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Links 17/2/2021: Q4OS 3.14, F(x)tec Pro1-X Updates, and WordPress 5.7 Beta 3

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel's oneDNN 2.1 Released With NVIDIA GPU Support, Initial Alder Lake Optimizations - Phoronix

        oneDNN 2.1 is the latest feature-packed update to this oneAPI component formerly known as DNNL and before that was MKL-DNN. The oneDNN 2.1 release has a variety of improvements when running on Intel Gen / Xe Graphics, mostly various performance optimizations. On the Intel CPU front is also a number of optimizations including BFloat16 for Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs supporting the Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX, coming with Sapphire Rapids), CPU ISA hints support, various AVX-512 optimizations, and initial support for processors with AVX2 and DL-BOOST (the combination debuting with Alder Lake). There is even some INT8 optimizations for CPUs with SSE4.1 and a number of other low-level improvements.

      • Linux 5.12 Should Be Able To Boot As The Root Partition On Microsoft's Hypervisor - Phoronix

        As part of increasing the Linux virtualization support within the Microsoft space, they were working to allow Linux root partition support with the Microsoft hypervisor. The "root partition" with their hypervisor is similar to Xen's Dom0 for in turn starting and managing the unprivileged domains. Linux 5.12 is set to have the Hyper-V code changes to allow the Linux kernel to work as the root partition on Microsoft's Hypervisor.

      • 5.12 Merge window delayed

        Those of us who are watching the mainline kernel repository may have been wondering why it appears that no pull requests for the 5.12 merge window have yet been acted upon. The problem, it seems, is power outages caused by the severe winter weather in the US Pacific northwest. Until that gets resolved, which could take a few days, the 5.12 merge window is likely to remain on hold.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD EPYC Performance With FreeBSD 13 Beta

        Last week when conducting preliminary benchmarks of the new FreeBSD 13 operating system beta we found broad and significant performance improvements on Intel hardware but how is this popular BSD operating system performing for AMD EPYC? Here are some initial performance tests looking at FreeBSD 12.2 stable to FreeBSD 13 beta on an AMD EPYC 7F52 server.

    • Applications

      • ‘Spot’ is a Native Spotify App for Linux, Built in GTK & Rust

        The official Spotify Linux client… Well, it exists, but I use the (superb) Spotify CLI client ncspot for my music streaming activities— however a GUI alternative is on the way!

        Spot is an open source Spotify client created specifically for Linux. It’s built in GTK and Rust, and leverages the ace librespot library. While this player (like other third-party Spotify apps) requires a Spotify Premium account to function, most of the core features are present and working.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Izhar Firdaus: How to get ILI9486 Raspberry Pi 3.5” LCD to work with Fedora ARM

        Fedora ARM provides a full fledged Linux distro with rich ecosystem of server packages available for the ARM ecosystem.

        However, ever since Fedora released an official ARM spin, specialized Fedora derivative for Raspberry Pi such as Fedberry and Pidora pretty much went out of development, and getting Rpi accessories to work with Fedora ARM, especially those that does not work with upstream kernel, is not quite obvious,

        In this tutorial, we would go about in getting ILI9486/XPT2046 3.5” LCD, which I bought from Lazada to work with Fedora ARM on Rpi3, up until the point where a framebuffer device is available for attaching CLI console to the display. The process provided by this tutorial in theory should also work with several other LCD devices, but because I only have this 3.5” LCD, so I can only test against it.

      • How To Install LEMP on Manjaro 20 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install LEMP on Manjaro 20. For those of you who didn’t know, LEMP stands for Linux, Nginx (pronounced as Engine X), MySQL/MariaDB, and PHP or Perl or Python. All components are free and open-source software, and the combination is suitable for building dynamic web pages. The LEMP stack is one of the most popular server configurations in the world.

        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 LAMP Stack on a Manjaro 20 (Nibia).

      • Smart ways to compare files on Linux

        Commands for comparing files have proliferated since the early days of Linux. In this post, we'll look at a suite of commands available for comparing files and highlight the advantages that some of the newer ones provide.

      • How to install the Opera Browser on Linux Mint 20.1

        In this video, we are looking at how to install the Opera Browser on Linux Mint 20.1.

      • How to install Tux Paint on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Tux Paint on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to Setup Nginx with Let's Encrypt using ACME on Ubuntu 20.04

        In a previous tutorial, we described how to obtain a free SSL/TLS certificate from Let's Encrypt by using Certbot.

        In this tutorial, we would like to show you another way that you can easily obtain and renew a free SSL/TLS certificate from Let's Encrypt by using the script on Ubuntu 20.04.

        If you do not yet have a working NGINX web server, here is an easy NGINX installation guide that you can follow.

      • How to Fix NTFS Partition Failed to Mount Error in Linux

        In this article, we will show how to fix NTFS failed to mount errors such as “Failed to mount ‘/dev/sdax’: Input/output error, NTFS is either inconsistent, or there is a hardware fault, or it’s a SoftRAID/FakeRAID hardware”.

      • btrfs: Differentiating bind mounts on subvolumes

        The btrfs inspect-internal logical-resolve command is used to find a file related to a logical-address. This can be useful when btrfs reports a corruption at an specific logical address, making it easy for the user to find the corrupted file.

      • Use WPScan to scan WordPress for vulnerabilities on Kali -

        Vulnerabilities in WordPress can be uncovered by the WPScan utility, which comes installed by default in Kali Linux. It's also a great tool for gathering general reconnaissance information about a website that's running WordPress.

        Owners of WordPress sites would be wise to try running WPScan against their site, as it may reveal security issues that need patched. It can also reveal more general web server issues, such as directory listings that haven't been turned off inside Apache or NGINX.

        WPScan itself is not a tool that can be used maliciously while performing simple scans against a site, unless you consider the extra traffic itself to be malicious. But the information it reveals about a site can be leveraged by attackers to launch an attack. WPScan can also try username and password combinations to try and gain access to a WordPress site. For this reason, it's advised that you only run WPScan against a site that you own or have permission to scan.

      • How to install Curl on Ubuntu

        The Curl application is one of the most widely used tools on all of Linux, and even outside of Linux. It can be used to download files from the internet, upload files, and much more. It is also a backend to many other tools you may run into on the Linux platform.

      • How to install Wireshark on Ubuntu

        Wireshark is a network analysis program for Linux, as well as other platforms. It can be used to capture and dissect network traffic. In this guide, we’ll show you how you can get Wireshark up and running on Ubuntu.

      • A simple iptables firewall script to block all ports except port 80 and give port 22 to certain ip’s |

        This simple script is very useful and very simple and will give you the basics of what you can do with linux iptables firewall.

      • How to host your own local Git repository with Gogs - TechRepublic

        Your company might have code that you'd rather not risk hosting on a third party. Although the likes of GitHub should generally be trusted, you simply never know when disaster might strike. Of course, in this modern era, that could happen anytime, anywhere. Or, maybe you want to hand over the control of code collaboration to your developers, and give them all of the tools they need to make that work.

    • Games

      • Metro Exodus to Get Free Enhanced Edition on PC; Linux and Mac Versions Coming Soon

        4A Games have announced that a free Enhanced Edition update is in the works for the PC version of Metro Exodus.

        This Enhanced Edition will be a major overhaul to the game’s performance and graphical features, and is aimed predominantly at gamers with high-end machines.

        The update focuses on further enhancements and performance upgrades to the game’s Ray Tracing support, as well as adding DLSS 2.0 support for NVIDIA hardware. This includes all-new Fully Ray Traced Lighting Pipeline, new features to the Ray Traced Global Illumination and Emissive Lighting, and an upgrade to the game’s Temporal Reconstruction technology.

        Since all of these new overhauls are based around Ray Tracing and other demanding GPU features, the Enhanced Edition will require a newer GPU that supports Ray Tracing in the first place. The Enhanced Edition will be a free update for all current owners of the game on PC, regardless of what digital storefront you have the game on.

      • The Humble Plug In (And Play!) Digital Bundle is live and worth a look

        In need of a few new games? The Humble Plug In (And Play!) Digital Bundle is now live and worth a look. Nice to see too, as it's been a little while since we had a reasonable bundle of games from Humble.

        Like we usually do, we shall highlight those with Linux builds in bold text to help you at a glance.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Released With New Breeze Twilight Theme - Front Page Linux

          KDE Community has announced the official release of the KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment. Plasma 5.21 brings with it a massive amount of updates and improvements including a new redesigned interface of the Kickoff application launcher, a brand new theme called Breeze Twilight and many more enhancements. KDE says that “Plasma 5.21 is all about upgrading the looks and usability of Plasma” and this release shows how much time and effort has gone into it.

          I’ve been using KDE Plasma as my daily driver desktop environment since at least 2014 and it’s seems to get better with every release. It’s no surprise to long time readers of Front Page Linux that I’me always excited to see a new release of Plasma. Though, if you aren’t aware of my KDE fandom then be sure to check out the video I made about My Top 5 Reasons I Use KDE Plasma.

        • Plasma 5.21

          Find, reach and run your apps faster and easier than ever with Plasma’s new app launcher.

          The new launcher features two panes to make it simple to locate your programs and comes with improved keyboard, mouse, and touch input, boosting accessibility across the board.

          Support for languages with right-to-left writing (such as Japanese and Arabic) has also improved. We have also included an alphabetical “All Applications” view, a grid view for your favorite tools, and placed all the power actions (“Sleep”, “Restart”, “Shut Down”, etc.) at the bottom of the launcher pop-up so they are always visible and available.

          Last but not least, we have fixed most of the bugs reported by users, guaranteeing a smoother access to all your stuff.

          If you prefer the old Kickoff app launcher however, it is only few clicks away in KDE’s software store.

        • Sok 2021 Update

          I started my Sok project in January and in February my college decided to have the end semester exams, hence I had to halt the work a little bit but since my exams are done I have resumed work and will be continuing with the project.

          Currently I have figured out the APIs and done test runs for twitter and mastodon but for some reason Facebook just doesn't want to comply and let me use their API . Now I'm figuring out the final endpoints for my API and then will start work on a basic frontend for the same.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Q4OS 3.14 Centaurus, stable

          An update to Q4OS 3 Centaurus LTS has been released. The new 3.14 Series receives the recent Debian Buster 10.8 update, updated Debian stable kernel and important security and bug fixes. This update brings along a few Q4OS specific improvements, for example Virtualbox guest additions automatic installation guide, a convenient script for setting the default web browser for Plamsa as well as Trinity desktop and cumulative upgrade covering all the changes from the previous stable Q4OS 3 Centaurus release.

          Current users only need to perform a regular update to get all the new features. Anyone is welcome to download installation media images from the Downloads section of the Q4OS website.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • First Look: AlmaLinux

          AlmaLinux is a new and upcoming distribution that's aimed to be a replacement for CentOS. Also forked from RHEL, AlmaLinux aims to be the "Forever Free Enterprise-Grade Distribution". In this video, I give AlmaLinux a first look and share my thoughts.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Power Systems Security: More Than The Sum Of Its Parts [Ed: "Sponsored Content" as per the disclosure. "Our site is paid-for IBM propaganda and we've quit pretending otherwise..."]

          Make no mistake: It’s a good thing that Power Systems servers can run multiple operating systems. From an IBM i perspective, it ensures more R&D dollars from IBM to support the hardware. It seems doubtful IBM would spend billions to develop processors like Power9 and the forthcoming Power10 chip if IBM i customers were the only users.

        • 4 reasons to join open source Project Alvearie and help solve healthcare’s toughest problems [Ed: IBM outsourcing code to Microsoft again]

          Some key technologies we’re incorporating into Alvearie include OpenShift, Kubernetes, Python, and several Apache projects, such as Spark, Kafka and NiFi. Other industries like finance, manufacturing, and telecom have used these technologies to solve complex data challenges. Contributing to Alvearie gives you the opportunity to learn those technologies, and learn new approaches to solving data issues at an enterprise scale.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Engicam PX30.Core SoM & devkit run Ubuntu 20.04 with mainline Linux

          Linux 5.11 was released a few days ago, and it’s always interesting to check out the changelog to find new hardware platforms that support mainline Linux. One of those is Engicam PX30.Core SoM based on Rockchip PX30 quad-core Arm Cortex-A35 processor.

          Engicam also worked with Amarula Solutions to develop an Ubuntu 20.04 image with mainline Linux compatible with EDIMM 2.2 and CTouch 2.0 carrier boards for PX30.Core CPU module.

          The company says the module supports Android, Linux using Buildroot or Yocto Project, and a Debian image is also provided. Engicam PC30.Core is designed for industrial applications, transportation, robotics, and biomedical/medical devices.

          The product page has more information, including software and hardware manuals which are available through a free registration, which I tried, but the confirmation link did not work for me.

        • 0GB O/S?

          Yes, sir I did that. Unreleased, would not install. Lets bring you up to date. Don’t get the Goodies?

          New Repositories I suggest you install it. It is smart enuff, even though in the past I told you not to do it in the past.

        • Alan Pope: All Ahead Stop

          I’d thought it might be a hardware issue, or some weird driver glitch. I hadn’t looked into it too much because it happened so infrequently, only often enough I’d remember, but not enough to really annoy me or lose data. When I saw Andrew mention it on Telegram my interest was piqued, and perhaps we were seeing the same issue. I agreed to file a bug, which was easier for me because my system still “worked” whereas his was basically unusable when the issue occured. So I filed bug 1910866 from my desktop which was running Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) at the time. Andrew followed up with more information from his Ubuntu 20.04 LTS system.

          Kai-Heng Feng, one of the kernel engineers at Canonical, was on the case helping Andrew to find out where the problem was located. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to trigger the bug as often as Andrew, so he took over providing debugging information to Kai-Heng. I found it fascinating to follow along the conversation on that bug (somewhat helplessly) as Andrew and Kai-Heng exchanged suggestions and progress. I think it’s actually a great example of how to identify where in the kernel an error started happening.

          By the end of January there was a fix in place for the 5.8 kernel update, prepared by the kernel team. This closes out the issue for Andrew on 20.04, and for anyone on 20.10 too. However, in the meantime, I decided to upgrade to Ubuntu Hirsute - 21.04 to-be. I figured it might be fun to run the very latest of everything prior to the new release in April. We’re not compelled to do that in Canonical, but it’s a good idea for as many people to run the development release as possible, and still do their job.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Louis-Philippe Véronneau: What are the incentive structures of Free Software?

        Theory is nice, but it's even better when you can back it up with data. Sadly, most of the papers on the economic incentives of FOSS are either purely theoretical, or use sample sizes so small they could as well be.

        Using the data from the StackOverflow 2018 survey, I thus tried to see if I could somehow confirm my previous assumptions.

        With 129 questions and more than 100 000 respondents (which after statistical processing yields between 28 000 and 39 000 observations per variable of interest), the StackOverflow 2018 survey is a very large dataset compared to what economists are used to work with.

        Sadly, it wasn't entirely enough to come up with hard answers. There is a strong and significant correlation between writing Free Software and having a higher salary, but endogeneity problems made it hard to give a reliable estimate of how much money this would represent. Same goes for writing code has a hobby: it seems there is a strong and significant correlation, but the exact numbers I came up with cannot really be trusted.

        The results on community as an incentive to writing FOSS were the ones that surprised me the most. Although I expected the relation to be quite strong, the coefficients predicted were in fact quite small. I theorise this is partly due to only 8% of the respondents declaring they didn't feel like they belonged in the IT community. With such a high level of adherence, the margin for improvement has to be smaller.

        As for altruism, I wasn't able get any meaningful results. In my opinion this is mostly due to the fact there was no explicit survey question on this topic and I tried to make up for it by cobbling data together.

        Kinda anti-climatic, isn't it? I would've loved to come up with decisive conclusions on this topic, but if there's one thing I learned while writing this thesis, it is I don't know much after all.

      • TDF 9th Anniversary

        Nine years ago, on February 17, 2012, The Document Foundation was registered in Berlin as a charitable foundation, the home of LibreOffice. Today, TDF Members can legitimately celebrate by picking a glass of champagne – there should be enough for everyone – for a virtual cheers. We look forward to the day we will be able to meet again in person, because the pandemics will be over. For the time being, stay safe, and enjoy the 9th anniversary of The Document Foundation. Cheers!!!

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.7 Beta 3

          This software is still in development, so it’s not recommended to run this version on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with it.

      • Programming/Development

        • How to Learn Programming For Beginners – How to Start Coding

          Do you want to learn programming? We are discuss in this article, How to learn Programming For beginners. Learning to code is a modern new skill that is popular these days. You have follow some common approach. For example, buy some programming related books, explore on-line blog post, or you have enroll on-line tutorial course to learn Programming.

          For beginners, it is a million-dollar question right now and I assure you that you will find the answer here.

          If you still have some doubts about becoming a programmer, let’s talk about the hefty paychecks that they are receiving. According to the latest statistics, the median package of an average software developer is somewhere around $132,000 per annum. If that doesn’t trigger your attention, I guess you may want to reconsider!

        • A sunset surprise

          I dug into some sunrise/sunset data to find the answer. When I found it, I realised that it would be very hard to explain what was happening without pictures, which is why this post has data graphics instead of the usual terminal screenshots!

          My data source was the excellent website. I used the site to get sunrise and sunset times for our town in Tasmania, as well as solar noon times (more on that later). The data for December 2020 and January 2021 are shown below in the "clock" time curves:

        • Python

          • Dictionaries in Python

            You can define a dictionary by enclosing a comma-separated list of key-value pairs in curly braces ({}).

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Cops Write To Zoom Over Toolkit, Farm Leaders' Role To Be Probed: Sources

        With the Delhi Police intensifying its probe into a farmers' protest toolkit shared by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg earlier this month, the role of farmer leaders may also be probed, sources have said. The Delhi Police have also written to video communications app Zoom, say sources, to seek details of the attendees at a virtual meeting on January 11, which was also attended by activists Disha Ravi, Nikita Jacob, Shantanu.

        All three of them attended the meeting before the Republic Day to gather online support for the farmers' tractor rally that descended into chaos in some parts of the national capital. Facing conspiracy and sedition charges, Disha Ravi was arrested last week. Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk are also wanted in the case linked to the online document.

        The Delhi Police are also trying to probe funding in the toolkit case, sources have said, adding they have so far not got a reply from Google on the document being investigated.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The Linux Foundation Announces the Election of Renesas’ Hisao Munakata and GitLab’s Eric Johnson to the Board of Directors

                Today, the Linux Foundation announced that Renesas’ Hisao Munakata has been re-elected to its board, representing the Gold Member community. GitLab’s Eric Johnson has been elected to represent the Silver Member community. Linux Foundation elected board directors serve 2-year terms.

                Directors elected to the Linux Foundation’s board are committed to building sustainable ecosystems around open collaboration to accelerate technology development and industry adoption. The Linux Foundation expands the open collaboration communities it supports with community efforts focused on building open standards, open hardware, and open data. It is dedicated to improving diversity in open source communities and working on processes, tools, and best security practices in open development communities.

        • Security

          • Write HTML, Not JavaScript

            So, TL;DR: If we're going to encourage a more static web, let's write actual static websites rather than deferring it all to JavaScript. Use JS where necessary, but no more than that. if you have to ask yourself, "should I really need JavaScript just to do this?", then you probably don't.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The Long History of the FBI’s Surveillance of Martin Luther King

              The files of King’s life will not be fully unsealed by the FBI until February 2027, and the film ends by asking historians whether the release of those files, which include salacious details of his personal life, will change how he is perceived by the public. But the greater question may be whether this will force the federal government—and the American people—to face the sordid history of surveillance of radical “subversive” groups that, many years later, are lionized for their heroism.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • When Buddhists Back the Army

        In a country with seven different ethnic groups each constituting more than 2 percent of the population, Buddhism has often been employed for nationalistic purposes. Buddhist monks were often important in this, both before and after independence. Buddhist monks are recorded to have taken part in both armed and passive resistance to British colonial rule as early as the 1880s. As the movement for independence grew in the 1940s, one of the most common slogans fused religion and nationality: “To be Burmese means to be Buddhist!” The same martial vision of the nation that fearfully excludes religious minorities has persisted since independence. After independence, monks also took part in suppressing resistance by minority ethnic groups to successive Burmese governments. In particular, the Rohingya were often denied the status of an ethnicity and instead called the Bengali by prominent figures. “If we are weak,” Ashin Wirathu said to other monks in 2013, “our land will become Muslim.” When Aung San Suu Kyi defended the Tatmadaw in The Hague, she did not even use the word Rohingya. By denying the existence of ethnic differences and demanding the Rohingya be eradicated, the Buddhist Bamar majority promotes national homogeneity.

      • Israel: How a Trifecta of Court Cases Could Cement King Bibi's Reign

        Three judicial matters have been in Israeli headlines recently, all of them very serious in nature and all likely to serve Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections.

      • A lesson from Trump's acquittal: Bipartisanship won't save democracy — Democrats must fight the GOP

        The grim reality here is that the reason Republicans voted to acquit Trump is not that they are "afraid" of their pro-insurrectionist base, a bit of common Beltway wisdom that allows Republicans off the hook for their own complicity. It's because most Republican leadership agrees with Trump's anti-democratic goals, even if some, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, are uneasy about the violence of Trump's methods.

        Using Trump's lies about "election fraud" as cover, Republicans in 28 states have introduced more than 100 bills meant to bar Democratic voters from the polls, usually with restrictions that make it harder for working-class people or people living in racially diverse cities to vote. "You can draw a pretty straight line between the baseless and racist accusations of voter fraud and the kinds of bills we're seeing introduced," explained Hannah Klain, a Brennan Center fellow, who co-authored an analysis of the new bills. In other words, far from being offended by Trump's coup, Republicans are exploiting it to justify further efforts to gut democracy.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Meet the Undercover Anti-Fascists

        A journalist and online researcher, Conger specializes in infiltrating and exposing the violent far right. Using dummy accounts and pseudonyms, she lurks in private chat rooms and invitation-only forums used by neo-Nazis, militias, Proud Boys, and other right-wing extremists. When she sees someone make threats or plan for violence, she screenshots the person’s messages, digs up the person’s real identity and employer, and publishes her findings on her Twitter account, @SocialistDogMom, where she has more than 110,000 followers.

        Because of her work, Conger is well known among the people she tracks. Members of the online far right have made grotesque sexual comments about her and expressed a desire to physically harm or kill her. She knows this because, in some cases, she’s observed them saying these things without them realizing it. She anticipated some of those people being in the crowd on January 6th, and with her buzz-cut blond hair and slight build, Conger feared she would be easily recognizable. When she got to Washington, she put on the wig and a pair of sunglasses and met up with a friend who is a trained medic.

    • Environment

      • Democrat John Fetterman Takes 'No Fossil Fuel' Pledge for US Senate Run

        "Climate change is an existential threat, and we need to transition to clean energy as quickly as possible," says Pennsylvania's lt. governor.

      • Millions will die if world fails on climate promises

        Action to keep climate promises could prevent millions of deaths each year. Unless nations try harder, that won’t happen.

      • Bill Gates, Climate Warrior. And Super Emitter.

        Even before the release of his book this week, Gates’s move into climate change has made waves—an interview on 60 Minutes, op-eds in Time magazine and The Guardian, and a podcast with actor Rashida Jones. Given Gates’s track record of success inserting himself into other policy debates—everything from US education to global health—it seems likely he will continue to take up oxygen in the climate discourse going forward.

        If so, he proceeds from a precarious position, not just because of his thin credentials, untested solutions, and stunning financial conflicts of interest, but because his undemocratic assertion of power—no one appointed or elected him as the world’s new climate czar—comes at precisely the time when democratic institutions have become essential to solving climate change.

      • Energy

        • Bitcoin hits $50,000 for first time

          This crypto craze is also attracting the attention of politicians and celebrities. In a bid to attract tech firms leaving San Francisco and New York, Francis Suarez, the mayor of Miami, has proposed that his city’s government be allowed to pay its workers in bitcoin. Jack Dorsey, the boss of Twitter, and Jay Z, a rapper-turned-music-mogul, are donating 500 bitcoin (currently worth around $23m) to a blind trust intended to develop the cryptocurrency’s use in India and Africa.

        • Bitcoin Mining Uses More Electricity Than All of Argentina

          Scientists from the University of Cambridge Judge Business School have built an interactive analysis tool to calculate the real energy cost of bitcoin cryptocurrency. Using their energy use model, the researchers found that bitcoin mining uses more energy each year than the entire country of Argentina.

          That sounds like a wild stat, but energy use has always been a key part of bitcoin’s story. Let’s go back to the beginning and see how we got here.

    • Finance

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Get On Gab

        If you're a leftie, get on Gab. No, I'm serious. If you're fair and objective, you'll agree echo chambers are not a good thing. Gab is already growing at an incredible rate and no doubt there are already more diverse people joining. Gab's strength is it's totally pro-free speech mantra, but also the entire infrastructure is owned and built by Torba and his team, so it won't get wiped out like Parler did when Amazon decided to flex it's censorship muscles.

      • Opinion | Reversing Myanmar's Coup Isn't Enough. Here’s How to Build a Better Burma

        Myanmar's military should be held accountable for the coup, but the West needs to make sure they are punished for their abuses against the country's minorities as well.

      • Digital warfare: Myanmar's cyber crackdown explained

        These lightning-quick moves by the new junta have tech experts, rights groups, and citizens worried that [Internet]-hungry Myanmar will soon be as cut-off as during the previous military regime. The military has so far ordered four temporary [Internet] shutdowns, starting on February 1 -- the day of the putsch -- when civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained.

      • Myanmar military shuts [Internet] access for second night

        Internet access has been restored by Myanmar's new military rulers after it was blocked for the second night in a row.

        The blackout -- the fourth shutdown since the February 1 coup came as the junta tries to stifle dissent by the demonstrators demanding the release from detention of their elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and the restoration of democracy.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Police Forces Have Long Tried to Weed Out Extremists in the Ranks. Then Came the Capitol [Insurrection]

        Their presence has brought to a boil questions that have been simmering for years: How many law enforcement officers nationwide subscribe to extreme or anti-government beliefs, and how, precisely, can agencies weed them out? Leaders in law enforcement say that public servants must be held to a higher standard than private individuals when it comes to accepting the results of an election and performing their duties.

        Police chiefs from the largest North American cities, meeting in an online conference this past week, agreed to work together to try and block members of far-right organizations or others with radical views from entering their ranks.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Browsers and websites should PUBLIC, not private roads

        If you can read this post is because, right now, you are using one of those software programs called “Web Browsers”. Without web browsers you could not use any website. We could safely say that they are among the most important, and most useful kind of software program for billions of people worldwide.

        We already knew that the Web and web browsers have become obscenely complex. Today, we also know that a small, but relevant part of that complexity is there only to benefit big companies that cannot be bothered to play nice.

    • Monopolies

      • FOSS Patents: Epic Games files antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP): media reports

        Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and the Financial Times report that Fortnite and Unreal Engine maker Epic Games has filed an EU antitrust complaint against Apple. Epic is being represented by Clifford Chance (the FAZ article quotes Mr. Ashwin van Rooijen), a major global firm that has been a key player in many EU tech antitrust matters over the years.

        When asked why they filed this complaint against only Apple, and not simultaneously against Google, Epic's lawyers apparently said that Apple was presently the focus of EU antitrust enforcement in this context. There is an ongoing investigation of Spotify's complaint against Apple. Both Epic and Spotify are members of the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF), an organization whose positions on app distribution Microsoft has supported publicly without joining the organization.

        For proper disclosure, I am a member of the informal #AppRising movement and brought my own complaints against Apple and Google in multiple jurisdictions last month (EU case numbers: AT.40747 Apple, AT.40748 Google). I consider this kind of topic to be the single most important tech antitrust issue of the 2020s. Standard-essential patent (SEP) issues continue to be very important, but are eclipsed by the #AppRising. But the concerns raised by app developers are diverse, and just like I haven't seen Epic comment on my complaint regarding COVID-related apps, I don't want to take a position on Epic's (and others') complaints over in-app payments--which doesn't mean that I necessarily disagree, just that at this point it's too early for me to speak out on a legally complex issue.

      • Patents

        • Pros And Cons Of Using The European Patent Application System Rather Than Separate National Patent Applications? [Ed: This article contains the lie that UPC is coming when in fact UPC is dead because it's not constitutional]

          The European Unitary Patent is intended to address some issues concerning patent validation and renewal costs for the member states of the European Union but it will be subject to the same prosecution costs as the current European patent application system.


          It is not currently possible to enter France via a national patent application from a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application. From a PCT application, patent protection in France is only available via the EPO route.

          If an applicant were to apply for patent protection by filing national patent applications in each of the remaining four countries, the filing, translation and local attorney fees would typically be significantly greater than the cost of filing a European patent application.

          The prosecution costs and timeline for patent applications in each of the above countries can also vary significantly, with no certainty that the same scope of protection will be obtained in each.

          There exists a general understanding that, if protection is sought in three or more European countries, then it is often most pragmatic to apply at the EPO for a European patent, rather than national patent applications. This is because the total costs are often comparable and the EPO route will avoid the need to manage three different co-pending patent applications for each country, often in three different languages.

        • Functional Claim “Raises the Bar for Enablement”

          The decision here provides another anti-functional-limitation decision — this time rendering Amgen’s monoclonal antibody claims invalid. Although enablement decisions traditionally differed greatly between biotech and computer innovations, the decision here relies heavily on the Federal Circuit’s recent software decision in McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games Am. Inc., 959 F.3d 1091 (Fed. Cir. 2020).

          The first jury sided with Amgen, the patentee, finding that Regeneron had failed to prove that the asserted patents lacked enablement or written description. On appeal, the Federal Circuit vacated the resulting final judgment and ordered a new trial based upon errors in evidentiary rulings and jury instructions. On remand, the second jury again sided with Amgen. The district court though favored the defendant and awarded Judgment as a Matter of Law (JMOL) for lack of enablement. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed.


          In this case the burdens are important. The jury found that the defendants had not met their burden of clear-and-convincing evidence of invalidity. The district and appellate courts considered the same evidence and flipped — holding that the only reasonable outcome that a jury could reach is that the claims were proven invalid with clear and convincing evidence.

          Amgen argued that that the potential breadth of the claims was “artificially inflated” by Sanofi; that the “millions” number was contested on the facts; and “A reasonable juror could easily have rejected Sanofi-Regeneron’s argument [as not] clear and convincing.” On appeal, the Federal Circuit notes that they are “not concerned simply with the number of embodiments but also with their functional breadth,” although the court later appears to side with the defendant in concluding that “the evidence showed that the scope of the claims encompasses millions of candidates.”

        • Swedish Stirling AB: Year end report 2020

          Swedish Stirling files a new patent application for the company's product, the PWR BLOK 400-F, with the European Patent Office (EPO). The application covers the process for how residual gases are fed into and burned off in the Stirling engines' fuel chambers to give more efficient conversion. The aim of the application is to further strengthen the protection of the technology in the run-up to the commercial rollout and start of serial production.

        • What impact will Brexit have in the long term?

          In patents, meanwhile, nothing substantive has changed as the UK remains part of the EPC and EU law has very little impact on patent law. “There is unlikely to be significant divergence in patent law because UK courts are very closely aligned with the EPO,” says partner Kristina Cornish.

          However, in the longer term there are some areas where there may be pressure for change. One is the law on Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs). These are national rights, and not directly affected by Brexit. But UK practitioners and judges generally view the legislation as less than perfectly drafted and there are reasonable questions about whether the SPC regime should be extended to other products, such as medical devices, and whether the term of protection should be changed. Kristina says: “Brexit may be an opportunity to review the law on SPCs – the question is would this lead to a desirable outcome?” Partner Nick Bassil adds: “Many patent owners filed SPC applications before December 2020 to avoid any potential disruption following the end of the transition period.”

          Research may also be affected by Brexit, given the importance of EU research grants, especially for SMEs. The UK is remaining in the Horizon Europe programme, but leaving the Erasmus+ university exchange system (and setting up a replacement named after Alan Turing). “These changes may have an impact on investment on research in the UK – we will have to wait and see,” says Nick.

        • Software Patents

          • Cedar Lane patent held unpatentable

            On February 12, 2021, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents, LLC v. Cedar Lane Technologies Inc. holding the asserted independent claim of U.S. Patent 7,173,177 unpatentable. The ’177 patent was assigned to Cedar Lane from AVInnov, an NPE, and was previously owned by Intellectual Ventures. The ’177 patent, directed to indicating on a user interface whether items in a playlist are owned or unowned, had been asserted against several companies such as Spectrum (Charter Communications), T-Mobile, Disney, Dish Network, CBS Corp., and others.

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