to suggest that the EPO will continue with videoconference Oral Proceedings as the “new normal”.[3] In anticipation that the Enlarged Board agrees, we have compiled our top tips for videoconference Oral Proceedings.

          DO ask for a test call. Even though we are all now familiar with the format, a test call is a good opportunity to confirm that the audio is clear, and the video is working correctly. The test call will also allow you to practice screen sharing and joining/leaving breakout rooms. Test calls need to be requested at least six weeks in advance of the hearing, as only limited time slots are available.

        • World IP Leader Touts Rise In International Patent Filings [Ed: WIPO is a corrupt institution, not “World IP Leader”. Law 360 proving to be a farce. Celebrating patent extremism is a bad thing; if you seriously think more patents make us better off, why not grant a trillion of them a year? It’s doable.]

          The director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization kicked off the virtual spring summit of the Intellectual Property Owners Association on Tuesday with a keynote speech that stressed the growing importance of innovation beyond the U.S. and Europe.

          Singaporean Daren Tang, who took the helm at WIPO, a U.N. agency, in October, opened his remarks by highlighting a 4% growth in international patent filings through WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty in 2020 despite fears that the COVID-19 pandemic would tank new filings.

          While China, the U.S., Japan, Korea and Germany led the charge with the most applications, Tang noted that innovation…

        • NuCana (NCNA) Shares Fall After Suing Gilead Sciences (GILD) in Germany Over Patent Infringement

          NuCana plc (NCNA) stock was slightly down after the British company sued Gilead Sciences (GILD) in Germany, alleging patent infringement for the sale of Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi and relation combination drugs. NCNA shares were down 2.64% to $4.06 per share while GILD was up 0.76% to $66.45 on Tuesday afternoon.

        • Waco jury in VLSI v. Intel starts deliberation: Intel vehemently denies infringement and attacks $3 billion damages claim [Ed: No place in the world disgraces patent law better than Texas; makes one wonder what such laws exist for in the first place...]

          In my previous post on the VLSI v. Intel patent trial in the Western District of Texas, I asked the question of whether the jury will be persuaded that, should it find an infringement, Intel would have paid a $3 billion royalty on two patents that are part of a portfolio that was at some point valued at $7 million. The answer is just a question of days, if not hours: counsel for both parties–Irell & Manella’s Morgan Chu and WilmerHale’s Bill Lee–just delivered closing argument.

          A week ago, Intel’s opening argument emphasized the semiconductor company’s independent research and development. VLSI’s lawyer told the jury that this is irrelevant under patent law: you can infringe whether or not you know the patent. Mr. Chu called this argument “a red herring” and “a signpost in the desert”–but the strict-liability nature of patent law is separate from whether jurors will feel that Intel has committed a wrongdoing it needs to be penalized for, or whether there is, at best, an accidential infringement at issue.

          The “signpost in the desert” was not only the “post” metaphor: Mr. Lee compared VLSI’s efforts to allege an infringement despite a patent having been narrowed on reexamination as “moving the fencepost” in order to develop an infringement theory regardless.

          Most of the argument was very technical, and counsel for both parties tried to put testimony, particularly expert testimony, into a particular context. For example, a point that Mr. Lee made and which might resonate with the jury was that VLSI got an Intel witness to confirm that a page from a document was consistent with one of VSLI’s arguments, but the headline of the document showed that it was just some general technical description and not specific to the accused products. What I consider even more likely to bear weight with jurors is an Intel position on claim construction: Mr. Lee said that this morning he “walked from [his] hotel to the court”: “‘from’ means ‘from’, ‘to’ means ‘to’.” Those kinds of non-infringement arguments appeal to common sense. By comparison, VLSI’s lawyer’s explanations of the meaning of “when” were much more technical–that was necessary in the context, but it just wasn’t as easy to understand as Intel’s interpretation of “from” and “to.” VLSI’s explanation of “determinism” was funny: if you boil an egg for 10 minutes, then you always know what the result is going to be like.

        • Software Patents

          • Could Alice Be Used to Invalidate Diehr? Of Course It Could [Ed: Software patents profiteer (litigation, not invention) Michael Borella is worried that software patents have become pretty worthless in courts; now the USPTO should stop granting these.]

            The Supreme Court’s Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l case has been criticized for setting forth a patent eligibility analysis that is unworkably subjective. As a consequence, the validity of particular types of inventions, especially those in the software and business method space, can be uncertain until undergoing judicial review.

            In a nutshell, Alice sets forth a two-part test to determine whether claims are directed to patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. One must first decide whether the claim at hand is directed to a judicially-excluded law of nature, a natural phenomenon, or an abstract idea. If so, then one must further decide whether any element or combination of elements in the claim is sufficient to ensure that the claim amounts to significantly more than the judicial exclusion. But elements or combinations of elements that are well-understood, routine, and conventional will not lift the claim over the § 101 hurdle. While this inquiry is generally carried out as a matter of law, factual issues can come into play when determining whether something is well-understood, routine, and conventional.

            Having said that, the test in practice usually amounts to eyeballing the claim and determining whether some of its elements recite or involve a judicial exclusion. If so, the remaining elements are considered to determine whether they, individually or in combination, amount to significantly more. In other words, § 101 includes a poor-man’s form of prior art analysis. Also, vague, non-specific or result-oriented elements have little or no weight in the “significantly more” inquiry. So, § 101 also incorporates a form of enablement.

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