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Links 19/7/2021: Handbrake 1.4 Release and Devuan 4.0 Alpha

  • GNU/Linux

    • 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup: July 18th, 2021

      This week has been slow in news and I was busy traveling for personal matters. Despite that, we got some very hot news, such as the release of Firefox 90, the Ubuntu Touch OTA-18 software update for Linux phones, and Valve’s own gaming handheld powered by Arch Linux and KDE Plasma.

      On top of that, we also covered the news about the release of digiKam 7.3 professional photo management app and Tails 4.20 amnesic incognito live system. You can enjoy these and much more in 9to5Linux’s Linux weekly roundup for July 18th, 2021, below!

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Benchmarks

      • The Importance Of Thermald On Linux For Modern Intel Tiger Lake Laptops

        Most Linux distributions including the likes of Ubuntu and Fedora have been shipping Intel's Thermald daemon the past few years as it's important to achieving good thermal/power behavior on modern Intel SoCs. For those curious about its impact, here are some benchmarks carried out with Intel Thermald or not when using an Intel Core i7 1185G7 Tiger Lake notebook.

        Thermald is Intel's Thermal Daemon in user-space for interacting with their multiple thermal/power kernel drivers for proactively controlling thermal behavior using P-States, power clamping, and more. Thermal Daemon is developed in the open on GitHub and is specific to Intel processors. It's relatively safe to assume the major Linux distributions are shipping it by default and automatically used on supported Intel systems while on some of the more DIY/niche distributions it is worth verifying its presence if you are using an Intel notebook.

    • Applications

      • Open Source Video Transcoder HandBrake Releases Version 1.4.0, Supports 10 & 12 Bit Encoding Now

        HandBrake hardly needs an introduction. This is one of the most popular open source software for converting video files from one format to another, with several configuration options for advanced users.

        I know ffmpeg on Linux is the ultimate tool but that’s command line. Handbrake also utilizes ffmpeg underneath and provides a good graphical user interface for ease of use.

        Let’s see what’s new in this release of HandBrake.

      • HandBrake 1.4 Open-Source Video Transcoder Adds Support for Native 10- and 12-Bit Encodes

        HandBrake 1.4 comes about a month after the release of HandBrake 1.3.3 maintenance update in the 1.3 series of the open source software, and it’s here to introduce a major functionality, namely support for native 10-bit and 12-bit video encodes, including HDR10 metadata passthrough.

        Of course, this means that you’ll now be able to open 10-bit or 12-bit encoded streams in HandBreak to convert them to another format of your choice. As most of these encodes are usually HDR, the built-in HDR10 metadata passthrough feature will come in handy as well, but the devs warn that not all filters will support 10-bit and 12-bit.

      • Handbrake 1.4 Released with Apple M1 Support

        Handbrake 1.4 released with many new features and updates. We wrap up the release in this post.

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Google Docs Editors

        Google has a firm grip on the desktop. Their products and services are ubiquitous. Don’t get us wrong, we’re long-standing admirers of many of Google’s products and services. They are often high quality, easy to use, and ‘free’, but there can be downsides of over-reliance on a specific company. For example, there are concerns about their privacy policies, business practices, and an almost insatiable desire to control all of our data, all of the time.

        What if you are looking to move away from Google and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not constantly tracked, monetised and attached to Google’s ecosystem.

        In this series, we explore how you can migrate from Google without missing out on anything. We’ll recommend open source solutions.

      • Meet Clapper: A Sleek Looking Linux Video Player for Minimalists
        Love minimalism? You’ll love Clapper.

        Clapper is a new video player for Linux. Actually, it’s more for GNOME than Linux.

        Built on top of GNOME’s JavaScript library and GTK4 toolkit, it blends naturally in the GNOME desktop environment. It uses GStreamer for media backend and OpenGL for rendering.

        I like application with minimalist approach. While VLC is the Swiss Knife of media players, I prefer MPV player for the sleek, minimal interface. And now I think I am going to stick with Clapper for sometime.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • We update our content and website

        However, this time, we do not only update single articles one after another, but started to restructure our website and the whole content. Restructuring our website means that some content is unavailable at the moment. It also means that some links may not work anymore. The missing content will be back soon.

      • How to Easily Install Vim plugins

        Most Linux distribution is now preinstalled with VIM 8+ version. Vim 8 has built support for packages. You can now easily install Vim plugins with this added support.

        Package support helps to add, update, remove and manage packages. Vim can natively load third-party packages without the help of any plugin manager.

        In this tutorial, you learn how to install Vim plugins manually and using a plugin manager.

      • How to Install Latest PHP 8.0 on Rocky Linux 8

        PHP 8.0 was officially released back on November 26, 2020, and is a major update to PHP 7.4. At the time of publishing this guide, the latest stable release is PHP 8.0.8, which was released on July 1, 2021.

      • How to install with nginx reverse proxy on Ubuntu 20.04 – VITUX

        If you are searching for an open-source self-hosted chat platform then Rocketchat can be the best option. Rocket chat can be used as an alternative to different communication channels such as slack, mattermost etc. Rocket chat comes with different features such as group chats, video conferencing, and you can integrate live chat with other platforms. In this article, we will learn how to set up a self-hosted Rocketchat system with let’s encrypt SSL certificates.

      • How to make your Ubuntu Desktop look like Windows 11 - Techzim

        Although my laptop is more than capable of running Windows 11 that is never going to happen. While Windows 11 is no doubt an awesome operating system with stunning visuals and very impressive under the hood improvements I stopped dual-booting many years ago. That was after discovering that the only time I was booting into Windows was to install updates.

        But this weekend I did something Windows related. A friend of mine who is a gamer challenged me. I am always telling people about the malleability of Linux and how you can make it look like anything including Windows 11. He wanted me to make my Desktop, yes running Ubuntu if you haven’t already guessed, look like Windows 11. So I went to work and the results surprised both of us. You can indeed make Ubuntu look like Windows 11.

      • Kali Linux on VirtualBox: A Step-by-Step Installation Guide

        This step by step tutorial will show you and guide you through all the steps on how to install Kali Linux on VirtualBox.

        Kali Linux is mainly used for advanced penetration testing and security auditing. It is a Debian based rolling release Linux distribution that specifically caters to the likes of network analysts and penetration testers. The main aspects of Kali Linux is its pre-installed security tool suite that can be used for a variety of cyber-security purposes.

        This guide is about how to install Kali Linux on VirtualBox, allowing you to have a Kali VM. VirtualBox is a free, open-source and cross-platform virtualization software that creates a virtual machines on top of your OS.

      • How To Install Zenmap on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Zenmap on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Zenmap is the official cross-platform GUI for the Nmap Security Scanner. The main difference between Zenmap and Nmap tools is its graphical interface, which can be suitable for beginners or speed up the work process. This means that you can simply scan graphically without using a Linux terminal. It is free and runs on Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, etc.

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

      • 10 Apt Command Examples You Must Know

        The apt is the most powerful command-line utility for managing the packages such as installing packages, updating package info, upgrading packages as well as Linux kernel, and removing unused packages in the Linux Debian family. The apt command is a CLI package managing tool that is a combination of apt-get and apt-cache which is more structured and advanced

        Aside from installing, updating, and deleting packages, apt command has other features also. In this article, we will be discussing ten apt commands you must know with their examples. To demonstrate these examples I have used the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS system.

      • How to Remove Directory in Linux by command and GUI Guide 2021

        Are you a new user of Linux OR You are trying to delete a directory in Linux, and getting error “Directory is not empty”

        Don’t worry anymore. This article will help learn “How to remove directory in Linux step by step by using a command-line interface and graphical interface both.

      • How to Extend XFS Root Partition without LVM in Linux

        There are some situations where / or root partition is running out of disk space in Linux. Even compressing and deleting old log files did not help, so in such cases we are left with no option but to extend / filesystem. In this article, we will demonstrate how to extend xfs based root partition without lvm in a Linux system.

        If we talk about the logical steps, first we have to add additional space to OS disk and then use growpart and xfs_growfs commands to extend the root partition (or filesystem).

        I am assuming we have a Linux based Virtual Machine running either on KVM hypervisor or VMware or VirtualBox. In this machine, we have 10 GB XFS based / root partition and want to extend it till 20 GB.

      • lsblk command in Linux to List Block Devices tutorial for beginners 2021

        The lsblk command in Linux is a useful command for administrators, which is used to list information about all available block devices.

        It does not list information about RAM disks.

        lsblk command gets the information from the /sys virtual file system to obtain the information and display on the screen.

        By default, you will get the information about all block devices in tree-like formate excluding except RAM disks.

      • Popular Commands to reboot Linux System with examples

        You don’t need to reboot a Linux server, they are not running only 2-3 weeks even years without interruption. Still, I am explaining the most popular commands to reboot Linux server and system.

        If you are window user then you know simple way to reboot you system using graphical interface.

        Linux is not one step back then windows operating system, It’s developer build up Linux with beautiful graphical interface.

    • Games

      • Scalpers are already trying to make some quick cash with the Steam Deck | GamingOnLinux

        Scalpers, the scourge of anyone trying to buy a graphics card or console have now decided to move onto the Steam Deck too and so the cycle continues. Anyone surprised? We're guessing not at all.

        Valve did make a few steps to try and combat them but it seems not enough. Although, there is only so many ways you can stop people doing it. For the first 48 hours, Valve made sure only users who had purchased something on Steam before June 2021 could order one and there is a small reservation fee too.

        The question is, why go to a scalper at all? Valve are still taking reservations. Well, take a look at ebay and you'll see plenty of listings like these:

      • OpenLoco for Chris Sawyer's Locomotion has an important update out | GamingOnLinux

        Chris Sawyer's Locomotion is the lesser known follow-up spiritual successor to Transport Tycoon that now lives on again thanks to the free and open source reimplementation OpenLoco. The project is getting into a pretty good state after the last few major updates, however some problems managed to creep in that a fresh release 21.07 fixes up.

      • An interview with the developer of TRBot for running your own Twitch Plays like event | GamingOnLinux

        "My name is Thomas “Kimimaru” Deeb and I am a professional and hobbyist software developer. I started playing video games at a very young age. I continue to be fascinated with imaginative game worlds and the compelling challenges games present through their gameplay.

        Some of my favorite games include classic franchises such as Mario, Zelda, Sonic, and Kirby. Recently, I’ve been playing games I missed out on growing up, such as Tomb Raider, ÅŒkami, and even some more obscure titles like Chibi Robo!. I’ve played numerous games at this point and don’t intend to stop anytime soon!"

      • The classic Crusader: No Remorse is ready for testing in ScummVM | GamingOnLinux

        Crusader: No Remorse, the classic sci-fi action game from 1995 is getting a new home with ScummVM and you can go ahead and test it right now.

        For those unaware ScummVM is a free and open source application that allow you to run tons of classic graphical adventure and role-playing games, as long as you have the data files needed. This allows you to easily play them on modern systems, often with enhancements to make the experience a bit smoother.

        Over time the ScummVM project has expanded to include more types of games and following on from supporting Origin Systems classic Ultima games they've moved onto adding in support for Crusader: No Remorse (but Crusader: No Regret is not yet supported).

      • Didn't take long: the Linux Editor for the Open 3D Engine sees great progress | GamingOnLinux

        After the huge announcement recently from the Linux Foundation that Amazon had donated the Lumberyard game engine as open source, with the formation of the Open 3D Engine and the Open 3D Foundation we're seeing some good progress on getting the editor supported on Linux.

        Developer Fabio Anderegg shared the news via Twitter, as they've been hacking away at the code to get it into a usable state on Linux. There's a pull request in progress on the official GitHub page which mentions a bunch that needs to be done but that didn't stop Anderegg showing it off:

      • Official Linux support for The Lightbringer is now confirmed | GamingOnLinux

        After putting up a Beta test, developer Rock Square Thunder who are working on The Lightbringer has now confirmed full official Linux support is happening.

        "The Lightbringer is a poetic adventure/puzzle platformer with light combat elements, set in a beautiful world claimed by a vile corruption. Guided by your sister’s spirit, you must prevail where she could not. Cleanse the corruption, become The Lightbringer."

      • Godot 4.0 with Vulkan getting closer to Alpha, looks like GLES2 to be dropped | GamingOnLinux

        As Godot 4.0 gets ever closer to seeing the light with an Alpha version, the team has clarified what OpenGL / OpenGL ES support to expect from it since the big thing with 4.0 is Vulkan.

        It's looking like there won't actually be any OpenGL/ES support when 4.0 is out, because the renderer went through such a massive overhaul for Vulkan and many new advanced features. A lot of it was done from scratch to make use of new and more modern techniques so they're looking at Godot 4.1 to bring back in official OpenGL/ES support.

      • Ultra App Kit 1.1 Released As New Cross-Platform UI Toolkit

        Ultra App Kit is a new cross-platform, user interface toolkit option focused on satisfying the needs of game engines/tooling but also covering needs for other desktop GUI applications.

        Sunday's release of Ultra App Kit 1.1 delivers on Linux and macOS support complementing its prior Windows support. Josh Klint of the Ultra Engine project wrote into Phoronix further explaining some of his motivation with Ultra App Kit, "I'm the developer who brought Leadwerks Game Engine to Linux a few years ago. I'm working on new game development technology and the first stage I am releasing is a cross-platform GUI toolkit that includes support for Linux. I had a pretty rough time wrangling with GTK for Leadwerks, which lead me to replace it with my own GUI system written directly on X11/XRender (and GDI+ / Quartz on Windows and Mac, respectively). The GUI toolkit was first released in April of this year, and now version 1.1 is released, adding Linux and Mac support. I plan to use this to build new game development tools, but it's also available now as a standalone product for other developers to build GUI applications with."

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • A Look at Profiling: FreeBSD Sort

          Still, we got a decent performance boost out of this exercise. And by using sort’s flags to change up the sorting algorithm to quicksort or mergesort rather than heapsort, we have perfomance that’s almost as good as GNU sort and NetBSD sort.

      • Fedora and IBM/Red Hat

        • The NeuroFedora Blog: Next Open NeuroFedora meeting: 19 July 1300 UTC

          Please join us at the next regular Open NeuroFedora team meeting on Monday 19 July at 1300UTC in #fedora-neuro on IRC ( The meeting is a public meeting, and open for everyone to attend.

        • Linux package managers: dnf vs apt

          There are many ways to get applications onto a Linux system. Some, like Flatpak and containers, are new. Others, like DEB and RPM, are classic formats that have withstood the test of time.

          There isn't a universal installer for any operating system. Today, all major OSes use a mix of app stores (both first and third party), drag-and-drop installation, and installation wizards because there are innumerable developers delivering software. Different developers have different requirements for the code they deliver, and this informs the installation method they each choose.

        • Expanding Red Hat Enterprise Linux choices for research and academia

          Modern workloads, whether critical production applications or leading-edge research projects, require a more reliable, stable and secure operating system foundation. The adoption of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) by governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations across the globe, has led to RHEL being the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform and helps demonstrate our belief that it provides the best backbone for nearly every computing need, anywhere on the open hybrid cloud. This is why we’ve been working to make RHEL more readily available to more users, from enabling individual developers to run RHEL in production at no cost to streamlining how open source projects can access no-cost RHEL to drive the next wave of innovation.

          Today, we’re further extending the availability of RHEL by expanding access to our subscription offerings for research and academic institutions. While Red Hat has historically offered a low-cost option for academic institutions, it was only available to degree-granting entities. Now, a much broader range of research and academia-related organizations can enter Red Hat’s academic subscription program, making it far easier to access, run and maintain RHEL to suit their unique needs, whether it’s simply running a web server to underpinning a high-performance computing (HPC) environment. This greater accessibility is also intended to help better prepare students and other learners for future opportunities in IT-related fields.

        • Benchmarking Kafka producer throughput with Quarkus | Red Hat Developer

          The interest in event-driven architecture has sped up within the last couple of years, with a great level of adoption and modernization effort across all enterprises. Apache Kafka, one of the most pervasive streaming middleware technologies, is being tried and tested by many development teams. High performance is a critical goal for these teams.

          There are numerous resources for configuring and benchmarking your Kafka cluster size. Such guides and benchmarks naturally involve producers and consumers, but their primary aim is the performance of the Kafka cluster itself. Recently, I was asked to give pointers regarding how to fine-tune Kafka producers for high throughput. Many guides explain the most important Kafka producer configurations and their relationship to performance, as well as the trade-offs. But there isn’t much benchmark data showcasing how different configuration combinations can impact producer message throughput.

          In this article, I show the throughput outcomes resulting from various producer configurations I employed in a recent test setup. My hope is to help other developers and architects better understand the relationship between producer configurations and message throughput. You can use this information to make educated guesses while configuring your own Kafka clusters.

        • Apps for daily needs part 2: office suites - Fedora Magazine

          Today, almost every family has a desktop computer or laptop. That’s because the computer has become a very important requirement. Moreover, many people have to create documents and presentations in digital format for work or study. Therefore, the office suites are must-have application on almost all computers. This article will introduce some of the open source office suites that you can use on Fedora Linux. You may need to install the software mentioned. If you are unfamiliar with how to add software packages in Fedora Linux, see my earlier article Things to do after installing Fedora 34 Workstation. Here is the list of apps for daily needs in the office suites category.

        • Fedora 35 Approved For Third-Party Repo Changes, More Optimal Encryption Default - Phoronix

          The Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) has unanimously approved a large number of new Fedora 35 features this week.

          There are a number of additional features now approved for Fedora 35, which is due for release this October. Among the latest feature changes approved by FESCo include:

          - An update mechanism for opting into third-party software repositories more easily and so the repositories are immediately enabled. No new repositories or other changes are there by default, just changing how such third party repositories are enabled if carried out by the user.

        • 5 essential soft skills for sysadmin self-improvement | Enable Sysadmin

          You might be the most technically skilled person in your company, yet you might not be able to pitch your ideas in a meeting or track your work and get it done on time. So what could be the problem in this scenario? More often than not, your soft skills—or the absence of them—are causing this problem. In this article, I dig a little deeper into why these five soft skills are essential for a sysadmin and the resources available to improve them.

        • OKRs and KPIs: 6 counterintuitive tips for leaders | The Enterprisers Project

          Conventional thinking isn’t always bad, but it can lead to a bad result – missing out on new ways of doing things. This idea is particularly important to goal-setting and performance measurement in IT and business. A “same old, same old” approach to metrics will likely lead to the same old results. That’s good if you’re happy with the way things are; it’s less effective if you’re launching a brand-new initiative or driving significant change.

        • Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy: 10 questions to ask about yours

          In recent years, the vast majority of the enterprises that invested in Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities fell into one of two categories: those who used AI applications successfully to improve operations or cut costs and those who were participating in what Goutham Belliappa, vice president of AI engineering at Capgemini North America calls “AI theater:” They implemented AI models “to create some buzz in the marketplace, but they didn’t go through the hard work of tying their AI capabilities to business value,” Belliappa says.

          Today, companies stand on the precipice of a new era. “AI is on the cusp of a tremendous economic impact that will disrupt every industry in the same way that software was positioned about thirty years ago,” says Brian Jackson, analyst and research director at Info-Tech Research Group. “AI’s rapidly growing capabilities are being applied to solve problems in far more efficient ways than we were able to do previously.”

      • Devuan Family

        • Devuan 4.0 Alpha Builds Updated For Debian 11 Stripped Of systemd

          Back in April Devuan 4.0 alpha builds began for this Debian fork/downstream that aims for init system freedom by allowing Debian GNU/Linux to work without a dependence on systemd. Devuan 4.0 is tracking upstream Debian 11 quite closely with its changes.

          Following this weekend's full freeze for Debian 11 "Bullseye", the Devuan project has now published a new set of ISOs.

    • Devices/Embedded

  • Leftovers

    • How to Make Tech Interviews Suck Less

      Interviews for tech jobs can be performative at best and exclusionary at worst. Candidates often report they are left feeling anxious, on display, judged — and set up to fail. Exercises meant to gauge a developer’s technical prowess can seem arbitrary and irrelevant to the role being filled.

      Hiring processes often accentuate the worst sides of the tech industry. A bias toward pedigree — four-year computer science degrees, work experience at a FAANG — excludes candidates from non-traditional backgrounds. Whiteboard tests, a mainstay of developer interviews, favor the most charismatic, not the best person for the job. Making candidates jump through lots of hoops — all while unpaid — can push those under-represented in tech to drop out mid-process, as many do at alarming rates.

    • How to Make Tech Interviews More Inclusive

      Tech interviews can be “performative at best and exclusionary at worst,” writes Jennifer Riggins, with stress-inducing whiteboard tests, for example, favoring the most charismatic candidates rather than the most qualified.

    • Science

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Detroit's Prison Population Will Soon Be Stuck Living Next to a Toxic Site
      • 'Pandemic Is Not Over': As Delta Variant Spreads, US Surgeon General 'Worried About What Is to Come'

        During appearances on multiple Sunday€ talk shows, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy expressed dismay over the current€ surge in Covid-19 cases—more than half of which are now linked to the highly transmissible Delta variant—throughout the country, especially€ in areas with low inoculation rates, and urged people to get vaccinated swiftly.

        "We've made so much progress over this past year, but what I worry about are those... millions of people in our country who are not vaccinated."—Dr. Vivek Murthy

      • How Fox News' Covid vaccine denialism hurts my patients

        I don’t blame my patients for their refusal. What breaks my heart, as someone who took an oath to prevent harm, is that my patients choose to abandon the science and evidence that can save their lives. I do blame Fox News and other right-wing media outlets for poisoning the minds of millions of Americans with the deceptive propaganda they spray into living rooms 24/7.

        This isn’t just my experience. As executive director of the Committee to Protect Health Care, an organization of medical professionals across the country, I hear stories like these from members every day.

      • Some people can tell if you have an infection just by looking at you

        The team worked with 169 volunteers from six different cultural backgrounds, including city dwellers in Stockholm and hunter-gatherers in the rainforests of Thailand and Malaysia, and in the coastal deserts of Mexico. Each volunteer was shown photos of Swedish people taken 2 hours after they had been injected with either Escherichia coli or a placebo.

        Those who had been injected with E. coli were at the beginning stages of an immune response when their photos were taken – and some of the volunteers in all six groups had a better-than-chance ability to identify that they were sick.

      • Smaller Pharma Firms Boost EU Innovation Presence

        The 15-year anniversary report from the European Medicines Agency’s SME Office highlights the growing importance of smaller biopharmaceutical companies in the development, assessment and approval of innovative drugs.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Has Found Another Flaw In The PrintSpooler Service

          Microsoft has found yet another security flaw in its PrintSpooler service that allows Windows to print documents. The total tally of flaws now sits at three.

          The first one was addressed in a June security update, only for another one to be discovered called 'PrintNightmare' which affected every version of Windows and the company put out a patch that partially fixed the issue. Now a third flaw has been discovered which leaves Windows unable to print documents.

        • Microsoft Recommends Users Disable Print Spooler to Avoid Exploit
        • Detecting and Hunting for the Malicious NetFilter Driver

          During the week of June 21st, 2021, information security researchers from G Data discovered that a driver for Microsoft Windows named “netfilter.sys” had a backdoor added by a 3rd party that Microsoft then signed as a part of the Microsoft OEM program. [...]

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Data Leak Exposes Global Surveillance Plot Targeting Journalists and Dissidents

              NSO Group, a private€ Israeli firm that sells surveillance technology to governments worldwide, insists that its Pegasus spyware is used only to "investigate terrorism and crime." Leaked data, however,€ reveals that the company's hacking tool "has€ been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale."

              "The Pegasus Project lays bare how NSO's spyware is a weapon of choice for repressive governments seeking to silence journalists, attack activists, and crush dissent, placing countless lives in peril."—Agnès€ Callamard, Amnesty

            • Pegasus: Spyware sold to governments 'targets activists'

              Rights activists, journalists and lawyers around the world have been targeted with phone malware sold to authoritarian governments by an Israeli surveillance firm, media reports say.

            • From Macy’s to Ace Hardware, facial recognition is already everywhere

              Some of the US’s most popular stores — including Macy’s and Ace Hardware — are using facial recognition on their customers, largely without their knowledge.

              Now the digital rights nonprofit Fight for the Future has helped launch a nationwide campaign to document which of the country’s biggest retailers are deploying facial recognition. Launched on Wednesday, the campaign, which has the support of more than 35 human rights groups, aims to draw attention to retail stores using facial-scanning algorithms to boost their profits, intensify security systems, and even track their employees.

              The campaign comes as a clear reminder that the reach of facial recognition goes far beyond law enforcement and into the private, commercial storefronts we regularly visit. Experts warn that facial recognition in these spaces is particularly concerning because the technology is largely unregulated and undisclosed, meaning both customers and employees may be unaware this software is surveilling and collecting data about them.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Media Embellish Protests, Downplay Effects of US Sanctions in Cuba

        A wave of protests in Cuba became the somewhat unlikely focus of global attention earlier this week, the events becoming the worldwide No. 1 trend on€ Twitter€ for over 24 hours, as celebrities, politicians and even the president of the United States weighed in on the action. A€ statement€ from Joe Biden’s office read:

      • My Heart Aches for Cuba — and I Yearn for More Solidarity From the Global Left
      • Iran [cr]ackers masqueraded as UK scholars to [cr]ack journalists, think tanks

        Iranian [cr]ackers masqueraded as British scholars with the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in an attempt to solicit sensitive information from journalists, think tank experts and senior professors since the beginning of the year, according to a new report by the cybersecurity company Proofpoint on Tuesday.

      • Sweden: Migrant Mafia Terrorizes Business Owners - Police Warn They Can Not Protect Victims (Video)

        Policeman Ulf Boström breaking into tears when discussing the hidden victims suffering from migrant Gangs: “The victims have no chance.”

        Swedish entrepreneurs have lost their families, their livelihoods, or been forced to move out of the country for fear being killed.

        The reason: They are systematically extorted by criminal networks. Now Gothenburg police officer Ulf Boström sounds the alarm that the problem is gigantic and that the police cannot protect the victims.

      • 'Islamic State' poses growing threat across Africa

        "Unfortunately, ISIS is so widespread in Africa today that you can say it is across the continent," Nigerian political analyst Bulama Bukarti told DW. "You are talking about groups of countries and subregions."

        Jihadis have taken control of significant territories in the Sahel and the Lake Chad regions, which include parts of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Nigeria. In 2018, the West Africa Center for Counter Extremism (WACCE) reported up to 6,000 West Africans who had fought with IS had returned home from Iraq and Syria after the group's self-proclaimed caliphate collapsed.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Sharia in the U.S. Judicial System?

        It is vital to understand that in Islam, Allah’s Law is supreme for Muslims, above all other laws and legal systems. And that poses a problem for America when Islam resides on its territory, because Sharia is completely incompatible with the U.S. Constitution and the foundations of a free society.

        Quraishi’s relationship to Islam, therefore, matters a great deal -- seeing that his new position entails significant power and influence in America.

        So let’s dig a little bit deeper on Quraishi.

    • Environment

      • Investigation: How the Meat Industry is Climate-Washing its Polluting Business Model

        In February last year, the head of a leading global meat industry body gave a “pep talk” to his colleagues at an Australian agriculture conference.€ 

        “It’s a recurring theme that somehow the livestock sector and eating meat is detrimental to the environment, that it is a serious negative in terms of the climate change discussions,” Hsin Huang, Secretary General of the International Meat Secretariat (IMS), told his audience. But the sector, he insisted, could be the “heroes in this discussion” if it wanted to.

        Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

      • Meat Industry Responses: In Full

        DeSmog approached all 10 organisations for which it added profiles to the Agribusiness Database, as part of an investigation into the meat industry’s “climate-washing”. They are: Vion Food Group, Danish Crown, JBS, Tyson, European Livestock Voice, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Animal Agriculture Alliance, North American Meat Institute, European Roundtable on Beef Sustainability and the International Meat Secretariat.

        The responses DeSmog received are published in full below.

        Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

      • Oregon's Growing Bootleg Fire Is One of 70 Raging in US West Amid Heatwave
      • Despite Climate Crisis, Governments Failing to Use Covid Stimulus for Green Recovery

        On the one hand, killer heat is leading to terrifying fires. On the other hand, killer floods are wrecking havoc. Some parts of the planet bake and boil, others sink and swim.

      • Energy

        • DOE Quietly Backs Plan for Carbon Capture Network Larger Than Entire Oil Pipeline System

          An organization run by former Obama-era Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, with the backing of the AFL-CIO, a federation of 56 labor unions, has created a policy “blueprint” to build a nationwide pipeline network capable of carrying a gigaton of captured carbon dioxide (CO2).

          The “Building to Net-Zero” blueprint appears to be quietly gaining momentum within the Energy Department, where a top official has discussed ways to put elements into action using the agency’s existing powers.

          Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

    • Finance

      • When Does the Greed Stop?

        Every aspect of American life has been corrupted by greed. One of the purposes of government is to protect both individuals and society from such corruption, and that means protecting people and institutions from greedy predators.€  In that simple task, over the past 40 years since America embraced Reaganomics and Reaganism, our government has failed.

      • The Anti-Family Party

        They need it. Even before the pandemic, child poverty had reached post-war records. Even non-poor families were in trouble, burdened with deepening debt and missed payments. Most were living paycheck to paycheck – so if they lost a job, they and their kids could be plunged into poverty. It’s estimated that the new monthly child allowance will cut child poverty by more than half.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The For the People Act Is Still Alive

        The pundits are saying that the€ For the People Act€ (FTPA) — the Democrats’ historic voting rights and anti-corruption bill — is dead. It’s not, but perhaps it’s easier to craft a€ narrative around the futility of legislative efforts than to fairly chronicle a€ necessary but uphill€ battle.€ 

      • How "In God We Trust" Bills Are Advancing a Christian Nationalist Agenda
      • Disgraced Former Governor Claims He's Been Exonerated, But the GOP Isn't So Sure
      • Ethiopia Warns News Outlets Not to 'Mischaracterize' Tigray

        EMA officials on Thursday said they revoked the license over complaints that the Addis Standard was advancing “the terrorist group’s agency,” including by “legitimizing a terrorist group as a ‘Defense Force.’” The suspension drew outrage from global press freedom watchdogs, who’ve accused the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of taking an increasingly hard line against domestic news outlets covering the conflict.

      • The next voting rights battleground is Michigan

        But SB 303 also requires every voter to sign a form before they can vote. The signature on this form must be examined by a poll worker and compared to “the elector’s digitized signature contained in the electronic poll book.” If, in the poll worker’s subjective determination, the signatures do not match, then the voter will be given a provisional ballot.

        SB 304, meanwhile, lays out what happens to these provisional ballots. Essentially, a voter given such a ballot has six days to prove their identity and residency to the county or township clerk — something that they can do by showing many of the same forms of ID that they are already required to show at the polls.

        Read together, the two bills create an absurd situation where some voters could be disenfranchised unless they make a special trip to the clerk’s office to show the same ID card that they already provided to the poll worker. Imagine, for example, that a voter shows their valid driver’s license at the polls, but a poll worker, for whatever reason, declares that the voter’s signature does not match. The voter then has less than a week to make a special trip to the clerk’s office to show the clerk the exact same driver’s license.

      • What Thurgood Marshall Taught Me

        When the Judge told that story, he never laughed. Instead, he grew introspective — and would, for once, explain himself. To Marshall, the tale illustrated what the struggle was really about. School desegregation or employment equality or voting rights, all were important, but none were ends in themselves. They were goals in the service of creating a world in which Black people would no longer see themselves the way the stranger in the pool hall did.

      • France Learns about Islam’s 1,400 Year Assault

        A historian, linguist and philologist, and a specialist in oriental languages, Ibrahim has methodically exploited first-hand sources, both Muslim and "Western", and has consulted numerous manuscripts from the Library of Congress in Washington. His book is not only a detailed chronicle of the battles, it is also and above all a rigorous analysis of the intentions and strategies of the various warring leaders. Ibrahim shows that the Muslim forces were essentially obeying a religious, messianic, expansionist, conquering logic, whereas the Christian armies wanted above all to recover territories that for centuries had been Roman, Greek and Christian. He also shows that the religious fervor of today's Islamists overlaps exactly with ancestral Islamic dogmas, that Western reactions are 1400-year-old self-defense mechanisms, and that current rivalries are the reflection of a very old existential struggle. We interviewed him for La Nef.

      • Elite gatekeeping in the age of surveillance capitalism

        I recently had the pleasure of reading Dr. Andy Farnell's essay "Why we will win the war for general purpose computing". While I agree with a lot of his statements and thoroughly enjoyed a spot of British wit, the conclusions reached and a few of the stops along the way bother me. Though I am Swedish, my comments here have an undeniably American perspective. Partly because that is where this fight mostly takes place and partly because several European nations are showing signs of the same symptoms.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Kurt Westergaard, Danish cartoonist behind Muhammad cartoon, dies at 86

        Westergaard was a cartoonist for the conservative Jyllands-Posten newspaper from the early 1980s.

        He became world famous in 2005 for his controversial depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in the newspaper.

        Westergaard's cartoon, which showed a turban bomb, was one of 12 published by the newspaper to make a point about self-censorship and criticism of Islam.

      • Kurt Westergaard, Danish cartoonist behind caricature of Mohammed, dies at 86

        The illustrations, which initially went unnoticed, eventually sparked Denmark's biggest foreign policy crisis since the end of World War II.

        One of the cartoons which sparked particular backlash showed the prophet wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb.

      • Danish Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard dies aged 86

        The anger then escalated into anti-Danish violence across the Muslim world in February 2006.

        The violence linked to the cartoons culminated in a 2015 massacre that left 12 people dead at the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly in Paris, which had reprinted the cartoons in 2012.

        Westergaard had been working at Jyllands-Posten since the mid-1980s as an illustrator, and according to Berlingske the drawing in question had actually been printed once before but without sparking much controversy.

      • There’s still only one way for authoritarians to control the [Internet]

        Internet shutdowns are a well-worn tactic by authoritarian regimes over the past decade. After Egypt blocked the web during Arab Spring protests, embattled dictators have repeated the tactic in Syria, Myanmar, Uganda, Eswatini, and most recently, Cuba. Full shutdowns, however, represent a worst-case scenario for any regime: In addition to disrupting protesters, they also disrupt the economy and make it harder for the government itself to operate. They are a censorship method of last resort.

      • Sweden: Authorities Are Punishing Me for Criticizing Islam

        The law they used against me was meant to stop people from criticizing the government for its disastrous open border policy, and to protect Islam. Our prime minister also said many years ago that he would never criticize Islam, and I’m sure he has never read the Qur’an. I’m worried that my once-beautiful country can become the first caliphate in Europe, and that a demographic jihad can give Muslims a majority within 30 years. Many people are also afraid of a civil war, since criminal Muslim gangs create more and more no-go zones that police don’t dare to enter. Swedish leaders have all attended Bilderberg meetings, and they are not loyal to my country. With this statement I want the rest of the world to know what’s going on in my country.

        Here is a summary article from last year on my case: [...]

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • AI Inventions and Patents | BananaIP Counsels [Dd: Patents pushed using buzzwords and unadulterated garbage]

            As new technologies emerge, they challenge traditional legal principles and concepts, which often lag behind technological progress. Though Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a term and a field has been in existence since the 1950s, it did not pose serious legal challenges as its implementability and applicability was limited. Today however, developments in computation, communication, information, data and other technologies have significantly enhanced the implementability and utility of AI for different purposes in different fields. This has set off debates with respect to several well settled legal principles including those governing ownership, protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) relating to AI inventions and creations.

            When they finally emerge, the answers to some of the questions might affect the ability of the IP system to promote progress of science, technology, and creativity. Though Courts in some countries have arrived at determinations on AI inventorship and ownership, several questions are still open, and are the subject of legislative activity and/or policy making. Reports of WIPO and different patent offices such as the USPTO indicate that AI techniques have diverse applications across many fields, and are difficult, if not impossible, to track. The ubiquity of AI applications and related consequences, and the rapid pace at which Artificial Intelligence research seems to be progressing makes it very challenging to arrive at a specific policy framework and approach, and the resultant openness/ambiguity is reflected in the response of patent offices to applications involving AI. With that in mind, this article gives a perspective of some AI patent trends and patentability issues with specific focus on India.

      • Copyrights

        • Developer on Twitch Creates Neat Tool to Prevent DMCA Notices

          Twitch users who play copyrighted music in the background leave themselves open to DMCA notices that can result in a ban. Other than expensive licensing there has been no obvious solution to this problem but thanks to developer Peter Frydenlund Madsen, Twitch streamers can now play copyrighted music to their fans, without risking infringement complaints.

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