The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXX: The Idiosyncratic Italians

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” – Battistelli’s Swiss Apprentice?
  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection
  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Spain
  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Portugal
  15. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…
  16. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper
  17. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVII: The Non-Monolithic Nordic Bloc
  18. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVIII: Helsinki’s Accord
  19. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States
  20. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group
  21. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”
  22. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League – North Macedonia and Albania
  23. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League – Bulgaria
  24. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIV: The Balkan League – Romania
  25. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXV: The Balkan League – Fresh Blood or Same Old, Same Old?
  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVI: A Trojan Horse on the Budget and Finance Committee
  27. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVII: Cypriot Complicity
  28. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVIII: Benoît and António’s Loyal “Habibi”
  29. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXXX: The EPOnian Micro-States – Monaco and Malta
  30. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXX: San Marino and the Perfidious Betrayal of Liberty
  31. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXI: The Abstentionists
  32. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXII: “Plucky Little Belgium”?
  33. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIII: Swedish Scepticism
  34. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIV: An “Extremely Dubious” Proposal
  35. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXV: Slovakian Scruples
  36. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVI: Serbian Sour Grapes
  37. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVII: Stubbornly Independent Slovenia
  38. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVIII: Ensnared in the Tentacles of the SAZAS Octopus
  39. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIX: On the Slippery Slope to Capture
  40. YOU ARE HERE ☞ The Idiosyncratic Italians

Mauro Masi and Susanna Smit
Mauro Masi accompanied by actress Susanna Smit.

Summary: At last, Techrights takes a look at the person who represented Italy in the EPO for over 15 years

In this part we turn our attention to Italy, the last of the seven "abstentionist" states that decided to withhold their support from Benoît Battistelli‘s “Strike Regulations”.

Together with the Iberian nations Spain and Portugal, Italy was long considered one of France’s natural "Club Med" allies on the EPO‘s Administrative Council.

However during the Battistelli era Franco-Italian relations at the EPO were strained and when it came to the vote on the infamous “Strike Regulations” in June 2013, the Italian delegation abstained.

“Masi himself was not present in Munich for the vote. The acting head of delegation on that occasion was his deputy Loredana Gulino, a director of the anti-counterfeiting department of the Italian Ministry for Economic development.”As we shall see, Italy’s abstention on that occasion seems to have had more to do with tensions between Battistelli and the Italian delegation than any kind of concern for EPO staff and their fundamental rights.

Back in June 2013, the Italian delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council was headed by Mauro Masi whose official title was “Delegate for Intellectual Property” at the Directorate General for Global Affairs of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Masi himself was not present in Munich for the vote. The acting head of delegation on that occasion was his deputy Loredana Gulino, a director of the anti-counterfeiting department of the Italian Ministry for Economic development.

Mauro Masi and Loredana Gulino
The Italian representatives: head of delegation Mauro Masi and his deputy Loredana Gulino.

Masi has held the position of head of the Italian delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council since 2006 and he continues to hold it to this day, although he is probably due to retire in the near future. However, despite being listed as the titular head of delegation in the EPO’s Official Journal, it seems that he rarely attends the meetings of the Council in person.

“Masi has held the position of head of the Italian delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council since 2006 and he continues to hold it to this day, although he is probably due to retire in the near future.”As will become apparent in due course, Masi is a very busy guy at home in Italy and it would appear that EPO affairs do not rank very high on his list of priorities. He normally delegates such matters to his deputy Loredana Gulino, an official of the Italian Ministry for Economic Development who currently heads the department responsible for “Market, Competition, Consumer Protection and Technical Regulation”.

Mauro Masi (personal CV here [PDF]) was born in the Italian harbour town of Civitavecchia near Rome on 26 August 1952. After completing studies in law and economics, he began his professional career with the Italian Central Bank (known as “Bank of Italy”) in 1978.

Mauro Masi for Italian Central Bank in 1978
Masi began his career with the Italian Central Bank in 1978.

A decade later Masi entered the political arena when he joined the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Italian equivalent of the UK Prime Minister’s Office.

In the early 2000s Masi worked on a number of legislative reform projects in the areas of copyright, publishing and the sale of published products. For a number of years he was also a commissioner of the SIAE, an Italian society for the collective management of authors’ rights.

In the early stages of his political career Masi was reputed to be close to centre-left politicians of the Olive Tree coalition led by Romani Prodi. But when the prevailing winds changed in the volatile world of Italian politics with the rise of Silvio Berlusconi, Masi seemed to have little difficulty in transferring his allegiance to the Maestro of “Bunga Bunga”.

“In the early 2000s Masi worked on a number of legislative reform projects in the areas of copyright, publishing and the sale of published products.”The Italian media described Masi as the “Zelig” of Italy’s senior administrators (a reference to the “human chameleon” in the Woody Allen film of the same name).

During the 2nd and 3rd Berlusconi governments (between 2001-06) Masi held senior positions in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

In April 2009, he was appointed CEO of the Italian public broadcasting company RAI. In Italy the RAI appointment was generally perceived as a reward for his loyalty to Berlusconi.

Masi’s term at RAI was marked by a number of public controversies.

“Masi’s term at RAI was marked by a number of public controversies.”For example, in 2009 in order to encourage the early retirement of two RAI directors who had fallen out of favour, Masi came up with a plan to offer them “generous” severance agreements. The “generosity” of these agreements caught the attention of the Court of Auditors which considered that Masi had been responsible for offering “unjustified economic incentives”. The damage caused to the state budget was estimated to be of the order of € 680,000.

In 2012, Masi got off relatively lightly when he was ordered to pay € 100,000 for the fiscal damage caused by his actions. He appealed the decision of the Court of Auditors but this was upheld by the Italian Supreme Court in a judgment which was delivered almost a decade later in 2018.

As the CEO of RAI, Masi gained particular notoriety as Berlusconi’s “media enforcer”.

Silvio Berlusconi and Mauro Masi
As CEO of the state broadcaster RAI between 2009 and 2011, Mauro Masi acquired an unsavoury reputation as Silvio Berlusconi’s “media enforcer”.

In April 2009, it was reported that Vauro Senese, one of Italy’s most popular cartoonists, had been fired by RAI for a satirical anti-government cartoon which appeared on the leading current affairs programme AnnoZero.

“As the CEO of RAI, Masi gained particular notoriety as Berlusconi’s “media enforcer”.”In addition to firing Senese, Masi ordered the program’s anchorman Michele Santoro to “re-balance” his coverage of current affairs, complaining that the programme was too “left-wing” and that it was guilty of a priori bias against members of the government on “ideological grounds”.

Santoro – described by the Guardian as Italy’s equivalent of Jeremy Paxman – was a veteran journalist who had also been involved in politics. He had previously served as an MEP for Southern Italy with the centre-left electoral alliance known as the “Olive Tree”. As might be expected, Santoro was not impressed by what he perceived as an attempt by Berlusconi and his cronies to censor his journalistic work.

It was inevitable that the dispute between Santoro and Masi would escalate and by late 2010 foreign media were reporting on “fears for press independence” in Italy and “censorship late-Berlusconi-style”.

“As might be expected, Santoro was not impressed by what he perceived as an attempt by Berlusconi and his cronies to censor his journalistic work.”Santoro accused Masi of trying to sabotage the AnnoZero programme by refusing to sign contracts for his contributors and co-authors. During a live broadcast, he described Masi as incompetent and euphemistically told him to “take a walk” (“vaffanbicchiere”). Masi responded by issuing Santoro with a two-week suspension from the broadcast.

The affair turned out to be highly embarrassing for both Masi and his political padrone when the Italian media published transcripts of wiretaps which had been recorded by a public prosecutor investigating allegations of irregularities involving Berlusconi.

The wiretaps revealed Berlusconi haranguing Giancarlo Innocenzi, the head of the nominally independent broadcast regulation agency, over what he deemed to be politically hostile programming.

“What the f**k are you doing with all this?” the irate Prime Minister shouted at the commissioner, Giancarlo Innocenzi. In another call Mr Berlusconi demands that a show looking into his alleged Mafia connections be muzzled.

Mauro Masi also featured in the wiretap transcripts where he appeared to say that RAI was “doing all it can” to placate the Prime Minister. Masi told Innocenzi that he had “a strategy in operation” that would resolve the “problem of Santoro, who is a particular type of problem”.

One particularly interesting wiretapped conversation was between Masi and the shadowy figure Luigi_Bisignani, a political lobbyist and reputedly a member of the notorious P2 masonic lodge.

The main topic of discussion between Masi and Bisignani was the letter of suspension that Masi intended to deliver to AnnoZero anchorman Michele Santoro after the latter had insulted him “on air”. The plan was for the letter to be drafted by Bisignani and signed off by Masi. After the details had been agreed, Masi could hardly contain his excitement:

“We won, he’s dead, we’re going to bust his ass. I am horny as a beast”.

(Original: “Abbiamo vinto, è morto, gli stamo a spaccà il culo. Sò arrapato come una bestia”).

During his time at RAI, Masi was also implicated in a controversy involving the Bulgarian actress Michelle Bonev who described herself as a “writer, scriptwriter, actress, film director and entrepreneur”. At the time, Bonev was a virtual unknown in her own country but she managed to acquire a certain degree of fame – or perhaps more accurately, “notoriety” – in Italy as a result of her connections to Berlusconi.

“The main topic of discussion between Masi and Bisignani was the letter of suspension that Masi intended to deliver to AnnoZero anchorman Michele Santoro after the latter had insulted him “on air”.”In 2010 Berlusconi came under investigation by the Italian Court of Auditors following claims that he used as much as €400,000 in state funds to fly Bonev to the Venice film festival to receive a fabricated “Action for Women” award for her movie Goodbye Mama. On that occasion Bonev was accompanied by an “entourage” in the form of a 40 member delegation headed by the country’s culture minister, Vezhdi Rashido.

Shortly afterwards, Goodbye Mama was sold to RAI for the price of €1 million. According to the Italian media, Masi personally instructed the administrative director of RAI Cinema, Caterina D’Amico, to purchase the film.

When questioned about the matter, Masi denied any responsibility and implied that the purchase was the result of pressure from the Bulgarian government:

“I am not responsible, I simply gave a signal to RAI Cinema that there is a recommendation from the Bulgarian authorities”.

Masi left RAI in May 2011 when he moved to a new position as CEO of Consap SpA, a company responsible for managing various insurance and “social solidarity” funds under concession from the Ministry of Economic Development. In December 2020, he was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Consap.

“According to the Italian media, Masi personally instructed the administrative director of RAI Cinema, Caterina D’Amico, to purchase the film.”In the meantime, in addition to his duties at Consap, he managed to find enough time to pursue a parallel career path with Igea Banca SpA where he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors in October 2018.

In 2019, Igea Banca SpA was involved in a merger operation with the financially compromised Banca del Fucino which suffered from a negative equity of € 1.9 billion. Under the terms of the merger, Banca del Fucino became the parent company of the new Igea Banca banking group and controlled its subsidiary Igea Digital Bank SpA which specialises in lending to SMEs and professionals.

Following the successful conclusion of the merger, Masi became Chairman of the Board of Banca del Fucino and also Chairman of Igea Digital Bank SpA.

Igea Banca and Banca del Fucino next to Masi
During his time as CEO at Consap SpA, Masi successfully managed to pursue a parallel career in banking with Igea Banca and Banca del Fucino.

There is no doubt that Mauro Masi is a colourful larger-than-life figure in comparison to most of his peers on the EPO’s Administrative Council.

“There is no doubt that Mauro Masi is a colourful larger-than-life figure in comparison to most of his peers on the EPO’s Administrative Council.”He also appears to have the good fortune to be one of the most highly remunerated members of the Administrative Council.

For example, back in 2010 his annual salary as CEO of RAI was a mouth-watering € 715,000.

In 2012, his annual salary as director of Consap SpA was reported to be € 473,768. That seems to be somewhat lower than what he was getting at RAI, but appears to be a “basic salary” figure which excludes any bonuses that he might be entitled to. In any case, having regard to his parallel activities at Igea Banca and Banca del Fucino, his salary from Consap is unlikely to be his only source of income.

Masi’s track record back home in Italy gives the impression that he was a faithful servant of the powers-that-be. In particular, during his time at RAI he showed himself to be an obedient lapdog of his political master Berlusconi.

“Masi’s track record back home in Italy gives the impression that he was a faithful servant of the powers-that-be.”Based on that track record, one might be inclined to think that Masi would have been an enthusiastic ally of the EPO alpha-male Battistelli and that he would have relished the opportunity to assist the Corsican tyrant’s efforts to “bust ass” at the EPO.

However, that turns not to have been the case. As a matter of fact, relations between Masi and the French EPO President were “strained”, to put it diplomatically. This resulted in a situation where the Italian delegation frequently adopted a critical stance on measures proposed by Team Battistelli.

This rupture in the traditional Franco-Italian alliance can be traced back to the manner in which Battistelli is reputed to have duped the Italians into supporting his bid to become EPO President in 2009/2010.

According to EPO insiders, the Italians were cajoled into supporting the Corsican pretender on the basis of a promise that when the spoils were to be divided out afterwards they would be rewarded with one of the soon-to-be-vacant Vice-President posts.

“According to EPO insiders, the Italians were cajoled into supporting the Corsican pretender on the basis of a promise that when the spoils were to be divided out afterwards they would be rewarded with one of the soon-to-be-vacant Vice-President posts.”But when the time came to deliver in 2012, Battistelli reneged on his promise and forced the Council to accept his Croatian nominee Željko Topić rather than the Italian candidate.

The Italians never forgot this “betrayal”. It is worth noting that subsequently, in 2017, Italy was the only EPO member state to nominate a rival candidate to Battistelli’s anointed successor António Campinos.

And so it came to pass that when the Administrative Council voted on the infamous “Strike Regulations” in June 2013, the Italian delegation withheld its support and expressed a well-founded concern that the measures proposed by Battistelli would lead to “a limitation of the right of staff to strike”.

The statement of the Italian position, recorded under point no. 119 of the minutes of the 136th meeting [PDF] of the Administrative Council, reads as follows:

The Italian delegation welcomed a clear legal framework, which was important to promote sound social dialogue. But it feared that some proposals might lead to a limitation of the right of staff to strike. It encouraged to review some parts of the draft.

Notwithstanding his personal antipathy towards the perfidious Battistelli, Masi – in common with most of the other “abstentionists” on the EPO’s Administrative Council – was extremely cautious about criticising the EPO President in public.

“Masi – in common with most of the other “abstentionists” on the EPO’s Administrative Council – was extremely cautious about criticising the EPO President in public.”In May 2016, when the Italian state broadcaster RAI produced a report on “La guerra dei brevetti” (“The war of patents” [PDF]), Masi was asked to comment on Battistelli’s controversial “methods” at the EPO.

Mauro Masi has been a member of the EPO’s Administrative Council since 2006.

What does he think of the President Battistelli’s methods?


Battistelli acts properly, he respects all the formal rules of the EPO. The issue is whether those rules are still valid or whether they should be changed. In my opinion they should be changed.

Battistelli and Masi
Despite his personal antipathy towards Battistelli, Masi appeared to rally to the defence of the controversial EPO President in 2016: “Battistelli acts properly, he respects all the formal rules of the EPO.”

Masi’s response on that occasion is revealing because he declined to take issue with Battistelli’s “methods” as such. As far as he was concerned, Battistelli respected “all of the formal rules of the EPC”.

According to Masi, the problem was not with Battistelli but with the rules which “should be changed”. But he didn’t go into specifics, so it’s impossible to know what rules he considered to be in need of change.

Moreover, changing the rules is a matter for the Administrative Council or, in the case of the EPC itself, a diplomatic conference of the contracting states. Masi’s superficial and evasive response to the RAI journalist appears to have overlooked – perhaps deliberately? – the role of the Council in this regard and its responsibilities as the organisation’s governing body.

One wonders whether Masi’s views have changed in the meantime.

“…changing the rules is a matter for the Administrative Council or, in the case of the EPC itself, a diplomatic conference of the contracting states.”In particular, it would be interesting to hear what lessons – if any – he has managed to draw from the ILOAT judgments that overturned Battistelli's Vichyite "Strike Regulations".

Unfortunately, despite the fact that he still remains in position as head of the Italian delegation, Mauro Masi has so far remained eloquently silent on these matters.

Given that his 70th birthday is approaching – in August 2022 – it’s quite likely that Masi will have sailed off into the sunset of a gold-plated retirement with his partner, the RAI presenter Ingrid Muccitelli, before we get a chance to hear his opinion on what needs to be done to tackle the long-standing and still unresolved governance crisis at the EPO.

Ingrid Muccitelli and Mauro Masi
Mauro Masi will probably have sailed off into the sunset of a gold-plated retirement with his partner Ingrid Muccitelli before we get a chance to hear his opinion on how to tackle the EPO’s governance crisis.

With that we have finally arrived at the end of our in-depth survey of the national delegations on the EPO’s Administrative Council and how they acted when Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations” were put to the vote at the 136th meeting in June 2013.

As has already been noted in an earlier part of the series, the official record shows that delegates from 28 states – including six out of seven of the EPO's founding states – allowed themselves to be mesmerised by the “spin” of Team Battistelli and proceeded to give their unreserved endorsement to this liberticidal proposal.

Seven other states had reservations and withheld their approval by “abstaining”.

“We will also see how neither the Administrative Council nor Battistelli’s successor Campinos have bothered to take any action to address these unresolved issues.”However, among the 38 member states of the organisation, not a single delegation could be found with sufficient moral courage and integrity to vote against this "extremely dubious" proposal.

In the final two parts of the series, we plan to take a closer look at how this affair has highlighted the serious governance deficits at the EPO which were ruthlessly exploited by Battistelli during his time as Office President.

We will also see how neither the Administrative Council nor Battistelli’s successor Campinos have bothered to take any action to address these unresolved issues.

Update Regarding Slovenia and Vojko Toman

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Benoit Battistelli with Vojko Toman
Benoît Battistelli with Vojko Toman in Ljubljana

Summary: The EPO-friendly Vojko Toman, who also protected António Campinos, was the subject of recent media coverage in Slovenia

An article published by Slovenian media in October of this year [PDF] confirms that during Vojko Toman’s term of office as head of the national “IP” Office (URSIL) no action was taken to deal with issues relating to “collective management organisations” in the copyright sector.

Just a word of caution about the publisher of this article.
Nova24TV is a Slovenian news media conglomerate closely associated with the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), generally regarded as a “right-wing populist” party.

According to Wikipedia, Nova24TV has been financially supported by Hungarian businessmen close to Viktor Orbán.

“The relevance of the article to the recent coverage about Slovenia is that it shows that during his time at the head of the URSIL between September 2015 and September 2021, Vojko Toman failed to take any action to tackle the known problems relating to copyright CMOs.”However, no other Slovenian media seems to be currently covering these issues.

Leaving aside any reservations that might exist about the publisher, the article is objective in tone and presents facts and figures that come from reliable non-partisan sources such as www.edebiti.si and www.erar.si.

The relevance of the article to the recent coverage about Slovenia is that it shows that during his time at the head of the URSIL between September 2015 and September 2021, Vojko Toman failed to take any action to tackle the known problems relating to copyright CMOs.

It’s worth recalling that Toman was initially appointed as head of the URSIL on a temporary ad interim basis in September 2015 until 30 March 2016.

“With hindsight, it seems clear that Toman was installed as a “safe pair of hands” who could be trusted not to “rock the boat”.”A call for candidates for the position of URSIL director was published in February 2016 [PDF] and the next director should have been appointed in March. It seems that there weren’t any suitable candidates because no appointment was made in March.

Toman’s ad interim posting was prolonged and a fresh call for candidates was issued in June 2016 [PDF]. Once again, it seems that there weren’t any suitable candidates.

So Toman ended up being awarded the position for a five-year term in September 2016.

With hindsight, it seems clear that Toman was installed as a “safe pair of hands” who could be trusted not to “rock the boat”.

Links 24/12/2021: Neptune 7.0 “Faye” Released, Another Massive Security Hole in Azure

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

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      • How to deploy a Bitwarden server with Docker – TechRepublic

        Bitwarden is one of my favorite password managers. But if you’re seriously concerned about security and would rather not save your password database on a third-party server, you might want to consider deploying your own Bitwarden server.

        That might sound like a serious challenge but, thanks to Docker, it’s actually quite simple. I’m going to show you how to do just that.

      • Install Centreon Monitoring on AlmaLinux 8 | Rocky Linux 8 – Linux Shout

        Centreon is an open-source monitoring system for monitoring IT infrastructures. Due to its modular structure and good scalability suitable for monitoring small to big networks through to complex IT environments with hundreds of hosts. Here in this tutorial, we will learn the commands to install the Open Source Centreon monitoring tool on AlmaLinux 8 or Rocky Linux 8 RPM Linux.

        The project Centreon started in 2005 and was distributed among developers under GPLv2 and Apache Open Source licenses. It comes in four editions- Open Source; IT Edition; Business Edition and MSP Edition. Of course, editions other than open-source are subscription-based and with extra features as compared to community (open source) ones.

        Just like Nagios or Icinga, Centreon also offers a web interface to view and manage multiple systems, furthermore, configuration through the Centreon web interface makes the effort considerably easier, especially when monitoring complex IT environments with hundreds of hosts and services.

      • How to use mail command in Linux

        Mail is the quickest way of communicating messages to your loved ones, there are different email client servers that allow users to send emails, besides this, Linux by default provides the feature of sending an email using the “mail” command through its terminal. We can write the subject, message along with the email address of the recipient and send it by just executing a single command.

        There are different packages through which we can install the mail command, these packages are discussed in this write-up as well as the use of the mail command is also explained in detail.

      • How to remove background in Inkscape

        Photo editing software and vector graphics editors such as Inkscape utilize the background removal feature to remove unwanted and unnecessary items from images, ultimately making their look more outstanding and attractive. It also assists in directing the audience’s attention to the main subject of the image. After removing the background from an image, various creative things can make the image more charming. Photographers use the background removing services to eliminate the error and the imperfections for the shot images.

        In Inkscape software, you can use the image tracing and the outlining method for removing the background of an image. The “Trace Bitmap” feature helps trace the selected image in image tracing. Whereas a “Bezier” tool is used to outline the image’s main subject in the outlining method. This write-up will teach you both methods for removing the white background and colored background in Inkscape. So, let’s start!

      • How to remove all files of a directory in Linux

        Files are created and saved in the directories of Linux, they can be text files, image files, music files, or any other format. These files occupy some space and many files present in our system are purposeless, they should be deleted in order to make space for new files.

        In Linux, we can either delete/remove a single file or delete all the files from a directory using a single command in a terminal. In this write-up, we will discuss the ways to remove all the files in a directory of Linux.

      • How to remove a Linux user

        A computer system in an organization can be operated by a number of users, if someone leaves the organization his/her account becomes useless, it should be removed or deleted from the system to save storage space. If the operating system is Linux-based, the users can be managed using the terminal conveniently. In this follow-up, we are going to explain some simple queries through which we can remove the users from Linux.

      • How to move a directory in Linux

        In Linux we can move the directories to a specific folder and protect them by changing their access permission in order to secure the files and data present in those directories. To move the directory from one path to another is much simpler and can be done easily.

        The one thing most people are confused about is the difference between move and copy command; copy command is used to make the clone of files/directories to some other paths while keeping the original file/directory at its original path, while the move command is used to move the file/directory from its original path and place it to some other path.

        In this write-up, we have explained the methods in detail through which we can move the directories from one path to another in Linux.

      • How to Count Lines in the file of Linux

        The practice of counting lines in the file is usually adopted by the developers to determine the length of their code or the program. They do so to find out the efficiency of the program, the program having fewer lines performing the same task compared to the program of greater lines is assumed to be more efficient.

        In Linux, there are different methods to count the number of lines in the files, all of these methods are discussed in this article in detail.

      • How To Install Zimbra Mail With Ubuntu 18.04 -

        Here, we will learn how to install Zimbra mail with Ubuntu 18.04. Zimbra is an open-source email server utility. Zimbra collaborations suite is a good but cost-effective alternative for MS O365, G Suite, or other email services. Day-to-day user management, calendar management can be managed with Zimbra. Even ven file sharing and chatting can be managed easily with the collaboration suite. Zimbra does not support Ubuntu 20.04 or 21 as of now. To learn Zimbra installation with CentOS, you can refer to our article.

      • How to set up a Git repository in minutes on Linux – TechRepublic

        Sometimes you just need to deploy a quick Git repository so you can collaborate on a project, back up your code or house your files on a remote machine. When you feel like doing that, you don’t want to have to spend an hour or so deploying a server and setting it up … especially when you already have everything you need at your fingertips.

        I’m going to show you how you can quickly deploy a Git repository using just git and ssh. You should be able to spin this up in less than five minutes (two, if you type fast).

      • How to install Mozilla Thunderbird on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Mozilla Thunderbird, a mail client, 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.

        This tutorial will only work on Chromebooks with an Intel or AMD CPU (with Linux Apps Support) and not those with an ARM64 architecture CPU.

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

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

        Vtiger is an open source CRM which includes inventory, email, project management, and other tools that provides a complete business management suite. Using vTiger CRM you can ensure premium support, sales management and for marketing teams to work smoothly to boost business growth and improve customer experience.

      • How to Install Qubes OS on VirtualBox

        If you are really conscious about security and don’t want to spend your money on expensive software, then Qubes OS is the answer to all your security woes.

        Qubes, as an operating system, works in isolation. It creates isolated compartments, all of them based on Xen-based virtualization technology.

        This helps in the creation and management of “qubes” (isolated compartments). Each individual qube limits the interactions between software and hardware, to enhance the concept of security delivery.

        In this guide, the intent is to help you install the latest version of Qubes OS on Oracle VirtualBox.

      • How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream – LinuxCapable

        The name KDE comes from “K Desktop Environment.” For those not familiar with KDE Desktop, it is a free, open-source desktop environment. It provides Linux users with an alternative graphical interface to customize their desktop environment and applications for everyday use enhancement.

        In CentOS’s case, this is GNOME. Besides the graphical enhancements and changes, it is also a lightweight, fast, smooth environment with superior performance compared to native shipped desktops with some Linux Distributions.

        In the following tutorial, you will have learned how to install KDE Desktop Environment on your CentOS 8 Stream desktop environment.

      • How to Install Liquorix Kernel on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        Liqourix Kernel is a free, open-source general-purpose Linux Kernel alternative to the stock kernel shipped with Fedora 35. It features custom settings and new features and is built to provide a responsive and smooth desktop experience, especially for new hardware.

        Liquorix Kernel is popular amongst Linux Gaming, streaming, and ultra-low latency requirements and often boasts the latest Linux Kernels.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the latest Linux Kernel on your Fedora 35.

      • How to Install XanMod Kernel on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        XanMod is a free, open-source general-purpose Linux Kernel alternative to the stock kernel with Fedora 35. It features custom settings and new features and is built to provide a responsive and smooth desktop experience, especially for new hardware.

        XanMod is popular amongst Linux Gaming, streaming, and ultra-low latency requirements and often boasts the latest Linux Kernels before landing on Fedora.

        Installing a third-party kernel may be for you for users seeking to have their system kernel up to date and not wanting to install kernels or use the testing/unstable repositories manually.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the latest XanMod Kernel on your Fedora operating system.

      • How to Install Xfce Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream – LinuxCapable

        Xfce is a lightweight free, open-source desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It is designed to be fast and light on system resources while visually appealing than the default desktop environments that ship with most operating systems. Xfce is very popular with older systems with hardware as a key feature in its design is to conserve both memory and CPU cycles.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Xfce on your CentOS 8 Stream desktop.

      • How to Install John the Ripper on all platforms – TREND OCEANS

        John the Ripper is open-source software that comes preinstalled in Kali Linux. It is mainly recognized by cracking and recovering passwords for Linux, Winrar, Windows, FTP, SSH, WordPress, etc.

        Initially, it was released for the UNIX system to detect weak passwords, but now support more than 100 hashes and ciphers. It comes in two different variants free and premium.

      • How To Install Brave Browser on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Brave Browser on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, Brave is a free and open-source web browser developed by Brave Software, Inc. based on the Chromium web browser. What distinguishes Brave from others is its ability to block ads and website trackers out of the box. Brave is also called a “crypto browser” because it uses the Ethereum blockchain that is used to secure users’ data.

        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 Brave browser on a Fedora 35.

      • How to install go 1.18 on Ubuntu 20.04 – NextGenTips

        In this tutorial, we are going to explore how to install go on Ubuntu 20.04.

        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.

        In this guide, we are going to learn how to install golang 1.18 on Fedora 35.

      • How to install Ansible in Ubuntu 20.04. – NextGenTips

        Welcome to today’s tutorial, we are going to talk about the easier way to install Ansible inside Ubuntu 20.04 distro.

        Ansible is an open-source software provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment tool enabling infrastructure as code. It runs both on Unix-like systems and on Windows platforms.

        Ansible is a radically simple IT automation engine that automates cloud provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, intra-service orchestration, etc.

        Ansible uses no agents and no additional custom security infrastructure. It is easy to deploy because it uses YAML file systems that allow you to describe your deployment environment in plain English.

        To install the released version of Ansible, pip or packet manager is used.

      • Using the mv Command to Move Files & Directories in Linux

        The mv command in Linux stands for move. It is used to move one or more files or directories from one location to another within the file system. The command usually works without prompting, but we will show you how you can prompt before renaming or moving a file.

        In this article, we will discuss the mv command in Linux, its options, and some common use cases.

      • [Updated] How to Set GRUB2 Password in RHEL, CentOS and Fedora Linux

        GRand Unified Bootloader (GRUB) is a default bootloader in all Unix-like operating systems. As promised in our earlier article “How to reset a forgotten root password“, here we are going to review how to protect GRUB with passwords.

        As mentioned earlier post, anyone can log in into single-user mode and may change system settings as needed. This is the big security flow. So, to prevent such unauthorized person to access the system we may require to have grub with password protected.

        Here, we’ll see how to prevent users from entering into single user mode and changing the settings of systems that may have direct or physical access to the system.

      • Openstack RDO && KVM Hypervisor: Uploading dictionaries into SQLite tables via Pandas DataFrames on Python 3.9.9

        The following below is a not entirely trivial algorithm for students that creates a Python dictionary after scanning text according to the conditions of the problem, which gets converted into Pandas Dataframe and uploaded to SQLite database table to be analyzed via nested SQL Query.

      • How-To: Docker on Windows and Mac with Multipass | Ubuntu

        If you’re looking for an alternative to Docker Desktop or to integrate Docker into your Multipass workflow, this how-to is for you.

        Multipass can host a docker engine inside an Ubuntu VM in a manner similar to Docker Desktop. That Docker instance can be controlled either directly from the VM, or remotely from the host machine with no additional software required. This allows you to run Docker locally on your Windows or Mac machine directly from your host terminal.

    • Games

      • Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from GamingOnLinux | GamingOnLinux

        For 2022, things are going to be both exciting and scary for Linux gaming. So much hinges on how the Steam Deck launch goes and if it will be a success or not. We’re still a few months away yet and no doubt Valve have plenty more upgrades for Steam and Proton up their sleeves. We’ve no idea when we will be able to do our own direct Steam Deck coverage, as after the delay our reservation is currently sat on Q2 2022.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 5.0 Released! Much Faster Now while Less Memory Usage

          After a few beta testing releases, the popular digital painting software Krita 5.0 is finally out with lots of new features!

          Krita 5.0 has re-written the resource system that handles brush presets, gradients, palettes and more. The new system is much faster and uses much less memory!

          Gradients have been improved in the release. They are much more smoothed and can handle wider gamuts. The smudge brush engine has been completely rewritten, and a new brush engine to load MyPaint 1.2 brushes into Krita.

    • Distributions

      • My Top 5 Linux Distro Releases of 2021

        I may write a blog about Ubuntu. I may use Ubuntu. But the Linux ecosystem? I know it’s far more than just Ubuntu. It’s a rich and vibrant scene chock-full of choice, colour, and creativity. There are dozens upon dozens of top-drawer distros out there, all deserving of attention.

        What follows is intended as a celebration; a shoutout to some of 2021’s standout Linux releases in my opinion. This post is not a proclamation of superiority; distros aren’t ranked in any special order; and anything not featured isn’t automatically being badged as un-good.

      • New Releases

        • Neptune 7.0 “Faye” Released with Zswap, Based on Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye”

          Coming more than two years after Neptune 6.0 and more than a year after Neptune 6.5, the Neptune 7.0 release is based on the latest and greatest Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” operating system series and it’s powered by the long-term supported Linux 5.10 LTS kernel series.

          Dubbed “Faye,” after the member of the Bebop crew from the Cowboy Bebop anime series, Neptune 7.0 ships with the KDE Plasma 5.20.5 desktop environment that has been beautified with a new Neptune specific theme that’s fully compatible with KDE Plasma’s Breeze widget style.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Holidays in the openSUSE Bar!

          First, on behalf of all the openSUSE BAR regulars, we’d like to wish you Happy Holidays / Merry X-mas🎄. But, we are also aware that many of us will be spending the holidays this year unable to celebrate the way that we would like to. Therefore we’d like to invite you to join our ‘holiday bar party’, which will be available from the 24-26th of December.

          We are also planning to celebrate the New Year in the bar as well! Many of us will be online in the bar, celebrating the New Year over and over again, as it comes throughout the day and the night in all of our time zones around the world.

      • Arch Family

        • Manjaro 21.2 Qonos Released with Updated Desktop Environments

          Manjaro Linux is out with version 21.2 Qonos ahead of the holidays, powered by the latest Linux 5.15 LTS kernel.

          Manjaro is a desktop-oriented operating system based on Arch Linux. It has a focus on user friendliness and the system itself is designed to work fully “straight out of the box” with its variety of pre-installed software.

          Now, with their latest Qonos version, Manjaro comes with another fantastic release at the end of this year, helping make Linux more accessible for as broader audience from beginners to gamers, and that’s always a plus in our book for promoting free software. So let’s give it a shot and see what’s new.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Upcoming downtime for Fedora Discussion

          Almost three years ago, we moved the existing Ask Fedora site from an engine which attempted to replicate Stack Exchange to a new system (the current Ask Fedora) based on Discourse, a modern open source web forum platform. We had some frustrations with the software, and the Stack-Exchange-like approach wasn’t really working for us. This has been a huge success, and the new Ask is incredibly popular.

          At the same time, we also tried an experiment — we set up Fedora Discussion as a parallel site for community and project conversations. This goes hand-in-hand with the (soft-launch, but we’re getting there) Matrix-based Fedora Chat service — Discussion for longer-form, long-lasting asynchronous communication, and Chat for synchronous connections.

          This experiment has gone well, and we have solid and increasing use, with several different Fedora teams (including Fedora Council and CommOps) making it their primary place for communication. We’ve had some nice improvements over time as we’ve learned to use the system (not to mention a nice new logo from Máirín Duffy and the Fedora Design Team). But, the site’s basic structure is still what we arbitrarily came up with when we first launched it: kind of a mishmash of categories and concepts. As we’ve had more requests to use the site, it’s become increasingly clear that these early decisions don’t match what we need.

        • Top 10 digital transformation articles of 2021 | The Enterprisers Project

          In 2021, CIOs entered year two of the COVID-19 pandemic. After accelerating their digital transformation efforts to get their workforce up and running remotely, leaders quickly found their hard work rewarded with more hard work: Namely, transforming the customer and employee experiences, ramping up security efforts, and sustaining the breakneck pace of digital acceleration without burning out their talent.

          As we looked back at our most popular digital transformation articles of 2021, it’s clear that CIOs are seizing this opportunity to drive business strategy, set ambitious goals for their organizations, and work in agile new ways to achieve them.

          “As we continue to push forward with the digitalization agenda, it’s opening a world of opportunity – literally – for IT and business operations. Now, geographic boundaries are mostly irrelevant, and from now on, we’ll enjoy the flexibility to place employees wherever they’re needed and give them the freedom to choose where they live and work. Thanks to greater adoption of cloud technologies, there are almost no limitations,” writes Linda Kahangi, Chief Information and Operations Officer (CIOO) at Nomadix Inc.

        • More machine learning with OpenShift Data Science

          We hope you enjoyed the first two Red Hat OpenShift Data Science learning paths: Launch Red Hat OpenShift Data Science and OpenShift Data Science documentation and resources.

          This week, we’ve released two new learning paths, which address the common data science challenges of accessing Amazon S3 data and creating a TensorFlow model. Developers and data scientists can use these hands-on courses to learn how to access data and create machine learning models. You’ll also learn how much easier common data science procedures are with OpenShift Data Science.

          This article introduces the learning paths and provides an overview of OpenShift Data Science, including where to find more information.

        • Top 10 tutorials for Linux administrators | Enable Sysadmin

          I’ve been administering Linux systems for several years now, and I don’t think a single day has gone by without a learning opportunity. One of my favorite parts about the Linux ecosystem is the willingness to share both tools and information. This year’s top Linux administration articles are a testament to that culture of top minds sharing their knowledge so that you can progress on your Linux journey.

        • 10 open source career lessons from 2021 | Opensource.com

          The ongoing pandemic kept 2021 far from normal, yet there were glimmers of hope through the uncertainty. In-person conferences slowly resumed, if smaller and with more masks than in years past. And the asynchronous essence of open source allowed many people to keep working on passion projects while growing their careers.

          Accordingly, readers loved the past year’s posts on all things work and career. Below, we’ve shared 10 of our most popular articles on these subjects in 2021. Whether you’re looking for a great open source note-taking app or want inspiration for non-coding roles in tech, Opensource.com’s authors covered it all.

      • Debian Family

        • Mike Gabriel: MATE 1.26 has finally landed in Debian testing

          For those, you haven’t realized, yet: MATE 1.26 has now been uploaded to Debian and should be available in Debian testing to all happy testers.


          The MATE 1.26 DEB package preparations had been done while sitting in bed with my hot water bottle in the back and a pot of honeyed thyme tea next to me on the window sill. Things were getting too boring while being sick, so the monotonous wrapping up of +/- 40 desktop environment DEB packages was a welcome change then (and not too complex for reduced brain activity, either).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 22.04 – Release Date, What’s New & More

          Ubuntu releases run on a schedule/cycle. All Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) releases are released every 2 years, on the fourth month of the year. The numbering in the release tells the year (2022) and month (04). The exact release date of Ubuntu 22.04 is April 21, 2022. However, there are other important dates you should know in the release schedule.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • WS2812s On A 6502 | Hackaday

          We can still remember when the WS2812 LED first came into ourconsciousness, way back in the mists of time. The timing diagrams in the datasheet-of-questionable-veracity made it sound quite tricky, with tight timing tolerances and essentially a high-speed two-bit PWM data protocol at 500 kHz. It was a challenge to bit-bang with an ATtiny85 back then, but there’s no way something as old and crusty as an Apple II would be up to snuff, right?

          [Anders Nielsen] took up the challenge of getting the venerable 6502 processor to drive Neopixels and won! After all, if the chip is good enough for Bender and the Terminator T-800, it should be able to blink some colored LEDs, right? The secret sauce is shift registers!

        • Dual 10GbE router supports WiFi 6 (AX3600) – CNX Software

          There’s no information about software, but we can assume the system runs a Linux OS based on Qualcomm SDK or OpenWrt.

        • Back-to-Back Belts Drive Filament In This Unique Extruder Design | Hackaday

          It’s hard to say when inspiration will strike, or what form it’ll take. But we do know that when you get that itch, it’s a good idea to scratch it, because you might just end up with something like this cool new design for a 3D printer extruder as a result.

          Clearly, the world is not screaming out for new extruder designs. In fact, the traditional spring-loaded, toothed drive wheel on a stepper really does the job of feeding filament into a printer’s hot end just fine, all things considered. But [Jón Schone], aka Proper Printing on YouTube, got the idea for his belt-drive extruder from seeing how filament manufacturers handle their products. His design is a scaled-down version of that, and uses a pair of very small timing belts that run on closely spaced gears. The gears synchronize the movement of the two belts, with the filament riding in the very narrow space between the belts. It’s a simple design, with the elasticity of the belt material eliminating the need for spring pre-loading of the drive gears.

        • Arduino IoT Cloud Scheduler Enhances Automation for Your Projects

          Cloud Scheduler is a brand new feature that’s now live as part of your Arduino Cloud platform. It’s a powerful addition that adds a whole new dimension of automation and control to your projects.

        • Retrofit your light switch with this remote-controlled device | Arduino Blog

          It can be extremely annoying and frustrating to finally get comfortable somewhere only to realize that you forgot to turn off a light, thus requiring a short journey to and from the wall switch. Mechanical engineering student and Instructables user alanmerritt ran into the same problem in his dorm room, so he responded by creating a device that could remotely operate a light switch without any modifications to the switch itself.

          The first step in designing this remote control device was measuring the fixture and modeling it in CAD, after which Alan made a small rack-and-pinion mechanism that uses a servo motor to rotate a gear and thus lift an attached slider up or down. He also 3D printed an enclosure that surrounds the otherwise ugly electronics, hiding them from the view of potential visitors.

        • A Simple 3D Printed Gear Clock Shows Off How It Works | Hackaday

          Analog clocks are beautiful things inside, using ornate gear trains to keep track of time in a dance of mechanical beauty. However, all too often, the complexity is hidden inside. This gear clock design from [Tada3], however, proudly shows off its workings.

          A small stepper motor is used to run the clock’s movement, a small part of the 28BYJ-48 variety. The motor is driven once per second, making the gear train tick along in a rather compelling way that is somehow more visually interesting. Of course, with some modification to the design, continuous motion could easily be done as well.

          The stepper motor is driven by an Arduino Nano, which also handles the timekeeping. One thing that’s missing is a real-time clock, something that should be added to the design if you wish it to keep accurate time. As it is, the included Arduino sketch simply uses the delay() function to time the stepping of the motor. It makes the clock tick along, but will quickly drift out of sync.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Sustainable creativity in a world without copyright

        I don’t believe in copyright. I argue that we need to get rid of copyright, or at least dramatically reform it. The public domain has been stolen from us, and I want it back. Everyone reading this post has grown up in a creative world defined by capitalism, in which adapting and remixing works — a fundamental part of the creative process — is illegal. The commons is dead, and we suffer for it. But, this is all we’ve ever known. It can be difficult to imagine a world without copyright.

        When I present my arguments on the subject, the most frequent argument I hear in response is something like the following: “artists have to eat, too”. The answer to this argument is so mind-bogglingly obvious that, in the absence of understanding, it starkly illuminates just how successful capitalism has been in corrupting a broad human understanding of empathy. So, I will spell the answer out: why do we have a system which will, for any reason, deny someone access to food? How unbelievably cruel is a system which will let someone starve because they cannot be productive within the terms of capitalism?

        My argument is built on the more fundamental understanding that the access to fundamental human rights such as food, shelter, security, and healthcare are not contingent on their ability to be productive under the terms of capitalism. And I emphasize the “terms of capitalism” here deliberately: how much creativity is stifled because it cannot be expressed profitably? The system is not just cruel, but it also limits the potential of human expression, which is literally the only thing that creative endeavours are concerned with.

        The fact that the “starving artist” is such a common trope suggests to us that artists aren’t putting food on the table under the copyright regime, either. Like in many industries under capitalism, artists are often not the owners of the products of their labor. Copyright protects the rights holder, not the author. The obscene copyright rules in the United States, for example, are not doing much benefit for the artist when the term ends 70 years after their death. Modern copyright law was bought, paid for, and written by corporate copyright owners, not artists. What use is the public domain to anyone when something published today cannot be legally remixed by even our great-great-grandchildren?

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • 2021: The Year the LibreOffice Documentation Team Shined

          2021 is ending, so let’s recap our achievements and look forward for 2022. It has been a very tough year for all of us in our professional or personal matters, and for sure worsened by the persisting pandemic, even with the release of the COVID vaccines.

          But this year was a great documentation year after all. We closed the gap between the LibreOffice major releases. and the update of the corresponding User Guides. By the year end, we will have all of our version 7 guides updated to the LibreOffice release 7.2, and ready to continue for the forthcoming release – 7.3 – due in early February 2022. The goal of tracking the software release closely was achieved, and now we are in a steady state of small updates between releases.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GIMP 2.10.30 improves support for PSD and various image formats

            GIMP 2.10.30 It is now available as another minor release of the eternal second version of the well-known image manipulation application, which is showing itself in good shape since it is under the GNOME umbrella and its future leap to the third major version is well under way.

            This time we don’t have many groundbreaking news, but there are some interesting improvements. For example, support for AVIF, HEIF, PSD, DDS, RGBE and PBM image formats has been improved in GIMP 2.10.30, which never hurts for those who manipulate or export to things other than JPG and PNG, the two most popular formats. Being more specific with one of them, the export to AVIF now favors the AOM AV1 renderer.

            Another interesting point that has been improved in GIMP 2.10.30 has been the support of PSD, the file format (or rather documents according to your own defined) used by Adobe Photoshop projects. Added here support for “Layer Masks labeled with invalid dimensions, CMYK no alpha, CMYK no layers, blended image of a 16 bit per channel RGBA that had an opaque alpha channel, and so on. For CMYK PSD files, for now, GIMP will convert to sRGB to allow you to view the contents of a file instead of displaying a message that the file is not supported.”

      • Programming/Development

        • Convert Array to String PHP

          There is always an issue with manipulating arrays in PHP. Although they are widely used and fully supported, PHP faces a few drawbacks when working with arrays.

          For example, to echo a single element of an array, you can convert the array to a string and print it on the screen.

          In this tutorial, you will learn how to convert a PHP array to a string.

        • PHP Convert Array to Comma Separated String

          An array is a data type that allows storing multiple related values under a single variable. Arrays are incredibly useful when you need to manage associated data without the risk of repetition.

          This guide will teach you how to convert an array of values to a comma-separated string.

        • How to Parse PDF in PHP

          Have you ever tried to open a PDF file to search for a specific line or word? It does not work. All you will find is binary data that makes absolutely no sense.

          Parsing PDF files is very tedious and complicated for any software developer, not because it’s complex but because of the nature of PDF files. PDF files contain objects which are identified by a unique number. PDF objects can collect information such as images, text, and more. These objects are encrypted and compressed, making it nearly impossible to process PDFs as text documents.

          This guide will learn how to parse PDF documents using the PHP programming language.

        • Configure Lighttpd

          Lighttpd or Lighty is a free and open-source web server developed for high-performance environments. Lighttpd server is lightweight, high-speed, and secure. It is mainly provided as an alternative to web servers such as Apache because it consumes very few resources such as CPU and memory.
          Lighttpd can handle more than 10000 parallel connections on a single server; it is often an excellent option for high-traffic sites.

          This guide will walk you through installing and configuring the Lighttpd server.

        • Redis Get Key

          Redis is a key-value database or data store that utilizes the concept of key and value to store data. Unlike relational databases, keys in Redis must be unique and serve as unique identifiers for the value they hold.

          Redis uses simple commands to perform operations using the Redis CLI utility. In this tutorial, you will learn how to fetch the keys in Redis databases.

        • PHP Convert String to Datetime

          This article will teach you how to convert a simple string to a date format using various PHP methods and techniques.

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Simple Upgrades Make An Old Industrial Sewing Machine New Again | Hackaday

        [Eric] found this Pfaff 463 on Craigslist. It was built somewhere around 1950, and it only does one thing — a single-needle, straight stitch, forward or reverse — but it will do it through damn near anything you want (unlike those computerized hunks of plastic made for home use nowadays). Again, these machines are always built into a table, and they come with a lamp. While the machine itself may be a workhorse, the light is wimpy, so [Eric] replaced it with a goose-neck LED light that has a magnet for sticking it anywhere light is required around the machine.

        No matter the size, electric sewing machines are driven with a foot pedal. On a domestic, the pedal is loose and you just put it on the floor wherever you want, but industrial foot pedals are built into the table frame. [Eric] drilled a bunch of new holes in the side of the pedal so he can move the connecting rod closer to the pivot point. This gives him better control with less footwork.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Teams might have a few serious security issues [Ed: Microsoft is incapable of making software that actually works, as explained by a former insider]

          Security researchers have discovered four separate vulnerabilities in Microsoft Teams that could be exploited by an attacker to spoof link previews, leak IP addresses and even access the software giant’s internal services.

          These discoveries were made by researchers at Positive Security who “stumbled upon” them while looking for a way to bypass the the Same-Origin Policy (SOP) in Teams and Electron according to a new blog post. For those unfamiliar, SOP is a security mechanism found in browsers that helps stop websites from attacking one another.

        • 4-Year-Old Bug in Azure App Service Exposed Hundreds of Source Code Repositories

          A security flaw has been unearthed in Microsoft’s Azure App Service that resulted in the exposure of source code of customer applications written in Java, Node, PHP, Python, and Ruby for at least four years since September 2017.

          The vulnerability, codenamed “NotLegit,” was reported to the tech giant by Wiz researchers on October 7, 2021, following which mitigations have been undertaken to fix the information disclosure bug in November. Microsoft said a “limited subset of customers” are at risk, adding “Customers who deployed code to App Service Linux via Local Git after files were already created in the application were the only impacted customers.”

        • Microsoft informs customers of ‘NotLegit’ Azure bug

          Microsoft’s Security Response Center has released a blog post explaining its response to the “NotLegit” bug in Azure that was discovered by cloud security company Wiz.

          Wiz said all PHP, Node, Ruby, and Python applications that were deployed using “Local Git” on a clean default application in Azure App Service since September 2017 are affected. They added that all PHP, Node, Ruby, and Python applications that were deployed in Azure App Service from September 2017 onward using any Git source — after a file was created or modified in the application container — were also affected.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (openjdk-11), Fedora (keepalived and tang), openSUSE (openssh, p11-kit, runc, and thunderbird), Oracle (postgresql:12, postgresql:13, and virt:ol and virt-devel:ol), Red Hat (rh-maven36-log4j12), and SUSE (ansible, chrony, logstash, elasticsearch, kafka, zookeeper, openstack-monasca-agent, openstack-monasca-persister-java, openstack-monasca-thresh, openssh, p11-kit, python-Babel, and thunderbird).

          • New Linux Patches For AMD i2c Bus Sharing With The PSP [Ed: This is, in effect, a back door in AMD processors, akin to M.E. in all Intel processors]

            The newest Linux hardware support patches for the kernel revolve around i2c bus sharing support for newer SoCs where the i2c bus is being shared by AMD’s Platform Security Processor (PSP). This i2c controller is based on common DesignWare IP but new kernel code is being crafted for handling that bus sharing between the kernel and the PSP co-processor.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • How To Get Into Cars: E85 Fuel | Hackaday

          If you’ve spent any time around the modified car scene in the last few years, you’ve probably heard about E85. Maybe you’ve even noticed a sweet smell emanating from the pitlane, or heard people cracking jokes about “corn juice.”

          The blended fuel, which combines alcohol and traditional gasoline, can have significant performance benefits if used properly. Today, we’ll explore what those are, and how you can set your ride up to run on E85.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Why linking Aadhaar with voter IDs could end up excluding voters – Times of India

        Former Chief Election Commissioner Dr S Y Quraishi remembers how in 2011 his team was attempting to weed out duplicate voters using different software when he met then UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani. At the time, there were more voter ID cards than Aadhaar cards, and after a failed attempt at collecting and verifying voters’ fingerprints in a state, the poll regulator didn’t take up the issue again.

Links 23/12/2021: Krita 5.0 and New Benchmarks

Posted in News Roundup at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux, AMD GPU, black screen on boot

        There we go. Hopefully, your AMD-graphics laptop running Linux is now behaving correctly, and you’re no longer seeing the black screen issue on boot while using battery power (or any other scenario). My tutorial outlines three major approaches: kernel upgrade, power usage workaround, and some hackery with kernel module parameters, which are risky and most likely won’t give you the best results, but hey.

        I don’t like this kind of problems. They always remind me of how fragile Linux is. Yes, it runs on tons of hardware, and that’s commendable, but it’s always 95% or 91%, never 100% through and through. And that’s annoying. Well, anyway, that’s it. Now, off I go to my next Tuxy hurdle. See you around.

    • Benchmarks

      • macOS 12.1 vs. Ubuntu vs. Clear Linux vs. Windows Benchmarks

        So for this comparison was the latest Windows 10 up against Ubuntu 21.10 and Intel’s own Clear Linux against Apple macOS 12.1. All tests were done on the same 2018 Mac Mini with Intel Core i7 8700B “Coffee Lake” processor with UHD Graphics 630, 8GB of RAM, and 250GB SSD. The same system was used throughout testing — the CPU frequency and memory differences reported in the automated system table just amount to how each OS exposes different details, etc.
        All operating systems were cleanly installed and running in their out-of-the-box / default state. Via the Phoronix Test Suite a variety of different benchmarks that are all native to macOS / Windows / Linux were run on this Mac Mini for satisfying the curiosity how Windows is competing with macOS and Linux.

    • Applications

      • Quickemu – Run Windows, macOS, and Linux Virtual Machines

        Quickemu is command-line software that repackages QEMU to enable users to quickly create and run optimized Linux, BSD, macOS, and Windows desktop virtual machines. Currently, it is available to only Linux users, but other desktop users might see the app available on their machines in the near future.

        It is relatively easy to spin up new virtual machines these days thanks to software such as VirtualBox, VMWare, and Parallels Desktop. If you have used any of these apps, then you must agree with me that the setup options can be fewer and that’s what Quickemu exists to present.

      • 6 Best Free and Open Source Music Trackers

        Linux is an attractive platform for professional audio production. It is an extremely stable operating system that has good support for audio hardware. Using a Linux machine as the focus of your recording setup opens a world of possibilities for an affordable price.

        A music tracker (short version tracker) is a type of music sequencer software for creating music. The music is represented as discrete musical notes positioned in several channels at discrete chronological positions on a vertical timeline.

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Apple Pages

        Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon and Facebook dominate the tech landscape. Their dominance is so broad they account for more than 20% of the S&P 500.

        There are many things to admire about Apple’s hardware and software. Apple make great looking (albeit expensive) hardware. Over the years key successes include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and the MacBook Air. The company designs its own hardware and software. This gives them the power to make an operating system and suite of apps that are tailor-made and optimized for their hardware. Apple also operates the Apple Music and Apple TV media distribution platforms.

        macOS is Apple’s proprietary operating system for its line of Macintosh computers. Its interface, known as Aqua, is highly polished and built on top of a BSD derivative (Darwin). There’s a whole raft of proprietary applications that are developed by Apple for their operating software. This software is not available for Linux and there’s no prospect of that position changing.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Difference between Containerization and Orchestration: A Layman’s Outlook

        You might have come across these two terms in the DevOps world, especially if you are a sysadmin.

        There are already many articles that have tried to explain the difference between containerization and orchestration, but most of them focus their comparison on Docker and Kubernetes.

        Before differentiating between software, it is essential to first understand the difference between their purpose, as to why they were developed in the first place.

        So in this quick read, I have tried to explore what the terms containerization and orchestration actually mean as core concepts for beginners and newbies.

        How can you differentiate between containerization and orchestration? Let us use an analogy.

      • Enable PowerTools Repository on Rocky Linux 8 – LinuxCapable

        The PowerTools repository is a container that contains many packages, libraries, and developer tools for either creating from source or installing applications. Most repositories rely on the PowerTools to be enabled, including the most popular Extra packages for the Enterprise Linux repository.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to quickly install the EPEL repository and enable PowerTools on your Rocky Linux 8 system.

      • How to Install and Secure Apache with HTTPS on Fedora Linux

        The name Apache has earned its spot in the web servers hall of fame because of its luring attributes that continue to make it a popular web server candidate around the globe.

        These attributes include its open-source nature, its numerous and easy-to-configure features, and its large community support that make it easier for both newbie and elite users to debug configuration and performance issues related to Apache.

      • [Updated] How to Install, Create and Manage LXC in Ubuntu/Debian

        Over the last decade, the open-source community has seen a steady shift to containerization as the preferred way of deploying applications thanks to the numerous benefits it offers such as portability, flexibility, increased security, and easier management of applications. Popular containerization technologies include Docker, Podman, and LXD.

        Written in Go language, LXD (pronounced as Lekseed) is described as the next generation system container and virtual machine manager that allows you to manage your containers and virtual machines from the command line, or by leveraging a REST API or other third party tools. LXD is an open-source project and is an extension of LXC (Linux Containers) which is OS-level virtualization technology.

      • How to Install & Enable EPEL / EPEL Next Repository on CentOS 9 Stream – LinuxCapable

        EPEL, which stands for Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux, is an open-source and free repository that provides extra packages for Enterprise Linux. The EPEL repository was created because Fedora contributors wanted to use Fedora packages they maintain on RHEL and other compatible distributions such as CentOS, Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux, to name a few.

        The EPEL repository is also known for bringing additional packages and updated packages that may be behind in the core repository, along with dependencies required by other external repositories, for example, the Remi PHP repository.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the EPEL repository and the EPEL Next repository, which is the next testing version that can come into use for newer packages when major upgrades occur to the core distribution on CentOS 9 Stream.

    • Games

      • Skullgirls: Umbrella gets an Early Access release with the story mode | GamingOnLinux

        One of the best fighting games on PC is expanding again, with the latest character getting a full DLC that’s in Early Access right now with Skullgirls: Umbrella. Previously limited to an Alpha for those who have the Season Pass, this is your chance to grab the full character alone.

        You will still need to opt into the Beta to access it, but now they’ve also pretty much finished the story mode for Umbrella too but the developers said it still need another go over some minor bits to fully finish. Check out the new trailer below, which also gives us a teaser of the next Skullgirls character to come in 2022.

      • Get I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream free on GOG for 48 hours | GamingOnLinux

        During the GOG Winter Sale they have another game giveaway and so you can grab the classic I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream for free right now. The giveaway lasts until December 25th at 2 PM UTC.

        This is part of their Throwback Thursday series, for which they have a dedicated list of other retro delights you might want to take a look at.

      • Watch Over Christmas is a sweet festive point and click adventure out now | GamingOnLinux

        Visit the elves with a younger audience perhaps? Looks like Watch Over Christmas could be a good family game for you.

        “Watch Over Christmas is a unique Christmassy game that tells the story of a 12-year-old boy, Cisco, who is called upon to save the most beloved holiday of them all. On the night just before Christmas, an unexpected visitor will inform him that Santa has been abducted and that he is the only hope of saving Christmas as we know it. Cisco will jump on a quest through numerous fun and challenging puzzles to preserve the magic of the Holidays.”

      • The classic Naev, a free and open source space sim version 0.9 released | GamingOnLinux

        Time to explore space once again? Naev is an absolute classic. It’s free, open source and it continues to mature with some more modern features available in the new 0.9 release. A space trading, combat and exploration game inspired by the likes of the Escape Velocity series.

      • Play some socially-distanced tabletop games with a new FoundryVTT release | GamingOnLinux

        FoundryVTT version 9 has been released, further improving many big parts of this excellent cross-platform virtual tabletop experience and it’s looking awesome. Allowing you to play many wildly different game packs, with lots of officially licensed games from various developers, virtual-tabletopping is in a really good place right now.

        One of the major new features of this release is support for card games, as it now has mechanics hooked up for handling Card Decks, Card Hands and Card Piles.

      • Gamify your creativity on Linux with Dot Matrix

        Simplicity is sometimes undervalued. Something that’s simple is often seen as the result of laziness or as something trivial. But there are many instances when simplicity is very useful. Consider logo design, for example. Many of the most famous logos are the ones designed to be simple and easily reproducible. Think about the Signal logo, the LibreOffice logo, or the KDE logo. They use basic shapes, are not cluttered, and are recognizable.

        Even the Firefox logo, which began as a rather complex illustration, has been revised and simplified over the years.
        Sometimes, simplicity also means memorable. And that’s the case with the simple little application Dot Matrix, described by its developer as a “glyph playground of creativity.” Dot Matrix is a minimalist illustration program that places severe limitations on what tools you have available, what shapes you can make, what colors you can use, and much more, and it’s so much fun. It’s fun because of how it limits you. Being a simple app forces you to think in simple terms as you draw. You can’t over-design an idea with Dot Matrix because you simply don’t have the ability to do that.

      • SuperTux 0.6.3 Arcade Game Arrives Just in Time for Christmas with New Features

        SuperTux 0.6.3 is here just in time for the Christmas holidays and introduces new features like swimming, wall jumping, new snow tiles, autotiles, new objects (e.g. falling blocks, sideways bumper, etc.), a new rublight object, custom particles, new color picker, as well as in-game progress statistics.

        Additionally, the new release introduces an add-on creator to allow you to create add-on packages with your world, adds the ability to skip cutscenes, updates the editor to automatically save your changes at regular intervals, and adds timeshift ambience in the worldmap.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 5.0 Release Notes

          It has certainly been a long time coming and a lot of hard work, but Krita 5 is here at last! I can say with a measure of pride (and a whole helping of relief for the development team) that 5.0 is up there among the largest and most significant updates that Krita has ever seen, affecting and improving almost every aspect of the program in a variety of ways, big and small. And of course, there’s a ton of cool new features that we can’t wait for our community of artists to start working with, but before we dig into the details…

        • Krita 5.0 Open-Source Digital Painting Software Officially Released, This Is What’s New

          Krita 5.0 is a massive update that brings numerous new features and improvements, starting with a completely revamped and resource-friendly way to handle brushes, gradients, palettes, and tagging, a built-in storyboard editor, as well as a built-in recorder so you can easily record your painting sessions.

          This new major Krita release also introduces a new brush engine based on MyPaint, completely revamps the smudge brush engine, improves gradients to make them smoother and handle wider gamuts, and overhauls the Animation system with new features like animated transform masks and clone frames.

        • Krita 5.0 Has Arrived – And It’s Full of New Features

          Krita 5.0 is described as the ‘largest and most significant update that Krita has ever seen’. Almost every area of the app has been improved, ranging from revamped handling of brushes, gradients and palettes, to several new or improved brush engines.

          Additionally, Krita’s animation capabilities get super-charged in Krita 5.0 thanks to a crop of user interface improvements and the inclusion of several new features, including clone frames and animated transform masks. There’s also a built-in storyboard editor to help sketching out and planning animated pieces.

        • Krita 5.0 Released With Big Improvements For Open-Source Digital Painting / 2D Animation

          Krita is easily one of the best digital painting / 2D animation / raster graphics programs out there for being open-source / free software and today is now even better with the Krita 5.0 release.

          Krita 5.0 is a wonderful end-of-year gift for open-source artists and others making use of this software over the past decade and a half. Krita 5.0 revamps its handling of brushes / gradients / palettes so they are now faster and use “much less” memory as well as being more reliable. Krita 5.0 also features improvements to gradients, the smudge brush engine has been rewritten, the animation system has been overhauled, there is now a built-in storyboard editor, a recorder to make a video out of painting sessions, and a heck of a lot more.

        • Krita 5.0 released

          Version 5.0 of the Krita painting program has been released. “This is a huge release, with a lot of new features and improvements”. Changes include a reworked resource system, dithered gradients, faster color management, a reworked animation subsystem, and more; see the release notes for details.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • OpenBSD on MeLE Quieter2

          So I got the MeLE Quieter2Q. It ships an Intel Celeron J4125 @2.00GHz and 8GB of RAM. My model also comes with 256GB of eMMC storage and 256GB of removable M.2 NVMe/SATA 2280. And it is fanless.

          Installation when straightforward. Simply plug the machine to an HDMI monitor (I used my Samsung TV), connect a keyboard (I used an wireless Logitech keyboard) and a USB stick were install70.img was transferred.

      • Arch Family

        • Manjaro 21.2.0 ‘Qonos’ is out, the Linux distro Valve suggests for Steam Deck testing

          A fresh new release of Manjaro Linux is out now bringing with it tons of enhancements. Manjaro 21.2.0 Qonos comes in multiple editions with KDE Plasma, GNOME and Xfce desktops available.

          This is a Linux distribution based-on Arch Linux, and it’s one that Valve actually recommends to developers for testing to get ahead of the game for the upcoming Steam Deck handheld (as long as you go for the Plasma edition, since it matches SteamOS 3′s desktop mode).

          What’s new in Manjaro 21.2?

          Featuring Kernel 5.15 LTS as the standard, with 5.4 LTS and 5.10 LTS offered for those who need them for whatever reason, like perhaps some older hardware. There’s “major” improvements to their installer named Calamares, with automatic partitioning and enhanced support for the btrfs filesystem.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Airbyte: The Money and Licensing of Software Plumbing

        AirByte, a basically open source startup that specializes in connectors for data channels caught the attention of venture capitalists in a big way in 2021, completing three funding rounds that raised a total of $181.2 million during the year, for a valuation of $1.5 billion. Not bad for a startup that won’t enter its second year until early 2022.

        It also seems to have avoided what could have been a kerfuffle with open sourcers with a decision to license the software that runs its SaaS platform with the Elastic License v2. This move came with the risk of generating a bit of unwanted controversy, since the license is one of a spate of licenses that have been created during the last five years or so that some are derisively calling “fauxpen source,” because they have some of the trappings of open source but are believed to not qualify for approval by the Open Source Initiative standards organization.

      • Let it snow! New: xsnow plays better with xscreensaver, see the ‘settings’ tab

        Xsnow has old roots and is adapting to new environments, visible in the code, which is a good thing for an application like xsnow. For example, there is no convention whatsoever for the naming of variables and functions. Something like ‘windonfallensnow’ can be spelled like: ‘windonfallensnow’, ‘wind_on_fallen_snow’, ‘WindOnFallenSnow’, WOFS and so on. The language used is C, (not C++ as would be the obvious choice now, however: see ‘Technical issues’ (no, not Python or Ruby: we really need some performance)), with many global variables, sometimes with not very helpful names. The choice whether a function and accompanying header files are placed is separate files or in xsnow.c, is based on the moment of the day, or the flipping of a coin. Xsnow-1.42 hardly used floating point arithmetic, xsnow-2.0 uses a mix of floating point and integer arithmetic, floating point gradually taking over. The documentation contains references to systems that are extinct for many years, but description of new flags has been noted to creep in. Xsnow’s genes show traces of findent, and even of some Hitchhikers Guide. The genes for ‘toon.h’ are almost gone, there are at this moment better ways to find the window to snow in. The program became aware of the fact the Santa’s sleigh is pulled by 8 reindeers: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem. Later on, Rudolf could be added. It seems that some of the pixmaps are evolving in that direction.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • 10 tech freebies to grab now: Software, phone service, logos and more

          Microsoft Office is pricey. You don’t need to pay for it if you know about this free alternative: LibreOffice. It’s a free, open-source office suite compatible with Microsoft Office files. Since it’s open-source software, the program is continually updated at no charge.

          LibreOffice offers six programs that will feel instantly familiar to you if you’ve used Office before. Writer, Calc and Impress are equivalent to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They have most of the same features. You might need to poke around to find some of them.

          Even better, LibreOffice can open and edit the documents you made in Office and save new files in Office formats. Download Libre Office here.

      • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

    • Comfortable Clothes, Uncomfortable Bias
    • Opinion | Winter Solstice: Finding Light in Dark Times

      I’m writing this post on the Winter Solstice—the longest night of the year. As I watched the sunrise this morning, and as the vermilion clouds put on the stunning show captured in this photograph, I felt my usual complex feelings on this day. The first day of winter, when we enter the coldest time of year in the northern hemisphere, is also the beginning of the returning light. The days will lengthen. The sun will begin its journey back north. There is promise in this celestial rhythm.

    • Opinion | Ralph Nader’s Holiday Season Top Reading Recommendations

      The most important books exposing real injustices are often the least read. Nearly all of the hundreds of thousands of neighborhood book clubs insist on only reading and discussing works of fiction. They don’t want hard feelings over disagreements.

    • A Turn to the Light

      Make no mistake, there are some very dark corners left over from the disastrous administration of the “former guy” who seemed to attract corruption, grift, and criminals like a magnet attracts iron filings. But now, like peeling back the layers of an onion, the extent of the rot left behind is being exposed to the light — and once exposed, it can be and is being expunged.

      There’s simply no doubt now that the attempted coup of January 6 wasn’t simply some gathering of “tourists” in the nation’s capital. No, as more and more evidence comes forth from thousands of documents, emails, texts and witnesses, the truth will not be whitewashed by certain politicians and media figures.

    • Soul Train and the Desire for Black Power

      There’s likely no single Black-owned brand that elicits a collective smile more than Soul Train, the nationally syndicated dance show that premiered 50 years ago this fall. Host and founder Don Cornelius’s adage of “Love, Peace, and Soul” resonated for generations, unleashing what Nelson George has called the civil rights movement’s secret power: “Black Joy.” Yet embedded within the funky rhythms, ethereal harmonies, and Day-Glo body suits was a desire for something more elusive: Black Power.

    • Hardware

      • Here’s why you can’t buy DDR5 memory, and won’t anytime soon

        The supply problem isn’t with the memory chips themselves, but rather some of the more advanced components that go into the design of DDR5 modules. With more of the essential hardware like power management circuits moved from the motherboard to the module in the DDR5 spec, finding those components to create the new designs has become much more difficult. According to the CEO from Micron (as quoted by Tom’s Hardware), one of the industry’s largest supplies of computer memory, demand for DDR5 is “significantly exceeding supply” and will continue to do so until at least the second half of 2022. And of course, that’s on top of a significant price premium for the new hardware.

      • New Holographic Display Hacks The Light Field | Hackaday

        [Petapixel] has an interesting post about a startup company’s new holographic display that claims to be “indistinguishable from reality.” The company behind it, Light Field Labs, claims their system requires no glasses and handles different angles.

        You can see a bit in the [C|Net] video below, but — of course — being on YouTube, you can’t get a sense for how good the 3D effect is.

        It seems that while most displays try to project into a 3D volume or onto a flat display media, “solid light” works more like a real hologram, using a phase guide to project light at different phases and allows inference like an actual hologram.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • ‘Anti-5G’ Jewelry Found To Be… Radioactive And Dangerous

        We’ve noted for years how much of the hysteria surrounding 5G health hazards aren’t based on actual science. In fact, 5G in general is arguably less powerful that previous standards; especially millimeter wave 5G, which struggles with distance and wall penetration. Most 5G health freak outs you’ll see online are often based on a twenty year old misinterpreted graph that doesn’t actually say what folks claim it does. That’s not to say it’s impossible that cellular technology could be harming human health, just that the evidence we have so far absolutely does not point in that direction.

      • Democrats Implore Biden Officials to Create Vaccine Rules for Domestic Flights
      • Opinion | Free At-Home Tests Are a Start, But Biden Must Move Faster and Go Bigger to End Pandemic

        President Joe Biden marched triumphantly into the Oval Office almost a year ago promising to strike a mortal blow to the Covid-19 pandemic. Eleven months later, the Omicron variant is forcing many communities back into partial lockdown at Christmastime, and America faces the prospect of a bruising fourth wave of the pandemic. And yet, the White House still refuses to utilize the full extent of its powers to fully fight Covid and save American lives. This is dangerous and concerning.

      • As Covid Surges Again, Decarceration Is More Necessary Than Ever

        As the more infectious Omicron variant sweeps across the United States, the nearly 2 million people incarcerated in America are facing intensifying levels of danger and instability. Under the weight of ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks and staff vaccine refusal, sickness, death, no-shows, and rapid turnover, jails and prisons have become increasingly deadly places for those who live and work inside their walls. Failures to protect those held in America’s roughly 5,150 jails and prisons have made these institutions into taxpayer-funded epidemic engines that have driven millions of preventable Covid-19 cases throughout US communities. In response, the consensus among national health and safety experts has been that large-scale decarceration is required to protect the public. For almost two years, lawmakers have largely ignored the appeals of health leaders, incarcerated people, prison staff, and community activists who know very well that, despite claims to the contrary, mass incarceration does not serve public safety.

      • Trump’s COVID Army Boos Him for Revealing That He Received a Booster Shot
      • UKania’s Tories on the Skids

        Theresa May won the election to be Conservative Party leader and prime minister, and appointed BoJo Foreign Secretary in July 2016.

        In July 2018, 3 days after a cabinet meeting at Chequers to finalize a Brexit strategy, BoJo resigned his post. Few regard his time at the Foreign Office as a success. BoJo returned to the backbenches and resumed his spotty career as a journalist.

      • Biden Addresses Omicron Surge as Nation Faces COVID Testing Shortage & Overwhelmed Hospitals

        President Biden has announced a plan to begin distributing 500 million at-home COVID tests starting in January in response to the latest surge in cases, linked to the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus. His plan also includes the establishment of new federal testing sites and the deployment of military medical personnel to help overwhelmed hospitals around the country. Dr. Tsion Firew, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center, says nurses and other healthcare providers are quitting or retiring in large numbers as the pandemic drags on, leading to an even greater strain on those still on the frontlines. “It’s just very frustrating and also overburdening our healthcare system,” she says.

      • FDA Authorization of Pfizer’s Covid Pill Leads to Fears of ‘Global Medical Apartheid Part Two’

        While public health officials in the U.S. on Wednesday applauded the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of Paxlovid, Pfizer’s pill to combat the worst effects of Covid-19, experts warned the limited worldwide availability of the drug would give way to a new layer of inequality—condemning billions of people in low- and middle-income countries to more severe and possibly deadly illness.

        “If Pfizer is really interested in ensuring global access to this treatment, it should make clear that it will not stand in the way of generic production and competition anywhere.”

      • Honey bees, Varroa mites and unintended consequences

        It seems pretty clear, then, that propolis helps protect against Varroa infestations. But this raises the question of why bees do not make more use of it in their brood cells. A plausible answer is that the ability to do so has been bred out of them.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Proctorio’s Anti-Cheating Software Exposes Students To Hackers Say Dutch Education Officials

          Spyware is spyware. It doesn’t matter who’s deploying it. Proctorio — the snitchware maker that helps schools keep tabs on distance learners — has made headlines here for abusing the DMCA to silence security researchers who found flaws in the remote surveillance software. Bogus claims were filed and Proctorio is currently being sued by the EFF and one target of its censorial bullshit.

        • Electric fastback Polestar 2 parks Vivaldi browser in car • The Register

          Electric cars and browsers have been a thing for a while; a Chromium-based browser has lurked within Teslas, but for cars running Android Automotive on their dashboards, options were limited.

          Its presence on the Polestar 2, Swedish carmaker Volvo’s sub-brand, was announced prior to the vehicle’s availability last year. Unlike Android Auto, which simply mirrors Android apps from a device onto a car’s information and entertainment display, Android Automotive is designed to be embedded within the vehicle itself.

          However, despite the presence of all manner of apps, one omission from the world of Android Automotive on the Polestar 2 was a browser, much to the bafflement of some drivers (judging by forum posts on the matter).

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • AI Surveillance Of Prison Calls Scooping Up Millions Of Conversations, Producing Little Actionable Info

              There’s not much privacy in prison. And there’s going to be even less. Inmates are warned that all calls are monitored. How often this goal is achieved is impossible to say, but tech advances are making it a reality. Attorney-client privilege is supposed to be respected in prisons, but we’ve already seen instances where it hasn’t been, thanks to automated monitoring equipment.

            • Facebook Wins Data Privacy Lawsuit, Carriers Oppose Backup Power Mandates, Action on Suicide Site

              A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Facebook from company stockholders that alleged the social media platform allowed third party companies such as data consultancy Cambridge Analytica to obtain millions of users’ personal information.

            • TikTok surpasses Google as most popular site in 2021

              TikTok has dislodged Google as the most popular site in 2021, according to the latest data from web security company Cloudflare.

              The social media app overtook other tech behemoths that ranked above it last year, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix.

              The popular social media app ranked seventh to Google’s first in 2020 and got a little “help” from the pandemic, according to a blog post titled “Popular Domains Year In Review 2021.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • UN Fails to Agree on ‘Killer Robot’ Ban as Nations Pour Billions Into Autonomous Weapons Research

        The United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons debated the question of banning autonomous weapons at its once-every-five-years review meeting in Geneva Dec. 13-17, 2021, but didn’t reach consensus on a ban. Established in 1983, the convention has been updated regularly to restrict some of the world’s cruelest conventional weapons, including land mines, booby traps and incendiary weapons.

        Autonomous weapon systems are robots with lethal weapons that can operate independently, selecting and attacking targets without a human weighing in on those decisions. Militaries around the world are investing heavily in autonomous weapons research and development. The U.S. alone budgeted US$18 billion for autonomous weapons between 2016 and 2020.

      • AOC Leads Demand for Biden to Work on Ending Saudi Blockade of Crucial Yemen Airport

        Amid new airstrikes on Yemen’s Sanaa International Airport by the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition and an imminent reduction in critical food assistance to the war-torn nation, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers have joined global humanitarian organizations in urging the immediate reopening of the vital travel, trade, and aid hub.

        “The Biden administration should leverage all possible influence to pressure the Saudi-led coalition to end its blockade of Sanaa International Airport.”

      • The Pentagon’s 20-Year Killing Spree Has Always Treated Civilians as Expendable

        Such pretenses should be grimly laughable to anyone who has read high-quality journalism from eyewitness reporters like Anand Gopal and Nick Turse. For instance, Gopal’s article for The New Yorker in September, “The Other Afghan Women,” is an in-depth, devastating piece that exposes the slaughter and terror systematically inflicted on rural residents of Afghanistan by the U.S. Air Force.

        Turse, an incisive author and managing editor at TomDispatch, wrote this fall: “Over the last 20 years, the United States has conducted more than 93,300 air strikes — in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — that killed between 22,679 and 48,308 civilians, according to figures recently released by Airwars, a U.K.-based airstrike monitoring group. The total number of civilians who have died from direct violence in America’s wars since 9/11 tops out at 364,000 to 387,000, according to Brown University’s Costs of War Project.”

      • US Military and Sustainability

        Should we issue a statement of concern? Should we impose trade sanctions? Should we bomb a few Chinese military bases? Should we just declare war on China?

        Whatever response is appropriate in our thought experiment, now consider that the actual perpetrator is the US military. Indeed, the US Army is accusing the US Navy of contaminating the water in a massive number of its 24 military communities in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor. US Navy attacks US military on Pearl Harbor? Can it get any more ironic?

      • Downhill from the Summit for Democracy

        One hundred countries were invited. Most of them are considered by Freedom House to be “free” based on its ranking system, which ranks 210 nations and territories.

        But nearly a third (32) of the invited countries are rated as only “partly free” or “not free.” China (9) and Russia (20) were not invited, of course; their governments reacted angrily. To the credit of the organizers, several countries generally close to the United States but with authoritarian leaderships were also not invited: Turkey (32), Saudi Arabia (7), Hungary (69), Thailand (30), Qatar (25), Singapore (48), and Egypt (14). Most of their governments were angry, too.

      • Embracing Che: The Man Behind the Myth

        I remember 1968 as a year of nearly unparalleled international solidarity, when Che’s legacy inspired a generation or two that aimed to dismantle American imperialism, make a revolution and usher in genuine socialism world wide. There hasn’t been a year like 1968 since 1968, not even 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down and when protesters in the “pro-democracy movement” were slaughtered by government troops at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Twenty-two years earlier, on 9 October 1967, Che was murdered by Bolivian soldiers with the connivance of the CIA.

        Reading the Bolivian Diary, which has just been republished in a new edition by Seven Stories, along with Fidel’s 1968 introduction, strongly suggests that by the end of September 1967 Che knew his days were numbered.  “The most important task is to escape [the encirclement] and seek more favorable areas,” he wrote in his summary of the month. “The [Bolivian] army is demonstrating more effectiveness in action and the peasant masses are not helping us with anything and are becoming informers.” Not good news.

      • War With Russia?

        At the end of February 2014, Russian soldiers without insignia seized key facilities in Crimea and then helped secessionists in eastern Ukraine some weeks later. Crimea is now under Russian control, and a civil war continues to flare up over the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east.

        Second, the United States has repeatedly provoked Russia by pushing the boundaries of NATO ever eastward.

      • ‘Literally Celebrating Killing People’: Chris Hayes Segment Details Growing Right-Wing Bloodlust

        In under nine minutes, MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Tuesday night summarized the American right wing’s transformation in recent years into a political movement that openly celebrates violence, zeroing in on America Fest 2021—a conservative gathering taking place in Phoenix this week where Kyle Rittenhouse was celebrated by influential Fox News hosts and received a standing ovation.

        Eighteen-year-old Rittenhouse, who was found not guilty last month of homicide charges after he shot and killed two people and wounded a third at racial justice protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year, “received the rock star treatment” at the summit, where organizers lit up a pyrotechnic display and the audience of 6,700 chanted Rittenhouse’s name as he walked on stage.

      • Michael Flynn Sues January 6 Commission, Seeking to Block Subpoena
      • The US Military Is Bulldozing Sacred Indigenous Sites on Guam

        Hagåtña, Guam—Before the colonial era, Sabånan Fadang, on the United States island territory of Guam, was Indigenous burial grounds. Now, it’s mostly a field of flattened dirt and rock. The US military has bulldozed the site in preparation for construction of a Marine Corps base—part of a buildup of troops and facilities on Guam, a US military outpost in the Western Pacific. This article was published with support from the Gumshoe Group and Columbia University’s Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights.

      • The US Empire After Afghanistan
      • A Pentagon Cover-Up: Azmat Khan on How U.S. Hid Thousands of Civilian Deaths in Middle East Air War

        U.S. air power has been central in the country’s wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, with officials promising that drones and other sophisticated weapons allow the U.S. military to carry out precision airstrikes that spare civilians caught in war zones. But a groundbreaking investigation by The New York Times reveals the U.S. military’s air wars have been plagued by bad intelligence, imprecise targeting and a lack of accountability for thousands of civilian deaths, many of them children. The two-part series by reporter Azmat Khan is based on a trove of internal Pentagon documents, as well as on-the-ground reporting from dozens of airstrike sites and interviews with scores of survivors. “What you have is a scale of civilian death and injury that is vastly different than what they claim,” says Khan, who spent five years on the investigation.

      • A road to nowhere Russian recruiters are mobilizing mercenaries for a ‘trip to the Donbas.’ What they’re expected to do there remains unclear.

        Ukraine was the main topic of discussion during a video call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden in early December. According to American intelligence, Russia is preparing for a full-scale invasion of the Eastern European country. And by all appearances the virtual talks changed little: despite the threat of new sanctions. Moscow, according to the Pentagon, is continuing to mass troops near the border with Ukraine (open source analysts note that an “alarming quantity” of equipment is being brought in, as well). Nevertheless, many experts still believe that an all-out war is unlikely. Against the backdrop of these tensions, Meduza’s sources say that recruiters have started mobilizing mercenaries for a “combat trip to the Donbas.” Whether or not they’ll actually fight on the frontline remains unknown. Meduza special correspondent Liliya Yapparova spoke with the mercenaries themselves and discovered that they, too, are skeptical.

      • Defence report defines key threats to Denmark [iophk: Windows TCO]

        According to the annual Danish Defence Intelligence Service (DDIS) threat evaluation report, there are six main areas that present the biggest threat to Denmark.

        Among those are cybercrime, global terrorism, tensions in the Arctic and issues relating to Russia and China.

      • Man whose wife’s Facebook posts tipped off FBI to Capitol [insurrection] involvement is sentenced to probation

        The man, Gary Edwards, 68, of Southampton, pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement to demonstrating in the Capitol and was sentenced Monday in federal court, online records show.

    • Environment

      • Green Group Launches Suit Over Biden Administration’s Failure to Protect Polar Bears From Arctic Drilling

        Asserting that “continued oil and gas exploration and development is fundamentally incompatible with polar bear survival and recovery,” the Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday launched a lawsuit against the Biden administration for failing to protect the imperiled animals from an oil exploration project in the Western Arctic.

        “Every new oil well in the Arctic is another step toward the polar bear’s extinction.”

      • Opinion | The Fed Must Act on the Climate Crisis to Protect Our Planet and Economy
      • 2021: Year in Review for Climate Change Wins and Losses

        As 2021 comes to a close, we look back on a year that was full of climate chaos, relentless oil industry propaganda, and frustrating progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But 2021 also saw a significant number of victories against the expansion of the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. and around the world, and some glimmers of hope for climate action. 

        The year started with a conspiracy-fueled coup plot on the U.S. government by President Trump and his supporters in what was ultimately a failed attempt to stay in power. Two weeks later, President Biden was sworn into office, and he quickly signed a flurry of executive orders that included the cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline and a pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands. Those moves signaled an intention to prioritize climate change during the Biden era after years of giveaways to the fossil fuel industry. 

      • Opinion | 2021′s Climate Extremes: One Side of the Country Is Too Wet, the Other Dangerously Dry

        Alongside a lingering global pandemic, the year 2021 was filled with climate disasters, some so intense they surprised even the scientists who study them.

      • Energy

        • ‘Historic’ NYC Pension Fund Fossil Fuel Divestment Heralded as Model for Others

          In what climate campaigners on Wednesday celebrated as not only a “historic” win but also a model for the rest of the country, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and trustees of major public pensions funds announced a $3 billion divestment from fossil fuels.

          “Today is a major victory for our planet, our children, and our pensioners.”

        • Funding for ‘Sustainable Biomass’ a Drop in the Ocean Compared with Drax Subsidies, Campaigners Say

          New government funding for domestic biomass projects “pales in significance” to the subsidies received by the controversial biomass company Drax, whose North Yorkshire power plant is the UK’s single biggest source of emissions, campaigners have said.

          Under the “biomass feedstocks innovation programme”, start-ups experimenting with algae, seaweed, hemp and whiskey by-products can now bid for a share of £26 million to create pilot projects, it was announced on Monday.

        • Helsinki’s energy company to end use of coal five years ahead of schedule

          HELEN, the energy utility owned by the City of Helsinki, has announced it will accelerate its transition to carbon-neutral energy production by shutting down its coal-fired power plant in Salmisaari, Helsinki, by 1 April 2024.

          The decision enables the energy company to end the use of coal five years ahead of schedule, given the closure of its other coal-fired combined heat and energy plant, in Hanasaari, by 1 April 2023.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Rivers are Protected When We Protect Our Forests

          Protecting Montana rivers means that the surrounding forests will not be logged and roaded. Logging eliminates or reduces the shade forests provide. As a result, spring snow melts occur much earlier. The summer supply of water to rivers will be reduced as a result. Logging also involves building new roads. Although the Forest Service usually claims these roads are “temporary,” their effect of subsurface water flow down to rivers and streams is not. These roads intercept the subsurface water drainage in forests, whereby water is delivered to rivers and steams in hours or days, instead of weeks and months.

          If you really are concerned about protecting Montana’s rivers, you need to address how the massive logging programs that are ongoing with the Custer Gallatin National Forest, in the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, are impacting rivers, instead of just claiming support for the Montana Headwaters Legacy Act. Recent examples of this massive logging program include the East Boulder, Bozeman Watershed, Lonesome Wood, Rendezvous Trails, North Hebgen, East Bridger, and Greater Red Lodge projects. Individuals and the Montana congressional delegation can’t have it both ways.

      • Overpopulation

        • ‘Let Us Eat’: Kabul Protesters Demand Release of Frozen Afghan Assets

          As the people of Afghanistan face increasing impoverishment and hardship exacerbated by a U.S.-led block on billions of dollars in Afghan assets, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of the capital Kabul Tuesday to demand that foreign governments and financial institutions release the frozen funds.

          “Such economic pressures on Afghanistan are against international principles. Our people are struggling with economic problems here.”

    • Finance

      • Voters Support Permanent Expansion of ‘Critical’ Child Tax Credit, New Poll Shows

        Lawmakers are poised to allow an historic investment in lower- and middle-class families lapse as the Child Tax Credit is likely to expire—despite data showing the monthly payments have helped millions of families this year and that Americans support the CTC by a 26-point margin.

        Fighting Chance for Families—a project started by progressive think tank Data for Progress with the goal of advocating for the expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC)—released polling on Wednesday showing nearly half—49%—of likely voters support making the payments permanent, while only 42% say they should end.

      • Progressives Reignite Call for Biden to Cancel Student Debt: ‘All. Of. It.’

        Progressives in both chambers of Congress responded to U.S. President Joe Biden’s Wednesday decision to extend a freeze on student loan repayments with calls for him to go further by forgiving the entire debt burden of federal borrowers..

        “We cannot afford more delays—now is the time for the president to act.”

      • How a Group of Starbucks Workers Emerged Victorious in Their Union Fight

        “It is significant,” says Cedric de Leon of the Starbucks union vote. De Leon is the director of the Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is an associate professor of sociology, and he is the author of several books about labor organizing in the U.S. “The employer knows it and the workers know that establishing a beachhead in one of the largest corporations, and really an iconic brand in the U.S. hospitality market, is a major accomplishment.”

        Ahead of ballots being cast, Starbucks tried to delay the vote and even stacked the Buffalo cafés with new staff to try to dilute “yes” votes. It flew in external managers to closely watch workers in what was seen as brazen intimidation. The company, which has long resisted union activity, brought its former Chief Executive Howard Schultz to Buffalo to discourage workers from unionizing, even shutting down its cafés during his Saturday visit so they could attend what was essentially a captive-audience address.

      • Opinion | Debunking the Eternal Economic Growth Model

        Over the last three decades, a growing number of scientists and ecologists have argued that economic growth has long outstripped the capacity of the planetary ecosystem. They have developed numerous sophisticated models to demonstrate their point. They have boiled down the technical information—about the availability of mineral resources, the limits of energy generation, the constraints of food production, the effects of biodiversity loss, and of course the impact of climate change—into accessible texts. They have lobbied governments, and they have crafted soundbites for the media.

      • Facing Scrutiny, Biden Administration Extends Student Loan Pause Until May
      • First US Omicron Death Was Reinfection, Debunking GOP’s “Natural Immunity” Claim
      • ‘Major Win for 45 Million Student Debtors’: Biden Extends Loan Payment Freeze

        President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that his administration is extending the soon-to-lapse pause on student loan payments until May 1, staving off—at least for several months—a potential financial disaster for tens of millions of borrowers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

        “With the stroke of a pen, Biden can dramatically boost the economy, narrow the racial wealth gap, keep a key campaign promise.”

      • Sanders Urges Biden to Cancel All Student Loans After Biden Announces Freeze
      • Chicago’s Last Black-Owned Bank Got Millions in Government Deposits — Then Had to Give Them Back

        The $20 million deposit was supposed to be a turning point.

        When the city of Chicago deposited the money into Illinois’ last Black-owned bank in 2017, the story received national news coverage. The city treasurer said the deposit represented a “paradigm shift” in how the government supported community investment. And the bank’s owner and chairman predicted that it would strengthen the institution and “help people fulfill their dreams.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • We Mobilized Young People to Support Biden. He’s Failing Us.

        Most days it feels like the deck is stacked against young people—rising rent and evictions, a worsening climate crisis, loved ones being deported and denied citizenship, and insurmountable student debt. And while young people are trying to survive in a system that has neglected them for decades, President Joe Biden and Democratic leadership are caving to Senator Joe Manchin, a coal baron from West Virginia who profits off poisoning our communities, and racist, undemocratic Senate rules—all at the expense of young people and our futures. The time for bold, progressive change is now, and if Democrats don’t deliver, young people will elect new leaders in 2022 and 2024 who will.

      • What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About American Democracy

        For many people, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that democracy in the United States is fundamentally broken. With the exception of vaccines, the government has failed to help develop and quickly implement strategies for tracing and containing the outbreaks. As the economy ground to a halt during last year’s lockdowns, unemployment swelled, as did food insecurity and debt. Covid further exposed the country’s deep socioeconomic disparities: The health and finances of Black Americans and other minorities were most affected by the pandemic, and the move to remote learning at the majority of the nation’s schools forced many women to drop out of the workforce for lack of child care. Moreover, Joe Biden’s defeat of Donald Trump has done little to ease widespread public distrust of government, as demonstrated by the continued divide over masking and vaccines.

      • Opinion | Why the Idea of Progress Is Dead in America

        A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.—William F. Buckley, Jr.

      • Pramila Jayapal Is Not Having Any of Your Nonsense

        Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal admits to being a wee bit frustrated heading into the holidays. Not merely with Senator Joe Manchin’s decision to torpedo the long-negotiated Build Back Better social infrastructure bill, but also with the way reporters are covering it, and even with some progressive allies’ criticism that Jayapal herself paved the way for the policy meltdown, by agreeing to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill Manchin supported, without simultaneously enacting the ambitious child care, elder care, child tax credit, and environmental legislation that contained policies dearer to progressives’ hearts.

      • Forget Manchin. Sanders Says Entire Democratic Party Must Show ‘Guts’ Against Corporate Interests

        Stressing a need to pass the “enormously important” Build Back Better bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders said this week that failure to do so would indicate to Americans that Democrats “don’t have the guts to take on the powerful special interests.”

        The Vermont Independent’s remarks on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” on Monday night came after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced on Fox News that he was a “no” on his party’s social spending and climate reconciliation package, delivering a potential death blow to the legislation his opposition had already weakened.

      • Corporate Donations Poured Into Manchin’s PAC Ahead of Final ‘No’ on Build Back Better

        New federal disclosures reveal that major corporations poured donations into West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s political action committee in the weeks leading up to his pivotal announcement Sunday that he would oppose the Build Back Better Act, a stance that progressives argue is motivated by the senator’s deference to special interests.

        CNBC reported late Tuesday that Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show that donors to Manchin’s Country Roads PAC raked in 17 contributions from corporations in October and 19 in November as he pared back and repeatedly threatened to tank Democrats’ $1.75 trillion social spending and climate legislation.

      • Manchin’s PAC Raked In Corporate Donations Just Before He Axed Build Back Better
      • GOP Set to Ramp Up Voter Suppression Efforts in 2022
      • It’s Still the Trump Era and Worse is Coming

        You are not crazy.

        Yes, the president is still Sleepy Time Joe, a Democrat who announced his 2020 campaign with a video (softly) linking Trump to the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany, and the Congress is still run by slim Democrat majorities in both of its houses.

      • China regulator suspends cyber security deal with Alibaba Cloud

        Chinese regulators on Wednesday suspended an information-sharing partnership with Alibaba Cloud Computing, a subsidiary of e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group, over accusations it failed to promptly report and address a cybersecurity vulnerability, according to state-backed media reports.

        Alibaba Cloud did not immediately report vulnerabilities in the popular, open-source logging framework Apache Log4j2 to China’s telecommunications regulator, according to 21st Century Business Herald, citing a recent notice by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

      • How we fought an anti encryption law in Belgium – and won!

        Oftentimes when governments announce plans to weaken citizens’ privacy rights for the sake of ‘security’, the public outcry is loud and clear: If you weaken security in online services to catch criminals, you weaken the security online for all citizens. However, oftentimes this warning is ignored by governments. But this is not the story we want to share with you today; this one is a different story.

      • The Elizabeth Holmes Trial Is an Indictment of US Health Care

        More surprising and disturbing than the seduction of journalists is that Theranos’s top-tier investors didn’t smell something unpleasant years ago. This has been an essential discovery during Holmes’ trial; Bloomberg reported: “Theranos forecast revenue of $140 million in 2014, and almost $1 billion for 2015. Holmes’s top financial officer testified that Theranos posted just $150,000 in revenue in 2014. Evidence at trial shows it was even less in 2015.” This kind of shortfall should have triggered nuclear alerts, from major investors and board members; the lack of public flares vividly illustrates the cynical corruption of America’s financial leadership.

        But the broader indictment should be of the for-profit health care system that made Theranos attractive in the first place. One of the trial’s most telling threads involved Theranos not disclosing basic information to Walgreens because it was trying to protect trade secrets.

      • Jack Dorsey’s hot Web3 takes are apparently too much for Marc Andreessen to handle

        Who knew that leaving the top spot at Twitter could make someone a more interesting follow? The co-founder and (for the second time) former CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey recently opened up about his issues with so-called “Web3” projects that aren’t decentralized to his liking and the venture capitalists that he says own the whole thing, creating “ultimately a centralized entity with a different label.”

        Shockingly, his statements haven’t been received well by fellow tech thought leaders, billionaires, and venture capitalists, who’ve taken turns either trying to minimize his criticism of their blockchain efforts or going directly at him.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • The BMJ editors strike back against Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

        I was reluctant to write any more about The BMJ and its descent into bad journalism, one of its editors amplifying antivaccine misinformation, and its publishing of outright conspiracy theories by a hack journalist, but unfortunately its editors leave me little choice. It started again when readers started emailing me links to an Open letter from The BMJ to Mark Zuckerberg, published as a Rapid Response after the utter crapfest of a “news report” by hack journalist and anti-GMO conspiracy theorist Paul Thacker. The story claimed that Ventavia Research Group, a contract research organization (CRO) hired by Pfizer to run three of its sites in Texas for its original phase 3 clinical trials of its then-experimental mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine had all sorts of problems that, or so Thacker insinuated, called into doubt the clinical trial data behind the safety and efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine that were used to apply for its emergency use authorization (EUA). Thacker’s main source was a “whistleblower” named Brook Jackson, who had worked at Ventavia for only two weeks. As I described, the allegations were either big nothingburgers that wouldn’t have affected the quality of the data (e.g., not appropriately using sharps containers to dispose of sharps) or were mainly insinuated and implied without actual evidence (e.g., unblinding or even falsifying clinical trial data). The article follows a familiar format for disinformation. Very definitive and serious accusations are leveled very early in the article, followed much later in the article by “facts” that do not actually substantiate such definitive and serious allegations.

      • That Fun TikTok Video? It’s Actually an Ad.

        Welcome to the holiday shopping season on TikTok, where retailers are present like never before, their authentic-seeming advertisements dropped in between dances, confessionals, comedy routines and makeovers.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • UAE to end film censorship, announces new over-21 age classification

        It stressed the importance of “age classification standards for audience entry.” Cinemas must strictly adhere to the new age rating, which will require inspecting customers’ proof of age and identification documents.

      • Robert Reich Loses The Plot: Gets Basically Everything Wrong About Section 230, Fairness Doctrine & The 1st Amendment

        I still find myself somewhat amazed at how otherwise intelligent people seem to lose their entire minds over the fact that there’s a fair bit of misinformation out there. Robert Reich is not a dumb guy, but like so many these days, he seems to work himself up in a lather about things he doesn’t seem to understand. He has an opinion piece at the Guardian about his suggestions to restore American democracy… and apparently part of that is throwing out the 1st Amendment. Which is, you know, quite a choice. I won’t comment on his first and third suggestions (voting rights and money/politics) because those aren’t my areas of expertise, but when he dips his toe into Section 230 and misinformation, I have to point out that everything Reich writes in this piece is so far beyond wrong that it would need to ask directions just to get back into the vicinity of “just kinda wrong.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Amazon Workers Speak Out About Deaths at Alabama Warehouse

        Amazon employees spoke out against the e-commerce giant in a Wednesday video about the recent deaths of workers at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama—which has garnered national attention this year for controversy related to a unionization effort.

        Labor journalist Kim Kelly interviewed Amazon workers Isaiah Thomas and Perry Connelly for More Perfect Union. They discussed the deaths, including two people who died within hours of each other in late November.

      • How Students Seized The Year

        It’s been another tumultuous, traumatic year, and students have seen some of the worst of it. With Covid-19 came abrupt campus closures, online-only education, and the disintegration of student life as we had come to know it. But through it all, young people continued to organize. They not only kept their pre-pandemic priorities alive amid the chaos; they fought for fair treatment for their fellow students and educators, for human rights abroad and voting rights at home, for racial justice, against sexual violence, for an end to student debt, for a rational approach to mitigating climate change and for a future free of intolerance and fear. Student Nation was able to chronicle some of this upheaval in more than sixty articles in 2021 written by students. We’ve selected 10 pieces from the past year to highlight their extraordinary writing and reporting. We’re deeply grateful to the Puffin Foundation, whose enormous generosity made this work possible.

      • Progressive Caucus Urges Biden to Wield ‘Powerful Tool of Executive Action’ as Agenda Stalls

        The Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday announced plans to unveil a slate of executive actions it hopes President Joe Biden will pursue as Democratic lawmakers attempt to chart a path forward for the party’s agenda, which has been derailed by right-wing Sen. Joe Manchin.

        “We should not wait for that legislative path for the president to take action.”

      • DEA Gives Former Marine Back $86,900 Cops Took From Him During A Nevada Traffic Stop Caught On Body Cam

        Because law enforcement just can’t stop taking money from innocent people, here’s another roadside shitshow that has resulted in an attempt to force the government to give back money it flat out stole.

      • Will Barrick Gold’s CEO Go Beyond Rhetoric to Deliver Justice for Victims of Police Killings at Tanzanian Mine?
      • Why It’s Past Time to Defy the Supreme Court

        A brilliant recent analysis is Thomas Edsall’s article in the New York Times, How to Tell When Your Country Is Past the Point of No Return, bookended by Barton Gellman’s shocking piece in The Atlantic, Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun.

        Both deal with the immediate crisis brought to us by the six years that Trump has dominated the American political scene and his takeover of the Republican Party.

      • Jailhouse Lawyers Are Often Punished With Solitary Confinement
      • Before Roe v. Wade: The Doctor Hero of Ivy League Women

        The Doctor Hero of Ivy League Women

        ‘All abortion was illegal then,’ Meg Greenfield says, [Greenfield became editorial page editor of the Washington Post] and that engendered a whole lot of anxiety. It wasn’t about coat hangers, but it had a lot of imponderables and danger and fear of the law and of infection and fear of pain, and they didn’t like to give anesthesia.’

      • Union Declares Victory as Kellogg’s Strike Ends With Pay Raise, Moratorium on Plant Closures

        Kellogg’s workers’ months-long strike officially came to an end Tuesday after union members voted to approve a new five-year collective bargaining agreement that includes an immediate wage increase of $1.10 per hour, a moratorium on plant closures, and a pension boost.

        Anthony Shelton, international president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), called the new contract a “great workers’ victory” and said that “solidarity was critical” to the achievement. Employees are expected to return to work on December 27.

      • He Was Filming on His Phone. Then a Deputy Attacked Him and Charged Him With Resisting Arrest.

        Thousands packed the sidewalks along Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, watching the Krewe of Centurions Mardi Gras parade in March of 2019 when a brawl broke out at a nearby parking garage. More than two dozen men traded blows in a bloody melee that forced the parade’s 20-plus floats to grind to a halt.

        Sheriff’s deputies quickly broke up the fight, arresting at least one man. As officers attempted to calm the crowd and shepherd them back to the parade route, Sgt. Keith Dowling claimed he saw someone hurling obscenities at his officers.

      • Rev. William Barber’s Conviction for Using ‘Preacher Voice’ at Anti-Poverty Demo Will Stand, Says Court

        The Rev. William Barber vowed Wednesday to continue fighting for people’s right to free speech after the North Carolina appeals court upheld the anti-poverty activist’s trespassing conviction that stemmed from a 2017 protest at the General Assembly.

        In a Twitter thread indicating his attorneys were weighing next steps, Barber said that “how this case is set up is not about any individual” but is instead “about the rights of all people under the First Amendment of the Constitution. And we will continue to press for those rights in North Carolina and the rest of the country.”

      • Haitian Asylum Seekers Sue US Government for Racial Discrimination
      • Haitian Asylum Seekers Sue U.S. Government for “Anti-Black Racism Within the Immigration System”

        A group of 11 Haitian asylum seekers is suing the Biden administration, accusing the U.S. government of physical abuse, racial discrimination and other rights violations when they were forced to shelter under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. The class-action lawsuit comes after images of Border Patrol agents whipping Haitian asylum seekers from horseback went viral in September, drawing outrage from rights groups. The plaintiffs in the case are also demanding the U.S. government allow the return of the thousands of Haitian asylum seekers deported from the Del Rio encampment. Guerline Jozef, co-founder and executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, which filed the class-action lawsuit, says the Biden administration’s policies harm vulnerable people. “We believe that the lawsuit will force the administration to be accountable for what we continue to see as anti-Black racism within the immigration system,” she says. “Immigration is a Black issue. We cannot disconnect that from the reality after what we saw under the bridge in Del Rio.”

      • Federal Court Says Destroying Someone’s House To Apprehend A Fugitive Might Be A Constitutional Violation

        Law enforcement has a pretty cavalier attitude towards private property. Whatever property they aren’t unjustifiably seizing from drivers and passengers, they’re razing to the ground. Sometimes they destroy whole houses during plain vanilla warrant service. Other times, situations are determined to be stand-offs in need of wholesale destruction, even when officers are facing down an empty house.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Fearing COVID PR Backlash, Comcast Backs Off Its Bullshit Broadband Caps In The Northeast… For Now

        Last November, Comcast quietly announced that the company would be expanding its broadband caps into the Northeast, one of the last Comcast territories where the restrictions hadn’t been imposed yet. Of course Comcast was utterly tone deaf to the fact there was a historic health and economic crisis going on, or how imposing unnecessary surcharges on consumers already struggling to make rent wasn’t a great look. In some states, like Massachusetts, lawmakers stood up to the regional monopoly, going so far as to push a law that would have banned usage caps during the pandemic.

      • 7 new [Internet] exchange nodes to spur connectivity, digital economy in UP

        These nodes will be located at Meerut, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi and Gorakhpur. UP until now, only one internet exchange node was operating at Gautam Buddha Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • U.S. Govt Launches Consultation on Upload Filters and Other Anti-Piracy Tools

          The U.S. Copyright Office has launched a public consultation to evaluate various technical measures that can identify and protect copyrighted content online. With help from various stakeholders and the public at large, the Office hopes to get a better understanding of the pros and cons of these tools, including upload filters, and the potential role of the Government.

        • Aussie Federal Court Orders ISPs to Block 101 Pirate Movie & TV Show Domains

          Australia’s Federal Court has ordered dozens of local ISPs to prevent subscribers from accessing more than 100 domains linked to pirate streaming and torrent sites. The movie and TV studio applicants, which include members of the MPA plus Village Roadshow, also tried to broaden their ability to deal with new threats but the Court spotted the move and ruled accordingly.

        • Amazon DMCA Strikes Video About ‘New World’ Bug, Reinstates Video, Promises Review Of Process

          It was only a few months back that Amazon released its MMO game New World. While there was a bunch of hype around the game, it was met critically with mostly a collective “meh”. While the lack of exuberant reviews focused mostly on bland gameplay that doesn’t survive its honeymoon period, there were also bugs. So, so many bugs. So many bugs, in fact, that both gamer media covered them in detail and entire Reddit threads were created to discuss them.

The Internet is Getting Rid of Microsoft, But We’re Still Not Getting Back Our Autonomy/Freedom (It’s a Paradigm Issue, Not a Brand Issue)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum d384e96dff1602f445ceec2f44901466

Summary: In spite of Microsoft trying to buy itself relevance on the Internet (e.g. Skype, LinkedIn, GitHub) it is rapidly growing irrelevant — both in the client side and server side (buying companies helps hide that while offloading debt to more ‘shells’*) — but whatever replaces Microsoft isn’t miles better, so we must point out or suggest the suitable alternatives (such as self-hosted videoconferencing, hypertext protocols and so on)

THE VIDEO above takes stock of some recent developments, ranging from the latest Netcraft report (“Web Server Survey”) to changes in our site, our capsule, and Gemini in general.

I tried to refrain from repeating what was said before (several one-hour videos about the Netcraft statistics and their interpretation). A lot of new stuff needed to be said, but compacting/containing it within a spontaneous/unscripted video isn’t easy (there’s more in IRC logs).

“A lot could be said about the need to move away from these monopolies, reducing centralisation on the Net in general…”“I think you’ve read that one already,” an associate told me this morning. “Microsoft is basically gone, even from the “all sites” category.” Citing Statcounter for the client side, he added, “if one includes tablets, mobile, etc, then Microsoft is hovering just above 30%” (market share). “Probably worth mentioning so as to drive home the point. The Netcraft reports have a lot of interesting hints about other HTTP servers but no details. Nginx is clearly eating the market, but lots of small projects are becoming visible also. For example, the “top million busiest sites” have moved to “other” ahead of both Apache2 and Nginx. I suppose Flask and such are there in “other” but Netcraft does not say.”

That’s just for Web servers, not things like mail servers**, which are dominated by UNIX/BSD and GNU/Linux, even if the big providers use them and present them to users through proprietary interfaces such as Gmail.

A lot could be said about the need to move away from these monopolies, reducing centralisation on the Net in general; Web servers are not the only game in town (or the so-called “web apps”) as there’s also IRC, E-mail, IPFS and so on. Our associate wanted to remind readers that “WWW != Internet, and that social control media is not the WWW. It gets tiring having to repeat those points. Since fewer and fewer people understand that, I wonder if there is another way to get the point across.”

“For technology to change our world for the better we need to think ahead about the topology and who’s in control, who’s in charge. It’s about hierarchy or control, which depends on the systems’ topology (peer to peer might be ideal).”Due to a growing frequency of Web censorship attempts (we’ll soon say a lot more about that, in a separate video) or a censorious atmosphere on the Net in general we’ve taken IRC ‘in-house’ and are increasingly adopting Gemini, which is still spreading fast. A lot of the clown computing hype turns out to have been a bubble as AWS joins the ‘Azure league of outages’ and, as noted in the video, this past year it’s fair to say we’ve had better uptime than both AWS and Azure. This idea that clown computing would improve reliability and reduce costs was all along a bait-and-switch marketing lie. To put it in the form of a joke with an element of truth to it, clown computing masters tell you: “we keep your stuff in multiple places for resilience.” What clown computing giants meanwhile tell their true masters (who subsidise them at taxpayers’ expense): “we will suck up all of the world’s data, with complete copies of it in the US, to enable political and industrial espionage for you to exploit” (imperialistic ends).

For technology to change our world for the better we need to think ahead about the topology and who’s in control, who’s in charge. It’s about hierarchy or control, which depens on the systems’ topology (peer to peer might be ideal). This applies not just to PCs and phones but also cars and homes, which are increasingly being equipped with listening devices and even state-connected real-time camera footage.
* As our associate noted, “buying relevance also includes Microsoft Teams, I presume…” (cannibalisation and rebranding after Skype, followed by illegal bundling).

From 14+ years ago we have Microsoft acquiring Parlano (more here and here). Many companies bought by Microsoft end up being thrown out, including gaming-related studios. It’s expensive to keep doing this. See “Did the “Enron of Norway” Pull a Fast One On Microsoft? More Details About the Mess at Fast Search & Transfer” (TechCrunch before it was compromised).

“The question of debt loading makes some of these acquisitions quite intriguing,” our associated noted. “The destruction of Mojang was obviously to keep a generation of kids off of GNU/Linux by locking out Minecraft. Other than that, they’ll never recover their large investment (purchase price) on that one. However, many of the others were probably bought with two purposes in mind: 1) crush a small potential competitor early on, 2) offload massive debt. The above “Enron of Norway” of just one of many.

** With E-mails — or with E-mail servers (with Windows it’s less efficient, so the count is biased in favour of bloated systems) — things are looking even worse for Microsoft. “Some stats on the mail servers would help,” our associate noted. “Many, very wrongly, assume that Microsoft has high market share there.”

It looked like this at the start of the year:

E-mail share
Chart source: Mail (MX) Server Survey: Basic Technology Breakdown

In numbers:

Exim       60.28% 
Postfix    32.47%


Microsoft  0.31%

“There’s a long tail of oddball mail servers,” our associate said, “Microsoft being among them. ”

The latest report says that in less than a year Microsoft’s share decreased from 0.31% to just 0.26%:

Exim         59.52%
Postfix      33.56%


Microsoft    0.26%

As our associate put it, “there’s a bit of variation up and down with exim and postfix, but their relative positions are stable. Strangely there are about 3.5 % using sendmail still. Those must be old sites.”

You would not be wrong to think that Microsoft’s market share shrank by a factor around 100 times (two orders of magnitude) in just 14 years. It’s all in the data. But it’s even worse than this. Our associate wished to “expand on the remark about Windows being less efficient and requiring more Microsoft systems in order to get the same level of service as with regular systems.” If we assume that Windows is twice as inefficient or two times slower than comparable hardware with UNIX/BSD (very common in mail, but so is GNU/Linux), then maybe the true share of Microsoft — measured in term of activity rather than physical machine — is like 0.1% of the whole.

Gemini Crawler ‘Lupa’ Turns One

Posted in Site News at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gemini capsules at 1870
“There are 1870 capsules. We successfully connected recently to 1527 of them.”

Summary: “During this year, the geminispace seen by Lupa went from 50,000 working URLs to 334,000 and from 415 working capsules to 1,515,” Stéphane Bortzmeyer said

NINE days ago Stéphane Bortzmeyer wrote in the official mailing lists for Gemini Protocol: “For exactly one year, the Lupa crawler has been crawling the geminispace to gather information and produce statistics. During this year, the geminispace seen by Lupa went from 50,000 working URLs to 334,000 and from 415 working capsules to 1,515. Thanks to all the people who make capsules, read them and write software.”

As always, and as last updated this morning (it’s automatic; “Last updated: Thu 23 Dec 2021 01:00:08 AM UTC”), Botond’s Gemini capsule shows persistent linear growth.

Botond's Gemini capsule

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:08 am by Needs Sunlight

Also available via the Gemini protocol at:

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 QmW5tUXd4NubCu6UMXiQeWWPmBQFNq94qNufp79gszVhX5 IRC log for #boycottnovell
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 QmTnXi4XTuRcquxhG298cZz2uXveCvo5CU26P8vWAcsqK6 IRC log for #boycottnovell
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 QmWzwcJxhjsCKdNPc34XhNLag7VHxYt1Qhp47FoZ3STt2r IRC log for #techbytes
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