A Longtime Reader’s Thoughts About Valve and Steamdeck (and What That Means to GNU/Linux)

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Hardware at 5:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video games fan
Versatility and general-purpose computing through a Trojan horse of sorts?

Summary: Another person’s interpretation of Valve’s strategy and motivations/ambitions

IN OUR Daily Links we continue to post additional news picks regarding last week’s big news from Valve, as noted in yesterday's post. It’s a bit of an ongoing story because additional details are gradually being revealed. In the next batch of Daily Links we’ll include some focus on Arch Linux and the response from Epic, which is a competitor. Microsoft isn’t even commenting. They seem to be somewhat rattled by the whole thing, as it devastates them on multiple fronts at the same time. It also seems like a good uplift for GNU/Linux on desktops and laptops — a frontier long sought by the loudest Free software enthusiasts.

Our reader Daniel sent us some thoughts, which are based partly on his personal experiences (I myself never used Steam and don’t intend to, either) and partly on what he read/saw. Daniel split that into 5 parts, as follows (with mild corrections in the English text as Daniel’s native tongue is Spanish):

1. You say “its [Valve's] successor to efforts like Proton, SteamOS (Debian), and Steam Machines that never quite materialised”.
I’m not sure if you mean “Steam Machines never materialized”, or “[all of that stuff are past efforts that] never materialized”.
The former is mostly right, whereas the latter mostly wrong. The device does use Proton (it’s pretty much alive and well, even without this device), and uses SteamOS (v3, Arch based, as they got away from Debian some time ago).
But this point wasn’t about correcting you (which I believe wasn’t necessary), but about focusing on your mention of the “efforts”. What are they doing these efforts for? It’s just about money?

The part about materialising was about Steam Machines alone. I’m not the first to point this out, as at least 2 more publications did the same. We included them in Daily Links.

The point is, for the uninitiated at least, Valve hoped to work with hardware partners on computers that have the Debian-based SteamOS preinstalled. That never quite happened at the end, perhaps because Steam surveyed the market, in the same way Palm did with “Foleo”.

This time will be different as the strategy is inherently different in a number of ways. Daniel continues:

2. You also say in the article’s summary: “Valve has chosen GNU/Linux for its power, not for its freedom”.
This is a typical interpretation from Free Software activists — and one that can ultimately be generalized in this way: “either they go fully Free software, or they have other interests — different from freedom”.
Of course I agree with that interpretation: Valve does have other interests, most likely reduced to just simply power and money.
But the thing I don’t like about that interpretation is the implicit binary narrative about freedom.
You see, part of the idea behind this thing they’re doing is this: “It’s a PC. You can do with it whatever you do with a PC. We don’t believe in restricting it.”
That is actually huge. I struggle to make people understand their computing devices (mobile phones, modern gaming consoles, smart TVs, and so on) are artificially-limited computers.
That point is actually about freedom.
They even actually say you can install on there stuff from their rivals (like EA or Microsoft), which contradicts the idea of them “simply wanting power and money”.
They clearly want to establish a hegemony. But that hegemony happens to be kinda OK to me (not the DRM part, of course).
My point: is not “simple” what they’re doing, in fact it is complicated, and so it also involves explicit increased degrees of freedom (specially in contrast with what the gaming ecosystem offers to people).
So I’m not so sure about your lecture. I believe freedom is one of the reasons behind the GNU/Linux choice. It’s not a binary choice between power and freedom, nor any other binary choice. And maybe not be exactly the freedom Free Software activists talk about. But it is partly about freedom, and a significant part of it.

Up to a certain point in time Sony did something similar with PS3. That was a very long time ago. Later came Google with Android (wherein freedom is being lessened over time). Valve would not be the first. This is mostly connected to the “general-purpose computing” battle, which is connected to “right to repair” more than Free (as in freedom) software. It’s the idea that people can do as they please with devices that they have purchased and therefore assume they own.

3. Remember also Steam’s history.
At first, it was revolutionary somehow inside the Windows ecosystem, at the cost of DRM.
Before involving GNU/Linux, gaming on Windows was already full of problems that Steam solved.
It was basically the same effect Netflix had on pirating [sic] movies, but for games: by giving comfort to the people by centralizing problem-solving, they got everybody on the boat.
That’s deeply problematic from a Free software point of view. But it is actually a happy event from a people’s experience perspective. People are just ignorant or unaware of the freedom they’re giving away, and so they have no problem with it.
To that point in history, Valve and Netflix are basically the same shit. However, at the gates of Windows 8, Steam declared war on Windows and went to GNU/Linux, even saying that Windows was a disaster for gaming.
Then “Steam for Linux” came out, and from that day on they never stopped pushing GNU/Linux gaming, even when we’re <2% of their user base 10 years later. And they keep working and keep on pushing GNU/Linux, no matter what “the market” says about it. If you also see that you can buy games without DRM and add them to Steam (so, Steam acts then as a CDN and not a DRM provider/encloser), that they allow stuff like sharing games, that they actually added code to drivers and software layers, and that they even make GNU/Linux-first hardware, they’re very far away from Netflix.
Valve has shown ideals. I doubt you or me will share those ideals any day soon. But they’re certainly not a two-bit power and money-hungry bunch of people like Microsoft or Netflix are. This is different.

Steam comes from a person who once worked for Microsoft. So he seems to be aware of how much of a danger they pose; GNU/Linux reduces Microsoft’s control over his company. Recall what Microsoft did to RealPlayer (and Networks).

As Daniel puts it:

4. Microsoft is their enemy, on various fronts. But it is not their only enemy.
With Steamdeck, Valve is also explicit about the goal of opening the door to other people doing hardware like this. It is not about buying their hardware but about changing the relationship people have with devices.
And so this hardware, strangely cheap for the product and at the same time strangely up-to-date, is also a declaration of war on the hardware front.
Valve is no longer a declared enemy of Microsoft and Windows, but WINTEL itself.
The time was perfect for striking a punch to Intel. And also a strong blow to Nintendo and Sony.
And with stuff like “this is a PC” they’re also taking distance from Apple, not just Microsoft: those bastards try to set “PC” as another word for “Windows”, and “Mac” as something different; Valve says otherwise, and not just by wordsmithing but by embracing GNU/Linux.

That’s an excellent point actually. They also embraced KDE and a distro (as base) not many expected to see (like Google picking Gentoo).

About the distro crafted by Valve, Daniel says:

I saw a few videos the day the news went wild, and every time they showed SteamOS v3 it looked very much like Windows 10.

Minute 04:19 here: To be honest, I don’t use KDE and have not used it since some brief 2008 tests, so I don’t know what it looks like these days.
And the same goes for Windows 10 — an OS that I barely touched, exclusively because of job-related tasks.
But if I’m reading this right, they tuned the UI, making it look like Windows 10.
So… add wine/proton over that, and they’re also bringing back LINDOWS from the grave!
I know there were several attempts at something like that: but if Valve publishes the recipe for it, and back it over time with money and work, they’re making a Windows replacement everybody can clone without using Valve’s trademarks. I mean: Dell, HP, Lenovo, or whatever hardware maker can just copy-paste the proper bits of configs to deploy their own brand (an important detail in business world) instead of using “SteamOS”. And of course there will be community forks.
The point being: this is a poisoned dagger against Windows. Valve is really making a Windows killer here, from ALL fronts at the same time (hardware, software, community, and corporate world), and using gaming as vector.
If I’m right about this, we should REALLY let them play their game, at least for a while.

Finally, Daniel says:

With all of this in mind, my conclusion:
Valve certainly does things we don’t like, and most likely that will never change: it’s hard to think of Valve leaving behind DRM and some questionable practices with devs. But they also seem sincere about the consumer’s interests (or at least their experiences), they’ve showed a stronger commitment to GNU/Linux than most other big tech players (specially in gaming), they show a vision (at least compared with players like Microsoft or Apple), and while they seem as pragmatic and money-based as any business, they also insist in pushing costly long-term ideas like a GNU/Linux based SteamOS or PC-based hardware replacing artificially-limited options.
So, Valve is not our enemy. It’s just that they’re not free software activists either: they’re a business. I was about to compare them with Canonical, but I believe the case is different: Canonical is more like hypocrites, Valve is more sincere. Valve is not about GNU/Linux: they’re just embracing it. And in exchange for the power GNU/Linux gives, Valve also gives stuff back. That doesn’t seem like a parasitic relationship to me, even when the thing Valve gives back may not exactly be software freedom.
If Valve ever wins these gaming wars, they will most likely end up being another Mozilla or Canonical. But Valve does not claim to be a Free software activist organization: they’re not even “not for profit” as Mozilla was. And if they win these wars, the gaming world will be completely different, most likely better for GNU/Linux. So I believe that, if we can’t be Valve supporters, we also shouldn’t be too vocal a critics either, as they’re the closest thing we have to a powerful friend in the gaming world: we should let Microsoft try to fight Valve the wrong way, while we find ways to make more freedom around the software Valve already brings to GNU/Linux ecosystem.

We might revisit this subject some other day because no doubt it’s a game-changer, if you pardon the pun…

Links 18/7/2021: Release of pgAdmin 4 Version 5.5, Debian 11.0 “Bullseye” Soon

Posted in News Roundup at 10:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Moving my blog to Oracle cloud

        At least, at the moment, since I will no longer be operating my own network as of September, I plan on running my services on a mix of Vultr, Oracle and Linode VMs, as this allows me to avoid Intel CPUs (Oracle have ARM, but also AMD EPYC VMs available, while Vultr and Linode also use AMD EPYC). I will probably run the more FOSS-centric infrastructure on fosshost’s ARM infrastructure, assuming they accept my application anyway.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • This Week in Linux 160: Valve Steam Deck, PineTime Smartwatch, Solus, Windows 365, Ubuntu Touch | TuxDigital

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, Valve has announced the Steam Deck, which is their new handheld gaming device powered by Linux and Pine64 announced the PineTime Smartwatch is now available to order. We’ve got a lot to check out in Distro News such as releases from Tails, Solus, Escuelas Linux, and apparently a Linux Distro from Microsoft. Then we’re going to take a look at the latest release of Ubuntu Touch with OTA-18 and we’ve got some App News from Nextcloud and Firefox. All that and so much more coming up on episode 160 of This Week in Linux, recorded live on July 17, 2021. Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • GNU World Order 417

        Learn **git** with **git-cola**.

      • Linux Action News 198

        Steam Deck looks impressive; we cover the details you care about and one aspect that concerns us.

        Plus, how Microsoft just gave a boost to the Linux Desktop and more.

      • Pacman Parallel Downloads Way Better Than Expected

        A while back I did a video about the Pacman 6 beta which included the ability to download packages in parallel theoretically offering much higher speeds and now that it’s here I am incredibly impressed by how much faster it can really be.

    • Kernel Space

      • Coreboot Starts Seeing Bits For AMD Barcelo

        Early work is underway on Coreboot for AMD’s Barcelo as the successor to Lucienne.

        Merged on Saturday were the first bits of new code referencing AMD’s Barcelo landing in Coreboot. The Barcelo code so far is building off the existing Cezanne Coreboot code while the bits added this weekend were for a new GPU PCI ID and vBIOS ID remapping. More code is needed moving forward but this shows they are already working towards Barcelo bring-up for Coreboot with these initial baby steps.

      • Linux 5.15 To Bring More Scalable + Reliable Open vSwitch – Phoronix

        Linux 5.15 later this year will bring improvements to the kernel side of Open vSwitch, the open-source virtual multi-layer switch implementation that is commonly used in large virtualized environments.

        Red Hat’s work on per-CPU upcall dispatch handling for the Open vSwitch kernel code has made it into net-next this week, thereby effectively making it among the material now waiting around for the Linux 5.15 cycle.

      • Linux 5.0 shown to boot on ESP32 processor – CNX Software

        ESP32 IoT processor supports up to 8MB PSRAM which makes it just enough to run a minimal version of Linux. There’s little practical application for it, but it may be fun to try, and one developer apparently managed to boot Linux 5.0.0 on a board with an ESP32 dual-core Xtensa processor connected to 8MB PSRAM and a 2MB SPI flash.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Squeezing More Performance Out Of Intel Tiger Lake Xe Graphics By Using Mesa Git – Phoronix

          For OpenGL games the performance benefits to Mesa Git tended to be smaller than with the Vulkan tests. More benchmark results here. But in any event during the OpenGL and Vulkan testing I haven’t run into any issues or regressions when using the current Mesa Git, thanks to Intel’s very reliable QA/CI these days around their open-source graphics driver stack. Moving to this latest Mesa code for some Tiger Lake Xe Graphics benefits is easily achievable on Ubuntu systems by way of the Oibaf PPA. As it pertains to the Xe Graphics performance. at this stage there wasn’t any clear benefit from moving past the Linux 5.11 kernel as shipped by Ubuntu 21.04.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Install Nginx PageSpeed Module on Ubuntu 20.04

        The Google PageSpeed module, also known as mod_PageSpeed, is an open-source Apache HTTP or Nginx server-level package with modules that helps optimize your site using various filters to pages that optimize server stylesheets, JavaScript, and HTML files and images through caching and rewriting among the top features.

        You will learn how to install and do a basic setup with Nginx PageSpeed on a Ubuntu 20.04 server in our guide.

      • 5 Simple Bash History Tricks Every Linux User Should Know

        Whether you are a bash beginner or expert, you cannot go on working in the command line without using the super useful bash history feature.

        You probably are already aware that if you use the up or down arrow keys in Linux terminal, you can go through the commands you had run earlier.

      • Kushal Das: A few bytes of curl

        curl is most probably the highest used software in the world. I generally use it daily (directly) in the various scripts at the SecureDrop, starting from inside of Dockerfiles, to Ansible roles or in CI. I never read much about various options available other than a few very basic ones. So I decided to look more into the available options. Here are a few interesting points from that reading:

      • How To Install Asterisk on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Asterisk on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Asterisk is a free and open-source framework for building communications applications and is sponsored by Sangoma. Asterisk powers IP PBX systems, VoIP gateways, and conference servers to create VoIP systems. It comes with various features that will VoIP communication possible and as desired.

        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 Asterisk on AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for Rocky Linux.

      • [Old] How to Type in Indian Languages on Ubuntu Linux

        I’m sure that there are a lot of different languages worldwide. But, did you know that India has 22 major languages?

        Almost all the Linux distros provide support for Indian languages/keyboard layout — but typing is where the issue arises.

      • How to install VirtualBox Guest Additions for an Ubuntu Virtual Machine

        VirtualBox Guest Additions are important in VirtualBox because they provide excellent graphics acceleration, as well as other useful features such as shared folder support, better graphics support, and others things too.

        If you plan to use Ubuntu in a VirtualBox virtual machine, you’ll need to install these guest additions. In this guide, we’ll go over exactly how to do that.

        Note: Although this guide focuses on an Ubuntu VM, the installation instructions should also work on any guest Linux operating system in VirtualBox. However, the Linux header installation instructions will differ.

      • What Exactly Does tar xvf Do? – Linux Hint

        Linux is known for its broad functionality and the hands-on approach it offers its users. This same functionality comes into play when you want to create Archives on Linux, compressed files. Tar commands, short for tape archive, let you create, extract, and maintain Archived files. This article will mainly be looking at the tar xvf command, its purpose, usage, and everything else you need to know.

      • PipeWire Audio Server on openSUSE Tumbleweed

        Linux audio has been considered a sore-spot with some audiophiles. Personally, I have been very happy with Linux Audio since about 2009 or 2010 or so and enjoyed its continual improvements as the project has matured. The high point for PulseAudio has been the intuitive, input / output switching. The downside has been the latency (which I happen to think has been an inflated claim) and the lack of granularity control on sound sources. Jack Audio has been the audio system for professional users with the benefit of lower latency and more granular control. In general, PulseAudio was the “consumer grade” solution with Jack Audio for the pros and require pro-level knowledge.

        The promised solution for Linux has been PipeWire which combines the benefits of both. With some distributions just now starting to include it, some by default, others as an option, I thought it was time to see how it would work on my EliteBook running openSUSE Tumbleweed. The impetus for this decision is, all of a sudden, my Bluetooth headphones started to have terrible quality and I figured, I have nothing to lose here. I can always just roll back my installation if I totally break it.

      • Nikto web scanner for gathering Website information Guide 2021

        Nikto is one of the most popular web server scanners designed to fingerprint and test web servers for a variety of possible weaknesses including potentially dangerous files and out-of-date versions of applications and libraries. It is written in the Perl language.
        Nikto is an Open Source (GPL) web server scanner which performs comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items, including over 6700 potentially dangerous files/programs, checks for outdated versions of over 1250 servers, and version specific problems on over 270 servers. It also checks for server configuration items such as the presence of multiple index files, HTTP server options, and will attempt to identify installed web servers and software. Scan items and plugins are frequently updated and can be automatically updated.

      • Rainbow Tables Attack (Cryptanalysis attack) and winrtgen Complete Guide

        The Rainbow tables attack is one of the most favorite attacks for hackers to crack password easily. But getting a rainbow table on the internet as per your requirements is no easy task. In this article, one more interesting topic will cover (how to use winrtgen to generate a rainbow table)

        You have read two articles on cracking passwords 1. Cain and Abel software for cracking hashes tutorial 2. Dictionary attack For Cracking passwords using Cain and Abel and 3. Brute Force Attack for Cracking Passwords using Cain and Abel

        In this article, I am going to tell you about another attack for cracking passwords called Rainbow tables attack and some time Cryptanalysis attack. before performing attack we need to create rainbow tables help of winrtgen.

    • Games

      • First, let me say welcome to the Resistance, Captain.e

        Last year we added support for games from the Ultima series including Ultima 8. Starting from the Ultima 8 engine, Origin Systems also created two other games in a quite different style: Crusader: No Remorse and Crusader: No Regret.

        We are happy to announce the first of these (Crusader: No Remorse) is now ready for testing in ScummVM. If you have a copy of this game and are ready to take on the World Economic Consortium, grab the latest daily build of ScummVM. If you see any issues, please file them in the issue tracker.

      • About Godot4, Vulkan, GLES3 and GLES2

        As the alpha of Godot 4.0 comes closer and closer, we wanted to spend some words to clarify the direction that Godot 4 has taken in regard of rendering back-ends.


        Support will definitely be implemented by the time 4.1 is out, hopefully some months later. One of our main goals for the 4.x releases it to provide them in a timely manner, so you will not have to wait a whole year for it. That said, given 4.0 has so much new code (the engine was rewritten significantly), it will also require a large amount of time dedicated to bug-fixing and stabilization even after stable.

      • Why the Steam Deck won’t flop like Valve’s Steam Machines

        You’re not having deja vu. Six years after launching a line of Linux game consoles that went down as one of the biggest tech flops of the past decade, Valve is trying once again. Only this time, its Steam Machine dreams and unusual touchpads have been rolled into a 7-inch handheld PC that looks and works like a Nintendo Switch.

        It’s called the Steam Deck, and you can read all about its specs, extensive controls and TV docking station right here.

        I’m not deluding myself into thinking it’s a Switch-killer. (Even if the Steam Deck’s $399 starting price might seem close to Nintendo’s $350 Switch with OLED screen, you’re not getting Mario, Zelda and Metroid on a Steam Deck.) But having watched Valve closely over the past nine years, I don’t believe it will flop like the Steam Machines either.

        Here are six reasons why this isn’t Steam Machines all over again — and, a few brand-new reasons to be skeptical.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • VirtualBox guest additions in FreeBSD

          I just wrote about a simple and straightforward way to bring KDE Plasma Desktop to a VirtualBox guest with FreeBSD. After a bunch of package installations and a bit of system-configuration tweaking – it can be condensed into two commands if you like – there’s a running KDE Plasma Desktop. This post examines some subsequent tweaks.

        • Phase-1 GSoC-Krita

          I have received the Phase 1 evaluation from the mentors . For the Phase 1 I planned to implement two new features in the Reference Image Tool. Most of the work for them with updating the transformation for Pinned Reference Images Layer and the Crop in Reference Image is complete .

        • GSoC’21 Week 5 and 6: Programming Maze

          This activity teaches to program Tux to find the fish using simple instructions like move forward, turn left or turn right, it is created by Aman Kumar Gupta.

        • Latte Dock v0.10 | Second Beta Release

          Let’s welcome Latte Dock v0.9.98 the Second Beta of v0.10.x branch!

          A new beta was needed because some core parts were updated such as Last Active Window implementation (L.A.W.) . LAW is responsible to track windows per panel/dock level and provide these information to latte centric applets such as appmenu, title, buttons etc. Through LAW, Latte is possible to provide information for windows on inactive VDs/Activities/Screens. By reimplementing some of its parts the multi-screen users that use appmenus/titles/buttons applets in different screens should now get one of the best experiences. You can check how this fix was tracked down from: https://github.com/psifidotos/applet-window-appmenu/issues/172

        • KDE DEVLOG: Fixing Plasma Corners
    • Distributions

      • Top 5 Best Linux Distributions that Looks Like MacOS

        Want to use Linux but want to feel like using Mac at the same time? You can surely try out these Linux distributions. These are the ultimate distributions you can go with that look just like Mac. With this, you will get the same feeling like you are using Mac. Along with the looks, we have also kept in mind the features and most importantly, your privacy. We know Mac users love privacy. Hence, our first pick is the best Linux OS for privacy. You can surely try out any of these OS. You will surely feel like you are using your Macbook.

        Here are our top 5 choices of Linux desktop distros, which give a little look like macOS. The below list has numbers to count only, they don’t denote any order or priority.

      • New Releases

        • LE 9.2 fix #2 for widevine

          Today we are releasing a LibreELEC update for the 9.2 branch to primarily fix Widevine, its that piece of software that allows playback of Netflix, Amazon Prime and other paid video services.

          The new version of widevine (4.10.2252.0 or newer) is mandatory to keep it working after the streaming services finally switched to the new version.
          With that new version (that is taken from ChromeOS) all ARM devices need additional libraries to make it work again.

      • BSD

        • dhcpleased(8) and resolvd(8) enabled in base, replacing dhclient(8)

          We are moving from a model where dhclient on 1 interface believes it is MASTER of /etc/resolv.conf and a bunch of system aspects, and the userbase is familiar with a pile of hacky control knobs in dhclient.conf.

          Towards a model where multiple interfaces + unwind can advertise their DNS resolution abilities to resolvd, which then sorts the offers and maintains a configuration.

          dhclient will remain available for people who want that old model, but I suspect they will encounter increasing difficulty sticking to it.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • Debian Family

        • Debian 11.0 “Bullseye” Is Very Close To Release – Now Under A Full Freeze

          Following the soft freeze and hard freeze, Debian 11 “Bullseye” is now under a full freeze ahead of its official Debian 11 stable release.

          The full freeze marks the period shortly before the actual release. Packages wanting to get into Bullseye now need a manual review by the release team to proceed.

        • Debian bullseye fully frozen
          We have just reached the next milestone in the bullseye release: full
          freeze. From now on, each and every package that needs to migrate from
          unstable to testing needs to be manually unblocked by the Release
          Please only request unblocks for changes that we really need in
          bullseye and double check our freeze policy [1] and FAQ [2] for what
          we mean by that. If you request an unblock, please use `reportbug` to
          get the tags right, we heavily rely on them in our workflows.
          If there's any issue that our users should know when upgrading, please
          don't forget to file a bug against the release-notes pseudo package if
          it's not yet included [3].
          On behalf of the Release Team,
        • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, June 2021

          Like each month, have a look at the work funded by Freexian’s Debian LTS offering.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 10 Open-source free Self-hosted Document Search Engines

        When you’re using a search engine to find the closest coffee shop, you’re probably not thinking about the technology behind it all. But later, you might wonder how did that search engine do that?

        How did it sort through the entire internet so quickly and choose the result you saw on the page?

        Each search engine uses its software program, but they all work similarly.

        They all perform three basic tasks. First, they examine the content they learn about and have permission to see; that’s called crawling. Second, they categorize each piece of content; that’s called indexing. And, third, they decide which content is most useful to the searchers; that’s called ranking.

        Document search engines are useful for a large volume of the dataset. Because it is hard to get any useful information from that volume of the dataset, it’s necessary to come up with a solution that can help the business needs in the short term as well as the long term.

      • Open Source services that respect the user’s data privacy – librem.one – Mail Chat Social VPN

        so it seeeems like these service are aimed at selling and be used mostly by app with the pretty expensive Librem 5 phone.

        it is kind of unclear how to proceed “in browser” from that login screen X-D

      • 17 open source technologists share their work-from-home uniforms | Opensource.com

        As the world turns and some folks begin returning to the office, I feel it’s a good time to ask our community of open source techies: What’s your work-from-home (WFH) uniform?

        Do you dress like you would if you were going into the office? Or are you more comfortable in workout clothes or even your PJs? Do you have a template you stick to most days?

        I have a format that helps me feel both productive and comfortable, and if I need to run an errand in public, I don’t have to change first: A clean, nice-fitting shirt (T-shirts are OK) on top of comfortable pants (yoga is OK but not pajama). I’ve leaned into my stash of T-shirts from fun conferences I’ve attended with people I miss seeing and locales in my home state that make me proud.

        Some Opensource.com friends and contributors weigh in on their work-from-home uniforms below. What’s yours?

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • The Talospace Project: Firefox 90 on POWER (and a JIT progress report)

            Firefox 90 is out, offering expanded and improved software WebRender (not really a problem if you’ve got a supported GPU as most of us in OpenPOWER land do, though), an enhanced SmartBlock which ups the arms race with Facebook, and private fields and methods in JavaScript among other platform updates. FTP is now officially and completely gone (and really should be part of registerProtocolHandler as Gopher is), but at least you can still use compact layout for tabs.

            Unfortunately, a promising OpenPOWER-specific update for Fx90 bombed. Ordinarily I would have noticed this with my periodic smoke-test builds but I’ve been trying to continue work on the JavaScript JIT in my not-so-copious spare time (more on that in a moment), so I didn’t notice this until I built Fx90 and no TLS connection would work (they all abort with SSL_ERROR_BAD_SERVER). I discussed this with Dan Horák and the official Fedora build of Firefox seemed to work just fine, including when I did a local fedpkg build. After a few test builds over the last several days I determined the difference was that the Fedora Firefox package is built with –use-system-nss to use the NSS included with Fedora, so it wasn’t using whatever was included with Firefox.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • pgAdmin 4 v5.5 Released

          The pgAdmin Development Team are pleased to announce pgAdmin 4 version 5.5. This release of pgAdmin 4 includes 18 bug fixes and new features. For more details please see the release notes.

          pgAdmin is the leading Open Source graphical management tool for PostgreSQL. For more information, please see the website.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Week #6 – GSoC Weekly Report – 100 Paper Cuts

          I wanted to add diagonal borders to the table toolbar > borders but realized that LO doesn’t have diagonal left and diagonal right borders under ./icon-themes/*/svx/res/*. Then on the LibreOffice Design EN telegram channel, I said that these icons are necessary for tdf#51665. Designers wanted me to open a new report dedicated for the icons, so that Rizal Muttaqin(huge thanks for the icons) could draw them. Diagonal border icons will be added for all themes soon.

      • Programming/Development

        • JavaScript, GitHub, AWS crowned winners in massive survey of 32,000 developers [Ed: Microsoft Tim on survey that limits itself to Microsoft serfs (GitHub) and proprietary software embracers]

          A survey of nearly 32,000 developers has confirmed the dominance of JavaScript, showing a remarkable 91 per cent using GitHub, and growth in use of AWS despite the efforts of Microsoft and Google.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Master Programming

          A quick search of the internet reveals a plethora of tutorials for programmers. No one has time to read even a minuscule fraction of the available material.

          What you need is a curated list of tutorials. Better than that. A curated list of the finest free tutorials. Free and open source tutorials still have a cost — your precious time. And just because a tutorial is free/open source doesn’t, itself, signify any great quality to the work. Hence the need for recommendations for free tutorials to help you learn C, C++, Java, Python, R, or whatever language takes your fancy.

          The tutorials we recommend will help increase your technical skills and make you proficient in the language of your choice. And some of them even provide a little light relief on the way. Humor can be a great aid to learning.

          If you need more in-depth information, we recommend you check out our series on the best free programming books. They offer a deeper foundation in learning the relevant programming languages. Many of the books we recommend offer a solid foundation in learning the relevant programming language. Some are very specialist, some offer a quick overview.

        • Perl/Raku

  • Leftovers

    • Walking Around Blind Without a Cane
    • Turning Point USA Struggles to Bar White Nationalists From Student Summit
    • Opinion | Good Trouble: We Have Come Too Far and Fought Too Hard. On Our Watch the Clock Will Not Be Turned Back
    • Is Cinema Dead Again?

      Any history of cine-death would have to begin in 1895, when Louis Lumière purportedly called the cinematograph “an invention without a future.”

      Thirty years later, critics like René Clair, Rudolf Arnheim, and Béla Balázs worried that technological advances would precipitate cinema’s demise. In their view, the advent of sound and color would make the movies too much like real life. How would spectators fall into a dream-like trance if the images were realistic?

    • How I clean my home as an eco-friendly minimalist | Hund

      I use something rather old school; green soap. It’s a pine oil based soap that’s all natural, environmentally safe, non-toxic and it has been around in the Swedish homes for more than 125 years now.

      Pine oil is a by-product of the pulp and paper industry. It can be used to clean everything in your home, it’s cheap and widely available in all local stores. It can’t get any better than that.

      You shouldn’t get fooled by all the expensive (and often exclusive and hard to get) hip “eco-friendly” products that’s designed for just one specific part of your home. It just hurts your wallet and most importantly; it hurts the planet with unnecessary waste if you have to buy a dozen of different products to clean your home.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Fauci: US might ‘still have polio’ if media back then opposed vaccine

        Fauci was responding to a CNN interviewer who asked if he thought “we could have defeated the measles or eradicated polio if you had Fox News, night after night, warning people about these vaccine issues that are just bunk.”

        Fauci said: “We probably would still have smallpox and we probably would still have polio … if we had the kind of false information that’s being spread.”

      • The surgeon general wants Facebook to do more to stop Covid-19 lies

        US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says that misinformation — much of it on tech platforms — is a public health threat that has cost people’s lives and prolonged the Covid-19 pandemic.

        As Murthy said in a Thursday press conference, health advisories are usually about things people physically consume: food, drinks, cigarettes. But the first advisory of his tenure in the Biden administration (he was also the surgeon general under President Obama) is about what we consume with our eyes and ears: misinformation.

        The advisory comes with a set of guidelines on how to “build a healthy information environment,” with recommendations for everyone from social media users up to the platforms themselves (also: health workers, researchers, and the media). Murthy also went on some of those very platforms to spread the message, including Twitter and Facebook.

      • Biden grappling with ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’

        Cases of COVID-19 have tripled over the past three weeks, and hospitalizations and deaths are rising among unvaccinated people. While the rates are still sharply down from their January highs, officials are concerned by the reversing trendlines and what they consider needless illness and death. And cases are expected to continue to rise in coming weeks.

        While the national emergency may have faded, officials say the outbreak is now a more localized crisis in communities where not enough people have rolled up their sleeves.

        “Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated,” Biden said Friday, echoing comments made earlier in the day by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Is Open-Source Software Secure?

            Being someone who prefers Linux for desktop and encourages using open-source software, you may expect the answer to the question raised in the headline with a big “Yes“.

            But I am not going to limit discussing the benefits of open-source software. Let us explore more!

            Here, I plan to share my thoughts on if open-source software is secure and what are the things involved in it that make secure or insecure.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Killing Castro

        Five or six assassination plots is a sobering number, especially if you happen to be the intended target of these “executive actions.” But even here Colby was dissembling. He certainly had the opportunity to consult a secret 1967 report on the plots against Castro by the CIA’s Inspector General John S. Earman, and approved by Richard Helms. The CIA had in fact hatched attempts on the Cuban leader even prior to the revolution. One of the first occurred in 1958, when Eutimio Rojas, a member of the Cuban guerrillas, was hired to kill Castro as he slept at a camp in the Sierra Maestra. To read this article, log in or or Subscribe. In order to read CP+ articles, your web browser must be set to accept cookies.

      • As US Troops Withdraw, Afghans Needs Reparations Instead of More Drones
      • Former Trump official: GOP now a bigger national security threat than “ISIS, al Qaeda and Russia”

        On Thursday, a Trump administration official called the Republican Party the nation’s “No. 1 national security threat,” suggesting that the party surpasses that of ISIS, al Qaeda and Russia.

        “I’ve spent my whole career not as a political operative. I’ve never worked on a campaign in my life other than campaigning against Trump. I’m a national security guy,” said former DHS official Miles Taylor in a Thursday interview on MSNBC. “I’ve worked in national security against ISIS, al Qaeda and Russia.”

        He added: “And the No. 1 national security threat I’ve ever seen in my life to this country’s democracy is the party that I’m in: the Republican Party. It is the No. 1 national security threat to the United States of America.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Anthony Bourdain’s AI-Faked Voice in New Documentary Sparks Backlash

        In the documentary, editors Eileen Meyer and Aaron Wickenden weave in narration by Bourdain pulled from audio clips, show outtakes, video interviews and audiobooks. However, when asked how he obtained some quotes from Bourdain in a new article in the New Yorker, Neville tells writer Helen Rosner that he used artificial intelligence to create three quotes with Bourdain’s voice. “I created an AI model of his voice,” Neville says. He goes on to say, “If you watch the film, other than that line you mentioned, you probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the AI, and you’re not going to know.”

    • Environment

      • Oregon’s Growing Bootleg Fire is One of 70 Now Raging in US West, Where Another Heatwave Looms

        Bolstering the case for meaningful action to address the climate emergency, the out-of-control Bootleg Fire that began on July 6 in southern Oregon has scorched more than 280,000 acres and is only 22% contained. It is the nation’s largest wildfire so far this year, and one of 70 large blazes currently torching the U.S. West, which is bracing for yet another heatwave.

        To put Bootleg’s destructiveness into perspective, the fire—one of 10 burning in Oregon alone—has spread over 25,000 acres per day on average, or more than 1,000 acres every hour. According to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller, “That’s an area larger than the area of Central Park each hour, or a rate of a football field burned every five seconds” for 11 days.

      • Companies Must Disclose—and Face—Mounting Climate Risks

        Mindy Lubber, the CEO of Ceres, a nonprofit known for galvanizing the investment community around climate change risk, chuckled to remember how puzzled many attendees were at her organization’s first summit on the subject in 2003 at the United Nations.

      • Manchin Wants to Invest More Taxpayer Money in Propping Up Fossil Fuel Industry
      • Energy

        • California Oil Lobby Seeks to Strip Environmental Protections for Groundwater Amid Drought

          By Aaron Cantu. This story originally appeared in Capitol and Main and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

          A prominent oil and gas lobbying group seeks to strip environmental protections from groundwater sources designated by the state for agricultural use and which may grow increasingly important to California’s water-scarce future, according to a memo obtained through a records request.

          Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • Far more adults don’t want children than previously though

          National fertility data provided by the U.S. Census and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lump together all adults who aren’t parents, making it difficult to understand how many people identify as child-free.

          As social scientists, we think it’s important to distinguish child-free individuals from those who are childless or not yet parents. People who are child-free make the conscious decision not to have kids. They’re distinct from childless individuals – adults who want children but can’t have them – and from people who plan to have children in the future.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • To Honor John Lewis, Progressives Say, ‘End the Filibuster’ and Pass Voting Rights Legislation

        On the one-year anniversary of his death, progressives on Saturday made the case that the best way to honor the legacy of former Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, who risked his life to contribute to the struggle for Black Americans’ right to vote and live with dignity, is to repeal the Senate filibuster and pass bills aimed at strengthening U.S. democracy.

        “Remembering and celebrating John Lewis today is important,” said Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.). “Abolishing the filibuster to secure the right to vote for everyone is how we must protect his legacy.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Black Feminist “Back Talk” Anchors Resistance on Both Sides of the Atlantic
      • Eliminating the Hyde Amendment Would Be a Big Win for Abortion Care in the South
      • Iran protests: One killed in water crisis demonstration

        Iran is facing a severe drought, and there is growing public anger over water and power shortages.

      • What we’ve learned about Britney Spears’s conservatorship case changes everything

        There’s been a trilogy of revelations in the Britney Spears saga over the past few weeks. A June 22 article in the New York Times revealed damning new evidence of how controlling the conservatorship has been, and showed that Spears has been actively trying to get out of it since 2014. A July 3 article in the New Yorker painted a picture of Jamie Spears as an emotional abuser obsessed with the control he has over his daughter’s life, with Britney a hapless victim forced to play out spy-movie-style heists just to gain access to an unmonitored cellphone from time to time.

        Most explosively, on June 23, Britney Spears spoke before the court in public for the first time. Spears made shocking claims about her conservatorship: She has an IUD she’s not allowed to take out, she said; she’s been put on lithium against her will; she’s been forced to perform against her will.

        She made it very clear, once and for all, that she is not happy living in her conservatorship.

      • Historical Racism Is Not the Singular Cause of Racial Disparity

        In summary, whites fled the urban centers to settle in suburban areas and were followed by capital. Blacks were left trapped in the projects and consigned to subpar public housing in industrial areas without public transport or widely available low-skill jobs after the decline of the manufacturing sector. The concentration of poverty and the loss of investment led to a swell of social pathologies—addiction, violence, trauma, single parenthood, undereducation—that compounded with time and which neither the welfare system nor the criminal justice system were equipped to fix. The civil rights movement and its pivotal legislative victories were effectively too little too late. The condition of poor blacks is precisely what we should expect based on our history, it is argued. As Coates puts it, “It is as though we have run up a credit card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • California legislature approves ‘historic’ broadband [Internet] bill

        Under the plan, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will “identify priority statewide open-access middle-mile broadband network locations, including areas that can be built expeditiously, areas with no known middle-mile network access, regions underserved by middle-mile networks, and regions without sufficient capacity to meet future middle-mile needs,” according to the text of the legislation.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Stinging Oral Arguments from Chief Judge Moore [Ed: Moore as CAFC chief; I liked Sharon Prost more]

          Chief Judge Moore does not mince words — especially when she senses that a party is attempting to mislead her as to the record. I transcribed the following from recent oral arguments in Shure Incorporated v. ClearOne, Inc. This is a discussion between Chief Judge Moore and ClearOne’s attorney Christina V. Rayburn — discussing whether Shure’s briefing was frivolous.

        • Court of Appeal grapples with US v UK confidentiality in Autostore v Ocado without prejudice discussions [Ed: Team UPC's litigation fanatic Annsley Merelle Ward on breach of confidentiality; how many lawyers even use encryption at all? Almost none.]

          Last week the Court of Appeal upheld a decision of His Honour Judge Hacon in Autostore v Ocado [2021] EWCA Civ 1003 where he refused an injunction to stop the use of materials in the US by AutoStores where Ocado contended that such use was in breach of confidentiality as part of confdiential and without prejudice discussions. Over to Brussels-based trainee patent attorney, Henry Yang, provides a summary for readers below.


          “AutoStore and Ocado were in a multi-jurisdictional patent dispute including the UK and the US. Their English solicitors were negotiating settlement. Before the third settlement negotiation meeting AutoStore’s solicitor sent a document (‘the Document’) as advance materials. During the opening remarks of this meeting, Ocado’s solicitor stated that ‘this meeting was a continuation of the confidential and without prejudice discussions between Ocado and AutoStore and that any US law discussions were to be governed by rule 408 of the [US Federal] rules of evidence [FRE 408].

          Ocado later discovered that AutoStore intended to use in the US the Document as evidence, and applied to the English court for an injunction restraining AutoStore from doing so, based amongst others on the opening remarks. AutoStore responded that the confidential and without privilege character did not apply to the US proceeding. In the High Court, HHJ Hacon ultimately refused the injunction: [2021] EWHC 1614 . Ocado appealed.

        • TrippBio receives Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent Office for Therapeutic Treatment of COVID-19 Infections [Ed: More patents on -- or related to -- COVID-10 basically mean more monopolies rather than actual solutions]

          TrippBio, Inc. (TrippBio), a clinical development-stage company developing antiviral treatments with an initial focus on COVID-19, today announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a Notice of Allowance for patent application No. 16/875,487, and the European Patent Office (EPO) has issued a favorable opinion in a counterpart European application. The claims of the allowed US application titled “Methods of Using Probenecid for Treatment of Coronavirus Infections”, assigned to the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. and exclusively licensed to TrippBio, are directed to the use of probenecid to treat patients infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19. The resulting patent will provide protection into at least 2040.

        • District court filings H1 2021: top patentees, defendants and firms [Ed: The crooked court that operates like it is a private for-profit corporation rather than a place of law]

          The Western District of Texas is on track for 1,000 cases, Cedar Lane Technologies is the most litigious entity and Samsung is the most sued firm so far

        • FOSS Patents: Apple could PROFITABLY leave the UK market, would still sell millions of iPhones to UK resellers and make British patent judges look very bad (to say the least)

          Today’s my International Trade Day. The previous post discussed the Munich I Regional Court’s anti-antisuit injunction in IP Bridge v. Huawei and mentioned a European Commission request for information from China at the WTO level, though in my opinion China would have far more valid reasons to question the European (meaning both the EU’s and the UK’s) case law relating to standard-essential patent (SEP) enforcement.

          As I’ve said many times, including in a presentation at a European Commission webinar, the current proliferation of antisuit (and anti-antisuit) injunctions is merely a consequence of other forms of extraterritorial SEP rulings: judgments that force implementers to either take a global portfolio license (regardless of whether a single infringement of a valid SEP from that portfolio was identified elsewhere) or be subjected to a sales ban in that jurisdiction. The culprits in that respect are the courts in the UK and Germany. They started it, and the courts in jurisdictions like the U.S. and China, which have the authority to order antisuit injunctions, should absolutely defend their jurisdiction over national patents by barring SEP holders from forcing implementers into global licenses only because they won a single SEP case in some European country. Ideally, no one would engage in any kind of overreach. I suggested this much in my presentation.

      • Copyrights

[Meme] European Patent Mill

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Skinner Out Of Touch: Maybe if we issue more patents... Patent applications run out
Maybe recruit examiners from diploma mills, too

Summary: EPO patent quality is going down the drain; it is not a sustainable strategy, but EPO management already drove out many who could do the job and isn’t able to recruit replacements anymore (with skills parity)

EPO is in Trouble, It’s Just Covering That Up

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 08ed2df3cc95abd9df4c28703b192cfc

Summary: The EPO crisis boils down to disregard for the Rule of Law (an abuse for which Europe will pay) and inability to recruit — or merely keep/retain — properly trained examiners who can weed out invalid and ruinous patents

THE EPO has gone through a number of major events lately. António Campinos is likely exploiting that to bury bad news and scandals; that’s what Benoît Battistelli did for sure — it’s their media strategy!

“The future of the EPO is uncertain not because of a “gap” but because of corruption and an attack on staff, i.e. a systematic assault on people who actually do all the work at the EPO.”The above video goes through some of July’s developments and explains why the EPO’s recruitment is doomed; they’ll never manage to recruit the necessary staff anymore. People who are good at research, such as prospective patent examiners, would quickly realise that nobody really wants to work for the EPO; even existing staff members are unhappy, though some feel they’re unable to leave (career change is hard after working in this kind of job).

The future of the EPO is uncertain not because of a "gap" but because of corruption and an attack on staff, i.e. a systematic assault on people who actually do all the work at the EPO.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 17, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:29 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 QmQ6rsviiT9X9KpP9iTkzQgjbvXzyc2MZyR3Veon7DYzcF IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmVsGVTyd3XUPUZW6yjHTDFG52Dswof21YX6HJqvcu5YnK IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmXdYs3196z2XBAdC2Cq7vp2cCsTpy4iEHxMRpTDpPLiQV IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmTuED12fEXKBoEAzvgkoWSCVhFwUp9r8TgwYFKYQtKYGf IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmbjuE6ZvzSNYTJrbjXXmN2i4ArrMiFkMX4e1vxno6EKFY IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmWssGqgCMAgESXqrejA8HLh15BzA8GNfdcNUWZfBMDvQo IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmaUga1uxfUXXPBVzxHaNQ5Sy9GfVnaj5Fz3yUt5f6PVR5 IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmW6mcFkvVPPf9Cwn3DqEeCj2Yh1Kwptbo2RPZ2f3wYooN IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs

IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmRGU5iwsjUHJB4EjXfazgsqgHzHK6412gKq55LburtW48

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts