EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part V – A Man With a Conviction…

Posted in Deception, Europe, Fraud, Patents at 1:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part I – More Captured Delegates?
  2. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part II – Old Wine in New Bottles…
  3. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part III – Introducing the Finnish “Facilitator”
  4. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part IV – Martti Enäjärvi and His “Good Brother” Networks
  5. You are here ☞ A Man With a Conviction…

Martti Enäjärvi in Helsinki District Court
Martti Enäjärvi in Helsinki District Court in October 2011 on charges of credit card fraud.

Summary: Corrupt EPO delegate, an enabler of Benoît Battistelli and associate of António Campinos, in his moments of public shame (and a belated slap on the wrist)

As we saw in the last part, Martti Enäjärvi had a close shave with the Finnish public prosecutor during the early 2000s when he was facing allegations of abuse of office and breach of duty due to suspected misuse of an official car and official funds.

“By the close of the decade Enäjärvi’s fondness for high living at the expense of the tax-payer finally caught up with him.”Not for the first time, he managed to wriggle off the hook and the Finnish tax-payers were left to pick up the tab for his extravagances.

But this wasn’t the end of the story. By the close of the decade Enäjärvi’s fondness for high living at the expense of the tax-payer finally caught up with him.

At the beginning of May 2010, the report of an official government audit of the PRH was published. [PDF]

The audit report noted certain irregularities in the use of an official credit card and the PRH was instructed to take corrective action.

“At that point in time, Enäjärvi was 68 so there was no difficulty in massaging the PR to make it look like a normal retirement.”By mid-August 2010, Finnish media was reporting that a new director of the PRH had been appointed and that “The current Director General of the Office, Martti Enäjärvi, will retire”.

At that point in time, Enäjärvi was 68 so there was no difficulty in massaging the PR to make it look like a normal retirement.

The real story behind Enäjärvi’s “retirement” only started to emerge the following year when reports appeared in the Finnish press in March 2011 stating that the former Director-General of the PRH was under suspicion of financial fraud. [PDF]

“The total amount involved was reported to be of the order of € 50,000.”Some months later on 26 October 2011, Enäjärvi appeared in the dock at the District Court of Helsinki [PDF] facing charges of repeated misuse of his official credit card over a period of five years between 2005 and 2010. The total amount involved was reported to be of the order of € 50,000.

It was also reported in the Finnish media, that the preliminary investigation showed that many of the cash withdrawals [PDF] had been from ATMs on Kaisaniemenkatu and Mikonkatu, which are streets in the vicinity of the Helsinki Grand Casino.

Helsinki Grand Casino
Many of Enäjärvi’s cash withdrawals took place in close proximity to the Helsinki Grand Casino.

The authorising officer at the PRH, Eero Mantere, was also put on trial alongside Enäjärvi under suspicion of having aided and abetted the Director-General in his irregular use of the credit card.

However, Mantere told the court that since 2006 he had been trying unsuccessfully to limit Enäjärvi’s cash withdrawals. He said that he had issued repeated warnings to Enäjärvi and even lowered his weekly spending limit to € 500 following the abuses.

Enäjärvi’s reaction was to override Mantere’s intervention and restore the spending limit to € 3,000.

Eero Mantere
Eero Mantere was charged as a suspected accomplice of Enäjärvi, but he was ultimately acquitted by the court.

Enäjärvi tried to justify his insatiable thirst for cash on the grounds that he frequently had to travel abroad and thus needed to carry cash for unexpected expenses.

In his statements to the court he explained that there were many trips, more than twenty a year, which were mainly to European countries, in connection with WIPO, EUIPO and EPO matters.

According to the court, there was no reason to carry cash for such trips:

“Given the long experience of Mr Enäjärvi’s official career, it is not plausible that he could have inadvertently overestimated the costs and charges incurred each year by a wide margin.”

On 2 December 2011, the court handed down its judgment in the case: Enäjärvi was convicted [PDF] and Mantere was acquitted. [PDF]

All in all, Enäjärvi got off relatively lightly because he escaped with a fine of € 8,000 (described in the local newspaper reports as a “heavy fine” [PDF]).

The sentence was upheld [PDF] by the appeal court a year later in December 2012.

“And so it was that Martti Enäjärvi’s long career at the top of the Finnish PRH ended with the ignominy of a conviction as a credit-card fraudster.”In March 2013, it was reported that Enjärävi had been denied leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. [PDF]

And so it was that Martti Enäjärvi’s long career at the top of the Finnish PRH ended with the ignominy of a conviction as a credit-card fraudster.

Enäjärvi’s departure from the PRH in August 2010 came shortly after Battistelli’s inauguration as President of EPO on 1 July of the same year.

Enäjärvi didn’t manage to stick around on the EPO’s Administrative Council for long enough to be able to participate in the success of his “good brother” from the French INPI.

“…Enäjärvi appears to have acted as the “facilitator” that helped to open doors for Battistelli in the Baltic region.”However, the available information suggests that he played a significant behind-the scenes role in Battistelli’s election to the top position at the EPO in 2009/2010.

More specifically, Enäjärvi appears to have acted as the “facilitator” that helped to open doors for Battistelli in the Baltic region.

We will examine this little-known chapter of EPO history in more detail in the upcoming parts.

Links 27/8/2021: Alpine 3.14.2 and EndeavourOS ISO

Posted in News Roundup at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Does the Dell XPS 15 come with Linux? Can I install it?

        Most of the best laptops on the market today are based on Windows, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s been the most popular desktop operating system for decades, so everyone is familiar with it. But that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect fit for everyone. Laptops with Linux are rare, but they do exist, and the Dell XPS 13 is one of the few premium laptops available with Ubuntu. But what if you want a bigger display? Can you also run Linux on the Dell XPS 15? Yes you can, but it’s going to take a bit of work.

        With the smaller XPS 13, Dell gives you the option to buy the Developer Edition, which runs Ubuntu out of the box. Unfortunately, you can’t do that with the Dell XPS 15 or 17. You have to buy it with Windows. But the great thing about Linux is it’s free, and for the most part, widely compatible. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can still install it.

    • Server

      • Ravi Gudimetla (Red Hat), Maciej Szulik (Red Hat): Minimum Ready Seconds for StatefulSets

        Prior to Kubernetes 1.22 release, once a StatefulSet Pod is in the Ready state it is considered Available to receive traffic. For some of the StatefulSet workloads, it may not be the case. For example, a workload like Prometheus with multiple instances of Alertmanager, it should be considered Available only when Alertmanager’s state transfer is complete, not when the Pod is in Ready state. Since minReadySeconds adds buffer, the state transfer may be complete before the Pod becomes Available. While this is not a fool proof way of identifying if the state transfer is complete or not, it gives a way to the end user to express their intention of waiting for sometime before the Pod is considered Available and it is ready to serve requests.

        Another case, where minReadySeconds helps is when using LoadBalancer Services with cloud providers. Since minReadySeconds adds latency after a Pod is Ready, it provides buffer time to prevent killing pods in rotation before new pods show up. Imagine a load balancer in unhappy path taking 10-15s to propagate. If you have 2 replicas then, you’d kill the second replica only after the first one is up but in reality, first replica cannot be seen because it is not yet ready to serve requests.

        So, in general, the notion of Availability in StatefulSets is pretty useful and this feature helps in solving the above problems. This is a feature that already exists for Deployments and DaemonSets and we now have them for StatefulSets too to give users consistent workload experience.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Navigating DeGoogling | Self-Hosted 52

        We report back on our DeGoogle challenge and read your top Google Alternative apps and services.

        Plus, a new way to locally capture network cameras, our reaction to Kobol pulling the plug, and more.

      • DOUBLE Your FPS In All Steam Proton Games!?

        You’ve probably heard about AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). BUT did you know it works on EVERY SINGLE Steam Proton game? AND Nvidia GPUs? Here’s what it is, how to use it, and some compelling examples of how awesome FSR can be!

    • Kernel Space

      • Brendan Gregg: Slack’s Secret STDERR Messages
      • AMD Adds 17 PCI IDs to Linux Kernel Driver, Teasing a Possible RDNA 2 Refresh | Tom’s Hardware

        AMD’s Radeon product line-up based on RDNA 2 could get expanded with even more products, that are possibly a refreshed designs for additional performance and efficiency. According to the report coming from Phoronix, AMD has added as many as 17 new PCI IDs to the Linux kernel driver, showing us some hints of refreshing the RDNA 2 GPU line-up soon.

        Today, AMD engineers have submitted the latest round of patches for the AMDGPU Linux kernel DRM driver, which adds as many as 17 additional PCI IDs over the existing plethora of device IDs already present in the driver. While these new IDs show us what GPU codename they correspond to, we are still left to wonder why AMD has decided to do this.

      • AVX2-Optimized SM4 Cipher Implementation Queued Ahead Of Linux 5.15 – Phoronix

        The Linux kernel has already sported SM4 cipher algorithm implementation optimized for AES-NI and AVX while now an Alibaba engineer has contributed an AVX2 optimized variant for even greater performance.

        Tianjia Zhang of Alibaba has submitted and now queued in crypto-next an AES-NI/AVX2 optimized implementation for the SM4 cipher algorithms. The SM4 cipher is backed by China and used for their WLAN WAPI standard and other purposes. Alibaba previously worked on speeding up the SM4 AVX/AES-NI code while now they are providing this alternative implementation for AVX2 with AES-NI.

      • AMD Adds 17 More PCI IDs For RDNA2 GPUs To Their Linux Driver – Phoronix

        On top of all the PCI IDs in place already for the AMDGPU Linux kernel graphics driver, another 17 PCI IDs were added in a new patch for this open-source Radeon graphics driver.

        Seeing 17 more PCI IDs being added to the AMDGPU kernel driver at this stage is a bit surprising given all the other IDs already in place. However, it’s important to keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily mean there are 17 more RDNA2 graphics cards being launched but often times some PCI IDs may be reserved for engineering models, added proactively for possible future but currently unplanned models, and similar cases. Some of these IDs may also be used for AMD’s custom designs for partners.

        The new IDs sent out over night add five more to Sienna Cichlid (0x73A5, 0x73A8, 0x73A9, 0x73AC, and 0x73AD) on top of the 7 Sienna Cichlid PCI IDs already in place.

    • Applications

      • The 8 Best Productivity Apps for Linux

        The computer has become the center of many of our working lives. If you’ve come to adopt Linux as your digital workplace, there’s a good chance you’re using the GNOME desktop interface.

        In recent years a number of handy apps have popped up to help you be more productive at whatever professional or creative task you’re hard at work on. Here are eight options worth taking a look at.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Elasticsearch on Debian 11 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Elasticsearch on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, Elasticsearch is the distributed, RESTful search and analytics engine at the heart of the Elastic Stack. Elasticsearch is well-liked and popular amongst sysadmins and developers as it is a mighty search engine based on the Lucene library. It is generally used as the underlying engine/technology that powers applications with complex search features and requirements.

        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 Elasticsearch on a Debian 11 (Bullseye) server.

      • Everything You Need To Know About Linux /tmp Directory

        The “/tmp” or tmp directory (temporary directory) in Linux is a place where any program stores the necessary files it can use during an executive session. It is one of the most used directories in Linux. Let us say you are writing a document. You are doing that in vscode. The vscode will save a temporary copy of your document in the tmp file and will update it on a regular basis. You can always go there and can restore it if necessary.

        Learning about the tmp directory thoroughly is a must if you want to be an effective Linux user. Knowing how it works, what are the attributes of this directory, etc., is going to enhance your Linux controlling a lot. We shall answer all of the possible questions that can come to your mind. Stay with us to learn.

      • How to Install Latest PHP 8 on Rocky Linux

        According to the W2techs surveys, there is 79% of all websites using PHP as a server-side programming language. On top of that, there are 67% of websites using PHP version 7, after 4 years after its initial release. PHP is one of the most popular server-side programming languages for websites. Some notable web applications are based on PHP like WordPress, Magento E-commerce, Wikipedia, Drupal, etc.

        At this time, the PHP version 8 has been released with additional features and improvements, including named arguments, union types, attributes, constructor property promotion, match expression, nullsafe operator, JIT, and improvements in the type system, error handling, and consistency.

      • How to detect and manage devices on Linux – VITUX

        Many of the Linux beginners coming from Windows know how to manage devices on their Windows systems. But they do not know how to do the same on Linux unfortunately. This is not because Linux is different, rather they are new and unaware of where to find the right help. Here I am going to help you how to detect and manage devices in your Linux system. I will be using Ubuntu 20.04 distribution. All commands are valid for related distribution which uses the apt package manager.

      • Hardening filesystem Centos/RHEL 8 – Unixcop

        Linux has continued used for many years beyond multiple industries and offers customizable and versatile systems. It is, therefore, essential that computers, servers, and even virtual machines that run Linux have specific security measures in place. In addition, because Linux-based operating systems (Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat, etc.) are so different and widely used, it’s essential to establish robust security standards to hold each specific operating system. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) has published benchmarks as standards for securing operating systems, a process known as hardening filesystem.

        Linux is not a secure operating system. These steps can be practiced and be improved. This tutorial aims to explain how to harden Linux as much as possible for security and privacy vulnerabilities. This will show you how to make distribution-agnostic and is not attached to any specific one. Also, try types of filesystem Centos/RHEL 8.

      • Perform a vulnerability scan with Openscap scanner – Unixcop

        RHEL 7 makes it simple to support secure and compliant systems with the openscap scanner. Also, try openssl.

      • Easy way to Install PHP 8.0 on Debian 11 Bullseye Server – Linux Shout

        A quick guide for installing PHP 8.0 on Debian 11, 10, and 9 Servers to install various web applications or CMS based on this server-side scripting language.

        Php 8.0 is the latest stable version of this programming language to use for commercial purposes. It is a server-side language, this means that the language can only perform actions on the server: For example, it can establish connections to a database or delete files on the server. You can easily convert an HTML file into PHP. To do this, you simply have to save the HTML file under .php. You can upload this PHP file to your server and call it up – without the actual PHP code. The output is unchanged.

        PHP is a cross-platform language hence can be executed on all popular operating systems. If you want to use PHP 8.0.x for your web application installed on Debian Linux then here is the tutorial to follow.

      • 15 Docker Commands to Manage Containers [List, Stop, Start, Remove and More]

        In Docker, you either build your own images to run your application as a container, or you can pull and use thousands of public images from the Docker repository and use them in your project. Once your image is ready, you can launch your containers using those images. A container is a running instance of a Docker image.

        Managing Docker containers is one of the most important aspects to look after as a system administrator who manages Docker hosts/containers.

      • Install and Run Citrix Workspace on Linux

        Citrix Workspace app for Linux enables users to access virtual desktops and hosted applications delivered by XenDesktop and XenApp from devices running the Linux operating system. Workspace app for Linux is available in English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese (Brazil), Simplified Chinese, Russian and Italian. It can be used:

        Thin clients with x86 and ARM architecture, repurposed PCs with supported Linux distributions
        Additional performance enhancements can be achieved using the Platform Optimization SDK
        If your distribution allows, install Citrix Workspace app from the Debian package or RPM package. These files are generally easier to use because they automatically install any required packages. If you want to control the installation location, install Citrix Workspace app from the tarball package.

        You can install the Citrix Workspace app by downloading the file from the Citrix website at Downloads. Download the appropriate package using your browser or wget or any other method that suits you and save it in Disk.

      • You Can Now Upgrade to MATE Desktop 1.26 on Ubuntu – OMG! Ubuntu!

        Users of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and 21.04 can now upgrade to the recent MATE desktop 1.26 release through a dedicated PPA.

        The ‘Fresh MATE PPA’ is maintained by Ubuntu MATE developers, and is aimed at existing users of Ubuntu MATE who want to install MATE desktop 1.26 on their systems.

        However, the PPA (and the packages within) are compatible with all Ubuntu flavours, meaning you can add this PPA to install the MATE desktop experience alongside whichever DEs you use at present (just, be careful).

        The PPA provides updated MATE desktop components (including new versions of core apps like Pluma and Caja) for Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS and Ubuntu MATE 21.04 (Ubuntu 20.10 went EOL last month).

      • How to Change Background Wallpaper in Ubuntu

        The simplest way to customize Ubuntu is to change the wallpaper. A good wallpaper changes the looks of the desktop drastically.

        Changing desktop background in Ubuntu is just a matter of a right click. However, I am writing this tutorial to share a few behind-the-scene tips and information which you might miss or never know even after using Ubuntu for years.

      • How to Install and Use Konsole Terminal Emulator in Linux

        The idea of imitating the normal Linux terminal environment through flexible terminal emulators like Konsole confirms several obvious facts. First, the evolution of the Linux terminal environment is still ongoing. Second, this terminal environment has more discoveries to offer to the Linux computing world.

        The emulative prowess of Konsole as a terminal emulator is in its powerful support for customizable terminal features like output monitoring, saved sessions, and schemes. Through detachable tabs, a Linux system user can still interact with multiple terminal sessions from a single terminal window.

      • Bash Redirection Explained With Examples – OSTechNix

        Redirection and piping are two useful features in bash scripting that sysadmins and developers use often. In this guide, we will discuss what is Bash Redirection and how to work with Redirection in Bash with example commands.

        Before understanding how redirection works, it is important to learn what file descriptor is.

      • Install LAMP Stack on Debian 11

        The LAMP Stack is a common set of open-source tools used to host websites and applications on the web. LAMP Stack is a web development platform that uses Linux as an operating system, Apache as a web server, MariaDB/MySQL as a database server, and PHP as a scripting language. It is so widely used and provides a proven set of software for delivering high-performance web applications.

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install the LAMP stack on Debian 11.

      • Level up your Ansible skills while having fun: Sysadmin after dark | Enable Sysadmin

        After a long day at work, sysadmins deserve a little downtime. But even downtime can be an opportunity to practice your sysadmin skills. For example, I created an Ansible playbook to install a classic game to help me relax and clear my mind. You can use my playbook to practice using Ansible, and you can use it as inspiration for writing your own playbooks.

        LBreakoutHD is a simple, fun, and addictive game developed for Linux (thus “L” at the beginning) but now also available for other platforms. LBreakoutHD is an HD remake of LBreakout2, which is itself a remake of the classic Breakout developed in the 1970s.

        The game’s idea is to use a ball to break bricks at the top of the screen using a paddle at the bottom to bounce and redirect the ball. You go up a level after breaking all the bricks, and you lose the game if you let the balls fall below the paddle.

      • Using virtual functions with DPDK on Red Hat OpenShift | Red Hat Developer

        For many years, organizations have optimized their networking hardware by running multiple functions and containers on Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) network devices. The SR-IOV specification assigns a portion of a network interface card (NIC) or another device to a Kubernetes pod, so that you can share the same physical NIC among multiple pods while giving the pods direct access to the network. Organizations also use the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) to accelerate network traffic. This article shows you how to set up SR-IOV and DPDK on Red Hat OpenShift and run virtual functions in that environment.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • 17 KDE Plasma Features That You Didn’t Know About

          KDE Plasma is just packed with features, some of which, even long term plasma users might not know about. I have been using the Plasma desktop for many years now and I am still finding new cool features. Here is a list of 17 cool features of KDE Plasma that you probably didn’t know about.
          In addition to this article, I made a video demonstrating all of these features so if you would like to see examples of any of these then be sure to check out the video below. I also added my personal settings for how I customize these features in my setup if you’d like to see how my workflow is configured. Each tip that I customize will have a note at the bottom for how I customize it, if you don’t see a note then I simply use the default for that feature.

        • Qt Creator 5.0 Released with Experimental Docker Support

          QT Creator 5.0 heralds the switch to Semantic Versioning (SemVer) announced as part of the roadmap for 2021.

          Qt Creator is an open source full-featured Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for C++, QML, and JavaScript applications. It is an all-inclusive, cross-platform IDE that enables users to scale above the code and create UIs, applications, and connected devices.

          For those unfamiliar, Qt is not a programming language on its own. It is a framework written in C++. With Qt, GUIs can be written directly in C++ using its Widgets module.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • elementary OS 6.0 | Review From and openSUSE User

          It has been about a year and a half since I dipped my toes in to the spring fed, constantly fresh, warm waters of elementary OS. The elementary team continues to impress with their incredibly well designed user interface that is clearly going for a very focused target of what it sees as their ideal user. As with the last time I reviewed elementary OS, I am quite certain, I am still not their target user but I highly, wholeheartedly, respect the project in their course of action and project goals. They are clearly focused and continually charging forward in their quest for the perfect user experience.

          I want to give the elementary OS project a lot of credit for their blog posts and release announcements. They do a fantastic job of informing users what is going on. Their latest announcement paints a great picture of version 6.0, called Odin. The quick stats that are important to me, this is running on Linux Kernel 5.11.0, built on top of Ubuntu 20.04. That means, all the great work and tech from the Ubuntu community is at the core of elementary OS.

          Bottom Line Up Front: elementary OS 6.0 is a nicely designed distribution that continually refines their user experience. Their recent addition of a “dark theme” has made using elementary OS a lot more enjoyable for me and makes using it much better than it has historically. The addition of a quick selection for a “highlight color” makes elementary OS a lot more my own than it used to be. From my perspective and personal requirements, elementary OS is hitting a lot of the marks to make it something I could actually use. It doesn’t fit, for me, as well as Plasma does, but maybe it is because I am an old dog, at this point. This is my review as an openly biased openSUSE user that prefers Plasma as my Desktop Environment.

      • New Releases

        • Alpine 3.14.2 released

          The Alpine Linux project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 3.14.2 of its Alpine Linux operating system.

          This release includes fixes for openssl CVE-2021-3711 and CVE-2021-3712.

          The full lists of changes can be found in the git log.

        • EndeavourOS: Our ISO-Next has arrived

          After working so hard on this release, we are proud to present our new release. Proud is an understatement, in this case, the ISO is a significant step for the future of this project, so let me guide you through the changes.

          New mirrors

          Our mirror network is expanding rapidly lately by kind mirror admins who offer their services to us. With this release, we are welcoming two new mirrors, Remi ESSAISSI, a mirror located in France and Jingk a mirror located in Singapore.


          As you might have noticed, we now present a new install with a new default wallpaper, the previous one is now available in the file eos-wallpapers-classic.

          We also have uploaded some new wallpapers in our community wallpapers, including the new wallpapers with our mascot Endy. We like to thank every contribution made by the community members, unfortunately, we couldn’t include all of them, since we weren’t sure if some images were entirely free to use.

          You can download the wallpapers, classic and community, through the Welcome app by clicking the “Download more EndeavourOS wallpapers” button For new users clicking the button, the folders will be installed, for existing users, the folders will then be updated.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2021/34

          Thanks to Richard for taking care of Tumbleweed for us the last few weeks, while I did an electro-detox. Took some effort, but I did actually manage to stay away from all and any computers. But now I’m back, full in swing and helping Tumbleweed to roll at full speed again. Richards last review covered up to Snapshot 0817. Since then, and thus during the one-week time frame, 4 snapshots have been published (0820, 0823, 0824, and 0825).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Building your first Red Hat OpenShift cluster on Verizon 5G Edge

          Red Hat® OpenShift® is an open-source container application platform based on the Kubernetes® container orchestrator that supports an enterprise hybrid cloud. Using Verizon 5G Edge, developers can extend their containerized architecture to the network edge by moving worker nodes to mobile edge computing (MEC) zones while keeping the control plane in the parent region (e.g., the traditional Amazon Web Services® [AWS®] region).

        • Red Hat Patch Proposal To Split FBDEV Core Support – Phoronix

          For nearly the past decade there has been calls for deprecating the Liux kernel’s frame-buffer “FBDEV” device code though the code remains within the kernel. While these days most display drivers are DRM-based even in the embedded world, a lot of FBDEV code still ends up in kernel builds even when just wanting to use DRM’s FBDEV emulation layer. But a patch proposal out of Red Hat would further split-up the FBDEV core support to allow less of it to be built.

          Now that Linux 5.14 is bringing the SimpleDRM code, it’s possible to boot from SimpleDRM to the real DRM driver for the GPU/display device without having to use a legacy FBDEV driver like the EFI frame-buffer or SimpleFB for early console support. Red Hat’s Javier Martinez Canillas is working on the ability to build Fedora’s kernel so that the DRM FBDEV emulation layer is available but that the rest of the FBDEV frame-buffer code and drivers are disabled.

        • Automatically Light Up a Sign When Your Webcam is in Use – Fedora Magazine

          At the beginning of COVID lockdown and multiple people working from home it was obvious there was a need to let others know when I’m in a meeting or on a live webcam. So naturally it took me one year to finally do something about it. Now I’m here to share what I learned along the way. You too can have your very own “do not disturb” sign automatically light up outside your door to tell people not to walk in half-dressed on laundry day.

          At first I was surprised Zoom doesn’t have this kind of feature built in. But then again I might use Teams, Meet, Hangouts, WebEx, Bluejeans, or any number of future video collaboration apps. Wouldn’t it make sense to just use a system-wide watch for active webcams or microphones? Like most problems in life, this one can be helped with the Linux kernel. A simple check of the uvcvideo module will show if a video device is in use. Without using events all that is left is to poll it for changes. I chose to build a taskbar icon for this. I would normally do this with my trusty C++. But I decided to step out of my usual comfort zone and use Python in case someone wanted to port it to other platforms. I

        • IT careers: 3 key skills for remote jobs

          Gone are the days when you could say, “I’m just not a people person,” and rest on solid technical skills to build your IT career. As hiring efforts rebound, there is a greater pool of talent looking to make their mark in the industry.

          But what sets you apart from the competition? Core skills – also known as soft skills – like communication, collaboration, organization, and critical thinking are quickly rising to the top of the list for recruiters in 2021.

          Hard skills are important for sure, and employers should focus on these more than on formal education and pedigree, especially for tech and IT roles. However, core skills are transferable across roles and even industries.

          To stand out from the crowd, in addition to touting and demonstrating your expansive technical skills, it’s important to strengthen the following soft skills ahead of your next interview. It could be the deciding factor when going head-to-head with another candidate with evenly matched technical skills.

      • Debian Family

        • OpenEmbedded Dunfell aarch64 rebuild

          I posted yesterday about an updated OpenEmbedded Dunfell x86_64 build:


          This evening doing the same for aarch64. This is generic aarch64, not optimised for any particular board (such as the RPi) or SoC.

          There are 774 packages, less than for the x86_64 build.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical releases Ubuntu 20.04.3 ISO with latest fixes

          Canonical, the firm behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, has released the third point release of Ubuntu 20.04. This includes all the latest security updates so you don’t have to install them when performing a clean install and it includes the latest hardware enablement stacks to ensure the long-term support release continues to operate on newer hardware that came out since Ubuntu 20.04 launched last year.

        • Kubuntu 20.04.3 LTS Update Available | Kubuntu

          The third point release update to Kubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) is out now. This contains all the bug-fixes added to 20.04 since its first release in April 2020. Users of 20.04 can run the normal update procedure to get these bug-fixes.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Imagination Technologies to design RISC-V cores – CNX Software

          Now better known for its PowerVR embedded GPUs, Imagination Technologies tried to enter the CPU market by purchasing MIPS Technologies and introducing microAptiv, interAptiv, and proAptiv cores in 2012.

          It did not end up well, as the company had to sell its MIPS technology a few years later, and the MIPS architecture is now barely supported. But Imagination is now working on getting back into the CPU space by designing RISC-V cores.

        • Giving Google Glass a run for its money | Arduino Blog

          Google rarely enters the hardware world and when they do, they receive a mixed reception. The smart glasses were very controversial when they first launched, due to privacy and fashion concerns. But the idea was a good one: a wearable computer that gave you a heads-up display (HUD) at all times. Unfortunately, even today’s Google Glass models are very expensive. That’s why this Redditor built their own DIY smart glasses using affordable components.

          The pair looks a lot like a bulkier version of Google Glass and they perform a similar function. The wearer gets a HUD positioned in front of one eye that displays useful information. In this case, the information comes from a separate device via Bluetooth. The software is still in development, but these glasses could theoretically display any information from a connected smartphone, such as navigation or text messages. The screen is monochrome and has a low resolution, but it is enough for basic graphics and text.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Apache News Round-up: week ending 27 August 2021

        Hello, Friday –let’s take a look at the Apache community’s activities from the past week…

      • Programming/Development

        • Calculate date and time ranges in Groovy | Opensource.com

          Every so often, I need to do some calculations related to dates. A few days ago, a colleague asked me to set up a new project definition in our (open source, of course!) project management system. This project is to start on the 1st of August and finish on the 31st of December. The service to be provided is budgeted at 10 hours per week.

        • 21 developers transforming Silicon Valley: these are the people shaking up the tech industry and redefining what it means to be a programmer
        • Rust

          • Learning Rust: Interfacing with C · Martin Pitt

            I had spent the last two rainy days of my summer vacation on learning Rust. Rust is becoming ever-more popular and is even making its way into the Linux kernel – so it feels like something I should know a little about.

            There have been a lot of new languages in the last year, like Kotlin or Go. None of them are particularly attractive to me personally, as their strenghts and “selling points” just don’t apply enough to what I do – so far, that has been covered rather well between C, Python, and JavaScript. But Rust’s central design of “you can’t write unsafe code” is a really convincing argument to start letting go of C code at last.

            In particular, Cockpit has a lot of C code, much of which is very security critical – messing up the webserver or its setuid root session helper can have dire consequences. Both of these look like great candidates for Rust (in some still rather distant future..).

          • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 405
  • Leftovers

    • The madness of strategic desk ornaments

      The metal called Tungsten is “one of the more rare elements”. Tungsten is strategic, and considered by the EU “one of the highest supply risks of all materials on the list”.

      The world has been “running out of tungsten, and you should care”, since at least 2012. China domination “makes tungsten critical” (2020). Eight months ago, the global tungsten market was “in flux on supply chain woes”. Three weeks ago, “rising demand, low supply fueled EU tungsten price rally”.


      With tungsten, instead, the opposite is true. Selling it as a toy really seems to me an absurdity that should not happen. Not in the most polluting way at least. And generally, not in this time of increasing scarcity of raw materials, and all the geopolitical tension and pollution that come with it. “Free markets” are one thing. This seems more “stupid markets”, or more exactly “stupid regulators” to me.

    • Science

      • DIY Bitcoin Private Key Project – Bitcoin Magazine: Bitcoin News, Articles, Charts, and Guides

        You can make these 256 bits of random data any way you want, as long as it’s actually random. If it’s not random, someone might be able to reproduce the data. They would then be able to recreate your private key and could take all of your bitcoin. For example, if you make 256 bits of all zeroes (clearly not random), then someone will be able to guess your private key. Here’s proof: I generated a private key from that terrible all-zeroes randomness and found someone’s existing wallet. If it hadn’t already been emptied, I could have stolen the funds.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (haproxy and libopenmpt), openSUSE (aws-cli, python-boto3, python-botocore,, dbus-1, and qemu), Oracle (rh-postgresql10-postgresql), Red Hat (compat-exiv2-023, compat-exiv2-026, exiv2, libsndfile, microcode_ctl, python27, rh-nodejs12-nodejs and rh-nodejs12-nodejs-nodemon, rh-nodejs14-nodejs and rh-nodejs14-nodejs-nodemon, and rh-python38), Scientific Linux (compat-exiv2-023 and compat-exiv2-026), SUSE (compat-openssl098), and Ubuntu (libssh, openssl, and openssl1.0).

          • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 182 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 182. This version includes the following changes:

            [ Chris Lamb ]

            * Also ignore, for example, spurious “fwGCC: (Debian … )” lines in output

            from strings(1).

            * Only use “java -jar /path/to/apksigner.jar” if we have a .jar as newer

            versions of apksigner use a shell wrapper script which will obviously be

            rejected by the JVM. Also mention in the diff if apksigner is missing.

            * Pass “-f” to apktool to avoid creating a strangely-named subdirectory and

            to simplify code.

            * If we specify a suffix for temporary file or directory, ensure it starts

            with a “_” to make the generated filenames more human-readable.

            * Drop an unused File import.

            * Update the minimum version of the Black source code formatter.

            [ Santiago Torres Arias ]

            * Support parsing the return value of squashfs versions which discriminate

            between fatal and non-fatal errors.

          • [IBM’s ‘Linux Man’: Understanding the Impact of Cybersecurity on International Trade

            The explosive success of the Internet in the 1990s led to a historical transition from the industrial age of the past two centuries to an economy and society increasingly based on global, digital interactions. This transition has continued to advance over the past two decade with the advent of billions of smartphones, hundreds of billions of IoT devices, a wide variety of online applications and mobile apps, and huge amounts of data, all connected via Internet-based broadband networks.

            Then came Covid-19. A recent McKinsey survey found that the pandemic has accelerated the overall adoption of digital technologies and applications by three to seven years in just a few months.

            At the same time, cybersecurity threats have been growing. Large-scale fraud, data breaches, and identity thefts have become far more common. As we moved from a world of physical interactions and paper documents, to a world primarily governed by digital data and transactions, our existing cybersecurity methods have been far from adequate.

            More recently, international cyberthreats have escalated, with a growing number of high profile attacks by criminal groups and adversarial governments. Cybersecurity is now invoked by governments as a major aspect of national security, as they focus on protecting their critical infrastructures and the overall wellbeing of their nations. In early June, for example, FBI Director Christopher Wray compared the danger of ransomware attacks on US firms by Russian criminal groups to the September 11 terrorist attacks. And, in a recent editorial, the NY times editorial board argued that ransomware attacks have emerged as “a formidable potential threat to national security,” given “their ability to seriously disrupt economies and to breach strategically critical enterprises or agencies,” urging governments that “It is a war that needs to be fought, and won.”

            Beyond terrorism and national security, cyber threats have the potential to wreak havoc with international trade and the global economy. In a recent paper, Framework for Understanding Cybersecurity Impacts on International Trade, MIT professors Stuart Madnick and Simon Johnson and research scientist Keman Huang said that cybersecurity concerns have become a key issue for international trade policy.

    • Monopolies

      • Data shows the true productivity GAIN of the city exodus | Stop at Zona-M

        To begin with, the whole current system of “intellectual property” is severely screwed, and counterproductive. I could add tens of links on this, but this an this should be enough. Whatever real, meaningful productivity is, patents are a terrible way to measure it these days. Even if patent quality had not had “a serious problem – arguably a full-blown crisis” already before the pandemic. Anything that turns the current patents system upside down has good probabilities to increase real productivity, eventually.

      • Patents

        • One Step Closer to a Unified EU Patent Court [Ed: Nonsense and lunacy from Team UPC because UPCA demands London in the EU and this can never happen; any workarounds will be challenged]

          The Agreement on a Unified EU Patent Court (UPC Agreement) has been ratified by Germany following legal challenges in recent years over the constitutionality of the ratification bill.

          The UPC Agreement provides for the establishment of a Unified Patent Court (UPC) as a court common to all participating Member States, with exclusive competence in respect of European patents and European patents with unitary effect.

          The UPC will replace all individual enforcement courts in participating Member States and is intended to remove the need for and the cost of multi-jurisdictional patent disputes.

Links 27/8/2021: LibreELEC 10 and PipeWire 0.3.34 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux kernel modules we can’t live without

        The Linux kernel is turning 30 this year! If you’re like us, that’s a big deal and we are celebrating Linux this week with a couple of special posts.

        Today we start with a roundup of responses from around the community answering “What Linux kernel module can you not live without? And, why?” Let’s hear what these 10 enthusiasts have to say.

    • Applications

      • The 10 Best Video Conferencing Apps for Linux

        For freelancers and employees who regularly work from home, remote communication is one of the many things that need to be taken care of. Video conferencing has now replaced in-office meetings for many of us. Tools like Zoom and Skype have seen a massive increase in growth.

        Luckily, there isn’t any shortage of quality video conferencing software for Linux. This guide covers some of the best Linux video conferencing apps to help developers and employees stay on top of their work goals.

      • PipeWire 0.3.34 Released With Yet More Improvements, Fixes

        PipeWire, for managing audio/video streams on Linux and proving itself to be a viable replacement to PulseAudio and JACK, is out with a new update.

        Just three weeks after PipeWire 0.3.33, the PipeWire 0.3.34 release occurred today with bug fixes and other improvements. PipeWire 0.3.34 fixes some “critical issues” in the prior release around some devices not showing up and default devices being lost. PipeWire 0.3.34 also now handles consumer driver streams to ensure the producer v-sync to the consumer monitor for headless setups, improved stream routing, Bluetooth battery status handling improvements, the ability to configure the internal latency of ALSA devices, and a fast convolver added to implement virtual surround sinks or reverbs.

      • Excellent Utilities: broot – next gen tree explorer and customizable launcher

        This is a series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We cover a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides.

        The Command Line Interface (CLI) is a way of interacting with your computer. To harness all the power of Linux, it’s highly recommended mastering the interface. It’s true the CLI is often perceived as a barrier for users migrating to Linux, particularly if they’re grown up using GUI software exclusively. While Linux rarely forces anyone to use the CLI, some tasks are better suited to this method of interaction, offering inducements like superior scripting opportunities, remote access, and being far more frugal with a computer’s resources.

        The part of the operating system responsible for managing files and directories is called the file system. It organizes our data into files, which hold information, and directories (also called ‘folders’), which hold files or other directories.

        One of the commands that help visualize your file system is tree, a command that list contents of directories in a tree-like format. One of the issues with tree is that the output is unwieldy with large directories. Step forward broot, a utility that gives an overview of a directory, and much much more.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • An Introduction to JQ

        However, some things never stick in my head, nor my fingers, and I have to google them every time. jq is one of these.

        I know it’s a powerful tool, but I always end up back at Google and then copying and pasting a solution from somewhere. So I solve my problem but never learn the tool.

        It’s time to fix that. In this article, I’m going to go over the basics building blocks of jq in enough depth that you will be able to understand how jq works. Of course, you still might occasionally need to head to google to find a function name or check your syntax, but at least you’ll have a firm grounding in the basics.

      • How To Install InfluxDB on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install InfluxDB on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, InfluxDB is a time-series database (TSDB) that is designed to handle high write and query loads, InfluxDB is developed by InfluxData and written in Go.

        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 InfluxDB on an AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for CentOS and Rocky Linux.

      • How to install Mixxx on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Mixxx on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to check memory usage per process in Linux

        You may have noticed that sometimes your system consumes too much of memory, which makes your application’s slow or unresponsive.

        In such a scenario, what do you think would be the best approach to identify the processes that are consuming more memory in a Linux machine?

        This can be easily identified using the top command and the ps command and we will explain how to use these two commands to identify which processes are eating all the resources on your system.

      • How to Update Linux to Debian Bullseye on Your Chromebook | Beebom

        Earlier last year, Google had released Debian Buster for Chromebooks, which brought many improvements to Linux. That includes stability, better GUI support, graphics acceleration, and more. Now, with the new Debian release called Bullseye (also called Debian 11), Google has started incorporating new changes to the Linux container. You can now update your Chromebook to Debian Bullseye and check out the improvements brought to the Linux container. And no, you don’t need to move to the highly buggy Canary channel. So without further ado, let’s find out how to install Debian Bullseye on a Chromebook.

      • How to Install Chromium Browser Debian 11 – LinuxCapable

        Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all users to experience the web. The Chromium codebase is widely used. Microsoft Edge, Opera, and many other browsers are based on the code.

        In the following guide, you will know how to install Chromium Web Browser on your Debian 11 Bullseye operating system. The same principle will work for the older stable version Debian 10, Buster.

      • How to Install VirtualBox on Debian 11

        VirtualBox is an open-sourced, cross-platform virtualization manager application. It is owned by Oracle allows running multiple guest operating systems(OS) at the same time. VirtualBox supports guest operating systems such as Windows, Debian, Fedora, Oracle Linux, Ubuntu, and more.

        Your hardware should support and enabled hardware virtualization technology to run VirtualBox.

        In this tutorial, we learn how to install VirtualBox 6 on Debian 11.

    • Games

      • Doing It Right: Bethesda Likes ‘Fallout’ Mod So Much It Hires Some Of The Team That Made It

        How gaming companies treat their modding communities that spring up around their games is something of a fault line in the industry. Game studios tend to be either pro-modding or not, with very little space in between. Nintendo, for instance, is notoriously anti-modding of its games. Bethesda, on the other hand, has traditionally been quite open-minded when it comes to the modding communities that have sprung up around its games. We’ve made the point for a long, long time that embracing modding communities is typically a massive boon to gaming companies and the restrictive attitude companies like Nintendo take makes little sense. Mods extend the shelf life and interest of games, driving attention and elongating the sales cycle and windows for those games. Giving up a little control for more sales seems to only make sense.

      • World War I survival horror CONSCRIPT gets a new extended trailer | GamingOnLinux

        CONSCRIPT from Catchweight Studio is an upcoming survival horror where you’re a lone French soldier in the trenches, as you set off to try and find your brother during the Battle of Verdun.

        “CONSCRIPT is an upcoming survival horror game inspired by classics of the genre – set in 1916 during the Great War. CONSCRIPT will blend all the punishing mechanics of older horror games into a cohesive, tense, and unique experience.

        In CONSCRIPT, you play as a French soldier searching for his missing-in-action brother during the Battle of Verdun. Will you be able to search twisted trenches, navigate overrun forts, and cross no-mans-land to find him, and ensure a home goes unbroken?”

      • Wonderful relaxing beekeeping sim APICO is opening up a playtest | GamingOnLinux

        Want to care for the bees? The upcoming casual sim APICO from TNgineers is opening up a Steam Playtest that starts on August 30 for anyone to give it a try.

        “APICO is a laid-back beekeeping sim game about breeding, collecting, & conserving bees!
        Leave your boring city job behind to return to your family home in Port APICO and get back to your beekeeping roots.

        Set in a series of lush environments, APICO uniquely combines resource gathering, biology, and beekeeping minigames, taking ideas from a mix of real-life and fantasy apiculture & floriculture.”

      • Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion has dropped Linux support | GamingOnLinux

        Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, a silly single-player adventure that reviewed well and one I personally enjoyed has decided to drop Linux support.

        Snoozy Kazoo and Graffiti Games recently put out a big free update for the game, which is not coming to Linux.

      • Deck-building meets big metal mechs in Jupiter Moons: Mecha with a new trailer | GamingOnLinux

        Another coming out of Gamescom 2021 is a brand new short trailer for Jupiter Moons: Mecha, a deck-builder that puts you in the pilot seat of a big powerful mech unit.

        It combines many of my favourite things: replayable gameplay, deck-building and big customizable mechs. What’s not to love about that? The new trailer that appeared during Gamescom isn’t particularly long, more of a teaser but it does show plenty of neon-soaked visuals, lots of lasers and plenty more to be excited about.

      • Coding History: 3D from Mode7 to DOOM looks like a fun Kickstarter to follow | GamingOnLinux

        Interested in the early history of coding games? Coding History: 3D from Mode7 to DOOM from indie game developer Eniko (founder of Kitsune Games) will walk you through it, while also providing open source code you can use and learn from.

        Coding History: 3D from Mode7 to DOOM will be done as a video series across many episodes with voice over commentary to explain it all. Each episode will explore the concepts behind various parts of the history and the developer will be providing MIT licensed code for each episode project too. It’s all going to be cross-platform with various parts like graphics, sound and input done with the FNA library.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • New Website Launched to Showcase GNOME Apps

          I bet you are. Finding cool new Linux software to play with is a major reason why people read blogs like this one (and we write about GTK apps often, so consider bookmarking us).

          Chances are you’re already familiar with GNOME’s core apps like Nautilus and Calculator as they (usually) come preinstalled in Linux distros that make use of GNOME.

          But there’s a more diverse ecosystem of software out there — and GNOME wants more people to know about it.

          Enter the new “Apps For GNOME” website.

    • Distributions

      • Haiku, Inc. has hired an existing contributor to work on Haiku full-time!

        Haiku, Inc. is proud to announce that we have hired existing contributor waddlesplash to work on general Haiku improvement full-time. The contract was signed on Monday, August 23, 2021 and waddlesplash plans to start work tomorrow.

      • New Releases

        • LibreELEC 10 “Matrix” Released with Better Raspberry Pi 4 Support

          LibreELEC 10 is here to bring Kodi 19 “Matrix” to LibreELEC users and comes with better support for Raspberry Pi 4 devices, supporting HDMI output up to 4Kp30, HDR output (HDR10 and HLG), HD audio passthrough (Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD), as well as H264 and H265 hardware decoding.

          However, there are still many blockers that might not let you enjoy a perfect LibreELEC experience on the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC. For example, there’s no deinterlacing with the hardware video decoders, 10-bit and 12-bit video output isn’t implemented, and the Hyperion add-on no longer works as it doesn’t support the new graphics driver stack.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04.3 is finally out

          We mostly just use them as portals to the internet where we access the real tools we need. It is therefore in that spirit I am pleased to say the latest version of Ubuntu LTS-Ubuntu 20.04.3 is finally out after a few weeks of delays.

          A brief guide to Ubuntu versions

          If you are mildly familiar with Ubuntu then you know that they use the name-month scheme to name their releases. This means that Ubuntu 20.04 was released in April of last year. This is why it might confuse you to learn that I am talking about it in August of 2021. Let me explain.

        • The world’s first Ubuntu smartphone manufacturer goes bankrupt

          The development of the operating systems for smartphones has been on for a very long time. For those who started reading about smartphones a few years ago, there are many mobile systems that they never knew existed. The mobile phone system business has since become a two-horse race between Android and iOS. However, this was not always the case. Most recently, Huawei’s HarmonyOS is coming up with millions of smartphones right now. However, a long time ago, there were many other mobile systems like Ubuntu. Unfortunately, these systems all disappeared in the waves of history.

        • Ubuntu 20.04.3 Point Release is Here with Kernel and Additional Updates

          The third point release – Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS is now available. Here’s how to download/upgrade.

        • Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Release Schedule Published

          While Ubuntu 21.10 isn’t being released for another two months, the release schedule for Ubuntu 22.04 has been published that is rather notable in being the next bi-annual long-term support (LTS) release.

          The release schedule published today puts the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release as 21 April 2022. That release date isn’t really surprising and basically jives with the rhythm and normal release time we’ve come to expect from Canonical over the better part of the past two decades.

        • Ubuntu JJ Release Schedule
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.2 Community adds performance improvements to better handle and manage large files

          LibreOffice 7.2 Community updates improvements to interoperability with legacy DOC files, and DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX documents.

          Microsoft files are still based on the proprietary format deprecated by the ISO in April 2008, and not on the ISO approved standard, so they embed a large amount of hidden artificial complexity. This causes handling issues with LibreOffice, which defaults to a true open standard format (the OpenDocument Format).

          LibreOffice says its developers are tackling these issues.

        • Parabolas as custom shapes in LibreOffice

          Teachers of mathematics often need a parabola in their instructions or exercises. Creating a parabola by using a chart is cumbersome. Therefore I have generated some parabolas as custom shape for anyone to use. You can get them in this LibreOffice Writer document.

          The parabola-shapes are contained in a document. You can cop and paste a shape from there to your document or you can drag the shapes into your Gallery. The document contains in addition some explanations how the shapes were generated. You can download the document from the wiki.

  • Leftovers

    • Opinion | Repugnant, Still: Hunger For the Blood of Black Citizens
    • Losing and Saving the Apple: a Tale of Capital, Labor and Organizing

      At harvest, the whole town of Sebastopol, where I lived for nearly 40 years, smelled of riple apples and stank of the waste product of the apples when they were turned into juice and sauce. The railroad brought apples from orchards to processing plants. The tracks once went down the center of Main Street. Then progress, suburbanization and gentrification arrived, the tracks were ripped up and Main Street became one-way.

      Orchards were subdivided, houses, some of them McMansions were built and sold, and vineyards soon spread across the whole landscape. Grapes are now the monocrop; everywhere one turns it looks nearly the same, with rows and rows of grapes running uphill and downhill and across valleys in military fashion. It’s a similar story elsewhere around the world, though the crop differs.

    • Opinion | Growing Old in the Newborn Universe

      That link between age and wisdom—is it just a joke?

    • Ruralist Lament: More Fire, Less Ice

      August 9th the local daily reported (inside the paper, but above the fold) that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had issued its most recent and most dire warning about “unequivocal” and “human-caused” global heating.

      The United Nations characterized it as “code red for humanity.” But …. I dunno.

    • Support Public Code, While Helping Support Techdirt

      Recently, following our announcement that we have removed all Google ads and tracking code from Techdirt, a reader reached out to us with a novel (and greatly appreciated!) proposal for supporting the change and our ongoing reporting while also helping out a good cause: buying an ad — not for their own benefit, but for that of a public interest campaign that aligns perfectly with our own values. That’s why you see a new banner in the sidebar on the site, encouraging our readers to sign an open letter put together by FSFE calling on the EU to pass a law requiring all publicly financed software to be made available under a free and open source license.

    • Fashion Statement
    • ‘Historic’ FCC Robocall Fine For Burkman, Wohl Could Prove Hollow

      We’ve noted for years that the FCC’s purported “war on robocalls” has been predominantly empty. Just a few years ago, for example, the FCC patted itself on the back for some minor rule changes that simply let wireless carriers offer robocall blocking tech by default. And quite often, the “record” fines the FCC announces to punish robocallers are never actually collected. Making matters worse, the US government usually only targets smaller scam robocallers, and not any of the major “legit” industries (like debt collectors) that utilize the same tactics as robocall scammers to harass struggling Americans they know can’t pay anyway.

    • Jackie Wang’s Dream Poetics

      A few years ago, while doing some freelance summer copywriting for the catalog of a high end brand of crystals, I found myself sifting through poems about dreams. To frame the glittering artwork within the catalog (and thus, ultimately, to further enhance the crystals for sale), I was instructed to pull quotes from Surrealist texts. Fragments of dream imagery from the work of Breton and Césaire were reduced to graphic design elements that were placed stylishly around brand copy and images of expensive things.

    • How We Report on Pain, Death and Trauma Without Losing Our Humanity

      I’m Karim, an audience editor here at ProPublica. That means I spend many of my working hours reading about pain and suffering and working with reporters whose job it is to bear witness to the most traumatic moments of people’s lives. It’s something I’ve thought about and struggled with a lot during my time at ProPublica, and it’s been exacerbated by living through the pandemic news cycle of constant misfortune and death.

      Last week, in partnership with The Texas Tribune and NBC Universal, we published a story about a family poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes in Houston during the severe winter storms and power failures in February. The reporters, Perla Trevizo, Lexi Churchill, Suzy Khimm and Mike Hixenbaugh, show how a team of first responders visited Shalemu Bekele and Etenesh Mersha’s home following a 911 call reporting that the family had fainted; after knocking on the door, the emergency responders left before making contact with those inside.

    • Hardware

      • Nvidia-powered Polaris supercomputer to usher in a new era of ‘exascale’ AI

        Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co. is building Polaris, which will be supercharged with 2,240 Nvidia A100 Tensor Core GPUs squeezed into 560 total nodes when it’s deployed in early 2022. That will enable it to achieve almost 1.4 exaflops of theoretical artificial intelligence performance, Nvidia said, and up to 44 petaflops, or quadrillion FLOPS of peak double-precision performance.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • DeSantis Touts His “Great Success” on Fox News as Delta Surge Devastates Florida
      • Biden Has Spent Less Than 0.01% of Funds Earmarked to Defeat Covid on Vaccine Manufacturing: Report

        President Joe Biden vowed to make the U.S. the world’s vaccine “arsenal,” but of the more than $16 billion that Congress appropriated to strengthen the response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Biden administration has spent less than 0.01% of it to expand global vaccine manufacturing, even as experts emphasize that doing so is necessary to defeat the coronavirus.

        “Unequal access to vaccines threatens lives everywhere. So long as Covid-19 spreads worldwide, even worse variants than Delta will emerge.”—James Krellenstein, PrEP4All

      • Sure, Biden’s Better on Covid Than Trump. That’s Not Good Enough.

        One of my favorite professors in grad school—an expert in cost-effectiveness analysis—when asked about the worth of individual medical interventions, would respond, “Compared to what?” You always need to have a benchmark. Economic analysis of a drug is relative to the other choices available to you—even if that choice is nothing at all. Upon graduation, one of my fellow PhD students gave him a trophy for best professor, but with a specially engraved question on the pedestal—you guessed it—“Compared to what?”

      • Medicare-For-All Will Stop Political Bosses from Playing Games with Deadly Diseases

        Although it is the sort of thing that we’ve come to expect because our unique-in-the-world, for-profit health insurance system leaves Americans financially vulnerable to sickness but offers huge profits to companies and CEOs in the system.

        Some cynical people are suggesting that the reason Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is forcing teachers and children to sit for hours every day in classrooms with unmasked children is because he wants them all to get infected with Covid…to make money for a friend of his.

      • Denmark and the Case for Optimism on the Pandemic

        The hardest hit states, like Louisiana and Mississippi are seeing daily infection numbers that far exceed the worst days of the winter. Intensive care units are filled to capacity, which not only prevents many people infected with Covid from receiving adequate care, but also victims of car crashes and others in need of immediate care. This is quite a turnaround from where we were a month and half ago.

        But we can tell a better story about future prospects. We know that our vaccines are not as effective against the Delta variant in preventing infections, but they still seem to be quite effective in preventing serious illness and death. This story is well-demonstrated by the situation in Denmark.

      • Why Some White Evangelical Republicans Are So Opposed To The COVID-19 Vaccine

        In the race to get Americans vaccinated, two groups are commanding a lot of attention: Republicans and white evangelicals. Both are less likely to have been vaccinated already and more likely to refuse vaccination altogether.

        But it’s the overlap between white Republicans and white evangelicals that is especially telling, as white evangelical Republicans are among the most likely groups in the U.S. to refuse vaccination. According to a June survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, where I’m the research director, and the Interfaith Youth Core, white evangelical Republicans were considerably less likely to say they were vaccinated or planning to get vaccinated as soon as possible (53 percent) than Republicans who were not white evangelicals (62 percent). Moreover, white evangelical Republicans were the most likely of any large subgroup we surveyed to say they were refusing to get vaccinated (26 percent).

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft silent about major flaw in Azure’s Cosmos database

          The vulnerability allows outsiders to access keys that control entry to databases that are held by thousands of customers. The keys can only be changed by the customers.

        • EXCLUSIVE Microsoft warns thousands of cloud customers of exposed databases

          The vulnerability is in Microsoft Azure’s flagship Cosmos DB database. A research team at security company Wiz discovered it was able to access keys that control access to databases held by thousands of companies. Wiz Chief Technology Officer Ami Luttwak is a former chief technology officer at Microsoft’s Cloud Security Group.

          Because Microsoft cannot change those keys by itself, it emailed the customers Thursday telling them to create new ones. Microsoft agreed to pay Wiz $40,000 for finding the flaw and reporting it, according to an email it sent to Wiz.

        • Microsoft ending Chromebook support for Office Android apps in September (Update: Google statement added)

          By the way: If you want a fully native productivity suite that does run locally on your Chromebook, there are other options. I wrote up documentation on how to install LibreOffice in Linux on your Chromebook right here. It’s not as painful as it looks and LibreOffice is fairly comparable to Microsoft’s Office suite.

        • Security

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Planned Expansion of Facial Recognition by US Agencies Called ‘Disturbing’

              Digital rights advocates reacted harshly Thursday to a new internal U.S. government report detailing how ten federal agencies have plans to greatly expand their reliance on facial recognition in the years ahead.

            • Digital Rights Updates with EFFector 33.5

              EFFECTOR 33.05 - Apple’s Plan to “Think Different” about Encryption opens a backdoor to your private life

              Make sure you never miss an issue by signing up by email to receive EFFector as soon as it’s posted! Since 1990 EFF has published EFFector to help keep readers on the bleeding edge of their digital rights. We know that the intersection of technology, civil liberties, human rights, and the law can be complicated, so EFFector is a great way to stay on top of things. The newsletter is chock full of links to updates, announcements, blog posts, and other stories to help keep readers—and now listeners—up to date on the movement to protect online privacy and free expression. 

            • [Old] Deleting Facebook

              If you still find Facebook useful and the tradeoffs worth it then good luck to you. But my recent conversations suggest that many people don’t. Maybe you think that Facebook doesn’t censor bad people enough. Maybe you think they censor them too much. Maybe you want back the minutes or hours per day that you spend scrolling through your newsfeed. Maybe you don’t like who you are on Facebook, or who other people are. Maybe you’ve had enough of Facebook’s data-purloining and anti-privacy shenanigans. Or maybe you don’t have any particularly strong feelings either way but your friends don’t use Facebook any more and you’re up for spending a few minutes cleaning up your digital footprint.

              If so, I recommend it.

            • The All-Seeing “i”: Apple Just Declared War on Your Privacy

              As a parent, I’m here to tell you that sometimes it doesn’t matter why the man in the handsome suit is doing something. What matters are the consequences.

              Apple’s new system, regardless of how anyone tries to justify it, will permanently redefine what belongs to you, and what belongs to them.

            • Confidentiality

              • Vulnerability in Bumble dating app reveals any user’s exact location

                Now that you know how to send arbitrary requests to the Bumble API from a script you can start testing out a trilateration attack. Kate spoofs an API request to put Wilson in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s Jenna’s task to re-locate him.

                Remember, Bumble only show you the approximate distance between you and other users. However, your hypothesis is that they calculate each approximate distance by calculating the exact distance and then rounding it. If you can find the point at which a distance to a victim flips from (say) 3 miles to 4, you can infer that this is the point at which the victim is exactly 3.5 miles away. If you can find 3 such flipping points then you can use trilateration to precisely locate the victim.

    • Defence

      • Corporate Media Were Complicit in Afghanistan War, and They’re Still Obfuscating
      • We Lost the War in Afghanistan. We Need to Say So.
      • Opinion | Meet the Former US Generals Making Bank Off Afghan War Bloodshed

        Many of the military generals who directed the war in Afghanistan over the last two decades have taken up lucrative jobs as members of the boards of directors of major military contractors that take in billions of dollars in contracts from the Pentagon every year.

      • Grandson of Notorious Warlord: My Family Is Celebrating the Taliban, But I Fear for My Friends’ Lives

        As the United States has begun the final phase of evacuations of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies from the Kabul airport, we speak with Obaidullah Baheer, an Afghan academic who has decided to stay in Kabul despite the risks. Baheer’s grandfather, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, is a former mujahideen fighter once nicknamed the “Butcher of Kabul,” now among the senior political figures in the country attempting to shape a post-U.S. government with the Taliban. “This country needs more educated people,” says Baheer. “They’re not going to have enough technocrats for a functioning government to be in place. That’s why some of us have to stay behind.”

      • Peace Group Challenges ‘Architect’ of Failed Wars Tony Blair to Public Debate

        The Stop the War coalition on Thursday invited former British Prime Minister Tony Blair—whom they called “one of the architects of the war on terror”—to a public debate on the impacts of the U.K.’s wars over the past two decades, framing such a dialogue as necessary “to help guide the foreign policy of the future.”

        The challenge (pdf) from the antiwar group followed an over 2,700-word essay Blair posted Saturday on his website in which he slammed U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan as “tragic, dangerous, unnecessary,” and an act merely “in obedience to an imbecilic political slogan about ending ‘the forever wars,’ as if our engagement in 2021 was remotely comparable to our commitment 20 or even 10 years ago.”

      • Afghan Civilians and US Troops Killed in Blasts Outside Kabul Airport
      • 2 Explosions Outside Kabul Airport Result in Multiple Casualties
      • Children, US Soldiers Among Those Killed in Explosions Outside Kabul Airport

        This is a developing news story… Check back for possible updates…

        Children, adult civilians, and U.S. military personnel were among those reportedly killed or wounded Thursday in a pair of explosions near Kabul’s international airport, the site of a chaotic evacuation effort that the Biden administration is aiming to complete by early next week.

      • “Don’t Worry Baby”: The War on Terror Will Continue

        Deep Throat had it right way back in the 1970s when he told Woodward and Bernstein to “Follow the money” during the criminal Watergate conspiracy of the Nixon administration. Since then it’s been all downhill in the US. The ruling elite of US empire and imperialism wanted the kinder, gentler Joe Biden over the crass, alleged rapist Donald Trump, but they’d accept Trump and much worse if they needed their profits to keep rolling in and their power to remain intact. Here’s “The Newspaper of Record” priming the pumps of bizarre discontent for the Biden administration’s bumbling of the exodus from Afghanistan. This kind of malarkey could lead in a direct path to installing a fascist in power. Maybe one of those cheering on Trump’s “very fine people” in Charlottesville could become a new leader? There are many actors waiting in the wings to step up and serve the interests of the power elite and empire. There are well-paying jobs to be had.

        Joe Biden is not a total loss for the military-industrial-financial complex. Here’s Biden speaking about the pullout in Afghanistan (Katie Halper, August 22, 2021) with assurances that the War on Terror is alive and well. Who can predict upon whose necks the boot of empire and militarism will fall next?: It’s already in Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Iran, along with Russia and China in the crosshairs of empire. There are many, many targets and much money to be made. Recall the US support for the repressive Diem regime (until that regime fell out of favor with the US) in South Vietnam, or its more recent attempt to weaken the former Soviet Union through its support of the mujahideen in Afghanistan that gave rise to the Taliban. Or regime change in Chile, Guatemala, Iran, and a whole host of other nations. When the US opts for sanctions, either before war or through dirty clandestine wars, then the people of places like Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and Nicaragua will be made to scream. No matter that a declaration of war requires a direct threat to the well-being of a people. The people of those nations are noncombatants and it’s illegal and immoral to make them suffer, but few care when it’s the empire that calls the tune. So much for bringing democracy to the larger world when it does not exist here. “Don’t Worry Baby” was meant for the 60s’ generation, but in less romantic and adolescent pop culture circumstances, it’s also excellent advice for the war-makers and warmongers. Your profits are safe and will continue to grow! Those profits may be even bigger than those made in the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq since Russia and China are bigger adversaries and bigger adversaries mean bigger weapons and more weapons. And we all will be made to dance around the specter of nuclear annihilation.

      • Only Religious War Remains

        After America’s CIA under President Reagan helped brutal Muslim tribal warlords drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, victorious warlords fell into conflict with each other. That’s when the Taliban, a movement of armed Islamic students, swept through the mountain nation.

        The Puritanical Taliban, like most Muslim extremists, were notorious for their hatred of sex. They ordered all women to wear shroud-like burkas outdoors because “the face of a woman is a source of corruption” for men. Females couldn’t be educated beyond age eight, and before that could study only the Quran. Those who secretly attended underground schools were executed, along with their teachers. Girls’ schools were burned. Females weren’t allowed to work or go outdoors without a family male escort. They couldn’t wear high heels under their burkas because clicking heels might excite lustful men. Apartment windows were painted over. Wearing form-fitting clothes was a capital offense. Public stonings or other executions of women occurred. Eighty percent of brides were forced into marriage.

      • Chicago PD Oversight Says ShotSpotter Tech Is Mostly Useless When It Comes To Fighting Gun Crime

        Gunshot detection tech provider ShotSpotter is fighting a PR battle on multiple fronts after more news surfaced that its analysts may alter detection records to fit police narratives and investigators’ theories. Communications and court documents obtained by the Associated Press confirmed ShotSpotter allows law enforcement officers to request modifications to detection records. And the company apparently used to allow police officers to modify the data themselves.

      • Decline of the US Empire: Lawrence Wilkerson on the Afghanistan Pull-Out
      • What Will Happen to the Athletes of Afghanistan?

        As the situation in Afghanistan becomes increasingly dire, the Taliban has announced that it would not extend the August 31 deadline for evacuation, and insisted that foreign entities leave the country. Among those attempting to flee are many from the athletic community. Restrictions are about to be imposed by the Taliban upon Afghan musicians, activists, and, yes, athletes. Women, for example, will not be permitted to play in any of the leagues or sports that had been carefully established over the past 10 years.

      • Ilhan Omar Urges Pardon for Daniel Hale, Who Leaked Air Force’s Drone Program
      • Ilhan Omar to Joe Biden: Pardon Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale

        Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota sent a letter Thursday calling on President Joe Biden to grant a full pardon to former Air Force intelligence analyst Daniel Hale, who was sentenced to nearly four years in prison last month for leaking classified documents that helped expose the horrors inflicted by the U.S. drone assassination program.

        “I believe that the decision to prosecute Mr. Hale was motivated, at least in part, as a threat to other would-be whistleblowers.”—Rep. Ilhan Omar

      • Jeremy Corbyn: All of the Worst Predictions About the Afghanistan War Came True
      • “An Inquiry Needs to Take Place”: Jeremy Corbyn on Afghanistan & Preventing the Next War

        We get reaction to the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan from British member of Parliament and former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, one of the leading critics of the Afghan War in Britain. He says critics who warned against invading Afghanistan, and later Iraq, have been vindicated, and calls for an official inquiry into the war. “It’s horrible to read back to 2001 and 2003 and say all the worst predictions that any of us ever made have all come to pass,” Corbyn tells Democracy Now!

      • Sarah Chayes: Afghanistan Was an “Afterthought” for U.S. as Bush Was “Hellbent” on Invading Iraq

        As the U.S. proceeds with evacuating people from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country, we speak with author and former NPR reporter Sarah Chayes, who covered the fall of the Taliban in 2001, then lived in Kandahar until 2009, where she ran a soap factory, and went on to become a special adviser to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mike Mullen in Kabul. She says it was apparent shortly after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan that the country was an “afterthought” for the Bush administration, which was “hellbent” on invading Iraq. “Well into 2002, there was basically no one home at the U.S. Embassy,” says Chayes. “It wasn’t until later that I realized that by early 2002, personnel were all pivoting already to Iraq.”

      • The Party of Lincoln Is Now the Party of Jim Crow

        Now, Republicans in the House are 100 percent opposed, and Republicans in the Senate are using the filibuster—the favored tool of Southern segregationists like Democrat turned Republican Strom Thurmond—to prevent voting rights protections from even being considered. Where progressive Democrats and mainstream Republicans worked together to prevent filibusters on democracy issues, no Democrat should be so unrealistic as to imagine that a sufficient number of contemporary Republicans will do the right thing. Tuesday’s House vote confirms that the days of responsible Republicanism are long gone.

      • Officer who shot Ashli Babbitt during Capitol [insurrection] breaks silence: ‘I saved countless lives’

        In the chaotic minutes before he shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol [insurrection] on Jan. 6, Lt. Michael Byrd focused his attention on the glass doors leading into the lobby of the House of Representatives chamber.

        About 60 to 80 House members and staffers were holed up inside, and it was Byrd’s job to protect them.

        As [insurrectionists] rampaged through the Capitol, Byrd and a few other officers of the U.S. Capitol Police set up a wall of furniture outside the doors.

    • Environment

      • Federal Court Signals Hope for the Climate Threatened Joshua Tree

        After gearing up for the culmination of WildEarth Guardians’ nearly two-year long court battle to secure federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the imperiled Joshua tree—an August 2 hearing before Judge Otis D. Wright, II of the Central District of California—my brain is teeming with factoids about these beloved plants and the perils so many Mojave Desert dwellers face.

        The combined threats of climate change, invasive grass-fueled wildfires, human expansion, and habitat degradation have already reduced the richness of the region’s biodiversity by about fifty percent over the last century. Striking losses of bird communities are increasingly evident. Recent studies describe mass die-offs of other regionally endemic plants from prolonged droughts. Records from Twentynine Palms weather station show that not only have average daytime temperatures already increased 2° F over the last 40 years, but nighttime lows in the area are nearly 8° above average—so even if precipitation levels don’t decline (though they already have) the evaporation rate is much higher so less water actually reaches the desert floor to get soaked up by native plants. Graveyards of charred Joshua trees now blanket the Mojave National Preserve after 2020’s Dome fire swept through and destroyed an estimated 1.3 million of these majestic desert icons. And for the past two consecutive years, summertime temps have reached a mind-numbing 130° F.

      • In First for Australia, Court Orders Government Agency to Take Climate Action

        In a case brought by bushfire survivors against an Australian state’s environmental regulator, a court found Thursday that the government agency must take action to address the climate emergency—a first-of-its kind and potentially precedent-setting ruling for the fire-ravaged nation.

        “This is a great day for environmental justice.”—Chris Gambian, Nature Conservation Council

      • Brazil’s Grain Railway alarms indigenous groups

        Brazil’s Grain Railway will cut right through the Amazon forest. Indigenous people and ecologists are aghast at the plan.

      • Advocates Call on Congress to #SealTheDeal for Care, Climate, and Justice

        Disheartened by the smaller size of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, advocates participating in the #SealTheDeal day of action — which include members from organizations like the Sunrise Movement, Indivisible, and the Movement for Black Lives — are committed to holding members of Congress accountable to their promises of building a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

        The preliminary outline of the recovery package, which Democrats plan on passing through the budget reconciliation process without Republican votes, makes historic investments in clean energy, tuition-free community college, childcare, and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The package would also create thousands of sustainable jobs by investing in the care economy and a Civilian Climate Corps.

      • Greenhouse Gases and Sea Levels Shattered Global Records in 2020, Says NOAA
      • Opinion | Why We Urgently Need a Civilian Climate Corps

        When you think of the New Deal, what comes to mind? For many Americans, the era has an enduring physical legacy in our parks, tree lines, and trails.

      • Energy

        • ‘We’re Staying’: Line 3 Opponents Camp at Minnesota Capitol to Protest Oil Pipeline

          With Enbridge on the verge of completing its multibillion-dollar Line 3 pipeline, thousands of Indigenous leaders and environmentalists brought their protests against the sprawling tar sands project to the grounds of the Minnesota state capitol building on Wednesday to demand that lawmakers intervene before the dirty oil starts flowing.

          Roughly 2,000 demonstrators—including Indigenous leaders who marched over 250 miles along the pipeline’s route—rallied at the capitol Wednesday afternoon and hundreds stayed through the night as Minnesota police officers guarded the building’s perimeter, which was surrounded by a chain-link fence installed in anticipation of the protest.

        • ‘Stop Making Things Worse’: Biden Denounced for Plan to Resume Oil and Gas Leasing

          Progressive advocates are rebuking the Biden administration after it said this week that federal officials will soon resume selling new leases for oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters.

          “While the administration’s appeal is pending, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland should use her discretion under the law to authorize the least amount of leasing required to comply with the court’s order.”—Robert Weissman, Public Citizen

        • Opinion | It’s Not Human Stupidity That Is Blocking Climate Action, It’s Big Oil

          For years, it was assumed the world wouldn’t start seriously tackling climate change until we were directly confronted with its horrors—thereby revealing how truly reckless humans are.

        • Opinion | California Kids to Teachers’ Pension Fund: Divest from Oil

          The kids are mad as hell—and so are teachers who want their California teacher pension fund, CalSTRS, to join 1,000 other institutions collectively divesting $14.5 trillion from the fossil fuel industry that threatens climate catastrophe. The retirement fund divestment fight, led by retired teachers in Fossil Free CA and students from Youth vs Apocalypse and Earth Guardians, estimates CalSTRS’ portfolio investments in fossil fuels at $16 billion, mostly in oil and gas delivery systems, but $6 billion in direct investments in oil behemoths, with $400 million in Exxon-Mobil, $350 million in Chevron, $250 million in BP and $108 million in Enbridge Inc. This is the same corporation sending attack dogs to maul water protectors protesting drilling at river crossings on indigenous land, where Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline will send sludgy tar sands through Minnesota. The estimated pollution from the pipeline is equivalent to 50 coal powered plants running for 50 years.

      • Overpopulation

        • The Real Existential Threat Is Our Overheating Planet

          In recent months, Washington has had a lot to say about China’s ever-expanding air, naval, and missile power. But when Pentagon officials address the topic, they generally speak less about that country’s current capabilities, which remain vastly inferior to those of the United States, than the world they foresee in the 2030s and 2040s, when Beijing is expected to have acquired far more sophisticated weaponry.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • YouTube suspends payments to Brazilian accounts over election disinformation

        In July, YouTube said it had removed videos from Bolsonaro’s channel for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the latest tech giant to pull his pandemic pronouncements.

      • Cortana is AWOL in the war against COVID-19 disinfo

        While there’s been a lot of attention on how social media needs to do more to police itself, little has been written about whether digital personal assistants like Cortana provide accurate information about how vaccines and masks can protect against the virus.

        I’ve just finished researching whether Cortana does that. The answer is dispiriting. Microsoft’s digital assistant doesn’t provide even the barebones basics about protecting against COVID-19. Want to know whether getting vaccinated will protect you? Cortana won’t give an answer. Will masks help? Don’t bother asking Cortana. Even more astonishing, if you want the truth about some of the outlandish lies about the COVID-19 vaccine — such as whether it will implant a microchip in you — don’t look to Cortana for help. Microsoft’s digital assistant simply refuses to answer the question.

      • TikTok Is Full of Videos of People Promoting Ivermectin, the Horse Deworming Medication Falsely Touted as a Covid Cure

        There’s no evidence that ivermectin is safe or effective to treat Covid-19, and its manufacturer, Merck, has even come forward discouraging people from using it as a treatment for the novel coronavirus; the FDA has also issued a statement based on “multiple reports” of people being admitted to the hospital after taking large doses of ivermectin, saying the drug can be “highly toxic” to humans. Yet such statements have only served to fuel the narrative that large regulatory agencies are suppressing evidence of ivermectin’s efficacy in treating Covid-19 and the Delta variant, largely because they cannot directly profit off its use as they can with vaccines. Pundits like Joe Rogan, who has more than 11 million viewers per show on Spotify, have only served to fuel such conspiracy theories, providing platforms to physicians like Dr. Bret Weinstein who have stoked controversy by peddling ivermectin.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Academic: Problems Created By Undermining Section 230 Can Be Solved… By Undermining Section 230?

        I remain confused at why so many people endorse Macarthur Genius award winner, Prof. Danielle Citron’s views on Section 230. Over and over again people say that her ideas for reforming Section 230 are sensible. Except that they are not. She has falsely insisted that companies have no incentives to moderate and that their incentives are to push the most extreme content. This has been debunked over and over again. If it were true, then every website would turn into 8kun. But that doesn’t happen, because most websites realize that when your website is full of garbage people, it drives away other users (including those more likely to support you or your advertisers) and it drives away advertisers.

      • Trumpist Gettr Social Network Continues To Speed Run Content Moderation Learning Curve: Bans, Then Unbans, Roger Stone

        Remember Gettr? That’s the Trumpist social network run by former Trump spokesperson (and vexatious lawsuit filer) Jason Miller that promised to be supportive of “free speech.” As we point out what happens with every new social network that jumps into the space with promises to “support free speech!” and “not censor!” before long they will begin to realize content moderation is required to keep your site running — and soon they discover that content moderation will involve difficult choices. And, sometimes, it involves making mistakes.

      • 10 Elgaar Parishad accused allege ‘political censorship’ by jail authorities

        The letter goes on to say, “Not satisfied with this illegal ‘political censorship’ the superintendent scans/saves letters we write to family, friends and correspondence to advocates (which amounts to breach of privileged communication). We believed that some if not all are being shared with the police and prosecution. All this in addition causes inordinate delay in dispatch of letters to their destination.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Massachusetts District Attorney Delays Forfeiture Proceedings For Years, Some Involving As Little As $10

        We all know how lousy civil asset forfeiture is. In lieu of actual criminal charges, cops (and feds) just seize any property they can get their hands on, turning other people’s money into pure profit for law enforcement agencies. Money they can often spend with little to no oversight.

      • Lingering Peculiarities: Slavery and Manumission in the Roman Empire

        First, the fanfare.  The skull of one Marcus Venerius Secundio was praised as “the best-preserved human remains ever discovered in Pompeii”.  They were found in an ancient tomb in the necropolis of Porta Sarno.  The marble slab found at the pediment of his tomb had an inscription that sent the news outlets into states of excitement.

        The Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, was so enthusiastic as to be insufferable.  “Pompeii never ceases to amaze, and has confirmed her place as a story of redemption, as an international role model, and a place where research and new archaeological excavations are taking place once more, thanks to the many professionals in the field of cultural heritage, who with their work never cease to produce extraordinary results for the world which are a source of pride for Italy.”

      • It’s Time for Biden to Lead on Voting Rights

        Senate Republicans have just reaffirmed their shameless resistance to protecting voting rights through the use of the filibuster. This time, they are preventing the Senate from moving forward on any measure to enhance voting rights, including the For the People Act, whose voting rights and democracy-strengthening provisions are supported by bipartisan majorities of the American people. It is time for presidential leadership.

      • Birth of the Cruel: How Truckee Pioneered Modern Anti-China Hate

        In the 1860s, the labor shortage was a matter of desperation to the capitalists known as the Big Four, who were striving to drive the Central Pacific line through the unforgiving terrain of the Sierras, so it could reach the basin land of Nevada and Utah and slap down track (and claim land grants) in competition with the Union Pacific railroad racing over the Midwest flatlands.

        As usual, California was short of labor, at least white labor.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • California’s ‘Open Access’ Fiber Broadband Plan Is Making Telecom Giants Like AT&T Nervous

        Back in 2009, the FCC funded a Harvard study that concluded (pdf) that open access broadband networks (letting multiple ISPs come in and compete over a central, core network) resulted in lower broadband prices and better service in numerous locations worldwide. Of course when the Obama FCC released its “National Broadband Plan” back in 2010, this realization (not to mention an honest accounting of the sector’s limited competition) was nowhere to be found. Both parties ignored the data and instead doubled down on our existing national telecom policy plan: letting AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast do pretty much whatever they’d like. Something, of course, taken to ridiculous new heights during the Trump era.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Netflix May Reach 2.6M Subscribers in Africa by End of 2021, Analyst Estimates

        Netflix may end 2021 with 2.61 million streaming subscribers in Africa and more than double that to 5.84 million by 2026, business intelligence company Digital TV Research projected on Thursday.

        That would make the global streamer the leader in the space on the African continent. Digital TV Research forecast that subscription video-on-demand users in Africa would, by 2026, number 15.06 million, triple the 5.11 million expected at the end of 2021.

    • Monopolies

      • When It Comes to Antitrust, It’s All Connected

        Congress is concerned with Big Tech and has a number of bills aimed at keeping those companies in check. But just focusing on Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft won’t fix the problem we find ourselves in. Monopoly is at the heart of today’s business model. For everything.

        In tech startups, companies run in the red for years, seeking to flood the zone, undercut the prices of their competitors, and buy up newcomers, until they are the last ones standing. For years, one of Uber’s main goals was the destruction of Lyft. A series of leaks and PR disasters kept Uber from succeeding, but it is not the only company pursuing this tactic. Think about how many food delivery apps there used to be. And now think about how many have been bought up and merged with each other.

        For internet service providers (ISPs), being a local monopoly is the goal. When Frontier went bankrupt, the public filings revealed that the ISP saw its monopoly territory as a bankable asset. That’s because, as internet access becomes a necessity for everyday life, a monopoly can guarantee a profit. They can also gouge us on prices, deliver worse service for more money, and avoid upgrading their services since there is no better option for consumers to choose.

      • Patents

        • Idogen : publishes interim report for 1 January – 30 June 2021

          The European Patent Office (EPO) announced that a European patent will be granted to protect the company’s tolerogenic cell therapy.

        • Ask the Experts: How can I manage the costs of a patent? [Ed: What those self-described 'experts' won't tell you is that the best you can do is not waste any money of them; they deliberately give bad advice to make themselves seem necessary]

          In previous articles, we addressed the questions of whether applying for a patent is appropriate, and if so, when this should be done. This article addresses questions around the process for filing a patent.

          Q: Could I file the application myself, and then ask a patent attorney for help if I get stuck later?

          A: Although this is possible, it may be the case that by the time you ask for help, there is little that can be done to resolve any problems. In the example in the previous article, even if the inventor could demonstrate (or successfully argue) that their invention worked, the patent office would have refused the application because it did not explain how the invention could be made to work, and it is not permitted to add information to an application once it has been filed.

          That said, patent attorneys spend a large portion of their time responding to objections raised by the patent office after the application is filed and will be able to give valuable advice on how to proceed based on their experience. Their advice may be based on legal, technical and/or commercial considerations. For example, it may be that the patent office has identified earlier documents such that, although a patent could be granted, it would not provide a meaningful deterrent to competitors, and the commercial value of the patent may be very low.

        • Opinion | Publicly-Owned Generic Drugs Are the Answer

          It’s an all too familiar story. A company with some of the best-paying jobs around and a vital anchor for the community decides to engage in “restructuring” to “maximize long-term value creation.”

      • Copyrights

        • TekSavvy Takes Pirate Site Blocking Battle to Canada’s Supreme Court

          Internet provider TekSavvy is taking the legal battle over Canada’s first pirate site blocking order to the Supreme Court. The company has no sympathy for pirate sites but feels that it’s obligated to defend the neutral role of ISPs and prevent freedom of speech from being violated.

        • Usenet Giant Newzbin Shuts Down, BREIN Still Intends to Pursue Operators

          One of the most popular Usenet indexing sites has closed down citing legal action by anti-piracy group BREIN as one of the main factors. Newzbin, which is especially popular among Dutch Usenet users, has been running for almost eight years but according to its operators, contributors have become increasingly wary of the consequences of linking to copyrighted material.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, August 26, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:47 am by Needs Sunlight

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Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmdX2s2SqVdLGeDkdkKttPs5yTYJsLmp17uRadMNJPA8o7

Richard Stallman’s 2014 Talk in Espoo, Finland

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Videos at 2:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Now that we publish many articles about Finland, which would be the victim of European software patents (Nokia and Finland aren’t the same thing!), it’s worth recalling the above talk, which mentions — inter alia — copyrights and other matters as they pertain to Finnish society (recordings from the same trip can also be found here)

Richard Stallman in Helsinki, Finland; Photo under CC BY-SA 3.0 and courtesy of Ryynänen Tuomo.
Photo under CC BY-SA 3.0 and courtesy of Ryynänen Tuomo.

Finnish Media Has Already Explained What Sorts of People We’re Dealing With…

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 5dbde9577582389ef9eb5154d1cacceb

Summary: Taking stock of last night’s articles, which focus on Finland and Baltic states that its delegate allegedly controls

FOLLOWING the first four parts of the series [1, 2, 3, 4] we’ve paused again to make a video about the Finnish enabler of Benoît Battistelli at the EPO. He’s also an associate of António Campinos, a friend of Battistelli whom the Administrative Council left in charge of the Office, where he covers up the abuses of Battistelli. This Finnish enabler is said to have been indirectly in control of no less than 4 votes in the Council, i.e. more than France, Germany and the UK combined. Later in the series we shall talk more about Baltic states and their role, including in some of the most controversial decisions.

“Later in the series we shall talk more about Baltic states and their role, including in some of the most controversial decisions.”The series will focus on aspects such as union-busting, denial of the right to strike etc. but clearly the lack of oversight at the EPO led to other problems, such as ongoing collapse of patent quality (still an ongoing problem) and court-rigging which enables European software patents — something that another Finn has been shamelessly promoting (for a large, tax-exempted salary).

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