The Microsoft Shuffle: Making One’s Own Products Intentionally Defective

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 8:59 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Original by Mitchel Lewis at HackerNoon/Medium, resposted here due to reported suppression attempts; reprinted with permission

Microsoft guns

In my previous post, I covered how Microsoft and their partners have a vested interest in keeping their products artificially defective and complex. But I didn’t get a chance to dive as far as I would have liked into how Microsoft could go about intentionally keeping their solutions artificially defective or the negative impact that these methods seem to have elsewhere within their company. Without involving employees though, there are only a few ways that a company can intentionally create defective products without making it look intentional. Obviously, its not as simple as their employees dropping random 💩 emojis into their code at night.

“In fact, as a former Microsoft employee myself, I can confirm that no one in this world hates defects and unnecessary complexity more than Microsoft employees and that great efforts are made to address such problems there. But, while the quality of an IT solution can absolutely reflect the quality and dedication of the engineers that made it, the quality of the environments where these solutions are produced are of equal importance and are reflected in the product just the same.”Certainly, Microsoft could just as well be ignorant and inept with regard to quality software engineering best practices and just accidentally make $89 billion dollars per year. They could also just be dated, as this business model was much more justifiable in the 80’s and 90’s when they had no real competition and the productivity boost that their products offered at the time was unparalleled. Without an intricate understanding of quality engineering though, Microsoft, as a premier software development firm throughout the world, could not get to the level that they are presently at nor could they capitalize on such a dynamic that benefits off of artificially defective products to the degree that they do.

It goes without saying, but Microsoft doesn’t actually instruct their employees to create defective software. In fact, as a former Microsoft employee myself, I can confirm that no one in this world hates defects and unnecessary complexity more than Microsoft employees and that great efforts are made to address such problems there. But, while the quality of an IT solution can absolutely reflect the quality and dedication of the engineers that made it, the quality of the environments where these solutions are produced are of equal importance and are reflected in the product just the same. Along with hiring top talent, tech companies, as with others, can nurture their desired end result by adjusting their environment accordingly. This happens to be why modern technology companies tend to spend a significant amount of revenue tuning their work environment with extravagant office perks and progressive management practices.

“By reducing vendor headcount, they can increase workload of their employees at scale while reducing morale which can increase the probability of defects occurring within their products in turn.”Regardless of how passionate and dedicated they may be, Microsoft employees, unlike Sr. leadership, have little to no influence on environmental variables such as headcount, workload, schedules, resources, morale, management, standards, or ideologies being leveraged; all of which influence the overall quality of their products. As such and just as companies can streamline their environment with this understanding in order to maximize quality, Microsoft can easily apply the same same logic inversely and make subtle changes to the aforementioned environmental variables in order to stifle quality. In doing this and almost as if they can turn a dial, Microsoft leadership can modulate the morale of employees at scale, increasing the tendency for them to be less motivated, more apathetic, less productive, and more error-prone without ever having to tell them to do anything but to do their best; all by simply making subtle changes to their environment.

For instance and since they depend heavily on vendors, which are almost as numerous as their full-time employees, leadership can easily modulate stress and pressure on their teams by increasing or reducing vendor headcount indiscriminately. It doesn’t matter how great of an employee they are, as people are worked harder and stretched thinner, they tend to cut corners in order to meet deadlines and among other things, they generally become more error-prone. By reducing vendor headcount, they can increase workload of their employees at scale while reducing morale which can increase the probability of defects occurring within their products in turn.

“…while employee layoffs always seem to make the news, Microsoft’s vendor attrition seldom generates any buzz and they can modulate pressure on remaining employees and vendors with impunity.”On top of modulating the pressure on their employees with variable vendor resources, Microsoft can also limit the quality of their products to various degrees by limiting the quality of their environment elsewhere. Besides simply laying off a ton of QAs and SDETs, they can also leverage antiquated leadership that often come attached with antiquated organizational and managerial practices. This kind of leadership often results in frequent re-orgs, tenurocracy, thick management structures, change resistance, complex roles, and a rat race for a review system. When combined with adjusting their vendor headcount and lowering the bar with leadership, such practices can have a significant negative impact on productivity and morale which again can have a limiting effect in the overall quality of their products that they just would not have otherwise.

In comparison to having their employees complicit in the sabotage of their products, operating like this can be beneficial for several reasons. For starters, it would be impossible to keep a lid on such a foul if their employees were complicit in it. Conveniently though, making environmental changes in order to make your products artificially defective can be incredibly difficult to correlate, which also distances them from complicity in the matter from a legal perspective. Since so few people are well-versed on the subject of defect density, finding someone with a deep enough understanding of it in order to make such correlations can be quite challenging while also making a plea of ignorance to the subject incredibly easy, believable, and convenient; even for a software engineer. Also, while employee layoffs always seem to make the news, Microsoft’s vendor attrition seldom generates any buzz and they can modulate pressure on remaining employees and vendors with impunity. However, there are drawbacks inherent to operating like this.

“The Playstation 4 has outsold Xbox One 2:1, Windows Phone was a complete bust along with their Nokia acquisition, they’re having trouble giving away Windows 10 for free, their health band lasted three minutes, Consumer Reports recently pulled their recommendation for the Surface line of products, Groove is going away, and no one seems to give a damn about their soon to be released Invoke speaker.”One unfortunate consequence of Microsoft optimizing their organization in order to make products that are more prone to defects is that doing so also makes their products less competitive in markets where innovation and quality take precedence over the influence of their partners, such as retail markets. To no surprise and presumably for this reason, Microsoft has been experiencing difficulty in reaching retail consumers. The Playstation 4 has outsold Xbox One 2:1, Windows Phone was a complete bust along with their Nokia acquisition, they’re having trouble giving away Windows 10 for free, their health band lasted three minutes, Consumer Reports recently pulled their recommendation for the Surface line of products, Groove is going away, and no one seems to give a damn about their soon to be released Invoke speaker.

In order to supplement their defective products in retail markets, Microsoft has to spend more on marketing as well as charging significantly more for support than the likes of Apple. For instance, Microsoft also had to give the NFL $400 million dollars to use their Surfaces for 5 years. Relative to their revenue in 2016, Microsoft spent 1/6th of their revenue on Marketing in comparison to Apple spending only 1/107th of their revenue. Also, a three year AppleCare hardware warranty with unlimited software support costs less than a call to Microsoft for a single Windows support case.

Microsoft Surfaces fail

Microsoft Surfaces fail

Further and by embracing their own solutions when better solutions are available, Microsoft also limits themselves in the same way that other businesses are limited by their products. Not only are Microsoft products more costly with regard to productivity loss, management, and support, there are much more productive and efficient tools available for such work which their competition is using. For a comparison, Apple employees equipped with Apple solutions generate 3x the amount of revenue per employee than Microsoft employees equipped with Microsoft solutions. Certainly, other environmental variables also contribute to this disparity, but the quality and efficiency of tools have a significant impact on the overall quality of the end product, just as the quality and efficiency of weapons influence the outcome of wars. This is yet another reason why IBM switched to Macs and why many startups are standardizing with Apple products to this day.

While most would consider Microsoft products to be a standard within industry, they are failing to see them for the monopoly that they are with the help of their partners. From the perspective of productivity software, they fit the profile quite well and there is not a realm of science that could justify the organizational moves and methodologies that Microsoft relies on outside their actions being that of a monopoly or of an inept company. Fortunately, as the IT industry improves its ability to engineer higher quality, more efficient, less expensive, and simpler solutions, Microsoft will eventually be forced to adapt or collapse. Credit where its due, they are trying incredibly hard to diversify their revenue outside of their partner network, but Microsoft’s many blunders throughout these efforts have forced them to revert back to their monopolistic tendencies and depend on artificially defective solutions in order to keep their partner network and investors happy, now more than ever.

“Without an incredibly high level understanding of engineering best practices, software defect density and the consequences of deviating from them, Microsoft wouldn’t have been able to operate at the level that they do, let alone realize and capitalize on their partner dynamic which is presently responsible for 95% of their revenue.”In summary, this is just one of many ways that monopolies work and to no surprise, Microsoft seems to have a monopoly in the same industries that their partners thrive on. Working in the industry that they built, Microsoft cannot claim to be ignorant of the relationship between the quality of the environment and the quality of their products or of the stimulating effects that their defective software can have on their partners and their own business at the expense of industry as a whole. Without an incredibly high level understanding of engineering best practices, software defect density and the consequences of deviating from them, Microsoft wouldn’t have been able to operate at the level that they do, let alone realize and capitalize on their partner dynamic which is presently responsible for 95% of their revenue. To make such a claim would essentially be the equivalent of saying that they make $89 billion dollars per year by accident.

Links 22/12/2021: Harvester 1.0, RapidDisk 8.0.0, and WordPress 5.9 Beta 4

Posted in News Roundup at 8:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Applications

      • Theme.sh Is An Interactive Terminal Theme Selection Script (400+ Themes) – Linux Uprising Blog

        theme.sh is a script to easily change the terminal theme. It comes with more than 400 themes, an optional interactive theme picker, and it’s terminal agnostic.

        The script is available as a single portable file that includes all the 400+ themes. It can set a terminal theme directly or, if you have fzf installed on your system, it provides a terminal menu for interactive theme selection, either in a preview pane, or directly as your terminal theme if the terminal you’re using supports TRUECOLOR. You can also filter light and dark themes.

        To use theme.sh, you need to use any terminal with OSC 4/11 support. This includes kitty, st, Terminal.app, iTerm2, alacritty, urxvt, st with a patch, and any libvte-based terminal like GNOME Terminal, Terminator, Guake, Xfce Terminal, Mate Terminal, Konsole, etc. It looks like Windows Terminal doesn’t support this yet. Note that in my test, it didn’t properly set the background color in Tilix. It’s also worth noting that this won’t work in screen.

      • RapidDisk 8.0.0 now available – Random h Stuff

        RapidDisk is an advanced Linux RAM Disk which consists of a collection of modules and an administration tool. Features include: Dynamically allocate RAM as block device. Use them as stand alone disk drives or even map them as caching nodes to slower local disk drives. Access those drives locally or export those volumes across an NVMe Target network.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Using Admission Controllers to Detect Container Drift at Runtime | Kubernetes

        At Box, we use Kubernetes (K8s) to manage hundreds of micro-services that enable Box to stream data at a petabyte scale. When it comes to the deployment process, we run kube-applier as part of the GitOps workflows with declarative configuration and automated deployment. Developers declare their K8s apps manifest into a Git repository that requires code reviews and automatic checks to pass, before any changes can get merged and applied inside our K8s clusters. With kubectl exec and other similar commands, however, developers are able to directly interact with running containers and alter them from their deployed state. This interaction could then subvert the change control and code review processes that are enforced in our CI/CD pipelines. Further, it allows such impacted containers to continue receiving traffic long-term in production.

        To solve this problem, we developed our own K8s component called kube-exec-controller along with its corresponding kubectl plugin. They function together in detecting and terminating potentially mutated containers (caused by interactive kubectl commands), as well as revealing the interaction events directly to the target Pods for better visibility.

      • Stupid RCU Tricks: Removing CONFIG_RCU_FAST_NO_HZ – Paul E. McKenney’s Journal — LiveJournal

        The CONFIG_RCU_FAST_NO_HZ Kconfig option was added many years ago to improve energy efficiency for systems having significant numbers of short bursts of idle time. Prior to the addition of CONFIG_RCU_FAST_NO_HZ, RCU would insist on keeping a given idle CPU’s scheduling-clock tick enabled until all of that CPU’s RCU callbacks had been invoked. On certain types of battery-powered embedded systems, these few additional scheduling-clock ticks would consume up to 40% of the battery lifetime. The people working on such systems were not amused, and were not shy about letting me know of their dissatisfaction with RCU’s life choices. Please note that “letting me know” did not take the form of flaming me on LKML. Instead, they called me on the telephone and yelled at me.

        Given that history, why on earth would I even be thinking about removing CONFIG_RCU_FAST_NO_HZ, let alone queuing a patch series intended for the v5.17 merge window???

        The reason is that everyone I know of who builds their kernels with CONFIG_RCU_FAST_NO_HZ=y also boots those systems with each and every CPU designated as a rcu_nocbs CPU. With this combination, CONFIG_RCU_FAST_NO_HZ=y is doing nothing but placing a never-taken branch in the fastpath to and from idle. Such systems should therefore run slightly faster and with slightly better battery lifetime if their kernels were instead built with CONFIG_RCU_FAST_NO_HZ=n, which would get rid of that never-taken branch.

      • BE CAREFUL WITH find + delete – find . -delete -name vs find . -name -delete

        one neat function of find, it that what it found can be passed to another function for further processing.

      • Nextcloud – Unable to Open Photos Library — Firstyear’s blog-a-log

        It seems that Nextcloud is not sandboxed which means that macos enforces stricter permissions on what this can or can not access, which is what prevented the photos library from syncing.

      • How to compress PNG image file in Linux – Unixcop the Unix / Linux the admins deams

        PNG or Portable Network Graphics is an image file format meant to replace GIF.

        PNG utilizes lossless image compression, which results in high-quality images though sometimes they can be relatively big.

        Also if you have a lot of images, and want to compress them without losing its original quality There are plenty of GUI applications available which will help you to optimize the images.

        Here are two simple command line utilities to optimize images and they are:

        PNGquant and OptiPNG are programs that optimize PNG images to smaller size without losing any information or their original quality.

      • How to install Runescape on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Runescape 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 quickly back up and restore a database with phpMyAdmin – TechRepublic

        Many of your business processes depend on databases. Should one of those databases fail, your workflow could come to a standstill. That would cost you money, an outcome you certainly do not want.

        To avoid that, you need to back up those databases. I’ve already walked you through the process of doing so from the command line. This is most definitely a technique you should know. But there might be times when you want to work with a bit more efficiency, such as by way of a web-based GUI like phpMyAdmin. That, my friends, is exactly what I’m going to show you today.

        After you read how easy this is, you might never go back to the terminal for this task.

        Let’s get to work.

      • How to install Nvidia graphics drivers on Pop_OS

        If a web-based GUI is better suited to your admin skills, Jack Wallen wants to show you how to back up and restore your MySQL/MariaDB databases with one of the easiest tools on the market.

      • How to upgrade to Pop_OS 21.10

        Pop_OS 21.10 is here! It comes with great new features like a brand new application launcher, Gnome Shell version 40, and many other things. In this guide, we’ll go over how to upgrade your system to the new Pop_OS 21.10.

    • Games

      • New Proton game compatibility milestone is great news for Valve’s Steam Deck

        If there’s one positive we can glean from Valve’s decision to delay the Steam Deck, it’s that the company now has some extra time to polish its handheld gaming PC good and proper. In fact, this newfound extra time has already helped improve Proton compatibility with Steam’s top games, which has just hit a new milestone.

        According to analysis conducted by the ProtonDB community, 80% of Steam’s top 100 games now run perfectly on Proton after a few tweaks. However, there’s still plenty of work to be done before we can expect a flawless experience using the Steam Deck, with just 35% of the top 100 either running flawlessly or natively on Linux.

        Compatibility could quickly rise to 88% if developers were to patch their games with Proton compatible versions of Easy Anti-Cheat or BattlEye services, which are currently leaving games like Destiny 2 and New World unplayable. That said, because the affected games currently can’t launch using Proton, there’s no way of knowing whether other issues accompany those related to anti-cheat measures.

      • 75% of Steam’s Top 1000 games work on Linux now – gHacks Tech News

        Valve Software, the company behind the popular Steam gaming platform and smash hits such as Dota 2, Half-Life and Team Fortress, announced plans in 2018 to improve Windows game support for Linux.

        Steam Play, a feature that Valve Software launched in 2010 to allow cross-platform game play on Steam, would be used to improve support. Originally launched as a way for gamers to play their games on all platforms without having to purchase games for each platform, Valve Software included a modified version of Wine, called Proton, in Steam Play.

        Proton improved compatibility and Linux users on Steam had access to more games using the new feature.

      • 80% of Steam’s 100 Most Popular Games Now Run on Linux with Proton – How smart Technology changing lives [Ed: Dubious site/source]

        Proton has de facto been the true starting gun for the Linux Gaming. For those of you who don’t know what we’re talking about, it’s a Wine-based compatibility layer powered by Valve to make it easier to run Windows video games on Linux and macOS.

        Proton is served through the Steam Play feature of the Steam client, but being an open source development, it can be taken over, forked, and re-implemented by anyone who wants it, so it’s also employed by Lutris, Heroic Game Launcher, and MiniGalaxy, to name three relatively well-known projects at least.

      • Steam Deck compatibility with games is growing, but it’s not all good news

        Linux can now run 80% of the top 100 most popular games on Steam using the Proton compatibility layer, and therefore by extension the same is true of the SteamOS (Linux) powered Steam Deck.

        This fresh milestone was reported by ProtonDB, which keeps track of compatibility via reports from gamers. At the time of writing, exactly 80% of Windows games are ranked as ‘Gold’ for Proton compatibility, which means that the titles in question run ‘perfectly’ after a little tweaking (games which run perfectly with no tweaking needed at all are rated Platinum).

        Essentially, Gold ratings (or above) are what you’re looking for in order to ensure that a game is a smooth experience with Proton, as Silver-rated titles, while being generally playable, have some issues.

        Ratings are based on player reports as mentioned, and out of 21,244 games which have been reported and included in ProtonDB’s stats, 17,649 work via Proton.

      • 75% of Steam’s Top 1000 Games Work On Linux Now
    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GTK4ifying Settings – Georges Stavracas

          It took a long time, and massive amounts of energy and sweat and blood, but as of last week, Settings is finally ported to GTK4 and uses libadwaita for platform integration.

          This was by far the biggest application I’ve ported to GTK4. In total, around 330 files needed to be either rewritten or at least modified as part of the porting process. It also required GTK4 ports of some dependencies, like gnome-desktop, libnma, and colord-gtk.

    • Distributions

      • Elementary OS 6.1 Run Through and Interview With Danielle Foré

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Harvester is now production-ready and generally available   | SUSE Communities

          2021 has been a memorable year for the Harvester team. In May, SUSE hosted the first virtual SUSECON, where we announced the beta release of Harvester, alongside a cast of new innovative open source projects from the SUSE Rancher engineering team. In October, for the first time in two years, we were able to meet our industry peers and the community face-to-face at KubeCon North America where we announced Harvester’s plans to integrate with our leading Kubernetes management platform SUSE Rancher.


          Harvester is a 100% free-to-use, open source modern hyperconverged infrastructure solution that is built on a foundation of cloud native solutions including Kubernetes, Longhorn and Kubevirt. It has been designed as an enterprise-ready turnkey solution that gives operators a familiar operating experience like other proprietary HCI solutions in the market.

        • Technical Insights of Harvester 1.0 | SUSE Communities

          Exactly one year ago, we announced the alpha availability of the project Harvester, an open Source Hypercoverged Infrastructure solution. During this last year, the team has been working hard on developing the project and we brought you the beta release of v0.2.0 and v0.3.0. Throughout the last year, we’ve received many queries from our users and the community, asking when Harvester will be in production.

        • Digest of YaST Development Sprint 137 | YaST

          As you may know, YaST has the ability to update itself at the very beginning of the installation of the operating system. That makes possible to correct the installation process in case errors are detected after publishing a given release of SUSE Linux Enterprise.

          Recently we found there was room for improving the speed and also to simplify how the mechanism works in some scenarios. It’s hard to explain exactly what we did in only a few words… so we will not try. ;-) But if you don’t mind reading quite some words and watching a couple of animations, go and check the description of this pull request.

          Apart from the already mentioned improvements, we also extended the YaST self-update to support relative URLs. Check the details in this separate pull request.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • What sysadmins want to know about OpenShift and Kubernetes

          If I could summarize my philosophy of knowledge in the open source world, it would be “learn hard, share harder!” This idea drives me to give back to the community in appreciation for all it has provided me.


          Kudos to our contributors who have gifted us with such excellent articles this year! As I said at the beginning of this article, “learn hard, share harder.” Learn, benefit, use, and be inspired by these articles, so that you can share your knowledge with others, too.

        • Real-time Analytics News for Week Ending December 18

          Red Hat announced updates throughout its portfolio of application services. The modularity of the Red Hat Application Services portfolio contributes to a unified environment for application development, delivery, integration, and automation. The combination of the Quarkus platform with the connectivity capabilities of Apache Camel, the intelligent decisioning of Kogito, API management with Red Hat 3scale API Management, and the power of Red Hat OpenShift enables Java developers to fully embrace cloud-and Kubernetes-native development.

        • Hybrid work model: 4 tips for teams in 2022 [Ed: IBM says you are “IBM employee 100% of the time”. Today, from IBM: we keep you under control in the workplace and also at home]

          In 2022, the hybrid work model will be called, simply, “work.” Until it’s the norm, teams will have growing pains making the adjustment. While there is no cookie-cutter approach for all people, roles, or projects, consider these tips to smooth the transition.


          Use milestones and deadlines to gauge your team’s progress instead of tracking time. One challenge of remote work is “appearing” to be productive and present to the management team. However, measurement should not be seen as a punitive exercise to catch people out – it should guide employees toward completing their goals.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian 11 ‘Bullseye’ updated to 11.2 with 40+ security updates and 60+ bugfixes

          The Debian project has released a second update for the stable distribution Debian 11, codenamed “Bullseye”. Although the latest update is not a major revision, it includes more than 40 security updates, in addition to 60+ bug fixes.

          Nearly two months after releasing Debian 11.1, the team behind the Linux distro has sent out an incremental update that fixes multiple bugs, and also addresses several security issues. One of the most prominent of the patches, include a fix for actively exploited Log4j vulnerability.

          If you have been applying updates, you’ll automatically be on Debian 11.2. You can check to see if you have the latest updates through the graphical update tool. Alternatively, experienced users can fire up the Terminal and update Debian with the command sudo apt update && sudo apt full upgrade.

        • Model upgrade: Linux distribution Debian is in version 11.2 (Bullseye) [Ed: Automated translation of article in German]

          The Debian Release 11.2 “Bullseye” is not a completely new version, but mainly a package refreshment. The updated version removes security problems – it contains updates to close the Log4j gaps – and is also intended to fix some serious problems. There are new installation media to download, but a normal update also brings existing Bullseye installations to the current state.

          That lists the numerous security updates and package updates Debian project in the changelog on. The kernel is now about version 5.10.83-rt58. New versions of Apache, Firefox, LibreOffice, Samba, WordPress and explicitly additional apache-log4j2 also seal off vulnerabilities.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

      • 10GbE shows up on Linux router board and M.2 module

        Wallys announced a “DR8072 V01” router board that runs Linux on a 2.2GHz, quad -A53 Qualcomm IPQ8072A and offers 802.11ax, mini-PCIe, 4x GbE, and 10GbE SFP and copper ports. Meanwhile, Innodisk unveiled the world’s first 10GbE M.2 module.

        Over the last year we have seen 2.5GbE and to a lesser extent 10GbE ports extend their reach in embedded systems. Now, Wallys (or Wally’s) has announced a Linux router board with dual 10GbE ports and Innodisk has announced the Linux-compatible “EGPL-T10,” which it bills as the world’s first 10GbE M.2 module (see farther below).

        Wallys’ DR8072 V01 board follows its DR8072A, which similarly runs OpenWrt and other Linux distributions on the 2.2GHz, quad -A53 Qualcomm IPQ8072A. The SoC is equipped with dual-band, 4×4 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) for 8x streams at up to 2475 Mbps. The main difference in the boards is that the new V01 model provides dual 10GbE ports instead of dual 2.5GbE ports

      • LG All-in-One Thin Clients Preloaded with IGEL OS for Release in 2022

        LG All-in-One thin clients preloaded with IGEL OS will ship on select LG hardware with support for Citrix, VMware Workspace ONE, Windows 365 and more.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Making music with a Nano 33 IoT-based MIDI keyboard | Arduino Blog

          As part of an assigned project in his class, Peter Ashmore and a partner were tasked with making some kind of interactive object, so they decided to go with a MIDI keyboard due to their shared enjoyment of music production. Modeled somewhat after the typical Launchpad, the team’s system incorporated a set of 13 buttons spanning one octave, as well as two buttons for controlling the current octave and a knob that regulates the volume.

          The team went with an Arduino Nano 33 IoT as the brains of the operation and wired up the 15 push buttons in a pull-down configuration. After they had finished soldering each component to pieces of perfboard, each element was then assembled into a custom-built chassis that was laser cut from plywood and coated in black spray paint.

        • Turing-ring is a DIY Turing machine consisting of an Arduino and an RGB LED ring | Arduino Blog

          With just an infinite tape, a head that can read or write, a state, and some rules, Turing machines (TMs) are capable of running any computer program. So, after winning a NeoPixel ring in a competition, Mark Wilson wanted to implement his own Turning machine using just a few RGB LEDs and a single Arduino Nano.

          When his aptly named Turing-ring starts up, an initial state and cell values on the tape can be loaded from either internal program storage or over a USB serial connection. From there, the TM can be further modified or run in order to perform a given task. Furthermore, a user can input their own states (denoted by LED colors) onto the tape by turning a rotary encoder and pressing down to confirm their choice. The speed at which the machine iterates through each step is controlled from either the menu or by rotating the dial when a program is running.

        • TTGO T-CAN485 – An ESP32 board with RS485, CAN bus interfaces – CNX Software

          LilyGO is regularly bringing ESP32 boards to market for specific applications, and their latest TTGO T-CAN485 connects ESP32 to CAN bus and RS485 industrial control interfaces.

          The board also takes 5 to 12V power input via a 2-pin terminal, comes with a microSD card for data storage, a USB Type-C port and CH340K serial chip for programming and debuggging, plus a 12-pin GPIO header, some buttons, and an RGB LED.

        • The Inspirer Keeps Your Mood Up With Inspirational Quotes And Soothing Music | Hackaday

          While some people enjoy the cold weather and long, dark nights in the Northern Hemisphere these days, others may find it hard to keep a positive mindset all through the winter. [Michael Wessel] decided he needed to do something about that and came up with The Inspirer, a desktop display that shows inspirational quotes and plays soothing music.

          The design is deliberately bare-bones: a strip of wood, standing upright thanks to two metal brackets, onto which a bunch of components have been screwed, glued and taped. The actual display consists of a row of 14-segment LED modules that can show basic alphanumeric characters; these displays emit white light, but [Michael] added a red color filter in front to give them a more “retro” look.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The curl year 2021 | daniel.haxx.se

        I’m saving my bigger summary for curl’s 24th birthday in March, but when reaching the end of a calendar year it feels natural and even fun to look back and highlight some of the things we accomplished and what happened during this particular lap around the sun. I decided to pick five areas to highlight.

      • Developer creates ‘Quite OK Image Format’ that beats PNGs • The Register

        A developer named Dominic Szablewski has given the world a new file format with a splendid name: the Quite OK Image Format (QOI).

        The file format might be better than that. Szablewski explained that he decided the world needed a new image format because the likes of PNG, JPEG, MPEG, MOV and MP4 “burst with complexity at the seams.”

        “Every tiny aspect screams ‘design by consortium’,” he added, going on to lament the fact that most common codecs are old, closed, and “require huge libraries, are compute hungry and difficult to work with.”

      • The Apache Weekly News Round-up: week ending 17 December 2021

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

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Support.Mozilla.Org: What’s up with SUMO – December 2021

            December is here. As you’re sliding off into a more cozy corner of your house surrounded by your family members, let’s see what SUMO has been up to in the last month of 2021.

          • William Lachance: Leaving Mozilla

            I’ve decided to leave Mozilla as an employee: my last day will be December 31st, 2021.

            It’s hard to overstate the impact Mozilla has had on my life over the last ten years. In particular, I’m grateful for all the interactions I’ve had with the community: the opportunity to build technology for the public good with people around the world was unique and I’m really going to miss it.

            Looking back over the past 10 years, I’m feeling pretty good about the impact I had through building better developer and data tooling: mozregression, Perfherder, Iodide and the Glean Dictionary stand out as particular highlights. Thanks to everyone who worked on those things with me! I am because we are.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • PostgreSQL Weekly News – December 19, 2021

          FOSDEM PGDay 2022 will be held on line, on Feb 5-6, 2022. https://fosdem.org/2022/

          A PostgreSQL Transition Guide, containing much hard-won wisdom, and available in French and English, has been published

          pgDay Paris 2022 will be held in Paris, France on March 24, 2022. The CfP is open through December 31, 2021 at midnight, Paris time.

          Citus Con, a virtual global developer event, is happening April 12-13, 2022. The CFP is now open.

      • Content Management Systems (CMS)

        • WordPress 5.9 Beta 4

          WordPress 5.9 Beta 4 is now available for testing!

          This software version is still under development. Please do not run this software on a production site; install it on a test site, where you can try out the newest features and get a feel for how they will work on your site.

      • Programming/Development

        • Joey Hess: Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day

          Happy solstice, and happy Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day!

          After my inventory of my code today, I have decided it’s time to pass on moreutils to someone new.

          This project remains interesting to people, including me. People still send patches, which are easy to deal with. Taking up basic maintenance of this package will be easy for you, if you feel like stepping forward.


          The other reason it’s less appealing to me is that unix tools as a whole are less appealing to me now. Now, as a functional programmer, I can get excited about actual general-purpose functional tools. And these are well curated and collected and can be shown to fit because the math says they do. Even a tiny Haskell function like this is really very interesting in how something so maximally trivial is actually usable in so many contexts.

        • Vanessa Christopher: Everybody Struggles

          Before Outreachy I did not have the slightest idea of what packaging was all about as a matter of fact it was completely new to me.

        • stop defining feature-test macros in your code – Ariadne’s Space

          If there is any change in the C world I would like to see in 2022, it would be the abolition of #define _GNU_SOURCE. In many cases, defining this macro in C code can have harmful side effects ranging from subtle breakage to miscompilation, because of how feature-test macros work.

        • OpenBLAS 0.3.19 Released With Alder Lake & Sapphire Rapids Detection

          OpenBLAS as the popular, open-source BLAS (Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms) library implementation posted its newest release on Sunday.

          OpenBLAS 0.3.19 is the new release and brings CPU ID detection for the recently released Intel Alder Lake desktop processors, support for upcoming Xeon Scalable “Sapphire Rapids”, and more:

          - Intel CPU detection for Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids. On the Sapphire Rapids front is also an optimized SB-GEMM kernel.

        • Ravgeet Dhillon: Create an App Information Component in Nuxt

          You must have seen multiple apps which show the app’s information like app version and last updated at time in their footers or via a floating action button. In this tutorial, you’ll learn to create a component to show such kind of information in a Nuxt app.


          That’s it! You have successfully implemented an app information component in your Nuxt app. In the same way, you can add things like Changelog, What’s New, and more to your app by taking the help of publicRuntimeConfig in a Nuxt app.

        • CI/CD platforms: How to choose the right continuous integration and delivery system for your business – TechRepublic

          Continuous integration and continuous delivery have become mainstays in the development scene in the past few years, making them nearly a requirement for most development workflows. In recent years, new players have come into the market and brought new workflows and platforms to enable additional steps, automated testing and even automated deployment into the mix.


          In the software development life cycle, developers push code into a Distributed Version Control System such as GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket or some other platform on a self-hosted system or other system. A continuous integration platform sits in between this, looking for changes pushed into the DVCS and executes builds on the codebase when certain triggers are met. Continuous integration triggers could be based around individual code pushes to a particular branch, merge of code from a pull request or based on a time-based schedule (nightly builds, weekly builds, etc.).

          The continuous delivery aspect of CI/CD allows software teams to easily and safely get builds into production environments by building code, testing the code and then getting those build artifacts into the production environment. With continuous delivery, builds are typically triggered manually or on a time-based schedule, tests suites are run and results are reported if there are any issues with the code; then afterward, artifacts are made available to ship into a production environment.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Writing a SNES assembler compiler/disassembler – Day 3

            When starting implementing the compiler part of this. I noticed that the grammar does not actually really work, especially if you introduce new lines. If I parse a file with 3 instructions, we catch the \n sometime and the asm-comment token is too greedy.

            Let’s change the ws rule to only capture horizontal blank (space and tab) and introduce an eol token, this makes the grammar more clear on what we are working on also.

          • PDL 2.063_01 released

            There have been a couple of developments in PDL since the last announcement on here I could find, from 2013. To hypersummarise: 64-bit indexing, native complex number support, automatic pthreading using all available CPU cores, faster installation thanks to parallel-building, memory-mapped data, repository hosted on GitHub, easy to use “with” Inline.

          • Raku Advent Calendar: Day 21 – Santa Claus is Rakuing Along
        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Making a transect into a point and circle

            Another way to describe a straight-line transect is with its midway point plus the radius of a circle which includes the whole of the transect. In the Darwin Core scheme for recording biological data, that midway point is at decimalLatitude and decimalLongitude, and the circle’s radius, or half the length of the transect, is the coordinateUncertaintyInMeters.

            Given the LINESTRING WKT for a transect, you can calculate the midway point and half the transect length in a single AWK command, as explained below.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Hydrogen Generation Made Easy | Hackaday

        Even if you never want to generate hydrogen, [Maciej Nowak’s] video (embedded below) is interesting to watch because of the clever way the electrode is formed from stainless steel washers. You’ll need heat shrink tubing, but you ought to have that hanging around anyway. Building the electrode using the techniques in the video results in a lot of surface area which is important for an electrochemical reaction.

        A standard rechargeable cell provides power for the generator which resides in a modified plastic bottle. The overall build looks good even though it is all repurposed material.

        The chemistry inside is ordinary water and drain cleaner — potassium hydroxide. We don’t need to tell you to be careful with that and also take care of what you do with the explosive gas. We say “explosive” rather than “flammable” because this design doesn’t separate the hydrogen from the oxygen, and the resulting mix is ready to go off. The video shows a few homemade rockets using the fuel and while they aren’t going to the moon, they do pack quite a bit of energy.

      • Is Cloud Seeding Good, Bad, Or Ugly? | Hackaday

        The Chinese Communist Party celebrated its centenary on the 1st of July, 2021. For such a celebration, clear skies and clean air would be ideal. For the capable nation-state, however, one needn’t hope against the whims of the weather. One can simply control it instead!

        A recent paper released by Tsinghua University indicated that China had used cloud seeding in order to help create nicer conditions for its 100-year celebration. Weather modification techniques have been the source of some controversy, so let’s explore how they work and precisely what it was that China pulled off.

      • Li-ion Battery Low-Level Intricacies Explained Excellently | Hackaday

        There’s a lot of magic in Lithium-ion batteries that we typically take for granted and don’t dig deeper into. Why is the typical full charge voltage 4.2 V and not the more convenient 5 V, why is CC/CV charging needed, and what’s up with all the fires? [The Limiting Factor] released a video that explains the low-level workings of Lithium-ion batteries in a very accessible way – specifically going into ion and electron ion exchange happening between the anode and the cathode, during both the charge and the discharge cycle. The video’s great illustrative power comes from an impressively sized investment of animation, script-writing and narration work – [The Limiting Factor] describes the effort as “16 months of animation design”, and this is no typical “whiteboard sketch” explainer video.

        This is 16 minutes of pay-full-attention learning material that will have you glued to your screen, and the only reason it doesn’t explain every single thing about Lithium-ion batteries is because it’s that extensive of a topic, it would require a video series when done in a professional format like this. Instead, this is an excellent intro to help you build a core of solid understanding when it comes to Li-ion battery internals, elaborating on everything that’s relevant to the level being explored – be it the SEI layer and the organic additives, or the nitty-gritty of the ion and electron exchange specifics. We can’t help but hope that more videos like this one are coming soon (or as soon as they realistically can), expanding our understanding of all the other levels of a Li-ion battery cell.

    • Hardware

      • Keebin’ With Kristina: The One With The Hole-y Keyboard | Hackaday

        According to Google Translate, kleks is Polish for (and I’m cherry-picking definitions here) the word ‘splash’. Well, [deʃhipu]’s hole-ful and soulful Kleks Keyboard certainly made a splash with me. [deʃhipu] knows what I’m talking about. As I said in Discord, I just love the look of those holes. They’re purely aesthetic and do a nice job of showing off [deʃhipu]’s routing skills.

        One might argue that those holes also functional in that they increase aerodynamics and remove a not-insignificant amount of weight for travel considerations. But yeah, they mostly are there to look cool. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the two halves are joined with a series of soldered stitches that are made from a [ggconnector] bent into a u-shape. Now it’s a toss-up as to which is my favorite feature.

        It seems that [deʃhipu] is never completely satisfied by this or that keyboard build, and that’s okay. That’s normal. That is . . . a big part of what this hobby is all about. Because honestly, what would be the fun in finding The One? We wonder what will happen when the droplets settle. Will [deʃhipu] be satisfied with the Kleks, or will those stylish holes become un-fillable voids?

      • A Particularly Festive Chip Decapping | Hackaday

        As we approach the moment in the year at which websites enter a festive silly season of scrambling to find any story with a festive angle, we’re pleased to see the ever-reliable [Ken Shirriff] has brought his own take on Christmas tech to the table with a decapping of the UM66T melody chip that has graced so many musical greeting cards.

      • An All In One Cube PC For A 1990s That Never Quite Happened | Hackaday

        When a particular device or appliance is evoked, there comes with it a set of expectations over what it might look like. A toaster, a camera, a washing machine, or a PC, will all have their own accepted form factors, and it’s rare that a manufacturer is adventurous enough to venture outside them. In the world of PCs there was a brief flowering of this type of creativity through the 1990s, and it’s that time which [ikeji]’s cube PC squarely fits in. It’s a 3D printed PC with a built-in display, keyboard, and printer, and while some might categorize it as a cyberdeck we’d say it goes further, we could easily imagine a slightly more polished version being an object of desire back when a powerful machine carried an 80486.

      • The Assassin’s Teapot Is A Mischevious Design | Hackaday

        Many films use a similar trope when it comes to poisoning. The aspiring murderer ingests a drink poured from the same vessel as that given to their intended victim to indicate the liquid is safe to imbibe. The Assassin’s Teapot is a way one could achieve such a ruse, allowing two different liquids to be poured from what is seemingly a regular teapot, as shown by [Steve Mould]. (Video after the break.)

        The trick is simple. Two separate cavities exist within the teapot, exiting via their own paths in the same spout. Each cavity also has an air hole in the top. If the hole for a given cavity is blocked by the pourer’s thumb, the liquid will not flow.

        Each cavity can be filled with its own liquid. For example, one can be filled with tea, the other with poisoned tea. The murderer blocks the hole for the poison cavity when pouring their own beverage, delivering tea to their own glass. Then, when pouring for the enemy, the hole for the tea cavity is blocked, and poison is allowed to flow into the glass of one’s target.

      • Concrete With 3D Printed Foam Forms | Hackaday

        The latest 3D printing application? Forming concrete. That’s according to a team at ETH Zurich who claims that construction with foam forms cuts concrete usage up to 70%. It also offers improved insulation properties. You can see a video about the process, below.

        Typical concrete work relies on a form often made with wood, steel, or plastic. That’s easy to do, but hard to make complex shapes. However, if you can create complex shapes you can easily put material where it adds strength and omit material where it doesn’t carry load. Using a robotic-arm 3D print technique, the researchers can lay out prefabricated blocks of foam that create forms with highly complex shapes.

      • All Hail Your New Giant 555 Timer Overlord | Hackaday

        You asked for it, and now you’ve got it. It’s taken more than a decade of accumulated complaining, but this gigantic 555 timer IC has finally gathered enough psychokinetic energy to take corporeal form and demand fealty from the readers of Hackaday.

        Or not. The less exciting explanation is that creator [Rudraksha Vegad] was looking for a way to combine his interests in discrete electronic components and woodworking. The result is an incredible build that’s more than just a conversation starter; this desktop-sized version of the iconic integrated timer circuit is fully functional. You can even hook it up to a breadboard, assuming you’ve got some alligator clips handy.

      • Know Audio: Mixtapes, Tape Loops, And Razor Blades | Hackaday

        For the collector, ther have been a multitude of esoteric tape cartridges and cassettes over the decades, but for the purposes of a Hi-Fi system it’s likely that only two formats will be of interest. The reel-to-reel was the original tape recorder, having as its name suggests a pair of open reels of tape. Consumer and lower-end professional reel-to-reel machines used 1/4 inch wide tape running at a variety of speeds, from 15 inches per second for broadcast quality to 7.5 inches per second as a normal workaday recording medium, and 3.25 inches per second for speech recording. Its extreme ease of editing with a razor blade to cut the tape before splicing with special sticky tape made it a revolution in the broadcast world, and some of us were still doing this in the 1990s.

        Perhaps you’ll be more familiar with the cassette tape, a format developed at Philips in the 1960s as a dictation medium but which due to its popularity was developed into a Hi-Fi medium and then through the success of Sony’s Walkman, to the genesis of portable music players. This format takes the two reels, miniaturises them, and encases them in a plastic cassette, with a 0.15 inch wide tape containing four tracks in two stereo pairs moving at 1 7/8 inches per second. That the format could be developed to the point at which such a low tape speed could provide what eventually became a high quality system is a tribute to the work of the many engineers at the competing audio companies of the era who pushed it to its limit.

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Monopolies

Links 21/12/2021: GIMP 2.10.30 and Qubes OS 4.1 RC3

Posted in News Roundup at 5:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 5 Best linux distros for Day Trading (Stock or Forex)

        Trading become a popular way to invest especially after COVID. However, if you are a Trader who is switching to Linux and thinking about which Linux distro you should use for stocks or Forex day trading, then here are options to consider.

        Well, trading can be done on any operating system even on Android or iOS; the thing which creates the problem is the availability of the Trading software for Linux OS by the brokers. Well, there are only a few brokers who offer Linux clients otherwise only for Windows.

        Therefore, the only solution left is either use a web-based trading platform or use Wine on Linux to install your Trafing software meant for Windows. For example, if you are a Forex trader then it is possible to easily install MT4 or MT5 on a Linux system. Hence, here is a list of Linux distributions that are popular and easy to use.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.17 Will Add Ethernet Support For AMD Yellow Carp (Rembrandt)

        AMD’s Yellow Carp enablement has been going back to early summer for this next-generation APU that is better known as Rembrandt for the Ryzen 6000 mobile series. While there has already been the graphics support to land, sensor support, and various other functionality, only coming now with the next kernel cycle will be Ethernet support.

        Coming seemingly late compared to the other Rembrandt / Yellow Carp feature code introduced prior cycles is now having Ethernet support, especially with wired network connectivity still rather important to many users. This Yellow Carp Ethernet support doesn’t require some shiny new driver either but is being added onto the existing and-xgbe driver. As well, Yellow Carp uses an existing PCI ID (0x14b5) but requires a few changes for properly supporting.

      • AVX-Optimized SM3 Hashing For The Linux Kernel Nets Up To 38% Improvement – Phoronix

        An Alibaba engineer is proposing a standalone SM3 crypto library within the Linux kernel and with optimizations for x86_64 AVX usage nets up to a 38% performance improvement for this crypto algorithm.

        SM3 is another Chinese hashing function standard for digital signatures and other use-cases similar to SHA256 and part of the Chinese Commercial Cryptography suite. There has been SM3 hashing code in the Linux kernel since 2017 as well as support within Arm’s TrustZone CryptoCell “CCREE” driver.

      • Systemd 250 Piles On Yet More Features With New Release Candidate – Phoronix

        It was just over one week ago the systemd 250 release candidate was issued (along with a brown paper bag 250-rc2 fix-up release). Systemd 250 has a ton of changes for this init system and more while today systemd 250-rc3 was released with yet more changes in tow.

        Besides fixes and other maintenance items in systemd 250-rc3, more minor feature work has continued to land during the release candidate phase.

      • Graphics Stack

        • WXRD Is A New Wayland Compositor Focused On XR/VR Use-Cases

          For the Valve-funded Xrdesktop has allowed GNOME and KDE desktops to be VR-aware, Collabora has been developing WXRD as a standalone Wayland compositor for XR/VR use-cases.

          WXRD is a standalone Wayland compositor for the xrdesktop to offer better integration than what can be achieved using the existing patches around KDE KWin and GNOME Shell integration. WXRD is built atop the wl-roots Wayland support library as well as WXRC as a Wayland XR compositor for VR headsets. WXRC hasn’t seen too much activity lately while now Collabora is pushing ahead with WXRD as the new XR/VR Wayland compositor.

        • LLVM’s HIPSPV Coming Together For AMD HIP To SPIR-V For OpenCL Execution – Phoronix

          Last week I wrote about the interesting HIPSPV back-end for LLVM to take AMD HIP code — which generally starts off as NVIDIA CUDA code to begin with before the HIP-ification — and to be able to output that from the LLVM compiler stack as the SPIR-V intermediate representation used across OpenCL and Vulkan drivers. The goal with this is to be able to take AMD HIP code and ultimately be able to run it on Intel graphics processors but potentially other vendors/drivers too given the vendor-neutral SPIR-V. More of that HIPSPV work is now hitting mainline LLVM.

        • Raspberry Pi “V3DV” Vulkan Driver Now Works On Android – Phoronix

          The open-source Broadcom “V3DV” Vulkan driver within Mesa that is most notably used by the Raspberry Pi can now run on Android.

          For those making use of Google’s Android on the Raspberry Pi 4 and newer as an alternative to conventional Linux distributions, V3DV can now work there too for providing Vulkan API support. This support now upstream in Mesa was based on earlier work by Android-RPi and Lineage-RPi developers. Some of this Android-specific support code was based as well on the open-source Intel “ANV” and Qualcomm “TURNIP” Mesa Vulkan drivers too.

        • Vulkan 1.2.203 Released With Many Documentation Updates, New Extensions

          Vulkan 1.2.203 is out with many fixes/updates to the specification documentation to end out the year as well as introducing three new extensions.

          For being just another two-week update to the Vulkan API, Vulkan 1.2.203 does come with a large number of fixes/clarifications — 11 changes stemming from internal issues and another five public GitHub issues.

    • Applications

      • The 8 Best Open-Source Writing Software for Linux

        Improve your writing and craft better content with these free and open-source writing apps for Linux.

        Writers are always looking for some exciting tools to compile their written pieces. Despite the various options in the market, there is always an ongoing need to look for open-source options, which won’t burn a hole in the pocket.

        If you are a Linux user, you are in luck, for there are plenty of excellent open-source apps that you can use on your machine. A majority of these apps offer premium-grade type features for free.

        If you’re raring to go, then check out these top open-source writing tools enlisted below.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • ssh authentication using FIDO/U2F hardware authenticators

        From OpenSSH 8.2 release it supports authentication using FIDO/U2F. These tokens are required to implement the ECDSA-P256 “ecdsa-sk” key type, but some (say Yubikey) also supports Ed25519 (ed25519-sk) keys. In this example I am using a Yubikey 5.

        I am going to generate a non-discoverable key on the card itself. Means along with the card, we will also have a key on disk, and one will need both to authenticate. If someone steals you Yubikey, they will not be able to login just via that.

      • Install Arduino Software (IDE) on Linux – TREND OCEANS

        Arduino is open-source by design, meaning anyone can use this board architecture to design their own custom-made Arduino. It is used to create a device that can interact with the environment using sensors and actuators.

        Millions of boards are sold to big industries and factories every year to automate environment relative tasks. These include checking room temperature, delivering equipment using an IR sensor, etc.

      • Commands to Check your Linux Kernel Version – buildVirtual

        What version of Linux am I running? Have you ever been staring at a CLI prompt wondering how to check what version of Linux or which Kernel version you are running on your Linux system? If so, read on, as we will go through a bunch of commands to show you how to get this information.

      • What Is SSH Tunneling and How Does It Work? – ByteXD

        In this tutorial we’ll explain how to use SSH port forwarding and create a secure tunnel over the network, i.e., SSH Tunneling.

        Have you ever used a VPN (Virtual Private Network)? We use VPN to access regionally restricted contents, secure browsing, and many more.

        VPN allows public internet users to connect to a private network and browse the internet as if they (public users) were on the private network.

        Thus, it is called a “Virtual” Private Network.

        On the other hand, SSH (Secure Shell) is a protocol that uses the client-server communication model to provide a secure channel for operating network services.

        SSH provides encryption and can secure any network services over an unsecured network.

        When we hear about SSH, we generally think of it as being a tool used for remote login and command execution.
        However, SSH can be used in many ways other than this – transfer files, forward local or remote ports (used as a tunnel), etc.

      • Let it snow ’21 – Et tu, Cthulhu

        Amidst the holidays that perhaps aren’t turning out exactly as hoped, one can take comfort in small tokens of continuity – like the fact that xsnow is still being actively maintained.

        Thanks, everyone, for all the good software. Let’s extract the best from the year to come.

      • How to install Telnet server & client on Debian 11 Bullseye linux – Linux Shout

        Telnet has been around since 1969. Telnet is originally an abbreviation for “Telecommunication Network” and describes a protocol from the TCP/IP world with which text-based commands can be executed on remote computers.

        Using it the user can have remote access to the remote computer using Telnet client-server architecture via IP address. A suitable telnet client is available for almost all operating systems. It is still used to configure old hardware, especially industrial and scientific devices to diagnose and resolve technical problems.

      • Install HPLIP 3.21.12 In Fedora / Elementary OS / MX Linux | Tips On UNIX

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install HPLIP 3.21.12 in Fedora 35, MX Linux 21, and Elementary OS 6.

        HPLIP – HP Linux Image and Printing, developed by HP for Printing, scanning, and faxing with HP inkjet and laser-based printers in Linux platforms.

        The latest version of HPLIP 3.21.12 contains new Distro support only and the hplip installer is available for download from SourceForge.

      • Install Ubuntu 20.04 | 22.04 Cloud Image (Minimal) on VirtualBox

        Do you want to run minimal Ubuntu 20.04 Cloud Image on VirtualBox? Then here is a simple and quick tutorial to do that…

        Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is the popular server and desktop Linux operating system, however, the standard image of it is around 1GB or more, which would not be a cup of tea forever body. Especially those who want to run Ubuntu to test some Linux server applications but without investing much hardware resources.

        Earlier there was minimal ISO image available by Ubuntu developers, however not after 18.04. Therefore, we have another option that is a cloud Image, available to use by cloud platforms. But we can use the same on VirtualBox and here are the simple steps to do that.

      • How to install Go 1.18 on Fedora 35 – NextGenTips

        In this tutorial, we are going to explore how to install go on Fedora 35.

        Golang is an open-source programming language that is easy to learn and use. It is built-in concurrency and has a robust standard library. It is reliable, builds fast, and efficient software that scales fast.

        Its concurrency mechanisms make it easy to write programs that get the most out of multicore and networked machines, while its novel-type systems enable flexible and modular program constructions.

        Go compiles quickly to machine code and has the convenience of garbage collection and the power of run-time reflection.

      • How to create an event in AWS Cloudwatch to trigger a Lambda Function

        Amazon CloudWatch Events describe changes in AWS resources. We can match events and route them to one or more target functions. CloudWatch Events come to know about operational changes as they occur, e.g. if a defined resource in the Cloudwatch Rule has been created then the rule would come to know about it and in return it will trigger a target function.

        Before we proceed and create an event rule, let’s understand basics of it.

      • How to Install Bugzilla Bug Tracker on Debian 11

        Bugzilla is a free and open-source bug tracking system that allows us to track the bugs and collaborate with developers and other teams in our organization. It helps us to keep track of bugs, issues, and other change requests in their products effectively. It was adopted by thousands of organizations across the globe due to its robust features. It is written in Perl and uses MySQL/MariaDB as a database backend.

        In this article, I will explain how to install Bugzilla on Debian 11.

      • How to Install Vivaldi Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04 – LinuxCapable

        Vivaldi is a freeware, cross-platform web browser developed by Vivaldi Technologies. It had grown from the downfall of Opera with many disgruntled when it changed from the Presto layout engine to a Chromium-based browser. This platform angered traditional Opera users. Since then, Vivaldi has become one of the most popular alternative Internet Browsers amongst the big three Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

        Vivaldi promotes itself as a leading browser with faster navigation, clever bookmarking, more intelligent browsing, extensive tab management, and a more visual approach.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Vivaldi Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS.

      • How to Quickly Deploy Redis as a Docker Container – CloudSavvy IT

        Redis is an in-memory key-value store which can save abstract data structures with high performance. The open-source software is typically used for database, messaging, and caching functions.

        Docker is the leading toolkit for packaging applications into containers. It lets you isolate software components into independent environments with their own filesystem.

        In this guide, we’ll use Docker to quickly deploy Redis using the official image on Docker Hub. Compared to bare metal installation, Docker enables a simpler set up procedure and won’t pollute your host with new packages. Make sure you’ve got a functioning Docker installation on your host before you continue.

      • How to Automatically Turn Off AWS EC2 Instances

        A common use case for EC2 On-Demand and Spot Instances is using powerful machines for short-term, one-off tasks. However, if you were to leave these machines running on accident, you may end up with a very large bill. Luckily, AWS has tools to prevent that.

      • How To Install Centreon Monitoring on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Centreon Monitoring on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Centreon is an open-source tool that can monitor your entire infrastructure including network, system, and application. Centreon drives business performance excellence aligning IT operations with business objectives. Using Centreon you can set notifications depending on thresholds, set email alerts, easily add any system for monitoring.

        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 Centreon monitoring on an AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for Fedora, RHEL, CentOS, and Rocky Linux distributions.

      • Debug Bash Scripts – OSTechNix

        Debugging helps you to fix the errors in your program. In this article, we will discuss various methods to debug bash scripts in Linux and Unix operating systems.

    • Games

      • Free games on Linux: How to start games from the Epic Games Store – Market Research Telecast [Ed: Automated translation from German]

        You don’t look in the mouth of a given horse: Epic Games’ strategy of expanding its user base with free games is having an effect even on many die-hard Linux gamers. A good 150 games have already gathered in this way in the author’s Epic Games account.

        In many cases, the collected games can also be played under Linux with the help of Wine, but a Linux version of the Epic Games Launcher is not in sight. Open source tools such as Heroic Games Launcher, Legendary or Lutris fill the gap. With the help of the compatibility layer Wine (or its Fork Proton), the tools pretend Windows games to have a suitable operating system environment.

      • 80 Percent of Steam’s Top 100 Games Run ‘Nearly Flawlessly’ on Linux

        Thanks to Valve’s ProtonDB compatibility layer, 80% of Steam’s top 100 games are now playable within Linux operating systems. The new milestone was achieved today and shows how committed Valve is to get as many games as possible to run on Linux from the Steam library. That’s due in no small part to the new Steam Deck running on Valve’s own Linux-based SteamOS.

        But the accolades don’t stop there. If you go to protondb.com you can see that 75% of the top one-thousand most popular Steam games are also playable within Linux. This means there’s a good chance most of your favorite Steam titles are probably playable on Linux already, making Linux adoption even easier than before.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • elementary OS 6.1 “Jólnir” Officially Released

          elementary unveiled elementary OS 6.1. This is the first point-release in the 6.x series. elementary OS 6.1 is based on Ubuntu 20.04.3 and powered by Linux kernel 5.11. It includes all of the monthly OS updates since the OS 6 release.

        • Qubes OS 4.1-rc3 has been released!

          The third release candidate for Qubes 4.1 is here! There are no major changes to report. We’ve just focused on fixing bugs that were discovered and reported in the second release candidate.

          If you’re currently using either any Qubes 4.1 release candidate, a regular update is sufficient to upgrade to the latest one. Otherwise, read on for more about how to get started with testing Qubes 4.1-rc3.

        • Elementary OS 6.1 Jolnir Released, Adds a Lot of Quality Improvements

          Elementary announced the availability of Elementary OS 6.1, the first point-release in the 6.x series. Here’s what’s new.

          Elementary OS 6.1 Jolnir has been released. It’s the follow up to Elementary 6 Odin, which released four months ago. In that time period they boasted 240,000 downloads not including torrents.

          Of course Elementary OS 6 users already have all the new features because this distribution is a rolling release. But for newcomers there’s a ton of new stuff to take a look so let’s begin.

        • EasyOS most likely staying with Xorg

          Yes, unfortunately. Linux development is controlled by techies — “breaking things is the new norm”. Yes, true.

          I think that by the time I get to thinking of moving to Wayland, I’ll be pushing up daisies.

          ChromeOS, yes, watching that. Apparently there are still issues with running Linux apps. Don’t recall, think it runs Debian in a container, so the whole techie-driven ecosystem is still there.

        • Little fixes for 3.1.17

          Oops, the “update” script was broken. I had created a folder at ibiblio.org, amd64/releases/dunfell/2022, thinking that in future will group the releases by year. However, that upsets the update. Have removed that folder, until I fix the script.

          I did an “erase session” to get rid of a lot of junk from development work, then clicked on “update” on the desktop — that’s when I discovered the problem. Now fixed, and did an update from 3.1.15 to 3.1.17.

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD jails made simple using BastilleBSD | Random thoughts of Peter ‘CzP’ Czanik

          I wish I had BastilleBSD twenty years ago. I had a part-time sysadmin job – running web servers. PHP started to become popular by the turn of the century. Using jails on FreeBSD seemed to be a safe environment to run PHP-enabled web servers. However, there were no tools yet to work with jails. I had to write many scripts to build and update jails.

      • Arch Family

        • 3 Best Arch-based Linux Distributions for Everyday Desktop Usage

          Here I’ve created a list of the 3 best Arch-based user-friendly Linux distributions that you should try out.

          Arch Linux is a rolling release, bleeding edge operating system used mostly by advanced Linux users. From installing to managing, Arch Linux lets you handle everything, giving you all the power and control you’ll ever need.

          This is probably one of the reasons why Arch has a cult following in the Linux community.

          Unfortunately, Arch comes with its drawbacks in the form of the complicated installation procedure, for example. You will need also to use command line more than any other distribution.

          So you really want to use Arch Linux, but you are a little bit scared about its complexity? Well, then give Arch a try from a different angle. While Arch Linux itself isn’t a good pick for beginners, a lot of the distributions based on it are definitely very user-friendly.

          Here is a list of the 3 best Arch-based distributions to check out.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Looking at Fedora Linux 33 bugs

          At Nest, I delivered a talk called “Exploring Our Bugs“. But a single snapshot isn’t very useful. Building on the work there, let’s make this a regular thing. With the recent Fedora Linux 33 end-of-life, I’ve added F33 bugs to the bug exploration notebook. Here’s a few of my key findings.

        • Download CentOS Stream 9 ISO or Cloud Image files – Linux Shout

          The next major release from CentOS Stream is here, this successor of CentOS 8 will give us a glimpse of what lies ahead in RHEL 9 for users. Here are the links to download the CentOS 9 Stream ISO Images.

          CentOS Stream is designed as a continuous delivery distribution to provide every single stable version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It is because to make the Red Hat better and bug-free the company decided to repurpose CentOS as an upstream for its enterprise distribution. Which earlier was a downstream stable replica of RHEL and was popular among the server users because of the stability.

          However, as per the announcement, the packages before including in the CentOS stream will go through several series of automated and manual tests and checks to ensure that the strict standards for inclusion in RHEL are met.

          Also, the updates in the unreleased minor version of RHEL will be the same as the ones published in the Stream, in short, the main key of having CentOS stream by the company is to make RedHat more stable and robust.

          Well, this rolling release system is based on Fedora 34 and forms the basis of the upcoming RHEL 9 (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). The latter has been in beta since the beginning of November.

      • Debian Family

        • Thomas Lange: New ISO images using Debian 11

          I’ve created new ISO images for FAI. Now, they install Debian 11 using kernel 5.10. The ISOs are available from


          There’s also a Ubuntu version of the FAI CD which installs Ubuntu LTS 20.04 in two variants. A desktop and a server installation is available.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • It’s your Loki day: The Reg takes Elementary OS Jólnir for a quick test drive

          A new minor version of Elementary OS, a rather modernist and minimalist Ubuntu derivative, fixes a lot of small details. The Register took it for a quick spin.

          Fans of American Gods might recognise that Odin, the Allfather of the Norse gods, has many names – and “Jólnir” is one of them. Elementary OS 6.1 makes quite substantial changes for a point release, but if you were already running 6.0 and you update regularly, you probably already have it.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Hark! A VR headset powered by Linux that you can maybe buy one day

        The thing you didn’t even know you wanted is here: SimulaVR have been working hard on bringing Linux to the VR world and the result is the SimulaVR One and, well, it actually looks pretty cool.

        Now, you might be thinking, do we need Linux in a VR headset? It’s a good question and the answer, in our view, is why not. The year of Linux has been coming for a while and SimulaVR might have just found the missing piece.

      • Strap This Linux-Powered NUC to Your Face for Virtual Productivity

        The SimulaVR Simula One probably isn’t going to wind up on our gaming-focused list of the best VR headsets, but it’s certainly unique. Its goal is to function as a VR workstation, by replacing your physical monitors with a virtual environment to get work done. The Simula One runs a Linux operating system on a small intel NUC attached to the headset itself.

        Since the headset isn’t aimed at gamers, high graphics horsepower is not required. So the team behind SimulaVR opted to use an Intel NUC 11 compute element equipped with a Core i7-1165G7 processor. It’s a quad-core hyperthreaded CPU with a peak boost of 4.7GHz and Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics.

      • OpenStreetMap

        • Should you contribute open data to OpenStreetMap for free?

          Facebook uses OSM world wide. They do a lot of quality-assurance (QA) work on OSM data as they were burned by a malicious user changing the name of New York City to Jewtroplis. As part of their work they now release a dataset called Daylight. Daylight is basically OSM data (+ other Open Data, like the Bing buildings) delayed with QA tests. They employ nobody in the OSM community.

          Amazon do a lot of work globally to help their delivery drivers, mainly by mapping new residential roads and driveways. They employ nobody in the OSM community.

          Ordnance Survey, the National mapping agency in Great Britain (GB), now uses OSM for all data outside of GB, and some data inside. Comically, some of the OSM data they use inside GB is because they couldn’t agree on a licensing agreement with themselves. They employ nobody in the OSM community.


          I’ve been working on a Places dataset by scraping Linked Data and Microdata from first party websites. But due to issues with the source data going off spec means I basically have to write some code for each site anyway. Plus, I don’t have the resources to do a large scale web crawl to find independent shop websites.

          And even then, this data is probably covered by Database rights in the UK and European Union so it can’t be used in OSM without the data owners permission. It’s surprisingly hard to get companies to give you permission to copy data from there website, it’s basically free advertising for them, but they are still reluctant.

          In the UK we’ve reached a mid-point, we use the dataset for QA, and to identify areas that need an independent survey to collect missing data. Depending on the interpretation of Database rights, even that may be infringing.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GIMP 2.10.30 Released

            GIMP 2.10.30 is once again mostly a bugfix release, with many fixes and incremental improvements, not so much on the “new feature” side.

          • GIMP 2.10.30 Released With Better Adobe PSD Support, Improved Portals Integration

            GIMP 3.0 still isn’t ready for release and won’t be in 2021 but the GIMP 2.10.30 release is out today in time for working on your Christmas photos or holiday cards.

            GIMP 2.10.30 is primarily a maintenance/bug-fix release but does carry some improvements worth noting. GIMP 2.10.30 includes changes such as…

          • GIMP 2.10.30 Bugfix Release Now Available

            GIMP 2.10.30 ships with many fixes and incremental improvements, but not so much on the new feature side.

            For years now, GIMP has been one of the best free alternatives for commercial image editing suites like Photoshop. It is a bitmap/pixel-based image manipulation program for photo editing and retouching and creating images and animations.

            There’s still some time to go before seeing the long-awaited GIMP 3.0 release for this open source image manipulation program but at least out today is GIMP 2.10.30 for bettering the current stable series. Let’s see what’s new!

          • GIMP 2.10.30 Released! Improved file format support, Prefer Freedesktop API | UbuntuHandbook

            GIMP image editor got a new bug-fix release for the current 2.10 stable series today. Here’s what’s new and how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04 & Ubuntu 21.10.

            GIMP 2.10.30 improved several file format supports. PSD support received various types of improvements allowing it to load more sub-cases of PSD. And, AVIF export now favors AOM encoder.

            Color picking from Colors dockable can now use the Freedesktop API when available. The screenshot plugin for GNOME 41 has been dropped due to restricted API. And, in KDE it uses in priority the Freedesktop API.

      • Programming/Development

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppSMC 0.2.6 on CRAN: Compiler Update

          A new maintenance RcppSMC release 0.2.6 arrived at CRAN yesterday. It chiefly updates the code to comply with g++-11 which default to C++17 – which brings us std::data(). And if one is not careful, as we weren’t in three files, this can clash with other uses of data as I tweeted a good week ago. Otherwise some JSS URLs now sport the preferred shorter doi form.

          RcppSMC provides Rcpp-based bindings to R for the Sequential Monte Carlo Template Classes (SMCTC) by Adam Johansen described in his JSS article. Sequential Monte Carlo is also referred to as Particle Filter in some contexts. The package features the Google Summer of Code work by Leah South in 2017, and by Ilya Zarubin in 2021.

        • Heaptrack v1.3.0 Release – KDAB

          Version 1.3.0 of the KDE Heaptrack project was just released by KDAB’s Milian Wolff.

          Heaptrack is a heap memory profiler on Linux-based operating systems. It can help you find hotspots that need to be optimized for reducing memory usage, memory leaks, allocation hotspots, and temporary allocations.

          Included in this release is a special new feature that NetworkRADIUS.com hired KDAB to develop: support for custom suppression files, including support for per-application embedded default suppression lists. This can be done by the same API that is already used by LSAN: __lsan_default_suppressions. KDAB is always more than happy to make improvements to products for their customers. And this change even made it into the very next release! Thanks to NetworkRADIUS.com for bringing this forward.

          This release also brings you filtering by time ranges. All you have to do to filter by time range is select a range of time and right click. The ability to see the difference between the two time points that results from this action is a very helpful new feature in the workflow of the heap memory analysis.

        • 802.11ah WiFi HaLow development board to launch for $99 (Crowdfunding) – CNX Software

          When 802.11.ah WiFi operating in the 900 MHz frequency range for low-power long-range communication was announced in 2014, then named WiFi HaLow in 2016, I naively assumed it would soon compete against other LPWAN standards like LoRaWAN or Sigfox.

          However, over the next few years, we did not see much interest in the wireless standard. But it may be picking up now, as Gateworks recently announced a Newracom NRC7292 based 802.11ah WiFi HaLow Mini PCIe module for their Arm Linux SBC’s, and a company called Teledatics is about to launch Halo TD-XPAH 802.11ah Hallow development board featuring an AzureWave AW-HM482 module.

        • Jonathan Dowland: Vim plugins by Tim Pope

          I’ve been using Vim as my main text editor for 18 years, but for most of that time I’ve been using something very close to the default configuration: my vimrc contained not much more than preferences for indentation and how to visually indicate white space characters like tabs. Last but not least, I’ve used a single colour scheme for most of that time: Zenburn.

        • Mold 1.0 Released As A Modern High-Speed Linker Alternative To GNU Gold, LLVM LLD

          Mold 1.0 is a production-ready, high-speed linker alternative to GNU’s Gold or LLVM’s LLD that currently is supported on Linux systems and written by the original LLD author.

          Rui Ueyama who previously spearheaded LLD as the LLVM linker has been recently designing Mold. Mold 1.0 marks the project’s first stable and production-ready release. Mold 1.0 doesn’t add any shiny new linker features over LLD or Gold, but that it’s much faster. Currently Linux systems are supported while plans are underway to extend the linker to macOS followed by Windows.

        • Zstd 1.5.1 Released With Even More Performance Improvements – Phoronix

          Zstandard 1.5.1 is now available as the latest release of this widely-used data compression algorithm backed by Facebook that delivers on great performance. With the new release, performance is even better.

        • REST vs SOAP: What’s the Difference between REST API and SOAP API?

          In this article, we have discussed difference between REST API and SOAP API. Comparing REST vs SOAP API, REST works with plain text, JSON, XML and HTML whereas SOAP work only with XML formats. Moreover, SOAP API needs more bandwidth for its usage whereas REST API doesn’t need much bandwidth.

        • Red Hat Developer roundup: Best of December 2021

          Welcome to our monthly recap of all the articles published in December 2021! This month’s highlights include two quick guides for developers looking to integrate their favorite tools with Red Hat OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka, an elegant process for performance testing microservices on Kubernetes, a Quarkus developer’s guide to Java 17 language features, and more.

        • The Origins of C

          C has influenced the shape of almost every programming language developed since the 1980s, says Richard Jensen.

          In this article, Jensen offers a brief look at the language’s history, which begins in England with a colleague of Alan Turing and a program that played checkers.

        • Qt

          • QStringView Diaries: QAnyStringView – A Variant String-View

            In Qt, the vast majority of strings are held in QString objects, and most functions take strings by const QString& and return by QString. This works fine in practice, because QString is so readily created from string literals that for the most part, you don’t need to pay attention. The compiler will helpfully convert string literals to QString when calling such functions. It doesn’t convert std::string, nor even std::u16string, but who cares about those? :)

          • Qt for MCUs 2.0 released

            A new major update of Qt for MCUs is now available. Download version 2.0 to benefit from the many improvements we have made based on your feedback in the last two years. Qt for MCUs 2.0 also includes new features such as text rendering in any language, new APIs for management and optimizations of graphical resources, and more.

  • Leftovers

    • Never trash READABLE data! | Stop at Zona-M

      One of the countless, unexpected effects of the COVID lockdowns was and still is, says Wired a great increase of the amounts of highly sensitive data found in old, even really old computers. Like the case of a collector of vintage hardware buying this year a computer only sold in 1995 and 1996, and discovering it was still full of “all sorts of personal files, like tax records and letters to mom”.

      For both funny and worrying details do read the full piece. Here, I only need to motivate you with a quote from a security , but the gist is all in this declaration from a security consultant they interviewed:

      “If you don’t properly dispose of your old hardware, you effectively pass the buck to someone else to protect your data. And once that happens, it’s done. It’s a problem you can’t retrospectively fix.

    • Hardware

      • HDD Vending Machine Works Like A Vending Machine Should

        The concept of vending machines in hackerspaces is nothing new, but [iooner] took it a step further – as hackers ought to. Putting HDDs into the rotating spring of a repurposed vending machine, right where you’d expect to see a Granola bar, isn’t revolutionary – but we don’t remember anybody doing it before this. And, with how heavy a typical HDD is, you are guaranteed to never encounter the “it just won’t fall down” issue that’s omnipresent with the snack-loaded machines.

        Nothing could illustrate the premise of this concept better than [iooner]’s video does, and hackerspaces acquiring and having fun with consumer-facing equipment is always fun to watch. A stereotypical hackerspace vending machine sells resistor packs and Arduino boards, but you wouldn’t see it venture into the realm of data storage and distribution. Given how cheap HDDs are nowadays, this concept could benefit us in a variety of applications – selling new HDDs to members for regular data storage use, or distributing hacking magazine archives and Wikipedia dumps, even exclusive release things like recordings of hackerspace lectures.

      • “Window To The World” Brings Far-Off Places To Your Home | Hackaday

        For those who love travelling around the world, life hasn’t been great for the past two years. World-wide lockdowns and travel restrictions have kept many people stuck inside their own homes when they would rather be jetting off to distant cities. If you’re one of those bothered by Wanderlust, [Alex Shakespeare] might have a solution for you: a window that shows a live image from another location around the world.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Need for surveillance reform stronger than ever in light of the Draft Data Protection Bill, 2021

              The Joint Parliamentary Committee Report on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (PDP Bill) is here. The report, however, fails to tackle head-on one of the most pressing issues facing the country presently: surveillance reform. This leaves out any regulation or oversight over projects such as the National Intelligence Grid (NatGrid) or the CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System) which has databases on lakhs of Indians.

              Why should surveillance be regulated?

              Surveillance refers to the continuous or intermittent monitoring of a person or a group of people, usually without their knowledge, for the purpose of gathering information about their activities. There are two forms of surveillance, first targeted surveillance (Example: spyware such as Pegasus) and second, mass surveillance (Example: NatGrid, CCTNS, CMS & AFRS).

              Regulation of the surveillance by government authorities is an oft-debated topic. While one constituency argues for national security, the other places individual privacy as a more important priority. However, these interests can be reconciled by specific legislative choices which have been ignored by the Joint Parliamentary Committee in the proposed Data Protection Bill, 2021 (read our explainer here). Surveillance regulation when well crafted does not harm national security, but enhances our fundamental rights along with institutional processes that ensure such capabilities are not used for political purposes. This principle of accountability and oversight in surveillance practices has been recognised by many liberal democracies.

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation Releases Report on Data and Storage | Enterprise Storage Forum

                The Linux Foundation is sharing a report on enterprise use of data and storage as they relate to cloud services and workloads.

                The Linux Foundation released the 2021 “Data and Storage Trends” report “in the era” of cloud-native, edge computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G solutions, according to the foundation last month.

        • Security

          • Enterprise Linux Security Episode 12 – An Inside Job? – Invidious

            Earlier this year, Ubiquiti allegedly suffered a breach, which seemed to reinforce the hesitation some customers have with using the UniFi platform, given that it has a cloud-connected controller. Now, months later, an unexpected bombshell was dropped – it looks like the company wasn’t compromised by an outside attacker after all, recent developments seem to point to the whole fiasco being an inside job!

          • Enterprise Linux Security Episode 13 – Log4Shell – Invidious

            The Log4Shell vulnerability is making its rounds all over security news sites, and with good reason – it’s quite easy to execute. In this episode, Jay and Joao discuss the vulnerability that exists within log4j, as well as some ways to keep your server safe.

          • The Log4Shell Vulnerability, and CrowdSec’s Community Response – Invidious

            TheLog4Shell vulnerability is taking the Internet by storm, and it’s already being used for real-world attacks. In this video, Jay discusses the details around Log4Shell vulnerability in Log4j, and also CrowdSec’s community-based response to the situation.

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Mageia (log4j), openSUSE (chromium, log4j, netdata, and nextcloud), Oracle (kernel and kernel-container), Red Hat (kernel, kernel-rt, log4j, openssl, postgresql:12, postgresql:13, and virt:rhel and virt-devel:rhel), Slackware (httpd), SUSE (xorg-x11-server), and Ubuntu (firefox).

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • What is disinformation, why it spreads, and how to stop it – Access Now

        What is disinformation? Disinformation is false or misleading information, created to influence people. It can take many different forms and existed well before the internet. Every country struggles with the spread of disinformation online, whether you live in a functioning democracy or under an authoritarian regime. It often surrounds divisive political subjects, such as migration, vaccination, or policies on gender, sexuality, race, religion, and more.

        As communications moved online, so did disinformation. The advertising business models of large online platforms, which exploit our personal data in order to profit from it, have contributed to the rapid spread of disinformation. During the global pandemic, we have witnessed how disinformation, often manufactured and spread by politicians and other public figures, can incite violence and discrimination against marginalised groups. Disinformation has been linked to low vaccination rates, the silencing of marginalised voices, and the undermining of the public’s trust in journalism. As UN Special Rapporteur Irene Khan writes, “Essentially, disinformation is a modern way in the digital era of making money by purposefully spreading lies.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Certain “fact checks” are nothing more than opinion | Stop at Zona-M

        It seems that the labels attached as fact-checking classifications to articles shared on Facebook are, said Facebook lawyers, nothing but protected opinions.

        Personally, I know nothing about the lawsuit in which Facebook’s (sorry, Meta’s) lawyers made such a statement. I just agree with the author of the email where I discovered this story that it is“an interesting line of defense. I don’t know if, as the article linked above puts it, such a position could possibly become “a looming legal disaster for Facebook”. But…

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Submission to the Toronto Police Services Board’s Use of New Artificial Intelligence Technologies Policy – The Citizen Lab

        Below is an excerpt of the joint submission between the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and the Citizen Lab to the Toronto Police Services Board. You can find the full letter here.

        Citizen Lab has conducted in-depth analysis of the human rights impacts of emerging technologies in the areas of predictive policing and algorithmic surveillance. Its findings and law reform recommendations are found in a report that was released in 2020 by the Citizen Lab and the International Human Rights Program, titled To Surveil and Predict: A Human Rights Analysis of Algorithmic Policing in Canada. Read the full report and our explanatory guide that provides a summary of research findings as well as questions and answers from the research team. We also provide a fact sheet of our key investigative findings here.

    • Monopolies

      • UK’s Competition and Markets Authority: Digital Mega-Watchdog? – Disruptive Competition Project

        In the wake of Brexit, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been flexing its muscles as the world’s “mega-watchdog” competition enforcer. The CMA has lately been extremely active, widening its territorial jurisdiction, with a renewed focus on merger control in digital markets.

        In the words of the CMA’s Chief Executive, Dr Andrea Coscelli, the UK is “in a very strong position to lead” global competition enforcement, “because the upside [of leaving the EU] is that you take back control – genuinely – of the decisions.” Given the CMA’s global ambitions, Brexit provides the opportunity: the CMA now has jurisdiction over merger cases that were previously reserved to the European Commission.

        Extended Jurisdictional Scope

        The CMA’s global ambitions have resulted in a series of cases stretching the boundaries of its jurisdictional thresholds. The UK’s “share of supply” test is inherently flexible, looking for only an “increment” in a “share of supply” where one party has an existing presence of significance. It is designed to allow intervention where revenue-based thresholds may fall short. That being said, the CMA can now be said to routinely investigate cases even where one of the merging parties has no UK sales of relevance.

        In each of Sabre/Farelogix (2020) and Roche/Spark (2020), the acquired company had no UK revenues. In the former case, the acquired company had no direct UK customers (and the parties ultimately took the CMA to court over the issue, though ultimately losing). In the latter, the CMA established the threshold “share of supply” based on the share of specialist researchers employed by the parties in the UK. More recently, in Facebook/GIPHY (2021), not only did the target have no UK revenue, it was not even a horizontal competitor to the acquirer (and in fact was a long-standing and contractually bound supplier). The CMA is clearly willing (and able) to find the “share of supply” test met by looking up and down the value chain in the relevant industry to find an overlap and an “increment”.

      • The CMA Puts Facebook into a GIPHY Paradox – Disruptive Competition Project

        In May 2020, Facebook completed its acquisition of GIPHY, unaware that this seemingly harmless transaction would trigger ‘the nuclear option’. In June 2020, as a result of investigations, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) served its initial enforcement order, mandating that Facebook keep its business and GIPHY’s businesses separate from one another until the conclusion of the CMA’s investigation. Nearly a year and a half later, on 30 November 2021, the CMA issued its final decision, ordering Facebook (now Meta) to divest GIPHY. This divestment order represents more than just a ‘break-up’, it puts Meta in an impossible catch-22, and reveals the inherent contradictions and unrealistic expectations of the current ‘tech-lash’.


        GIPHY “relied on regular rounds of external funding” (para. 6.10) and its “monetisation model was flawed because advertisers on digital media wanted to monitor return on investment closely” (para. 7.58). The GIFs company “lacked a meaningful user base of its own” (para. 7.51) and, according to Facebook’s submission it was unable to provide the recognizable constituent elements of a robust digital advertising business (para. 5.11). According to an objective reading of the facts of the CMA’s investigation, it does not appear that GIPHY was the attractive emerging business that the CMA depicted it to be, but rather a company struggling to generate revenue or interest from investors. GIPHY’s acquisition, to put it into the words of the tech industry analyst Benedict Evans, rather “represent[s] the recycling of talent and capital from ideas that didn’t go all the way into new ideas that might.”

      • KOL367 | Disenthrall with Patrick Smith: Fisking Strangerous Thoughts’ Critique of “Intellectual Communism”

        I appeared on Patrick Smith’s Disenthrall channel (Disenthrall Youtube channel) to discuss and rebut—to fisk, really—an article by one “Strangerous Thoughts” from 2010 criticizing my IP abolitionism—or my “intellectual communism,” as he called it.

      • Patents

        • EPO consults users on grace periods for patents [Ed: When EPO says "users" it means patent maximalists (who hijacked the EPO); it does not bother asking the general public (the public interest) or check the EPC, which it routinely violates; EPO has become a corrupt mafia totally out of control]

          A randomly selected group of applicants for European patents are being surveyed this winter on the novelty requirement under the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the lack of a so-called “grace period” in the European patent system. The survey, which will explore the impact of the strict novelty requirement on the filing and business practices of EPO applicants, will be complemented by a consultation of user and stakeholder associations. The resulting feedback, which will be analysed by the EPO and published in a study in the spring of 2022, will provide important input for evidence-based discussions.

        • Software Patents

          • “It is transparency which is the secret of patent pool MPEG LA’s success” [Ed: JUVE’s editor, Mathieu Klos, who helps promote crimes for Team UPC, is now boosting the world’s worst patent trolls and mentions Microsoft’s]

            Hisense has now taken a licence from MPEG LA’s AVC/H.264 patent pool. The Chinese smartphone, tablet and TV manufacturer joins telecom giants Huawei, ZTE and TCL and becomes one of over 6,000 licensees that MPEG LA has signed up since the 1990s.

            The patents in this program, and indeed many of the pool’s programs, are standard essential. The litigation strategy pursued by the team around patent attorney Gottfried Schüll from Cohausz & Florack and Krieger Mes lawyer Axel Verhauwen has helped shape the case law around FRAND in recent years.

            This strategy differs in at least two key aspects from the typical, not to say clichéd, approach of many other NPEs. Firstly, MPEG LA stands out with its comparatively transparent handling of licensing agreements. The publication of licensing conditions contributes to the pool’s respectability. At the same time, this also seems to increase the successful conclusion of licences.

            Secondly, the pool often files its lawsuits in batches. This approach initially causes less of a stir than the impressive number of lawsuits filed by Intellectual Ventures, for example. However, it has also meant that setbacks in the past have been less severe. The EPO recently revoked one of Intellectual Ventures’ core patents, which is the subject of numerous lawsuits in France and Germany. This was a troubling outcome for Intellectual Ventures, whose ongoing series of lawsuits are already plagued by setbacks due to invalid patents.

          • Jeffrey M. Gross entity Callstat Solutions patent challenged

            On December 17, 2021, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 6,236,983, owned by Callstat Solutions LLC, an NPE and an entity of Jeffrey M. Gross. The ‘983 patent relates to collecting information about a computer system and applying rules to the collected information. It has been asserted against cybersecurity and client management software, including software sold by BMC Software, McAfee, and Check Point Software.

Links 21/12/2021: EasyOS 3.1.17 and IPFire 2.27 – Core Update 162

Posted in News Roundup at 12:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • What Is A Linux Distribution?

      Many people are still strangers to the “Linux” topic, although it directly or indirectly powers most of the world’s computers, servers, and many other devices. Linux usage has seen immense growth in the past decade, but one area where it still has to see some improvements is in Desktop computing (Linux Distributions).

      As of writing this article, the Linux desktop market stands at 2.5%, which is no surprise considering the market is dominated by Windows and macOS. One of the reasons Linux desktop isn’t that popular is because of people not knowing what it is or if it exists in the first place. If you’re one of them, let’s look at what’s a Linux Distribution in this article.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel i9-12900K Alder Lake Linux Performance In Different P/E Core Configurations – Phoronix

        One of the much requested Linux benchmarks since the debut of Intel Alder Lake last month has been for seeing the Core i9 12900K in different core configurations with its mix of P and E cores. Now that the Linux kernel activity has begun settling down around Alder Lake, here are those benchmarks for reference purposes with toggling Hyper Threading and different P and E core counts enabled.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U – Windows vs. Linux Performance Review

        With the Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen2 powered by the Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U prior to blowing the default Microsoft Windows installation on the device I ran some benchmarks for seeing how the performance stacks up against various Linux distributions. Going up against Windows 11 on this AMD Zen 3 laptop were Clear Linux, Fedora Workstation 35, Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS, Ubuntu 21.10, and Arch Linux.

        The Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen2 (20XF004WUS) being tested shipped with Windows 10 but on initial boot was quickly prompted for moving to Windows 11. So with that this Windows 11 testing on the installation configured by Lenovo was compared to Arch Linux in its latest rolling state as of earlier this month, Clear Linux 35400, Fedora Workstation 35, Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS, and Ubuntu 21.10 for seeing how the various operating systems compare in their default / out-of-the-box state on this current-generation Lenovo ThinkPad.

    • Applications

      • Open source desktop publishing with Scribus

        One of my favorite shelves at my local comic book store is the zine rack. Filled with self-published booklets that are too niche, too quirky, or just too individual for any company to spend money on producing, zines are produced by one or two people who have something to say and want to express themselves through text and graphics. Zines are usually created by cutting out blocks of text and graphics and literally pasting them to a master page. Once everything has been laid out, each page is scanned and printed on a copy machine, and distributed to comic book stores, used book stores, Infoshops, and libraries. When you’re a computer nerd like me, though, you have easier access to a computer than you do scissors and glue, and my first choice for desktop publishing with open source is Scribus.

        There are different tools for different jobs, but there can be a lot of overlap. You can produce books for online distribution as a comic book archive or djvu file, Epub, or even good old HTML. However, if you’re producing a book for print, then at least one of your targets must be PDF (or at least Postscript) because that’s what printers use. When I’m working on something with more graphics than typed content, or I just need maximum flexibility for layout, I use Scribus because its canvas is freeform, and it can link to external assets rather than import them.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Install Python 3.11 on Pop!_OS 20.04 – LinuxCapable

        Python is one of the most popular high-level languages, focusing on high-level and object-oriented applications from simple scrips to complex machine learning algorithms. Python is famous for its simple, easy-to-learn syntax, emphasizes readability, and reduces program maintenance costs and more straightforward conversion to newer releases. Python supports modules and packages, and one of the many is the popular PIP package manager.

      • How to Install PostgreSQL 14 in Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux

        Dependability and resilience are some of the key attributes that define PostgreSQL as the go-to Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) for both web-based and desktop-based software application projects.

        Also, since PostgreSQL continues to find shelter under the umbrella of its global developer community, bugs and user issues related to database software’s life cycle are easily fixed thanks to its open-source status.

        Therefore, PostgreSQL is a brand name in numerous enterprises invested in e-commerce platforms, financial transactions, and web traffic statistics. Also, the open-source nature of PostgreSQL embraces the addition of several programming languages’ functions to make its usability dynamic. These programming languages include the likes C/C++, Python, and Java.

      • How to Install Opera Browser on Pop!_OS 20.04 – 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.

      • Host Multiple Websites on One server using Docker Containers

        Docker is an extremely useful platform that enables developers to easily develop and deploy applications. In this article, we’ll look at how to use Docker containers to host multiple websites on a single server. One of the most significant benefits of using Docker containers is that they are lightweight, faster, and easier to manage.

        This month, I moved two of my custom-built applications from two separate servers to a single server, each in its own Docker container. It’s easier to manage both applications, and it’s also reduced my production costs.

      • Install ISPConfig on CentOS 8 – Unixcop the Unix / Linux the admins deams

        In this tutorial we will install ISPConfig on CentOS 8.

        ISPConfig is an open source control panel for Linux. It has user friendly web interface. Using ISPConfig users can manage their websites, email addresses, FTP accounts, DNS records, databases and shell accounts.

        Administrator, Reseller, Client, and Email-user are the four different levels of user access ISPConfig. Each of the user level have different kind of address.

      • How to Install balenaEtcher on Pop!_OS 20.04 – LinuxCapable

        balenaEtcher is a free and open-source flashing utility tool famous for writing image files such as .iso and .img files and zipped folders onto storage media to create live SD cards and USB flash drives. balenaEtcher has cross-platform support on Linux, BSD, macOS, and Windows and is developed by balena and licensed under Apache License 2.0.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install baelnaEtcher on Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS and create a Linux distribution boot disk.

      • [Updated] 10 Wget (Linux File Downloader) Command Examples in Linux

        In this article, we are going to review the wget utility which retrieves files from World Wide Web (WWW) using widely used protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, and FTPS.

      • OpenFaaS: Classic and of-watchdog templates – Anto ./ Online

        OpenFaaS (Function as a Service) is a popular serverless framework. However, unlike other serverless function providers, OpenFaaS has very few restrictions on providing and receiving data. This guide will show you the primary differences between the Classic and of-watchdog templates.

      • smxi: Manage Debian Systems Interactively in Terminal

        smxi is an interactive console script that helps you maintain your Debian installation. You can use it to install upgrades, install graphics drivers, upgrade kernels and much more.

        I know that you can do it all with their respective commands. This smxi script gives you everything at one place and in an interactive manner.

        smxi is limited to only direct derivates of Debian. Only distributions like AntiX, Aptosid, Epidemic, Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE), Mepis are supported. It also supports the testing and Sid branches of Debian. That means Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distributions are NOT supported as there are many differences between Ubuntu and Debian.

    • Games

      • This hilarious Doom mod takes aim at NFTs | GamingOnLinux

        NFTs, they’re freaking everywhere and NFT bros have become some of the most annoying people on the planet and so of course there’s now a Doom mod to mock them. ICYMI: Valve banned NFT games on Steam.

        It’s not a particularly fleshed-out mod, with the main aim of it just being pure mockery. You get to run around with your trusty camera, taking snaps of everything. Like running around and right click -> saving on images that would be NFTs. Released by modder “Ultra Boi” last week, it’s certainly been turning some heads across the internet, especially because of just how toxic things have become around the NFT community.

      • Proton Experimental sees new fixes for DEATHLOOP, Forza Horizon 5 | GamingOnLinux

        Valve has put out another small upgrade to Proton Experimental, with it focused on improving a couple of popular games. What is Proton? It’s a compatibility layer designed to run Windows games from Steam on Linux. See more about it in our full guide.

        The release that went up on December 20 fixed up the Xbox login window behaviour for Forza Horizon 5, worked around a bunch of graphical glitching in DEATHLOOP and also fixed Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord occasionally getting stuck in a loop displaying errors.

        Not only that though, this release should also speed up the “wind-down” of Proton after you exit a game. So that should make the whole experience a fair bit smoother.

        See the Proton Experimental changelog to see all the current differences to the normal Proton releases.

      • My favourite 2021 games played on Linux | GamingOnLinux

        Here we are, the year is ending so here’s a few of what I consider to be my favourite games played on Linux that had a release during 2021.

        As always, these are highly personal and are only based on what I actually played. There’s masses in my backlog I haven’t yet, that I will likely kick myself during 2022 for not getting around to earlier. The trouble is also, that most of my favourites were released back in 2020 and earlier – because newer simply isn’t always better! So many games had huge upgrades across 2021 too that sucked me back in. However, these are my personal standouts.

      • Level up your Steam experience with a browser extension – Firefox Add-ons Blog

        With more than 120 million users worldwide and 50,000+ games in its ecosystem, Steam is an extraordinarily eclectic gaming distribution platform. Given its broad reach, it makes sense that different users have different ways they’d like to adjust and optimize their personal Steam experience. That’s where browser extensions come in…

      • Great News! 80% of Steam’s Top 100 Games Now Run on Linux

        All thanks to Proton and Steam Play, gaming on Linux is better than ever.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Elementary OS 6.1 Jolnir Available to Download and Upgrade – itsfoss.net

          Elementary OS 6.1 Jolnir Available to Download and Upgrade, The elementary team have announced the release of elementary OS 6.1 which carries the codename “Jolnir”. The new release features the same base operating system as 6.0, though with a number of evolutionary improvements.

          Some of these changes affect the distribution’s software centre: “AppCenter continues to fill out with apps from developers—and since the move to Flatpak, all apps that have been released for OS 6 will continue to be available on OS 6.1 and beyond. You can currently find over 90 curated apps in AppCenter, and developers have continued to push out rapid and frequent updates to their apps with new features and bug fixes, as they’re in control of their own update schedule. Our shift from Debian packages to Flatpak for both curated and non-curated apps also means we’re able to lean more on Flatpak features, and we’ve been using this as an opportunity to make AppCenter much more engaging and informative right from the start – directly addressing feedback about the discoverability of the wide variety of apps in AppCenter.” Additional information is available in the project’s release announcement.

        • Linux-Distribution: Detailverbesserungen in Elementary OS 6.1 (Jólnir) – Market Research Telecast [Ed: Automated translation]

          The developers of Elementary OS list numerous smaller improvements that they have incorporated in version 6.1 (Jólnir). The Linux distribution focuses on an attractive appearance and uniform usability and therefore relies on its own desktop called Pantheon.

        • EasyOS 3.1.17 released

          Very important enhancements; now have Qt5 libraries, and three powerful media applications.

        • IPFire 2.27 – Core Update 162 released

          Just before Christmas, it is time for the last release of the year: IPFire 2.27 – Core Update 162. It comes with a brand-new kernel based on Linux 5.15, and it will be the last release supporting the i586 architecture.

          Before we talk about what is new, I would like to ask you for your support. IPFire is a small team of people and like many of our open source friends, we’ve taken a hit this year and would like to ask you to help us out. Please follow the link below where your donation can help fund our continued development: https://www.ipfire.org/donate.

        • IPFire Linux Firewall Distro Is Now Powered by Linux Kernel 5.15 LTS

          IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 is here less than a month after the Core Update 161 release as the last update of the year and also the first update to be powered by the latest and greatest Linux 5.15 LTS kernel series.

          Until now, IPFire was powered by the Linux 5.10 LTS kernel series, since mid-August 2021, but even if Linux kernel 5.10 LTS is supported until the end of 2026, the devs decided to move to Linux kernel 5.15 LTS, which is supported only until October 2023, since it offers better hardware support and some cool new features.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat donates $10,000 to OBS Studio, Flatpak to be official for Linux

          Little bit of good news to start Tuesday, as the excellent livestreaming and recording software OBS Studio got another good donation recently, this time from Red Hat.

          Red Hat certainly aren’t the first big company to help fund OBS development, software that has become essential for so many different uses. Nice to see a bigger Linux and open source company jump in though with the confirmation of the $10,000 donation on Twitter.

          This actually puts Red Hat in the top 5 of companies who have donated to OBS via their OpenCollective campaign.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20.3 Una Install Guide [Multi boot, btrfs]

          This is Linux Mint 20.3 Una full install guide from Download to ready updated desktop. Real PC install with real multiboot setup.

        • The beautiful Linux distro elementary OS 6.1 is out now

          elementary OS is easily one of the best looking Linux distributions around, with such an incredible attention to the finer details and a big new release is up now. With elementary OS 6.1 the developers focused on addressing feedback from the previous release, new and more useful office productivity features and expanding compatibility with a larger range of hardware.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Top 7 Open Source eCommerce Platforms

        Open source software have been fantastic in solving a lot of business use cases. For example, we have open source ERP solutions, open source project management tools, open source survey software and much more of other use cases.

        All of these cases share the same benefits open source brought to them, and in today’s article we’ll be seeing some of the top open source eCommerce platforms for establishing an online shop.

        We’ll also see the usage marketshare of each of these solutions. All those statistics are provided by builtWith (Products with no mentioned stats means that they are less than >1% for top 1M sites).

      • Open Source ‘Matter’ Hopes To Make Sense Of The Fractured, Messy Smart Home Sector

        If you’ve spent any meaningful time trying to build a “smart home” you’ve probably run face first into no shortage of problems. Gear is expensive, frequently complicated, and more often than not different devices don’t play well together. It’s a sector filled with various walled gardens by gatekeepers looking to lock you into one ecosystem, placing the onus on consumers to figure out which devices work with other devices and ecosystems, forcing the end user to spend countless calories trying to fix interoperability issues when they inevitably arrive.

      • Funding

        • Intel has boosted their commitment to Blender as a Corporate Patron

          Intel was already a pretty high backer of the free and open source 3D creation suite Blender but now they’re going in for even more as a Corporate Patron. ICYMI: recently Blender 3.0 was release.

          Previously down as a Corporate Gold member, this increase will see Intel give at least €120K a year to the Blender Foundation to better support one of the biggest and most important FOSS projects around. This means Intel joins the ranks of AMD, NVIDIA, AWS, Epic MegaGrants, Unity, Facebook and Decentraland at the same level (with many more in lower funding levels).

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GIMP 2.10.30 Improves Support for PSD and AVIF Files, Supports Modern Linux Distros

            GIMP 2.10.30 comes three months after GIMP 2.10.28 to further improve support for various file formats, including AVIF, DDS, HEIF, PBM, PSD, and RGBE.

            For the AVIF file format, this release improves the export functionality to favor the AOM (Alliance for Open Media) encoder, which uses the AV1 (AOMedia Video 1) open and royalty-free video coding format.

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

          • Rakudo Weekly News: 2021.51 Transiting

            Arne Sommer was inspired by public transport developments in their native Oslo. This resulted in a cool new module Transit::Network, but also a serious blog post: Planning Public Transportation with Raku (/r/rakulang comments), a semi-serious Reindeer Express blog post, and a followup on the original: Bugs R Us – A Transit::Network Update (/r/rakulang comments). And Arne was still being able to find the time to do a blog post for the Weekly Challenge: Stealthy Calculator.

        • Python

          • Prevent Python dependency confusion attacks with Thoth

            Python became popular as a casual scripting language but has since evolved into the corporate space, where it is used for data science and machine learning applications, among others. Because Python is a high-level programming language, developers often use it to quickly prototype applications. Python native extensions make it easy to optimize any computation-intensive parts of the application using a lower-level programming language like C or C++.

            For applications that need to scale, we can use Python Source-to-Image tooling (S2I) to convert a Python application into a container image. That image can then be orchestrated and scaled using cluster orchestrators such as Kubernetes or Red Hat OpenShift. All of these features together provide a convenient platform for solving problems using Python-based solutions that scale, are maintainable, and are easily extensible.

            As a community-based project, the main source of open-source Python packages is the Python Package Index (PyPI). As of this writing, PyPI hosts more than 3 million releases, and the number of releases available continues to grow exponentially. PyPI’s growth is an indicator of Python’s popularity worldwide.

            However, Python’s community-driven dependency resolvers were not designed for corporate environments, and that has led to dependency management issues and vulnerabilities in the Python ecosystem. This article describes some of the risks involved in resolving Python dependencies and introduces Project Thoth’s tools for avoiding them.

  • Leftovers

    • What’s New in the New West Side Story?

      As I sat through a screening of West Side Story at a Lincoln Square movie theater—literally in the same neighborhood portrayed in the film—I couldn’t escape a growing realization. These days, we are trapped in a cycle of repetition, one in which the gnarled conflicts and perhaps small triumphs of the postwar era repeat themselves over and over again, sometimes with profound new expression and sometimes just as shiny objects of entertainment consumption. In Steven Spielberg’s new “reimagining” of West Side Story, we get a film that offers a far more inclusive vision of postwar America, but one that still retains its flawed view of working-class tribalism.

    • NBA and NFL to America: Drop Dead

      In March 2020, one positive Covid-19 case, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, put the NBA season on hold. The league canceled games, and entered a “bubble” alongside the WNBA at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The move sent an unmistakable message to the United States that the “normal” world was over, that we would need to reimagine our lives to minimize contagion and death.

    • Education

      • Protect Students
      • Culture Wars: the Assault on Education

        The Trump administration and Senate Republicans stacked the Supreme Court and innumerable federal judgeships with conservatives. They secured the appointment of three judges to the Supreme Court, 54 to federal appeals court and 174 to the district courts. The current legal battle regarding the Texas “Heartbeat” Act (Senate Bill 8) may well reverse the landmark Roe v. Wade (1973) decision acknowledging a woman’s right to determine her pregnancy.

        Most troubling, conservative culture values were once championed by a minority of religious activists but, during Trump’s presidency, they became the anchor for the larger white nationalist and rightwing movement.  In the wake of the January 6th effort to seize the Capitol, the culture wars strongly influenced Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement but the more troubling rightwing movement that is manifesting itself in an ever-growing number of social or cultural domains.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • The Dirty Secret of America’s Clean Dishes

        Hollie Walker cherished the simplicity of her life in White Stone, South Carolina, a tiny community on the outskirts of Spartanburg. In the quiet of the country, she and her husband raised their two sons in a yellow house on 37 acres of secluded land, where they hiked in the woods and swam in their lake. Today, the area is home to a one-room post office, two churches, and a shooting range open three days a week. For years in the 1990s, Walker worked behind the counter at the post office.

        There used to be a bar called the White Stone Mall on the same stretch of highway, where Walker would sip beers, shoot pool and chat with workers getting off their shifts from a chemical plant across the street. She didn’t know much about the German-owned company, BASF, that operated the plant. After BASF expanded its site in the 2000’s, demolishing the bar in the process, she had little reason to stop along that highway, except when the railroad gates halted traffic.

      • The Nazi Language of German Anti-Vaxxers

        For months, German politicians – from ex-chancellor Merkel (conservative) to newly elected social-democratic chancellor, Olaf Scholz – have been trying to convince Germans of the need to get a Corona vaccination. As a consequence of their endless appeal to common sense, about 30% of Germans still remain unvaccinated. By mid-December 2021, infection rates and Covid-19 deaths were on the rise again.

        Yet, there are way too many Germans who are simply not interested in facts about the pandemic. Beyond Germany’s anti-vaxxers, there are also plenty of people who still deny the existence of the Coronavirus pandemic despite ample evidence to the contrary. Recently however, the proportion of people in the camp of believers of a global Corona conspiracy myths, while also denying the existence of the virus, has actually fallen, somewhat.

      • Medical Racism Is Fueling the Black Overdose Crisis, Advocates Say
      • Health Care and Our Heroes: Kaiser Permanente in COVID Time

        Kaiser’s origins are in the Bay Area, and it still is based in Oakland, today it has 39 nine hospitals and some 700 medical facilities. In recent years, it has expanded to Washington State, Oregon, Hawaii, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia and Georgia. Since just before COVID its membership has grown by 600,000 and it now employs some 300,000 workers, including 80,000 nurses and doctors. In 2020, its profits were $6.4 billion. In 2021, its net worth was $43.3 billion, according to the California Department of Managed Health Care. It returned $500 million in pandemic relief funding to the federal government in 2020.

        Kaiser management is doing OK as well; the CEOs bring home salaries that favorably compare to its workers: 231-1!  Greg Adams, the chief executive in Oakland received $17.3 million in total compensation in 2020. He and the 100 top executives have the benefit of eight separate retirement plans.

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • GOP January 6 Panel Member Says Trump Could Be Subpoenaed, Face Charges
      • Bringing Out the Big Guns

        How did a small, landlocked country without significant natural resources become Africa’s “most inspiring success story”? A hint: Stats about “natural resources” usually don’t include bullets.

      • Opinion | New York Times Reporting on Airstrikes Should Give Daniel Hale More Credit

        The New York Times recently came through with a display of reporting that should be commended. On December 18, the paper announced its release of hundreds of the Pentagon’s confidential reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. airstrikes in the Middle East. This followsits high profile investigations into the U.S. drone murder of the Ahmadi family during the Afghanistan withdrawal, and an American strike cell in Syria that killed dozens of civilians with airstrikes.

      • The Mainstream Media Seems to Want More War for the United States

        For its part, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a $768 billion defense bill that exceeded the requests of both Biden’s White House and the Pentagon.  The bill included significant increases for countering China; bolstering Ukraine; and modernizing strategic nuclear forces, including hundreds of billions of dollars for replacing the silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles that mar the landscape of the American West.

        If the United States was concerned with nuclear stability and safety, it would abandon all silo-based missiles, which are the most vulnerable.  Significant reductions of nuclear forces, moreover, would increase U.S. national security; contribute to the lessening of an arms race with Russia and China; and fulfill our treaty obligations to the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968, which has been observed in the breach.

    • Environment

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Mexican Gray Wolves Belong in the Wild, Wherever They Roam

          Almost as soon as the Department dropped him off on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Anubis started running towards his new territory in northern Arizona. He’s a young male wolf, and following his instinct to seek out new terrain and possible mates. Since his return, he’s been successfully crossing the I-40 boundary, avoiding cars, and staying out of conflict with livestock.

          Mexican gray wolves belong in the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests and in the Grand Canyon region, where prey is widely available and there’s plenty of open space for native wildlife to survive and thrive. The only reason Mexican wolves aren’t allowed to wander in suitable wolf habitats is a wholly political decision to keep them south of I-40 and within a limited recovery area for the sake of appeasing ranchers and the anti-wolf states to our north. But in the context of climate change and species adaptation, as well as an recovering population of wolves in the established range, it makes a lot of sense that Anubis and others would be expanding into new turf.

      • Overpopulation

        • Opinion | Time for a Climate Insurgency?

          Since the end of the feudal era the world order has been largely structured by the nation-state system. Individuals have been willing to kill and die for their countries. The pursuit of individual and collective interests has occurred largely within a national framework.

        • Life Circa 2050 Will Be Bad. Really Bad.

          When midnight strikes on New Year’s Day of 2050, there will be little cause for celebration. There will, of course, be the usual toasts with fine wines in the climate-controlled compounds of the wealthy few. But for most of humanity, it’ll just be another day of adversity bordering on misery—a desperate struggle to find food, water, shelter, and safety.

    • Finance

      • 2021 Saw Gaps in Racial and Economic Inequality Widen. But There’s Still Hope.
      • Lessons from the Great Resignation: Can Quitters be Winners?

        The first is the headline item (actually, subhead) that although the quitters’ mental health improved, their finances were not necessarily better after they left their jobs. There is an obvious point here that people should recognize. It is unlikely that, even in a good labor market, people who leave near minimum wage jobs will suddenly find themselves flush with money.

        If someone is earning $10 an hour, even a 20 percent increase (in excess of inflation) only gets them to $12 an hour. That sort of increase likely means a big difference in their standard of living, but still leaves them far short of a comfortable middle-class existence. In some cases, the modest gains from the tighter labor market may give them the ability to get additional education or training that will let them enter a higher paying occupation, but we shouldn’t expect that a tight labor market alone will mean that workers in the lowest paying jobs are now financially secure.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Opinion | I’m 18 With a Full-Ride College Scholarship. But as a Dreamer, I Worry About Being Deported

        In 2005, when I was two years old, my mom brought me across the border from San Luis Potosí, Mexico. We came to reunite with my dad, who was already here and had started his own concrete business in the New Orleans suburbs, where we still reside.  For the longest time, I didn’t even know I was undocumented. But that changed two years ago, when I realized I couldn’t get a driver’s license like my other friends.

      • Introducing ‘Department One’ Exiled human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov launches new legal group to take on Russia’s treason and espionage cases

        Exiled human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov has launched a new legal group that specializes in defending those accused of treason and espionage in Russia. Pavlov, who fled abroad to escape criminal charges in September, previously led Team 29 — a similar human rights initiative that tackled some of Russia’s most challenging political prosecutions. The group disbanded in July 2021, to protect its members and supporters from persecution. Pavlov’s new project, dubbed “Pervy Otdel” (which translates as “First Department” or “Department One”) also aims to take on cases that are handled “behind closed doors” and will function in cooperation with colleagues working “on the ground” in Russia.

      • The Things Musicians At Territorial Prison Carry: ‘Battle Cry’ Video Premiere

        The Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility was constructed in the late 1800s when the state of Colorado was still a territory. It is the oldest prison in the state’s prison system. It is also is the site, where the first compilation album for Die Jim Crow Records was recorded.Die Jim Crow is the first record label in the United States dedicated to incarcerated musicians. The label recorded seven musicians at Territorial in Cañon City in April 2018.The tracks laid down during these sessions represented an array of genres—Americana, indigenous Nahuatl chant, blues, and hip hop, etc—and matched the diversity of the musicians, who were indigenous, Black, queer Jewish, and white. Some of these men are serving life sentences.“In the 150 years since the prison’s construction, ‘TLAXIHUIQUI’ is the first recorded music to make it outside the forbidding walls of Territorial into the free world,” according to Die Jim Crow Records. [...]

        Newton shared, “Just me growing up the way I was, in an abusive environment and me not knowing how to deal with that, growing up in that environment.”Opening up even more, Newton added, “My mom had me when she was 14. My father was 19. And he took off immediately, so you grow up in that kind of world where it’s watching your mom do drugs and come in and out of these abusive relationships.”“I think you have to be honest about the brokenness in everybody, especially your own [self], before you can move forward. You gotta look yourself in the mirror.” 

      • Human rights project Gulagu.net releases more footage of torture in Russian prisons

        Activists from Gulagu.net (No to the Gulag) have obtained and released new footage further evidencing the torture and abuse of inmates in Russian prisons. 

      • “A Big Relief”: Haitian Immigrant Rights Leader Jean Montrevil Wins Victory in Fight to Stay in U.S.

        Longtime immigrant rights leader Jean Montrevil has been granted three years of protection from deportation as part of a settlement for the First Amendment lawsuit Montrevil filed against the U.S. government that argued federal immigration officials targeted him for deportation due to his activism. Montrevil was abruptly deported to Haiti in 2018 but was allowed under the Biden administration to return home to New York in October to reunite with his family. We speak with Jean Montrevil, who says the news has given him “peace of mind” to enjoy the holiday season without fear of getting detained or deported, as well as Montrevil’s lawyer Alina Das, who attributes the highly unusual decision to the strength of the immigrant rights movement. “It is the power of organizing that brought the government to the negotiating table,” says Das.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal on ‘Intellectual Property’

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly at 12:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal on 'Intellectual Property'

Source (from today): Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal – Fire

Team Mono is on the Run

Posted in Microsoft at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 5b7264e232fbbcc90d91dc1c70064131

Summary: The so-called ‘Team Mono‘ — a collective of Microsoft operatives who use .NET as their Trojan horse inside GNU/Linux — has gone into hiding, but it might be too late for them…

THE above video was recorded while I was extremely tired and I forgot to turn on noise removal, so the quality of audio is relatively poor (mostly background noise). Nevertheless, the video goes through the latest ‘evidence tampering’ by the Friedmans, who knew very well about the bad behaviour (including sick kinks and fetishes) of a GitHub manager, a longtime family friend who went too far by once again suffocating a woman, repeatedly too. Can’t help himself, can he? Those horrific kinks and fetishes will be covered later in the series, but the key point is, the Friedmans and Miguel de Icaza knew all about these problems but chose to look the other way, even in recent years. Not too long before the arrest, Nat Friedman said that his longtime buddy had changed, in effect enabling his buddy to find more victims, whom he nearly killed. Friedman and he coordinated their attack on copyleft (by misusing “fair use” — using “hey hi” (AI) hype as a workaround against copyright law) and even arranged for him a high-salary job at Microsoft. Is Microsoft still protecting him [1, 2]? Hard to tell, but this month he deleted his Microsoft LinkedIn and his Twitter accounts. Friedman deleted his Flickr account after more than 15 years, as we noted last night. These people are hiding.

[Meme] Will You Trust These Clowns With Your Confidential Data?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

With diplomatic immunity comes unacceptable behaviour (also at WIPO)

Watching over your private data at EPO

Summary: The EPO does not take privacy seriously; it cares only about optics, not legality

EPO’s Privacy Violations Being ‘Normalised’

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum a7b1588e28c65c7a480647e2d7e76fd8

Summary: The EPO has chosen to use mindless hype and buzzwords to justify its abuses of the personal dignity and basic human rights of staff and stakeholders

Yesterday we published a couple of posts (the second was just a meme) after a document had made the rounds, showing that the EPO persists with the same violations of privacy that we covered early in the year. Instead of accepting that the problem was the privacy abuses they treated the whole thing like that problem was a lack of framework to retroactively legalise these abuses by cloudwashing and other buzzwords (e.g. Data Protection Board (DPB), Data Protection Rules (DPR), and Data Protection Officer (DPO)). The above video was recorded when I was very tired and I even forgot to turn on the noise remover, but it goes through some of the key points nonetheless.

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