12.24.21

The Car Drives You — Part IV — Today’s Cars Come With Up to 3,000 Chips and Security Isn’t of Concern

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Security at 9:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited estimates that as of 2017, some 40% of the cost of a new car can be attributed to semiconductor-based electronic systems, a cost doubling since 2007. It estimates this total will approach 50% by 2030. The company further predicts that each new car today has about $600 worth of semiconductors packed into it, consisting of up to 3,000 chips of all types.
Further, internal and external vehicle communications have exploded in the past decade. In 2008, there were an estimated 2,500 data signals being exchanged among the ECUs in a luxury car. Volvo’s Antinyan says that today more than 7,000 external signals connect the 120 ECUs in Volvo vehicles, and the number of internal vehicle signals being exchanged are two orders of magnitude greater. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates this information can easily surpass 25 gigabytes of data an hour.
Article from 2021 (IEEE)

Summary: The concept of software freedom inside cars has become a distant fantasy; the cars that are being manufactured nowadays disregard security and embrace unnecessary complexity

ABOUT a week ago we started this series. We looked at a consultation right here in the UK — a misguided bit of text which characterises modifying one’s own car as “tampering”. Shades of “sideloading” in the context of software…

Demonising those who exercise control over a device they bought?

We then looked at what Toyota had begun doing, published Part I about the issue, and then — several days later — expanded in Part II and in last night’s Part III. We’ve meanwhile, in parallel, studied just what amount of computing had crept into today’s cars (gradually over the years). The data isn’t entirely secret, but there are not many publications about it; more importantly, there seems to be no public debate about software freedom in that context. We wish to change that.

“The data isn’t entirely secret, but there are not many publications about it; more importantly, there seems to be no public debate about software freedom in that context.”Last week we wrote that in today’s cars there’s “not just a computer onboard but several”; a person contacted us to say “not just a computer onboard but many“…

OK, but just how many exactly? Obviously that depends on the car, but there are many overlaps across models and brands.

I am not clueless about today’s cars; I did drive in the past and a decade ago I went to a car agency (that was the last time). Even in 2011 things were already starting to look grim. It was a Toyota agency.

“Most car fanatics I know consider the car a single system and ignore the many microcontrollers,” an associate noted a week ago. “I have the feeling that on top of that most of the information is proprietary…”

Certainly, in my experience, the media does not inform people about the situation; I only realised how big an issue it was when supply chain woes caused price spikes and critical shortages; it was getting too hard to get all the bits to assemble new cars [1, 2].

So we decided to study a number authoritative pages about the number of processors and the nature of the tasks they perform. I already knew about the “micro” (processors) ones, which aren’t exactly new and are installed at the ends/edges, but was not sure how they qualify with respect to “computer” (the components and their complexity may vary in definition).

As our associate put it, “there are many microcontrollers, I guess based on activities, and at least two full computers.” There are publications[PDF] and full articles about it (not necessarily new). As our associate explained, “another site, with a comment going to a dead MIT link, suggests 50 to 70 “Electronic Control Units” in cars as of ten years ago.”

That’s the last time I went to a car agency. It has certainly increased a lot since then.

“That’s even older” than this (“More Auto Computers Means More Complicated, Costly and Longer Repairs” according to this article from 2016), the associated noted, quoting various bits. This page says “high-end cars have as many as 100, and they’re accompanied by 60 to 100 different electronic sensors…”

And these parts are controlled by computers: “Engine control, Exhaust control, Heating/cooling, Fuel pump, Water pump, Transmission, Power steering, Brakes, Traction control, Airbags, Collison warning, Parking assist, Backup monitoring, Door and trunk locks, Power windows, Climate control, Power seats, Wipers, Charging system, Interior lighting, Brake lights, turn signals, Headlamps/daytime running lamps, Navigation, Car audio, and GPS…”

And “add side- and rear-view mirrors to that long list above,” our associate noted.

“There are security/safety implications, as we covered earlier this year (in summer)…”Remember that these are all proprietary, some go decades back, but now they get connected to the Internet and more (e.g. Bluetooth connectivity with another device, which may be compromised). So some are connected less directly to the Net, e.g. their local (car) mother ship, which is in turn controlled by a bigger mother ship (vendor/government/cracker).

There are security/safety implications, as we covered earlier this year (in summer), and articles like “How a Hacker Could Hijack Your Car While You Drive” (Tom’s Guide) that deal with the main question.

“It’s largely ignored because, as mentioned, car fans see the vehicle as a physical object still when in reality most of it is software,” our associate said. “Yes, all proprietary and restricted so as to lock out independent repair shops and mechanics. There was a lot of attention to this about 10 years ago in the various security conferences. Then a burst of information as some of the embargoes were lifted. I presume the quietness on that front means that more of the researchers are under NDAs again. Shmoocon, DefCon, and BlackHat usually have automative tracks.”

We hope the conversation will be resumed and extended to the Free software world. We need to do more to highlight the dangers and tackle the problem.

“General-purpose computing is niche nowadays,” our associate said, “and that niche has been shrinjing. The multinationals also appear to be aiming to eliminate it eventually. UEFI, TPM, DRM etc…”

“We hope the conversation will be resumed and extended to the Free software world. We need to do more to highlight the dangers and tackle the problem.”Well, almost nobody covers these issues, so it’s a vacuum we can fill in the coming weeks/months. We invite groups like the FSF (even SFC and OSI) to do the same.

More than a decade ago we still saw people saying that software was eating the world (citing famous old words), but nowadays people talk about “apps” and “clown computing” and all sorts of other nonsense. Not too long ago an article entitled “How Software Is Eating the Car” was published in IEEE Spectrum. To quote: “Predictions of lost global vehicle production caused by the ongoing semiconductor shortage continue to rise. In January, analysts forecast that 1.5 million fewer vehicles would be produced as a result of the shortage; by April that number had steadily climbed to more than 2.7 million units, and by May, to more than 4.1 million units. The semiconductor shortage has underscored not only the fragility of the automotive supply chain, but placed an intense spotlight on the auto industry’s reliance on the dozens of concealed computers embedded throughout vehicles today.”

Get ready for some numbers that are more recent: “The company further predicts that each new car today has about $600 worth of semiconductors packed into it, consisting of up to 3,000 chips of all types.”

“The IEEE article above speaks of “7,000 external signals”, “120 ECUs” and so on. They say “Electronic Control Unit” (as euphemism for a computer).”Up to 3,000.

As our associated noted, “security has to be part of the design process, but it hasn’t been, thus we end up with not just CAN but with everything integrated with it.”

The IEEE article above speaks of “7,000 external signals”, “120 ECUs” and so on. They say “Electronic Control Unit” (as euphemism for a computer).

In the next part we’ll continue this discussion. One growing concern is, the lobbyists of car-making giants are trying to pass new laws mandating all sorts of things which eventually take “old” or “dumb” cars off the road (even if some manufacturers produce new alternatives that opt out of this whole mess).

The EPO ‘Mafia’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum ca81779d727fd48c518e5be02bc689a9

Summary: When nations are run by well-organised cartels or what some have dubbed “mafias” we should not expect the legal system to curtail illegal operations; today’s video takes stock of Slovenia and then Italy — the subjects of last night’s articles

THERE is no intention to publish much today, but last night we published a couple of articles, the primary of which concerned Italy’s relationship with the EPO, whose notorious dictator had an Italian name (despite the French nationality) and his French successor had a Portuguese name because of his father, who had died decades ago under tragic circumstances.

“Internally, the EPO has long been characterised as a “Mafia” (by people who work there!), so maybe a country like Italy should not be expected to tackle the problem as much as perpetuate it.”This sort of Mediterranean era of the EPO has been an epic failure; patent quality was abandoned in order to turn the EPO into some kind of a bank and a banker represented Italy at the EPO since 2006 despite lack of a track record in patents. So this kind of kakistocracy jeopardises the legitimacy of the patent system not just in Europe but internationally; of course, Team UPC doing all sorts of illegal and unconstitutional things won’t help either. Internally, the EPO has long been characterised as a "Mafia" (by people who work there!), so maybe a country like Italy should not be expected to tackle the problem as much as perpetuate it.

Links 24/12/2021: Darktable 3.8 and Jami “Taranis”

Posted in News Roundup at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • 9 Hot Free and Open Source Java Application Servers – LinuxLinks

        An application server is computer software which provides the business logic for an application program. It offers services such as management of large distributed systems, data services, load balancing, transaction support, and network security. The application server is one part of a three-tier application, consisting of a graphical interface server, an application (business logic) server, and a database / transaction server. Many application servers support the Java platform, but they can be found in other environments.

        There are good reasons to deploy an application server in a corporate environment. At a high level, an application server enables updates and upgrades to applications to be distributed to all users. System administrators also benefit from the fact that changes to application configuration can take place centrally, which greatly simplifies technical support and ultimately the end user experience. Application servers also simplify user management, avoiding the need to set up and maintain user-management systems for applications. This type of software also enhances scalability and resource usage, and exposes business components via different deployment wrappers.

        Java is a general-purpose, concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, high-level programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. It’s related in some ways to C and C++, in particular with regard to its syntax, and borrows a few ideas from other languages.

        Here’s our recommended Java application servers, captured in a legendary LinuxLinks chart.

    • Applications

      • darktable 3.8: Winter Release 2021 | darktable

        The darktable team is proud to announce the second feature release of 2021.

      • Darktable 3.8.0 released

        Version 3.8.0 of the Darktable photo-processing application has been released. Significant changes include a new keyboard shortcut system, a new diffuse-or-sharpen module, a new “scene-referred” blurs module “to synthesize motion and lens blurs in a parametric and physically accurate way”, support for the Canon CR3 raw format, and more.

      • Darktable 3.8 Released with Huge Set of Changes, New Modules + More

        Major improvements are on offer in the latest release of Darktable, an open source alternative to Adobe Lightroom.

        This pro photography tool traditionally issues a new stable release on December 24 and 2021 is no exception. Those unfamiliar with this highly-regarded tool will find more details on its capabilities in the comprehensive online manual.

        [...]

        There’s also a new ‘Diffuse or Sharpen’ module, and a new scene-referred blurs module to create motion and lens blurring in a ‘physically-accurate’ way.

        The ‘Perspective Correction’ module is now called ‘Rotate and Perspective’ and lets users “manually define correction settings by drawing lines or rectangles on the image”, and ‘Scopes’ is the new name for the ‘Histogram’ module.

      • Darktable 3.8 Open-Source RAW Image Editor Released as a Massive Update

        Darktable 3.8 comes with major changes like a completely revamped keyboard shortcut system with support for controlling the app with other devices, such as game controllers or MIDI devices, a new diffuse or sharpen module that lets users simulate or revert diffusion processes to reconstruct images, as well as a new scene-referred blurs module that lets you accurately synthesize motion and lens blurs.

        Other major changes include support for multiple images in the print view, Aa new LMMSE demosaic algorithm, support for the Canon CR3 RAW image format, and the global availability of the composition guides from the crop module across the entire app.

      • Darktable 3.8 Released For This Great Open-Source Alternative To Adobe Lightroom

        Just in time for dealing with any holiday photos, Darktable 3.8 is out today as the latest shiny feature update to this open-source RAW photography post-production software.

        Darktable 3.8 has seen nearly four thousand commits since the prior v3.6 feature release with more some 265 issues closed, and more than 500 pull requests.

      • ticker – terminal stock ticker – LinuxLinks

        While it can be a struggle to make ends meet, it’s possible to make life easier through better money management. Financial management is about planning income and expenditure and making informed decisions that enable you to survive financially. With today’s financial pressures, it’s even more important to look after your finances, if only to make sure there are no nasty surprises when you receive your next bank statement.

        One way of staying alert regarding your financial position is to use a stock ticker. This is software that provides live updates of stock prices and enables you to easily monitor your investments.

        As its name suggests, ticker is software that performs this function. And it offers this tracking without straying from the command-line. It’s free and open source software written in Go.

        Command-line software is light on system resources (very useful on low specified machines), can be faster and more efficient than their graphical counterparts, they do not stop working when X is restarted, and are great for scripting purposes.

      • 4 Tools / Extensions to Add Falling Snow Effect on Ubuntu 20.04 /21.10 Desktop | UbuntuHandbook

        XSnow is till in active development. It enables falling snow effects in GNOME, XFCE, KDE, LXDE, OPENBOX, etc. Which means, user may run it in Ubuntu, XUbuntu, KUbuntu, Debian, and other based Linux distributions. It also works on RPM based Linux (e.g., Fedora) though the package from system’s own repositories.

        Snow by default is falling on top of opened app windows and screen bottom. So, you won’t see snowflakes if there’s a window maximized.

        XSnow provides an user interface to configure how many snowflakes, size, color, etc. And, it also may display Santa, Scenery, birds and more.

        The app provides modern 64-bit (amd64), old 32-bit (i386), and arm64/armhf (e.g., for Raspberry Pi) deb packages for Debian and Ubuntu based systems. Just select download the latest package from the link below:

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install and configure Minikube on Ubuntu 21.10 – NextGenTips

        Minikube is a tool that makes it easy to run Kubernetes locally. Minikube runs a single-node Kubernetes cluster inside a VM on your local machine. Kubernetes quickly set up a local Kubernetes cluster on Linux, Windows, and macOS.

        It is always advisable before diving into Kubernetes, you will need a minimal Kubernetes setup. Such a setup should spin up fast and integrate well with other tools.

      • 2 Ways to Install Homebrew on Debian 11 Bullseye Linux – Linux Shout

        Learn the commands to install Homebrew on Debian 11 Bullseye to install and manage various packages via “formulas” and “casks” on your Linux.

        Homebrew is an open-source project for providing a package manager to macOS because there is no default package manager, unlike Linux systems. However, the Homebrew is also present for Linux, popularly known as Linux brew.

        The homebrew was started by Max Howell. In 2009 the first version of Homebrew was released. To use it the user either has to be on Linux or Mac. However, using homebrew on Linux doesn’t make sense because all of them almost come with their package manager.

        Nevertheless, Homebrew does several things, it can be used to install, uninstall and update software.

      • FreeAptitude – Playing with DBus and KDE applications (Part 2)

        In a previous article I introduced the DBus technology and provided some examples built around the Klipper service to integrate the clipboard area within our scripts. In this article, we will see other useful DBus services and how to take advantage of them within our scripts.

      • Debian 11 is broken

        Debian 11 is switching around device names like /dev/sda and /dev/sdb on each boot, as you can see for yourself, if you so wish, or by having a look at my video:

        https://youtu.be/MhZLLoR4Y80

        This means that your Debian 11 system will regularly fail to boot.

        [...]

        P.S.: can you imagine a Microsoft Windows person who would find it conceivable that the system drive, aka (C:), would change its drive letter on each boot? Debian can!

      • ThingsBoard and Raspberry PI (part 2): Add Device telemetry by MTTQ and Python

        Creating a tenant and adding a first device is the next step once you installed ThingsBoard on Raspberry PI. A simple monitoring task is by checking internal CPU temperature

        In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create a tenant, add a device and configure it to message by MTTQ and Python with Thingsboard on Raspberry PI. We’ll start from a fresh ThingsBoard installation, according to my ThingsBoard and Raspberry PI: getting a Professional IoT dashboard tutorial.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 5.0 Is Out as a New Major Release With a Lot of Changes

          Without doubt Krita 5.0 is a big release, with a lot of new features and improvements. With their latest version, it should get more exciting for all the users across multiple platforms.

          Krita is a well known digital painting program, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, but is primarily known for its Linux side. It’s a professional free and open-source raster graphics editor designed primarily for digital painting and 2D animation.

          Today all digital artists and art lovers have reason to rejoice, because almost four years since the Krita 4.x branch first saw the light of day, Krita 5.0 has been released.

          So without further ado, let’s dive into what’s new in version 5.

        • 2021 KDE Eco Sprint | KDE.news

          On 11 December 2021, KDE Eco held the first of many planned Sprints. The Sprint was originally intended to be an in-person event to set up a community measurement lab, but Corona had other ideas. Nevertheless, the community deployed its usual resourcefulness, and we met online instead.

          We discussed the next steps in KDE’s Eco project, and the day’s conversation was varied, covering topics such as setting up a team space for the project (achieved), completing the Blauer Engel application for Okular (submitted), along with several technical issues related to energy-consumption measurements in the lab, including Standard Usage Scenarios, replicable reference systems, standardizing data output, budget vs. professional power meters, and more. See the minutes for details.

          A more detailed summary of the discussion will be published at the KDE Eco blog (coming soon), so keep an eye out for updates there!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

    • Distributions

      • 7 Linux Distro Versions Released This Christmas Season – It’s FOSS News

        In this holiday season, are you looking forward to trying out new distributions on your Linux system?

        Fret not, we have you covered. Here, I shall be listing some of the latest Linux distribution releases.

      • New Releases

        • Debian-Based siduction 2021.3 Distro Released with Linux Kernel 5.15 LTS, PipeWire

          Dubbed “Wintersky,” siduction 2021.3 comes about five months after the 2021.2 update and brings some interesting changes, such as the use of PipeWire as default sound system, replacing PulseAudio and JACK, as well as the iNet Wireless Daemon (iwd) for handling Wi-Fi networks on the KDE Plasma, LXQt, and Xfce editions, replacing wpa_supplicant.

          As a matter of fact, siduction 2021.3 only comes with KDE Plasma, LXQt, and Xfce editions as live media, alongside the standard Xorg (uses the Fluxbox window manager) and noX (text-mode only) editions, as the development team decided to drop support for the Cinnamon, LXDE, and MATE editions due to lack of time.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2021/50 & 51

          Unfortunately, I missed writing up the weekly review last week, so I am spanning once again two weeks here. And Tumbleweed has been so stable for the last weeks, even the snapshot count shows this. For example, in the period from snapshot 1116 to 1222, only a total of three snapshots were not released (1204, opneQA issues, and 1216 & 1217 due to a new pango version having an impact on the rendering, which required a lot of needles to be created, which we could not do in time before the next snapshots reached QA). looking only at the time since my last weekly review, we have published 12 snapshots (1209..1215 & 1218..1222). Despite the holiday season, there seem still to be ample changes incoming (but it is getting less, as the look at the Staging dashboard reveals at the moment).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Irving Wladawsky-Berger: New Ways of Understanding Human Behavior

          “It is often said that no person is an island and it takes a village to raise a child, but psychology has largely lacked the scientific evidence to quantify and characterize these aphorisms,” wrote MIT professor Alex (Sandy) Pentland in Contextualizing Human Psychology, – an article published in the August, 2020 issue of Technology, Mind and Behavior, a journal of the American Psychological Association. “As a result, experimental focus is usually on more easily quantifiable individual traits and behaviors.”

          “In the last decade, however, digital data from online interactions, cell phones, and credit cards have allowed us to precisely quantify large-scale social behavior at a very fine level of detail. The little data breadcrumbs that we leave behind as we move around in the world are enabling new ways of understanding human behavior, giving rise to the emerging discipline of computational social science. “[T]hese new tools can help relate individual traits to the surrounding social context and thus better explain life outcomes and societal characteristics.”

          The article illustrated the advances and challenges of data-driven predictions by discussing a 2017 mass collaboration experiment. The experiment asked each of 160 academic teams to predict six life outcomes, – such as a child’s grade point average and whether a family would be evicted from their home, – by analyzing development data of over 4.200 at-risk children from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. These data had been collected by interviewing primary caregivers over more than 15 years, as well as other assessments including early childhood education and the children’s scores on a variety of standard tests. Additional information was provided on the parents, including medical, employment, and incarceration histories, religion, and child care practices. Almost 13,000 measurements were made for each child and their family.

        • 10 of our favorite sysadmin stories from 2021 | Enable Sysadmin

          In the Special Theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein popularized the concept that “time is relative” or that “time is a (persistent) illusion.”

          In a more prosaic way, we all have the feeling that time appears to move slowly when we are bored and quickly when we are having fun.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 13 Website copiers that help you keep offline mirrored versions of websites

        Ever wanted to save a copy of a certain website to review it later when offline?

        In the early 2000s, we used to copy a whole website into a static HTML format with images and scripts assets, in order to have access to them when disconnected.

        Believe it or not, for many reasons, some are still doing this.

        To have a copy of a website, you need to use a special web crawler, called a website copier that copies all the website into static HTML files alongside its images, styles, and JavaScript files.

      • Top 20 free, Open-source Icon packs for your project

        Finding the right icons for your project, is not an easy task, especially when you are looking for something specific to give your project a distinguished appearance and match its specifications, and standards.

        You can find many free icons sets out there, however, some of them are not truly open-source or come with a limitation for commercial use.

        In this article, we present you with a list of open-source icon fonts, which you can use freely in your personal, and commercial projects.

      • Jrnl: Create your personal journals with style

        Jrnl is a command-line journal and note-taking application for all old-school nerds who value the terminal.

        Jrnl is created and maintained by several contributors who like the project and packed by many supporters.

        Unlike other personal journaling systems, Jrnl comes with no constraints to a user interface, all it is required is: typing your journals, tagging them, encrypting them, and searching them with simple commands.

        [...]

        Jrnl is released as free and open-source software under GPL-3.0 License.

      • MedicLog: The personal health logger that everyone needs

        The application and source code is licensed under GPL-3.0 License.

      • Another ASRock Sandy Bridge / Ivy Bridge Motherboard Ported To Open-Source Coreboot – Phoronix

        Another aging Intel motherboard is now supported by Coreboot for those wanting to free your system down to the BIOS.

        The ASRock H77 Pro4-M is the latest board picked up by mainline Coreboot. Like with many of the consumer desktop motherboards supported by Coreboot, it’s an old Sandy Bridge / Ivy Bridge era motherboard. The ASRock H77 Pro4-M is a micro-ATX motherboard that supports LGA-1155 Sandy/Ivy Bridge processors, four DDR3 slots, one PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot, Gigabit Ethernet, and other usual features for its age.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Taranis, a major release of Jami

            Taranis is the new major stable release of Jami, and so we invite all Jami users to upgrade their version of Jami to this newest release now. Taranis, the Gallic and Celtic god of the sky, lightning and thunder, will be the baptismal name of this new version of Jami.

          • Jami “Taranis” released

            The Jami communication tool has released a major new stable version called “Taranis”; the blog post announcement explains: “Taranis, the Gallic and Celtic god of the sky, lightning and thunder, will be the baptismal name of this new version of Jami.

          • GNU Jami Taranis Released For Free Software Conferencing, Peer-To-Peer Communication – Phoronix

            GNU Jami “Taranis” has been released as a major update to this free software project for peer-to-peer communication and SIP-based messaging. GNU Jami is what previously started out as SFLphone and then GNU Ring for initially being focused on softphones.

            Taranis is the name of the new GNU Jami release, which they describe as a major update. Jami sums itself up as “a GNU package for universal communication that respects the freedom and privacy of its users. Jami is an end-to-end encrypted secure and distributed voice, video, and chat communication platform that requires no central server, and leaves the power of privacy and freedom in the hands of users.”

          • Jami Taranis released
            The Jami team is pleased to announce a major release of Jami, Taranis.
            You can read the full announcement article on the Jami blog:
            
            https://jami.net/taranis-a-major-release-of-jami
            
            What is Jami?
            -------------
            
            Jami is a GNU package for universal communication that respects the
            freedom and privacy of its users.  Jami is an end-to-end encrypted
            secure and distributed voice, video, and chat communication platform
            that requires no central server, and leaves the power of privacy and
            freedom in the hands of users.
            
            Jami supports the following key features:
            
            - One-to-one conversations
            - File sharing
            - Audio/video calls and conferences
            - Screen sharing in video calls and conferences
            - Recording and sending audio/video messages
            - Functioning as a SIP phone software
            
            
            Jami Taranis release highlights
            -------------------------------
            
            The highlights of the Taranis release of Jami include:
            
            - Windows 11 support
            - Phase one of Swarms: synchronized 1-to-1 conversations
              - The first phase of Swarm support in Jami is now available
                across all platforms.
              - Swarms are fully distributed, peer-to-peer chats with conversation
                histories synchronized across your devices, and the potential to
                be expanded into group chats in upcoming future releases of Jami.
                See our earlier article Swarm: a new generation of group
                conversations[1] to learn more about Swarms.
              - In the first phase of Swarm support, Swarms enable synchronization
                of 1-to-1 conversations across multiple devices associated with
                the same account.  See the full release announcement linked above
                for more details.
            - Improvements to conferences and rendezvous points:
              - fine-grained moderation tools for conferences,
                such as 'moderator mute' and 'kick'; 
              - 'raise hand' feature for indicating intention to speak; and
              - enhanced screen-sharing now allowing sharing individual windows,
                in addition to the already-available options of sharing the entire
                desktop or a selected screen area.
              - Read more about these enhancements and new features for
                conferences and rendezvous points in our recent article
                The Jami conferencing system[2].
            - New Android call interface and improved mobile connectivity
            
            For a detailed changelog see[3].
            
            [1] https://jami.net/swarm-introducing-a-new-generation-of-group-conversations
            [2] https://jami.net/the-jami-conferencing-system
            [3] https://git.jami.net/savoirfairelinux/jami-client-gnome/-/wikis/changelog
            
            
            Download Jami Taranis
            ---------------------
            
            Pre-built Jami binaries/packages for various GNU/Linux distributions
            and other platforms can be downloaded from https://jami.net/download.
            If you had previously installed Jami from the repositories of your
            GNU/Linux distribution of choice and it has not been updated for a
            while, you can instead install Jami following the instructions at the
            above link for regularly-updated Jami packages.
            
            Here are the compressed sources:
              https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/jami/jami-20211223.2.37be4c3.tar.gz   (53MB)
              https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/jami/jami-20211223.2.37be4c3.tar.xz   (51MB)
            
            Here are the GPG detached signatures[*]:
            
            https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/jami/jami-20211223.2.37be4c3.tar.gz.sig
            
            
            https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/jami/jami-20211223.2.37be4c3.tar.xz.sig
            
            Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth:
            
            https://www.gnu.org/order/ftp.html
            
            Here are the SHA1 and SHA256 checksums:
            
            81bcdaadbc9a96c76f9238908ce2cdc4a3f797b8  jami-20211223.2.37be4c3.tar.gz
            ee92877382287a6b8d6772effd54773249b8ed54  jami-20211223.2.37be4c3.tar.xz
            5d70265d0010a7c4ace4e4f3a417c8be293f55bdd0cdbc3dfa610f18fb633b74  
            jami-20211223.2.37be4c3.tar.gz
            fef0e9cd1f60a71011f08a152c490f412c786f9525ca2bb8a180f2bdbb91f44c  
            jami-20211223.2.37be4c3.tar.xz
            
            [*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the
            .sig suffix) is intact.  First, be sure to download both the .sig file
            and the corresponding tarball.  Then, run a command like this:
            
              gpg --verify jami-20211223.2.37be4c3.tar.gz.sig
            
            If that command fails because you don't have the required public key,
            then run this command to import it:
            
              gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys 
            BE6273738E616D6D1B3A08E8A21A020248816103
            
            and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command.
            
      • Programming/Development

        • The Most Excellent Non-Programming Books for Coders

          Learning always goes on in absolute swing for learners and developers. Coding has picked up as a great career opportunity, and that is happening coders also have to be on their best learning to provide high-quality performance at work.

          Programming is also a fast-moving technique and thus requires one to be on their learning curve to stay relevant and crucial for developers to stay updated. Books are an excellent source for knowledge bearing and the same stands for programmers and coders.

        • Top Programming Languages for Data Science

          Data science is an important instrument in the modern world. A lot of computers gather a lot of bytes of information about users behavior, weather, results of sports games and all other kinds of content that appears every second. However, there are a lot of questions about the quality of conclusions that are built according to the analysis of such data. For instance, some respectable magazine created a list of top universities in the country according to their special scoring.

        • Jussi Pakkanen: This year receive the gift of a free Meson manual

          About two years ago, the Meson manual was published and made available for purchase. The sales were not particularly stellar and the bureaucracy needed to keep the sales channel going took a noticeable amount of time and effort. The same goes for keeping the book continually up to date.

          Thus it came to pass that sales were shut down a year ago. At the time there were some questions on whether the book could be made freely available. This was not done, as it would not really have been fair to all the people who paid actual money to get it. So the book has been unavailable since.

        • Perl/Raku

          • [Perl] Monthly Report – November

            I started the 1000 days FREE T-shirt campaign. I am so grateful for all the support that I received so far. It feels great. I decided to gift FREE specially designed T-shirt to all the champions of The Weekly Challenge. I am done with the most difficult phase of the campaign i.e. collecting funds. Thanks to all the sponsors, we have collected £1029.64 in total. The fund is enough to cover the cost of T-shirt printing and international delivery as per my own estimation.

            As of today, I have received 32 confirmations out of 53 eligible members. I am not in a rush to be honest. I would want to gift each and every eligible members unless anyone says the opposite. I am hoping after the holiday break they will find time to respond to my email request. You can find the regular update to the campaign in the blog here.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (webkit2gtk and wpewebkit), Fedora (httpd and singularity), Mageia (ldns, netcdf, php, ruby, thrift/golang-github-apache-thrift, thunderbird, and webkit2), openSUSE (go1.16, go1.17, libaom, and p11-kit), and SUSE (go1.16, go1.17, htmldoc, libaom, libvpx, logstash, openssh-openssl1, python3, and runc).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • We take action against Hack-for-Hire firm Belltrox #SaveOurPrivacy

              The surveillance-for-hire industry has been in the eye of the storm in 2021 and it is essential that these entities are held accountable for their illegal actions. Following a new report from Meta (Facebook) on the surveillance activities of an Delhi-based company Belltrox, we have filed a criminal complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell of the Delhi Police asking them to take appropriate action.

              [...]

              In July, the activities of Israel’s NSO Group, especially its spyware Pegasus, became the focus of media and public ire over allegations of hacking and misuse. However, the NSO Group isn’t the only entity engaged in surveillance activities. While Pegasus is a spyware which is sold for use by its clients, there are also entities engaged in the (self-explanatory) surveillance-for-hire activities. These entities targeted people across the world, including journalists and human rights activists.

              On December 16, 2021, Meta, which is the parent company of Facebook, issued a press release titled, “Taking Action Against the Surveillance-For-Hire Industry”. This press release was on the basis of and accompanied by a threat report titled, “Threat Report on the Surveillance-for-Hire Industry”. The report was authored by Mike Dvilyanski, Facebook’s Head of Cyber Espionage Investigations, David Agranovich, Facebook’s Director of Threat Disruption, and Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s Head of Security Policy. At the end of a months-long investigation, seven entities were identified as engaging in surveillance-for-hire activities and subsequently removed from Meta’s platforms.

[Meme] The Most Inclusive Greeting We Can Think of

Posted in Site News at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unless you’re in the southern hemisphere!

Happy turkey day (unless you're vegetarian)

Summary: Techrights will be posting as usual after dinner

Alexandre Oliva’s Open Letter on Richard Stallman

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL at 9:21 am by Guest Editorial Team

Alexandre Oliva
Image source

Summary: The person whom many consider to be the ‘heir’ of RMS responds to common accusations, which are sadly not based on actual facts

The other day, I sent email to a celebrated feminist leader in the FLOSS community, letting her know about some good news I’d just come across that I thought would be of her interest, and congratulating her for some of her accomplishments. My email signature, pointing to https://stallmansupport.org, caught her attention, and she mentioned her disagreement with it in her kind and respectful response. I thought a lot about how to respond, and I’ve finally sent her the following response.

I’m sorry it seems to have been the most relevant part of my email to you. I almost took it out, suspecting you might differ and be offended, but I ended up leaving it there because I didn’t think you deserved dishonesty from me. This has been in my signature in emails I’ve sent out since May 3rd, and removing it didn’t feel honest.

I’ve been close to RMS for over 25 years. I, my wife and my daughter have hosted him a number of times, and arranged for others to host him a larger number of times. People who admire him, and people who hardly knew him. He was never easy to deal with, he’s persistent and often obsessed about issues that catch his attention. But harassment?

Harassment, to me, is ganging up on someone in a hate letter to bring them down. A hate letter that attempts to disguise its actual motivations by resorting to a bunch of shocking but false accusations, exaggerations and misrepresentations.

As for the experiences and reports you got… An FSF board committee whose members AFAICT all wanted RMS out investigated reports about RMS for over two years, before and after RMS resigned, and despite all the second-hand rumors, they could never get to any concrete findings. I have independently investigated various claims and invariably came to dead ends. Given how many false reports and ad hominem attacks on Free Software he’s been targeted with, it wasn’t at all unthinkable to conclude that this was yet another character assassination attack without substance.

He, clumsy, obsessive, meltdown-prone and sometimes harsh, as our shared condition makes us, has always been an easy target for this kind of discrimination. Besides, the movement he started and leads threatens various powerful monopolies, which makes him more of a target of such attacks. It’s easy and disappointing to see how his supposed offenses don’t seem to motivate action when committed by actual celebrities who work for the corporate forces who lead and who are served by the attacks on him.

Of course none of this proves him innocent, but that’s what’s suggested by the absence of credible evidence and the exclusivity of dead-end second-hand hearsay and fabrications. In case the people you know personally who have alleged harassment by RMS would like to report it to me, my opinion may change, and if they’re willing, I may pass it on to the FSF board. But, so far, what I’ve seen has been limited to false and dehumanizing allegations to support the discrimination of a person who fights for freedom and justice untiringly, without regard for much else, and with some traits that are hard for neurotypicals to understand or like.

I’m disappointed that someone like you, who purports to fight for justice and against discrimination, would join the beating up, let alone to label him a celebrity to further dehumanize him. But then, I have only my experiences to go by, not yours, and certainly not the reports you heard and chose to believe. Not knowing what they are, I can’t tell whether they justify mistreating him.

I can, howvever, tell that nothing justifies lying in false and exaggerated accusations: if the facts are not shocking enough to support that amount of mistreatment, fabricating alternative facts to carry it out doesn’t make them so. It rather makes the attack itself unjustified, disproportional and dishonest.

Subscribing ot the letter might be understandable in the height of emotions, but refraining from revoking the signature once it becomes clear that it’s no more than a collection of lies speaks a lot more about the moral alignment of the subscriber than about that of the target of the hate letter.

I hope these words and facts will find ressonance in your conscience and bring you to align your behavior with the rightful pursuit of justice and fight against the various forms of discrimination. Undoing the injustice you’ve been part of would be a long-overdue first step, even if other unrelated reasons remain to seek and pursue justice for or against this one person.

Happy holidays, and keep up the fights for good,


Alexandre Oliva, happy hacker https://FSFLA.org/blogs/lxo/
Free Software Activist GNU Toolchain Engineer
Disinformation flourishes because many people care deeply about injustice
but very few check the facts. Ask me about https://stallmansupport.org

So blong


Copyright 2007-2021 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

The following licensing terms also apply to all documents and postings in this blog that don’t contain a copyright notice of their own, or that contain a notice equivalent to the one above, and whose copyright can be reasonably assumed to be held by Alexandre Oliva.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

Links 24/12/2021: Sway 1.7 RC, Systemd 250

Posted in News Roundup at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • How to Use the Kubectl Top Command

        Whenever we set a different Kubernetes cluster, there are specific things we have to do. We have to be assured that the node pool has an accurate size. We have to be assured that the application is in the correct namespace. And also, we are assured that we are properly observing the cluster. This may be a chore for inexperienced users. Kubernetes can monitor numerous things, such as pods and namespaces, that may be difficult to track.

        This article covers the essentials of CPU and memory usage. There’s a lot to discuss about monitoring, but we have to be assured that the metrics are observed and checked. There are various techniques to monitor the resources and several methods to approach them. Thus, it is important to ensure that the application utilizes only the proposed number of resources to avoid running out of space.

        Though, it is simple to establish the auto-scaling in Kubernetes. Hence, we have to observe the metrics while we always ensure the cluster has sufficient nodes to handle the workload. One more reason to monitor the CPU and memory usage indicators is to be conscious of abrupt changes in enactment. A sudden surge in memory usage occurs. This may indicate a memory escape. A sudden surge in CPU usage occurs. This can be an indication of an unlimited loop. These metrics are absolutely useful. These are the reasons why we need to observe the metrics. We have operated the commands on the Linux system and used the top command. Once we understand the commands, we can efficiently utilize them in Kubernetes.

        For running the commands in Kubernetes, we install Ubuntu 20.04. Here, we use the Linux operating system to implement the kubectl commands. Now, we install the Minikube cluster to run Kubernetes in Linux. Minikube offers an extremely smooth understanding as it provides an efficient mode to test the commands and applications.

      • What Kubernetes taught me about development | Opensource.com

        As a full-stack developer, especially a front-end developer, DevOps technologies and the way DevOps developers think were always a mystery to me. When the company I work for launched a new command-line interface (CLI) application called Gatekeeper, I jumped into the world of DevOps and Kubernetes, and what I learned turned out to be very valuable. I now have a much better understanding of Kubernetes and the DevOps pipeline, and I can better explain how our CLI application supports them both.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • systemd 250 Released With A Huge Number Of New Features, Improvements – Phoronix

        Systemd 250 is the latest major open-source software project release for those trying to get out their releases before year’s end… Simply put, systemd 250 is a very big feature release.

        Systemd 250 has a lot in store that has accumulated over the past half-year. Following the release candidates the past few weeks, systemd 250 formally shipped this afternoon.

      • Systemd 250 released [LWN.net]

        Systemd 250 has been released. To say that the list of new features is long would be a severe understatement; the developers have clearly been busy.

      • Intel Prepares More DG2 + XeHP Bits For Linux 5.17 – Phoronix

        Intel on Thursday submitted a final drm-intel-gt-next pull of new material slated for introduction in the upcoming Linux 5.17 cycle.

        Previous pull requests to DRM-Next of new feature work for Linux 5.17 has included Raptor Lake S enablement, Ice Lake VRR support, privacy screen support, Alder Lake P graphics now considered stable, hang fixes, and a lot of other low-level work.

        This week’s batch of Intel GT material for Linux 5.17 is mostly focused on bug fixes but does bring more DG2/Alchemist enablement as well as for the software development vehicle (SDV) around XeHP. This latest — and final — pull for Linux 5.17 on the Intel kernel driver front also includes a performance optimization around GuC microcontroller log access, speedier at GuC firmware loading, sanity checking of memory regions on load, a “i915.memtest=1″ option to force a full memory test, and an assortment of other low-level driver work.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Sway 1.7-rc1 Has Better Zero-Copy Direct Scanout, Drops “–my-next-gpu-wont-be-nvidia” – Phoronix

          The first release candidate of the Sway 1.7 Wayland compositor is now available for testing.

          Sway 1.7 is working towards release as another exciting update for this i3-inspired Wayland compositor. Sway 1.7-rc1 has improved zero-copy direct scanout support for full-screen windows thanks to integrating support for the Linux DMA-BUF surface feedback extension.

          Sway 1.7 has also been working on support for virtual reality (VR) headsets via DRM leasing, tabs can now be dragged with the mouse, hit bit depth composition, Wayland-native urgency using xdg-activation-v1 protocol, and a variety of other improvements and new features.

    • Applications

      • Audacity Delivers an Early Xmas Present: 50x Faster Project Loading

        Major performance improvements are wrapped inside of the latest update to Audacity, the premiere open source audio editing suite.

        Loading in projects is said to be as much as 50x faster in Audacity 3.1.3 compared to the Audacity 3.1.0 release outed back in October (a release which delivered a bevy of performance boosts itself).

        Elsewhere, a couple of new shortcuts are introduced in Audacity 3.1.3: shift + L to set loop to selection, and alt + shift + L to clear loop. They’ve also made it harder to accidentally create loop regions when attempting to use Timeline Quick Play — something I’ve done a lot.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Truncation and neat terminal output

        I like things neat and orderly, and this does not include output from commands where each line is wrapped beyond the width of the current terminal I’m in. It’s not the end of the world but it does make things more difficult to read.

        Here are a couple of examples. The first is the default that you get from a docker ps invocation (I actually prefer the equivalent docker container ls command, but that’s a story for another time): [...]

      • The many methods for using SVG icons

        Recently at work, I ran into a situation where we had to revisit how SVG icons were being implemented on our pages. And that gave me the opportunity to dig into the myriad of options we have for doing so. I thought this was worth documenting for future me (and maybe some of you who actually read this blog), because there are a LOT of options.

      • How to Install Go on Ubuntu 20.04 – buildVirtual

        Go is a modern programming language developed by Google and has been used to write many well known applications such as Docker, Terraform and Kubernetes. This short article covers how to install Go on Ubuntu so that you can get up and running with Go!

      • How does virtual computing work?

        The corporate world has witnessed a dramatic transformation in the last two years, where most of the global workforce was operating from their homes. As organizations began embracing the work-from-home culture, technology became the backbone of the new normal. Virtual computing is one such technology that has largely facilitated the smooth functioning of several businesses.

        Hybrid work cultures may become standard for many companies, including yours. Now is the time to plan for dynamic technology that benefits your business processes. In this article, we shall walk you through different aspects of virtual computing and enable you to make an informed decision.

      • Get started with Zyn-Fusion, an open source synthesizer | Opensource.com

        A wall of synth. That’s what I dream of. Given the chance, on one wall of my office, I’d have a modular synthesizer that only Bob Moog himself could truly ever understand. Until I realize this dream, I make do with a very good approximation: Zyn-Fusion.

      • AppImage Pool standalone App Store for AppImages – TREND OCEANS

        Short Story: Now we have AppImage Pool, a standalone GUI app store to Find and Manage AppImages.

        In Linux, we have many different ways to install applications like Snap, Flatpak, AppImages, and default package manager.

        The common thing in them they all provide their custom app store or platform to Find, Manage, Install Apps except AppImages.

        For newbies, AppImages is a bundle of any application. Inside, a single-bundle application provides all required tools with required dependencies.

      • How to Repair File System Errors in Linux Mint

        Using Linux Mint makes Linux a user-friendly operating system environment for all the right reasons. Whether you are interested in gaming, multimedia, graphic design, or improving your productivity, Linux Mint is fully equipped with all the apps you might need. It is a user-centered and community-centric Linux distribution.

        The Linux Mint community and its development team have a great bond that turns user feedback into prime system updates and bug fixes. On top of being open-source, Linux Mint is famed for low memory usage and feature-rich software sources.

      • How to Install MATE Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

        For those not familiar with MATE Desktop Environment, it is the continuation of GNOME 2. It is famous for being lightweight, fast, and stable that runs on Linux and most BSD operating systems. MATE is also an excellent choice for a lower-end system or those looking to remain efficient on system resources.

        In the following tutorial, you will have learned how to install the MATE Desktop environment on CentOS 8 Stream.

      • How To Install pgAdmin 4 On Rocky Linux/Alma Linux 8 – Citizix

        PGAdmin is a web-based GUI tool used to interact with the Postgres database sessions, both locally and remote servers as well. It is an open-source, powerful, and feature-rich graphical user interface (GUI) administration and management tool for the PostgreSQL database. It provides a powerful user interface that enables you to easily create, manage, maintain and use database objects, by both beginners and experienced Postgres users alike.

        pgAdmin 4 supports PostgreSQL 9.2 or later, and runs on Unix and its variants such as Linux, Mac OS X as well as Windows operating systems.

        In this article, we will learn how to install pgadmin 4 on Rocky Linux 8 server. This guide assumes that you already have Postgres 9.2 installed and set up. If not checkout How to Install and Configure Postgres 14 on Rocky Linux/Centos 8.

      • How to publish your content using GitHub Pages and Jekyll [Ed: Fedora Magazine is shilling Microsoft's proprietary software on Xmas Eve]
      • Unleashing Accelerated Speeds with RAM Drives

        Time is money, and sometimes that means you need a faster way to process data. Solid state drives (SSDs) and, more specifically, non-volatile memory express (NVMe) devices have helped alleviate the burden of processing data to and from a backing store. However, at times, even SSD technology is not quite fast enough, which is where the RAM drive comes into the picture.

        Typically, the RAM drive is used as temporary storage for two reasons: Its capacities tend to be lower (because the technology is more expensive), and more importantly, it is a volatile technology; that is, if the system were to lose power or go into an unstable state, the contents of that RAM drive would disappear. Depending on the type of data being processed, the reward can often outweigh the risks, which is why the RAM drive can potentially be the better option.

        In this article, I rely on the RapidDisk suite to create and manage RAM drives. The RapidDisk software project [1] provides an advanced set of Linux kernel RAM drive and caching modules with which you can dynamically create and remove RAM drives of any size or map them as a temporary read cache to slower devices.

        The system used in this article is an older system with limited memory clocked at a slow speed. More modern and faster systems with faster memory will produce significantly different results than those found here. The dmidecode command summarizes the configuration and capabilities of memory DIMMs and revealed that my system has four DDR3 RAM devices of 2048MB configured at speeds of 1333MTps (mega transfers per second).

      • How to play Age of Empires IV on Linux

        Age of Empires IV is a real-time strategy video game developed by Relic Entertainment and published by Xbox Game Studios for Microsoft Windows. Here’s how you can play Age of Empires IV on Linux.

      • How to play PlanetSide 2 on Linux

        Age of Empires IV is a real-time strategy video game developed by Relic Entertainment and published by Xbox Game Studios for Microsoft Windows. Here’s how

      • How does Oracle VM Virtualbox work?

        VirtualBox is a general-purpose virtualization program for x86 and x86-64 hardware that lets users and administrators run several guests operating systems on a single host. It intendes for the server, desktop, and embedded applications
        VirtualBox is a graphical user interface (GUI) and command-line program for virtualizing servers, desktops, and embedded operating systems. A single VirtualBox host may run as many guest virtual machines as the host hardware allows.

        VirtualBox has two types of users: hosts and guests. The host is where the VirtualBox software is kept, from whence the guests may be deployed. Any compatible operating system running as a virtual machine is referred to as a guest. VirtualBox hosts can run Linux, Windows, or macOS, while guests may run any Linux distribution, Solaris, macOS, BSD, IBM OS/2, or Windows. To run macOS or Windows as a virtual machine, you’ll need a licensed copy of the operating system.

        Administrators can deploy hosts using ISO images or VDI/VMDK/VHD images when using VirtualBox as the host platform. When guests are deployed from an ISO image, the guest operating system is installed normally, but only as a virtual machine. It is possible to quickly deploy a virtual appliance using VDI/VMDK/VHD images without having to go through the procedures of installing the operating system as the guest. TurnKey Linux is an excellent source to get virtual appliances for VirtualBox.

        The VirtualBox Extension Pack adds support for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices, VirtualBox RDP, disc encryption, NVMe, and PXE boot for Intel GPUs to make VirtualBox even more desirable. The Guest Additions adds mouse pointer integration, shared folders (between guest and host), better video support, seamless windows, generic host/guest communication channels, time synchronization, shared clipboard, and automatic logins to the VirtualBox feature set.

      • How to install MyWebSQL on Ubuntu 20.04? – Unixcop the Unix / Linux the admins deams

        Hello, friends. Today, you will learn how to install MyWebSQL on Ubuntu 20.04.

        MyWebSQL is a web application created with PHP that allows us to manage an instance of MariaDB / MySQL, PostgreSQL or SQLite.

        Being compatible with these tools can be of great help in many projects.

        So, with MyWebSQL you can create, modify and delete data, tables, and databases all from a comfortable web interface. Let’s get started.

    • Games

      • Polychromatic 0.7.3 Released With New Razer Device Support, 8000Hz Polling – Phoronix

        Polychromatic as the open-source GUI front-end for working in turn with OpenRazer for configuring Razer peripherals under Linux is out with a new holiday release.

        Polychromatic works with the open-source, community-maintained OpenRazer for supporting Razer peripherals and other devices under Linux for managing RGB lighting and various device settings under Linux where there isn’t any official support from Razer Inc.

      • The Fusion Pro Controller by PowerA: Ergonomic Goodness on Linux – Boiling Steam

        If you’ve read my previous gamepad reviews, you know I just can’t help it when it comes to buying more. So after noticing a controller on sale from my r/consoledeals feed, I’ve added yet another to my collection: the PowerA Fusion Pro for Xbox One/PC. Got it on sale at Best Buy for $30, rather than the $80 MSRP. And let me tell you, that $30 was most certainly a steal.

        The kit that you get with the controller is a nice black carrying case, made of polyurethane, polyester, and ethylene-vinyl, that can open and close with the zipper, a 9.8-foot braided micro USB cable, two extra thumbsticks, a pair of extra tension rings, and a four-button paddle set.

      • Ogre 2.3 Released With Vulkan Render Support, Other Engine Updates – Phoronix

        Ogre 2.3 is out for a holiday release as the newest feature release of the Ogre-Next open-source 3D rendering engine code used both for games and applications.

        Significant to Ogre-Next’s Ogre 2.3 release is the introduction of the Vulkan rendering system support. Merged last year for this Ogre 2.3 release is initial Vulkan API support, which has been ongoing for more than two years now. The Vulkan support is now in good shape as an alternative to OpenGL.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME’s Mutter Lands Some Fixes For Hybrid Laptop Graphics Crashes – Phoronix

          For those making use of the GNOME desktop and running a laptop with dual-GPU hybrid graphics, Mutter has landed some fixes that may help if you have been experiencing crashes.

          Red Hat’s Jonas Ådahl has been working on some fixes for hybrid graphics crashes seen under GNOME. One of the issues now resolved stems from a left-over cursor that had troubles freeing itself when the dedicated GPU is deactivated, which is now fixed by invalidating that GPU data in the cursor renderer upon GPU deactivation. The other is an issue with a page-flip callback from the dedicated GPU being involed after that GPU was deactivated, which is now fixed by delaying the deactivation until ensuring that callback has been invoked.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Leadership: How to show empathy to hybrid work teams | The Enterprisers Project

          As we adapt to a new hybrid work style that jumps between virtual and in-person, teams that were used to working in shared spaces now collaborate mainly via online tools. The physical distance can add a degree of difficulty to complex technology projects that normally would benefit from frequent personal interactions to spur creative problem-solving.

          Even though team members are distributed, expectations for the quality of their work remain the same. As leaders, it’s up to us to tap into our emotional intelligence (EQ) to ensure that team members know we understand their challenges and are proactively seeking ways to help them stay productive and motivated.

        • 10 reasons to love Linux in 2021 | Opensource.com

          Opensource.com published well over 150 articles about Linux in 2021. From articles about small utilities for desktop Linux users to tutorials about working with Linux as a server operating system and everything in between, these articles have covered many facets of the Linux ecosystem. It is well worth your time to check out all of them, but here are ten great articles published this year to get you started.

      • Debian Family

        • Release Notes for siduction 2021.3.0 »Wintersky«

          Just before the holidays, we present you siduction 2021.3.0. This edition is called “Wintersky”. User and password for the live session are siducer/live.

          With that out of the way, we need to inform you of some changes. Those who have read our call for collaboration in the forum know that we lack the time to adequately maintain siduction in its current incarnation. Therefore, we have decided to stop publishing some desktop variants for the official release for the time being. We will stop shipping Cinnamon and LXDE in addition to MATE, which was already missing in the last release, and concentrate on KDE Plasma, LXQt, Xfce, Xorg and noX.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Best Wishes from TDF – The Document Foundation Blog

          Dear community members, TDF members, Advisory board members, team members, membership committee and board!

          Another year marked by the global pandemic is coming to an end these days. In addition to all the depressing news and circumstances that affect us all, there are also pleasing and uplifting developments.

          Apart from the painfully missed opportunity to meet in person, be it in the local communities or at our annual conference, we have nevertheless achieved so much together, worked together and brought our foundation forward, so that we can already say that it was one of the most successful years for and with our project.

          I would like to thank all of you on behalf of our project. Everyone has contributed to the success story in different ways. All the contributions intertwine, and without these individual parts the whole thing would not be possible and so successful. Especially in these times. Thank you very much again for this.

      • FSF

        • Last minute gift ideas: give an FSF membership and other free software gifts

          With a gifted membership, your friends and loved ones will be joining a vibrant movement for software freedom, and helping us to amplify the free software message everywhere. Each new member exponentially increases our reach, and our ability to make change. A gifted membership will count towards our year-end goal of 500 new members, and keep us fighting the good fight for computer users’ freedom in 2022.

          Your friend, colleague, or loved one will be able to redeem their membership from the moment your donation is complete. After donating, you’ll receive a code and a printable page so that you can present your gift as a physical object, if you like. The membership is valid for one year, and includes the many benefits that come with an FSF associate membership, including a USB member card, email forwarding, access to our Jitsi Meet videoconferencing server and member forum, discounts in the FSF shop and on ThinkPenguin hardware, and many more.

          Looking for more gifts? You can also check out the latest FSF Giving Guide, or have a look at the great list of potential gifts our operations assistant Davis Remmel made for this very purpose!

          Finally: don’t forget that you don’t have to spend money to give people the gift of freedom: Now is the perfect time to revisit and share our ShoeTool video, and our list of free software tools for staying in touch – and use them as a conversation-starter to explain software freedom to your family. Share the video on your social media using the #UserFreedom hashtag – you can also use the short URL https://u.fsf.org/shoetool.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • TikTok is accused of violating GPL with new livestreaming software

            TikTok’s latest video-production tool is said to be violating open-source licenses: The company’s new Live Studio Windows app, which launched last week, is using code from the Open Broadcaster Software project’s popular OBS Studio app and other open-source projects without adhering to the respective open-source licensing terms, according to allegations that first surfaced on Twitter late last week.

            Open Broadcaster Software business development manager Ben Torell confirmed that his team had found “clear evidence” for these violations when contacted by Protocol. Torell said the project had already reached out to TikTok, but hadn’t gotten a response yet.

            A TikTok spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to Protocol’s request for comment.

            TikTok released its Live Studio app without much fanfare last week. The Windows-based app is supposed to help people produce high-quality livestreams, and allows broadcasters to incorporate video game streams, image and text overlays and more. The app is currently only available to a few thousand users in a couple of markets, the company told TechCrunch.

      • Programming/Development

        • Lisp In 436 Bytes | Hackaday

          You would assume that any programming language available back in the 1960s would be small enough to easily implement on today’s computers. That’s not always true though, since old languages sometimes used multiple passes. But in some cases, you can implement what would have been a full language decades ago in a tiny footprint. A case in point is a pretty good implementation of Lisp — including garbage collection — in 436 bytes.

          SectorLISP claims to be the tiniest real language, beaten only by toy languages that are not really very useful. If you want to, you can try it in your browser, but that version has better error messages and persistent bindings, so it hogs up a whole 509 bytes.

        • Welcome to our Qt Champions for 2021!

          It is now finally time to report that @SGaist, @mrjj, @aha_1980 and Orgad Shaneh representing the Qt Lifetime Champions have now come to a consensus on the Qt Champions of 2021! A special thank you to all of you for your help in this regard!

          Before getting into the winners of this year, I want to take the time to thank everyone for their nominations and to everyone’s contributions from the Qt Community in making 2021 a great year for Qt!

        • All about property bindings in Qt 6.2

          Qt 6 introduced bindable properties a while ago. Based on our experience and feedback we got after the 6.0 release, we further improved the underlying engine. In this post we will give the overview of the bindable properties, see what has changed since our last update on property bindings, and discuss why you may want to use the new property bindings in your C++ code.

        • OpenCV Knows Where Your Hand Is | Hackaday

          We have to say, [Murtaza]’s example game in his latest video isn’t very exciting. However, the OpenCV technique he uses to track a hand and determine its distance from a single camera is pretty interesting. The demo shows a random button on the screen and you have to use your hand to press the button which then moves so you can try again. The hand measurement seems accurate to a few centimeters which is good enough for many applications.

          The Python code is actually quite straightforward. Essentially, the software tracks your hand and by estimating its relative size to determine how far away it is. Of course, your hand might also rotate, and [Murtaza] works through all the cases step-by-step. If we wanted to know a distance, we’d probably turn to ultrasonics or a time of flight sensor. The problem is, those sensors can’t tell your hand from anything else that happens to be in front of it. The use of a single camera to track and locate is pretty impressive.

        • LLVM Clang Lands Initial SPIR-V Toolchain Support – Phoronix

          An exciting LLVM development has landed in time for Christmas! Complementary to the LLVM SPIR-V back-end work that could soon be mainlined, Clang has now merged the initial SPIR-V toolchain support. This allows going from Clang to the SPIR-V intermediate representation that is conformant to the OpenCL environment specification — such as for compiling OpenCL kernels into SPIR-V.

          Without the LLVM SPIR-V back-end itself being merged yet, the Clang SPIR-V toolchain relies upon the external LLVM to SPIR-V translator (llvm-spirv) for the conversion process. Once that big SPIR-V back-end is merged and in good standing, it can transition to using that within the LLVM code-base rather than requiring the external llvm-spirv tool.

        • Test Your Product on a Crappy Laptop

          There is a huge and ever-widening gap between the devices we use to make the web and the devices most people use to consume it. It’s also no secret that the average size of a website is huge, and it’s only going to get larger.

          What can you do about this? Get your hands on a craptop and try to use your website or web app.

        • Hunting Bugs with Bisect

          A bug was introduced at some point in the last month. You know how to test for its existence, but don’t know what code introduced it. What’s the most effective way to find where the bug was created?

          Most computer scientists have had to implement binary search – it’s one of the more simple and intuitive algorithms that’s also fast. But few utilize one of its more practical manifestations: git bisect. The algorithm goes like this: find the latest revision where the code works, and pick the middle revision between that and now. If that works, then the bug was introduced in a later revision, if it doesn’t, the bug was introduced in an earlier revision. Continue until you find the bug – O( log n ) time complexity.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Raku Advent Calendar: Day 24 – Packaging and unpackaging real good

            After all Rakuing along all Christmas, Santa realizes it’s a pretty good idea to keep things packed and ready to ship whenever it’s needed. So it looks at containers. Not the containers that might or might not actually be doing all the grunt work for bringing gifts to all good boys and girls in the world, but containers that are used to pack Raku and ship it or use it for testing. Something you need to do sooner or later, and need to do real fast.

          • My Favorite Warnings: ambiguous

            … computer language design is just like a stroll in the park. Jurassic Park, that is. — Larry Wall

            Perl’s grammar is inherently ambiguous. That is, it is possible for a syntactically correct chunk of Perl to have more than one valid interpretation. Maybe this is because Larry Wall is a linguist? After all, natural languages are full of ambiguity.

            The ambiguous warning is part of the group syntax; that is to say, use warning ‘syntax’; enables ambiguous, as well as other warnings in that group. Of course, if appropriate you can just use warning ‘ambiguous’; if more precision is justified. Both warnings go back to Perl 5.6, when the warnings pragma itself was introduced.

          • Rakudo compiler, Release #152 (2021.12)

            On behalf of the Rakudo development team, I’m very happy to announce the December 2021 release of Rakudo #152. Rakudo is an implementation of the Raku1 language.

  • Leftovers

    • Opinion | 3 Reasons to Be Hopeful as This Pretty Shitty Year Comes to an End

      There’s no getting around it: 2021 has been a tough year. As with 2020, many of us are glad to see its back end. Do let the door hit you on the way out.

    • Opinion | Do We Dare Stop Being Afraid of Ourselves?

      What’s your story?

    • Opinion | A Look Back on a Not So Happy Year

      Whether the pandemic that’s swept the world started from a bat or not, as 2021 ends, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all far battier than we were when it began.

    • Resolution for 2022: Dare to Build Your Own Opinions and Then Defend Them!

      The military-industrial-financial complex in the US, Canada, UK, EU is hell bent on full spectrum cognitive control and inundates the population with plausible “narratives” based on fake news, fake history, fake law, fake diplomacy and fake democracy. We are literally swimming in an ocean of lies – but, remarkably, most people are not conscious of the fact that they are systematically manipulated by governments, corporate media, compliant think tanks and universities. The power of “political correctness” surrounds us in direct and subliminal ways. Most accept it as the “new normal”, as long as they continue having Hollywood entertainment and lots of sports on television. The classical panem et circensis (Juvenal).

      A particularly worrisome phenomenon is the gradual emergence of a “human rights industry” that systematically subverts and weaponizes human rights.  The holistic approach to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights advocated by Eleanor Roosevelt has been quietly denatured, dismantled, discarded.  We see how the “industry” transforms the individual and collective entitlement to assistance, protection, respect and solidarity — based on our common human dignity  — into a hostile arsenal to target competitors and political adversaries.

    • This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of a Habitable Planet

      Confession time: This year, I don’t want to buy my kids anything for Christmas. Big one, right? Okay, let me soften that just a bit. I have bought a few modest, useful things. But that’s it! No new games, no new toys, no new clothes (other than socks)… nothing. They already have too much. We have too much. Our nation is drowning in stuff and, in reality, need almost none of it.

    • Founding Godfathers

      They called him a lot of things: “Momo,” “Mooney,” “Sam the Cigar.” But in the 1960s, maybe they should have called Sam Giancana “the real president of the United States.”

    • Facing the Winter of the Soul

      The darkness of the times is in our face. The Big Lie campaign around the “stolen election” has resulted in democracy-killing measures passed in numerous state legislatures, suppressing voting and effectively giving legislatures the power to nullify election results. Along with radical gerrymandering, these measures seem likely to hand Congress to the Republicans in 2022 and the White House in 2024, with Trump’s return a high probability.

      Meanwhile, one coal state senator has blocked legislation that would deal with climate disruption and increasing social inequity, even as the top ranks accumulate wealth to an astounding degree, and climate extremes intensify. Just in recent weeks, storms drenched Southeast Asia and unprecedented windstorms shredded Midwest towns. We just learned that the ice shelf which corks the flow of central West Antarctic glaciers is nearing break-up, with 10 or more feet of sea level rise in prospect.

    • Video Game ‘Hades’ Makes History As First Video Game To Win A Hugo Award

      While arguing that video games are a form of art and should be respected as such has been a personal drum I’ve enjoyed beating for a decade, it’s worth acknowledging just how far the public has come in its acceptance. While I spent a great deal of time ten years ago trying to get people, especially older folks, to see the light on this topic, the idea that video games are an artform has become far less controversial. As more people experience games, they’ve come to recognize better that games exhibit all the traditional hallmarks of an artform: creativity, political and ideological expression, efforts at preservation, and fights over expression in the courthouse.

    • Ring In The New Year With DIY Bagpipes | Hackaday

      Remember early on in the pandemic when people would don protection just short of a full hazmat suit to go out, and wore rubber gloves to the grocery store? Was that just us? The point is, we are surely not alone in having an excess of latex gloves left over, and pitifully few uses for them aside from the usual — gross jobs around the house, and making hand-shaped ice cubes.

    • FlyBrainLab: Google Earth But For A Drosophila Fly’s Brain | Hackaday

      In biology there are a couple of truly crucial model animals and insects. Not that they’re particularly good students, or pick up their own trash, but in the sense that they have become standard model organisms for research. Aside from genetic research, the FlyEM project seeks to fully map a little fly’s brain’s neural connections. This common fly, called drosophila melanogaster (or ‘lesser fruit fly’) has been the subject of a lot of genetic studies, but this study of its brain structure may provide insights in how our brain works as well.

      Based on electron microscope images of thin slices of a drosophila brain, the three-dimensional structure of this tiny brain is reconstructed to not only determine the location of each neuron, but also their connections with other neurons. We know that about two-thirds of their brain is dedicated to processing the visual information from their relatively advanced compound eyes, but a lot is still unknown about how this is done, or how the brain’s structure develops.

      If it’s always been your dream to tinker with a little fruit fly’s brain, you can do so yourself using the open source FlyBrainLab tool provided, along with the freely available data sources.

    • Science

      • Tea contest in central Taiwan uses DNA sequencing to oust fraudsters

        The Lugu Farmers’ Association in Nantou County on Monday (Dec. 20) published the list of the winners in this year’s winter tea contest along with the information of five participants who were disqualified for allegedly competing with imported teas, per the Liberty Times.

        Using a DNA sequencing technique, tea leaf submissions by the suspected fraudsters — two from Nantou County, two from Chiayi County, and one from Changhua County — were determined to have been cultivated overseas. The samples were destroyed, and the perpetrators risk permanent disqualification from the competition as well as prosecution on charges of fraud and breach of trust if they commit the offense again, TVBS citing the association as saying.

        The technology was used for the first time in the 45-year history of the tea contest to ensure fair play. It has become a much-coveted award, as winning teas can receive a boost in prices.

    • Hardware

      • Fixing A Freezer Design Flaw With A Little Bit Of Heat | Hackaday

        As a shining example of the law of unintended consequences, [Lou] demonstrates how certain types of freezer/refrigerator combinations fail to work in a cold environment, such as a garage during the winter. As [Lou] points out in his video (also linked after the break) – using the freezer unit in his own garage – the problem lies with devices that put the temperature sensor in the refrigerator section, but circulate cold air starting in the freezer section.

        This works great in a home environment with a room temperature comfortable for humans, as the refrigerator will constantly warm up slightly due to heat from the outside, triggering the cooling cycle and ensuring the freezer section will stay nice and cold. When placed in, say, a garage when it’s around freezing, the refrigerator section will not warm up, and thus no more cooling cycle gets triggered.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Opinion | Who Saw Omicron Coming? Many, in Fact

        “Nobody saw it coming. Nobody in the whole world. Who saw it coming?” That was President Joe Biden speaking on ABC Wednesday about the COVID-19 Omicron variant. In fact, many people saw it coming. Global health experts and activists have been warning for more than a year that aggressive variants of the virus are essentially guaranteed as long as much of the world’s population remains unvaccinated.

      • As Patients Caught COVID Inside Hospitals, Government Oversight Fell Short
      • Getting Ready for the Next Pandemic

        At the most basic level, we need an explicit recognition that patent monopolies are just one possible mechanism for financing research. This should have always been obvious, but the pandemic should have hit us over the head with this simple but important fact.

        The bulk of the research developing mRNA technology was done on the government’s dime. When it came to developing the Moderna vaccine, the government put up almost a billion dollars for the research and clinical testing. It also provided the company with insurance against failure, with a large advance purchase agreement that would have required it to buy hundreds of millions of doses even if it was not the best available vaccine.

      • The Pandemic Shows Why We Need Universal Health Care

        The United States has just passed a grim milestone of 800,000 official deaths from Covid-19, more than in any other country, with the actual death toll likely much higher. As the nation has faced over 100 days in which more than 100 people have died and now faces the prospect of a more infectious variant that may weaken vaccine efficacy, it must be asked: How exactly did the richest country in the world get here? There are a number of reasons, but the primary one is that the United States does not have a free, universal health care system. The lack of a national health insurance program affects everything from vaccine hesitancy to the ability to get a test to how we manage the virus going forward.

      • The Low-and-Slow Approach to Food Safety Reform Keeps Going Up in Smoke

        For Nancy Donley, the fight for safer food started one agonizing summer night in 1993.

        She and her family had hamburgers for dinner, and soon after, her 6-year-old son Alex complained of a stomachache. Within hours, he had curled himself into a ball and was begging his mother for comfort.

      • Vaccinated Isn’t Enough: Omicron Carries the Risk of Long Covid

        But in reality, the president’s message didn’t give it to anyone straight, or even accurately. That’s because Long Covid — a dizzyingly lengthy list of new, returning, or ongoing health problems some people experience for months (and in some cases, close to two years) following their initial infection — wasn’t mentioned as one of the potential outcomes of Omicron infection. In fact, Biden didn’t mention Long Covid at any point during his speech. Here’s why that’s a problem.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Don’t trust hotel Wi-Fi during holiday travel. Here’s how to keep your info safe

        But you still want to stay connected on the go, especially if you’ve brought along a tablet or laptop. You’ve got a couple of choices for the sake of safety: using a VPN service, or connecting to your phone’s mobile connection wirelessly. Both have advantages and drawbacks.

      • Proprietary

        • MS Teams: 1 feature, 4 vulnerabilities

          We reported the issues to Microsoft in March 2021, who has only remediated one so far

        • Harris calls for ‘cyber doctrine’ to address increasing attacks [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Vice President Harris is calling for a “cyber doctrine” and greater international coordination to address cybersecurity concerns after a year of mounting attacks.

          “I do believe that it is important for us to have a cyber doctrine,” Harris said as part of an upcoming interview on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation,” airing later this week, when asked whether cyberattacks should be considered acts of terror.

          Harris pointed to her work as chair of the National Space Council in stressing the need to work towards enhancing international cybersecurity efforts, noting the importance of the “role and the responsibility that we have to work with our partners and allies around international norms and rules.”

        • Security

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

            • Open Unlocks the World’s Potential

              Given the relative prominence it was given and add to that zero commentary or inputs or counterpoints from anyone here in Singapore, shows a stunning lack of credibility on the part of the editors of the Straits Times (no real surprise here though, sadly).

              This clickbait-y article has to be responded to and given how the editors of the Straits Times butcher and paraphrase letters to the editor (yeah, learned this the hard way over the years), I wrote in with a tight and to the point letter – and it got published pretty much verbatim, today 24 December 2021…

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Detective Tesla videos itself being keyed

              The Tesla’s onboard cameras recorded a woman scratching the car’s passenger door at a retail park in Poole, Dorset

            • Tesla on-board cameras show woman keying car

              “The front camera caught the woman walking towards our car. The camera on the wing mirror showed her putting stuff in the passenger side of her car before she keyed the car.”

            • 4th Advent Reading: Facebook fully ignores “Schrems” rulings by Court of Justice

              In the last “Advent Reading” in protest against the Irish DPC’s removal of noyb from a procedure, we will discuss Facebook’s discarding of the European Court of Justice (CJEU) rulings on EU-US data transfers, in an allegedly “confidential” 86 pages “Transfer Impact Assessment”. Since 2013, the issue of Facebook’s cooperation with US government agencies on mass surveillance is pending before the Irish Data Protection Commission (“DPC”). A first decision by the Irish DPC is not even in sight – 8.5 years after the initial complaint and 1.5 years after the second clarification by the CJEU. Schrems: “Facebook fully ignores the Court of Justice, despite two explicit rulings.”

            • Third noyb “Advent Reading” from Facebook/DPC Documents

              In its third “Advent Reading” (in protest of the DPC unlawfully removing noyb from a pending procedure) noyb is publishing Facebook’s main GDPR compliance document: Facebook’s “Record of Processing Activities” under Article 30 GDPR (short: “ROPA”). Such legally required document should allow to easily assess Facebook’s compliance with the GDPR, but in fact it only has a laughable four pages. Usually such documents otherwise have hundreds of pages. Schrems: “Facebook’s core GDPR compliance document is symptomatic of their ignorance of the law – it only has four pages. Usually such a document would be hundreds of pages. The Irish DPC knows about the lack of documentation since 2018, but did not take action.”

            • Google-Analytics

              Being ubiquitous, Google Analytics raises privacy concerns. When someone visits a website that uses Google Analytics, Google uses your IP address to track who you visit in order to determine your approximate geographic location.

            • Confidentiality

              • Another Illinois Appeals Court Handles Compelled Password Production, Says There’s No Fifth Amendment Issue Here

                The Fifth Amendment implications of compelled password production has reverted from “somewhat settled” to “not settled at all” in the state of Illinois.

              • OpenPGP Card Support In Sequoia

                Over the last months we’ve worked on adding support for OpenPGP card hardware tokens to Sequoia. OpenPGP cards (like the free Gnuk implementation, or e.g. Nitrokey and YubiKey devices) are great when you want to use an OpenPGP key, but don’t want the private key material stored on your computer. Advanced OpenPGP users have come to expect their software to support them.

                Earlier this month, we connected a set of physical cards to our continuous integration (CI) machine and configured a job to run a test suite on these cards. This setup ensures that every change to our code is tested on a set of physical OpenPGP cards. The ability to test against multiple cards is essential, as cards implement different versions of the specification, and, on top of that, many have various quirks.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Fear of Those Still-Secret CIA Records on the JFK Assassination

        What’s up with that? Surely, lone-nut theorists don’t really buy into the “national security” rationale for keeping 58-year-old records relating to the assassination secret from the American people. I don’t know of anyone who really buys into that rationale. After all, what do they think will happen if those records are suddenly disclosed — that the Cuban communist army will invade Miami and start moving up the coast toward Washington? 

        I’ll tell you why those lone-nut theorists don’t demand immediate disclosure of those documents? They’re scared. Very scared. They fear, at least on a subconscious level, that those remaining records include powerful circumstantial evidence establishing that what happened on November 22, 1963, was a regime-change operation on the part of the national-security establishment. Why else would they still be hiding those records? No, the Cuban army isn’t not going to invade Miami and start moving north toward Washington.

      • A Million Afghan Children Could Starve This Winter. Are US Sanctions to Blame?

        On a warm day in late August, 22-year-old Samim was navigating the streets of Kabul for the last time. In the waning days of their 20-year occupation, the Americans were transporting Afghans out of the country from Kabul’s airport, and Samim was desperate to make it onto a flight.

      • Trump Asks Supreme Court to Block Presidential Records From Jan. 6 Committee
      • Chomsky: Outdated US Cold War Policy Worsens Ongoing Russia-Ukraine Conflict
      • January 6 Committee Requests That Jim Jordan Speak With Them
      • How Awesome is ‘Awesome,’ America’s Underperforming Military

        Of course, war is not a game. The stakes on the battlefield are infinitely higher than on the playing field. When wars go wrong, “We’ll show ’em next year — just you wait!” is seldom a satisfactory response.

        At least, it shouldn’t be. Yet somehow, the American people, our political establishment, and our military have all fallen into the habit of shrugging off or simply ignoring disappointing outcomes. A few years ago, a serving army officer of unusual courage published an essay — in Armed Forces Journal no less — in which he charged that “a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

      • When Whiny, Incompetent Nazis Lost Big

        Charlottesville, Va.—There is a through line from the violent white supremacist Unite the Right rally that took place here in August 2017 to the January 6 Capitol insurrection that sought to overturn the valid election of Joe Biden in favor of the twice-impeached Donald Trump.1

      • America’s Foreign Policy Death Spiral

        The paradigm that ensnares American diplomacy cemented some 75 years ago with World War II and the Cold War. Those cataclysmic events forged an enduring American national security state characterized by unlimited global intervention, cultivation of an ever-metastasizing “military-industrial complex,” and endless and often racialized enemy-othering followed by highly destructive yet ultimately losing wars replete with devastating blowback on the “homeland.”

        Urgently needed is a new foreign policy paradigm of cooperative internationalism centered on combating climate change, population control, control of infectious disease, investment to deal effectively with poverty and global migration, dramatic demilitarization, and renunciation of arms as well as human trafficking. The United States should take the lead in resurrecting and strengthening the United Nations to better enable it to pursue the mission of promoting global security, anti-racism, and universal human rights.

      • Opinion | A $778 Billion Pentagon Budget Is Our Lump of Coal

        What if you wanted less child poverty, better health care, more help with child care and elder care, and at least a gesture toward a solution to the climate crisis? And what if instead you got a $778 billion check for war profiteering?

      • Pentagon Clamps Down on Extremism & White Supremacy After Dozens of Jan. 6 Rioters Had Military Ties

        The Pentagon has announced new rules to slow the spread of extremism in the military, one of which will discipline soldiers for liking or resharing white nationalist and other extremist content on social media. The Pentagon announcement comes just two weeks before the first anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, where more than 80 of the 700 individuals charged with the attack had ties to the U.S. military. Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project Susan Corke says these rule changes are welcomed by her organization but don’t go far enough to stop extremism in the armed forces. “It shouldn’t have taken January 6 to rouse us to really address the problem of extremism in the military,” says Corke.

      • Trump ally and Pennsylvania Republican Scott Perry’s House committee collision course

        On Monday night, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chair of the select committee, wrote a letter to Perry seeking his “voluntary cooperation.” The letter also informed him that the panel had received evidence from multiple witnesses, including then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and then-acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, that Perry played “an important role” in efforts to install Trump loyalist Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general. In addition, last week the committee revealed that it had evidence that Perry was the lawmaker who had sent a text message to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows the day after the 2020 election pushing an “AGRESSIVE (sic) STRATEGY” for three state legislatures to ignore the will of their voters and deliver their states’ electors to Trump.

      • ‘Let’s turn this page’ Putin talks tensions over Ukraine, prison torture, and Santa Claus in annual marathon press conference

        Vladimir Putin held his yearly marathon press conference for the seventeenth time on Thursday, December 23. Around 500 journalists were invited to attend; the Russian president fielded 55 questions in just under four hours, taking few questions from the foreign press and no questions from the “foreign agent” media outlets present (Meduza included). Putin commented on a number of pressing issues, including tensions with the U.S. and NATO over Ukraine, this past year’s crackdown on dissent, systemic abuse in the Russian prison system, and, in the holiday spirit, his feelings about Santa Claus. Meduza sums up the key takeaways here. 

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • The Trap of Climate Optimism

        There’s a very specific kind of writing on climate change that we’ve probably all read, a realistic and pragmatic science journalism about the future we must stop from happening. It gives us facts, projections, and stirring rhetoric; it delicately balances fear with hope, measuring the dire consequences of what could be against what we must do to prevent it. Most of all, it has an activist’s faith: Because we must, we will.1

      • 2021’s Climate Disasters Revealed an East-West Weather Divide, With One Side of the Country Too Wet, the Other Dangerously Dry

        Extreme rainstorms turned to raging flash floods that swept through mountain towns in Europe, killing over 200 people. Across Asia, excessive rainfall inundated wide areas and flooded subway stations in China. Heat waves shattered records in the Pacific Northwest, Europe and the Arctic. Wildfires swept through towns in California, Canada, Greece and Australia. And those were only a few of the extremes.

        In the U.S. alone, damage from the biggest climate and weather disasters is expected to total well over US$100 billion in 2021.

      • Energy

        • Texas Regulators Learned Nothing From February’s Carnage, Prepare To Repeat The Cycle

          Texas consumers recently learned the hard way that regulatory capture can prove to be fatal. Texas energy companies (and the regulators and lawmakers who love them) ignored a decade-plus of warnings that they needed to harden their utility infrastructure in the face of climate change. As a result, we’re still measuring the casualties. Not only did 700 Texans die after they lost power during a brutal cold snap last February, but a new report by ProPublica found that an additional 1,400 Texans were hospitalized, and at least 7 died.

        • Belgium to close all existing nuclear power plants

          The seven-party coalition has wrangled for weeks over the issue. The Greens insisted the government adhere to a 2003 law on Belgium’s exit from nuclear power.

          Meanwhile, public broadcasters RTBF and VRT said the country’s francophone liberals wanted the two newest nuclear reactors kept open.

          A core group of ministers agreed on a deal after talks that went into Thursday morning. The last existing nuclear power plants are to close in 2025, local media said, in accordance with a 2003 law.

        • SUVs conquer Earth

          Why it matters: SUVs are heavier than typical passenger cars and hence use more fuel, which generates more CO2.

          IEA’s analysis has this wild stat: “If SUVs were an individual country, they would rank sixth in the world for absolute emissions in 2021, emitting over 900 million tonnes of CO2.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • Forecasters: New Mexico should brace for worsening drought

          The association is planning a series of meetings among acequia leaders to talk about the year ahead in terms of sharing observations about the drought, dealing with scarcity and conflicts, and addressing the need for more water-sharing agreements for those areas that will need it most.

    • Finance

      • What Columbia Student Workers Are Asking For

        In early November, student workers at Columbia University in New York City went on strike in response to the university administration’s continued failure to bargain over the workers’ contract in good faith. Student Workers of Columbia–United Auto Workers (SWC-UAW, of which I was a member until June 2020) represents over 3,000 graduate and undergraduate student workers. GSOC-UAW has been asking the university to make meaningful concessions in the areas of compensation, health care, child care and parental leave, nondiscrimination, and union security. As the strike enters its eighth week, the union has presented a new package of proposals to a university administration that has repeatedly met the bargaining committee’s efforts with the same, unrevised contract that was voted down by the unit this past April.

      • Sanders Urges Biden to Demand DeJoy’s Resignation Over USPS “Sabotage”
      • Sanders Urges Biden to Demand DeJoy’s Resignation Over Postal Service ‘Sabotage’

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday urged President Joe Biden to immediately request the resignation of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, citing the Republican megadonor’s ongoing “sabotage” of the U.S. Postal Service and potential conflicts of interest.

        “We need a postmaster general who will strengthen and expand the Postal Service.”

      • ‘This Is a Big Deal’: Amazon Settlement With NLRB Could Ease Worker Unionization Efforts

        As Amazon faces growing criticism over working conditions and its response to employee organizing, the online retail giant this week finalized a settlement with a federal labor agency that’s expected to make it easier for workers in the United States to unionize.

        “This is a big deal,” Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 tweeted Thursday.

      • “It’s a Win for Us”: Striking Kellogg’s Workers Get Raises, Improved Benefits & Avoid Two-Tier System

        In a major victory for labor rights, 1,400 unionized Kellogg’s workers have ended their nearly three-month strike across four states after approving a new contract that provides a wage increase and enhanced benefits for all. The prior agreement that Kellogg’s tried to bargain only offered wage increases and improved benefits to longtime workers, whereas the new agreement ensures newer workers have a guaranteed option to receive the same improvements. We speak with Kellogg’s worker Kevin Bradshaw, who will return to work on Monday alongside his co-workers. “We didn’t have any takeaways and no concessions, so I would say that, in essence, that we did win,” says Bradshaw.

      • A Mother Needed Welfare. Instead, the State Used Welfare Funds to Take Her Son.

        It was getting dark when Arianna Bermudez caught her first glimpse of the Phoenix skyline, that evening in 2018, as her 2-year-old son, David, murmured peacefully in the back seat. But to Bermudez, it felt like a new day. This vast, rapidly growing city, stretching out before them after a long drive from California, offered her and David a genuine chance — perhaps not to have the easy middle-class existence of so many other recent transplants to Arizona, but to be safe and happy together as mother and child.

      • On Non-Fungible Tokens, Faces of Our Leadership, and Supporting Artists

        We were certainly surprised this week to be told that we (Karen and Bradley) were “for sale” at approximately US$200 each. It’s not us personally that’s for sale, of course. Rather, the sale is for financial derivative products that are based on digital images of us. Because of the connection to these financial derivative products (called NFT) to our work on ethical technology and FOSS generally, we share herein our analysis of the situation. And, in the unlikely event you were thinking about buying one of these risky financial derivatives — we give our recommendation for an alternative way that you fund both Software Freedom Conservancy and the artist who took the photographs in question while avoiding derivative products entirely.

        [...]

        On 2017-03-04, we (Karen and Bradley) sat for a photo shoot with a photographer named Peter Adams, who later released one photo from each of our shoots as part of a larger work called “Faces of Open Source”. We were surprised to learn that we were the only FOSS leaders (among those who had been photographed at that point) to raise the question of FOSS licensing for the photographs themselves. Sadly, Adams was not interested in licensing the series under a Free license. We nearly declined to continue with the photo shoot, but Karen had a compromise idea: if Adams agreed to license one good photo of each of us back to us under CC-BY-SA, we would agree to sit for the photo shoot.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | A Few Astounding Wins That People-Powered Movements Won in 2021

        It would be easy to survey the end of 2021 and see another year in wreckage. There’s the pandemic that won’t end. Rising inflation. Climate disasters. A democracy that looks creakier by the day.

      • The Meaning of Boric’s Victory in Chile

        In times that have seen the alarming rise of authoritarianism worldwide, it is a cause for celebration that Chilean voters rejected not only Boric’s opponent, the ultraconservative faux-populist, José Antonio Kast—an admirer of the country’s former dictator, Gen. Augusto Pinochet—but also Kast’s anti-immigrant, traditionalist, anti-abortion, law-and-order message of fear and intolerance.

        Just as significant globally is that my compatriots chose in Boric a leader who, at 35, will be the youngest president in Chilean history, someone who embodies the emergence of a new generation on our troubled planet. The causes he believes in are those youth everywhere have been increasingly fighting for across the globe: gender equity, the empowerment of women and indigenous peoples, an end to police brutality and neoliberal economic policies, a deepening of democracy and civil rights and, above all, urgent action on climate change.

      • Start the Steal
      • Biden Says He’s Running for Reelection in 2024, With a Big “If” Added
      • Trump’s 2024 Campaign Will Likely Be: “I Did the Vaccines All by Myself!”
      • Stop Blaming Progressives For Right Wing Corporatism

        I am finding it really hard to believe that it’s the progressive Democrats who are to blame for the botched Build Back Better negotiations. I am wondering who on earth could be making such an argument in good faith. It’s very similar to the Force The Vote episode by Jimmy Dore and co.

        While I am more than open to a critique of progressives from the left it seems to me a fundamentally right-wing to hold them responsible for the problems in Washington right now.

      • Tea Party Redux: How the Koch Network Funds and Fuels the Anti-Lockdown Movement

        A new report titled “How The Koch Network Hijacked The War On COVID” reveals how a right-wing network linked to billionaire Charles Koch has played a key role in fighting public health measures during the pandemic, including mask and vaccine mandates, contact tracing and lockdowns. The groups include the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), Donors Trust, the Hoover Institution and Hillsdale College. We speak about the contents of the report with co-author Walker Bragman, who says the right-wing network’s attack on public health is designed to “maintain corporate profit at the expense of human life.”

      • ‘Pressure Works’: Senate Told to Act on Voting Rights Bills After Biden Backs Filibuster Exception

        Progressive activists and lawmakers frustrated by GOP gerrymandering and voter suppression efforts celebrated on Thursday after U.S. President Joe Biden clearly signaled that he supports making an exception to the Senate filibuster to pass federal voting rights legislation.

        “The Senate should heed President Biden’s call and act immediately in the new year to reform the filibuster and pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act before it’s too late.”

      • 800+ Faith Leaders Tell Biden, Dems Voting Rights Must Be ‘Number One Priority’ in 2022

        Citing “extraordinary challenges” to American democracy in 2021, over 800 faith leaders on Wednesday urged President Joe Biden and the U.S. Senate to make passage of comprehensive voting rights legislation their “number one priority” for the coming year.

        “It’s time to stop lamenting the state of our democracy and take action to address it.”

      • West Virginians Give Manchin a Lump of Coal for Christmas

        When West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin rocked Washington with his announcement that he would oppose President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, he offered a sort of explanation. “If I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it. And I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t,” Manchin told Fox News Sunday. “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”

      • 21 Million+ Going Hungry in US as Manchin Tanks Expanded Child Tax Credit

        Data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that more than 21 million people across the country live in households where there was “sometimes or often not enough to eat in the last seven days,” a five-month high.

        “We’re going to keep pushing for an extension of the CTC until it happens. Child hunger is too high a price to pay.”

      • University of Hong Kong removes Tiananmen ‘Pillar of Shame’ statue

        The totem pole-like tower of naked human figures commemorates the protesters killed by the Chinese military during its 1989 crackdown. It stood on the campus for 24 years and was reportedly among few public Tiananmen Square memorials in Hong Kong.

        Recent photos taken by pedestrians showed the site obscured behind plastic tarpaulins and tall yellow barriers. Inside, workers wrapped up the statue and packed it into a shipping container.

        The move comes in a year in which Hong Kong students have clashed with university administrators, with arrests of numerous pro-democracy protesters. Many have criticised what they described as an environment that restricts academic freedom and speech critical of Beijing.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • State Department Report Repeats Talking Points From Group Who Wants To Ban All Porn

        Last week the State Department released its United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking Annual Report 2021, and it’s… a weird document in so many ways. Anti-human trafficking policy making is one of those issues that just seems to attract some very, very bizarre people — as you might have noticed from the world of Pizzagate and Q-Anon. Human trafficking is (1) a very real problem, (2) a very serious problem, (3) just generally horrific for all the reasons you know, but (4) happens way less than most people think (especially given how much people focus on it). Obviously, continued efforts to prevent all human trafficking are important, and so I can understand why the State Department set up this advisory council. However, they seemed to staff it with a bunch of folks who have a very clear incentive to play up the issue as much bigger and more threatening than it really is.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • ‘It’s even good for your health’ Why were journalists attending Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference sprayed with silver particles?

        Around 500 journalists were invited to attend Vladimir Putin’s 2021 marathon press conference at the Moscow Manege on Thursday, December 23. But even those with invitations couldn’t just waltz right inside. First, they had to pass through a disinfection booth installed at the entrance, which sprayed attendees with silver particles. Then, they had to don special protective masks treated with an “antibacterial solution of nanosilver.”

      • Stella Moris statement on Julian Assange’s Supreme Court appeal

        The High Court’s ruling in USA v Assange raises three points of law of general public importance that have an impact on the procedural and human rights safeguards of a wide range of other types of cases.

      • Jailed Belarusian Journalist Kuznechyk Faces Criminal Charges

        A jailed freelance journalist who has worked for RFE/RL’s Belarus Service, is facing unspecified criminal charges, his relatives told RFE/RL on December 23.

        Andrey Kuznechyk was not released from jail last week even though his second consecutive jail term he was handed on a controversial hooliganism charge ended.

        His relatives told RFE/RL that they were officially informed that the journalist will be transferred from the notorious Akrestsina detention center, where many inmates have said they were tortured, to another detention center in Minsk as a criminal case on unspecified charges had been launched against him.

      • Belarus – “We cannot give up our struggle for freedom of the press”

        On 18 May 2021, the Belarusian authorities blocked access to the TUT.BY website, raided its offices and arrested 15 members of its staff, who are still in prison. This dark day, the culmination of a long period of harassment of TUT.BY because of its reporting, forced some of its journalists to flee abroad. They include Aleksandra Pushkina, one of the founders of Zerkalo.io, literally the TUT.BY “mirror.” She has recounted these events in a video for RSF.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • All They Want for the Holidays Is for Their Loved Ones to Come Home From Prison
      • The Black Core of the Culture War

        US politics has been deluged by heated debates surrounding cancel culture, “wokeness,” and critical race theory. What do these three topics have in common? Some would say that they are all ostensibly progressive ideas that seek understanding and accountability regarding histories of oppression. Others might argue they are all facets of an illiberal and regressive left trying to shame everyone into submission. Yet if you ask most people (regardless of their political background) to define these terms, you would likely get Justice Potter Stewart “I know it when I see it”–type answers.

      • Ten Of The Best Protest Albums Of 2021

        *The following is a collection of some of the best albums of protest music released in 2021. They were selected by Kevin Gosztola and C.J. Baker, who publishes writing regularly at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs. They are in alphabetical order by artist.

        **Full playlist with each album on Spotify

      • Opinion | Tornados Can Kill. So Does Amazon’s Business Model

        Old-school home-improvement contractors have a piece of folk wisdom they love to share with prospective clients.

      • 2021 Year in Review

        We’re thankful for our roughly 38,000 members who not only support us financially but spring into action whenever it’s needed. It allowed us to build on what we did in 2020, to meet the new challenges brought by this new era.

        Our biggest action this year was a powerful pushback against Apple when it announced that it was reneging on its promise to provide us with secure devices. In the summer, Apple announced it would be scanning some images on our devices in a poorly-conceived strategy aimed at child safety. With 25,000 of your signatures, we delivered a single, simple message to Apple: don’t scan our phones. We sponsored a protest at Apple stores and an alternative event to make sure that Apple heard from those, especially children, who have first-hand experience with the real dangers of device insecurity. We even flew a plane over Apple’s headquarters during its major product launch to make sure its employees and executives got our message. Our message was received.  Apple first delayed and then agreed not to scan iMessage and send notifications to parents. This was a first victory, but a big one, and it was only made possible by your contributions. Of course, we’ll keep pushing until all your devices are secure and answer only to you. 

        We also stood up with parents and students against the increased surveillance of students. This year, Dartmouth accused medical students of cheating based on a flawed understanding of how technology works. Our experts dug into the data and showed that what looked like cheating was just applications working as they should. After first doubling down and also instituting a policy preventing students from speaking out on social media, news coverage fueled by EFF’s technical and activism work finally convinced Dartmouth to admit its error and drop its allegations. We also brought litigation to protect a student who faced copyright claims after demonstrating the extent of surveillance conducted by student surveillance company Proctorio. 

      • Electronic Frontier Alliance Defending Local Communities: 2021 in Review

        The Electronic Frontier Alliance (EFA) is an information-sharing network of local groups that span a range of organizational models. Some are fully volunteer-run, some are affiliated with a broader institution (such as student groups), and others are independent non-profit organizations. What these groups all share in common is an investment in local organizing, a not-for-profit model, and a passion for five guiding principles:

        Since first forming in 2016, the alliance has grown to 73 member groups across 26 states. It’s not possible to review everything these grassroots groups have accomplished over the last year, but this post highlights a number of exemplary victories. We hope they will inspire others to take action in the new year.

        EFA members have been vital in the fight against government use of face recognition technology. This type of biometric surveillance comes in many forms, and is a special menace to civil liberties. Since 2019, when San Francisco became the first city to ban government use of this technology, more than a dozen municipalities nationwide have followed suit, including Portland and Boston last year. In 2021, these victories continued with the passage of bans in Minneapolis and Kings County, Washington, which were won by a close collaboration between EFA members, local ACLU chapters, other local community groups, and the support of EFF.

      • Kim Potter, ex-Minnesota officer, found guilty of manslaughter in death of Daunte Wright

        Potter, a former Brooklyn Center officer, showed no emotion as the Hennepin County jury found her guilty of first-degree manslaughter, meaning she improperly used “such force and violence that death of or great bodily harm to any person was reasonably foreseeable.”

      • ‘Small Win for Police Accountability’ as Kim Potter Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Daunte Wright Killing

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

        After four days of deliberation, a Hennepin County, Minnesota jury on Thursday found former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Daunte Wright, an unarmed 20-year-old Black father, during an April 11 traffic stop.

      • Tiananmen Square: What happened in the protests of 1989?

        In 1989 Beijing’s Tiananmen Square became the focus for large-scale protests, which were crushed by China’s Communist rulers.

        The events produced one of the most iconic photos of the 20th Century – a lone protester standing in front of a line of army tanks.

        The events remain a highly sensitive topic in China and one of the few remaining public memorials in Hong Kong has now been removed.

      • Complaint filed: Help! My recruiter is an algorithm!

        noyb has filed a complaint with the Luxembourg data protection authority (the CNPD) against Amazon because of their dubious e-recruiting practices on their Mechanical Turk platform. In particular, Amazon uses automated decision-making to accept or reject workers – with no possibility for the applicants to understand the criteria behind such an automated decision, or to challenge it.

      • Tibetan political prisoners denied family visits over ‘COVID concerns’

        Authorities in western China’s Sichuan and Qinghai provinces are barring family visits for Tibetan prisoners held in political cases, citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19, Tibetan sources say.

        The restriction remains in force even though no cases of infection have been reported for more than a year in Sichuan’s Mianyang prison or the detention center in Minyak Yak-nga (in Chinese, Ya’an), a prefecture-size city in the western part of the province, a family member of two political prisoners said.

        Prisoners in the past have been able to meet with relatives separated by a glass wall, and their families could bring in goods that had been inspected by prison authorities, RFA has learned.

      • Toronto police used Clearview AI facial recognition software in 84 investigations

        Toronto police used Clearview AI facial recognition software to try to identify suspects, victims and witnesses in 84 criminal investigations in the three and a half months officers utilized the controversial technology before their police chief found out and ordered them to stop.

        The revelations are contained in an internal police document recently obtained by CBC News through an appeal of an access to information request.

      • Explained: Who Is Julian Assange And What Is The Case Against Him

        If there is any one case which brings the US under the radar of most criticism with regards to the freedom of expression or press it is Julian Assange case. Be it the Russian President Vladimir Putin asking, “Why is Mr Assange in prison?….Is this democracy?”, or the Brazilian President backing Assange or the Azerbaijan President reminding a western reporter of Assange’s treatment.

      • Belarusian prosecutors seek 11-year prison sentence for Russian national Yegor Dudnikov

        State prosecutors in Belarus have asked a Minsk court to sentence 21-year-old Russian national Yegor Dudnikov to 11 years in prison, reports BBC News Russian.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Another Report Shows U.S. 5G Isn’t Living Up To The Hype

        Despite the relentless hype leading up to the deployment of 5G, and all the lopsided favors regulators gave wireless carriers on behalf of 5G, and all the lobbying and DC rhetoric about how the U.S. was engaged in a “race with China” over 5G — U.S. 5G continues to be… largely mediocre.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • WHO Chief Says Vaccine Inequity Is ‘Giving the Virus More Opportunity to Spread and Mutate’

          With Omicron now officially the dominant coronavirus variant in several countries, the head of the World Health Organization warned Wednesday that new—and potentially more dangerous—mutations will continue to emerge and spread widely as long as much of the global population is denied access to vaccines.

          “The global priority must be to support all countries to reach the 40% target as quickly as possible.”

        • No One Is Safe Until Everyone Is Safe: Oxfam on Vaccine Equity & Taking On Moderna

          Oxfam America has accused Moderna of misleading its investors about an ongoing dispute over whether it needs to share vaccine patent rights with the U.S. government. Oxfam filed a shareholders complaint against Moderna with the Securities and Exchange Commission over the company’s resistance to recognizing the role played by three scientists with the National Institutes of Health in developing the vaccine. We speak with Robbie Silverman, senior corporate advocacy manager at Oxfam America, who says the federal government owns a right to license the vaccine to manufacturers. “It is simply not sufficient just to vaccinate the U.S. or just to vaccinate rich countries, because the virus knows no national boundaries,” says Silverman, who claims Moderna is “essentially doing almost nothing to vaccinate low-income countries, and that has negative impacts for all of us.”

        • Oxfam Takes On Moderna in Fight for Vaccine Equity
      • Copyrights

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 23, 2021

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The Car Drives You — Part III — The Very Concept of a Car Has Changed

Posted in DRM, Free/Libre Software at 12:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Car in Cuba
Sometimes it feels like “dumb” cars are the smarter choice because they take instructions from their true owners

Summary: The debate or the conversation about what it means to be car “owners” relates to issues discussed since the 1980s in the context of software (or code-sharing/code-altering practices)

SO IN Part I and in Part II we focused on loss of ownership and cost/price hikes associated with car ‘ownership’. These issues are closely connected; they’re intertwined because when few vendors control the car you supposedly bought (paid for) they can keep bilking and milking. They’re constantly in control or something they supposedly gave away in exchange for a fee (price of purchase). It wasn’t always this bad as only when repairs were needed the vendors became potentially needed (just potentially because with simpler and standardised components one could work around them, whereas proprietary components make “support” or “maintenance” a monopoly or merely a small set of shared, price-fixing monopolies).

“They’re constantly in control or something they supposedly gave away in exchange for a fee (price of purchase).”As cars are becoming more computerised (their technical composition or breakdown may be the subject of future parts), especially in the software sense (not mechanics), these reasonably old issues are fast becoming issues pertaining to software freedom.

Last week we shared a video of what Toyota had begun doing. Here it is again:

Video download link

This got the ball rolling.

“I realized what they were doing,” Ryan wrote last week. “They tried selling it as a “feature”. Like, it could see the size of the Keurig logo and figure out whether you were brewing a cup or a carafe of coffee. But there was no need to trademark that. What they were doing was making it so nobody could copy the icon that it was looking for, so it would refuse to work at all if you used a physically compatible coffee pod. And many of the alternative pods use far less non-biodegradable mass. Gordon’s Food Service sells theirs in bulk and it’s just a lid along with a filter full of coffee. There’s no hard plastic at all in the pod. And those never worked with the K 2.0. The 2.0 machines were a total disaster and it wasn’t long before they all got clearanced out. They blew up right in Keurig’s face. And the whole thing came about when Keurig’s patent on the coffee pod expired, because trademarks on the logo that tells it to brew don’t expire like patents do.

“Notice the similarity between DRM in appliances (physical things like pods and cartridges), information/multimedia, and cars.”“So they were trying to extend their monopoly using whatever part of the law they could in order to keep out competitors who drive prices down. The market refusal of the K 2.0 machines was an unexpected success against DRM. But people put up with behavior like this in an iPhone. Why? It’s so expensive to develop software for any of Apple’s products that unless you already have a Mac laying around that’s new enough and don’t mind wasting $100 per year to keep your developer account current, there’s no way you think about developing freeware.

“F-Droid’s model obviously doesn’t work this way at all. The iPhone is pretty much a meme. And we’re in the higher points of the bubble at this point because they’re getting so ungodly expensive that they’re losing marketshare. They say they’re fine with that, and maybe they are. Selling $2,000 phones that cost them $200 to produce to 70% of the people who would buy them at a lower price is effectively being paid to produce less. But at some point, they drive so much of the market over to Android that developers no longer see the economic incentives of having a huge base of customers on the iPhone.”

Notice the similarity between DRM in appliances (physical things like pods and cartridges), information/multimedia, and cars. The agenda sort of converges across domains and the methods are similar. Ultimately, the buyer suffers.

“I don’t like any of the new features, including “self-drive”,” Ryan said. “The driver is still liable in civil and criminal matters regarding what the software does, including if it causes an at-fault accident. But now, you also have to spend $80 a year subscribing to a remote starter that’s already on the car, if you buy a Toyota, or else it will stop working. This is like Windows “Anytime Upgrade”, where all of the features are there, but Microsoft disables them unless you buy a new activation code. If you have the Toyota for 15 years, it costs $1200 to have the remote starter work and previously it cost $200 or so to have a good one put on the car that works forever. But now, you also have to spend $80 a year subscribing to a remote starter that’s already on the car, if you buy a Toyota, or else it will stop working. They like to slip “little things” in past you that don’t register while you’re buying the car. Who is thinking about a remote starter that costs them $1200-1600 over the life of the car? What if you buy the car and then they raise the price later?”

“The ironic thing is, with plate readers seemingly everywhere (but covert; they’re barely visible) you nowadays get better privacy as a passenger in a taxi than as driver of ‘your’ ‘own’ car, especially if that car was made in recent years.”Never mind the increasing costs of increasingly-complex repairs they prevent you from doing on your own. If you cannot repair your own thing, is it your own at all? And if you cannot drive privately, are you being babysat? Today’s cars are being made hostile (towards the buyer) by default; “new ones have always-on GPS + “blackbox” recorders,” one associate noted. “Even though you don’t own a car, you have a stake in the outcome of the consultation[s]. Thus I would encourage you to send them a few words at least.”

The British consultation ended last month, but it is still possible to contact politicians. We need to tackle these issues before they become more widespread (like DRM on printers and coffee machines) and thus irreversible. We need to contact people who can put an end to it, legally, as “that’s how it works on both sides of the Atlantic,” the associate noted. “That’s one of the reason Louis [from the video above] has collected money to buy his own lobbyists for the Fight to Repair work…”

The ironic thing is, with plate readers seemingly everywhere (but covert; they’re barely visible) you nowadays get better privacy as a passenger in a taxi than as driver of ‘your’ ‘own’ car, especially if that car was made in recent years. In the next part we’ll look at what nowadays makes up a “modern” car.

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