A Tale of Two KDE Distributions: Kubuntu 21.10 and Debian 11 GNU/Linux

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, KDE, Ubuntu at 8:25 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

KDE screenshot

I recently tried out Debian 11 with KDE on my Lenovo Yoga 900 ISK2 laptop.

This is my older system and I feel more comfortable playing around with it because it’s not being used that much. Regardless, it allows me to see where things are at in other distributions.

While Debian 11 is generally a fine GNOME desktop experience, it’s hardly an ideal one for KDE users with HiDPI displays, because the version that they put in is far too old for the KDE on Wayland session to work properly.

While the X11 session probably works fine on lower resolution screens and can remain serviceable for the foreseeable future, both sessions are a complete scaling mess no matter what you do on a HiDPI monitor.

So I grabbed a daily build of Kubuntu 21.10 (which is not yet released), and I think it’s shaping up to be a good release so far.

Some of that is later improvements to KDE, and the rest is just that Kubuntu’s setup program is more pleasant and even offers to install a “minimal” version of the desktop so that you can start out with some basic essential software and then add what you want later.

This, I think, will be more enticing to people with SSDs, or even more so to people who are trying to go into developer mode on a Chromebook to clobber Chrome OS, but need the OS and their files to fit comfortably on an eMMC drive.

One of the downsides of KDE is that it has some applications that almost nobody really uses (Konqueror, Akonadi, KMail…) and which are either badly maintained, use more resources than they’re worth, or just don’t work properly, but the Plasma desktop is generally a fine piece of software.

The minimal install provided by Kubuntu, giving the user a relatively clean slate, also gives them a chance to explore oft-overlooked native KDE software, like the Calligra Office suite.

LibreOffice is the default office program, and you basically need it if you plan to save any Microsoft files (eww), and has both GTK and Qt bindings, but those are essentially a mask it wears. And it can be a good mask, and it’s not a bad office program, but it’s still a very “cross platform” program, whereas KDE has an official office suite that’s quite good. If you don’t need to _save_ to Microsoft formats, it can, however, import them, and it’s quite pleasant to use.

In fact, according to top (although the KDE system monitor now seems to count disk cache as used memory now for some reason), only 637 MB of RAM (excluding the disk cache, which can be evicted if the system runs low) were in use on my laptop with an empty KDE desktop running aside from the terminal. This is easily several hundred MB less than GNOME.

So far, the only thing I had to do with the KDE Plasma Desktop on the Yoga 900 ISK2 was configure my touchpad the way I like it and then scale the display to 200%. It even took effect instantly in the Wayland session. Nice!

And when I shut the lid and reopened it, Kubuntu 21.10 even remembered that I had a touchpad.

(Did I mention that Debian’s KDE on X11 didn’t?)

One of the reasons I haven’t taken a serious look at KDE recently (despite being a huge fan of their 3.x series) is because their window manager has been a complete disaster on that laptop with different HiDPI scaling bugs and various levels of completeness.

Obviously, it has gotten much better recently, but Debian froze a version of it that just doesn’t work too well for the screen in that particular laptop.

Mine is a special case (and an evil laugh).

Other than the odd PC and some Macs, not many computers have these screens (and most people are better off spending their money on a better processor, more memory, nicer graphics, bigger SSD, or something important) and so it wasn’t a pressing development matter, obviously, outside of GNOME.

In general, this is just Debian being Debian.

In normal usage, for most people, Debian is going to hold up better than Ubuntu because the software in the Stable version of Debian, while older, is rigorously tested and with the goal of there being far fewer serious defects in the final product as a result.

I posted about using Flatpaks several times if you need a newer version of a particular program on Debian, but just want a stable OS core that isn’t moving around a lot, with the usual bug churn that goes along with that.

The most notable feature of Debian is probably that they are extremely conservative about official kernel versions (although you can certainly install a newer one through backports).

That is to say that the official Linux kernels tend to be drawn from the LTS branches where it will just get more and more reliable over its five years (ish) support lifecycle upstream, and if it runs your hardware okay, there’s really not a lot of reason to mess with it.

But the policy extends to just about everything on the system.

And in some cases, that’s a shame, because KDE’s latest stuff strikes me as overwhelmingly competent. It works, it works well, and it’s not bloatware. If there is one thing I absolutely hate, it’s software that uses more resources than it should for the job it’s doing.

I did run into a weird issue where booting Kubuntu 21.10 on this laptop caused the uEFI BIOS in my Lenovo ThinkBook 15 ITL Gen2 to say it was backing up the self-healing BIOS until I shut down and cold started the computer.

I have no idea how Ubuntu is building their kernels. Debian doesn’t do this.

If I was going to switch over to KDE on this, it would probably be on Debian 11, even though there have been improvements, just because it’s stable and the 1920×1080 display plays nicely with everything.

Nothing gets me hotter under the collar than software that doesn’t work, or is working one day and not the next, and now the problem is fixed, but there’s another problem. That’s what Fedora was like.

It’s worth repeating….. DO NOT buy a HiDPI display.

You will only live to regret it. They’re a power-hogging monstrosity that demands a lot of the GPU, and they’re not practical.

Leave them for Mac fanboys who are watching kiss anime at 240p on Safari.

I’m sad to say that I bought one because I liked how it looked in the store, and then I ended up getting snookered in and only able to run GNOME these last several years.

At this point, I know to ask for 1920×1080 displays. A nice one. But 1920×1080. No more, no less.

I definitely see why some underpowered ARM laptops in the $100 range are going with KDE.

It’s probably the only desktop environment that any sane person would use that still works on such a system. While GNOME is nowhere near as bad about leaking memory as it used to be, it’s still no spring chicken on old or cheap hardware, and KDE is fast and feature-packed.

KDE has had extreme ups and downs over the years, and if anything gives me a second thought at recommending it, it’s that.

In early 2008, I remember being excited that we were going to get KDE 4.0, and then I went to evaluate it and almost nothing worked right, for me anyway, until halfway into the KDE 4 development cycle, with version 4.5.

Kubuntu 8.04 LTS ended up releasing an unofficial patchjob of KDE 3.5.”12″ and saying that was the LTS, and if you wanted the KDE 4 packages, you were on your own. No LTS support at that point. The KDE project made some truly bizarre development choices and one of them was this thing called the “Phonon” API, which seemed great in theory.

They would no longer be beholden to some sound system that might get abandoned upstream like aRts did. Phonon is a smallish API, and programs can use it to play sound and perform other tasks, not caring what the actual media engine behind it all is.

The only problem is that the default gstreamer backend was so terrible (at the time, it works fine now) that I installed an unofficial VLC plug-in, so that everything that used Phonon would end up with VLC’s enormous codec library. But even forcing the user to think about things like this seems like a bother in this day and age.

I mean, I’m willing to entertain some post-setup dotting of the i’s, crossing of the t’s, but an OS needs to work.

And KDE went on for years feeling half-baked with a bug system that was, at times, an echo chamber.

Along the way, they adopted this crazy versioning system that split everything out into three groups (not counting Qt itself!) and I’ve never taken to that, and I’ll always call Lake Shore Drive in Chicago by THAT name regardless of what the Democratic Party decides it is.

All while GNOME 3 (now 4x) just incrementally got better.

The KDE 5.x series is finally something I could install and use on my own computer as a daily driver… except that it’s been so long now that muscle memory for GNOME is built-up, but I can figure out pretty much anything fairly quickly, and would be comfortable changing over on a fresh install if I decided to.

The importance of KDE, to me, is that it’s now one more option.

If GNOME does something that just flat out makes their software useless and terrible, in my opinion, or KDE just keeps getting better, I can easily switch to it.

That’s important. I doubt either will ever get proprietary software-bad, but still….choice is nice.

In Windows, there have been other shells besides “Exploder” (Explorer), but very few people ever installed them, and just muddled through trying to figure out where everything was every couple of years when Microsoft decided to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Most of the projects that even tried to bring some (UI-level) sanity to Windows are now dead. Most were better-written than Microsoft’s, not that that’s much of a hill to climb, but most of the developers themselves probably gave up trying to make the best out of the situation and fled to GNU/Linux and just didn’t have anything left to develop and test on.

Remember how awful that Windows 8 thing was? Remember them giving you the start button back and then having it lead to that second desktop you were trying to ignore? That’s how GUI developers give you a proper middle finger.

That’s one in a particularly long line of cruel manipulations from Microsoft. I hear that now with Windows 11 you have to set your default browser in like 23 different places, and it’s still hardwired to ignore you and do whatever the hell Microsoft wants.

This is just not how you’d treat a friend, and it’s not the way Free Software treats its users.

Citation/Atlas ‘Security’ Exam is a Total Farce, But It’s Still Good for Entertainment Purposes

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: What are people being taught about so-called ‘security’? Might that explain so many security breaches? (Poor training, wrong assumptions)

OVER the years I saw criticisms of school or classroom indoctrination about copyrights. They’re basically teaching/pushing a bunch of lies to young children in an effort to “educate” them about “copyright law” (sounds reasonable on the surface… until one actually checks what these pupils are being told).

“It’s supposed to sound sophisticated, but the net gain for security is laughable.”For ISO compliance purposes, sometimes I’m required to take and pass some online “training” courses. Some of these are ridiculously bad, so I end up taking screenshots.

This post is about fake security mindset — a concept explained here several times earlier this year. It’s supposed to sound sophisticated, but the net gain for security is laughable. Complexity does not beget security (usually the opposite is true; simplicity is auditable). Basically, it boils down to what’s sometimes known as "security theatre", owing to a ‘fake security’ cargo cult of “phones” or “apps” and “clown computing” (i.e. giving all your access credentials to some other company, along with highly sensitive data).

During my latest “training” I stumbled upon about 40 examples of amusing errors and silliness (it’s all over the place, sometimes with repetition for extra effect or ‘good’ measure), but to keep things more concise and digestable I took screenshots and annotated them a little, just as I did last year with edX [1, 2], in effect shilling for the Linux Foundation in the guise of “training”. Where does one draw the line between courses and marketing, revisionism, and even outright lies?

“Basically, it boils down to what’s sometimes known as “security theatre”, owing to a ‘fake security’ cargo cult of “phones” or “apps” and “clown computing” (i.e. giving all your access credentials to some other company, along with highly sensitive data).”Below I present just a small sample. Almost at random I narrowed it down to just a dozen rather unique examples (there are many more similar instances of these). Surely, a more exhaustive list would take a lot of time to prepare while the clock is running. At the end, one is required to lie or say what they expect you to say in order to pass the test (which I did). To be fair, the questions aren’t as terrible as the supposed ‘training’, as they don’t mention brand names there or promote outrageous fallacies.

Without further ado, let’s begin.

Does that mean what they think it means? Yes! They can! Like, every person? If you already labeled them that, what does that mean? 'Good' ones?

It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s happening here and why it’s shallow. Infantile questions like, ARE CRIMINALS A THREAT? It’s like a colouring book quiz with heroes and villains. They present actual adults with such questions. We’ll come back to it later when it comes to “exam time”.

They don't need to target you, they can target the software you use, e.g. Microsoft Windows

Notice how, just like Microsoft, they’re looking to blame computer users or “criminals” (or some nations like China or Russia). Anything to divert liability away from rogue software companies that write shoddy code, hide the defects, and code back doors for the NSA et al.

Let’s move on.

Apple or Microsoft

Wait, I’m confused.

You mean Microsoft

As if it’s the user’s fault that Microsoft cannot secure its own systems…

Surveillance devices with back doors are some of the least secure ways to maintain access to things

Yes, let’s all use ‘phones’ to manage critical servers… with “apps”.

Back doors of vendors and governments not even mentioned

Missing part?

With back-doored encryption of the aforementioned brands?

No mention of “weakened” (i.e. fake) encryption.

Microsoft promotion (niche player)

Why are they ignoring bigger players like Facebook and Twitter? Brand promoting? Wait, there’s more right after that…

What if I don't use (back-doored) Windows?

It’s 2021 and they still think everyone uses Windows. Guess what… Windows market share is less than a third.

But should I use Windows at all?

Windows again.

OK, questions time. First in the test:

The simplistic children's villain narrative

So let me guess… “criminals” are the threat. Who would have guessed?

Did I learn something from this course? Absolutely nothing. But I got some giggles. Many millions of people are constantly subjected to this kind of propaganda, which sometimes seems more like marketing than actual education.

[Meme] [Teaser] Swiss Rumbustious Alpha-Rambos

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lipstick on an EPO hog
Swiss right-wingers played a role in Vichyite EPO policies

Summary: Aggressive men tarnish the image of Switzerland as a soft nation of peace; details tomorrow…

Unqualified Managers and Demoralising Leadership in Switzerland (Like in EPO)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 6b688b13568dc073f4282e7e774d86cd

Summary: Switzerland’s media (what’s left of it) is currently looking into new scandals associated with Christian Bock, who back in 2013 helped back the EPO's illegal anti-strike regulations

MORE than 8 years ago Christian Bock played a role in approval of unlawful EPO regulations on behalf of Switzerland. Did he have a deep understanding of patents at the time? It does not seem so. As it turns out, in his home country Switzerland (though he’s German originally) Bock has been the subject of numerous controversies. Long story short, he’s being put in charge of institutions he has no grasp or no real understanding of. He’s being paid a huge salary to manage people who don’t respect him and don’t like him (shades of Frenchmen Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos) and the above video discusses Part 10, which we've only just published. We’ll continue our coverage of the ‘Bockgates’ tomorrow.

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock

Swiss Christian Bock
Christian Bock, deputy head of the Swiss delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council in June 2013, now controversial director of the Swiss Federal Customs Administration.

Summary: An enabler of Benoît Battistelli, who illegally brought firearms to the EPO, very recently had a firearms-related scandal in his home country

In this part we turn our attention to Christian Bock who was the deputy head of the Swiss delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council in June 2013.

Although he was not the head of the Swiss delegation, Bock’s subsequent controversial career as Director of the Federal Customs Administration in Switzerland deserves a chapter or two of its own.

“He originally comes from northern Germany but he is a naturalised Swiss citizen and has been employed in the Swiss federal civil service for over 25 years.”Bock is not a native of Switzerland. He originally comes from northern Germany but he is a naturalised Swiss citizen and has been employed in the Swiss federal civil service for over 25 years.

He pursued legal studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland and graduated with a Master of Law degree in 1993. He initially worked as an attorney and notary in Solothurn before joining the Swiss Federal Institute for Intellectual Property – known as the Institut für Geistiges Eigentum (IGE) – as a “trademark lawyer” in 1994.

“He pursued legal studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland and graduated with a Master of Law degree in 1993.”From 1994 to 2007, he held various positions at the Swiss IGE, rising to become Deputy Director under Roland Grossenbacher.

Bock’s first big breakthrough came in 2007 under the then Justice Minister Christoph Blocher who promoted him to the position of director of the Federal Office for Metrology (METAS).

“Bock’s political sponsor, Christoph Blocher – an industrialist and politician who headed the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party SVP – had plans to “reform” METAS and Bock seemed to be the right man to push things in the direction that he wanted.”This was the position that Bock held when the EPO’s Administrative Council voted on Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations” in June 2013. Bock remained as deputy head of the Swiss delegation on the Administrative Council until the end of 2014 when he was replaced in this capacity by Alban Fischer, the new deputy director of the IGE and head of the institute’s patent department.

“However, Bock’s managerial style at METAS led to a noticeable deterioration of the social climate in the institution.”Bock’s political sponsor, Christoph Blocher – an industrialist and politician who headed the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party SVP – had plans to “reform” METAS and Bock seemed to be the right man to push things in the direction that he wanted.

Before taking over at METAS, Bock had no experience in the field of meteorology, but he saw himself as a “doer” and he left no doubt about his ambitions to implement a radical programme of “reform” as desired by his political patron.

However, Bock’s managerial style at METAS led to a noticeable deterioration of the social climate in the institution.

“According to the reply from the incumbent Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga – who relied on the information provided to her by Bock – everything was in good order.”In September 2015, the Swiss parliamentarian Gerhard Pfister submitted a set of parliamentary questions [PDF] “about staff changes and the working atmosphere” at METAS to the Federal Council of Ministers (as the national government of Switzerland is known).

According to the reply from the incumbent Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga – who relied on the information provided to her by Bock – everything was in good order.

Shortly afterwards in December 2015, Bock marked another significant milestone in his career when he advanced to become director of the Swiss Federal Customs Administration (FCA) [PDF] with the support of then Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf.

Simonetta Sommaruga and Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf
Bock’s political patrons on the Swiss Federal Council in 2015: former Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga (left) who defended his record at METAS and former Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (right) who promoted him to head of the Federal Customs Administration.

Bock was now the “powerful overlord of 4,500 customs experts and border guards” in a position which is reported to carry an annual salary of up to CHF 321,000 (around € 296,000 at current exchange rates).

“In April 2021, the CH Media group published a series of three articles authored by the Swiss journalist Henry Habegger. These articles contained an in-depth critique of Bock and his aggressive and confrontational management style at the Federal Customs Administration.”According to Swiss media reports, the same thing seems to have happened at the Swiss FCA as previously with METAS. Under Bock’s stewardship a toxic climate of mistrust and fear developed among the staff of the organisation.

In April 2021, the CH Media group published a series of three articles authored by the Swiss journalist Henry Habegger. These articles contained an in-depth critique of Bock and his aggressive and confrontational management style at the Federal Customs Administration.

Amongst other things, the series examined [PDF] Bock’s ambitious and highly controversial “DaziT” project – the planned root-and-branch “modernisation” and “digitisation” of the Customs Administration.

The original articles in German are behind a paywall but PDF copies are available.

Wo er wirkt, herrscht ein «Klima der Angst» – Zolldirektor Bock, ein Chefbeamter zum Fürchten. (Local [PDF])
Translation: Wherever he operates, “climate of fear” prevails – Customs Director Bock, a senior official who is dreaded.

Zollchef Bock: Der Waffenfreund in Phantasieuniform serviert das Grenzwachtkorps ab. (Local [PDF])
Translation: Customs boss Bock: The gun lover in fantasy uniform is dumping the border guard corps.

Überwachung total? Wie sich Zolldirektor Bock von zwei Juristen ein «Ermächtigungsgesetz» fabrizieren liess. (Local [PDF])
Translation: Total surveillance? How Customs Director Bock got two lawyers to manufacture an “Enabling Act” for him.

The Swiss website finesolutions.ch, which reports on customs-related issues, also published an openly accessible summary of the three part series in German. A translation is available in PDF format above and below. [PDF]

More can be found here. [PDF]

“According to these reports, Bock and his deputy Isabelle Emmenegger were in full dress uniform and carrying pistols when a train conductor approached them with a request to bring an unruly passenger to his senses.”In June 2021 the Swiss TV channel SRF produced its own report on the situation at the Federal Customs Administration. The report [PDF] was entitled “Zolldirektor mit Pistole: Der umstrittene Christian Bock” (“Customs Director with a Pistol: the controversial Christian Bock”).

“In the normal course of events, such passengers tend to calm down very quickly when an armed law enforcement officer shows up and there is rarely any need for the actual use of force to subdue the individual in question.”Although he has taken great pains to cultivate a public image of himself as a “man of action”, in April 2021 the Swiss media reported that Bock had failed to intervene in a real-life incident involving an unruly passenger on a train travelling between Bern and Basel.

According to these reports, Bock and his deputy Isabelle Emmenegger were in full dress uniform and carrying pistols when a train conductor approached them with a request to bring an unruly passenger to his senses. In the normal course of events, such passengers tend to calm down very quickly when an armed law enforcement officer shows up and there is rarely any need for the actual use of force to subdue the individual in question.

“The verdict of the Swiss media was that the incident reflected poorly on Bock who was said to be “armed but lacking in courage”.”But in this case, Bock and his deputy decided to play it safe for themselves and remained seated. Bock telephoned ahead to request that a detachment of border guards be assigned to the platform in Basel. Their mission was to apprehend the disruptive passenger upon arrival of the train. However, the troublemaker managed to escape scot-free. He disembarked from the train well before it arrived at its final destination.

The verdict of the Swiss media was that the incident reflected poorly on Bock who was said to be “armed but lacking in courage”.

In the next part we will look the most recent developments in the controversy surrounding Bock, which is still very much a “live” topic in Switzerland.

Links 12/10/2021: Qubes 4.1 RC and Kdenlive 21.08.2

Posted in News Roundup at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Powerful Linux laptop RTX 3080 Kubuntu Focus Gen 3 M2 workstation

        Kubuntu Focus has this week unveiled a new addition to their range of Linux mobile workstations with the introduction of the 3rd generation M2 Linux laptop powered by Intel 11th generation Core i7-11800H with RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 variations. “The M2 makes quick work of the most demanding tasks and outperforms nearly all thin-and-light laptops. Run GPU-accelerated AI immediately with the included Deep Learning Suite. Accelerate TensorFlow jobs from 8 hours to less than 15 minutes. Render Blender scenes 10x faster with NVIDIA RTX Optix. All with unmatched Linux-first optimization and support.”

        The third-generation M2 performance is provided by the 8-core, 16-thread i7-11800H CPU supported by high-quality 3200 MHz RAM offering improvement of 19 and 29% this generation say the engineers at Kubuntu Focus. Users can install up to 64 GB of Dual Channel DDR4 3200 MHz and each system also has an integrated GPU to conserve power and video RAM when you need it. The Intel Irix Xe 32EU iGPU has twice the performance of the previous generation.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Developers Push Urgent Patches To Fix ‘Yet Another Hardware Trainwreck’ | HotHardware

        Accurate timers are critical to the function of the low-level parts of the underlying code that drives the user-facing software we actually use in our daily lives. Fortunately, x86-64 PCs include numerous timers. Actually selecting which of those timers to use in a given scenario, however, can be a headache due to bugs, design flaws or implementation issues.

        The preferred timer on most modern machines should be the High-Precision Event Timer, or HPET. Sadly, that’s not always the case on recent Intel hardware. Back in 2019, Linux started disabling the HPET on Coffee Lake and Ice Lake-based Intel platforms, owing to problems with the timers’ accuracy when the system enters the PC10 low-power state (part of the “S0ix” states introduced with Haswell. Remember when companies started selling “Haswell-ready” power supplies?)

      • The latest Linux release candidate helps circumvent a hardware disaster | TechRadar

        An urgent set of patches for the latest release candidate (RC) of the under-development Linux v5.15 kernel reportedly helped the popular open source kernel avert what’s described as a “hardware trainwreck”.

        Phoronix caught hold of last minute urgent updates sent hours before Linus Torvalds, the kernel’s principle developer, was to put out the fifth RC of the upcoming kernel.

        The patch was added by longtime kernel developer Thomas Gleixner who described it as “yet another attempt at fixing the never-ending saga of botched x86 timers…”

      • Intel Posts Latest DG2/Alchemist Linux Patches In Requiring 64K Page Size Handling – Phoronix

        While Linux 5.15 brings very early bits around DG2/Alchemist graphics card support, further work is needed to bring it into usable shape for end-users. The latest new patch series to be posted came out today with more driver changes needed around local device memory handling for DG2.

        New with DG2 is that the hardware only is supporting 64K page sizes and larger. The i915 device memory for DG2 and future discrete graphics can only support 64K or larger for the GTT page size even if using say 4K for the kernel page size on x86_64 systems.

      • Linux x86 FPU Code Getting Reworked In Preparation For Intel AMX – Phoronix

        It’s been one year now that Intel has been posting Linux kernel patches to enable AMX support for upcoming Sapphire Rapids processors. Over the past year their Linux kernel patches for enabling Advanced Matrix Extensions has gone through 11 rounds of review but that journey isn’t over yet.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Tiger Lake Performance Across Five Autumn 2021 Linux Distributions

        Earlier this month were benchmarks looking at how Intel Tiger Lake performance has improved from Ubuntu 21.04 to Ubuntu 21.10, but how does Canonical’s latest Linux offering compete with other autumn 2021 distributions? In this article from the Dell XPS Core i7-1165G7 Tiger Lake notebook are benchmarks of Ubuntu 21.10 going up against Arch Linux, Clear Linux, Fedora Workstation 35, and openSUSE Tumbleweed for getting an idea how the performance compares with this latest-generation Intel EVO notebook.

    • Applications

      • Multiboot USB Creator Ventoy Adds a GUI Mode to Its Live ISO Image

        If you haven’t heard of Ventoy before, let me tell that it’s a recently new bootable USB creation solution that works just by copying the image files of the operating systems you want to have a flash drive without formatting it over and over.

        There are many great tools out there to create multiboot USB drivers, but Ventoy makes it easier than ever and supports almost all known GNU/Linux distributions, as well as Windows OSes up to Windows 11, Chrome OS, BSD, and other UNIX systems.

      • An alternative search tool for LibreOffice Writer

        AltSearch offers extended functionality to LibreOffice Write’s default find and replace tools, making it the ideal for editing and formatting longer documents.

        Few features in a word processor are less glamorous than a search tool. That is, until you do some intensive editing, especially if your revisions include reformatting. Then you will be thankful for a full featured tool. In the case of LibreOffice Writer, the available tools are barely adequate, which is why I recommend the Alternative Find & Replace for Writer extension, also known as AltSearch.

        Like all LibreOffice extensions, AltSearch is easily installed. Just download it from the LibreOffice extension site, and open Tools | Extension Manager. The next time you start Writer, AltSearch appears as a menu item in addition to an icon with green binoculars in the upper left corner of the toolbar.

        You can understand the need for AltSearch by examining the default search tools in Writer. Edit | Find is a simple field similar to the ones found in many web browsers. It is suitable for finding words and phrases, but its options are strictly limited. You can search backward or forward from your present location in a document, find all, or match case — and that’s all (Figure 1).

      • Arkime 3.1 network traffic indexing system is available – itsfoss.net

        The release of the system for capturing, storing and indexing network packets Arkime 3.1 has been prepared , which provides tools for visually assessing traffic flows and searching for information related to network activity. The project was originally developed by AOL with the goal of creating an open and deployable replacement for commercial network packet processing platforms on its servers , capable of scalable to handle traffic at speeds of tens of gigabits per second. The traffic capture component code is written in C, and the interface is implemented in Node.js / JavaScript. The source code is distributed under the Apache 2.0 license. Work in Linux and FreeBSD is supported. Ready packages are prepared for Arch, CentOS and Ubuntu.

        Arkime includes tools for capturing and indexing traffic in native PCAP format, and provides tools for quick access to indexed data. The use of the PCAP format greatly simplifies integration with existing traffic analyzers such as Wireshark. The amount of stored data is limited only by the size of the available disk array. Session metadata is indexed in a cluster based on the Elasticsearch engine .

      • High-performance embedded DBMS libmdbx 0.10.4 and libfpta 0.3.9 released – itsfoss.net

        The libmdbx 0.10.4 (MDBX) libraries have been released with the implementation of a high-performance compact embedded database of the key-value class, and the linked library libfpta 0.3.9 (FPTA), which implements a table view of data with secondary and composite indexes on top of MDBX. Both libraries are distributed under OSI approved licenses . All current operating systems and architectures are supported, as well as the Russian Elbrus 2000.

        Historically, libmdbx is a deep reworking of the LMDB DBMS and surpasses its predecessor in reliability, feature set, and performance. Compared to LMDB, libmdbx places a lot of emphasis on code quality, API stability, testing, and automated checks. A utility for checking the integrity of the database structure is supplied with some recovery options.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Jitsi Meet on Debian 11 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Jitsi Meet on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, Jitsi Meet is a free and open-source video conferencing service solution packed with various premium features, such as superior sound quality, high-grade encryption and privacy, and universal multi-platform availability. Jitsi Meet supports multi-platform applications for the web platform, Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and Android.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Jitsi Meet on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • How To Install Stacer on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Stacer on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Stacer is a great application that will help us optimize and monitor our Linux system. It comes with a beautiful graphical user interface (GUI) dashboard that displays the state of your CPU, Memory as well as Disk, and many others. I often use this application to see info about running computer systems, delete repositories, delete cache, and many others.

        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 the step-by-step installation of the Stacer Linux optimizer and monitoring tool on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to Install Opera Browser Stable, Beta, or Developer on Linux Mint 20 – LinuxCapable

        Opera is a freeware, cross-platform web browser developed by Opera Software and operates as a Chromium-based browser. Opera offers a clean, modern web browser that is an alternative to the other major players in the Browser race. Its famous Opera Turbo mode and its renowned battery saving mode are the best amongst all known web browsers by quite a margin, along with a built-in VPN and much more.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Opera Browser on Linux Mint 20.

      • How to Install Zoom Ubuntu and Debian Derivatives

        Zoom Meetings is a proprietary video teleconferencing software program developed by Zoom Video Communications. The free plan allows up to 100 concurrent participants, with a 40-minute time restriction. Users have the option to upgrade by subscribing to a paid plan.

        In this guide we are going to explore how to install Zoom Client on Ubuntu and Debian derivatives like Debian, Kubuntu and Elementary or Linux Mint.

        You can easily download Zoom on your PC to start video conferencing with your colleagues and friends around the world. Zoom offers remote conferencing services including video calls, online meetings, and collaborative tasks. Zoom is free to use but does offer paid subscriptions which offer additional features.

      • How to install Telegram on Linux

        Let’s install Telegram on Linux. Telegram Messenger is a powerful application to keep in touch with friends, family, and acquaintences across a variety of operating systems, including those on mobile and computer.

        You need a phone number to initially sign up, but then it’s simple to download the messenger on Linux and use it to message others. It’s also capable of hosting large group chats, video calls, and social media feeds.

        In this tutorial, we’ll go over the step by step instructions to install Telegram Messenger on all major Linux distros. Telegram is simple to install, since it’s natively available in most distro’s official package repositories. You’ll also see a few alternative methods of installing the application in case you are on a different Linux distro.

      • Linux commands cheat sheet

        The command line terminal in Linux is the operating system’s most powerful component. However, due to the sheer amount of commands available, it can be intimidating for newcomers. Even longtime users may forget a command every once in a while and that is why we have created this Linux cheat sheet commands guide.

        For times like these, it’s very handy to have a compiled list of Linux commands that have been sorted by category. That way, it only takes a few moments to reference the list whenever you forget the exact syntax of a command.

        In this tutorial, we’ll present you with a curated list of the most handy Linux commands. These are some of the most useful commands, but they aren’t easy to remember for everyone. Next time your mind is blanking at a Linux terminal, take a look at the Linux commands cheat sheet below for some quick help.

      • Learn Usage of chmod (Change Mode) Command in Linux

        Since Linux is a member of the Unix-like operating system family, it has inherited some Unix rules like the way it deals with system/user files & directories.

        Linux operating system makes use of certain flags which determine which system user has access to which files/directories and how the same users can manipulate those files through various read or write operations.

      • Create a timer on Linux | Opensource.com

        The timing of certain events is a common task for a developer. Common scenarios for timers are watchdogs, cyclic execution of tasks, or scheduling events for a specific time. In this article, I show how to create a POSIX-compliant interval timer using timer_create(…).

    • Games

      • Proton Experimental sees GreedFall, Eve Online and Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl working

        Another update to Proton Experimental has landed as of October 11 bringing with it more fixes and even more Windows games are now working on Linux.

        Newly playable as of this update are GreedFall, Eve Online and Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. Additionally there’s a fix implemented for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare hanging on exit, the Paradox Launcher has improved “windowing”, there’s a fix for regressions from a previous release, crashes solved for older CPUs that lack the timestamp counter and crashes also fixed for some FNA/XNA games.

      • Lutris 0.5.9 Release Adds AMD’s FidelityFX, DLSS, & Epic Games Store Support

        Lutris is a free and open-source game manager available exclusively for Linux.

        It has been and still is one of the essentials when it comes to Linux gaming. Using Lutris, you can organize your game collection from various different gaming clients such as Steam, GOG, and Humble Bundle. Moreover, Lutris offers a one-step installation for various games to help you install games as conveniently as possible.

        Let’s take a look at what this release has to offer to Linux gamers.

      • Helping to keep your game library tidy Lutris 0.5.9 is out supporting Epic Games Store | GamingOnLinux

        The Epic Games Store comes to the game manager Lutris, giving you an even better place to deal with your game library split across many different stores. On top of that it also supports Steam for Windows as a game source, for those titles you can’t get working directly through Proton.

        Now this means that Lutris can help you manage Epic Games Store, GOG, Humble Store, Steam (Linux/Windows), DOSBox, Emulators and more. Even more helpful is that Lutris games can be launched from Steam, you can disable 3rd party services you don’t want, there’s support now for DXVK-NVAPI and DLSS and VKD3D is now an option by itself.

      • Of Blades & Tails looks like a charming upcoming turn-based animal tribe RPG

        Developer Felix Laukel (Colmen’s Quest) has announced Of Blades & Tails, a quite charming looking upcoming turn-based RPG in a world full of different animal tribes.

        “A turn-based RPG that is action-oriented but rewards a thoughtful approach. Discover a fantastic land populated by different animal tribes. You play Riff, a clever member of the tribe of foxes. A chain of unfortunate events involves you in a quest of vital importance to all the peace-loving creatures of the realm. You will have to leave your home village and explore the world to become strong enough to stand up to evil. (In other words: There will be a storyline but it’s still in the making!)”

      • How to install Itch with Debian 11 – Unixcop

        Today we will learn how to install itch.io with Debian 11. For indie developers, the itch was developed to host, sell, and download games. Released in March 2013, websites hosts more than 40 million games today. Indie games or independent video game is typically a game developed by small communities. Such games do not have much support from some big tech companies. Newbies can enhance their skills here. Seasoned developed are able to earn good money. A lot of popular games are already contributed by itch.io.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kdenlive 21.08.2 is out

          The second release of the 21.08 series is out with a polishing galore throughout all Kdenlive components. Compositing highlights include added align parameters to the Composite interface, fixing line artifacts affecting the Slide composition, compositions display correctly on clips with same track transitions, Transform and Composite & Transform compositions adjust properly to frame size. Fade to Alpha effect is fixed. The Color picker now works properly when using multiple screens and the color display in the monitors is now accurate. Under the hood improvements include the crash detection and recovery system has been improved, fix Stabilize and Scene Detection jobs, removed noise when opening a project, don’t allow importing of project cache folders and always use UTF8 encoding when writing files.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Gnome 40: A Look Into the Upgraded Desktop Environment

          Gnome 40 has just been released, and it comes with a spectrum of improvements for the desktop environment. Gnome is the open-source desktop environment for various operating systems, including Linux’s Ubuntu and Fedora. This latest iteration promises to deliver a more aesthetically pleasing design and optimal performance.

          Let’s take a look at the design changes and improvements made to the desktop environment.

    • Distributions

      • Top 5 Most Stable Linux Distributions in 2021

        Linux is one of the utmost famous and free open-source platforms. Linux has recently gained a lot of attention and is widely used due to its security, scalability, and flexibility. The distribution named Linux does all the hard work for you by taking codes from open-source till compiling and then combining them into a single operating system so that you’re easily able to boot up and install. Furthermore, they also provide you with different options such as the default desktop environment, browser, and other software. Users can get an operating system by installing one of the most stable Linux distros.

        Linux has numerous distinct features for different users. There are lots of Linux distributions for a variety of uses, including education, gaming, and developing software. Somehow I can find so many different Linux distributions that I can’t even remember the exact numbers. There are some unique tendencies, revealed in some clones of each other. So it’s kind of confusing. But that’s the beauty of Linux. Few features of Linux distributions are quite identical to one another, but some distributions have their own user interface and unique features.

      • New Releases

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Ready to Solve for What’s Next? Join SUSE at Google Cloud Next! | SUSE Communities

          Google has created a premier digital event. I know most folks are tired of seeing the word “digital” preceding the word “event” and are ready to get out and physically “be” at an event – I know I am! Google did an excellent job at structuring this event to make it engaging and customizable. There are keynotes by Sundar Pichai, Google and Alphabet CEO, and Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud CEO, to set the tone on day one. Urs Hölzle, Google Cloud SVP of Technical Infrastructure, will share the vision of the top three cloud technology trends for the next decade on day two.

        • End-to-end Encryption for Your Rancher Cluster with Linkerd | SUSE Communities

          SUSE One Partner, Bouyant, has offerings live in the SUSE Rancher Apps and Marketplace and we’ve invited Bouyant to author a guest blog so you can learn more about leveraging the Linkerd service mesh with SUSE Rancher. Originally create by Bouyant, Linkerd is one of only 16 projects carrying the CNCF’s Graduated project status. Bouyant also provides a Linkerd extension to connect to the Bouyant cloud service. Cool stuff. ~Bret

        • SUSE Enterprise Storage: What is next?

          Late last year, SUSE completed their acquisition of Rancher Labs, and in doing so, has had to make some decisions on their product roadmap and ongoing support commitments.

          SUSE Enterprise Storage, SUSE’s software-defined storage product based on Ceph, doesn’t appear to have made the cut. According to their support pages, it is scheduled for End of Life with milestones in January 2021 and 2022.

          If you are currently running SUSE Enterprise Storage 6, general support will end 31st January 2022. It appears there is a limited path forward for one last year of support, by upgrading to SES 7, but other alternatives could be considered, especially in the light of the recent developments.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • NodeConf Remote 2021 preview: 4 must-see talks | Red Hat Developer

          Red Hat is heading to NodeConf Remote on October 18–21, 2021! We’ll be demonstrating a few of our favorite production-quality tools and solutions, all designed to help teams maintain productivity while successfully navigating the vast and rapidly changing cloud-native landscape.

          Talk with an expert during the virtual booth crawl and get a look at our latest workflows for building cloud-native JavaScript solutions on Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift. Our open source specialists are ready to show you how JavaScript and Node.js integrate with other technologies like authentication, distributed data caching and streaming, and business automation to deliver real value to customers.

        • Making a difference: From technical writer to managing a Support Delivery team

          Red Hat’s Products and Technologies organization is doing game-changing work in the IT industry, so we’re taking a closer look at some of the talented Red Hatters from around the world who are enabling our continued evolution. In showcasing their unique stories, it’s clear that there’s no one path to finding success as a Red Hatter. For each of us, it’s about open collaboration and building something together.

        • 10 steps to a better Dockerfile

          The journey to the cloud typically starts with containerizing your apps. One of the first challenges developers face is writing the blueprint for those container images—aka a Dockerfile. This article guides you through nine steps to writing better Dockerfiles. The basis for our example is a popular Spring application.

        • Tools and practices for remote development teams

          During the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic, tens of millions of workers transitioned from the office to working from home. It was an unfamiliar way of doing things for many organizations—a true sink-or-swim scenario. Development teams are among those affected, and the challenges that we face are sometimes very specific. In this article, we explore a few tools and practices that can help distributed development teams work and collaborate from home. Hopefully, this exploration will be helpful to you and your team seeking a “new normal” after COVID-19.

        • The great resignation: 14 stats on the state of the IT career market

          The turnover tsunami has officially begun: Twice the number of workers in the U.S. are looking to jump ship now versus two years ago, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the largest HR association in the U.S.

          That’s a result of the pent-up desire for greener pastures that employees put on hold during the uncertain days of the pandemic. Good news for IT professionals pursuing opportunities now: There are more positions than ever before as technology job growth continues to outpace the overall job growth rate in the U.S.

        • Will IT automation kill my job? | Enable Sysadmin

          A few times in my previous job, I wondered about automating myself out of a job. I was working on a small, three-person project, and we were responsible for creating various automation tasks for our larger team to use. There was a point where we had many things automated to make our team’s life very easy, but that did not mean our work was done.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian 11.1 Bullseye and 10.11 Buster Available

          Responsible for Debian has announced the release of version 10.11 and 11.1 Bullseye Buster , who come to be the latest releases of the branches stable old and stable respectively. As expected, we find the application of patches that have accumulated since previous releases in order to avoid carrying out a “heavy” update just after completing the installation.

          Debian stable releases have a watertight software suite that is rarely modified during the lifetime of the system, so 11.1 Bullseye stands out for patches to fix both software and security bugs . Among the security flaws corrected, we find one that allowed arbitrary code execution (CVE-2021-38173) and another the “input validation is missing in host names returned by DNS servers” (CVE-2021-3672 ).

          As for the kernel, which we remember that Bullseye is Linux 5.10 , corrections have arrived for the Radeon drivers (the old Open Source for AMD Radeon graphics), AMDGPU (the “new” for AMD Radeon graphics) and Nouveau (the free one for graphics from NVIDIA). This is in addition to the fixes applied to the Realtek sound chips built into various HP notebook models.

        • Triaging Debian build failure logs with collab-qa-tools – Antonio Terceiro

          The Ruby team is working now on transitioning to ruby 3.0. Even though most packages will work just fine, there is substantial amount of packages that require some work to adapt. We have been doing test rebuilds for a while during transitions, but usually triaged the problems manually.

          This time I decided to try collab-qa-tools, a set of scripts Lucas Nussbaum uses when he does archive-wide rebuilds. I’m really glad that I did, because those tols save a lot of time when processing a large number of build failures. In this post, I will go through how to triage a set of build logs using collab-qa-tools.

          I have some some improvements to the code. Given my last merge request is very new and was not merged yet, a few of the things I mention here may apply only to my own ruby3.0 branch.

          collab-qa-tools also contains a few tools do perform the builds in the cloud, but since we already had the builds done, I will not be mentioning that part and will write exclusively about the triaging tools.

        • Fatdog64 811 works real nice

          Fatdog64 version 811 is the latest in the Fatdog puppy-derivative distribution. Using it, it seems very much like a puppy, UI, menu-structure, heaps of apps, but there are differences — most notable is the Gslapt package manager instead of PPM in the pups.

        • The mysterious nomodeset kernel option
    • Devices/Embedded

      • Raspberry Pi Minitel Project Adds Portability to Retro Computer

        We’re definitely suckers for vintage computers here at Tom’s Hardware but throw in a Raspberry Pi and we’re guaranteed to be excited. Today we’ve got an awesome retro upgrade project to share from a maker known as Jeremy Cook who has decided to upgrade an old Minitel 1B terminal with a Raspberry Pi 3B.

        According to Cook, the Minitel was found at a garage sale a few years ago. The idea was to replace the hardware inside with a Pi alongside a battery for portability. This evolved into the final project we have today which also includes a few upgraded features.

      • DFI spins Tiger Lake thin Mini-ITX SBC and COM Express modules

        DFI has unveiled a “TGU171/TGU173” thin Mini-ITX board with 2.5GbE, 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.2 Gen2, 2x DP++, and 2x M.2, as well as Compact Type 6 “TGU968” and Mini Type 10 “TGU9A2” modules, all based on 11th Gen CPUs.

        DFI announced a “TGU” line of embedded boards and systems built around Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake UP3 processors with 15-28W TDPs, starting with a thin mini-ITX board and COM Express Compact Type 6 and Mini Type 10 modules. The Mini-ITX form-factor TGU171/TGU173, Compact Type 6 TGU968, and Mini Type 10 TGU9A2 boards support Linux and Win 10 IoT. Other Intel-based DFI SBCs announced this year include the 3.5-inch, Coffee Lake powered CS551 and 2.5-inch, Whiskey Lake-based WL051.

      • Sony accelerates on OpenSource and Linux in particular

        Obviously all these devices rely on (or have inside them) software that manages them so that they perform the various functions for which they were designed. The choice of technologies to be implemented in the software itself is fundamental, and it seems that Sony has been aiming for the ubiquitous introduction of Linux for nearly twenty years .

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

        • PostmarketOS v21.06 Service Pack 3

          The mobile open source operating system postmarketOS receives monthly updates as service packs. ServicePack 3 has just been released for the stable issue postmarketOS v21.06. The service packs integrate innovations that were previously tested by the community in the edge channel.

          Thus Sxmo 1.5.2 that was represented as v1.5.1 in Edge, included in the selection. The abbreviation stands for Simple X Mobile and describes a minimalist user interface that was created for the PinePhone and is based on Alpine and postmarketOS. It is a collection of applications from the the suckless help of a environment, which are welded together to form a surface with few scripts.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Linux Foundation Research and SODA Foundation Release New Data and Storage Trends for the Enterprise [Ed: Seems apt that Linux [sic] Foundation calls its marketing “research” (same lie as Microsoft) and “SODA” because it basically junk, unhealthy]
      • Enterprises Embrace Open Source To Tackle Growing Data Management Challenges [Ed: The latest ECT openwashing puff piece for "Linux" Foundation and its clients]

        Linux Foundation Research and SODA (Strategic Options Development and Analysis) Foundation on Tuesday released study results on new data and storage trends for enterprise. The 2021 Data and Storage Trends Report reveals enterprise use of data and storage as it relates to cloud services and workloads in the era of cloud native, edge, IoT and 5G.

      • The Apache News Round-up: week ending 8 October 2021

        We’re wrapping up another great week with the following activities from the Apache community…

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Performance Blog: Performance Sheriff Newsletter (August 2021)

            In August there were 126 alerts generated, resulting in 16 regression bugs being filed on average 3.6 days after the regressing change landed.

            Welcome to the August 2021 edition of the performance sheriffing newsletter. Here you’ll find the usual summary of our sheriffing efficiency metrics. If you’re interested (and if you have access) you can view the full dashboard.

      • FSFE

        • Till Jaeger +++ Youth Hacking 4 Freedom +++ SFScon 2021 [Ed: Child labour and PR for Google?]

          In our October Newsletter read about Till Jaeger, who knows first-hand what it takes to enforce Free Software licenses. Find out about the contest we just launched: Youth Hacking 4 Freedom. Learn about the donations by a high school yearbook team. Follow our latest activities and write down the dates of the upcoming SFScon.

        • Matthias Kirschner’s Web log – fsfe: Help gathering resources for how to learn programming

          Little spoiler: if all goes well, before the end of the year, there will be an illustrated read-aloud book “Ada & Zangemann – a fairy tale about software, skateboards, and ice cream” for children from ~5-6 years old about Free Software. The book will first be available in German, but I am already working on an English version and maybe assist in other translations in future.

      • Programming/Development

        • Glibc 2.35 Removes The Long-Deprecated Intel MPX Support – Phoronix

          Intel Memory Protection Extensions (MPX) never really took off and the Linux support has been deprecated for a while with the code elsewhere in the stack already having been removed while with the upcoming Glibc 2.35 release that GNU C Library is also flushing away its support.

        • It’s Ada Lovelace Day! Learn the Ada programming language in 2021 | Opensource.com

          In the 1970s, many programming languages were hyperspecific to the hardware they controlled. As a result, developers had to learn to code differently depending on the hardware they were programming. Debugging and maintenance were highly specialized, and code wasn’t reusable across machines.

          The UK government recognized these problems and moved toward establishing a standardized multipurpose programming language. On December 10, 1980—Ada Lovelace’s birthday—they made the Ada programming language an official military standard in the UK.

          Ada is similar in some ways to Algol or Pascal. It was originally designed for program reliability, easy maintenance, and efficiency. Most importantly, however, Ada’s creators recognized that coding is a human activity, so a programming language must be something that humans can easily read and interact with.

          For Ada, readability is more important than conciseness. Writing code in Ada produces highly readable code, even compared to Python, and although its usage tends to be specialized, Ada is still being developed today.

        • Automate image processing with this Bash script | Opensource.com

          Writers not only work with words, they often have to work with images. Technical writing involves presenting a lot of screenshots to convey the technology and processes. Different publishing platforms may have various requirements for images, such as image format or file size.

          As an IT consultant and systems engineer, I have written a lot of technical documentation as client deliverables, generally with Microsoft Word (.doc) as the required format. Any document can grow fast as content is added. In the early days, screenshots were often bitmaps (.bmp), which can have a very large file size. A document describing the installation of an operating system onto a server could end up being a very big file.

          Downsizing the images without rendering them unreadable was a laborious exercise. Bitmaps could be converted to jpeg files and later png files. Editing continued to be a challenge even later when I switched my office suite to LibreOffice. Fortunately, most screenshot tools today save in smaller formats, such as png.

          Opensource.com puts certain limits on images that are used in its articles. I developed a quick three-step method for preparing images for my articles. The first step is to be smart about the staging, such as resizing a window or changing a font. Two additional steps became very repetitive. Those are to ensure the image doesn’t exceed the 600-pixel width limit and to apply a border.

        • Having Fun With: DNS Records + Signed Certificates + Cryptographic Algorithms! – Jon’s FOSS Blog

          So I was experimenting and if you can get signed certs from let’s-encrypt and dns records from cloud-flare, then you could store your public signed certificate as a set of split txt entries which anyone could verify with a set of up-to-date root certificates. You can then use the private key to sign an encryption key (stored as another txt record) along with the encrypted message (also another txt record).

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Emacs Lisp – LinuxLinks

          Emacs Lisp is a dialect of the Lisp programming language. Lisp (derives from “LISt Processing”) is one of the oldest programming languages. It was invented in 1958, with the language being conceived by John McCarthy and is based on his paper “Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machine”. Over the years, Lisp has evolved into a family of programming languages.

          Most of the Emacs integrated environment is written in the programming language called Emacs Lisp.

          Although Emacs Lisp is usually thought of in association only with Emacs, it is a full computer programming language. You can use Emacs Lisp as you would any other programming language.

          Here’s our recommended free tutorials to learn Emacs Lisp (elisp). If you want a more general introduction to Lisp, read our recommended free tutorials to learn Lisp.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Rakudo Weekly News: 2021.41 Different Patterns

            Daniel Sockwell investigated the powers of smart matching in the Raku® Programming Language in two blog posts Let’s try some pattern matching (/r/rakulang comments) and Further thoughts on Raku pattern matching (/r/rakulang comments). Both the blog posts and the comments are food for thought!

        • Python

          • Pi IoT In Python Using Linux Drivers – PWM
          • Python Takes First Place in TIOBE Programming Languages ​​Ranking – itsfoss.net

            The October programming language popularity rating published by TIOBE Software noted the triumph of the Python programming language (11.27%), which in a year moved from third to first place, displacing the C (11.16%) and Java (10.46%) languages. The TIOBE Popularity Index draws its conclusions from the analysis of search query statistics from systems such as Google, Google Blogs, Yahoo !, Wikipedia, MSN, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, and Baidu.

            Compared to October last year, the ranking also shows an increase in the popularity of the Assembler languages ​​(rose from 17th to 10th place), Visual Basic (from 19th to 11th place), SQL (from 10th to 8th place), Go (from 14 to 12), MatLab (from 15 to 13), Fortran (from 37 to 18), Object Pascal (from 22 to 20), D (from 44 to 34), Lua (from 38 to 32). Perl declined in popularity (ranking dropped from 11 to 19), R (from 9 to 14), Ruby (from 13 to 16), PHP (from 8 to 9), Groovy (from 12 to 15), and Swift (from 16 to 17), Rust (from 25 to 26).

          • Python Wraper to find all primes from a given interval via sieve of Eratosthenes released as C++ procedure
    • Standards/Consortia

      • Competitive Compatibility: Let’s Fix the Internet, Not the Tech Giants

        Tech’s market concentration—summed up brilliantly by Tom Eastman, a New Zealand software developer, as the transformation of the Internet into “a group of five websites, each consisting of screenshots of text from the other four”—has aroused concern from regulators around the world.

        In China tech giants have been explicitly co-opted an arm of the state. In Europe regulators hope to discipline the conduct of U.S.-based “Big Tech” firms by passing strict rules about privacy, copyright, and terrorist content and then slapping the companies with titanic fines when they fail to abide by them. At the same time, European leaders talk about cultivating “national champions”—monopolistically dominant firms with firm national allegiance to their local governments.

        U.S. lawmakers are no more coherent: on the one hand, Congress recently held the most aggressive antitrust hearings since the era of Ronald Reagan, threatening to weaken the power of the giants by any means necessary. On the other hand, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to deputize Big Tech as part of law enforcement, charged with duties as varied as preventing human trafficking, policing copyright infringement, imposing neutrality on public discourse, blocking disinformation, and ending harassment and hate speech. If any of these duties can be performed (and some of them are sheer wishful thinking), they can only be performed by the very largest of companies, monopolists who extract monopoly rents and use them to fund these auxiliary duties.

        Tech has experienced waves of concentration before and resolved them with minimal state action. Instead, tech’s giants were often felled by interoperability, which allows new market entrants to seize the “network effect” advantages of incumbents to turn them to their own use. Without interoperability, AT&T ruled the nation. With interoperability, the ubiquity of the Bell System merely meant that anyone who could make an answering machine, radio bridge, or modem that could plug into an RJ-11 jack could sell into every house and business in America.

        Everyone in the tech world claims to love interoperability—the technical ability to plug one product or service into another product or service—but interoperability covers a lot of territory, and depending on what’s meant by interoperability, it can do a lot, a little, or nothing at all to protect users, innovation and fairness.

        Let’s start with a taxonomy of interoperability.

      • Interoperability in Today’s Tech Market

        Doctorow notes that tech has experienced waves of concentration before. He cites the example of AT&T and the Bell System, saying previously companies were often “felled by interoperability, which allows new market entrants to seize the ‘network effect’ advantages of incumbents” for their own use.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • .NET Foundation focuses on ‘issues with the community’ after executive director quits [Ed: The latest Microsoft reputation laundering by Microsoft Tim this week]

              .NET Foundation executive director Claire Novotny resigned last week, but board member Shawn Wildermuth said that this did not solve “issues with the community” on which the foundation will now focus.

              The phrase “issues with the community” in Wildermuth’s post should not be taken to mean that the community has misbehaved. It would be more accurate to call it the community’s issues with the .NET Foundation, or perhaps with Microsoft, since the special role of Microsoft is one of those issues.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Clean Up in the Digital Aisle: Privacy Concerns with Sobeys Inc. “Caper Carts” System – The Citizen Lab

              In 2019, the Canadian grocery chain Sobeys began using a system of “smart” shopping carts developed by the U.S.-based Caper.1 These carts allow customers to scan items as they place them in the cart, and use a series of visual and weight scanners to track the purchase of goods in the store. Customers are able to pay for their purchases using an interface on the shopping cart itself. Following the purchase, the customer is given an option to have their purchase receipt transmitted by SMS message or email.


              While the credit, debit, and Air Miles card numbers were partially redacted, it is unlikely that two individuals would share the same partial card numbers. As a result, it would likely be possible to track the time and location of an individual’s purchases, as well as a full list of items purchased, across time.

            • Study reveals scale of data-sharing from Android mobile phones – Trinity News and Events

              We find that the Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei and Realme Android variants all transmit a substantial volume of data to the OS developer (i.e. Samsung etc) and to third-party parties that have pre-installed system apps (including Google, Microsoft, Heytap, LinkedIn, Facebook). LineageOS sends similar volumes of data to Google as these proprietary Android variants, but we do not observe the LineageOS developers themselves collecting data nor pre-installed system apps other than those of Google. Notably, /e/OS sends no information to Google or other third parties and sends essentially no information to the /e/OS developers.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • [Older] Clarifying Pleading Requirements for Patent Cases

          In Bot M8 LLC v. Sony Corporation of America, et al., No. 2020-2218 (Fed. Cir. July 13, 2021), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Bot M8’s claims as to the ’540 and ’990 patents for failure to state a plausible claim of infringement. The Court also agreed with the district court that claim 1 of the ’363 patent was invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. With respect to the remaining ’988 and ’670 patents, however, the Court reversed and remanded the district court’s decision finding that Bot M8’s infringement allegations were insufficient.

        • Monday Miscellany – The IPKat

          Harry Rich has been appointed as the new UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Chair, along with two new non-executive directors, Harriet Kelsall and Hilary Newiss. All three took up their roles from 1 October 2021, for a period of three years. The UK IPO has also published its annual report, which details how the work of the IPO has supported innovation and economic growth during 2020-2021.

        • Software Patents

          • $2,000 for Phoji prior art

            On October 4, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 9,565,149. The patent is owned by Phoji, Inc. The ’149 relates to including customized emojis with a messaging system and is currently being asserted against Atlassian and Slack.

          • Another ETRI AV1/HEVC patent held invalid in China

            On October 8, 2021, the China National Intellectual Property Administration declared all claims of CN104219523B invalid. The patent is owned by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI). The CN’523 patent is related to patents that are designated essential to the Access Advance (formerly known as HEVC Advance) patent pool as well as SISVEL’s AV1 and VP9 patent pools. It is also related to U.S. Patent 8,867,854, which Unified challenged in IPR2020-01048.

Mozilla Firefox Takes Another Step in the Direction of Being Malware With “Firefox Suggest”

Posted in Deception, Search at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

Opening: Yesterday I was surfing the web when I found out that LKML.org, a centralized place to see what’s going on in Linux kernel development, was attempting to load an ad script from a company called “BuySellAds dot com”.

When I investigated the company in more detail, I found that there was an entire page where they plot with some of the titans of the web industry to track and psychologically manipulate people.

One such partnership was Brave. Apparently, this company is pushing Brave’s “ethical ads” from behind the scenes, and another was Mozilla.

“One such partnership was Brave. Apparently, this company is pushing Brave’s “ethical ads” from behind the scenes, and another was Mozilla.”It said that they feed ads into “Pocket”, which is where the “Sponsored Content” (including from Big Oil companies like Exxon) keep popping up in the Firefox New Tab page, and now in your address bar if you live in the US (under the guise of Firefox Suggest).

Well, what I suggest is that Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker does with Firefox Suggest and Pocket is probably anatomically impossible, but that’s outside the scope of this post.

It sickens me, that a great piece of software that I used from its inception in 2002 (pre-releases), and even before that (as Mozilla Suite, and before Mozilla, as the proprietary Netscape suite) has gone and done this as a cash grab on the way down.

Each release, there’s more stuff to turn off, and you have to remember to do all of that every time you install it somewhere.

“Each release, there’s more stuff to turn off, and you have to remember to do all of that every time you install it somewhere.”There’s like 5 different settings (something like that) to fully disable DRM and keep it from coming back on or demanding it. That’s pretty bad when many of the sites using it are using it not for DRM, but as a fingerprinting attack.

Firefox ceased being Free and Open Source Software when distributed according to the Mozilla Trademark policies long ago, when they enabled Google DRM by default and pestered the user if they turned it off and then didn’t do some “about:config fu” to make sure it stayed off and disappeared from the GUI, but with Cloudflare DNS (a privacy hazard that OpenBSD patched to turn off!), Pocket’s Sponsored Crap, and Firefox Suggest, Firefox has not only straddled the line of what I consider to be “malware”, but has finally crossed it.

Perhaps there’s something very wrong with Debian for not going back to calling it “IceWeasel” and patching this stuff out of the source code so that it can’t come on. They are now in abeyance of their Debian Free Software Guidelines all so they can ship malware and call it Firefox.

You can perhaps forgive, under these circumstances, that some GNU/Linux distributions are throwing in the towel with Firefox, which doesn’t perform very well and uses gobs and gobs of RAM to perform the tasks, and are shipping some other browser.

Linux Mint spins are even putting in Vivaldi. And, if you frame it as a choice between Vivaldi and Firefox, I’d say Firefox is even worse than Vivaldi at this point, though Vivaldi doesn’t pretend to be open source like Firefox does, and they don’t beg for donations while they sell you down the river to adtechs like Mozilla does.

“Firefox ceased being Free and Open Source Software when distributed according to the Mozilla Trademark policies long ago, when they enabled Google DRM by default and pestered the user if they turned it off and then didn’t do some “about:config fu” to make sure it stayed off and disappeared from the GUI, but with Cloudflare DNS (a privacy hazard that OpenBSD patched to turn off!), Pocket’s Sponsored Crap, and Firefox Suggest, Firefox has not only straddled the line of what I consider to be “malware”, but has finally crossed it.”What Mozilla fails to understand, obviously, is that by pissing off users into leaving, they not only have less who will stay and drive “ad hits” for them, but they’ll see a further collapse in their search royalty value to Google, and incoming revenue will fall faster than had they just left it alone.

Furthermore, by letting this incompetent twit remain as CEO and firing the engineers while leaving a “Global Chief Diversity Officer” and other dead weight so that they can be a political party, development of the browser’s underpinnings lags while they fritter away valuable capital towards these nutjobs.

Well, enough was enough so….

I finally figured out the dependency matrix to get Debian to allow me to apt purge firefox-esr from my Debian 11 system without trying to take out GNOME metapackages and the X server.

It turns out that I had to give up on using the GNOME Web flatpak from FlatHub, because it collides with the Stable version from Debian. So I backed that out, and deleted its settings and cache under the .var folder hierarchy, and put the epiphany-browser package back in.

“…on a clean install, Firefox Suggest is on by default and doesn’t even ask whether the user wants ads or a keylogger malware in their address bar.”As long as that’s there, and those internationalization and LibreOffice Help Packs and foreign spell checkers and such that I removed the other day are gone, you can remove firefox-esr and the system won’t complain that you need a web browser.

It seems that Apt only wants to remove the gnome metapackages and xorg (Jean-Baptist…Emanuel….Zorg! Sorry.) if epiphany-browser is not already installed. If it is, it’ll shut up and let you get rid of Firefox.

Now you can also reclaim some disk space by removing .mozilla and all of the .mozilla and .firefox stuff under your Home folder (it’s all hidden but unhiding it with Ctrl+H and then using the finder is easy enough). In my case, I don’t use Thunderbird either, so I got rid of its stuff and now it’s just GNOME Web and Evolution.

Mozilla lies and says Firefox Suggest is off by default and that it is opt-in.

In the Bleeping Computer article about Firefox Suggest, which also notes Firefox’s dwindling market share (they went from being almost half of all web users at their peak to being only slightly more popular than Vivaldi, and still falling), they say that in their own tests and user reports, on a clean install, Firefox Suggest is on by default and doesn’t even ask whether the user wants ads or a keylogger malware in their address bar.

I installed the Firefox 93 Flatpak to find out myself. Mozilla even builds it and uploads the builds to Flathub, so they are official. Firefox Suggest was on by default, no message asking me if I wanted it.

When Ubuntu briefly implemented a keylogger that sent your Shell searches to Amazon in their now-abandoned Unity Shell, Richard Stallman called Ubuntu malware.

In its default configuration, Firefox not only sends everything you type into the address bar to Google (even though you can turn that off and split searches into a different box), but also to Mozilla, and Mozilla’s advertisers. This is certainly malware.

“How is it that Debian says the firmware to run my wifi, SSD, and graphics chip isn’t allowed (in the official image, which will lead some people to think Debian is broken and not bother figuring out why….while others have to know there’s a real installer that has firmware that is semi-hidden) but Widevine DRM blobs and a malicious keylogger in Firefox are fine?”How much longer will “Free” operating systems like Debian continue ignoring their own Free Software Guidelines to package this? It already had a grabber that’s on by default to download Google DRM blobs, and now this.

It’s bad enough that Fedora chucked its own Free Software policy out the door when IBM took them over, and started pushing Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Edge.

How is it that Debian says the firmware to run my wifi, SSD, and graphics chip isn’t allowed (in the official image, which will lead some people to think Debian is broken and not bother figuring out why….while others have to know there’s a real installer that has firmware that is semi-hidden) but Widevine DRM blobs and a malicious keylogger in Firefox are fine?

Sounds like someone at Debian should explain this.

As an aside, Mozilla is also considering changing the default search engine to Bing.

Every few years, they come in and decide which crappy privacy-violating mess with worse search results than Google to switch all their users to as part of a cynical ploy to ultimately get Google back to the table for more money.

Microsoft has never offered any browser vendor more money than Google, which is why Google is the default search engine on almost every browser, and the iPhone/Safari, even though Apple pretends they’re bitter enemies (over 60% of Apple iOS apps have Google tracking libraries in them).

I’m not a big fan of Google, but Bing is much worse. Instead of Google violating your privacy, it will be Microsoft, and then the search results often won’t even be usable.

When will Mozilla learn to stop manipulating its remaining users? Never?

Developer of the “Better” App, Which Provides a Content Blocker for Safari, Considers Quitting Due to Apple’s Plans to Invade Users’ Privacy With “CSAM” Scanner.

Posted in Apple at 6:33 am by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

Summary: The developer of the Better app may quit and remove the app from the Apple store due to Apple’s privacy violations.

In a bug report regarding potentially switching to Better’s content blocker for GNOME Web, the maintainer of Better says that he and the co-maintainer, his wife, are considering getting out of the Apple app development business entirely.

He blames Apple’s plans to invade the device with “client side scanning”, which Apple claims will detect child pornography stored on iPhones, Macs, and iPad tablets.

While Apple claims that is what it will do, it will really enable massive government surveillance and will lead to regimes like the Communist Party of China and various Islamic theocracies rounding up and murdering people for everything ranging from being a hated minority (gay, Uyghurs, etc.) to wanting democratic government.

Apple already goes to lengths _beyond_ what is legally required in order to do business in China now. For example, you can’t have your Apple merchandise engraved with numbers that correspond to the date of the Tienanmen Square Massacre, even though there’s no legal requirement to prevent them from etching those numbers onto a product.

It was also just two years ago that Apple also proactively removed a song about the massacre from the Apple Music disservice. The sources I read say it didn’t happen in Hong Kong SAR, but it probably has by now. There’s hardly a difference since the so-called “National Security Law” was foisted on them and people began disappearing.

The Communist Party of China tramples over individual rights and freedoms. It’s what they do. Apple assists them. If you think anything good will come out of “client side device scanning”, I’ll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge for two dollars.

And they realize that while the United States conducts “freedom of navigation” exercises in the South China Sea, they can conquer us without firing a shot by putting us in horrible debt to them and buying up American property and companies, and using their money to corrupt universities.

In fact, in Lake County, Illinois, I stopped calling the community college the Colleges of Lake County and started calling them the Communists of Lake County. There is so much Chinese propaganda going on in there, you wouldn’t believe me if I laid out the full extent of it for you.

They paint a very rosy picture of China when what’s actually going on in there is quite horrible and sad, and people are choking on pollution and disappeared by secret police (murdered?), and are too afraid to even speak about it. In the mean time, CLC is pitching an international study program like it was a trip to paradise!

“Usually with Apple’s tracking and advertising libraries, but often with Google’s as well, and of course Google pays to be the default search engine on iPhones, and hardly anyone changes that.”While I applaud Aral Balkan for seeing through the Apple privacy bullshit and leaning towards removing his apps to cease paying them 30% of his app revenues to inflict this abuse on their customers, many developers frankly don’t give a damn and would never inconvenience themselves in such a manner.

In fact, most Apple apps spy on the user to the same extent that most Android apps out of the Play Store do. The author knows this because they’re the ones who put the tracking libraries inside the app!

Usually with Apple’s tracking and advertising libraries, but often with Google’s as well, and of course Google pays to be the default search engine on iPhones, and hardly anyone changes that.

The marketing of “privacy” to users with later versions of iOS serves mainly to try to make it less convenient for other companies to spy on you without using Apple’s tracking garbage, and to position Apple to be the only ad network that iOS developers would want to use.

Richard Stallman mentioned that iPhones (and iOS) are worse than Android, because they do every nasty thing Android does, and then stop you from even considering installing Free and Open Source Software from a repo like F-Droid.

He suggested a good name for a hypothetical such store, though. F-Apple.

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