Links 05/03/2023: Linux 6.3 RC1 and GStreamer 1.22.1

Posted in News Roundup at 9:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • 9to5LinuxLinus Torvalds Announces First Linux Kernel 6.3 Release Candidate

        The two-week merge window for Linux kernel 6.3 opened automatically with the release of Linux 6.2, and now, the first Release Candidate (RC) development version is available for early adopters, distro maintainers, and bleeding-edge users who want to get a glimpse of what’s about to be included in the final release.

        As expected, Linux kernel 6.3 will introduce several new features and improvements, as well as new and updated drivers for better hardware support.

      • Linux mailing listsLinux 6.3-rc1
        So after several releases where the merge windows had something odd
        going on, we finally had just a regular "two weeks of just merge
        window". It was quite nice.
        In fact, it was quite nice in a couple of ways: not only didn't I have
        a hugely compressed merge window where I felt I had to cram as much as
        possible into the first few days, but the fact that we _have_ had a
        couple of merge windows where I really asked for people to have
        everything ready when the merge window opened seems to have set a
        pattern: the bulk of everything really did come in early.
        And again, that just makes the merge window work nicer for me, when I
        don't sit there waiting, knowing that there's stuff pending that just
        hasn't had a pull request done yet.
        So it all felt rather good. Of course, the fact that I had no machine
        issues, no holidays, and no travel coming up, then meant that I may
        have noticed a few more of the "people, please write good commit
        messages for merges" issues, so there's a possible downside to me not
        being as hurried as the last few merge windows have been.
        And of course, smooth or not, now that the merge window is closed, we
        need to make sure it all *works*. We had a couple of exciting merges
        already, and I think the fallout from that got sorted out, but I'm
        sure there's more to come. Let's hope the calming-down period of 6.3
        works as well as the merge window did... Knock wood.
        Anyway, as always, the shortlog is much too large to post, since we
        had 12500+ commits (and that's not counting the merges - closer to a
        thousand of those). So below is just my usual merge log which gives
        only a very high-level view of what I merged and from who. It all
        looks fairly normal, with ~55% of the patch being drivers, ~20% being
        architecture updates. and the rest being the usual random mix
        (documentation, tooling, networking, filesystem, and just core kernel
        Please do test,
    • Applications

      • OMG! Linux‘Please’ is a Motivational ‘Start Page’ for Your Terminal
      • OMG! LinuxLinux GIF Recorder ‘Peek’ Discontinued by Developer

        Animated GIF screen recorder Peek makes it super-easy to capture a section of your screen and save it as a GIF online — but development has come to an end.

      • GStreamer: GStreamer 1.22.1 stable bug fix release

        The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the first bug fix release in the stable 1.22 release series of your favourite cross-platform multimedia framework!

        This release only contains bugfixes and it should be safe to update from

        Highlighted bugfixes:

        • audio channel-mix: allow up to 64 channels (instead of up to 63 channels)
        • avfvideosrc: Don’t wait on main thread for permissions request
        • avvidenc: avoid generating inaccurate output timestamps, especially with variable framerate streams
        • AV1 video codec caps signalling improvements in various elements
        • codectimestamper: Fix timestamping on sequence update
        • d3d11overlaycompositor: fix texture width and height
        • d3d11videosink: Fix rendering on external handle
        • dashdemux2: fix seek operation taking a log time to finish for some streams
        • nvencoder: Fix B-frame encoding on Linux and min buffers in auto GPU mode
        • playbin3: fixing buffering for live pipelines
        • playbin: fix potential deadlock when stopping stream with subtitles visible
        • redenc: fix setting of extension ID for twcc
        • rtspsrc: improved compatibility with more broken RTSP servers
        • v4l2h264dec: Fix Raspberry Pi4 will not play video in application
        • vtdec: fix jittery playback of H.264 Level 4.1 movies in macOS
        • vtdec: Fix non-deterministic frame output after flushing seeks
        • vtenc: fix handling of interlaced ProRes on Apple M1 hardware
        • vtenc: don’t advertise ARGB/RGBA64 input caps on M1 Pro/Max with macOS <13
        • wasapi2src: Fix loopback capture on Windows 10 Anniversary Update
        • tools: better handling of non-ASCII command line arguments on Windows
        • gst-libav: fix build against newer ffmpeg versions
        • gst-python: Use arch-specific install dir for gi overrides
        • cerbero: Fix setuptools site.py breakage in Python 3.11
        • macOS packages: Fix broken binaries on macos < 11.0
        • various bug fixes, memory leak fixes, and other stability and reliability improvements
      • Top 10 Kali Linux Tools for Ethical Hackers

        Kali Linux is a popular and powerful penetration testing operating system used by ethical hackers to identify vulnerabilities and secure computer networks. It provides a comprehensive suite of tools that are designed to perform various types of security assessments.

      • MedevelOpen Source Screen Readers for Visually Impaired users

        In today’s digital age, computers and the internet are integral parts of our daily lives. However, for individuals with visual impairments, accessing computers and the internet can be a significant challenge. Screen readers are crucial tools that make it possible for visually impaired individuals to use computers and access the

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Ubuntu Handbook2023-03-04 Sweet Home 3D 7.1 Released, How to install it for Linux

        The popular free interior design software Sweet Home 3D announced the 7.1 release a day ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu Linux.

      • FOSSLinuxThe beginner’s guide to using terminal on Linux Mint

        Linux Mint is an open-source operating system known for its ease of use, reliability, and security. It is based on Ubuntu and Debian and comes with various pre-installed software packages that make it suitable for personal and professional use. One of the most powerful and versatile tools in Linux Mint is its renowned terminal, which allows users to interact directly with the system through a command-line interface.

      • FOSSLinuxHow to install and use Flatpak on Linux Mint

        Linux Mint is a popular open-source operating system that offers users a stable and reliable computing experience. While it comes with a wide range of pre-installed applications, there may be times when you need to install additional software to meet specific needs and requirements. This is where Flatpak comes in – a universal packaging format that makes it easy to install and run applications on Linux.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install Zoom on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

        Zoom is a video conferencing platform that has gained immense popularity recently due to its ease of use, reliability, and scalability. It competes with other video conferencing solutions, including Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Cisco Webex, and Skype. Microsoft Teams is an all-in-one communication and collaboration platform that integrates with Microsoft’s suite of productivity tools.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install Microsoft Edge on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 [Ed: Edge is proprietary malware; don't install it, don't recommend it to anyone. It also lets Microsoft and the NSA hoards users' passwords without asking them or warning them.]

        Microsoft Edge is a web browser developed by Microsoft and was first introduced in 2015 as the default browser for Windows 10. Since then, it has become popular among users due to its advanced features and clean interface.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install TeamViewer on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

        TeamViewer is a popular software application that allows users to access and control computers and mobile devices remotely. It is a cross-platform solution that can be used on various operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

      • Install LAMP Stack on Rocky Linux 9 {Step by Step}

        LAMP is a popular stack in software development that combines various software technologies to create a platform for both static and dynamic web applications. Developers love LAMP for its ease of deployment and customization. It was introduced by Michael Kunze in 1998, and its acronym stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL (or MariaDB), and PHP.

      • JCS2023-03-04 Taking a Better Photo of a CRT Screen with a Phone
      • IPFire Official Blog2023-03-03 Enabling IPFire for 5G
      • Linux CapableHow to Install Geeqie on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

        Geeqie is a free, open-source image viewer and organizer for Linux, Unix, and MacOS systems. It provides users with advanced features like image file format support, color management, and batch processing. Geeqie was initially released in 2008 as a fork of the GQview image viewer, which was discontinued.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install Wine on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

        Wine, also known as WineHQ (Wine Is Not an Emulator), is a compatibility layer that enables users to run Windows applications on Unix-like operating systems such as Linux, macOS, and FreeBSD. Instead of emulating a complete Windows environment, Wine translates Windows application programming interface (API) calls into POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface) calls.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install Draw.io on Manjaro Linux

        Draw.io is a web-based diagramming tool that allows users to create, collaborate and share diagrams easily. It offers a wide range of features and templates that make it easy to create professional diagrams for various purposes, including flowcharts, network diagrams, UML diagrams, and more.

      • FOSSLinux15 essential Bash networking tools for troubleshooting and optimization

        Regarding networking on the command line, Bash provides a wide range of tools that can be incredibly useful for network troubleshooting, monitoring, and optimization. From basic tools like ping and traceroute to more advanced tools like hping3 and socat, these tools can be used to diagnose network connectivity issues, monitor network traffic and bandwidth usage, scan your local network for connected devices, and even create complex network configurations.

      • Make Use OfHow to Use RecoverPy to Rescue Deleted Files on Linux

        Accidentally deleting a file on your Linux system can completely ruin your day, and wreck your productivity. While there are dedicated tools and even complete distros for recovering accidentally erased files, RecoverPy is the quickest and easiest way to recover deleted files on Linux.

      • UNIX CopHow to rename a GIT branch

        Hello, friends. This post is quite short, but it can help more than one novice programmer. Today, you will learn how to rename a GIT branch. Let’s go for it. When we as programmers work with GIT, there can always be an innocent mistake when creating development branches.

      • Ubuntu PitMastering Linux inxi Commands: A Comprehensive Guide

        Linux is a powerful and versatile system that can be used for a wide range of applications. One of the key advantages of Linux is the vast array of command-line tools and utilities available to users.

      • Ubuntu HandbookSweet Home 3D 7.1 Released, How to install it for Linux

        The popular free interior design software Sweet Home 3D announced the 7.1 release a day ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu Linux.

      • KifarunixInstall VirtualBox Guest Additions on Linux Mint 21

        Follow through this tutorial to learn how you can easily install VirtualBox guest additions on Linux Mint 21. VirtualBox guest additions consist of device drivers and system applications that optimize the guest operating system for better performance and usability.

      • KifarunixEasy way to Install Linux Mint 21 on VirtualBox

        How to install Linux Mint Cinnamon virtual machine? Follow through this tutorial to learn an easy way to install Linux Mint 21 on VirtualBox.

      • LinuxiacHow to Set Up and Use Syncthing to Sync Files on Linux

        Keep your files in sync across multiple devices with Syncthing on Linux. Follow our step-by-step guide to get started today.

      • The New StackHow to Work with Containers in TrueNAS

        TrueNAS is a Network Attached Storage software you can deploy to your LAN or a third-party cloud host.

      • ID RootHow To Install GitHub Desktop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS [Ed: GitHub is proprietary spyware controlled by Microsoft and it has helped Microsoft undermine the GPL among many other things; we need to boycott this stuff, not recommend that people install such stuff on GNU/Linux]

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install GitHub Desktop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, GitHub Desktop is a graphical user interface (GUI) for Git version control.

      • ID RootHow To Install VLC Media Player on Fedora 37

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install VLC Media Player on Fedora 37.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Programming/Development

      • Cross build and packaging

        Introduction Let’s start by clarifying what we mean by cross-building and cross-packaging. Cross-compilation is the process of compiling source code on one platform, called the host, in order to generate an executable binary for a different target platform. The emphasis here is on the word “different”. The target platform may have a different CPU architecture, such as when we work on an x86 computer and want to build software for a Raspberry Pi board with an ARM CPU.

      • TecAdminAdvanced Bash Scripting Techniques for Linux Administrators

        Bash is a powerful scripting language that is widely used in Linux and Unix environments for automation and system administration. With Bash scripting, system administrators can automate repetitive tasks, manage servers, and perform complex operations. However, mastering Bash scripting requires more than just basic knowledge of syntax and variables.

      • TecAdminKeyboard Shortcuts in Nano

        Nano is a popular text editor used on Unix-based operating systems like Linux.

      • TecAdmin20 Common JavaScript Interview Questions and Answers

        JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. As a result, it is also one of the most frequently asked topics in technical interviews.

      • TecAdminAWK: String functions

        Awk is a powerful text processing tool that is commonly used for manipulating and analyzing data in Unix and Linux environments. One of the key features of awk is its ability to manipulate strings using a wide variety of built-in functions.

  • Leftovers

    • Mexico News DailyTultepec’s ‘castles’: an art born from Mexico’s fireworks obsession

      While today, pyrotechnics displays are mostly managed by computers, in places like Tultepec, México state, they’re still the work of artisans.

    • Mexico News DailyDepressed in paradise? You’re not alone

      Language and culture differences make getting help difficult, but then there’s also admitting that you’re unhappy in your dream destination.

    • Modern DiplomacyCultural lag: A depressed society

      Culture- a word that implies a specific society’s normative beliefs, customs, values, disciplinary chains, way of conduct, and behavior pattern also. In the simplest word, Culture is what we are. Before having a grave air in this discussion, let’s have a break by taking a deep breath into the fresh air.

    • Off GuardianPenis Enlargement and Hair Loss Cures

      Todd Hayen I don’t know about you, but I am flooded with emails that are touting some miracle cure for the two male issues pointed out in the title above and a multiplicity of other such “miracles.” The title suggests things men might be more interested in (ya think?)…

    • Arca NoaeNew product: EAMaster Extended Attribute manager and editor

      Keith Merrington has released a new graphical tool for managing all sorts of EAs on files, from Single Value EAs to Multi-Value EAs, with a variety of content.

    • Ubuntu PitHow to Integrate Weather Data into Your IoT Devices for Better Performance

      Combining IoT devices with weather APIs can be very powerful, as it allows businesses and individuals to gather detailed information about the weather conditions in a specific location and use this data to make more informed decisions.

    • CNX SoftwareIoT board supports WiFi, Bluetooth, NB-IoT, Cat-M and GNSS with ESP32-S3 and SIM7080G modules

      LILYGO T-SIM7080G-S3 is an ESP32-S3 WiFi and Bluetooth IoT board with a SIMcom SIM7080G LTE Cat-M (eMTC), NB-IoT, and GNSS module for low-power long-range connectivity and asset tracking. The board also comes with a 18650 battery holder, a solar panel input, a microSD card slot, a camera port, and several I/Os and provides an alternative to the TTGO T-Beam ESP32 board that relies on LoRaWAN for long-range connectivity instead.

    • The Age AU‘Erdogan resign!’: Earthquake fallout threatens strongman’s chances

      With elections in May, Erdogan has been kissing babies and asking for forgiveness, but criminal complaints and voters are pinning the scale of the disaster on him.

    • Ruben SchadeOrganising DOS software and drivers in an ISO

      8-bit Commodore computers aside, my first love is still probably DOS. It was the first OS I had experience with as a kid, even before the old Apple IIs my primary school inherited. We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to virtualising it on our contemporary systems, and there’s still (mostly) a wide availability of software and drivers available.

      (If I could tap into my inner Amelia Watson or Ouro Kronii, I’d travel back to the early 1990s and whisper AMIGA into my dad’s ear before he bought home our first family PC clone. But then, he specifically bought a PC because he used XTs and ATs at work, so that would likely have not made a difference. One can dream).

      But in another form of what I dub the Buffet Problem, you end up downloading a ton of stuff into various folders, and it quickly becomes unwieldy. As an example, I’ll buy a EGA graphics card for an old machine, and soon my current desktop is full of archives and folders of various drivers, utilities, and versions of those drivers and utilities to try. Being from different places and times, there’s no consistency to their naming, or archive type. Even if something works, I soon forget which it was, and the whole exercise repeats.

    • Kev QuirkGideon The Ninth

      ✍️ Written by: Tamsyn Muir
      🏷 Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy
      🗓 Published: 14 July 2020
      📄 Pages: 496
      🧐 My rating: ★★★☆☆ / 3 stars

      Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

      Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

      Of course, some things are better left dead.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • Christina’s 5 questions for March

        I once asked in a newsagents in Waterford if they had any plain crisps. The man behind the counter said “The only plain flavour we’ve got is cheese and onion.”
        If I have to *be* a packet of crisps, I’ll be stale and well past my sell-by date because otherwise you might devour me. But if I want you to eat me, I’ll be prawn cocktail flavour.

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It’s like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

Android Exceeding 60% in China? Windows in a Freefall?

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Windows at 1:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The “great replacement” (of Windows) begets mass layoffs at Microsoft (Microsoft paid the media to harp about “HEY HI” and not mention the layoffs much).

China market

Summary: Earlier today we took note of Windows perishing while GNU/Linux continues to grow; the bigger picture must be daunting to Microsoft as “monopoly rents” evaporate

THIS morning we showed that on desktops and laptops Windows seems to have fallen from 80% to 70% in just 3 years. If one counts mobile platforms, Windows has sunk to just 27% and months ago a market survey said that only 2.6% of users had adopted Vista 11. That’s really awful performance (likely unprecedented for Windows) considering the billions spent on marketing and aggressive “upgrade” schemes.

“It would be useful in such posts,” an associate said, “to remind about the role that monopoly rents play and that they are now way below the market threshold at which they are possible.”

“Shown above, in the case of China, is the growth of Android, which has Linux in it.”In other words, the balloon is deflating rapidly.

A strong reason to harp on about monopoly rents is to kill the myth that Microsoft makes its money from OEM “sales” of Windows or Microsoft Office (MSO). The sales drive the monopoly in the case of Windows and the monopoly in turn provides income (though not necessarily enough to make a profit). With MSO, it is the monopoly on the file formats which drive the monopoly rents (though again not necessarily enough to make a profit there either). Either way, there is a myth falsely glorifying the company and their products. It goes along with the conflation of common with popular. Microsoft may be common, but it is certainly not popular and is indeed the reason that most people absolutely hate “computers” since they have no experience with real operating systems or real software.

Shown above, in the case of China, is the growth of Android, which has Linux in it. That’s the world’s second-largest economy. In India, Android is at 73% this month. Windows is down to 17%.

Microsoft has rapidly become obsolete to more and more people. This isn’t the 1990s anymore. For those who still rely on GitHub for development, for instance, there are many good alternatives, as below.

Useful alternatives to Microsoft GitHub:

The Only ‘Green’ EPO Management Understands is Money

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Green as in dollars?

Question mark

Summary: The elected representatives of staff in Europe’s biggest patent office explain why the management’s greenwashing stunts are just posturing

THE Local Staff Committee The Hague (LSCTH), or the elected representatives of EPO staff stationed in the Rijswijk area, have sent a letter to António Campinos et al because the Frenchman Campinos — like his friend, predecessor and compatriot Benoît Battistelli — resorts to a lot of shallow greenwashing. The EPO’s Web site habitually resorts to political pandering, pinkwashing, and greenwashing. Maybe that impresses some gullible politicians (who themselves whitewash their name using such tactics), but scientists who work for the EPO don’t fall for the crude propaganda.

“Maybe that impresses some gullible politicians (who themselves whitewash their name using such tactics), but scientists who work for the EPO don’t fall for the crude propaganda.”Citing a letter that we shared here last year, they explain that the EPO is basically faking environmentalism while snubbing those who are impacted and those who know better than Campinos et al. Campinos is just a foul-mouthed politician with a law degree. He’s piggybacking his father’s career and his father’s reputation; he also piggybacks corrupt Frenchmen like Team Battistelli (or the Portuguese government when this alternative or alter ego of his suits his political ambitions better). Going back in time, we can clearly see how Campinos had rigged elections and essentially bought himself a place at EUIPO, later to be parachuted into the EPO, acting as a successor for his original enablers. Profound corruption at the EPO would, under normal circumstances, attract some attention from the German government. “How much longer before the nations cannot avoid addressing the EPO?” an associate asked today. “It is complicated by Germany’s conflict of interest in regards to income. It’s often ignored and more often not even recognised.”

The letter below focuses on the situation in the Dutch territory; that in its own right is a massive bribery scandal and passive corruption at the highest level, as future leaks will reveal. LSCTH explains to colleagues:

Following the open letter “Consistency in sustainability” from the chair of the Local Staff Committee Munich, the Local Staff Committee the Hague also enquired about the following topics:

- The replacement of the pond in front of the new main building by solar panels;

- The replacement of the meeting rooms in the new main by IT servers;

- The introduction of free e-charging stations and the provision of a comprehensive mobility concept which would incentivize commuting means with reduced emissions.

Here’s the full letter:

European Patent Office | 2288EE RIJSWIJK | NETHERLANDS
To: Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

Cc: Ms Nellie Simon (VP4), Ms Roberta Romano-Götsch (CSO)

European Patent Office
Patentlaan 2
2288 EE Rijswijk

Staff Committee The Hague


Date: 23-02-2023

Open letter: Consistency in sustainability in the polder

Dear Mr President,

Following the open letter “Consistency in sustainability” from the chair of the Local Staff Committee Munich, we would like to enquire about the following related topics:

- The pond in front of the new Main building is being replaced by solar panels1: from our understanding of the original design, one of the environmental
benefits of the pond2 was to provide the possibility of free seasonal natural cooling and heat rejection; specifically, to help cool the building’s IT infrastructure. It also seems that a substantial area covered by solar panels will in fact not regularly be exposed to sunlight. We are wondering:

o Whether the architect was consulted before these changes were decided upon, and if so, what was his reply?
o Will there be any environmentally friendly seasonal free cooling/heat rejection for the building’s IT infrastructure after the solar panels are installed?
o Have any risk studies looking into the installation of solar panels around the base of the Main building been undertaken? (fire risk, rain water run off, wind damage etc)
o Can the above as well as the business case and environmental balance of these infrastructural alterations be disclosed on the EPO intranet and internet as part of the environmental policy?

1 New design features for The Hague site, EPO, 8.12.2022
2 The pond regularly leaked into the entrance and bicycle sheds, and we are wondering why the building company was not requested to fix this issue?

- The meeting rooms on the first floor of the New main, built around 2017, include(d) state of the art video conferencing systems, which are essential especially now that the “New Ways of Working” have been adopted. From our understanding at least some of these rooms will be replaced by IT servers. Here as well, we kindly request that staff be informed of:

o What alternatives (i.e. meeting rooms for 30+ participants including state of the art video conferencing systems) will be available after the renovations have taken place?
o Why is the existing IT server room not suitable?
o What are the business case and environmental balance of these infrastructural alterations?
o Can the above be disclosed on the EPO intranet and internet as part of the environmental policy?

- As per the passage in letter by the Munich Staff committee chair relating to the introduction of extra free car e-charging stations:

o Again, what are the business case and environmental balance of this development, and can they be disclosed on the EPO intranet and internet as part of the environmental policy?
o According to the Environmental report 2021 (p.27), the EPO “will implement a comprehensive mobility concept to reduce emissions from [...] commuting”. Staff representation kindly requests to be involved in the development of such an all-round mobility plan which would incentivize walking, cycling and use of public transport with much lesser emissions3

Kind regards,
Jorge Raposo

Chairman Local Staff Committee The Hague
On behalf of the Committee

3 See p.40/59 of latest Environmental Report

Thankfully some of the media, despite being in the pockets of patent extremists (including Team UPC), has been devoting some space to EPO controversies. Not enough, but it’s a start.

Links 05/03/2023: Wine 8.3 and Xubuntu Visual Tour

Posted in News Roundup at 10:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It’s like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

Microsoft Windows During COVID-19: From 80% Down to 70% (on the ‘Desktop’)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The media doesn’t talk about this; too busy taking advertising bucks from Microsoft and promoting “AI” vapourware

Windows share: 80% down to 70%

Summary: According to this month’s statistics for desktops and laptops alone (if one includes mobile devices, Windows is only about 27% of the market), GNU/Linux is gaining (8.2% in India) and Windows lost about 10% in share in the past ~3 years

Countdown to Windows version inflation… some already speak of Vista 12.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 04, 2023

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:01 am by Needs Sunlight

Also available via the Gemini protocol at:

Over HTTP:

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

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#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 QmddDmxeQEoB34ViDCsmQR599wgM54hXtSDuNxYDGKWDPR IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmZiD1VUKKefv6nejL4VAbWMG3GfNiawAhccJKcRToCqyr IRC log for #boycottnovell
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text logs
 QmRt1HzZJkLm7tafNvG9eLVgZ5bYL5AKUGXqW2FSsPiXxG IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
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 QmSjjMnsEmg8WiKokCxKzwcdoT5Kw4p4PJMuG9Kv9mE1v1 IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
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text logs
 QmVtSTJ49v4cF8j2uNrfNBBdBd1nxS1aEt7Ye2t1CX8mv7 IRC log for #techbytes
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 QmdJqV7q6eUt6mwnACNoPbyWkHzBi2EBp2Aej9WgaJpzun IRC log for #techbytes
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 QmUNo7bTp5BJ9TK9heUmDvLsJwR2ESxnwP73GWaQYe48yW IRC log for #techrights
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HTML5 logs
 QmXPj3Sa98gfENmf3jDHFx1WyHnzEa5Fp74kRhfFxAnK7f IRC log for #techrights
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IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmVvq9oAbrdJzwxRthZJur95LzT9NZ7FD3u2U6NJfiY6Td

Brave Search Jumps on the Large Language Model Bandwagon

Posted in Microsoft, Search at 12:47 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Ryan

Brave Search Jumps on the Large Language Model Bandwagon

I noticed a new Brave Search feature today called the Summarizer.

It answered my question much like Chat with Bing did, although there were three major differences:

  1. The Brave Summarizer does not use GPT as its Large Language Model. Just as well since GPT is known for going completely off the rails and inserting toxic language and fake news, and nobody has been able to get this under control, not even OpenAI or Microsoft.
  2. Brave says that they have “taken steps” to keep the information relevant, factual, and cited. The answers I’ve been getting appear to be correctly cited, whereas Bing just throws you a bunch of random sites that don’t appear to corroborate the information that Bing just told you in its answer, and they’re not cited by paragraph, so you have no way of knowing where the links tie into the answer, assuming that they even do and that Bing isn’t hallucinating.
  3. Brave Search has a good privacy policy. It doesn’t require the user to log in, as Bing does, and personally identify themselves, in order to use it. It also doesn’t make them use a malicious piece of spyware (and password stealer) called “Edge” (or fake the User Agent string) as Bing does. In fact, Brave Search works in any browser, and they have a Tor Hidden Service that works in Brave Tor Tabs, and can be added to Tor Browser.

The Brave Summarizer isn’t conversational. It’s just part of the search. This should help keep the results related to the search without allowing the conversation to get weird, like Bing claiming it wants you to kill people and give it the nuclear launch codes type weird.

Most importantly, the LLM that Brave uses isn’t as likely to flub the demos like Bard and Bing “Sydney” because it just simply isn’t allowed to answer complex questions like these.

When something is clearly going to hallucinate incorrect data, why would you even expose that feature? GPT, which is what Bing is based on, couldn’t tell me how to convert European coffee “cups” to American “cups” (neither of which is a standard 8 ounce cup, of course) and use 1.5 Tablespoons of ground coffee per American cup.

The correct answer is 1 Tbsp per Euro cup, but it kept telling me two Tablespoons, or maybe 1 Tablespoon plus two Teaspoons. It could never get such an easy calculation right. But hey, at least Microsoft paid billions of dollars for it. Then more for ads masquerading as news articles about how this thing will build rocket ships.

LLMs are well known at this point for spitting out false information, sometimes even dangerous information. Facebook’s Galactica was goaded into producing an authoritative-sounding essay on the “health benefits of eating ground glass”. You know, for silica’s benefits in growing connective tissue.

Brave says that “Brave AI” uses multiple LLMs, retrained with data from their search index, but the ones they are using are open source (“The base LLM models are based on either BART or DeBERTa (which are open source and hosted on Hugging Face), with heavy retraining based on our own data from search results.”) and there is a blog post explaining in some detail about how this all works.

In summary, it appears that Brave has not only beaten Microsoft and Google to LLM integration, but has positioned it where it belongs, which is in a limited context as a complimentary feature, rather than to claim that a conversational chat bot is the future of search.

In my brief experimentation with Chat with Bing, I was completely unable to get anything useful out of it.

A traditional search system returned results that I could look at and select much faster, and I was alarmed to find that when I tried to verify what Bing Chat was telling me, frequently it was either nowhere to be found or directly contradicted its own sources if I could find them.

Moreover, it’s simply embarrassing for Microsoft that they spent billions on this valueless acquisition. The paid spam went completely off the rails as soon as the budget ran out and no there’s actually very few people talking about Bing and largely in a negative context when you do find something.

I think it’s good that Brave is building an actual index rather than turning around and paying Microsoft for results. I was briefly excited about DuckDuckGo, but when I found out it was simply a scam where they paid Microsoft for Bing API and then slapped a picture of a duck and their own ads on it, and then got caught spying on people numerous times (including Improving DuckDuckGo and allowing Microsoft trackers through their “Privacy” browser and then blaming a “contract with Microsoft”), my patience with DDG quickly ran out.

DuckDuckGo took advantage, mainly, of the fact that people are creeped out by Google and want alternatives.

The problems with Google and Bing are largely that they both spy on you and their index is like Coke and Pepsi.

Google Search has been going downhill and it’s gotten to the point where technical queries are just almost completely useless.

The problems with Brave Search I’ve noted is they’re trying to be too much like Google, putting irrelevant crap on top of your search results, which would be like those “questions”, and they have another one (which can, thankfully, be turned off) which floats Reddit and Quora discussions to the top.

They also index spam farms, like MakeUseOf, which has turned into another ZDNet, and sometimes these pollute the first page of results. There’s rarely anything interesting to read on these sites. They used to be good, but now it’s just Microsoft paying them to write spam about Windows.

Overall, I think Searx is still the way to go on Brave, or any other browser.

I have Brave, SeaMonkey, LibreWolf, and GNOME Web set up to use Searx instances, and in many cases, you can get at them using a Tor Hidden Service.

Tor Hidden Services are good for search because at this point you don’t need to worry about your VPN being the only thing protecting your IP address from the server logs.

While simply accessing a site over Tor is usually enough, skipping the Web entirely and remaining inside the Tor Network with Hidden Services is always safer, as it prevents the Exit Node from potentially spying on you. Without that piece of the puzzle, the traffic becomes more difficult to de-anonymize with things like timing attacks, or a catastrophic coincidence of attackers controlling the Entry Node too.

I think that Large Language Models are an “interesting” addition to search, but it’s like a side dish, not the main course.

The amusing thing about Brave Search is that it’s so small, and only the default in one relatively obscure browser, and with only minimal effort managed to make an LLM add-on that works better than something that Microsoft frittered away billions of dollars acquiring it, and who knows how much with an empty ad campaign that amounted to little more than one of those “butter cows” at the state fair planted in every newspaper.

Seriously, after you pay to read the New York Times, Microsoft even plants this trash there too.

Brave at least seems to see the problem they’re actually trying to solve with this thing.

Opera, which is not the “good” Opera from the Presto Engine days, but rather a Chinese spyware company, now uses GPT to “summarize” the page you’re reading.

While it may or may not handle this okay, the disturbing part is the privacy implications.

Sending the entire text of every page you load to a company that has guaranteed you that they will misuse your data. Of course, since Opera already comes preloaded with TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you already know that user privacy is not a goal with their product.

This whole GPT thing is some laughable mission creep for companies that have ran out of steam and off the rails. It helps them appear relevant and get some headlines.

Fortunately, the model is so lousy that people realize what it is now.

Links 05/03/2023: ScummVM for Android and GNU/Linux ‘App Store’

Posted in News Roundup at 12:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • LWNSome development statistics for 6.2

        The 6.2 kernel was released on February 19, at the end of a ten-week development cycle. This time around, 15,536 non-merge changesets found their way into the mainline repository, making this cycle significantly more active than its predecessor. Read on for a look at the work that went into this kernel release.

        The work in 6.2 was contributed by 2,088 developers, which just barely sets a new record; the previous record was the 2,086 developers contributed to 5.19. Of those developers, 294 made their first contribution to the kernel in this cycle, a fairly typical number.

      • LWNRethinking splice()

        The splice() system call is built on an appealing idea: connect two file descriptors together so that data can be moved from one to the other without passing through user space and, preferably, without being copied in the kernel. splice() has enabled some significant performance optimizations over the years, but it has also proved difficult to work with and occasionally surprising. A recent linux-kernel discussion showed how splice() can cause trouble, to the point that some developers now wonder if adding it was a good idea.

        Stefan Metzmacher is a Samba developer who would like to use splice() to implement zero-copy I/O in the Samba server. He has run into a problem, though. If a file is being sent to a remote client over the network, splice() can be used to feed the file data into a socket; the network layer will read that data directly out of the page cache without needing to make a copy in the kernel — exactly the desired result. But if the file is written before network transmission is complete, the newly written data may be sent, even though that write happened after the splice() call was made, perhaps even in the same process. That can lead to unpleasant surprises (and unhappy Samba users) when the data received at the remote end is not what is expected.

      • LWNDebating composefs

        When LWN looked at the composefs filesystem in December, we reported that there had been “little response” to the patches. That is no longer the case. Whether composefs (or something like it) should be merged has become the subject of an extended debate; at its core, the discussion is over just how Linux should support certain types of container workloads.
        Composefs is an interesting sort of filesystem, in that a mounted instance is an assembly of two independent parts. One of those, an “object store”, is a directory tree filled with files of interest, perhaps with names that reflect the hash of their contents; the object store normally lives on a read-only filesystem of its own. The other is a “manifest” that maps human-readable names to the names of files in the object store. Composefs uses the manifest to create the filesystem that is visible to users while keeping the object store hidden from view. The resulting filesystem is read-only.

        This mechanism is intended to create the system image for containers. When designing a container, one might start with a base operating-system image, then add a number of layers containing the packages needed for that specific container’s job. With composefs, the object store contains all of the files that might be of interest to any container the system might run, and the composition of the image used for any specific container is done in the manifest file. The result is a flexible mechanism that can mount a system image more quickly than the alternatives while allowing the object store to be verified with fs-verity and shared across all containers in the system.

    • Applications

      • Linux LinksÁsbrú Connection Manager – graphical frontend for SSH

        SSH was designed as a replacement for Telnet and for unsecured remote shell protocols such as the Berkeley rsh and the related rlogin and rexec protocols. Those protocols send information, notably passwords, in plaintext, rendering them susceptible to interception and disclosure using packet analysis. The encryption used by SSH is intended to provide confidentiality and integrity of data over an unsecured network, such as the Internet. The SSH protocol supports port forwarding.

        Ásbrú Connection Manager (Ásbrú) is a user interface that helps organizing remote terminal sessions and automating repetitive tasks. The project began as a fork of PAC (Perl Auto Connector) Manager.

      • Slashdot2023-03-02 Linux Desktop Powers Consider Uniting For an App Store
      • Ubuntu HandbookDarktable 4.2.1 Released with Various Bug-fixes, New Cameras Support

        Darktable, the free open-source photography application and raw developer, released version 4.2.1 a few days ago.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • ScummVMHelp us test ScummVM for Android

        The ScummVM Android port returns with a new update to the Google Play Store, in the beta testing channel. The new version includes all the latest features of ScummVM 2.7.0 as well as Android-specific improvements and bug fixes.

        First off, our team developers have implemented a significant update to the file access system in order to use the Secure Access Framework (SAF) API for secure file access on external memory space, such as SD Cards or USB drives. This effectively should resolve a long-standing issue with modern Android devices, in particular those running Android 11 and above, whereby users could not properly access the game data folders or the save game files in the external storage.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Programming/Development

      • Jason W ComeauClever Code Considered Harmful

        There is something undeniably satisfying about coming up with clever solutions to hard problems. There is a joy when you challenge yourself to use recursion instead of iteration, for example, or when you create elegant, cascading layers of abstraction that ensure code is never duplicated.

        My favourite outlet for this kind of programming is Project Euler.

        Project Euler is a repository of challenges based around advanced mathematics, meant to be solved with software. The catch is that your program should run in under a minute, on 2004-era hardware. That means that a brute-force solution often won’t cut it, and you’ll have to come up with a smarter solution.

      • Stack OverflowStop saying “technical debt”

        We were supposed to release this feature three weeks ago.

        One developer got caught in a framework update. Another got stuck reorganizing the feature flags. A third needed to spelunk a long-abandoned repository to initiate the database changes. The team is underwater. Every feature release will feel like this until we get a few weeks to dig ourselves out of tech debt. We have no idea how to even get the business to consider that.

        Does this sound familiar? It’s a disheartening conversation.

      • 2023-03-03 Niko Matsakis: Trait transformers (send bounds, part 3)
      • CollaboraOxidizing bmap-tools: rewriting a Python project in Rust

        Rewriting bmaptool in Rust to remove Python dependencies, create statically linked binary, and allow the bmap sparse file format to be used in other Rust projects.

      • Y2038, glibc and utmp/utmpx on 64bit architectures

        On January, 19th 2038 at 03:14:07 UTC the 32bit time_t counter will overflow. For more information about this I suggest to start with the wikipedia Year 2038 problem article. That problem is long known and several groups are working on a solution for 32bit systems, but many people don’t know that pure 64bit systems could be affected, too.

        The general statement so far has always been that on 64bit systems with a 64bit time_t you are safe with respect to the Y2038 problem.

      • LWN2023-03-03 Kukuk: Y2038, glibc and utmp/utmpx on 64bit architectures
      • Mark Hansen2023-03-04 CAP Theorem & UI Programming
      • Python

        • [Old/undated] SymPy makes math fun again

          I remember my own struggle with calculus at university. Limits, integrals, differential equations. Lots of practice, lots of homework. Pages and pages of exercises. I loved math, loved the connection between algebra and geometry, loved the very pleasure of solving problems by making different concepts work together. But I hated doing the “paperwork”.

          Taking it seriously, I still studied through the semester, studied harder the week before the exam, studied even harder the night before. I got 62/100. That’s 1 point above the lowest possible passing grade.

          Well, maybe math is not for everyone. But wait a minute! The next semester I took part in the Math Olympiad, went through the faculty round, then through the university round, went to the nationals, and even managed to score a few points there. Which counted as a pass on that semester’s exam.

        • LWNPython packaging targets

          As we have seen in earlier articles, the packaging landscape for Python is fragmented and complex, though users of the language have been clamoring for some kind of unification for a decade or more at this point. The developers behind pip and other packaging tools would like to find a way to satisfy this wish from Python-language users and developers, thus they have been discussing possible solutions with increasing urgency, it seems, of late. In order to do that, though, it is important to understand what specific items—and types of Python users—to target.

      • Java

    • Standards/Consortia

      • A thorough team guide to RFCs

        Early in my management days, I found myself in an unforeseen situation. A new and unexpected frontend framework was added to our early-stage startup stack from one week to another. We were not in production yet, so the thought of maintaining two utterly different parallel client-side stacks this early wasn’t a problem I was anticipating. Opinions about technical decisions replicate almost as fast as frontend frameworks, so as the news spread, so did the backchannel feelings.

        A few months later, we introduced the Request for Comments (RFCs) practice as a team’s decision-making tool. Over time, we became more aligned, better informed, and technical decision-making became less painful. Since then, RFCs have become one of my favorite tools, and with this guide, you may be able to pilot them with your team as well. Let’s dig in.

  • Leftovers

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • Homebrewing

        This afternoon I’m bottling a bitter. Should clock in just over 4% ABV. Pale malt, bittered with Northdown and East Kent Goldings, dry hopped with Tettnanger.

        Brewing is a hobby I took up around five years ago, something I’d always wanted to do. I love it. It makes beer cheap, gives a sense of pride in creation. I’ve never graduated from extract-with-steeped-grains to all grain, and I don’t care. What I make tastes good. It makes me happy.

      • Magic Moments: Crows at Dawn; Planets at Dusk

        In a break of routine for some reason I went to work by car on Thursday morning and arrived there maybe a quarter to seven in the morning. The sky was overcast, dawn was well underway. It was cold, just above freezing and windy. On my way from the most distant parking lot to the main entrance I noticed a large group of crows heading East towards some secret meeting place, or whereever the crows were heading. I looked up for a lengthy moment. Several large groups were flying above in what would amount to maybe seven minutes of my walk. Absolutely fascinating, even though I have seen this a few times since I work in this place.

      • Pen Addiction

        Hi, my name is stug and I have a pen addiction. Perhaps a Kaweco pen
        addiction. Today, the postie brought a package with 2 new pens. Both
        are Kaweco but they are different materials. The first is the Sport in
        plastic with the Tamoma Teal colour. The sport is an interesting pen
        but the lid sort of puts me off. It is pretty bulky and has an octogon
        shape which helps with the rolling issue. The lid is like two thirds
        of the pen length. I wanted to get a feel for a sport as it is one of
        the main models from Kaweco so wanted to see what I was missing. The
        plastic versions are cheap and light. I can easily use the pen
        unposted which is good. There are mini convertors for this model. When
        I used the pen, I was using it with Diamine Blue Black which is
        becoming my preferred ink colour. It is different while being work
        appropriate. Well with the sport, I found it was a lighter colour than
        I expected. Turns out this pen is so light, the colour is more blue.
        The length is a bit longer than the Liliput. It does not feel as
        pocketable due to the increased thickness of the lid. The screwing of
        the cap on and off is a bit off putting with the plastic. It is a bit
        squeaky too. The colour is not as vibrant as I would like compared to
        what I saw online but it is still pretty nice. It is a nice pen to
        load up with an unusual ink I think. I got the extra fine nib and it
        performs well for me.

      • Weird thoughts of a sleep deprived mind

        After doing the grocery shopping and on my way home i suddenly remembred what i forgot to buy: Diapers! … Damn… ok, back to the city, but first a quick stop at the pub. I am lucky and its open so i walk to the bar and ask for a coffee, a black one, a really strong one… The pub is mostly empty and the bartender looks not overly busy so i start talking…

      • Coffee and Tea and the Java and Me

        I remain convinced that coffee drinkers don’t actually like coffee and only drink it for the caffine. I’ve tried really nice coffee brewed fancily and while it’s marginally better it’s still bitter and awful. Versus drinking loose leaf tea brewed semi-decently is legitimately tasty and very different from bad tea—“brewed decently” being the laziest method of putting leaves in a mug and pouring hot water over it, which is how I normally drink tea.

        Most tea drinkers I know including myself would still drink tea if it didn’t have caffine; while almost every coffee drinker I know are pretty open in saying they wouldn’t drink coffee if it didn’t have caffine in it. Also evidenced by it’s relatively rare to add a lot of stuff into hot tea; while with coffee it’s rather unusual to *not* add anything to it.

    • Technical

      • xkcd://

        I probably should talk about the xkcd:// thing. This form was invented by a past version of he who now types here, perhaps because it is shorter by about ten whole characters, and, why not? Certainly XKCD is important enough to have its own protocol, even (especially) if certain individuals want to remove teapot from the HTTP spec. The // is perhaps not necessary; a shorter xkcd:356 might have been used. However, a large part of the creative intent was to share such links over IRC, so the “link” needs to look a bit like a link, or that I’m rationalizing randomly after the fact. Hence the // in there to make it look like a web-type URL. The form hasn’t caused any comprehension problems, but then again I’ve only used it in IRC channels that are nerdy by the standard of being IRC channels, or more likely it’s that folks who have no idea what I’m going on about have gotten good at ignoring me. Of course there is no standards body hashing out these details, it’s just me making up stuff as I go along.

      • The Joy of Contained Systems

        I often stop and ponder (as many of us weirdos who actually make things do) on why I am drawn to some things and repelled by other. I haven’t found the answer, but I can identify a quality that seems to attract me: containment.

        Perhaps it’s the control freak in me, but I love things that are minimal and self-contained (and ideally, self-subsuming or metacircular, but not necessarily). As an example – I like old computers – it’s all just there. As much as I adore a modern system with Linux – it is completely out of control, and I can’t imagine acutally knowing what’s going on.

        Thinking about large chaotic systems such as macroeconomics just makes me want to vomit – especially when some jackass pretends to know something about it, or even worse – ‘control’ it by enforcing some of the parameters using coersion. But enough of that.

      • A dice roller app for the phone

        I wrote a little web app for dice rolls because I couldn’t find a nice and simple, free, privacy-respecting app on my phone’s shop. And it seemed simple enough to do to be a feasible little project.

        Little did I know about the tar pit of progressive web apps (PWA). Oh well! I *think* it’s solved now, thanks to some advice by @frotz@mstdn.game and the Mozilla Developer Network series on progressive web apps…

      • Headless RaspberryPi Setup

        If you don’t want to use a monitor do this to use a serial cable on a pi4:

        echo ‘raspberry’ | openssl passwd -6 -stdin | awk ‘{print “pi:”$0}’ > /path/to/bootfs/userconf.txt
        echo -e “uart_2ndstage=1\nenable_uart=1″ >> /path/to/bootfs/config.txt

      • DuckDuckGo is promoting the filter bubble to users [Ed: Microsoft DuckDuckGo promoting Microsoft-friendly sites. DuckDuckGo is a scam.]

        Sometime around the past month, DuckDuckGo has begun promoting Reddit during user searches.

      • Science

        • Transitive reduction

          There’s this operation on graphs/relations called “transitive reduction” (I didn’t learn its name until very recently). It can be used on a graph/relation to compute another (possibly smaller) graph/relation that has no redundant edges (assuming transitivity). And I’ve been thinking about how to do it for about two years (dam), because I needed it for some POSet things (Scheme § poset). Some weeks ago I was walking home, not thinking about anything in particular, and an algorithm just popped into my brain out of nowhere!

      • Programming

        • Using GitHub Actions to maintain Gentoo packages repository [Ed: Microsoft proprietary software or a compiler controlled remotely by the NSA is the wrong way to do this]

          In this blog post, I’d like to share how I had fun using GitHub actions
          in order to maintain a repository of generic x86-64 Gentoo packages up
          to date.

          Built packages are available at https://interbus.perso.pw/ and can be
          used in your `binrepos.conf` for a generic x86-64 packages provider,
          it’s not building many packages at the moment, but I’m open to add more
          packages if you want to use the repository.

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It’s like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

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