Links 20/2/2022: IPFire Test Release and PeaZip 8.5.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Weekly Roundup #170

      We had another great week in the world of Linux releases with KaOS 2022.02, Bluestar Linux 5.16.10, and Kali Linux 2022.1.

      Sadly, my recording setup is still packed away, so I couldn’t make any videos yet.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.17-rc5
        We all know the drill by now. Another week, another rc.
        Things continue to look pretty much normal. There are fixes all over
        the place, but no more than usual for this time of the release. And
        the statistics look normal too, with most of the changes being to
        drivers. The diffstat looks a bit unusual with the Intel iwlwifi
        driver showing a lot of modification, but it's almost entirely due to
        removal of the deprecated broadcast filtering that doesn't even work
        with newer firmware.
        Outside the driver subsystems, it's mostly arch updates (kvm shows up
        a lot again), tooling and networking.
        And various random changes elsewhere. The appended shortlog gives more
        details for the people who are interested in the minutiae.
        Please do test.
      • Kernel prepatch 5.17-rc5 [LWN.net]

        The 5.17-rc5 kernel prepatch is out for testing. “Things continue to look pretty much normal. There are fixes all over the place, but no more than usual for this time of the release”.

      • A walk through Project Zero metrics
      • Linux Developers Patch Bugs Faster Than Microsoft, Apple, and Google, Study Shows

        Linux programmers fixed bugs faster than anyone — in an average of just 25 days (improving from 32 days in 2019 to just 15 in 2021). That’s the conclusion of Google’s “Project Zero” security research team, which studied the speed of bug-fixing from January 2019 to December 2021.

    • Applications

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to CorelDRAW – LinuxLinks

        Corel Corporation is a Canadian software company specializing in graphics processing. They are best known for developing CorelDRAW, a vector graphics editor. They are also notable for purchasing and developing AfterShot Pro, PaintShop Pro, Painter, Video Studio, MindManager, and WordPerfect.

        Corel has dabbled with Linux over the years. For example they produced Corel Linux, a Debian-based distribution which bundled Corel WordPerfect Office for Linux. While Corel effectively abandoned its Linux business in 2001 they are not completely Linux-phobic. For example, AfterShot Pro has an up to date Linux version albeit its proprietary software.

        This series looks at the best free and open source alternatives to products offered by Corel.

      • PeaZip 8.5.0

        PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It’s freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

        Open and extract 200+ archive formats: 001, 7Z, ACE(*), ARC, ARJ, BZ2, CAB, DMG, GZ, ISO, LHA, PAQ, PEA, RAR, TAR, UDF, WIM, XZ, ZIP ZIPX – view full list of supported archive file formats for archiving and for extraction.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • OwnCloud with Raspberry PI: self host your private cloud

        With our devices becoming more and more connected to the world and with the increasing number of files to keep stored and accessible from outside the home, cloud services have provided space to store data for free, but with limited space and with increasing questions about securiy and privacy. OwnCloud and Raspberry PI can give you a new and cheap solution to assure privacy for your data and get a cloud with a huge space for your files.

        In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to install OwnCloud in Raspberry PI with Docker.

      • How to Clear RAM Memory Cache & Buffer & Swap Space on Linux

        In this guide, we will talk about how to clear RAM memory cache and issues which occur in the Linux and if you want to clear the RAM Memory cache and free some memory in Linux, there are many commands for this process.

      • How to install OpenTTD on Zorin OS 16 – Invidious
      • How To Install Magento on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Magento on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform written in PHP that uses multiple PHP frameworks. Magento provides e-commerce merchants a shopping cart system, and control over the look, feel, and functionality of their site. Magento also offers marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), and catalog-management tools to site administrators. The Magento 2 is the latest release available. This version has a number of improvement changes and optimizations over the previous Magento version.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Magento eCommerce Marketing Platform on a Fedora 35.

      • How to Use Google Messages on Linux

        If you’re an Android user, you probably use Google Messages to send and receive text messages on your device. But did you know you can also access Messages from your computer and chat with your contacts while sitting at your desk?

        Well, it’s possible to do so, thanks to the device pairing feature on Messages. If you’re wondering how to get it on your Linux desktop, it’s possible using Google Messages for Desktop and Messages for Web.

        Let’s take a look at using both of these methods to get Messages on your Linux desktop.

      • How to Measure Performance on Your Linux VPS Server

        This article will show you how to check the network speed, disk performance, and CPU performance of your Linux VPS server for a quick benchmark.

        When it comes to choosing the right VPS (Virtual Private Server) server for your solution, you may want to test its performance. The most important factors to consider when purchasing a VPS are Internet connection speed, disk I/O speed, and CPU performance.

        Of course, the cost of the service is also important, but competition among providers means cheap VPS servers are easily available.

      • How to install MetaTrader 4 with the EXNESS Broker on a Chromebook with Crossover

        Today we are looking at how to install MetaTrader 4 with the EXNESS Broker on a Chromebook with Crossover 21. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

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

      • Using PKCS#11 Token With GPG

        PKCS#11 is one of the popular platform-independent standard for accessing cryptographic tokens. Such tokens is widely used for various purpose in everyday life, for example USB token for your online banking or authenticating to VPN. Comparing with GPG compatible cards or tokens, PKCS#11 tokens do not have direct support by GPG, but they has a great benefit of being able to store several keys.

        To use PKCS#11 tokens with GPG, we’ll need to setup a gpg-agent with gnupg-pkcs11-scd. In this article, I’m using a CanoKey Pigeon with opensc-pkcs11.so library from OpenSC. If you use other secure token for storing your certificate, you should consult your token provider for the library. And I assume you already have certificates on your token.

        Note: This does not cover using PKCS#11 token over GPG for ssh authentication purpose. That is overkill. If you want to use PKCS#11 token for ssh authentication, take a look at documents like this without GPG in the middle.

        As of Feb, 2022, the following does not work for me with gnupg-pkcs11-scd-0.9.2-6.fc35. So I compiled gnupg-pkcs11-scd-0.10.0-1.fedorap11.fc35 myself.

      • How To Install FastPanel on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install FastPanel on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Fastpanel is one of the most popular and most used panels all over the world. Fastpanel is a simple and user-friendly panel. With FastPanel you can schedule backups, install free Let’s Encrypt certificates easily, manage firewall rules via the web interface, and analyze the statistics of the server resources consumed by the server resources in real-time.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Fastpanel server management panel on an AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for CentOS and Rocky Linux.

      • How To Install and Use Konsole Terminal Emulator in Linux System

        The Konsole is an advanced terminal emulator application for Linux distributions. If you’ve ever used the Manjaro KDE, you probably are already familiar with the Konsole. Because, in Manjaro KDE, the Konsole comes pre-installed as the default terminal application. In Konsole, you can do all the regular and extended tasks for making your Linux experience better and smoother.

        The Konsole terminal emulator is lightweight and easy to use. Even with multiple tabs, the terminal runs smoothly on the system. The users admire it so much for its customizability, sessions, and schemes.

      • Shows picture exif GPS info if any and converts coords to a decimal degree number Using awk
      • Slackware Cloud Server Series Episode 6: Etherpad with Whiteboard

        This is the 6th episode in a series I am writing about using Slackware as your private/personal ‘cloud server’. It is an unscheduled break-out topic to discuss an Etherpad server specifically.


        Etherpad with integrated Whiteboard can be a compelling solution for some user groups. Even without Jitsi Meet, you can jointly write and draw, save your work to your local harddrive and you have voice & video in a small overlay if you need to discuss the proceedings.

      • How A Pentester Gets Root | Hackaday

        Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall, watching a penetration tester attack a new machine — working their way through the layers of security, ultimately leveraging what they learned into a login? What tools are used, what do they reveal, and how is the information applied? Well good news, because [Phani] has documented a step-by-step of every action taken to eventually obtain root access on a machine — amusingly named DevOops — which was set up specifically for testing.

      • How to install the Xanmod kernel | ArcoLinux

        There is a whole playlist about installing the xanmod kernel on ArcoLinux.

      • How To Install LibreOffice on Fedora 35

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install LibreOffice on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, LibreOffice is a free and open-source office suite, developed by The Document Foundation.

      • How to Download RPM Packages Without Installing on RHEL 8

        DNF is a package management command line utility on RHEL distributions like Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS Stream and Fedora. Usually, DNF or Yum command is used to install, update and remove rpm packages from command line.

        Apart from this, dnf can also be used to download packages locally on the system without installing. In this guide, we will learn how to download rpm packages without installing them on RHEL 8.

        Note: There are some setups where we don’t have internet connectivity on RHEL systems, but we have a task to install some packages, may be from some external repository like EPEL. So, in this situation, downloading RPM packages becomes handy. We can download the packages on RHEL systems where we have internet connectivity and then will transfer those packages to remote systems.

        Let’s suppose we want to download bind and bind-utils packages along with its dependencies. Login to RHEL 8 system, open the terminal and run following commands.

      • How to Install and Use Flatpak on Ubuntu – TREND OCEANS

        Flatpak is the package manager that holds required libraries and dependent packages of the application inside one bundle supported by Red Hat. The goal is to achieve a single application that runs over multiple distributions without causing any package error.

        Flathub is the repository of the flatpak where you can find all the applications available to install using flatpak. Now you may hear about snapd or snap packages backed by canonical, which work the same way flatpak works.

        So, the difference between them is that flatpak is supported by more distribution than the snapd out of the box. The main reason behind this canonical has been found guilty of collecting user data for a personal benefit that breaks the open-source oath.

      • Install Kate Text Editor on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – LinuxCapable

        Kate is a powerful and intuitive editor that may be the perfect fit for you. With its robust yet straightforward interface, Kate offers everything from word processing to development tools in one place – which saves time! And with 200+ languages available on-board alongside plugins galore (think code hooks), this tool will help maximize productivity, whether it’s coding or content creation.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Kate Text Editor on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa using three installation methods.

      • Install and Setup Ceph Storage Cluster on Ubuntu 20.04 – kifarunix.com

        Follow through this post to learn how to install and setup Ceph Storage cluster on Ubuntu 20.04. Ceph is a scalable distributed storage system designed for cloud infrastructure and web-scale object storage. It can also be used to provide Ceph Block Storage as well as Ceph File System storage.

      • Install/Upgrade Mesa Drivers (Radeon, Nvidia) on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – LinuxCapable

        With the release of modern graphics cards, it’s easy to forget that before they were standard in most gaming laptops and consoles – there was Mesa. The open-source software implementation translates API specifications into vendor-specific drivers so you can use high-end applications with your PC even if it has older hardware!

        Most Linux distributions feature Mesa drivers, given they are free and open-source before any proprietary drivers options, however for most Linux distributions that focus on stability first, you may find your Mesa drivers needing an update when new releases support newer graphic card hardware and technologies.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to upgrade or install Mesa Drivers on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with two PPA options that support Intel, Radeon, NVIDIA ect.

      • Use different time zones on your Linux KDE desktop | Opensource.com

        I used to marvel at people who required more than one clock, each set to an exotic timezone, on the wall. I saw it mostly in movies, so when I met someone in real life with lots of clocks, it made them seem particularly important, like the leader of a global spy network or a big banking syndicate. And yet lately, I find myself needing to be aware of at least three different timezones on a regular basis. It’s not that I’ve become more important, it’s just that the world has gotten smaller, thanks to technology and remote work.

        Technology conveniently also makes it easy to have clocks set to different timezones, but the trick, I’ve found, is to have those clocks where you need them when you need the time. The KDE Plasma Desktop has a few simple solutions for this problem.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Portfolio 0.9.13 – Martín Abente Lahaye

          After a few months of slow but steady progress, a new release of Portfolio is out. This new release comes with the ability to fully manage external devices, better feedback and responsiveness when copying big files to slow devices and many bugs fixes.

        • GTG 0.6 release candidate – The Open Sourcerer

          Today we are publishing a “release candidate” version of Getting Things GNOME 0.6. You can either try it out directly from the git master version (by running launch.sh; see the general instructions), or from the testing package available on Flathub’s “beta” repository, separately from the standard stable flathub/flatpak release you may already be running.

    • Distributions

      • Temporary EasyOS 3.4.1RC with 5.15.16 kernel

        I expected that the 5.15.16 kernel will be OK, released on January 20. I compiled it, and yes, works great.

      • New Releases

        • IPFire 2.27 – Core Update 164 is available for testing

          It is time to test another release for IPFire: IPFire 2.27 – Core Update 164. It comes with a vastly improved firewall engine, a new kernel and various security and bug fixes. Please help us testing this release and if you would like to support us, please donate.

          This update brings a new kernel for IPFire which is based on Linux 5.15. It comes with a large number of bug fixes, security fixes, and hardware support improvements. It brings improved performance for cryptographic operations on aarch64 and enables virtualisation support on this architecture, too.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • DSE digital transformation recap

          A great deal of IT updates have happened at Davie Street Enterprises (DSE) over the last year. The company’s digital transformation champions have all helped innovate and modernize the different aspects of their IT infrastructure. They’ve utilized the latest technology for adopting a hybrid cloud strategy that is safer, scalable, efficient, and enables modern application development practices.

          DSE did this through not one but many different technology providers—an entire ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs) with Red Hat’s software at the center. Next-generation application development, security, AI/ML, edge, application migration, and observability were all focus areas in the company’s journey. Here’s a sampling of everything it accomplished!

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Fixing performance issues with Realtek RTL8156B 2.5GbE USB dongle in Ubuntu

          few days ago, I reviewed a USB 3.0 to 2.5 Gbps Ethernet adapter based on Realtek RTL8156B chip in Ubuntu 20.04, and let’s say the reliability and performance were underwhelming. I got some recommendations like changing cables, the MTU size, etc…

          Playing around with cables did no help, but one comment mentioned the cdc_ncm driver could be the issue, followed by another saying that updating to Linux kernel 5.14 should install the correct r8152 driver… So I just did that…

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Every Software Developer Needs to be a Part of an Open Source Community – It’s FOSS News

        I’ve been involved in various open source software communities since I first discovered Linux back in 1998. Back then it was Red Hat Linux, v5.1 that I first experimented with as an intriguing alternative to Microsoft Windows 95. Using Red Hat Linux quickly turned into all kinds of involvement in projects like Ubuntu, GNOME, Abiword, and various libraries that other software made use of.

        I started the GNOME Journal, a now defunct monthly newsletter and community dedicated to deeper articles covering the exciting world of the GNOME desktop project. And it was from relationships made in this community that I eventually landed my dream developer role working full time on Ubuntu at Canonical.

        Using and participating in open source software projects literally changed my life and set my career in motion long before I had any formal engineering education or job. I would be a different person today without these amazing free and open community projects.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Taler

            Gian Demarmels and Lucien Heuzeveldt have finished their Bachelor’s thesis which adds a second blind signature scheme to GNU Taler.

      • Programming/Development

        • Computers and paper: BFFs forever [prologue]

          You also have to actually fork (not star…) GitHub repositories and download them, cause people take down that stuff, too. And you cannot rely on the Internet Archive to Wayback-machine everything. It doesn’t always work, and the crawls stop at a finite depth. Pretty famously in the type world, the Typedrawers web forum got taken offline a few years ago, erasing literally decades of industry discussion. The site owners never got around to restoring it. But even before that, they halfheartedly converted a bunch of the threads to some new CMS, which broke (a) every Wayback Machine link and (b) broke every internal URL in every thread and (c) broke every “previous page | next page” link in every Wayback link that did exist. They still have not been brought to justice.

          Anyway, I digress. That minor effort works fine for digital originals. It gets a lot harder for printed sources. This is where a real database-driven tool becomes mandatory. I’ve been using Zotero, which is fine as it goes although it has plenty of pain points. It is, at least, something that you can run entirely on your own machine (although they do try to rope you into using their hosted service, which you have to pay for if you go over the comically-small limit). And, obviously, it’s FOSS and runs on Linux machines.

        • Packaging CopperSpice | [bobulate]

          CopperSpice is a collection of libraries – a toolkit, if you will – for developing cross-platform applications in C++. That should sound familiar to KDE people, and it is an LGPL v2.1 fork of Qt from around 2013. In many ways, it is a purely-QWidget continuation, which modernized (C++17, CMake) much earlier than Qt itself. There are some applications that use it, but CopperSpice is rarely packaged (Arch only until today!) for use as a system library. Its consumers probably build CopperSpice locally as part of a product, and this post explains why (and what I did to make to packageable on FreeBSD).

        • Why and how to start with the system Ruby modular packages

          Modular packages fixes the biggest complain of a single system Ruby package by giving you more options. Let’s see how to install different Ruby versions from modular packages in Fedora, CentOS Stream or Rocky Linux.

          Although I am a fan of chruby (read my comparison of ruby-build with ruby-install), long compile times is something I dread. A lot of times, I just used system packages.

          System packages are fast to install (no compilation!) and easy to maintain (free security updates!), but there was one thing that prevents most to use them: a single version in the repository. This is exactly what modular packages are trying to fix.

          Since Fedora 28 times we got one extra RPM repository called Fedora Modular. It’s a repository that lets you install this modular packages and should be installed for you by default. The repository is called AppStream on RHEL, CentOS Stream, and Rocky Linux. But essentially it’s the same thing.

        • Programming things that have gotten easier

          Hello! I was talking to some friends the other day about the types of conference talks we enjoyed.

          One category we came up with was “you know this thing that used to be super hard? Turns out now it’s WAY EASIER and maybe you can do it now!“.

          So I asked on Twitter about programming things that used to be hard and are now easy

          Here are some of the answers I got. Not all of them are equally “easy”, but I found reading the list really fun and it gave me some ideas for things to learn. Maybe it’ll give you some ideas too.

        • Jussi Pakkanen: Please provide tarball releases of your projects

          A recent trend in open source projects seems to be to avoid releasing proper release archives (whether signed with GPG or not). Instead people add Git tags for release commits and call it a day.

          A long and arduous debate could be had whether this is “wrong”, “right” and whether Git hashes are equivalent to proper tarballs or not, or if –depth=1 is a good thing or not. We’re not going to get into that at all.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Some tricks for prettier xs

            XS has a reputation of being ugly and cumbersome, but in my experience, it doesn’t have to be. Let’s take for example this snippet from my Thread::Csp::Promise class:

            MODULE = Thread::Csp PACKAGE = Thread::Csp::Promise PREFIX = promise_

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Homemade Panadapter Brings Waterfall To Old Radio | Hackaday

        Ham radio operators can be pretty selective about their gear. Some are old-school tube purists who would never think of touching a rig containing transistors, and others are perfectly happy with the small Software Defined Radio (SDR) hooked up to their PC. The vast majority, though, of us are somewhere in between — we appreciate the classic look and feel of vintage radios as well as the convenience of modern ones. Better yet, some of us even like to combine the two by adding a few modern bells and whistles to our favorite “boat anchor.”

      • Make Your Own Tabletop Game Organizers With Online Tool | Hackaday

        There is a vibrant cottage industry built around selling accessories to improve the storage and organization of tabletop games, but the more DIY-minded will definitely appreciate [Steve Genoud]’s deckinabox tool, which can create either 3D-printable designs, or ones more suited to folded paper or cardstock. Making your own organizer can be as satisfying as it is economical, and [Steve]’s tool aims to make customization simple and easy.

      • Spectrometer Detects Chemicals By Zapping Samples With A Laser Beam | Hackaday

        Here at Hackaday, we love projects that result in useful lab equipment for a fraction of the cost of professional gear. [Lorenz], over at Advanced Tinkering, built his own instrument for Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, or LIBS, and it’s quite an impressive device. LIBS is a technique for analyzing substances to find their chemical composition. Basically, the idea is to zap a sample with a powerful laser, then look at the little cloud of plasma that results and measure the wavelengths emitted by it.


        The software also contains a database of spectra corresponding to chemical elements: once you’ve taken a spectrum of an unknown sample, you can overlay these onto the resulting plot and try to find a match. The resulting system seems to work quite well. Samples of iron oxide and silver oxide gave a reasonable match to their constituent components.

      • All About Dichroic Optical Filters | Hackaday

        [IMSAI Guy] presents for your viewing pleasure, a nice video on the topic of optical filters and mirrors. (Video, embedded below) The first optical device is a simple absorption filter, where incoming light is absorbed in a wavelength-selective manner. Much more interesting however is the subject of interference or dichroic filters. These devices are constructed from many thin layers of a partially reflective material, and operate on the principle of interference. This means that photons hitting the filter stack will interfere either constructively or destructively giving the filter a pass or stop response for a particular wavelength.

        As [IMSAI Guy] demonstrates, this makes the filters direction-specific, as photons hitting the stack at a different angle will travel slightly further. Longer travel means the interference effect will be different, and so will the filtering response. You can see this by playing around with one in your hands and seeing the color change as your rotate it. Dichroic filter films can also make for some stunning optical effects. Very cool stuff.

      • Reverse Engineering A 900 MHz RC Transmitter And Receiver | Hackaday

        For those building their own remote controlled devices like RC boats and quadcopter drones, having a good transmitter-receiver setup is a significant factor in the eventual usability of their build. Many transmitters are available in the 2.4 GHz band, but some operate at different frequencies, like the 868/915 MHz band. The TBS Crossfire is one such transmitter, and it’s become a popular model thanks to its long-range performance.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Wazuh Vulnerability detection

            Wazuh is able to detect vulnerabilities in the applications installed in agents using the Vulnerability Detector module. This software audit is performed through the integration of vulnerability feeds indexed by Canonical, Debian, Red Hat, and the National Vulnerability Database.

          • YARA Integration with WAZUH – Unix / Linux the admins Tutorials

            Wazuh can integrate with YARA in different ways. YARA is a versatile Open Source pattern-matching tool aimed to detect malware samples based on rule descriptions, although it is not limited to that use case alone.

            This use case focuses on automatically executing YARA scans by using the active response module when a Wazuh FIM alert is triggered. This is an interesting way of using YARA as it concentrates the scans on new or recently modified files in your environment, thus optimizing resource consumption on the monitored endpoints.

[Meme] EPO “Upskilling”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Look, ma! I skilled 'up'; Formalities!

Summary: EPO management is wasting the time of staff and is doing illegal things while increasing the staff's stress levels

EPO Management Still Treats EPO Workers Poorly, Even During Pandemic

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A candid letter from the EPO’s staff representatives helps shed light on how staff of the EPO feels, with particular focus on DG1 colleagues in Job Groups 5 and 6

THE Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO, or elected staff representatives (for patent examiners for the most part), wrote to the Welsh outsourcer of António Campinos earlier this month ahead of a meeting scheduled to take place later this week. This Welsh Microsoft outsourcer isn’t a by-product of Benoît Battistelli, but he’s problematic nonetheless. He didn’t net or secure this high-paying job to do what’s right; he’s at the EPO to serve the “alt-right” of the patent world — the extremists who lack respect for science and facts.

“As for the EPO managers using buzzwords like “upskilled”, this is a codeword for companies like IBM to get rid of older (more senior, experienced, and well-organised) staff.”Towards the end of last year concerns were raised citing “house arrest” (not the same as “house ban”) and this has a lot of impact on the EPO’s operations, not just human rights compliance and mental wellbeing of modest people. A bad EPO cannot attract the staff the EPC demands. Some days ago the CSC told staff: “In October 2021 we started meeting Job Group 5 and 6 colleagues to gather first-hand information on their concerns and their well-being status, and to ask them for their views on future perspectives for their Job Group and Job Profile. Amongst the colleagues we met were various Formalities Officers (FO) teams in The Hague. Their feedback will serve as a basis for our discussions with the Vice-President DG1, with whom we will meet on 24 February. We would like to share the letter we sent him.”

Many members of staff received a copy of the letter, so why not reproduce it for members of the general public, including besieged programmers (who face threats from a wave of European software patents)?

Here is the full letter, which is dated 11 days ago (around the same time as the call for industrial action).


Dear Mr Vice‐President, dear Steve,

In October 2021 we started meeting Job Group 5 and 6 colleagues to gather first‐hand information on their concerns and their wellbeing status, and to ask them for their views on future perspectives for their Job Group and Job Profile. Amongst the colleagues we met were various Formalities Officers (FO) teams in The Hague.

It is their feedback which we would now like to share with you. We believe this should serve as a basis for our future discussions with you and your team so that we can best support our DG1 colleagues in Job Groups 5 and 6 by jointly working on proposals.

We received positive feedback about general access to teleworking and the delivery of necessary IT equipment. The possibility of working from abroad was welcomed as well as the flexibility in working hours. Staff that needed to be in the Office appreciated being allowed to do so. Regarding FO tasks, some colleagues explicitly appreciated the diversification entailed in their job and the possibility of working in projects.

There are, however, several issues which were reported to us, and which we would also like to bring to your attention (not necessarily presented in order of importance):

Organisational issues: Small teams find it difficult to properly organise holidays or cope with sick leave in their units. The obligation to take leave on enforced Office closure days is extremely unpopular, especially as the original intention of these closure days, to save heating costs, etc., is no longer valid when the Office buildings are not being occupied.

There are strong concerns about the upcoming reorganisation, the planning of which FOs feel that, once again, they were not involved in. Whilst this reorganisation is scheduled to happen in the second quarter of 2022, no clear information has, as yet, been made available.
Our colleagues request to be properly informed about changes they have to prepare for.

IT Tools: FOs are exhausted due to the constant changes in IT tools in their area. They wish to be better involved in the development of any new IT tools in order that their needs are met. Changes are often perceived as unnecessary and are implemented in an illogical manner. FOs would like to have a break and time to absorb the changes. In addition, with the multiplication of channels of communication and knowledge sources a lot of time has been lost in searching for information.

Impact of (excessive) teleworking: Though there is still good social bonding in the teams from pre‐COVID times, personal interactions and/or integration into DG1 and staff groups is strongly missed. Some colleagues report that they suffer from loneliness and demoralisation. Many report screen fatigue. Colleagues who come to the Office premises are frustrated that, without a canteen, sports facilities etc, they are not able to see and talk to colleagues in person.

Teams were merged shortly before mandatory teleworking started; therefore, members of the new teams have not had the chance to meet with their colleagues. This absence of face‐to‐face interaction is felt to be prejudicial to proper integration into new teams.
Trainers and coaches report that virtual training is more challenging due to the limited possibility to detect and address difficulties trainees might have.

Future perspective: Our colleagues complain about the limited and fuzzy information they receive about their future work. They do not know whether they will continue to do what they did the last 10 years for another 10 years, or whether they will rather have to apply for a job in another department – this is frustrating and gloomy. The message from management that “no one will be left behind” is simply not enough. Several colleagues are considering early retirement due to this uncertainty.
FO colleagues have a thorough knowledge of the complex and ever‐changing patent procedure, most of them have been working for many decades – despite often obsolete and unreliable IT tools – to support and complement the work of Examiners. Yet, management considers that they need to be “upskilled”; this very term is perceived as disrespectful and adds to the general feeling that management do not know about FO work.
In addition, our FO colleagues consider the loss of the LPS as very damaging to the knowledge transfer process, and for the accessibility and efficiency of procedural support. FOs need proximity procedural support and the work of SCAPES should be limited to 2nd level procedural support.

Career and rewards: According to our colleagues, the Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) is unfair, and the career system is broken. Several older colleagues, who are stuck in the last step of the last grade within their Job Group, do not have the prospect of any further salary progression. Other colleagues report that starting in a lower grade, and with the New Career System, it will be impossible to reach the last grade and step of their Job Group. There is no transparency regarding (pensionable) rewards and bonuses, and our colleagues ask what the functional allowances are about. There is a clear feeling that not all FOs receive adequate rewards. They also regret there was no reward for their achievements during the pandemic year 2021. In our colleagues’ perception, there is a lack of recognition from the side of management. Part‐timers (most often mothers) feel discriminated against as they cannot be involved in projects and are therefore not equally valued.

In the meantime, we have received an invitation to meet you and your team on 24 February in order to further discuss JG 5&6 matters. We hope that the feedback raised by our colleagues can serve as a sound basis for this discussion and to help define the next steps. We are looking forward to a fruitful meeting,

Kind regards,

on behalf of the Taskforce JG 5/6 matters

Many people who work or have worked from home would be able to relate to some of the above sentiments. As for the EPO managers using buzzwords like “upskilled”, this is a codeword for companies like IBM to get rid of older (more senior, experienced, and well-organised) staff. You basically twist experience and seniority as a negative, a burden, a liability. Maybe Microsoft told Mr. Rowan that having no keylogger on your PC makes your skills “outdated”.

The Patent Distortion: Weekly Series About Failure of the Media to Properly Explain Patents and Generally Cover the News

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum f107a69eb169cb963741255a76f1976a
News is Noise in 2022 – Part I
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Video download link | md5sum b81f8359a9b7b23ce0c75b0e40423209
News is Noise in 2022 – Part II
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Today we resume last week’s ‘experimental’ series in which we review patent 'news' along with related news, for the most part condemning the online sources (heavily gamed by special interests) for misinformation, disinformation, defamation (e.g. of judges) and basically lobbying activities/marketing campaigns wrapped up as “journalism” or “reporting”; it wasn’t always so bad and in 2022 it has come to the point where over 90% of “coverage” is misleading, one-sided, sometimes even fabricated

SO last week we tried, probably for the first time*, a 3-hour video exploring the past week’s “news” about patents, explaining that it had gone so rogue that it’s hard to find actual journalism; instead, one receives lots of lies, lobbying, and deliberate distortion of facts by law firms. We’ve since decided to make this a weekly feature, seeing that many people accessed last week’s video.

That’s not to say that 0% of the “news” about patents is worthless or misleading (sometimes to mislead politicians). The other day, for instance, we saw this new report about Dr. Duda, whom we wrote about many times before, even a few years ago. Duda complains about well-connected technology giants looking to ‘steal’ and then patent his work; the latest ‘heist’ is blamed on Microsoft:

Microsoft last month received a US patent covering modifications to a data-encoding technique called rANS, one of several variants in the Asymmetric Numeral System (ANS) family that support data compression schemes used by leading technology companies and open source projects.

The creator of ANS, Jarosław Duda, assistant professor at Institute of Computer Science at Jagiellonian University in Poland, has been trying for years to keep ANS patent-free and available for public use. Back in 2018, Duda’s lobbying helped convince Google to abandon its ANS-related patent claim in the US and Europe. And he raised the alarm last year when he learned Microsoft had applied for an rANS (range asymmetric number system) patent.

Now that Microsoft’s patent application has been granted, he fears the utility of ANS will be diminished, as software developers try to steer clear of a potential infringement claim.

“I don’t know what to do with it – [Microsoft's patent] looks like just the description of the standard algorithm,” he told The Register in an email. The algorithm is used in JPEG XL and CRAM, as well as open source projects run by Facebook (Meta), Nvidia, and others.

We’re quite certain patent examiners are aware of such problems; under pressure from management, given that Microsoft is a "big client", patents would often be erroneously granted, not only on maths/algorithms but also to the wrong person/s.

“It’s about promotion of crime and cover-up of severe abuses, it’s not about informing EPO stakeholders.”In the video above, the first of several (we’ve sometimes split weekly series into several parts or few logical chunks), I’ve decided to trawl though some RSS feeds and focus on the degree of deception; putting aside Google ‘News’ (Gulag Noise), which is stacked or gamed or Googlebombed by litigation profiteers, there are so-called ‘news’ sites like Juve and Watchtroll, which are in the pocket of those same litigation profiteers. Even Patenty-O, which is run by a lecturer**, recently bragged (even repeatedly) that it was being sponsored by litigation profiteers that lobby for software patents. How is one expected to retrieve objective news about patents when litigation profiteers control just about every outlet? As for the EPO, its Web site became a constant propaganda mill that defies the EPC and instead glorifies Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, illegal actions, and even European software patents. It’s about promotion of crime and cover-up of severe abuses, it’s not about informing EPO stakeholders***.

“At some stage we might make a one-page index for this current series.”As I noted last week, both in text and in video, the reason it’s likely better to respond in video is that it is faster, more expressive, and takes full advantage of increasing network capacities; at the moment we have no restrictions on space and traffic (SAN migration completed earlier this month), which we’ve hopefully secured for years to come. In case there’s downtime in the main site, use the Gemini capsule or its Web proxy. They’re part of our anti-censorship mechanisms and they can also outlive the World Wide Web, which probably won’t be around at all several decades from now. The videos are, by default, encoded as WebM, but we can always format-shift these if that becomes necessary in the future. A full archive of our videos can be found here (we have 877 WebM files, 647 Ogg files, and 58 MP4 files). At some stage we might make a one-page index for this current series.
* We used to do weekly features about Novell and OpenSUSE about 15 years ago. These features targeted strategic areas at particular times (back then we explained that SUSE itself quite likely needed to be separated from Microsoft/Novell).
** Post-Jeremy IP Kat (it used to be controlled by a lecturer) was never the same after sanctions from the EPO. Now it’s controlled by people who work for aggressive litigation firms and patent profiteers (e.g. AstraZeneca).
*** Today’s EPO management fails to understand that actual scientists should be the main/sole stakeholders. Instead, the politicians who run the EPO are led to think “licensing societies” matter the most and they’re not even stakeholders but “users” or “clients” or “customers” (as if the EPO is a shop).

There Was Never ‘Web 2.0′, So There Cannot be ‘Web 3′ and the Future of the Web Doesn’t Look Good

Posted in Site News at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Internet traffic breakdown by companies
Internet traffic breakdown by protocols
Source (more here [PDF])

Summary: On the Internet, the share of the World Wide Web relative to other protocols is waning (partly due to mobile platforms) and one must adapt or perish

Back when I was a student there was a lot of hype about this ‘Web 2.0′ thing (I too got a little carried away by it at first). But what did that actually mean? JavaScript? So-called ‘Ajax’? Nobody even uses that term anymore…

When it comes to software, waves come and go very, very fast (unlike other disciplines).

Later came the social control media wave and some people already yearned for the days of RSS feeds, hoping for a revival of simple syndication (Mozilla won’t bring that back; Mozilla has in fact been phasing that out because Mozilla is in the pockets of the industry that hates aggregation and wants to spy on everything, even mouse movements).

“When it comes to software, waves come and go very, very fast (unlike other disciplines).”At the time of typing, Lupa says: “There are 2135 capsules. We successfully connected recently to 1739 of them.”

Even if it triples every year, it’ll be 6 years before we reach a million or more capsules. There’s meanwhile justified concern/doubt about the fate of social control media as a whole. In fact, see the article “Social Media Giants Face Uncertain Future” where Variety asserts: “Macroeconomic factors usually impact major social media companies in similar ways. But in Q4, the three social giants — Meta, Snap and Twitter — all outlined different narratives and mixed messaging for the future of their businesses.”

“…Later came the social control media wave and some people already yearned for the days of RSS feeds, hoping for a revival of simple syndication…”It’s a bubble, as we noted a week ago, “and JoinDiaspora Might be the Next Casualty” (earlier today in the relevant thread Dennis Schubert wrote: “It’s Sunday! And it’s February 20! What a surprise! As everyone would have guessed based on nobody else posting any update, we’re still communicating and planning. Nothing to update. And with that, I’ll be gone again, and I’ll see y’all when we have something to update, or on February 27th, whichever comes earlier.”)

The fate of JoinDiaspora isn’t yet known, but for the sake of keeping the momentum of Diaspora* going there’s will and intent to keep the data and the platform rolling. We shall know more by next weekend.

All that hype about ‘Web 3′ was rightly mocked by Aral Balkan, who jokingly coined ‘Web 0′ (like Alex Oliva with ’0G’).

“There’s meanwhile justified concern/doubt about the fate of social control media as a whole.”Predicting the future of connected communities is hard, but it’s certainly not VR rebranded as “metaverse” (whatever that even means! Facebook was just desperate to change the news cycle and distract from scandals by rebranding as “Meta” with a ridiculous logo). For us here in Techrights, for the time being it’s IPFS, Gemini, HTML/HTTP, and lots of plain text, including IRC. Rushing to change by embracing hype and gimmicks can be a bit foolish; it’s akin to Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), wrongly believing that if you reject or miss out on something new/modern you’ll be left behind. As if not having a ‘smart’ ‘phone’ (spyphone) and a Facebook account somehow worsens your life…

In December 2020 we started making a lot more videos and it was a decision that has paid off; with automation in the pipeline videos can be produced very fast and contain a lot of information. Sure, they would be worthless without some text to accompany them and cover the main points.

“In almost its entire lifetime/existence Twitter rarely made any profits; it accumulated billions in losses and it wasn’t about money but about filtering/censorship.”Video isn’t a ‘Web’ thing. Videos can be shared over IPFS, (S)FTP(S), torrents, and even Gemini to some extent (provided the videos aren’t very long, due to the protocol’s limitations). So we’re not too worried about the Web’s impending demise, which seems assured albeit rather slow. We have almost 100 GB of videos in Techrights, they can be shifted to other (newer) formats if needed, and they’re already accessible from Gemini.

Going back to the article from Variety, it says “given that social media companies make the bulk of their revenue from ads, this warning [from Facebook] was extremely worrisome. Snap and Twitter stocks fell in sympathy, and many were worried they could face the same fate.”

In almost its entire lifetime/existence Twitter rarely made any profits; it accumulated billions in losses* and it wasn’t about money but about filtering/censorship. It was about manipulation. It was about power and control. We know who by

“It’s hard to say what will come after the Web, but what’s certain is that it won’t survive forever (the existence of it contributes to the discord and conflict, which also threatens the very survival of the human species).”Our guess is that of utmost priority is data preservation. Make sure you can export your work and ‘format-shift’ it. When we made the Gemini capsule one very neat ‘side effect’ was, finally we had a full static “site” (capsule) of Techrights, which is highly portable (we can even offer a 200MB compressed archive of the entire site). It’s hard to say what will come after the Web, but what’s certain is that it won’t survive forever (the existence of it contributes to the discord and conflict, which also threatens the very survival of the human species).

In the meantime we hope that JoinDiaspora can endure these difficult times; the work (or profile) of more than 310,000 users is still in there. We don’t want it to become Another Identi.ca. In theory, converting JoinDiaspora into a static site or even a capsule should be feasible, reducing a great deal the computational costs and making preservation vastly cheaper. But maybe better to wait until we know what replaces the Web, if anything that exists already
* Twitter is still losing money, but it fakes its worth. “Stock buyback/share repurchasing,” an associate reminds us, is basically “legal embezzlement…”

This was true last year and the year prior to that. So they pretend to be big while they’re mostly burning money or living on debt.

Geminispace Has Thousands of Contributors (Writers and Developers)

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 1a7dceef3cff529dd78e695ad29c46c5
Exploring Geminispace
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Geminispace can be easily surveyed/explored using a list of the known capsules in it (while it’s still small relative to or compared to the World Wide Web)

THE steady growth of Gemini wasn’t just some temporary surge. Just a month ago there were about 1,600 working capsules and now there are 1,736 known to Lupa (we’ve reproduced a long list of active capsules here). It means about 4 capsules in net gain per day, on average…

Geminispace growingI spent a very considerable amount of time (more so last night) going through many of them and they’re more than 90% personal (individuals) rather than corporate or something else. Quite a few of them have multiple tenants (or authors), which means that the number of people actively contributing to Gemini space (or Geminispace) is a lot higher than the number of active capsules.

Perhaps in the coming weeks or months we’ll be dealing with some of these capsules individually, in essence introducing them to a wider audience, which they deserve.

Links 20/2/2022: Free Software in U.S. Department of Defence and GNOME 42 in Focus

Posted in News Roundup at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 2021 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award Winners

        The polls are closed and the results are in. We once again had some extremely close races (and multiple ties) and the large number of new categories this year certainly kept things interesting. Congratulations to each and every nominee. The official results: [...]

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Kernel 5.16.10 broken

        Same story. I compiled the 5.16.10 kernel, booted it, it spewed out a lot of stuff to the screen, then a black screen and had to do a hard power-off.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Boost Note on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Boost Note on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Boost Note is an open-source and advanced note-taking editor app for programmers and developers. It’s an application that is available for major operating systems such as Linux, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Arch Linux.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Boost Note Note-taking app on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • SHOW USERS in MySQL – How to Show/List All Users in a DB

        In this short and simple tutorial, I’m going to show you how to show all the users in a MySQL/MariaDB database.

        There are many SHOW commands in MySQL: SHOW DATABASES, SHOW TABLES, SHOW VARIABLES, etc. Naturally, people expect there to be a SHOW USERS command. However, there’s no “SHOW USERS” in MySQL. There’s a different method to showing/listing all the users in a database in MySQL.

        I’ve wondered why there’s no SHOW USERS command, I even tried running SHOW USERS; in my early days. The actual command to show all the users in MySQL is still pretty simple and easy to remember.

      • Install AngularJS in Ubuntu 22.04 | 20.04 Linux – Linux Shout

        AngularJS is a framework for development, here we learn the commands to install AngularJS on Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy JellyFish or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa using Terminal.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • First Look at GNOME 42’s Built-In Screenshot and Screencast Feature

          I bet that you’ve read about GNOME 42’s built-in screenshot and screencast feature in the past, but you probably never saw it in action in its full and final state. As such, I wanted you to be the first to see it in action and learn about its capabilities right here on 9to5Linux.

          First of all, I want to make it clear that this is not a new app that will replace the GNOME Screenshot utility, but a built-in functionality of GNOME Shell that you can activate in the GNOME 42 desktop environment and later versions via the PrtSc (Print Screen) key on your keyboard.

    • Distributions

      • Tiny Core Linux: The Smallest Linux Distro Ever Made

        You might look at the current crop of major Linux distros and see how big their ISO images are. It’s common to see the sizes balloon to several gigabytes.


        As the name suggests, Tiny Core Linux is a Linux distribution that is meant to have, well, a tiny core. It’s intended to be the bare minimum to boot up and display a desktop. This includes the kernel, BusyBox, an FLWM desktop, and nothing else.

        The TinyCore ISO image is only 21MB. External applications are called “extensions” and must be downloaded separately through the package manager.

        The distro was founded by Robert Shingledecker, who had previously developed Damn Small Linux. You can consider Tiny Core Linux a spiritual successor to DSL.

        The idea behind Tiny Core is that the entire system will be copied into your RAM, making it very fast.

      • Slackware Family

        • I now have a US mirror for Slackware Live and other goodies | Alien Pastures

          Thanks to an anonymous sponsor, I am now operating a physical server in a US data center with a 1 Gbps connection to the Internet.

          This server addresses a complaint of many people who are trying to download ISOs of the Slackware Live Edition. My slackware.nl aka download.liveslak.org server is hosted in a Dutch datacenter in Amsterdam, and it looks like people outside Europe, in particular downloaders in Southern Pacific region, are experiencing terribly slow speeds when fetching content from that server.

      • Debian Family

        • Our pick of the best desktop environments for Debian | FOSS Linux

          Debian comes with support for basically every open-source desktop environment designed to work on Linux. This flexibility of Debian makes it such a compelling Linux distribution for playing around with. No matter if you are a casual desktop user, a power user who needs to manage workstations, or maybe you want to experience a Linux DE for the first time, Debian has you covered.

          In this article, we have decided to dive a little deeper and choose the best desktop environments for different Debian users. This classification explains which desktop environment will suit which kind of user to let you decide and choose one quickly.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The U.S. Department of Defence has published new guidelines for the internal use of open source for cyber defence purposes

        Specifically, the new guidelines on software development and open source software attached to the memorandum first and foremost require the Department to follow an “adopt, buy, create” approach when procuring software solutions, preferentially adopting existing government or open source software solutions before turning to proprietary systems, and only creating new non-commercial software when there are no other off-the-shelf solutions available or fit for purpose.


        A. The Department must follow an “Adopt, Buy, Create” approach to software, preferentially adopting existing government or OSS solutions before buying proprietary offerings, and only creating new non-commercial software when no off-the-shelf solutions are adequate.

        (1) OSS meets the definition of”commercial computer software” and therefore, shall be given equal consideration with proprietary commercial offerings, in accordance with Section 2377 of Title 10, U.S.C. (reference (e)) (see also FAR 2.l0l(b), 12.000, 12.101 (reference (f)); and DFARS 212.212, DFARS 208.74, DFARS 227.7202, and 252.227-7014(a)(l) (reference (g))).

        (2) In accordance with FAR 13.104, (reference (h)) refusal to consider all OSS based solely on software being open source may be contrary to statutory and regulatory preferences for commercial products, and would unnecessarily restrict competition. OSS should be considered to the maximum extent practical.

      • Deputy CIO for Information Enterprise Danielle Metz and DoD Chief Software Officer Jason Weiss Hold a Media Briefing on the DOD Software Modernization Strategy

        DCIO(IE) DANIELLE METZ: Good afternoon everyone, really appreciate you participating today in this — today’s media roundtable, what I wanted to do is just provide a little context in terms of where the department has been on this journey in terms of evolving from the 2018 DOD Cloud Strategy to the Software Modernization Strategy that was just signed out last week by DSD Hicks. Our journey started in 2020, when we recognized that we had a significant problem but we weren’t capturing what that problem set was, and what we wanted to be able to do was to take a step back and crystallize what the problem was. So that we can ensure that we were delivering what was needed as a solution set for the warfighter, and what I mean by that is we spent, and the Federal government has spent, a lot of time advocating for people to move to the cloud. But we never thought about what it would be once we were in the cloud, and that’s where you’re really harnessing the power of cloud and compute.

      • Programming/Development

        • 5 Top Free and Open Source C Web Frameworks – LinuxLinks

          One of the types of software that’s important for a web developer is the web framework. A framework “is a code library that makes a developer’s life easier when building reliable, scalable, and maintainable web applications” by providing reusable code or extensions for common operations. By saving development time, developers can concentrate on application logic rather than mundane elements.

          A web framework offers the developer a choice about how to solve a specific problem. By using a framework, a developer lets the framework control portions of their application. While it’s perfectly possible to code a web application without using a framework, it’s more practical to use one.

          C is a general-purpose, procedural, portable, high-level programming language that is one of the most popular and influential languages. It was designed to be compiled using a straightforward compiler, to provide low-level access to memory, to provide language constructs that map efficiently to machine instructions, and to require minimal run-time support. Many programming languages owe a considerable debt to C. It has become something of the lingua franca in the programming world.

    • Standards/Consortia

  • Leftovers

    • The Contract Is Signed

      This week I finally signed a contract with Seven Stories Press and Censored Press for the book I’m writing on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s case. On a professional level, it’s my first book contract. Reading through all the twisting and turning lines riddled with unnecessary jargon was on some level intimidating, but it was also validating. Guilty of Journalism: The Political Prosecution of Julian Assange will be released in 2023. The book will be about 250-280 pages.My final edit is due to the publisher in June. I’ll complete the last chapters for the book by the first week of May.

      Mickey Huff and Andy Lee Roth at Project Censored have already shown me a lot of support over the past months. They will be there every step of the way to help me write the best book possible on the United States government’s prosecution of a journalist.The details are not entirely worked out, but it looks like I will have discounted copies for paid subscribers of the Dissenter Newsletter when the book is released next year. I’ve written chapters covering the charges against Assange and the CIA’s war on WikiLeaks. Next week I move on to Chelsea Manning’s court-martial and the grand jury investigation, which eventually led to Manning being jailed for a year after she refused to testify against Assange.Thanks for all your patience during the first months of the year as I compile the book. By mid-May, reports from The Dissenter Newsletter should be more frequent. Until then, please know I am extremely gracious to have paid subscribers like you who helped me get to the point where writing a book was possible.

    • Dad Cuts Entire Town’s Internet To Get His Kids Offline, Likely To Be Fined Or Even Jailed!

      The issue was brought to attention after the L’Agence nationale des fréquences (ANFR) – the organisation responsible for assessing radio frequencies in France received a complaint from a mobile operator. Signal drops were impacting the telephone and internet services of people living in Messanges.

    • Hardware

      • DIY Hydrophone Listens In On The Deep For Cheap | Hackaday

        The microphone is a pretty ubiquitous piece of technology that we’re all familiar with, but what if you’re not looking to record audio in the air, and instead want to listen in on what’s happening underwater? That’s a job for a hydrophone! Unfortunately, hydrophones aren’t exactly the kind of thing you’re likely to find at the big-box electronics store. Luckily for us, [Jules Ryckebusch] picked up a few tricks in his 20-year career as a Navy submariner, and has documented his process for building a sensitive hydrophone without needing a military budget.

      • It’s Bad Apple, But On A 32K EPROM | Hackaday

        The Bad Apple!! video with its silhouette animation style has long been a staple graphics demo for low-end hardware, a more stylish alternative to the question “Will it run DOOM?”. It’s normal for it to be rendered onto a screen by a small microcomputer or similar but as [Ian Ward] demonstrates in an unusual project, it’s possible to display the video without any processor being involved. Instead he’s used a clever arrangement involving a 32K byte EPROM driving a HD44780-compatible parallel alphanumeric LCD display.

      • DIY Float Valve For Passive Hydroponics Leverages 3D Printing | Hackaday

        [Billy] has a special interest in passive hydroponics (also known as the Kratky method), which is a way of growing plants in nutrient-rich water that does not circulate. As the plant grows and liquid level drops, only the tips of the roots remain submerged while more and more of the root surface is exposed to oxygen in a harmonious balance. However, “thirsty” plant types (tomatoes, for example) throw off this balance, and the system needs to be modified. To address this, [Billy] designed and printed a passive float valve system that takes care of topping up the reservoir only when needed, without using pumps or any other electrical equipment.

        Commercial or industrial float valves are too big to use in his small tanks, which led [Billy] to test dozens of DIY designs. He used everything from plastic water bottles to pipe ends, but nothing quite measured up. With 3D printing, [Billy] was able to create a sealed, lightweight float that exactly matched the housing and tube locations.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Supreme Court Could Restrict US Agencies’ Regulatory Power in Air Pollution Case
      • The true cost of empty offices

        Cities have often bounced back from crises. From pandemics and earthquakes to floods and fires, the world’s urban powerhouses have emerged stronger when faced with adversity. After the Great Fire of London destroyed most of the city in 1666 a raft of fire-safety regulations were ushered in. Builders swapped timber for brick or stone. Walls were made thicker. Streets became wider. When cholera tore through America in the 1850s New York and other cities introduced sewage systems and public parks. As the disease spread to Paris, authorities there too introduced radical public-health measures. Tree-lined boulevards were built, fountains were erected and slums were cleared.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Google Drive is flagging some macOS files for copyright violation

          Some macOS users trying to upload their own files to Google’s cloud storage service have been met with copyright violation notices.

          A disgruntled Reddit user recently reported that a ‘.DS_Store’ file on their Google Drive was flagged by the search giant for violating its copyright infringement policy. Apparently, this isn’t the first time this issue has been encountered as macOS users also reported experiencing similar problems last month.

        • Security

          • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 205 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 205. This version includes the following changes:

            * Fix a file(1)-related regression where .changes files that contained
              non-ASCII text were not identified as being .changes files, resulting in
              seemingly arbitrary packages on tests.reproducible-builds.org and elswhere
              not comparing the package at all. The non-ASCII parts could have been in
              the Maintainer or in the upload changelog, so we were effectively
              penalising anyone outside of the Anglosphere.
              (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#291)
            * Don't print a warning to the console regarding NT_GNU_BUILD_ID changes in
              ELF binaries.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Explained: How a ‘fake image’ in a Saudi activist’s phone blew the lid off NSO’s Pegasus spyware

              As per the Reuters report, Citizen Lab found that al-Hathloul’s phone was infected with a version of the malware that could penetrate without requiring any action from the user’s end. This newer version, called the ‘zero click’ malware, launches itself in the device without the target of the spying ever having to click or tap a suspicious link.

              The ‘zero-click’ feature in Pegasus was introduced as an update to an earlier version of the malware, which required the target to click a link, sent either through an email, an SMS, or a message on WhatsApp or Apple’s iMessage.

              Such zero-click malware also delete all the evidence of their presence once they infect the user, thereby leaving behind no proof. This, according to cybersecurity researchers, makes it difficult to establish if the phones were being tracked.

            • Meta axes a head of global community development after he appears on video in underage sex sting – TechCrunch

              Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has confirmed to TechCrunch that Jeren A. Miles, who had been a manager of global community development, is no longer employed by the company after a video went viral on YouTube, which was then reposted on Reddit and other sites, featuring him in a sting operation conducted by amateurs […]

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The US Owes Afghanistan Reparations, Not Starvation
      • Russia alarmed about foreign troops on Bornholm

        To support its position, the Russian Embassy in Denmark has produced a note from 1946 relating to the Soviet handover of Bornholm to Denmark following WWII.

        Russia maintains that the note – an official correspondence between Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet Union’s foreign minister at the time, and Danish diplomat Thomas Døssing – proves Denmark agreed to never allow foreign troops onto the island.

        “1946 Notes from #DK and #RU sides on the issue of non-deployment of foreign troops on #Bornholm,” wrote the Russian Embassy in Denmark on Twitter.

      • Russia-Ukraine will be world’s first ‘naked war’

        Commercial satellites and civilian snaps produce a birds-eye view of the unfolding international crisis. It’s not likely to stop once the shooting starts but not everything can be taken at face value. Deliberate misinformation is regularly being fed into the mix.

        This can simply be a troll seeking enjoyment out of sewing chaos. It can also be a concerted campaign by military agents.

        But the tools needed to check, validate and verify are also in the hands of the general public.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Opinion | Forget Russia—Blame the Fossil Fuel Industry for Europe’s Gas Dependency

          With the shadow of conflict in Ukraine threatening to turn the EU’s energy crisis into a full-blown catastrophe should Russia turn off the gas supply, it is worth reflecting on how we got here.

        • Opinion | The Mountain Valley Pipeline Can Never Be Completed—Time For Everyone to Admit It

          The first tree should never have been cut, the soil never disturbed. That’s the take away from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ February 3 ruling on Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC. Each and every act of resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) over the last seven years is validated by this ruling.

        • Opinion | The Fossil Fuel Industry Is a Jobs-Killer

          For years now, any discussion about climate action or the need to move off fossil fuels has run headlong into a familiar quandary: The industries fueling the climate crisis create good jobs, often in areas of the country where finding work that can support a family is incredibly difficult. 

        • World funds own destruction with $1.8 tn subsidies: study

          The world must by 2030 slash $1.8 trillion in annual subsidies that destroy the environment, in order to “finance a net-zero global economy”, according to a study Thursday from business groups including one founded by tycoon Richard Branson.

          The report, estimating the value of damaging state subsidies, was commissioned by Branson’s nonprofit initiative The B Team and global coalition Business for Nature, which comprises academic, corporate and environmental organisations.

          The vast subsidies, totalling two percent of global gross domestic product, fund the “global destruction of nature” and governments worldwide must act, the two organisations said in a statement.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • How Facebook twisted Canada’s trucker [blockade] into an international movement

        This pipeline — from physical protest to social media to establishment outlets — is what has helped the [blockade] evolve from a local standoff into a televised event that can raise millions from supporters thousands of miles away. Almost all of that infrastructure pre-dates the [blockade] itself, drawing from anti-vaxx groups, QAnon, and other fringe communities. And while the [blockade] itself may soon be broken up by the Canadian government, those online pathways are much stickier.

      • Estonia calls on Russia to stop ‘provocations, disinformation campaign’

        The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote on social media that it was “seeing worrying reports on Russia’s attempts to spike up tension in Eastern Ukraine”.

        “Estonia fully condemns such actions and calls on Russia to stop the provocations and its disinformation campaign,” it said, showing solidarity with Ukraine by using the #StandWithUkraine hashtag.

      • National Round-Up: Right-wing party leader claims Chernobyl blast only caused 50 deaths!

        It turns out that Vermund’s 50 were all emergency workers directly killed by the blast, whereas Jørgensen was including those who died as a result of the fallout.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Director of Blonde assures that the film will be for adults and mocks the rumors about its censorship

        Joyce Carol Oates decided to write a novel to analyze Monroe as a protagonist, whose role finally gave her some light and voice over her life. The story is not a classic biography and it is not totally based on real events, but it reflects very well the personality of the actress, what the world expected of her and the abuses she had to suffer. For several years, the novel was thought for an adaptation, but the appropriate way to achieve it or the perfect Monroe was not found until she arrived Anne of Arms.

      • Is 2022 the Year of Censorship?

        Part of the current cycle is clear myside bias, a psychological construct that notes it’s easier to see bad behavior among one’s foes than among one’s allies. This is why I think we observe people passionately condemning censorship from the “other side” yet paradoxically equally defending censorship among one’s allies. Typically, individuals try to excuse their censorship as not really censorship… school boards have the right to set pedagogy (true, they do), or the censorship is coming from private companies, not the government (true, the First Amendment isn’t concerned with even massive tech companies’ control of speech).

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • In Prison, We Celebrated the First Step Act. We Realized It Falls Far Short.
      • Inmates who died asked for release before falling ill with Covid

        The deaths of these three women imprisoned in West Virginia reflect a federal prison system plagued by chronic problems exacerbated by the pandemic, including understaffing, inadequate medical care, and few compassionate releases. The most recent statistics from the Federal Bureau of Prisons report 284 inmates and seven staff members have died nationwide because of covid since March 28, 2020. Medical and legal experts say those numbers are likely an undercount, but the federal prison system lacks independent oversight.

      • Hostility to Aurat March

        IT is that time of year once again when defenders of the patriarchy spring into action with spurious arguments to protect the status quo. This time, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri is leading the charge.

        He has written to Prime Minister Imran Khan to ask him to ban Aurat March on International Women’s Day — March 8 — and declare it as International Hijab Day, claiming that the women’s rally held annually to mark the UN-designated occasion contravenes religious principles. Interestingly, the minister in his letter dated Feb 9 acknowledges the importance of International Women’s Day in raising awareness of women’s rights, but then proceeds to decry as un-Islamic the banners and slogans that often feature at the Aurat March.

      • Evangelist Beaten, Tied Up to Be Burned for Converting

        “My uncle accused me of embarrassing them by holding Christian evangelistic, open-air meetings and debates with Muslims,” Bruhan told Morning Star News. “He accused me of being an infidel by converting to Christianity, and that Allah will reward them in Jannah [garden paradise] if they kill me.”

        Bruhan remained quiet, he said.

        “He said to me that it is now the right time for me to receive punishment from Allah, whereby I was going to be burned alive and the birds of the air will enjoy me as their meat,” Bruhan said.

    • Monopolies

      • The last days of Myspace

        But capturing or killing rivals was only half the story. The other half was Facebook’s ruthless campaign directed against its own users, whom Facebook sought to impose “switching costs” on. A “switching cost” is the value of everything you give up when you switch out a product or service for a rival. Facebook did everything it could to increase the switching costs of leaving for a competitor, including plotting to hold your family photos hostage:


        That’s important, because low switching costs are kryptonite for network effects. If you could leave Facebook and still talk to your Facebook friends (the way you can leave your cellular carrier without leaving behind the people you talk to on your phone), then the first time Facebook really pissed you off, you could just quit.

        In other words, network effects are how companies like Facebook get big, but high switching costs are how they stay big.

      • Copyrights

        • Preemptive Blocking Orders Help Greece Tackle Sports Streaming Piracy

          A new amendment to Greece’s copyright law makes it possible to block domain names and IP addresses of pirate live-streaming sources 24 hours before an event starts. The legislation mostly benefits sports rightsholders. Thus far, at least 362 domain names and 185 IP addresses have been blocked, stopping over 100,000 people from watching pirated streams.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 19, 2022

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:51 am by Needs Sunlight

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