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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 25 min 4 sec ago

EPO Staff Union Takes the EPO ‘to Court’ (the ILO’s Tribunal, as the EPO Cannot be Taken to a Proper Court)

1 hour 31 min ago

Video download link

http://techrights.org/videos/suepo-iloat.webm

Summary: The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Committees are preparing a legal battle over unlawful and unjust measures taken collectively against hard-working (overworked during pandemic) members of staff; the European public should support them

THE bizarre EPO is basically above the law. You can’t really take the EPO or António Campinos to court. They’re magically immune! And if they illegally grant lots of European software patents, all one can do is protest in the streets. And they won’t care…

“Staff can see whose interests are served.”This is partly the fault of Germany. It created a monster and it’s unwilling to get this monster under control. EPO corruption is OK as long as allowing that corruption to carry on helps the German government cover up its own corruption scandals. Absurd, right?

In any event, recently we learned about mass action against the SAP (over 1,200 people on the payroll/pension) and earlier today a letter was circulated “Challenging the New Career System & the Abolition of the Invalidity Lump Sum in front of ILOAT,” stating that they’re “Preparing the required annexes now” (they prepare another mass action).

SUEPO members were told: “At the beginning of February, Mr Campinos issued rejection decisions on appeals against two majors reforms of his predecessor in 2015: the New Career System and the Abolition of the Invalidity Lump Sum [...] The appellants affected should now challenge both matters in front of ILOAT in the first days of May. SUEPO is currently finalizing template complaints to be distributed to all of its members in due time. We strongly recommend you to start gathering the required annexes now and to have them ready. This publication explains you how.”

Notice how nothing really improved since Benoît Battistelli had left. We have been seeing exacerbation over time and last year confidence levels or trust in António Campinos (among staff) were an appalling 3%, based on a survey. It won’t take long before that’s 0% (just like Battistelli). Staff can see whose interests are served.

The Latest Anti-RMS Coup Attempt Targets the GNU Project (Because the FSF Coup Has Clearly Failed) by Infringing and Disregarding Trademark Conventions

1 hour 48 min ago

Video download link

http://techrights.org/videos/gnu-coup.webm

Summary: A fake “GNU” (not the original GNU, just riding the coattails of the name “GNU”) is trying to find/gain traction and we must oppose it because it’s an extension of the very same coup attempt (same plotters) that manufactured a whole bunch of libel to incite people and blackmail the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Trademark law is not a bad thing and it is not something that Richard Stallman (RMS) opposes. In fact, the FSF has complained to the FSFE about their misleading name and insisted that it should be renamed. Other leaks have demonstrated what FSFE really stands for (not just literally but also in practice). It takes money from Microsoft and Google.

“These people aren’t trying to promote freedom and kindness. They just try to demote the founder and exclude him. How very kind of them…”At the moment there is something hijacking the name “GNU”. But it’s not GNU. It’s actually an attack on GNU. It’s also an attack on the founder of GNU and the current project leader of the GNU Project.

The video above does not mention the name of this “new GNU” or the perpetrators (previously we saw many IBM/Red Hat employees). It does, however, warn about the motivations. These people aren’t trying to promote freedom and kindness. They just try to demote the founder and exclude him. How very kind of them…

Links 16/4/2021: Mozilla Dumping FTP, Corporations Still Concern-Trolling FSF

11 hours 41 min ago

Contents
  • GNU/Linux
    • Server
      • Forging Industrial Grade, Scale Out Ceph Storage

        As tens of millions of Americans who have received their $1,400 Covid relief checks in recent weeks can attest, getting a little financial boost during stressful and difficult times can go a long way in helping to separate themselves from day-to-day survival and turn some of their attention to longer term plans. The same can be said for tech startups with ambitious ideas trying to gain traction in a rapidly evolving IT industry dominated by large, deep-pocketed, established players.

      • Announcing Istio 1.9.3

        This release fixes the security vulnerability described in our April 15th post.

      • Volume Health Monitoring Alpha Update

        The CSI Volume Health Monitoring feature, originally introduced in 1.19 has undergone a large update for the 1.21 release.

        Why add Volume Health Monitoring to Kubernetes?

        Without Volume Health Monitoring, Kubernetes has no knowledge of the state of the underlying volumes of a storage system after a PVC is provisioned and used by a Pod. Many things could happen to the underlying storage system after a volume is provisioned in Kubernetes. For example, the volume could be deleted by accident outside of Kubernetes, the disk that the volume resides on could fail, it could be out of capacity, the disk may be degraded which affects its performance, and so on. Even when the volume is mounted on a pod and used by an application, there could be problems later on such as read/write I/O errors, file system corruption, accidental unmounting of the volume outside of Kubernetes, etc. It is very hard to debug and detect root causes when something happened like this.

        Volume health monitoring can be very beneficial to Kubernetes users. It can communicate with the CSI driver to retrieve errors detected by the underlying storage system. PVC events can be reported up to the user to take action. For example, if the volume is out of capacity, they could request a volume expansion to get more space.

    • Kernel Space
      • Rust support in Linux may be possible by 5.14 release: Torvalds

        The first patches for Rust support in the Linux kernel have been posted and the man behind the kernel says the fact that these are being discussed is much more important than a long post by Google about the language.

        Linus Torvalds told iTWire in response to queries that Rust support was “not there yet”, adding that things were “getting to the point where maybe it might be mergeable for 5.14 or something like that”.

      • Google Is Working On A New And Possibly Better LRU Memory Management Framework For The Linux Kernel

        The linux kernel loves to fill all available RAM with caches of files and other items. This speeds things up because memory caches are much faster than Direct I/O. One obvious bi-effect is that all system RAM can be in use and, at the same time, be free as in available for applications who may need it.

        The Linux kernels Least Recently Used (LRU) framework decides what gets kept and what gets thrown out in case some system memory is needed by an applications. It covers the majority of a machines memory pages. Slab caches and a few other caches are exceptions. LRU pages are put in one of two linked lists with active or inactive pages. Pages taken from the end of the inactive list are freed unless it has the reference bit set. Pages are, in that case, moved to the beginning of the active page list and the reference bit is cleared. Dirty pages, as in pages that should be written to disk, are put in the writeback queue and later moved to the beginning of the inactive memory list. Memory pages that are unreferenced and clean get reused.

      • The 12 Most Interesting Changes Of Linux 5.12 – PS5, N64, Intel VRR, RDNA2 OverDrive

        If all goes well the Linux 5.12 stable kernel will be released this weekend. It’s been a fairly calm week so far in Linux 5.12 Git land but if things tick up Linus Torvalds may defer the stable release by one week to allow for an eighth and final release candidate. In any case, Linux 5.12 is packing a lot of exciting changes.

        After the Linux 5.12 merge window I wrote a Linux 5.12 feature overview. But for those that didn’t see it or recall it from two months ago, here is a look at the top twelve features/changes coming with Linux 5.12 for a quick recap

      • Graphics Stack
        • The State Of OpenCL To Vulkan Compute Layers On Linux In April 2021

          It is, in theory, possible to run OpenCL applications on Linux using any graphics driver capable of doing Vulkan Compute. We have examined the alternatives for doing so and found them to be technically interesting and practically useless. It may become possible to run Blender with OpenCL compute using Vulkan at some point in the far distant future. Don’t expect to be able to do that today or next month.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Between Loads

          I’m typing this up between loads and runs of various games I’m testing, since bug reports for games are somehow already a thing, and there’s a lot of them.

          The worst part about testing games is the unbelievably long load times (and startup videos) most of them have, not to mention those long, panning camera shots at the start of the game before gameplay begins and I can start crashing.

          But this isn’t a post about games.

          No, no, there’s plenty of time for such things.

          This is a combo post: part roundup because blogging has been sporadic the past couple weeks, and part feature.

    • Applications
      • Best Grammar and Spell Check Apps for Linux

        This article will cover a list of useful grammar and spelling correction tools available for Linux. These applications mainly provide support for English language with a few of them having options for other languages as well. Note that you can use integrated spell checkers in applications like LibreOffice, Chrome, FireFox, AbiWord etc. to get correct spellings for your text based content. This article, however, mainly focuses on standalone spell checker applications that give you much more freedom to parse and fix spellings in your content and work with multiple applications.

      • mmtc – minimal mpd terminal client

        Linux offers a huge array of open source music players. And many of them are high quality. We’ve reviewed the vast majority, and are endeavoring to explore every free music player in case there’s an undiscovered gem.

        MPD is a powerful server-side application for playing music. In a home environment, you can connect an MPD server to a Hi-Fi system, and control the server using a notebook or smartphone. You can, of course, play audio files on remote clients. MPD can be started system-wide or on a per-user basis.

    • Instructionals/Technical
      • Some things on ZFS (on Linux) per-dataset basic IO statistics

        Sufficiently recent versions of OpenZFS on Linux have not just performance statistics for overall pool IO (also), but some additional per-dataset IO statistics. Conveniently, these IO statistics are exposed through the Prometheus host agent, so if you’re using Prometheus (as we are), so you don’t have to write something to collect and manipulate them yourself. However, what these statistics actually mean is a little bit underexplained.

      • How To Install VSCodium on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS [Ed: But this is still helping Microsoft monopoly and should thus be discouraged]

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install VSCodium on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, VSCodium is an open-source, free clone of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code. It’s a perfect app to set up if you love the look of VSCode, but wish it were open-source. It is available not only for Windows, Mac, and as well as for Linux.

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

      • How to Download Ubuntu via Torrent [Absolute Beginner’s Tip]

        Downloading Ubuntu is pretty straightforward. You go to its official website. Click on the desktop download section, select the appropriate Ubuntu version and hit the download button.

        Ubuntu is available as a single image of more than 2.5 GB in size. The direct download works well for people with high-speed internet connection.

        However, if you have a slow or inconsistent internet connection, you’ll have a difficult time downloading such a big file. The download may be interrupted several times in the process or may take several hours.

      • Play a fun math game with Linux commands [Ed: Those who GNU programs, but Linux commands. But Jim Hall, the author of this piece, is participating in the campaign of hate against the FSF.]

        Like many people, I’ve been exploring lots of new TV shows during the pandemic. I recently discovered a British game show called Countdown, where contestants play two types of games: a words game, where they try to make the longest word out of a jumble of letters, and a numbers game, where they calculate a target number from a random selection of numbers. Because I enjoy mathematics, I’ve found myself drawn to the numbers game.

        The numbers game can be a fun addition to your next family game night, so I wanted to share my own variation of it. You start with a collection of random numbers, divided into “small” numbers from 1 to 10 and “large” numbers that are 15, 20, 25, and so on until 100. You pick any combination of six numbers from both large and small numbers.

      • How To Install Java with Apt on Ubuntu 20.04

        Java is one of the most popular programming languages and the JVM (Java’s virtual machine) is the run-time environment to run Java applications. These two platforms are required for much popular software that includes Tomcat, Jetty, Cassandra, Glassfish, and Jenkins.

        In this article, you will learn how to install Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and the Java Developer Kit (JDK) using the default apt package manager on Ubuntu 20.04 and Ubuntu 18.04.

      • Sort “du” Command by Size- Output Largest to Smallest

        “du” stands for disk usage, and as the name implies, this command is very useful in getting disk-related information in Linux. This is a very flexible command that can be combined with different parameters to get the desired output.

        In today’s tutorial, we will be guiding you on the method of sorting the output of the “du” command in descending order, i.e., largest to smallest in Linux.

        Note: We have used a Linux Mint 20 machine to demonstrate this method. However, you can also perform the very same method on a Ubuntu 20.04 system or a Debian 10 system.

      • Grep with the Line Number in Output

        Global regular expression print is a versatile utility that searches plain text in the system with different regular expressions. We can perform many operations with the help of Grep; we can explore in files, display line number as output, and how to ignore blank spaces, and use Grep recursively. Grep with the line number displays the line number of relevant text present in the file. This function is accomplished with the help of –n. From the page of Grep, we can easily describe different commands.

      • How to Install Duplicity on Ubuntu?

        This article is about Duplicity, and how you can install it on your Ubuntu 20.04 machine. Duplicity is an open-source tool that helps people create backups of their data. It basically just encrypts the user’s data and stores it into a remote server. It’s a very convenient and smart way to back up data, as it does not only store the data but also any changes made to it in the long run. This attribute makes Duplicity very space-efficient.

      • How to Use Docker Registry?

        Today, we’ll discuss the Docker Registry and how to use it.

        [...]

        We’ll gloss over the detail in this section, but if you’re used to installing such software, you’ll do just fine with the instructions here. We’ll cover the default method to setting up Docker; via the official docker repository…

      • How to Check if a Filesystem is Mounted in Linux?

        We already know that many filesystems are used and supported by the Linux operating system, e.g., ext2, ext3, ext4, FAT16, FAT32, and a lot more. The file system is necessary for working in the Linux and Windows operating systems. If you want to know what type of filesystem your Linux OS supports this article is meant for you. This article will give you a step-by-step guide to know what kind of filesystem is mounted in a Linux operating system.
        To start working, you must have any Linux distribution installed on your system. Login from your Linux system and open the command terminal. Make sure you have the “util-linux” package installed on your system to start checking the mounted filesystem. For this purpose, try the below “apt” command followed by the keyword “install” in a shell. Instantly, the installation will be completed, and you can now check the mounted filesystem.

      • How to Create a New File in Vim?

        Vim is indeed a popular text editor widely used in the command-line interface of Linux operating systems. Since Linux makes heavy use of configuration documents, you’ll have o modify them regularly, and Vim has become an excellent tool for doing so. Vim seems to have a distinct operational technique, with two key modes. One of them is command mode, and the other one is a merge of all additional modes. In this discussion, we will discuss the process of creating a Vim file using the Vim text editor in the Linux System.

    • Games
      • Sid Meier: More than Just Civilization

        Let’s face it. The video games world is not getting any younger, and the most famous creators of yesterday are now well past 60. Sid Meier is no exception. I picked up his memoir and it was a good read. I am now pretty confident that we will see more publications in the same vein, as the age of pioneers reaches an end.

        For Linux gamers, Sid Meier’s current company, Firaxis, is a well known benefactor – one of the few friendly to our cause: Civilization 5, 6, and Beyond Earth have all been ported to Linux by Aspyr with the blessing of Firaxis. Even back in the Loki days, Civilization: Call To Power was one of the first games ported to Linux… while this was not a game by Sid Meier – just one from Activision who had secured the rights to the franchise. This is one of the things you will learn as you go through this memoir.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • Budgie Desktop 11 Ditching GNOME in Favor of Qt

        Just a couple of days ago, the lead developer and CEO of Solar project “Local key Doherty” announced major changes in Budgie Desktop 11, with an account of some developments coming along. In that blog, he also made an announcement that took the users by surprise;

        [...]

        That’s right! Budgie is ditching GNOME to make the transition to Qt.

        Ikey remarked that this change would take effect upon the next major release of the software, which effectively discards the components of GNOME architecture.

        Initially, Budgie was designed to work with GNOME software programs, which eventually lead to its full integration into the GNOME software stack.

        This slow and unprecedented integration raised some problems for Solar Project. First, they had to scramble to update Budgie anytime GNOME released an upgrade because the outdated version would cause errors. This started ever since the first version 3.10 of Budgie was made public, and the problem persisted until GNOME 3.22.

        The problems would manifest as API/ABI inconsistencies, elements cluttering each other, clogged workflow, widgets, and template crashes. In some instances, GdkScreen APIs became completely dysfunctional.

    • Distributions
      • New Releases
        • Zorin OS 16 beta claims largest built-in app library ‘of any open source desktop ever’

          Zorin OS 16 Linux has moved into beta, promising improved performance and a more extensive application Store covering Flathub and Snap as well as old-style repositories.

          Zorin is a Linux distribution aimed at switchers from Windows or Mac, and endeavours to offer a polished user experience and a minimum of fuss. It is offered in both free and commercial versions, with the paid-for Ultimate Edition priced at £39 ($53), and free Core, Lite and Education editions.

          The Lite edition uses the XFCE minimalist desktop, while the others have a custom GNOME-based desktop GUI. The extras in the Ultimate edition are additional desktop layouts, one imitating macOS, additional bundled applications and games, and installation support. A note on “why does it cost” puts the emphasis on supporting the project rather than the value to the user.

        • Zorin OS 16 Beta Linux distro is here, with Microsoft Windows 10X mode coming soon

          A lot of people hate Windows 10, but I think it is actually quite good. With that said, I’d much rather use a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu or Fedora. With Linux, I feel more safe and secure. No operating system in infallible, but bad guys are more likely to write malware for Windows. Not to mention, Microsoft does “spy” on its users with extreme telemetry. Ultimately, with Linux, I feel like I own my computer. Conversely, with Windows, it can feel like Microsoft owns my PC.

          Understandably, switching from Windows to Linux can be a scary affair, but it doesn’t have to be. Some Linux distributions look a bit like Windows, so there is a degree of familiarity. Not to mention, with so much being done in the web browser nowadays, the underlying operating system becomes less important. In other words, just having Google Chrome available makes Linux a viable option for most home users these days.

        • OSMC: The new video stack for Vero 4K / 4K +

          We’d like to take the time to share a number of improvements that will arrive with our new video stack with Kodi v19 which will benefit Vero 4K and Vero 4K + users. Here are a few of the main improvements:

          3D MVC support

          Support for 3D MVC ISOs and MKV will be supported out of the box as standard. For performance reasons, we would recommend ripping 3D discs as MKVs at this time, as seeking can be delayed when playing ISOs. 3D subtitles are also well supported, with subtitle depth working as expected.

          Better HDR support

          The new stack supports full passthrough of HDR10 and HDR10+ metadata for supported receivers and displays. The HLG EOTF will also be triggered when playing HLG material on a compatible display.

          Furthermore, we have improved the way Vero 4K and 4K + converts from HDR10 to SDR (BT709). With the default setting users should see a slightly brighter render on SDR displays.

      • BSD
        • FreeBSD 13 released

          Version 13 includes userland configuration changes, application changes, newly replaced software, some deprecated applications and more.

          As part of the userland configuration changes, rc.subr(8) now honors ${name}_env in all rc(8) scripts and init(8), service(8), and cron(8) will now adopt user/class environment variables by default (excluding PATH).

          Also the bc(1) and dc(1) utilities were replaced with new versions which don’t depend on an external large number library, offer GNU bc extensions, are much faster and have fixed POSIX compliance issues of the programs they replace.

          Additional details on the new version are available here.

        • My Dog’s Garage Runs OpenBSD

          I was inspired by the April 2017 article in undeadly.org about getting OpenBSD running on a Raspberry Pi 3B+. My goal was to use a Raspberry Pi running OpenBSD to monitor the temperature in my garage from my home. My dog has his own little “apartment” inside the garage, so I want to keep an eye on the temperature. (I don’t rely on this device. He sleeps inside the house whenever he wants.)

          If anything seems wrongheaded, please chalk it up to a frothy mixture of enthusiasm, ignorance, stubbornness, and “just-because-I-wanted-to-do-it-this-way-ness.”

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • IBM COBOL for Linux on x86 1.1 brings COBOL capabilities to Linux

          As I understand it, there’s still a lot of COBOL code all over the industry, so it makes sense for IBM to make its COBOL technologies available to more people.

        • Red Hat and NEC Corporation Collaborate to Drive Kubernetes-based 5G Adoption

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced a collaboration with NEC Corporation to deliver 5G solutions built on Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform. With NEC’s 5G core network solutions running on Red Hat OpenShift, organizations will be able to capitalize on 5G across a broad set of use cases including 5G core, 5G radio access networks (RANs), edge computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more, helping them create new revenue opportunities.

        • Red Hat Launches Red Hat Learning Subscription Premium

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the availability of Red Hat Learning Subscription Premium. This new offering, available in North America initially, provides access to self-paced learning experience and access to instructors via live, interactive, virtual classes. Courses cover topics from across Red Hat’s product portfolio and are designed to help individuals and teams keep pace with the evolving technology landscape. This offering will roll out globally in the future.

        • Coding: an opportunity for everyone

          While Covid has hit many industries hard, increasing unemployment numbers and job uncertainty, the demand for technical skills is greater than ever. According to FT analysis nearly 800,000 additional jobs were created in computer programming and related services.

          Red Hat launched new research, which found that one in 20 (5%) of more than 30,000 respondents across Europe have chosen to take up coding as a new skill since the pandemic. Two thirds of them (65%) said their motivation was to reskill for a new job or career.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • The Apache News Round-up: week ending 16 April 2021

        It’s Friday already –the week has zipped by. Let’s take a look at what the Apache community has been up to:

        The Apache Software Foundation – the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives.

      • Web Browsers
        • Chromium
          • Exploit for Second Unpatched Chromium Flaw Made Public Just After First Is Patched

            A researcher has made public an exploit and details for an unpatched vulnerability affecting Chrome, Edge and other web browsers that are based on the open source Chromium project. This is the second Chromium proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit released this week.

            The second exploit was publicly disclosed by a researcher who uses the online moniker Frust and who works for Chinese cybersecurity company Qihoo 360. Frust announced the availability of an exploit for a “zero-day” Chrome vulnerability on Twitter on Wednesday, and a few hours later published a blog post with a technical description of the vulnerability (in Chinese), which actually exists in the Chromium code.

        • Mozilla
          • New Alpha Release: Tor 0.4.6.2-alpha
          • Mozilla Addons Blog: Built-in FTP implementation to be removed in Firefox 90

            Last year, the Firefox platform development team announced plans to remove the built-in FTP implementation from the browser. FTP is a protocol for transferring files from one host to another.

            The implementation is currently disabled in the Firefox Nightly and Beta pre-release channels and will be disabled when Firefox 88 is released on April 19, 2021. The implementation will be removed in Firefox 90. After FTP is disabled in Firefox, the browser will delegate ftp:// links to external applications in the same manner as other protocol handlers.

      • FSF
        • Stop accusing people of what they didn’t do

          Do you get my analogy here? I hear stories about an autistic person named RMS that he has assaulted women, harassed them, or sexually abused them. When I go and read the stories, I see what Stallman did was to “upset” some people. Not harassment, not assault, but upset.

          Stallman shouted at some people or interrupted them while speaking. He hit on women or asked them out and insisted on that, which made them uncomfortable. If he was doing to me, I would be upset too, but I wouldn’t ever accuse him of assault or harassment. I wouldn’t expect FSF to fire its probably most valuable player that is known for his charity, effort for equality, justice, women’s rights, etc.

          Why people expect FSF to fire its probably best player in history? I don’t understand that.

        • SD Times news digest: Microsoft Team’s new bug bounty program, FSF’s board statement on governance, and Open Source Initiative’s election hacked and remediation [Ed: Almost nobody remember anymore (because of the OSI-led campaign of defamation) that OSI is so defunct it cannot even run its own elections]

          Following a hack that undermined the 2021 Board Election at OSI, the organization released a plan to restore trust among the community in its elections.

          An independent forensic expert will investigate the process and technology. An oversight committee composed of current board members and highly trusted long-term members will receive the forensic report and summarize their findings.

          After that, the board will decide on a course of action and publish the report after adding details about its own deliberations and the election will run again.

        • The Free Software Foundation’s Richard Stallman problem begins and ends with board tenure [Ed: Bezos worker Mac Asay the is latest to attack the FSF. Amazon is in the marketing/affiliated marketing propaganda machine of GAFAM. Remember that Mac Asay tried working for Microsoft and he's the one who brought in Microsoft to the OSI (which it now commandeers to attack the FSF). When monopolies of proprietary software say FSF has a governance problem what they mean to say is that they have a problem with the FSF not taking orders from monopolies and not choosing a composition that harms the FSF's mission.]
        • Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) – Everything You Need to Know

          One thing is sure; FOSS has taken significant strides over the way since the 80s. Apparently, FOSS has been around since the 1950s, when purchased hardware was run by free specialized bundled software.

          Until 1985, Richard Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation that was meant to support the Free Software Movement. FSF committed to Free Software, the one that users could use for free, modify, sturdy, and even share.

          According to Stallman, the main difference between open source and free software is the fact that “open source is ideally a development methodology, while free software is merely a social movement.”

          A year later, FOSS came into the limelight based on four freedoms. The four freedoms of free software were established solely as a result of the free software movement, and they denote what exactly constitutes free software.

          Here are the freedoms;

          Freedom 0 – this is the freedom that allows you to use the program for any purpose; you simply run it as you wish.

          Freedom 1 – it is the freedom to accessing the code. It means that you can study how the program works. Interestingly, you have the freedom to change it to do your computing just as you wish.

          Freedom 2 – this is the freedom to redistribute the copies to others to help them.

          Freedom 3 – it’s the freedom to distribute your copies of modified versions to others. That way, you give the entire community the chance to benefit from the changes you made. A precondition for this is accessing the source code.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Data
          • News: Finland implements API framework proposed by the European Commission

            The Ministry of Finance set up the project on opening up and using public data in Finland on 30 April 2020. It will put into effect the aims given in the Government Programme by promoting wider and more effective public data use through society. The project will last until the end of 2022 and aims to promote the coherent use of data and functions, primarily through APIs. At the moment, there are no common principles for API development in the public sector in Finland.

      • Programming/Development
        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.4.18RC1 and 8.0.5RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 8.0.5RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-php80-test repository for Fedora 32-34 and Enterprise Linux.

          RPM of PHP version 7.4.18RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 32-34 or remi-php74-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

        • Interpreted vs. compiled languages: What’s the difference?

          At a high level, the difference between a compiled and interpreted language is that an interpreted language is compiled into an intermediary form and not machine code. Compiled code can run faster, but, unlike interpreted code in Java, it is not platform agnostic.

          The code written in a compiled language is converted directly into machine code that is specific to the targeted runtime architecture. Interpreted code is compiled into an intermediary that runs on any architecture.

          But this clear distinction tends to fade when you examine the exact features and potential capabilities of any individual programming language.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: Announcing ‘Introductions to Emacs Speaks Statistics’

          A new website containing introductory videos and slide decks is now available for your perusal at ess-intro.github.io. It provides a series of introductions to the excellent Emacs Speaks Statistics (ESS) mode for the Emacs editor.

          This effort started following my little tips, tricks, tools and toys series of short videos and slide decks “for the command-line and R, broadly-speaking”. Which I had mentioned to friends curious about Emacs, and on the ess-help mailing list. And lo and behold, over the fall and winter sixteen of us came together in one GitHub org and are now proud to present the initial batch of videos about first steps, installing, using with spaceemacs, customizing, and org-mode with ESS. More may hopefully fellow, the group is open and you too can join: see the main repo and its wiki.

          This is in fact the initial announcement post, so it is flattering that we have already received over 350 views, four comments and twenty-one likes.

        • Perl/Raku
          • Proposal for Perl Foundation Memberships

            I believe this to be a wasted opportunity to increase engagement with stake holders in the Perl community, be they individuals, business or other organizations. And also to secure funding for vital Perl related activities arranged by the Perl Foundation.

  • Leftovers
    • Platform Wars Update: Epic Store Losing $330 Million Per Year To Acquire Customers

      It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on how the PC gaming platform war is going. If you’ll recall, the Spring of 2019 saw a new entrant into this ongoing battle, with Epic releasing the Epic Store. Epic’s plan appeared to be essentially a PR battle at first, drawing in the public by proclaiming that Steam’s revenue splits with developers and publishers were bad for the gaming industry and by drawing in publishers and developers with a better version of those splits for them. On top of that, Epic used those splits to gobble up a bunch of exclusive or timed exclusive releases of games, which ended up pissing off many in the gaming public and, of course, Steam. Then came Epic’s free game releases, where the platform worked out deals with publishers to offer up AAA game titles for literally no money as a method for getting gamers to adopt the platform.

    • Twitter permanently suspends Project Veritas’s James O’Keefe

      Twitter on Thursday suspended Project Veritas’s James O’Keefe’s account for violations of “manipulation and spam,” according to the social media platform.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • Nobel Laureates, Ex-World Leaders Urge Biden to Back WTO Waiver for Vaccines

        Calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to prioritize human need over corporate greed, more than 170 Nobel laureates and former heads of state and government on Wednesday sent an open letter urging him to back a waiver of intellectual property rules so that developing nations can ramp up coronavirus vaccine production and pursue a people’s vaccine to help end a pandemic that has now claimed nearly three million lives.

      • 60% of US Voters Want Biden to Support Patent Waiver for Covid Vaccines: Poll

        “The world needs it. The people want it. The question is, will President Biden listen?”

        Instead of letting a few pharmaceutical giants retain exclusive and lucrative control over life-saving Covid-19 vaccines, 60% of U.S. voters want President Joe Biden to endorse a motion at the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive coronavirus-related patent protections, a move that health advocates say is a prerequisite to increasing the global supply of doses and equitably distributing them in order to reduce the impact and duration of the pandemic.

    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • Aviation Sector Calls for Unified Cybersecurity Practices to Mitigate Growing Risks

          The latest report, Pathways to a Cyber Resilient Aviation Industry, developed in collaboration with Deloitte, outlines how the industry – from airlines to airports to manufacturing and the supply chain – can work with a common language and baseline of practices. The report focuses on mitigating the impact of future digital threats on multiple levels: [...]

        • Dell finally spins off VMware stake in $9.7B deal

          Dell Technologies said on Wednesday it would spin off its 81% stake in cloud computing software maker VMware to create two standalone public companies in a move that will help the PC maker reduce its pile of debt.

          VMware is currently Dell’s best-performing unit, as it has benefited from companies looking to cut costs and move to the cloud, a shift that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

        • Ransomware Attack Creates Cheese Shortages in Netherlands [iophk: Windows TCO]

          In a local media report spotted by Bitdefender, Verhoeven said he suspected the attackers gained a foothold through a Microsoft Exchange server vulnerability. That would make Bakker Logistek just the latest victim in an onslaught of attacks against Microsoft Exchange servers following the disclosure of the ProxyLogon group of security bugs.

        • Facebook will not notify the 533 million users exposed in online database

          Last weekend, it was reported that a database of records from more than 533 million Facebook accounts — including phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays and other personal details — had been shared online. While the leak did not include sensitive information such as credit card or social security numbers, the data could still be exploited by bad actors.

          Facebook (FB) noted earlier this week that the data was scraped from public profiles on its platform in 2019 using its “contact importer” feature. The company says it quickly made adjustments to the feature to prevent such activity from happening again.

        • Pseudo-Open Source
        • Security
          • Privacy/Surveillance
            • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Google/Apple Criticized… For Seeking To Protect Privacy In UK Gov’t Covid Contact Tracing

              There are plenty of legitimate things to complain about regarding some of the big internet companies — but so many people these days view things through a weird prism in which every single action absolutely must be for evil intent, even when it’s actually for a good reason. Sometimes this leads to crazy reactions in which the companies are criticized for doing the exact opposite things, with both approaches being framed as nefarious.

            • EFF Partners with DuckDuckGo to Enhance Secure Browsing and Protect User Information on the Web [Ed: EFF is promoting fake ‘privacy’ by liaising with a Microsoft proxy]

              The  partnership represents the next step in the evolution of HTTPS Everywhere, a collaboration with The Tor Project and a key component of EFF’s effort to encrypt the web and make the Internet ecosystem safe for users and website owners.

              “DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption has a list of millions of HTTPS-encrypted websites, generated by continually crawling the web instead of through crowdsourcing, which will give HTTPS Everywhere users more coverage for secure browsing,” said Alexis Hancock, EFF Director of Engineering and manager of HTTPS Everywhere and Certbot web encrypting projects. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with DuckDuckGo as we see HTTPS become the default protocol on the net and contemplate HTTPS Everywhere’s future.”

              “ EFFs pioneering work with the HTTPS Everywhere extension took privacy protection in a new and needed direction, seamlessly upgrading people to secure website connections,” said Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo founder and CEO. “ We’re delighted that EFF has now entrusted DuckDuckGo to power HTTPS Everywhere going forward, using our next generation Smarter Encryption dataset.”

            • HTTPS Everywhere Now Uses DuckDuckGo’s Smarter Encryption [Ed: EFF working for Microsoft proxies now. Since the founder of EFF died (one of 3) the EFF has been a total catastrophe, living of its past reputation.]
            • Private Internet Access Android App is ioXt-Certified

              As part of our efforts to increase the level of security and transparency in our apps and service, Private Internet Access partnered with the ioXt Alliance to test and certify our Android mobile VPN application.

            • Facebook urged to drop Instragram for kids plan

              The Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood claim the social network’s mooted plan to develop a platform for under-13s is dangerous for their wellbeing and privacy.

              In an open letter, the group of 99 public health advocates and organisations warn that the platform would likely be used by young children.

              It is believed that Instagram is already popular with under-13s, despite an age limit on the platform.

            • [Old] S. Africa’s plan to record all babies’ biometrics raises privacy fears

              Plans to photograph and fingerprint every baby born in South Africa for a digital register could lead to data leaks and identity theft without robust safeguards, rights experts said on Thursday.

              The Department of Home Affairs’ new draft policy aims to capture detailed biometrics – unique physical traits – of every child born in South Africa and link this data to parents’ identity numbers, which are printed on all ID documents.

              The government hopes the new registration system will prevent corrupt officials selling birth certificates to foreigners to illegally secure South African citizenship and protect children who otherwise risk going undocumented.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • Biden Breaks Campaign Promise, Approves Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

        Every so often, we get a glimpse at who is actually running this joint.

      • Increasing Pentagon Budget as US Pulls Out of Afghanistan Makes Little Sense

        Congressmember Ro Khanna of California says hundreds of billions of dollars in annual defense spending could be better used on diplomacy, humanitarian aid, public health and other initiatives. He’s one of 50 House Democrats who signed a letter to President Joe Biden in March urging a “significantly reduced” Pentagon budget, which has grown to over $700 billion. “The Pentagon increases make no sense,” says Khanna. “If you’re ending the forever war in Afghanistan … then why are we increasing, at the same time, the defense budget?” Khanna also discusses the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed war in Yemen, a major U.S. arms deal with the United Arab Emirates and more.

      • Opinion | Armed Racism Keeps No One Safe

        A completely different form of public safety and order must emerge, transcending this armed authoritarianism with deeply racist roots.

        “Get out of the car! Get out of the car NOW!!”

      • Footage of Chicago Police Shooting 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo Fuels Outrage

        “If you’re shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air, it is an assassination,” said an attorney for the boy’s family.

        Editor’s note: The video at the end of this article contains graphic and violent content.

      • Tax Resisters Divert Their Money From War to Human Welfare

        President Biden’s foreign policy to date is largely indistinguishable from Trump’s. His administration hasn’t reversed tortuous sanctions against Iran, the United States continues to bomb Somalia , and there ’ s no indication that the U.S. will shutter any of its 800 military bases around the world. In February, Biden authorized airstrikes in Syria, killing at least 22 people. His “ national security” team is as hawkish as they come. Biden broke with Trump ’ s policies when he announced that the U.S. would leave Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, continuing the military presence there four months later than the May 1 deadline Trump set with the Taliban.

    • Environment
    • Finance
      • Families Should Expect Child Tax Credit Payments Starting in July, IRS Says

        The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced this week that it would likely be able to start sending out checks to families that are eligible for a child tax credit that was included in an economic stimulus bill that passed earlier this year.

      • Billionaires’ Pandemic Profits Alone Could Pay for Most of Infrastructure Plan

        The wealth of U.S. billionaires has grown tremendously during the pandemic, and the increase in their wealth alone could pay for a majority of President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure and jobs plan, finds a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

      • Support for Infrastructure Plan Goes Up When Corporate Tax Increase Is Mentioned

        New polling suggests that President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan is, for the most part, well received by the American people. But support for the plan appears to grow when voters are told that it would be paid for in part by raising taxes on corporations.

      • American Universities Are Buried Under a Mountain of Debt

        Joe Biden’s election gave some a glimmer of hope that the current $1.8 trillion mountain of student debt might finally be eliminated. Pressure from social movement groups, including the Movement for Black Lives and the Debt Collective, alongside progressive politicians such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Jamaal Bowman, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have made the once-utopian demand for full student debt cancellation into a distinct political possibility. Biden, however, has shown only lukewarm resolve. His call during the campaign for $10,000 of debt cancellation only meagerly addresses the magnitude of the problem, especially the disproportionate burden held by Black borrowers. What’s more, his administration’s persistent dismissal of calls for greater relief suggests a broader adherence to the neoliberal model of higher education, in which higher education is a private commodity—rather than a public good funded by the state. While student debt—the tip of higher ed’s austerity crisis—is a widely discussed problem, little awareness exists of the “other college debt crisis”: institutional debt.

        Between 2003 and 2016, institutional debt at public and community colleges more than doubled, rising from $73 billion to $151 billion. In that time, interest payments on this debt nearly doubled as well. These loans are not innocuous sources of financing for our institutions. Legally binding debt service obligations stipulate that repayments must be an institution’s first budgetary priority; debt covenants constitute powerful drivers of university austerity. Thus, when institutions encounter financial troubles (such as a global pandemic), they must respond first and foremost to their obligations to creditors before addressing the needs of the educational communities they serve. Over the past year, for example, colleges and universities have experienced dramatic cuts including program eliminations, faculty and staff layoffs and furloughs, and tuition hikes. Meanwhile, universities continue to pay their creditors millions in interest and fees.

      • Kyrsten Sinema Exploring Federal Minimum Wage of $11, Lower Than Her Own State’s

        Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) is teaming up with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to form a bipartisan minimum-wage raise to counter the $15 federal minimum wage favored by progressives, the White House and the U.S. public . But the wage that Romney and Sinema are reportedly advocating for is lower than the minimum wage in Sinema’s own state.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • New York State Hands Billions Back to Wealthy Investors—and NYT Doesn’t See a Story

        New York State Assemb. Phil Steck had an idea. A great many Democrats have agreed that the state needs more revenue, not just to avoid budget cuts but to augment services and fund education. New Yorkers already fund the state through income taxes and sales taxes; the legalization of marijuana adds another “sin tax.” Shouldn’t the state, he said, also take a tiny slice out of stock trades?

      • Democrats in Congress Are Planning to Move Ahead on Expanding the Supreme Court

        Democratic lawmakers in Congress are expected to announce legislation that would add four more seats to the United States Supreme Court.

      • US Further Punishes Russia for Cyberattacks, Election Meddling

        The United States is taking action to punish Russia for what it describes as “harmful foreign activities,” including cyberattacks, election meddling and aggression in the Crimea region.

        Thirty-two entities and individuals linked to Moscow are being sanctioned for disinformation efforts and interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. 

        Ten personnel from Russia’s diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C., were expelled, including “representatives of Russian intelligence services,” according to the White House.

      • How America Betrayed Reality Winner

        A new documentary sheds light on the former NSA contractor who was locked up for leaking evidence that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

      • New documentary chronicles Reality Winner’s case, includes exclusive FBI interrogation audio

        As an independent filmmaker and investigative journalist, Sonia Kennebeck has always looked for interesting and compelling stories, so, when she heard about Reality Winner, she immediately started to pay attention.

        “Since national security whistleblowers are so incredibly rare because of the higher risk involved, we immediately paid attention,” Kennebeck said. “Even though we were in a production for another film, we immediately started discussing it, paid attention, did research.”

        For the past three years, Kennebeck has been working on a new documentary, “United States VS. Reality Winner”, which premiered Wednesday at South by Southwest Film Festival. The documentary chronicles Winner’s arrest for leaking a classified document to the online news publication, The Intercept, to her pleading guilty and being sentenced to 63 months in prison for violating the federal Espionage Act.

      • SXSW Online 2021: United States vs. Reality Winner Review

        United States vs. Reality Winner works as a standard documentary, featuring the usual interviews with prominent figures and focusing on Winner’s family as they fight for their daughter’s release. Despite unearthed FBI footage of her interrogation and arrest, the film fails to approach the important questions such as the who, how, and why of what happened. One can’t help but feel for Winner and her willingness to put her country above herself and to a lesser extent, Winner’s family and how they care about their daughter but in the end, there was simply an inability to connect with the film as a whole on a deeper emotional level.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation
      • Truth or Fake: Did the Queen and Prince Philip once bow to Ethiopia’s emperor?

        The France 24 Observers team contacted the Meredith consortium that now owns digital versions of Time magazine. They confirmed that the photo is from their collection, and that it does not feature the British monarch. At the time of this article’s publication, they were not able to confirm the identity of the two individuals bowing to the Ethiopian royals.

      • Historians concerned as China launches ‘distortion’ hotline

        A call by the Chinese government for citizens to report to a new hotline anyone who “misrepresents” the country’s history could place further restrictions on university teaching, especially online, professors have warned.

        The Cyberspace Administration of China announced that people should report anyone who “distorts” the history, politics or leadership of the Communist Party (CCP) or “defames national heroes”. “Some with ulterior motives…have been spreading historical nihilistic misrepresentations online, maliciously distorting, denigrating and negating the history of the party,” said the notice.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Can Hate Speech be Banned on Social Media?

        Let’s look at regulating free speech on social media from the perspectives of the courts and Congress. The first is concerned with legal precedents, the latter with the politics of passing legislation. But both are about determining who will exercise political power in defining what can of free speech is allowed on the internet.

        The Courts Perspective 

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
      • Turkey frees journalist Altan after European rights court ruling

        A Turkish court on Wednesday released journalist and novelist Ahmet Altan after more than four years in prison on charges of involvement in a failed 2016 coup attempt that he had always denied.

        The Court of Cassation ruling came a day after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) demanded the 71-year-old’s freedom in a verdict that accused Turkey of violating his civil rights.

      • Reuters finally decides to charge you for its online news stories with a paywall

        Reuters.com draws 41 million unique visitors monthly, according to the company, but it has not charged for access like other news sites in its business-centric niche have done for some time. It will let users read five stories a month for free and plans to charge $34.99 a month for a subscription. That’s a bit pricier than a sub to The New York Times ($18.42 / month) but closer to similar news organizations of its type, including The Wall Street Journal ($38.99 / month), which put its paywall up in 1996, and Bloomberg.com ($34.99 / month), which added a paywall in 2018.

        Reuters said it generates half of its revenue from its largest client, the financial data firm Refinitiv, and also makes money from online advertising. The company says it has redesigned its website with a “professional audience” in mind and plans investment in segments like legal news and live streams of its events.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Private Prison Company On The Hook For Legal Fees After Suing Investment Group For Saying It Was Doing Stuff It Was Actually Doing

        Private prison company CoreCivic has just learned a civics lesson. [I'll show myself out.] Possibly a very expensive one.

      • Proctoring Tools and Dragnet Investigations Rob Students of Due Process

        The Boston Globe explains that the medical school administration’s attempts to detect supposed cheating have become a flashpoint on campus, exemplifying a worrying trend of schools prioritizing misleading data over the word of their students. The misguided dragnet investigation has cast a shadow over the career aspirations of over twenty medical students.

        Dartmouth medical school has cast suspicion on students by relying on access logs that are far from concrete evidence of cheating

        In March, Dartmouth’s Committee on Student Performance and Conduct (CSPC) accused several students of accessing restricted materials online during exams. These accusations were based on a flawed review of an entire year’s worth of the students’ log data from Canvas, the online learning platform that contains class lectures and information. This broad search was instigated by a single incident of confirmed misconduct, according to a contentious town hall  between administrators and students (we’ve re-uploaded this town hall, as it is now behind a Dartmouth login screen). These logs show traffic between students’ devices and specific files on Canvas, some of which contain class materials, such as lecture slides. At first glance, the logs showing that a student’s device connected to class files would appear incriminating: timestamps indicate the files were retrieved while students were taking exams. 

      • Bezos says Amazon workers aren’t treated like robots, unveils robotic plan to keep them working

        To address concerns about working conditions, Bezos said the company will develop new staffing schedules “that use sophisticated algorithms to rotate employees among jobs that use different muscle-tendon groups to decrease repetitive motion and help protect employees from MSD risks.” The technology will roll out throughout 2021, he said.

      • Chauvin decides not to testify at George Floyd murder trial

        The prosecution and defense in Chauvin’s trial rested on Thursday after the state called a final witness and Chauvin said he would exercise his constitutional right against self-incrimination.

        [...]

        A bystander video of the arrest went viral and sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

        Cahill gave the nine-woman, five-man jury a day off on Friday before closing arguments Monday.

      • Mother of Seven Wounded, Loses Family for Becoming Christian

        The Muslim relatives entered the church building with sticks and the Somali sword. Naibira said the pastor and some church elders tried to protect her but were overpowered, and the assailants forced her into a van and drove her to a nearby forest.

        “They started beating me with sticks, then my husband cut me with the Somali sword at the thigh and the back,” she said. “I regained consciousness only after several hours.”

        A passing herdsman found her lying in a pool of blood at about 3 p.m., and he and others took the still unconscious Naibira to a clinic in nearby Kityerera town.

      • Inspecting the NYPD “Puzzle Palace”

        When Deputy Chief Michael Osgood, then head of the New York Police Department’s Special Victims Division, got word that the city’s Inspector General wanted to review his records in 2017, he didn’t think twice about cooperating.

        For years, Osgood had been pleading with police leadership to get the staffing and resources necessary for his division to investigate sexual assaults. When its overworked and inexperienced officers interviewed survivors, they were forced to do so in the hot, cramped bullpens of dilapidated precincts, within earshot of other detectives and in view of the holding cells. Even the suspects could catch the eye of those being interviewed. Advocates pointed to these indignities as a reason people were reluctant to report sex crimes or became disengaged once investigations had begun.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • Ian Jackson: Dreamwidth blocking many RSS readers and aggregators

        There is a serious problem with Dreamwidth, which is impeding access for many RSS reader tools.
        This started at around 0500 UTC on Wednesday morning, according to my own RSS reader cron job. A friend found #43443 in the DW ticket tracker, where a user of a minority web browser found they were blocked.

        Local tests demonstrated that Dreamwidth had applied blocking by the HTTP User-Agent header, and were rejecting all user-agents not specifically permitted. Today, this rule has been relaxed and unknown user-agents are permitted. But user-agents for general http client libraries are still blocked.

        I’m aware of three unresolved tickets about this: #43444 #43445 #43447

        We’re told there by a volunteer member of Dreamwidth’s support staff that this has been done deliberately for “blocking automated traffic”. I’m sure the volunteer is just relaying what they’ve been told by whoever is struggling to deal with what I suppose is probably a spam problem. But it’s still rather unsatisfactory.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)
      • Amazon Prime Passes 200 Million Subscribers

        Amazon now has more than 200 million subscribers to its Amazon Prime service, CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in his annual letter to shareholders Thursday.

        Amazon Prime Video programming is included in the larger Prime subscription, making it one of the most widely-available premium streaming services in the world. Prime passed 150 million subscribers in January 2020.

    • Monopolies
      • Epic Games and Apple submit exhibit lists to U.S. court in preparation of May antitrust trial

        Epic Games and Apple just submitted to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California their exhibit lists for next month’s App Store antitrust trial. There are two lists per party: an exhibit list (text documents, such as emails), and an audiovisual exhibit list.

        At the moment I don’t have any particular comment, but with so many people being interested in the case, I just wanted to publish those lists here.

      • Patents
        • Protecting Artificial Intelligence Inventions in the UK [Ed: It is unhelpful when they call everything "hey hi", conflating computer-generated stuff with patents on algorithms and all sorts of other issues with a plethora of legal abuses]

          The majority of respondents indicated that the difficulty in getting patents was a problem for the AI sector. The impact of the patent exclusions was a main concern, although the general view was that there was no need to change UK law. Many respondents did, however, feel that the UK IPO should change its practice on patent exclusion, particularly to bring it more in line with the EPO.

          A specific gripe related to the UK IPO’s practice of refusing search requests for AI inventions, in contrast to the more permissive approach adopted by the EPO. The importance of search results in assessing filing strategies for other countries was emphasised.

          In terms of infringement, there was agreement that legal persons (individual or legal entity) should be liable when AI infringes a patent, which is in keeping with current practice. However, the challenges in establishing infringement by AI was considered as problematic as when trying to do so with other technologies. The UK IPO intends to let the courts use their flexibility to make decisions based on the facts of the case and therefore does not intend to intervene in this area.

        • Servier Urges Top UK Court To Dismiss Drug Patent Fight

          A French pharmaceutical company told Britain’s highest court on Thursday that allowing the National Health Service’s lawsuit over the sale of a blood pressure drug to proceed requires the court to defy public policy.

          Servier is fighting a bid by the NHS to revive its damages claim. The health authority alleges that the pharma company breached competition law and caused it loss by deceiving the European Patents Office and the English courts into initially backing a patent for the drug Coversyl despite knowing the design was invalid.

        • Boards of Appeal reduces case backlog, despite pandemic challenges [Ed: JUVE has been reduced to EPO propaganda site, refusing to cover any of the BoA scandals and instead issuing puff pieces like this one]

          The European Patent Office Boards of Appeal has published its annual report 2020. It was a year which both helped and hindered the organisation’s ability to implement its five-year strategy.

          The Boards of Appeal, which is the first and final judicial instance before the EPO, is bound only by the European Patent Convention. As such, it acts – and is situated – almost independently of the EPO in Munich. Over the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated organisational and structural changes to its running, as well as to its long-term strategy.

          Despite the global pandemic, the Boards of Appeal has decreased its backlog of pending cases by 10.3%, from 9,234 technical appeals in 2019 to 8,280 in 2020. Technical appeals constitute the vast majority of Boards of Appeal cases, with the organisation thus using them as a yardstick for the development of work.

        • Supreme Court on Patent Law for April 2021

          Here is a rundown of what’s happening with US Supreme Court cases:

          Decided: The court recently decided Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc., holding that Google’s use of Oracle’s Java API was a fair use and therefore not copyright infringement. The court made no determination as to whether the API was actually copyrightable in the first place. The case does not expressly decide any patent law issues, but does provide some guidance as to how courts should approach mixed questions of law and fact (such as claim construction) and the right to a jury trial. The jury trial issue was interesting. Although a number of juries were given fair use questions pre-1791, the court held that our current version of fair use claims its ancestry from the equity rather than common law. Thus, no right to a jury trial on the question of fair use under the Seventh Amendment. “In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved.”

          Argued: On March 1, 2021, the court heard oral arguments in US v. Arthrex regarding it is proper for the Secretary of Commerce to appoint the PTAB judges as inferior officers of the United States. Or, instead, are they principal officers of the United States that must be appointed by the US President and confirmed by the Senate (as we do with Article III judges). Nobody likes the Federal Circuit’s decision, and the question really is which way it should fall. (My guess is that these judges will be seen as inferior officers). I expect that part of the majority decision (whichever way it goes) will involve interpreting the role and involvement of the PTO Director in PTAB decisions. An inferior officer decision will interpret the statute as providing the PTO director with substantial authority; a principal officer decision will downplay the role of the PTO director. Decision should be released by Mid-June 2021.

          [...]

          Obviousness: Amarin Pharma, Inc., et al. v. Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., et al., No. 20-1119 (secondary indicia); Sandoz Inc., et al. v. Immunex Corporation, et al., No. 20-1110 (obviousness type double patenting).

        • Procedural Denials at the PTAB – Here to Stay? [Ed: Attempts to lower patent quality and help litigation fanatics by basically denying access to justice or scrutiny of fake patents]

          Recently, the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) has issued significantly more procedural denials of IPRs, including those based on the NHK Spring1 and Fintiv2 decisions. In response, petitioners have tried a variety of tactics to reduce the risk of a NHK Spring/Fintiv procedural denial. However, upcoming changes in USPTO leadership and policy may change this.

          Patent practitioners continue to strategize to overcome these procedural denials. Some patterns have emerged that provide potential guidance in this space. From these patterns, as detailed below, we are able to gain insight into PTAB’s methodology and tips on how to best structure IPRs to minimize the risks of a denial based on NHK Spring/Fintiv.

        • FTC Prevails in Reverse Payment Case

          The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) spent the better part of a decade attacking the practice of innovator drug companies settling ANDA litigation by providing payments to generic applicants challenging the validity of Orange Book-listed patents (see “The FTC’s Thinking Does Not Make It So Regarding Reverse Payment Agreements”; “Federal Trade Commission Issues Report on Reverse Settlement Agreements in FY2010″; “FTC Releases Another Report on Reverse Payment Settlement Agreements in ANDA Litigation”; “The FTC Is at It Again”). These agreements were termed “reverse payment” settlements because unlike in most patent suits, the defendant secured a payment from the patentee (as part of its campaign, the FTC termed these “pay-for-delay” agreements). The Commission persisted in its efforts despite most Federal Courts of Appeal deciding that, rather than being anticompetitive, the agreements frequently resulted in generic drugs coming to market much earlier than would be expected (see Valley Drug Co. v. Geneva Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 344 F.3d 1294 (11th Cir. 2003); Schering-Plough Corp. v. Federal Trade Commission, 402 F.3d 1056 (11th Cir. 2005); In re Tamoxifen Citrate Antitrust Litigation, 466 F.3d 187 (2d Cir. 2006); In re Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride Antitrust Litigation, 544 F.3d 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2008); Arkansas Carpenters Health & Welfare Fund v. Bayer AG, 604 F.3d 98, 105 (2d Cir. 2010); and Federal Trade Commission v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (11th Cir. 2012)). One basis for the FTC’s persistence was the belief that branded drug companies settled because they were aware that their patents were invalid and thus improperly tried to extend their “monopoly”; of course this position supposed not only that innovator drug companies were willing to contravene the antitrust laws but perhaps more importantly that the Commission’s bureaucrats had a better understanding of the pharmaceutical industry than the executives making the decisions. Persistence being what it is, the FTC finally prevailed in finding a Circuit Court (the Third) to accept its arguments (see “The Federal Trade Commission Finally Wins One”), leading to the Supreme Court deciding the issue in FTC v. Actavis.

          [...]

          Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Impax delayed its launch until January 1, 2013, 30 months later than any “at risk” launch scenario without the agreement. Endo agreed not to bring its own branded generic to market in competition with Impax’s product until after the 180-day exclusivity period had passed (July 1, 2013). Endo also agreed to pay Impax a “credit” should its own Opana ER sales fall by 50% or more after the parties entered into the agreement and before Impax’s generic entered the market (as a result, inter alia, of Endo’s product hop). Endo also broadly licensed its relevant patents to Impax, and entered into an agreement to co-develop a Parkinson’s disease drug, funded in part by a $10 million payment to Impax with provisions for up to an additional $30 million depending on development of the new product. As a consequence of Endo’s product hop, Impax was entitled to and received $102 million in credits due to the shrinking market share of the original Opana ER formulation. The product hop formulation proved to have its own safety concerns, however, and Endo withdrew it from the market in 2017. The result is that “Impax’s generic is the only extended-release oxymorphone available to consumers today.”

          The FTC brought actions separately against Endo and Impax; Endo settled and Impax put up a fight. While the Administrative Law Judge found that the agreement’s procompetitive benefits outweighed any anticompetitive effects the Commission decided otherwise, leading to this appeal (in the form of a petition for the Court to overrule the Commission).

      • Copyrights
        • France Plans To Repeat Hadopi’s Costly Mistakes By Turning It Into An Even Bigger, Even More Wrong-headed Anti-Piracy Body Called Arcom

          Techdirt covered the story of France’s “three strikes” law, later known as Hadopi, from the body overseeing it, for over ten years. What became a long-running farce eventually cost French taxpayers €82 million, and generated just €87,000 in fines. A rational government might draw the obvious conclusion that trying to stamp out unauthorized downloads using the crude instrument of fines and threats was the wrong approach. Oddly, though, the French government has decided that Hadopi was such a stunning, and embarrassing failure, it wants to do it again, but on an even grander scale, as a story on Euractiv reports:

The EFF Attacks Software Freedom and Promotes Fake Privacy Linked to Microsoft

12 hours 8 min ago

Video download link

http://techrights.org/videos/eff-duckduckgo.webm

Summary: Only weeks after attacking Software Freedom (the ad hominem way, which is easier) the EFF endorses a Microsoft-linked privacy abuse, misframing it as some sort of privacy champion

THE EFF has been hugely disappointing in recent years. It attacked some prominent journalists and bloggers, it gave awards to Microsoft employees (who attack privacy), and it now promotes a Microsoft-linked privacy scam called DuckDuckGo, even twice in 2 days [1, 2]. The EFF should really know better, but maybe it’s just into money (like the money it raises from privacy abusers) instead of principles.

“Pentagon-funded corporations funnel some of their money to the EFF.”Yesterday the EFF also spoke about “due process”, but the EFF does not truly believe in that either. That’s why it’s attacking the FSF and relaying defamation for trial by (social control) media. It’s actively attacking Software Freedom while today’s EFF staff promotes censorship, Apple Macs, and all sorts of “apps” that are proprietary software. It’s almost heart-breaking to see what the EFF has turned into, as I know people who used to donate to the EFF, which is now promoting fake ‘privacy’ by liaising with a Microsoft proxy (past EFF donors were GNU/Linux users). If the EFF is working for Microsoft proxies, what message does that send to past and present donors? That’s even worse than Startpage. Since the founder of the EFF died (one of 3 founders but nevertheless the leading person) the EFF has been a total catastrophe, living or milking off its past reputation. It has more than $40,000,000 in the bank and it seems like it’s looking for more money in all the wrong places. Does it even need donors anymore? Pentagon-funded corporations funnel some of their money to the EFF.

Richard Stallman on How Corporate Media Limits What People Are Allowed to Think and Say (Updated)

14 hours 12 min ago

Video link




Summary: What the founder of the FSF told yours truly a number of years ago about the behaviour of corporate (funded and controlled by corporations) media

Please note that the company that consciously profited from the Holocaust (IBM) and from racist eugenics now preaches/lectures us about “empathy” and "diversity". An hour or so ago IBM/Red Hat was using or misusing Open Source dot Com for anti-Torvalds and anti-RMS propaganda (as it did with Fedora as well). Maybe it’s time to consider just shunning IBM. They simply attack the community because they want monopoly. And they’re not having it. Some hours earlier Bezos worker Mac Asay was concern-trolling the FSF, which he never liked. It’s the latest attack on the FSF, in media funded by IBM and Microsoft. Amazon (GAFAM) joins in. Remember that Mac Asay tried working for Microsoft and he’s the one who brought Microsoft to the OSI (which it now commandeers to attack the FSF). When monopolies of proprietary software say FSF has a governance problem what they mean to say is that they have a problem with the FSF not taking orders from monopolies and not choosing a composition that harms the FSF’s mission.

Update: We now have a transcript of the above clip.

[00:00]

(intro music)

Corporations have many open and many sneaky ways of exerting power over policies and over public debate. Chomsky has written about some of those methods how they arrange for only a limited range of possible views to be considered entertainable and

[00:30]

anything outside of that is thought of as laughable. And once they can do this they’ve already mainly won because all the different options and what they are allowing people to think about are pretty good for them.

Exposing Hard Truths is the First Step or the Path Towards Justice

14 hours 33 min ago

“Justice, sir, is the great interest of man on earth. It is the ligament which holds civilized beings and civilized nations together.”

–Daniel Webster

Summary: A reflection and a moment taken to set aside tribalism (shallow differences based on allegiances of personal comfort), for we need look back at actual facts — however inconvenient at times — and consider the reality of the situation

THE series just published was a difficult one, not just to write but also to publish. The past 1.5 months have been hectic and stressful. DDOS attacks weren’t even the worse part of it. There were several attempts at de-platforming us. There was also libel.

“We are gratified to say that the series, almost 40 parts in length (addenda and video aside), is fully published, mirrored in Gemini (hosted from my home) and distributed outwards to the IPFS swarm.”Saying the truth isn’t easy. There are consequences, whether direct or indirect. Some people have a major stake in the outcome. Sometimes it’s not even people but large corporations and aggressive governments. Stories will one day be told about the events of the past month…

We are gratified to say that the series, almost 40 parts in length (addenda and video aside), is fully published, mirrored in Gemini (hosted from my home) and distributed outwards to the IPFS swarm. It cannot be censored. It’s “out there…”

If there is any new EPO series soon to be released for publication, we will let readers know in advance. We need mirrors and we need IPFS nodes to pin the objects. It’s helping the information endure, at the very least by means of deterrence (discouraging SLAPP attempts from the EPO; Benoît Battistelli did this several times before and António Campinos still blocks Techrights for no reason other than fear… of the truth).

The reason we continue to focus so much on the EPO is simple; almost nobody else is doing so. Not because there’s nothing to see there but precisely the opposite. There’s a campaign of cover-up. Obfuscation and distraction are PR means. Only moments ago we saw JUVE publishing Boards of Appeal reduces case backlog, despite pandemic challenges — the latest of many EPO puff pieces. JUVE has been reduced to another EPO propaganda site, refusing to cover any of the BoA scandals and instead issuing puff pieces like this one.

“The reason we continue to focus so much on the EPO is simple; almost nobody else is doing so.”Regarding our latest series, the authors recently explained the motivation. “The series is centred around an incident that happened back in 2015,” they said. “From the available documentation it appears that two officials – one from the German Ministry of Justice and one from the EPO (but formerly from the German Ministry of Justice) – acted in concert to misinform the Legal Affairs Committee of the Bundestag. The main purpose of this action was to forestall any further parliamentary scrutiny of the EPO’s data protection framework. At first glance these events may seem like “ancient history”. However, the reality is that little has changed at the EPO in the meantime, and it would appear that the Bundestag continues to be misinformed about EPO affairs.”

It just simply doesn’t seem like the German government (or the Dutch one too for that matter!) has any plans, whatsoever, to enforce the rule of law. The lawlessness of the EPO is viewed as a feature, not a flaw. This merely serves to perpetuate an old stigma about Germany.

“In order to put everything into the proper context the series gradually expanded to 20 parts in total,” the authors noted. “Some of these parts contain a detailed presentation of the main protagonists and a review of their roles in EPO affairs over the last decade or so.”

“Will the truth set us free? Well, those of us who still value the truth (not junk ‘journalism’ that’s PR/misinformation) will at least have access to accurate accounts of current affairs.”They’re still around and they’re still doing great damage, not just to the reputation of Germany but to the viability of the EPO.

With the whole series out there for all to see and examine (it’s already thoroughly fact-checked by multiple people, myself included), let’s wait and see what happens next. Will the patent-centric media mention it? Of course not. That media too receives the equivalent of cooperation money from the EPO (de facto bribes) and it doesn’t want to rock the boat which sponsors rely on.

Will the truth set us free? Well, those of us who still value the truth (not junk ‘journalism’ that’s PR/misinformation) will at least have access to accurate accounts of current affairs. Unlike EPO management, we do not bribe scholars to do marketing.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 15, 2021

15 hours 22 min ago

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors table#ipfs-table tr:nth-child(even) { background-color:#efefef; border-bottom: 2px solid #aaa; } CID Description Object type  QmRgE4bBoKkM5QoiFSdA2t6YHae2vCHWaeUS1gMP3uNuKw IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmddC65qBE8H1K5EH3tYWtNmDW5vU4Dar3vXMhGqPnQfym IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  QmPBnME9EKTFNZmvKtjM2AtHRiDpK3wj4k2mMQmq96wz7E IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmSA79TEfqqSbRcd2qQ4GocVroTKC6DB72qoH3nxncQexG IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  QmdaxdZ1gLwY19GFuRC3uRDsCMP5QJdYDJDh1RM5MRwWnx IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmTWSNui3ZbnxRoGbugmMpdKY8PTy9WK1oKjmtHS6a9Ujh IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  QmP3RwGsHYPHrgg2rt6Sim1ge3K9sAzYPLspLMepu1pmoP IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmeGE6c8ec9Cd6YCruNtfixLKJStMPpt8DRLuAgXf7cjir IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmbxfxQ8MP4wrNDfaJBaeWJ17wb6BBqDdLHDukQHp6mutQ

[Meme] Laundering Bribes as ‘Cooperation Money’

Friday 16th of April 2021 06:46:51 AM

Summary: Germany has financial interest in ensuring that EPO abuses carry on and nobody holds the EPO accountable

Articles in Support of Richard Stallman

Friday 16th of April 2021 05:43:28 AM

Published on April 05, 2021.

Last updated April 13, 2021.

Reproduced with permission. Licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 4.0).

In the wake of the events of September 2019 that led to the resignation of Richard Stallman from MIT and the FSF, a large part of the community felt hurt by what they saw as an injustice to Stallman that caused damage not only to him, but to the entire free software movement as well.

After Stallman announced his return to the FSF Board of Directors on March 21, 2021, a tsunami of virulent attacks to him and the FSF reached unprecedented proportions risking to destroy the very roots of the free software movement.

We are reproducing here, either verbatim or remixed, some of the articles in defense of Richard Stallman that people wrote, addressing the events of either September 2019 or March 2021. Other articles will be linked to their original websites.

Articles in this Website #local-articles External Articles #external-articles

These are articles that people wrote about the events of September 2019 to explain what happened and ask for justice.

  • Justice for Dr. Richard Matthew Stallman (Archived) The point of view of a married, orthodox, staunch Catholic who supports chastity and Christian morality—within a coherent and reasonably tolerant worldview inspired by the phenomenal Pope Francis. I oppose several of Stallman’s views on sex and related subjects. Objective, accurate, clearly written, concise and to the point. Highly recommended. #jorge
  • Low grade “journalists” and internet mob attack RMS with lies. In-depth review (Archived) Exposes the lies spread by journalists and initiates a petition asking them to apologize to Stallman. The author compares excerpts of the blog post by Ms. Selam Jie Gano[1] and shows how journalists based their reports on Gano’s personal interpretation of the emails rather than the sources. Worth reading, keeping in mind that it contains some inaccuracies:
    • The word “allegedly” when mentioning Epstein’ crimes is incorrect since Epstein was actually convicted in 2008.
    • The author admits he doesn’t understand why the newspaper mentions Joi Ito. The reason is that Joi Ito was involved in the MIT candal. #sterling
  • How the cancel culture was leveraged against RMS (Archived) The content and the tone of Selam G.’s article is archetypal of the cancel culture and she was joined by people sharing the same faith to demand the resignation of Richard Stallman. A dispassionate, rational view by Loïc Dachary that invites reflection. #loic
Related External Articles #related-external-articles
  • On Non-Judicical Punishment of Individuals (Archived) An interesting consideration of shunning as a form of punishment in the absence of a judicial process. Recommended, keeping in mind these two points:
    • We tend to think that the description of Richard Stallman as “extremely obnoxious” is based on interactions between the two in the past in the context of disagreements about the philosophical grounds of the movement. The two are not enemies and are in talking terms. Most importantly, we have evidence that after hard work along the years, Stallman has upgraded his behavior from “obnoxious” to just “annoying.”
    • Stallman was never an employee of the FSF but a volunteer. He never received a penny from the FSF. Therefore, ADA would not apply. But even if for some reason it did apply, it’s unlikely that Stallman would ever sue the FSF. #perens
  • Beating Back Cancel Culture: A Case Study from the Field of Artificial Intelligence (Archived) The mob leader even wrote lengthy Twitter threads listing off the names of anyone who’d liked or retweeted my critiques of her position, suggesting they were all bigots. On how cancel culture works, and how to deal with it.
    #cancel-culture

References and Notes

  1. https://selamjie.medium.com/remove-richard-stallman-fec6ec210794

EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 20: Taking Stock

Friday 16th of April 2021 05:07:25 AM

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis
  6. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 6: Dr Petri Starts the Ball Rolling…
  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 7: Ms Voßhoff Alerts the Bundestag…
  8. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 8: The EPO’s Tweedledum, Raimund Lutz
  9. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry
  10. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff
  11. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Appendix (Benoît Battistelli’s Vichy Syndrome): Georges Henri Léon Battistelli and Charles Robert Battistelli
  12. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 11: The BMJV’s Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst
  13. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 12: A Worthy Successor to His Mentor?
  14. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 13: The Failed Promise of a “Good Governance” Guru…
  15. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 14: The Notorious Revolving Door
  16. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 15: Different Strokes for Different Folks
  17. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 16: An Inimitable Duo
  18. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 17: Jawohl, Herr Minister!
  19. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 18: Zero Tolerance for “Lawless Zones”?
  20. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 19: The Deafening Silence of the Media
  21. You are here ☞ Taking Stock


Has the EPO degenerated into a self-service gravy train for those at the top?

Summary: Benoît Battistelli‘s legacy at the EPO is a legacy of corruption and cover-up; we take stock of how illegality was defended and persists to this day

In this series we saw how Dr Thomas Petri, the Bavarian State Data Protection Commissioner, and his federal counterpart, Ms Andrea Voßhoff, expressed concerns about serious deficiencies in the EPO’s data protection framework in 2014.

“Regrettably, as we have seen, their efforts were frustrated by the intrigues of a Tweedledum-Tweedledee duo, comprising EPO Vice-President Raimund Lutz and Christoph Ernst, an official of the German Justice Ministry who was also the head of the German delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council at the time in question.”We also saw how press coverage in June 2015 about the deployment of covert surveillance measures at the EPO by Battistelli’s notorious “Investigative Unit” prompted Ms Voßhoff to bring these concerns to the attention of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Bundestag.

These conscientious and public-spirited officials responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of German and EU privacy law did their best to push for a reform of EPO’s data protection framework to ensure compliance with contemporary European standards.

Regrettably, as we have seen, their efforts were frustrated by the intrigues of a Tweedledum-Tweedledee duo, comprising EPO Vice-President Raimund Lutz and Christoph Ernst, an official of the German Justice Ministry who was also the head of the German delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council at the time in question.

“The actions of this duo led to a situation in which not only the Federal Government but also the Bundestag and the German public were misled about the true state of affairs at the EPO.”The evidence on record suggests that Lutz and Ernst acted in a malfeasant and self-serving manner in order to sabotage the laudable efforts of Dr Petri and Ms Voßhoff to reform the EPO’s manifestly deficient data protection framework.


The suspected villains of the piece: Raimund Lutz and his protégé and successor, Christoph Ernst

The actions of this duo led to a situation in which not only the Federal Government but also the Bundestag and the German public were misled about the true state of affairs at the EPO.

However, neither Lutz nor Ernst suffered any sanction for these actions which appear to have been highly detrimental to the interests of all EPO stakeholders, including EPO staff, applicants and the general public.

On the contrary, a few years later as Ernst approached the statutory retirement age for public officials in Germany, he was “rewarded” by his buddies on the Administrative Council with a cushy little sinecure as the next EPO Vice-President for International and Legal Affairs.

This shrewd end-of-career move secured him a handsome five-digit tax free monthly salary for the next five years, i.e., until the age of 70.

Apologists for EPO mismanagement will no doubt try to dismiss these allegations against Ernst and his mentor Lutz as “ancient history” because they relate to events which took place back in 2015.

But the reality is that very little has changed since then.


The EPO echo chamber effect continues to encroach into the domestic political arena in Germany.

As noted in the introductory parts of this series, the same EPO echo chamber effect attributable to Ernst and Lutz back in 2015 can also be seen in operation much more recently, namely in the responses of the German government to parliamentary questions about the EPO which were submitted in 2019 and 2020.

“The events which have been covered in this series suggest that this malaise affects not only the European Patent Office as such but also extends to the Administrative Council, which is perceived to exist in an unhealthy and incestuous symbiosis with the senior management of the Office.”The only difference to the situation in 2015 is that Christoph Ernst is no longer at the German Ministry of Justice but is now sitting at the helm of the EPO’s Directorate of Legal and International Affairs as the successor of his mentor, Raimund Lutz.

It has been claimed by critics of the EPO – both inside and outside – that systematic abuses of the organisation’s immunity and autonomous legal status – which reached unprecedented levels during the Battistelli era – have caused this once proud “model international organisation” to degenerate into a rather grubby little self-service gravy train for those at the top.

The events which have been covered in this series suggest that this malaise affects not only the European Patent Office as such but also extends to the Administrative Council, which is perceived to exist in an unhealthy and incestuous symbiosis with the senior management of the Office.

Over the last decade or so the Council – which is supposed to act as the governing and supervisory body of the organisation – has come to operate more and more as a self-serving clique of national civil servants whose activities are only nominally subject to ministerial oversight.

Indeed, if the German example covered in this series is anything to go by, some of the Council delegates seem to have become adept at pulling the wool over the eyes of their supervising Ministers.

It is important to note that the Administrative Council’s exercise of its supervisory role is seriously compromised by the fact that the Council stands in a relationship of “absentee ownership” to the European Patent Office (to borrow a phrase from the American economist and sociologist, Thorsten Veblen).

Thus, the national IP Offices represented on the Council reap the rewards of the EPO’s work – to the estimated tune of a grand total of EUR 611 million in 2021.

At the same time, in their capacity as “absentee owners” whose personal fiefdoms – i.e. the national IP Offices – benefit in an effortless manner from this arrangement, the Council delegates bear no apparent liability for the decisions that they take – or fail to take – in their capacity as members of the supervisory organ of the EPO.

Indeed, in recent years the impression has been given that this closed circle of “absentee owners” became so preoccupied with divvying up the spoils which can be extracted from the EPO that they completely lost sight of the need to pay attention to the proper governance of the organisation.


The political masters of the EPO – both in Germany and throughout the contracting states – appear to be primarily concerned with maintaining and increasing the lucrative cash flow from the “Dukatenesel”.

At the same time, the political masters of the Council delegates – both in Germany and throughout the EPO’s contracting states – appear to be primarily concerned with maintaining and increasing the lucrative cash flow from the “Dukatenesel”. This in turn requires a high volume of granted patents.

“In addition to this, a whole host of matters of vital importance from the perspective of “good governance” have been ignored or dismissed as irrelevant over the past decade.”However, the obsessive fixation on the “bottom line” and the misguided pursuit of “profit maximisation” at all costs have produced highly deleterious effects on the overall well-being of the organisation.

In addition to this, a whole host of matters of vital importance from the perspective of “good governance” have been ignored or dismissed as irrelevant over the past decade.

Such matters include compliance with data protection and other generally recognised legal standards and the provision of a properly functioning internal justice system to protect staff from the excesses and abuses of a cynical and tyrannical management.

Beneficiaries of the current system like Lutz and Ernst try to justify this patently unsatisfactory state of affairs by pontificating about the right of the EPO “to make its own internal law independent of and deviating from the law of the contracting states and the EU”.

But in propagating their perverse apologetics for the Council’s failures, these virtuosos of legal sophistry ignore the fact that the EPO’s autonomous legal status does not absolve the members of the Administrative Council from observing and respecting internationally recognised legal principles and standards, including those relating to data protection.

All of the EPO’s contracting states are members of the Council of Europe and they have all subscribed to the principles of data protection adopted and endorsed by that body.

The European Patent Organisation should not be permitted to arbitrarily deviate from these principles on the basis of dubious legal sophistry promulgated by certain individuals in pursuit of their own hidden agendas and personal ambitions.

“In the year in which the Council of Europe and its member states commemorate the 40th anniversary of Convention 108, there really is no excuse for the shameful failure of the EPO’s Administrative Council to provide the organisation which it purports to govern with a fully GDPR-compliant data protection framework.”In conclusion, it is worth recalling that Convention 108 which laid the foundation of contemporary European data protection law was opened for signature by the Council of Europe on 28 January 1981, which is celebrated as European Data Protection Day.

In the year in which the Council of Europe and its member states commemorate the 40th anniversary of Convention 108, there really is no excuse for the shameful failure of the EPO’s Administrative Council to provide the organisation which it purports to govern with a fully GDPR-compliant data protection framework.

“As long as the contracting states continue “duck away” from their international obligations in this regard (to borrow a phrase from Heiko Maas), it would be naïvely optimistic to expect that any effective action will be taken to remedy the problems which have been identified in the present series.”Unfortunately, there is at present no sign of the political will which would be required to rectify the situation – neither inside the EPO’s Administrative Council nor at a ministerial level in the contracting states, which – under the terms of the EPC – remain the ultimate guarantors of the proper functioning of the organisation and its compliance with the rule of law.

As long as the contracting states continue “duck away” from their international obligations in this regard (to borrow a phrase from Heiko Maas), it would be naïvely optimistic to expect that any effective action will be taken to remedy the problems which have been identified in the present series.

Links 15/4/2021: Zorin OS 16 Beta and Pushing Linux to GitHub- and Microsoft-Connected Rust

Thursday 15th of April 2021 09:35:09 PM

Contents
  • GNU/Linux
    • Server
      • In the enterprise, Kubernetes has to play by the same rules as other platforms

        Without a doubt, Kubernetes is the most important thing that has happened in enterprise computing in the past two decades, rivalling the transformation that swept over the datacenter with server virtualization, first in the early 2000s on RISC/Unix platforms and then during the Great Recession when commercial-grade server virtualization became available on X86 platforms at precisely the moment it was most needed.

        All things being equal, the industry would have probably preferred to go straight to containers, which are lighter weight than server virtualization and which are designed explicitly for service-oriented architectures – now called microservices – but it is the same idea of chopping code into smaller chunks so it can be maintained, extended, or replaced piecemeal.

        This is precisely why Google spent so much time in the middle 2000s creating what are now seen as relatively rudimentary Linux containers and the Borg cluster and container controllers. Seven years ago, as it was unclear what the future platform might look like; OpenStack, which came out of NASA and Rackspace Hosting, was a contender, and so was Mesos, which came out of Twitter, but Kubernetes, inspired by Borg and adopting a universal container format derived from Docker, has won.

      • Three Tenancy Models For Kubernetes

        Kubernetes clusters are typically used by several teams in an organization. In other cases, Kubernetes may be used to deliver applications to end users requiring segmentation and isolation of resources across users from different organizations. Secure sharing of Kubernetes control plane and worker node resources allows maximizing productivity and saving costs in both cases.

        The Kubernetes Multi-Tenancy Working Group is chartered with defining tenancy models for Kubernetes and making it easier to operationalize tenancy related use cases. This blog post, from the working group members, describes three common tenancy models and introduces related working group projects.

        We will also be presenting on this content and discussing different use cases at our Kubecon EU 2021 panel session, Multi-tenancy vs. Multi-cluster: When Should you Use What?.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Full Review: The 2021 Thelio Major by System76

        I decided to purchase a System76 Thelio Major desktop for use in the studio, in order to cut through my video renders and other workloads faster. After spending some time with this awesome desktop, I give it a full review in this video.

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S14E06 – Flap Bake Signal

        This week we have been deploying bitwarden_rs and get the Stream Deck to work well on Ubuntu. We discuss how much we really use desktop environments, bring you a GUI love and go over all your wonderful feedback.

        It’s Season 14 Episode 06 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • Leaving Doom Emacs For GNU Emacs? – DT Live!

        New to Emacs and want to learn how to config it? Install Emacs and follow along with me on the stream. Though I have been using a preconfigured Emacs distribution (Doom Emacs), in this livestream I will start with a fresh installation of GNU Emacs and write a config to suit my needs.

    • Kernel Space
      • Rust in the Linux kernel

        In our previous post, we announced that Android now supports the Rust programming language for developing the OS itself. Related to this, we are also participating in the effort to evaluate the use of Rust as a supported language for developing the Linux kernel. In this post, we discuss some technical aspects of this work using a few simple examples.

        C has been the language of choice for writing kernels for almost half a century because it offers the level of control and predictable performance required by such a critical component. Density of memory safety bugs in the Linux kernel is generally quite low due to high code quality, high standards of code review, and carefully implemented safeguards. However, memory safety bugs do still regularly occur. On Android, vulnerabilities in the kernel are generally considered high-severity because they can result in a security model bypass due to the privileged mode that the kernel runs in.

      • Rust in the Linux kernel (Google security blog)

        The Google security blog has a detailed article on what a device driver written in Rust looks like. “That is, we use Rust’s ownership discipline when interacting with C code by handing the C portion ownership of a Rust object, allowing it to call functions implemented in Rust, then eventually giving ownership back.

      • Google throws support behind bringing Rust to the Linux kernel

        After greenlighting plans to use the Rust programming language in Android’s low-level system-code, Google is now throwing its weight behind the move to allow Rust as a supported language for developing the Linux kernel.

        Google looks at Rust as a memory-safe language that it hopes will help curb the growing number of memory-based security vulnerabilities in the mobile operating system. It believes the Linux kernel should use Rust for the same reasons.

        “We feel that Rust is now ready to join C as a practical language for implementing the kernel. It can help us reduce the number of potential bugs and security vulnerabilities in privileged code while playing nicely with the core kernel and preserving its performance characteristics,” wrote Wedson Almeida Filho from Google’s Android Team.

      • OpenZFS 2.1-rc3 Delivers More Fixes – Phoronix

        OpenZFS 2.1 is nearing release as the next feature update to this open-source ZFS file-system implementation currently supporting Linux and FreeBSD systems.

        OpenZFS 2.1 is an exciting evolutionary update over last November’s OpenZFS 2. release. The headline feature of OpenZFS 2.1 is Distributed Spare Raid “dRAID” support. OpenZFS 2.1 is also introducing a new “compatibility” property for Zpool feature sets, a new zpool_influxdb command for Zpool statistics into InfluxDB time-series databases, and various other alterations.

      • The multi-generational LRU

        One of the key tasks assigned to the memory-management subsystem is to optimize the system’s use of the available memory; that means pushing out pages containing unused data so that they can be put to better use elsewhere. Predicting which pages will be accessed in the near future is a tricky task, and the kernel has evolved a number of mechanisms designed to improve its chances of guessing right. But the kernel not only often gets it wrong, it also can expend a lot of CPU time to make the incorrect choice. The multi-generational LRU patch set posted by Yu Zhao is an attempt to improve that situation.
        In general, the kernel cannot know which pages will be accessed in the near future, so it must rely on the next-best indicator: the set of pages that have been used recently. Chances are that pages that have been accessed in the recent past will be useful again in the future, but there are exceptions. Consider, for example, an application that is reading sequentially through a file. Each page of the file will be put into the page cache as it is read, but the application will never need it again; in this case, recent access is not a sign that the page will be used again soon.

        The kernel tracks pages using a pair of least-recently-used (LRU) lists. Pages that have been recently accessed are kept on the “active” list, with just-accessed pages put at the head of the list. Pages are taken off the tail of the list if they have not been accessed recently and placed at the head of the “inactive” list. That list is a sort of purgatory; if some process accesses a page on the inactive list, it will be promoted back to the active list. Some pages, like those from the sequentially read file described above, start life on the inactive list, meaning they will be reclaimed relatively quickly if there is no further need for them.

        There are more details, of course. It’s worth noting that there are actually two pairs of lists, one for anonymous pages and one for file-backed pages. If memory control groups are in use, there is a whole set of LRU lists for each active group.

        Zhao’s patch set identifies a number of problems with the current state of affairs. The active/inactive sorting is too coarse for accurate decision making, and pages often end up on the wrong lists anyway. The use of independent lists in control groups makes it hard for the kernel to compare the relative age of pages across groups. The kernel has a longstanding bias toward evicting file-backed pages for a number of reasons, which can cause useful file-backed pages to be tossed while idle anonymous pages remain in memory. This problem has gotten worse in cloud-computing environments, where clients have relatively little local storage and, thus, relatively few file-backed pages in the first place. Meanwhile, the scanning of anonymous pages is expensive, partly because it uses a complex reverse-mapping mechanism that does not perform well when a lot of scanning must be done.

      • The future of GCC plugins in the kernel

        The process of hardening the kernel can benefit in a number of ways from support by the compiler. In recent years, the Kernel Self Protection Project has brought this support from the grsecurity/PaX patch set into the kernel in the form of GCC plugins; LWN looked into that process back in 2017. A recent discussion has highlighted the fact that the use of GCC plugins brings disadvantages as well, and some developers would prefer to see those plugins replaced.

        The discussion started when Josh Poimboeuf reported an issue he encountered when building out-of-tree modules with GCC plugins enabled. In his case, the compilation would fail when the GCC version used to compile the module was even slightly different from the one used to build the kernel. He included a patch to change the error he received into a warning and disable the affected plugin. Later in the thread, Justin Forbes explained how the problematic configuration came about; it happens within the Fedora continuous-integration system, which starts by building a current toolchain snapshot. Other jobs then compile out-of-tree modules with the new toolchain, without recompiling the kernel itself. Since GCC plugins were enabled, all jobs with out-of-tree modules have been failing.

        The idea of changing the error into a warning was met with a negative response from the kernel build-system maintainer, Masahiro Yamada, who stated: “We are based on the assumption that we use the same compiler for in-tree and out-of-tree”. Poimboeuf responded that what he sees in real-world configurations doesn’t match that assumption.

      • Killing off /dev/kmem

        The recent proposal from David Hildenbrand to remove support for the /dev/kmem special file has not sparked a lot of discussion. Perhaps that is because today’s youngsters, lacking an understanding of history, may be wondering what that file is in the first place and, thus, be unclear on why it may matter. Chances are that /dev/kmem will not be missed, but in passing it takes away a venerable part of the Unix kernel interface.
        /dev/kmem provides access to the kernel’s address space; it can be read from or written to like an ordinary file, or mapped into a process’s address space. Needless to say, there are some mild security implications arising from providing that sort of access; even read access to this file is generally enough to expose credentials and allow an attacker to take over a system. As a result, protections on /dev/kmem have always tended to be restrictive, but it remains the sort of open back door into the kernel that makes anybody who worries about security worry even more.

        It is a rare Linux system that enables /dev/kmem now. As of the 2.6.26 kernel release in July 2008, the kernel only implements this special file if the CONFIG_DEVKMEM configuration option is enabled. One will have to look long and hard for a distributor that enables this option in 2021; most of them disabled it many years ago. So its disappearance from the kernel is unlikely to create much discomfort.

        It’s worth noting that Linux systems still support /dev/mem (without the “k”), which once provided similar access to all of the memory in the system. It has long been restricted to I/O memory; system RAM is off limits. The occasional user-space device driver still needs /dev/mem to function, but it’s otherwise unused.

      • Graphics Stack
        • Mesa 21.1-rc1 Released With RADV Optimizations, Faster Zink, Many Other New Features

          Feature development for this quarter’s Mesa 21.1 release is now over with it having been branched from main and the first release candidate issued.

          Taking over Mesa 21.1 release management duties is Eric Engestrom. Eric issued a brief Mesa 21.1.0-rc1 announcement. Weekly release candidates of Mesa 21.1 are expected until Mesa 21.1.0 is ready to officially ship sometime in May. It should be early to mid May but with release delays being quite common for Mesa3D we’ll see how this cycle play out.

        • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 21.1.0-rc1 Hello everyone! Once again, a new release cycle has started. Please test this first release candidate, and report any issue here: https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/mesa/mesa/-/issues/new Issues that should block the release of 21.1.0 should be added to the corresponding milestone: https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/mesa/mesa/-/milestones/25 Cheers, Eric
    • Benchmarks
      • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series OpenCL / CUDA / OptiX Compute + Rendering Benchmarks

        Recently from NVIDIA we received the rest of the NVIDIA RTX 30 series line-up for cards we haven’t been able to benchmark under Linux previously, thus it’s been a busy month of Ampere benchmarking for these additional cards and re-testing the existing parts. Coming up next week will be a large NVIDIA vs. AMD Radeon Linux gaming benchmark comparison while in this article today is an extensive look at the GPU compute performance for the complete RTX 20 and RTX 30 series line-up under Linux with compute tests spanning OpenCL, Vulkan, CUDA, and OptiX RTX under a variety of compute and rendering workloads.

        Now having access to the current RTX 30 series line-up, first up is a look at the NVIDIA GPU compute performance across all these cards and the prior generation RTX 20 parts. All of these new and existing graphics cards were freshly (re)tested on Ubuntu 20.04 with the Linux 5.8 kernel and using the NVIDIA 460.67 driver stack with CUDA 11.2 as the latest software components as of testing time.

    • Instructionals/Technical
      • How to set up an SSH tarpit in Ubuntu Server 20.04 – TechRepublic

        In your never-ending quest to secure your Linux servers, you’ve probably found a lot of times the breaches happen through SSH. No matter how secure it is, it can still be cracked. That’s why you might need to consider setting up a tarpit for that service.

      • How to create an SNS topic on AWS using Terraform

        In this article, we will create an SNS topic with an access policy that will allow our own account to perform all SNS actions on the topic. We will carry out this activity using Terraform. Before we proceed with the article, it is assumed that you have a basic understanding of SNS and Terraform. You can also check my article here if you want to learn to create an SNS topic using Cloudformation.
        Click here to see all arguments and parameters available for SNS in Terraform. You can then use them to customize the SNS.

      • Ubuntu: how to use Screen [Guide]

        Screen is a handy tool as it allows users to save and come back to terminal sessions without having to keep the terminal window open. While many Linux users use this software on Linux servers, it can also be useful to Ubuntu users who want to always come back to a terminal program without having to keep the terminal open at all times.

      • How to install Atom Text Editor on Deepin 20.2 [Ed: But it is controlled by Microsoft now]

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Atom Text Editor on Deepin 20.2.

      • How to Change Arduino IDE Background Theme, Colors, and Font Scheme – IoT Tech Trends

        If you use Arduino frequently, the default interface can feel monotonous and boring. Against a white background, the text may be hard to read. Ever thought of adding more color and variety to your IoT development? For this, you should be able to customize your Arduino IDE with different background themes, colors, and font schemes.

        As the following steps illustrate, it’s actually quite easy to personalize your Arduino IDE experience. Whether you prefer a Count Dracula dark theme or an ocean-green font style, we have you covered. There’s no need for any advanced programming editors, such as command shell, Atom, or Notepad++.

      • How to install a MUGEN GAME on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install a MUGEN GAME 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.

        If you have any questions, please contact us via a YouTube comment and we would be happy to assist you!

      • How To Cast YouTube Videos From Your Phone To Raspberry Pi Using YouTube On TV (youtube.com/tv) – Linux Uprising Blog

        This article explains how to use YouTube on TV (https://youtube.com/tv) on a Raspberry Pi, and control it using the YouTube app from your mobile device, almost as if you’re using a Chromecast.

        Once you set up everything, you’ll be able to use the cast button from the YouTube app on your phone to connect to YouTube on TV running on your Raspberry Pi (using Chromium web browser in kiosk mode), and use your phone as a YouTube remote. You’ll be able to play videos, add videos to queue, change the volume using the phone’s volume keys, etc. Also, multiple phones (so multiple users) can connect, play and add videos to the queue at the same time.

        Note that I’ve only tested this using Android phones, so I’m not sure if it also works with iOS. I guess it should, but I don’t own any iOS devices.

      • How To Display Linux Commands Cheatsheets Using Eg

        Learning Linux commands are getting easier day by day! If you know how to use man pages properly, you are halfway across Linux commandline journey. There are also some good man page alternatives available which helps you to display Linux commands cheatsheets. Unlike the man pages, these tools will only display concise examples for most commands and exclude all other theoretical part. Today, let us discuss one more useful addition to this list. Say hello to eg, a command line cheatsheet tool to display useful examples for Linux commands.

        Eg provides practical examples for many Linux and Unix commands. If you want to quickly find out examples of a specific Linux command without going through the lengthy man pages, eg is your companion. Just run eg followed by the name of the command and get the concise examples of the given command right at the Terminal window. It is that simple!

      • How To Install Ruby on Rails on Debian 10 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Ruby on Rails on Debian 10. For those of you who didn’t know, Ruby on Rails (RoR) is a web application framework based on the Ruby programming language. It is a server-side MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework that provides default structures for a database, an internet service, and sites. It allows you to use Ruby in combination with HTML, CSS, and similar programming languages.

        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 Ruby on Rails on a Debian 10 (Buster).

      • How to Test Website Loading Speed in Linux

        The website loading speed or response time is very important for any webmaster because it will impact search engine rankings and user experience. So if you are a system administrator or webmaster then it is important for you to test your website speed and take immediate action to speed up it. There are several web-based and command-line tools available to test your website speed.

      • Russell Coker: Basics of Linux Kernel Debugging

        Firstly a disclaimer, I’m not an expert on this and I’m not trying to instruct anyone who is aiming to become an expert. The aim of this blog post is to help someone who has a single kernel issue they want to debug as part of doing something that’s mostly not kernel coding. I welcome comments about the second step to kernel debugging for the benefit of people who need more than this (which might include me next week). Also suggestions for people who can’t use a kvm/qemu debugger would be good.

        Below is a command to run qemu with GDB. It should be run from the Linux kernel source directory. You can add other qemu options for a blog device and virtual networking if necessary, but the bug I encountered gave an oops from the initrd so I didn’t need to go further. The “nokaslr” is to avoid address space randomisation which deliberately makes debugging tasks harder (from a certain perspective debugging a kernel and compromising a kernel are fairly similar). Loading the bzImage is fine, gdb can map that to the different file it looks at later on.

      • A beginner’s guide to load balancing | Opensource.com

        When the personal computer was young, a household was likely to have one (or fewer) computers in it. Children played games on it during the day, and parents did accounting or programming or roamed through a BBS in the evening. Imagine a one-computer household today, though, and you can predict the conflict it would create. Everyone would want to use the computer at the same time, and there wouldn’t be enough keyboard and mouse to go around.

        This is, more or less, the same scenario that’s been happening to the IT industry as computers have become more and more ubiquitous. Demand for services and servers has increased to the point that they could grind to a halt from overuse. Fortunately, we now have the concept of load balancing to help us handle the demand.

      • Hangover 0.6.5 Released For Running Windows Software On ARM64, POWER

        Hangover is the project that crafts Wine with a modified QEMU and other bits for allowing x86 32-bit and 64-bit Windows programs to run on alternative architectures under Linux. But before getting too excited, at this stage it still supports a limited number of real-world software packages and the architecture support is primarily focused on AArch64 and PPC64LE. While Linux is seemingly the primary focus, there is also some macOS support with Hangover too.

    • Games
      • Solve some really weird cases in The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark out now

        The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark, what was originally called Season 2, is officially out now with full Linux support so you can crack some unique cases. Note: key provided by the publisher.

        “The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark is a serial adventure game where you help a duo of investigators crack supernatural cases in the city of Twin Lakes. Whether it’s a noise complaint due to ritual-performing neighbours or Mothman loitering around porch lights, Detective McQueen and his sidekick Officer Patrick Dooley are just a text box away! Point, click, or tap your way through six new cases as you get to the bottom of each mystery.”

      • Metro Exodus is Finally Here on Steam for Linux

        Metro Exodus, a long-time fan favorite, is finally here in Linux. After a long wait of over two years, Linux users can finally get their hands on the third installment of the Metro trilogy. Although a few unofficial ports of the game was available, this is an official release by 4A Games.

        It is a first-person shooter game with gorgeous ray tracing graphics and the story is set in Russian wilderness across vast lands. The brilliant story-line spans an entire year through spring, summer and autumn to the nuclear winter. The game is a combination of fast-paced combat and stealth with exploration and survival and is easily one of the most immersive games in Linux.

      • Stellaris: Nemesis expansion and the free 3.0 ‘Dick’ update are out now

        Probably the biggest update and expansion launch for Stellaris yet, Stellaris: Nemesis and the 3.0 ‘Dick’ update are out now. Paradox actually released something of a double-patch with both 3.0 and 3.0.1 landing today to bring big new features and some needed fixes found while testing.

      • Building and management sim Voxel Tycoon arrives on Steam and it’s fantastic | GamingOnLinux

        Are you a fan of OpenTTD or the Transport Fever series? You should look at Voxel Tycoon, a brand new Early Access release on Steam that comes with Linux support and it’s looking very good. Note: personal purchase.

        It’s technically been available for a long time already, as it had a pre-alpha available on itch.io which has now been removed. Steam is the main store for it now. This is also the first time I’ve jumped in to play and it impresses instantly. It offers up a Cities Skylines level of beautiful simplicity in the presentation of it, which is good because these types of transport sims usually confuse the heck of it me. Here though, it’s just great.

      • Finding joy in ruining everyone’s day in Rain on Your Parade – out now

        Available now with Linux support, Rain on Your Parade is a comedy puzzle-like game about being a cloud and raining all over everyone and not giving a hoot. Note: key provided by the developer.

        Rain on Your Parade is like nothing else! You could say it’s in the spirit of games like Untitled Goose Game, the idea is that you’re just there to mess with people and have as much fun as you can while doing so — it’s a total joy. There’s plenty more to it than just raining on people though, there’s a certain strategy you will need to it. The game also gradually gives you a few fun tools to cause more havoc too including thunder, lightning, tornadoes and more.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • LXQt 0.17.0 Released With Several Important Improvements

        LXQt 0.17 is the first update to this lightweight Qt5 desktop environment for 2021. It is focused on being a classic desktop with a modern look and feel.

        LXQt is a very light and simple desktop environment built using the Qt libraries. It was formed by the merger of the LXDE and Razor-qt project. Currently, almost all major Linux distributions provides LXQt options as it is very lightweight with features loaded.

        The LXQt desktop provides its own list of components specifically designed using Qt frameworks which gives you a stable yet super fast desktop experience.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Improving the remote experience: treadmill

          Last year I decided to add an improvement to my home office, a treadmill. I thought about during the total lock-down we suffered in Spain in spring 2020. The reason for not trying it earlier was that I was skeptical about keeping my productivity level while walking on the treadmill. Finally I made the decision to try out and asked for one to The Three Wise Men. They were kind enough to bring it.

          After a few weeks using it, I would like to report about it since several of my colleagues at MBition/Daimler asked me about it. I hope that reading about my experience is useful to you.

          [...]

          I detected a productivity decrease in those activities which require high levels of concentration or creativity like complex meetings with many people that I facilitate, those times when I need to come up with new ideas, analysis of complex data, etc. The good news is that I did detect this productivity reduction early. The longer I have been using the treadmill though, the more type tasks I can do without noticing a productivity reduction. So I plan to try again during the coming weeks some of those activities that I dropped early on.

          Walking is helping me a lot to go through those days with back to back meetings. I pay better attention and get less bored compared to standing up. As I get more used to walking, my energy levels during the afternoons are increasing, as mentioned, which helps me to get through the last couple of hours during long working days. It was not like that at first though, so plan accordingly.

        • Studies for episode 35

          Here under studies for episode 35, a montage of roughly 30 Sketches, featuring Pepper at various ages, Arra dragon, Carrot and Torreya (a new character), Arra’s pilot.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • gThumb Image Viewer 3.11.3 Adds JPEG XL (.jxl) Support [Ubuntu PPA]

          gThumb, GNOME image viewer and organizer, released version 3.11.3 a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.10 via PPA.

          gThumb 3.11.3 adds support for JPEG XL – the next generation image coding standard.

          JPEG XL (.jxl) is based on ideas from Google’s Pik format and Cloudinary’s FUIF format. It is the next-generation, general-purpose image compression codec by the JPEG committee. Some popular apps, e.g., ImageMagick, XnView MP, have already added support for the image format.

        • System76’s COSMIC Desktop Coming in June [Ed: System76 needs to delete GitHub to avoid the perception it’s boosting Microsoft monopoly and proprietary software (people buy their hardware for the opposite goal)]

          Denver-based System76 has announced preliminary details of their upcoming COSMIC desktop environment, which will arrive in the June 2021 release of Pop!_OS 21.04.

          According to the blog post, System76 will provide “a honed desktop user experience in Pop!_OS through our GNOME-based desktop environment: COSMIC.” The design has been refined through extensive testing and user feedback, resulting in greater ease of use and efficiency.

    • Distributions
      • Myth busted: Can you run sway/wayland’s i3 without systemd or elogind?

        For a while, we have heard this justification, among distributions that have refused systemd as init, that elogind was adopted as a necessity for running wayland which is the future of graphical desktops. Some future this is, but anyway. For Artix it was a day one decision, for Void and Adelie it has been a year or more, for Slackware a few months. But it is only a handful of distros at this point that have totally refused the use of elogind and stick to consolekit2 (which was recently upgraded upstream unlike common myth that has it abandoned). Consolekit2 can handle logind functionality but can’t provide seat management. So there is seatd, a daemon that just does this. So count the different functions, unrelated to each other, that systemd provides all in one huge blob.Sway is the equivalent of i3 for wayland. For i3 users their setup transfers 100% to sway, all modified functionality will be there once you login.

        Wlroots is wayland’s modular library. This is native in obarun and maintained to help wayland function without systemd/elogind. It is currently kept back at 0.12 as Arch but will be soon upgraded to 0.13.

        Greetd – wlgreet is a display manager compatible with wayland. This has a PKGBUILD at the link above so you can build it appropriately for Obarun.

        None of these are officially supported as a desktop setup in Obarun yet, but the setup is a demonstration that it can be done. Can it be done with sysv, openrc, runit? We don’t know. Can it be done with s6? Since it is done within Obarun it can be done. Whether you can handle the complex service setup without 66 and in lack of any other service manager, who knows! Of course you can cheat and employ 66, do the setup, then remove 66 and leave it as is, as a pseudo custom s6 setup of services. Don’t cry if one day you decide to switch services, disable one, enable another, without 66. The procedure can make a tough man cry.

        Gavin Falconer or bbsg in Obarun forum, has started this thread for the discussion of this project/solution. A how-to instructional thread. A few of us have tried it and made it work. I am sure it will receive plenty of attention and refinements in the near future, and possibly be adopted officially as an Obarun setup, with all the related packages added to the repositories. For now it is a community project, and it is proof that it can be done.

      • New Releases
        • Zorin OS 16 Enters Beta with Stunning New Look, Faster and Smoother Performance

          Promising to be the “most advanced release ever,” Zorin OS 16 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) and features a revamped look and feel to make the transition from Windows to Linux easier and more enjoyable, as the main goal of Zorin OS remains to be the number one MS Windows alternative for Linux newcomers.

          The new look of Zorin OS 16 consists of a new theme that’s easier on the eyes and features beautiful animations, new artwork and wallpapers, as well as revamped lock screen that features a blurred version of the desktop background.

        • Much-Anticipated Zorin OS 16 is Available for Beta Testing With A Stunning New Look

          Zorin OS 16 was one of my picks for distributions to look out for in 2021. They always do something interesting with every major upgrade, and it looks like Zorin OS 16 is going to be an exciting release to talk about.

          The Zorin team announced the availability of Zorin OS 16 (based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) beta along with all the new features that come with it.

          Here, I will mention the highlights of the new release along with a video tour (with the download link at the bottom).

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE
        • Kube World at SUSECON – The Rancher Journey Continues

          SUSECON is only a few weeks away, and the excitement is starting to build. While working on my keynote, I took some time to look back on how much has happened since SUSE completed its acquisition of Rancher Labs in December of last year. It’s just unreal how fast things are moving. It hasn’t even been six months, and more things have happened than many companies can accomplish in a year or more.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • IBM Joins Eclipse Adoptium Working Group

          IBM is joining the Eclipse Adoptium Working Group as an enterprise member. IBM is a founding and active member of the AdoptOpenJDK community, which is moving under the stewardship of the Eclipse Foundation to form the Adoptium working group.

        • IBM signs up to Eclipse Foundation’s Adoptium working group to push out free, certified JDK binaries

          IBM has joined the Eclipse Adoptium working group as an enterprise member and committed to building and publishing Java SE TCK-certified JDK binaries with OpenJ9 free of charge.

        • Why Operators are essential for Kubernetes

          As a solutions architect, I spend a lot of my time talking to my customers about Kubernetes. In every one of those conversations, it’s guaranteed that the topic of Kubernetes Operators will come up. Operators, and their relationship to Red Hat OpenShift, aren’t always clear to those who are just starting out on their container adoption journey.

          Kubernetes has allowed the deployment and management of distributed applications to be heavily automated. A lot of that automation comes out of the box but Kubernetes wasn’t designed to know about all application types. So sometimes it’s necessary to extend the understanding of a specific type of application that Kubernetes has. Otherwise you have to manage a large part of these applications manually that ultimately defeats the purpose of deploying on Kubernetes. Operators allow you to capture how you can write code to automate a task beyond what Kubernetes itself provides.

          This post assumes you know what Kubernetes is and how it works and have some knowledge of OpenShift. So what are Operators and why are they so important in explaining what Red Hat OpenShift is?

        • MontaVista Joins the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation as a Principal Sponsor

          MontaVista Software has today joined the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation as a Principal Sponsor, endorsing the Rocky Linux distribution as an alternative solution to the CentOS Linux project as a Red Hat Enterprise Linux compatible solution. MontaVista will continue providing the MVShield program services for Long term support of both CentOS Linux and Rocky Linux baselines.

        • MontaVista Joins the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation as a Principal Sponsor – StreetInsider.com
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Ubuntu Touch for the PinePhone is moving to a new kernel for better hardware support

          Ubuntu Touch can run on dozens of smartphones that originally shipped with Android thanks to the Halium tool that allows the Linux distribution to communicate with the hardware in those phones using Android drivers.

          But if you’re running Ubuntu Touch on a PinePhone, you don’t need Halium since the phone supports mainline Linux kernels or modified kernels like Megi’s kernel, which is usually way ahead of the pack when it comes to adding features to support the phone’s hardware.

          Up until recently Ubuntu Touch for the Pinephone had been using a version of Linux kernel 5.6, but recently the developers have started to move to Megi’s 5.10 and 5.11 kernels which brings improved hardware stability and reliability.

        • Canonical Announces MicroK8s Optimization Updates

          Canonical has announced the optimization of MicroK8s, its lightweight Kubernetes distribution.

          Started in 2018, MicroK8s has matured into a robust tool favoured by developers for efficient workflows and delivering production-grade features for companies building Kubernetes edge and IoT production environments.

        • MicroK8s footprint shrinks by a third for easier Pi and Jetson clusters

          Canonical released MicroK8s 1.21, featuring a 32.5 percent smaller footprint to enable Kubernetes deployments of 540MB, thereby easing clustering on platforms such as the Raspberry Pi and Nvidia Jetson.

          Canonical took another step toward expanding the use of MicroK8s containers on low-power edge devices with the release of version 1.21 of MicroK8s, the stripped down, single-node version of Kubernetes. Released in conjunction with Kubernetes 1.21, which also extends to the Charmed Kubernetes and kubeadm variants, MicroK8s 1.21 has a 32.5 percent smaller RAM footprint than v1.20, “as benchmarked against single node and multi-node deployments,” says Canonical.

          [...]

          For server implementations on x86-based devices, meanwhile, MicroK8s 1.21 joins Kubernetes 1.21 in adding “seamless integration” of MicroK8s with Nvidia’s latest version of its GPU Operator, which helps provision GPU worker nodes in a Kubernetes cluster. MicroK8s can now consume a GPU or even a Multi-instance GPU (MIG) using a single command and is compatible with specialized Nvidia hardware such as the DGX and EGX.

          MicroK8s is typically used for offline development, prototyping, and testing of Kubernetes (k8s) applications on a desktop before deploying them to the cloud as appliances. However, in Oct. 2019, Canonical began expanding the applicability of MicroK8s on edge devices for applications such as clustering when it announced a new feature in Ubuntu 19.10 that enabled “strict confinement” support for MicroK8s. Strict confinement of the non-elastic, rails-based MicroK8s enabled complete isolation and a tightly secured production-grade Kubernetes environment within a small footprint that could run on the Raspberry Pi 4.

        • Hirsute Hippo Ubuntu-fr t-shirt

          The French speaking Ubuntu community really likes making ubuntu t-shirts. Each six months, releases after releases, they make new ones. Here is the Hirsute Hippo. You can buy it before the 26th of April for €15 (+ shipping costs) and receive it at the end of May 2021. You can buy it later but it will be more expensive and you will not have any garanty of stock.

        • Ubuntu Blog: (Re)introducing the Community Team [Ed: Canonical wants the public to think that it's a community rather than a company (SUSE and IBM do the same, but their facade is rather poor)]

          The Ubuntu community is, and always will be, a major part of the Ubuntu project. It is one of the biggest reasons all of this (gestures around) even exists. Over the past month or so, the beginnings of a new Community team has been taking shape inside Canonical with the specific purpose of serving the community.

        • Ubuntu Blog: Transcribing user interviews with Amazon Transcribe

          We try to do as much user testing as we can at Canonical, and one of the techniques that we employ is user interviews. Our UX team will talk to users regularly – usually there’s a user interview happening on every day of the week.

          Aside: if you’re interested, you can sign up to join the Canonical user interview panel.

    • Devices/Embedded
      • New SecurStor microSD Cards Support ARM Raspbian Linux

        In response to the growing need for data protection, ATP Electronics, the global leader in specialized storage and memory solutions, has launched the SecurStor microSD cards – the latest in its line of secure NAND flash storage products for the Internet of Things (IoT), education, automotive, defense, aerospace and other applications requiring confidentiality and reliability.

        “Removable storage media such as microSD cards provide great convenience and versatility for storing and transporting data. However, such convenience also exposes them to risks of unauthorized access,” said Chris Lien, ATP Embedded Memory Business Unit Head. “In many instances, the boot image may be compromised, corrupting the operating system or rendering the system unusable. Malware may be introduced, or private information may be disclosed and used for damaging intents. Amidst such dangerous scenarios, we have made security a key priority for all ATP products.”

      • RK3566 & RK3568 processors to get Linux mainline support soon

        Rockchip RK3566 & RK3568 processors were just officially announced at the end of the year, and soon followed with announcements of related such as Core-3568J AI Core system-on-module, some Android 11 TV boxes, Station P2 mini PC, and RK3566/RK3568 development boards.

        But it did not take long, as RK3566/RK3568 are about the get support for mainline Linux, with engineers from Collabora and Rockchip having recently committed preliminary support for RK356x platforms, notably using Pine64 Quartz64 SBC for testing.

      • Perf-V Beetle board features GAP8 multi-core RISC-V AI MCU

        GreenWaves Technologies introduced the GAP8 low-power RISC-V IoT processor optimized for artificial intelligence applications in 2018. The multi-core (8+1) RISC-V processor is especially suitable for image and audio algorithms including convolutional neural network (CNN) inference.

        The same year, the company launched the GAPUINO development kit that sold and (still sells) for $229 with QVGA camera and a multisensor board with four microphones, an STMicro VL53 Time of flight sensor, an IR sensor, a pressure sensor, a light sensor, a temperature & humidity sensor, and a 6-axis accelerometer/gyroscope. But there’s now a much more affordable solution to evaluate GAP8 multi-core RISC-V MCU with PerfXLab Perf-V Beetle board.

      • The Axon platform offers WiFi & LoRa IoT messaging in a compact form factor (Crowdfunding)

        The board can be programmed with Python (MicroPython?), plot graphics with Matlab, control up to four relays, and integrate with Axon Cloud apps. As I understand it, the MCU – USB switch selects the source of the data: either USB or UART.

        There are already many ESP8266 boards around, so Axon is probably mostly interesting when connected with a LoRa module as it offers an ultra-compact WiFi + LoRa IoT solution.

      • Check LoRaWAN deployments on the go with WisGate Developer Base USB dongle

        RAKWireless just had their “Big Tech Bloom” event services they announced many new LPWAN products ranging from WisDM fleet management system, OpenWrt based Wisgate OS, new industrial LoRaWAN gateways like WisGate Edge Lite 2, their first STM32WL module, as well as 9 new modules for WisBlock modular IoT platform with MIC, e-Paper display, GPS, an ESP32 based WisBlock core, etc…

        But today, I’ll have a look at the new $99 WisGate Developer Base, a USB dongle that connects to a laptop for LoRaWAN networks evaluation, for example, to check the coverage before installing a new gateway. Alternatively, it could also be used to add LoRaWAN gateway capability to existing embedded hardware like routers or industrial PCs.

      • LoRaWAN BACnet gateway uses Raspberry Pi CM3+ for building automation

        A few years about we wrote about BASpi I/O Raspberry Pi HAT compatible with BACNet, a data communication protocol for Building Automation and Control Networks, also known as the ISO 16484-6 standard, and used for HVACs, lightings, elevators, fire safety, and other systems found in buildings.

      • Allwinner set to release low-cost single-board computer with RISC-V processor in May

        A new single-board computer from Chinese semiconductor designer Allwinner will feature an SoC based on the RISC-V 640bit architecture. However, the board lacks power due to its single-core CPU. Since it supports Linux and should cost less than US$15, the SBC should still be versatile enough for tinkering and projects.

      • Allwinner launches the first RISC-V application processor

        Allwinner Technology today announced the launch of 「D1」 processor, which is the world’s first mass-produced application processor equipped with T-Head Xuantie 906 based on RISC-V, providing an exciting new smart chipset for immediate use in today’s developing Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) market.

      • A first look at Allwinner D1 Linux RISC-V SBC and Processor

        Last year, we reported that Allwinner was working on an Alibaba XuanTie C906 based RISC-V processor that would be found in low-cost Linux capable single board computers selling for as low as $12.

        The good news is that we won’t have to wait much longer as Allwinner D1 RISC-V processor is slated for an announcement next week, and a business card-sized SBC, also made by Allwinner, will become available in May. Some of the information is already available to developers in China, and CNX Software managed to obtain information about the Linux RISC-V SBC and Allwinner D1 processor.

      • Modular HMI touch-panel runs on Raspberry Pi CM4

        Seeed unveiled a $195, Raspberry Pi CM4-based “ReTerminal” HMI device with a 5-inch, 1280 x 720 touchscreen, a crypto chip, WiFi/BT, GbE, micro-HDMI, CSI, 2x USB, and 40-pin and PCIe expansion.

        Seeed has announced a modular human-machine interface (HMI) device based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. The ReTerminal, which will go on pre-order later this month starting at $195, features a 5-inch touchscreen.

      • Open Hardware/Modding
        • Customizable artificial intelligence and gesture recognition

          In many respects we think of artificial intelligence as being all encompassing. One AI will do any task we ask of it. But in reality, even when AI reaches the advanced levels we envision, it won’t automatically be able to do everything. The Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems has been giving this a lot of thought.

          [...]

          As a test case, an Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense was employed to build a demonstration device. Using only the onboard 9-axis motion sensor, the team built an untethered gesture recognition controller. When a button is pressed, the user draws a number in the air, and corresponding commands are wirelessly sent to peripherals. In this case, a robotic arm.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Apache Software Foundation retires slew of Hadoop-related projects

        It’s been no secret lately that Apache Hadoop, once the poster child of big data, is past its prime. But since April 1st, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has announced the retirement to its “Attic” of at least 19 open source projects, 13 of which are big data-related and ten of which are part of the Hadoop ecosystem.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Opportunity Sizing: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

            My peers at Mozilla are running workshops on opportunity sizing. If you’re unfamiliar, opportunity sizing is when you take some broad guesses at how impactful some new project might be before writing any code. This gives you a rough estimate of what the upside for this work might be.

            The goal here is to discard projects that aren’t worth the effort. We want to make sure the juice is worth the squeeze before we do any work.

            If this sounds simple, it is. If it sounds less-than-scientific, it is! There’s a lot of confusion around why we do opportunity sizing, so here’s a blog post.

          • Allen Wirfs-Brock: Personal Digital Habitats

            In the eight years since I wrote that blog post not much has changed in how we think about and use our various devices. Each device is still a world unto itself. Sure, there are cloud applications and services that provide support for coordinating some of “my stuff” among devices. Collaborative applications and sync services are more common and more powerful—particularly if you restrict yourself to using devices from a single company’s ecosystem. But my various devices and their idiosyncratic differences have not “faded into the background.”

            Why haven’t we done better? A big reason is conceptual inertia. It’s relatively easy for software developers to imagine and implement incremental improvement to the status quo. But before developers can create a new innovative system (or users can ask for one) they have to be able to envision it and have a vocabulary for talking about it. So, I’m going to coin a term, Personal Digital Habitat, for an alternative conceptual model for how we could integrate our personal digital devices. For now, I’ll abbreviate it as PDH because each for the individual words are important. However, if it catches on I suspect we will just say habitat, digihab, or just hab.

            A Personal Digital Habitat is a federated multi-device information environment within which a person routinely dwells. It is associated with a personal identity and encompasses all the digital artifacts (information, data, applications, etc.) that the person owns or routinely accesses. A PDH overlays all of a person’s devices1 and they will generally think about their digital artifacts in terms of common abstractions supported by the PDH rather than device- or silo-specific abstractions. But presentation and interaction techniques may vary to accommodate the physical characteristics of individual devices.

          • Alex Gibson: My eighth year working at Mozilla

            Well, that was the most short sighted and optimistic take ever, eh? It feels like a decade since I wrote that, and a world away from where we all stand today. I would normally write a post on this day to talk about some of the work that I’ve been doing at Mozilla over the past 12 months, but that seems kinda insignificant right now. The global pandemic has hit the world hard, and while we’re starting to slowly to recover, it’s going to be a long process. Many businesses world wide, including Mozilla, felt the direct impact of the pandemic. I count myself fortunate to still have a stable job, and to be able to look after my family during this time. We’re all still healthy, and that’s all that really matters right now.

      • FSF
        • FSF rallies behind Richard Stallman

          Richard Stallman has offered a sort of apology for his badly received defence of Professor Minsky on an MIT mailing list and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) believes that should end the matter.

          For those who came in late, a victim of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein testified that she was forced to have sex with MIT professor Marvin Minsky, who was Stallman’s chum. Stallman quit the FSF after he made comments in support of Minsky.

        • Kicking off the GNU Assembly

          Hi there! We’re excited to kick off the GNU Assembly and its web site! This place intends to be a collaboration platform for the developers of GNU packages who are all “hacking for user freedom” and who share a vision for the umbrella project.

          Truth be told, this is an old story finally becoming a reality. Almost ten years ago, Andy Wingo (of GNU Guile) emailed GNU maintainers…

        • Kicking off the GNU Assembly [Ed: The comments seem more apt; “Let’s be honest about what this actually is: an attempt by the very same people who weaponized “conduct” to attempt to marginalize Stallman to do the same again, through another avenue,” says the first comment]

          A new organization for maintainers and contributors to GNU tools, the GNU Assembly, has announced its existence.

      • Programming/Development
        • Twine the easiest game engine for non-coder

          In this article, we will give you a short introduction to a wonderful open-source tool called Twine that allows you to write your own interactive stories easily. What it is, why we should use it, we will recommend a tutorial and more.

        • Stupid RCU Tricks: rcutorture fails to find an RCU bug

          If you are running a kernel built with CONFIG_PREEMPT=y, RCU read-side critical sections can be preempted by higher-priority tasks, regardless of whether these tasks are executing kernel or userspace code. If there are enough higher-priority tasks, and especially if someone has foolishly disabled realtime throttling, these RCU read-side critical sections might remain preempted for a good long time. And as long as they remain preempted, RCU grace periods cannot complete. And if RCU grace periods cannot complete, your system has an OOM in its future.

          This is where RCU priority boosting comes in, at least in kernels built with CONFIG_RCU_BOOST=y. If a given grace period is blocked only by preempted RCU read-side critical sections, and that grace period is at least 500 milliseconds old (this timeout can be adjusted using the RCU_BOOST_DELAY Kconfig option), then RCU starts boosting the priority of these RCU readers to the level specified by the rcutree.kthread_prio kernel boot parameter, which defaults to FIFO priority 2. RCU does this using one rcub kthread per rcu_node structure. Given a default Kconfig, this works out to one rcub kthread per 16 CPUs.

        • Single-shot signal/slot connections

          Sometimes it’s useful to establish a connection between a signal and a slot that should be activated only once. This is not how signal/slot connections normally behave.

          [...]

          The static_cast isn’t technically necessary, in this case. But it becomes necessary, should we want to also pass some other arguments (for instance, if we want the connection to be queued as well as single-shot). This closed a long-standing and very voted feature request. Sometimes, by removing the pebble in your shoe, you make many other people happy.

        • The 10 Best Agile Frameworks: Choosing The Right Framework For You

          Agile software development is a methodology related to application development focusing on an iterative process, where cross-functional teams collaborate to produce better solutions. Agile frameworks are unique methods or techniques in the development process following Agile principles. Most companies use these frameworks to mitigate their particular needs. Many popular Agile frameworks are available in the market. Different businesses utilize them according to their specific needs. It is significant for the product’s success to embrace a solid framework that aligns with the team’s requirements. That’s where we come in. Today we will help you to choose an Agile framework that matches your team requirements.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh
          • Oil Shell 0.8.9 Is Released

            Oil Shell is a not-really drop-in replacement for Bash with its own programming language for “serious” shell programming. The latest release has some very minor changes to the oil-language and that’s about it. It may be worth a look if you want a shell language where you can use variables without quotes.

            [...]

            You can take a look at the “Oil Language Idioms” for examples of how regular bash compares to oil and acquire the technology from http://www.oilshell.org/releases.html if you want to see how it works. None of the GNU/Linux distributions we looked at have OSH in their repositories, so you will have to compile it yourself. It is a quick and small compile with nearly no dependencies, so you’ll have it up and running in less than a minute.

        • Rust
          • Rust Compiler April Steering Cycle

            On Friday, April 9th, the Rust Compiler team had a planning meeting for the April steering cycle.

            Every fourth Friday, the Rust compiler team decides how it is going to use its scheduled steering and design meeting time over the next three Fridays.

  • Leftovers
    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • Stable Channel Update for Desktop

          The Chrome team is delighted to announce the promotion of Chrome 90 to the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. This will roll out over the coming days/weeks.

          Chrome 90.0.4430.72 contains a number of fixes and improvements — a list of changes is available in the log. Watch out for upcoming Chrome and Chromium blog posts about new features and big efforts delivered in 90.

        • Chrome 90 Released With AV1 Encode, New APIs

          Google officially promoted Chrome 90 to its stable channel today as the latest feature update to their cross-platform web browser.

          Exciting us the most with Chrome 90 is AV1 encode support now in place with the main use-case being for WebRTC usage. Chrome is making use of the reference libaom encoder for CPU-based AV1 encoding and with powerful enough hardware can be used for real-time video conferencing.

        • ProtonMail Users can Now Access Proton Calendar (beta) for Free

          ProtonMail is one of the best secure email services out there. While alternatives like Tutanota already offer a calendar feature, ProtonMail did not offer it for all the users.

          The calendar feature (in beta) was limited to paid users. Recently, in an announcement, ProtonMail has made it accessible for all users for free.

          It is worth noting that it is still in beta but accessible to more users.

        • Pseudo-Open Source
          • Privatisation/Privateering
            • Linux Foundation
              • New Linux research division launches to explore open source ecosystems [Ed: Sleazy marketing rag “Linux Foundation” pretends to be research now; Linux Foundation sells “tweets”.]

                The Linux Foundation has launched a new research division to look at the impact of open source. Linux Foundation Research aims to broaden the understanding of open source projects, ecosystems, and impact by looking at open source collaboration.

              • SODA Foundation Announces 2021 Data & Storage Trends Survey

                Data and storage technologies are evolving. The SODA Foundation is conducting a survey to identify the current challenges, gaps, and trends for data and storage in the era of cloud-native, edge, AI, and 5G. Through new insights generated from the data and storage community at large, end-users will be better equipped to make decisions, vendors can improve their products, and the SODA Foundation can establish new technical directions — and beyond!

                The SODA Foundation is an open source project under Linux Foundation that aims to foster an ecosystem of open source data management and storage software for data autonomy. SODA Foundation offers a neutral forum for cross-project collaboration and integration and provides end-users quality end-to-end solutions. We intend to use this survey data to help guide the SODA Foundation and its surrounding ecosystem on important issues.

        • Security
          • Scanning for secrets

            Projects, even of the open-source variety, sometimes have secrets that need to be maintained. They can range from things like signing keys, which are (or should be) securely stored away from the project’s code, to credentials and tokens for access to various web-based services, such as cloud-hosting services or the Python Package Index (PyPI). These credentials are sometimes needed by instances of the running code, and some others benefit from being stored “near” the code, but these types of credentials are not meant to be distributed outside of the project. They can sometimes mistakenly be added to a public repository, however, which is a slip that attackers are most definitely on the lookout for. The big repository-hosting services like GitHub and GitLab are well-placed to scan for these kinds of secrets being committed to project repositories—and they do.

            Source-code repositories represent something of an attractive nuisance for storing this kind of information; project developers need the information close to hand and, obviously, the Git repository qualifies. But there are a few problems with that, of course. Those secrets are only meant to be used by the project itself, so publicizing them may violate the terms of service for a web service (e.g. Twitter or Google Maps) or, far worse, allow using the project’s cloud infrastructure to mine cryptocurrency or allow anyone to publish code as if it came from the project itself. Also, once secrets get committed and pushed to the public repository, they become part of the immutable history of the repository. Undoing that is difficult and doesn’t actually put the toothpaste back in the tube; anyone who cloned or pulled from the repository before it gets scrubbed still has the secret information.

            Once a project recognizes that it has inadvertently released a secret via its source-code repository, it needs to have the issuer revoke the credential and, presumably issue a new one. But there may be a lengthy window of time before the mistake is noticed; even if it is noticed quickly, it may take some time to get the issuer to revoke the secret. All of that is best avoided, if possible.

          • Resurrecting DWF

            Five years ago, we looked at an effort to assist in the assignment of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) IDs, especially for open-source projects. Developers in the free-software world have often found it difficult to obtain CVE IDs for the vulnerabilities that they find. The Distributed Weakness Filing (DWF) project was meant to reduce the friction in the CVE-assignment process, but it never really got off the ground. In a blog post, Josh Bressers said that DWF was hampered by trying to follow the rules for CVEs. That has led to a plan to restart DWF, but this time without the “yoke of legacy CVE”.

          • Vulnerability analysis for Golang applications with Red Hat CodeReady Dependency Analytics

            Red Hat CodeReady Dependency Analytics, powered by Snyk Intel Vulnerability database, helps developers find, identify, and fix security vulnerabilities in their code. In the latest 0.3.2 release, we focused on supporting vulnerability analysis for Golang application dependencies, providing easier access to vulnerability details uniquely known to Snyk, and other user experience improvements.

          • 4 Open Source Tools to Add to Your Security Arsenal

            Open source solutions can offer an accessible and powerful way to enhance your security-testing capabilities.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (xorg-server), Fedora (kernel), openSUSE (clamav, fluidsynth, python-bleach, spamassassin, and xorg-x11-server), Red Hat (gnutls and nettle, libldb, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), SUSE (clamav, util-linux, and xorg-x11-server), and Ubuntu (network-manager and underscore).

          • 100 million more IoT devices are exposed—and they won’t be the last

            Over the last few years, researchers have found a shocking number of vulnerabilities in seemingly basic code that underpins how devices communicate with the Internet. Now, a new set of nine such vulnerabilities are exposing an estimated 100 million devices worldwide, including an array of Internet-of-things products and IT management servers. The larger question researchers are scrambling to answer, though, is how to spur substantive changes—and implement effective defenses—as more and more of these types of vulnerabilities pile up.

            Dubbed Name:Wreck, the newly disclosed flaws are in four ubiquitous TCP/IP stacks, code that integrates network communication protocols to establish connections between devices and the Internet. The vulnerabilities, present in operating systems like the open source project FreeBSD, as well as Nucleus NET from the industrial control firm Siemens, all relate to how these stacks implement the “Domain Name System” Internet phone book. They all would allow an attacker to either crash a device and take it offline or gain control of it remotely. Both of these attacks could potentially wreak havoc in a network, especially in critical infrastructure, health care, or manufacturing settings where infiltrating a connected device or IT server can disrupt a whole system or serve as a valuable jumping-off point for burrowing deeper into a victim’s network.

          • ISTIO-SECURITY-2021-003
          • Announcing Istio 1.8.5

            This release fixes the security vulnerability described in our April 15th post.

          • Announcing Istio 1.9.3

            This release fixes the security vulnerability described in our April 15th post.

    • Monopolies
      • How Amazon Strong-Arms Partners Using Its Power Across Multiple Businesses

        Amazon.com Inc. last year told smart-thermostat maker Ecobee it had to give the tech giant data from its voice-enabled devices even when customers weren’t using them.

        Amazon responded that if Ecobee didn’t serve up its data, the refusal could affect Ecobee’s ability to sell on Amazon’s retail platform…

      • Patents
        • Oral proceedings by video conference at the European Patent Office [Ed: These are illegal, but the patent litigation profiteers never point that out because it's not convenient to their bank accounts]

          The devastating coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic transformed adoption of holding oral proceedings by video conference, so as to sustain access to justice for parties. In 2019, about 900 oral proceedings before the Examining Divisions were held by video conference, increasing to more than 2,300 in 2020. Additionally, oral proceedings are now routinely held before the Opposition Divisions and the Boards of Appeal. In 2020, more than 300 oral proceedings before the Opposition Divisions were held by video conference and the EPO plans to achieve the same number monthly in 2021. Between May and October 2020, 120 oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal were held by video conference.

        • Compulsory licensing and Covid-19 vaccines: when fake news spoil the public debate [Ed: Team UPC fanatics want patents over patients and misuse the term "Fake News". In reality, all those patents ought not exist in the first place because they kill people.]

          The French government claims that patents are not “the issue”: in other words, no patent would hinder the manufacture of vaccines.

          It is true that no patents have yet been granted directly for a covid-19 vaccine as such, since such a grant requires the filing of an application with a Patent Office, which will examine it during a procedure that will last approximately two years.

          However, the lack of granted patents does not mean that there are no patents that could impede the manufacture of vaccines.

          Firstly, it is the patent application, not the granting of the patent, that constitutes the origin of the patent right, from which point an infringement action is possible.

          Second, vaccine manufacturing involves processes, possibly pre-dating the pandemic and be the subject of patents. This is the case for messenger RNA and lipid nanoparticles, for example, for which BioNTech[2] et Moderna[3] hold numerous patents. Similarly, Oxford University holds patents on the recombinant DNA technology used in Astra Zeneca’s vaccine, to which Oxford University has granted an exclusive license[4]. Moreover, Moderna’s announcement that it will not assert its patents during the pandemic does not mean that it is waiving its rights. Moderna is not giving up anything, but rather exercising its right by subjecting access to the patented technology to certain conditions[5].

          Of course, patents could prove useless without the know-how required to implement their teachings. This know-how will be particularly necessary when it comes to compiling a file in order to obtain a marketing authorization. However, there is nothing, other than the lack of political will, to prevent the ex officio license from extending to the patent as well as to the know-how necessary for its exploitation.

        • Software Patents
          • Uncertainty at the USPTO: Rate of Discretionary Denials Continues to Climb

            It has been a banner quarter for those trying to avoid merits-based review of their patents at the USPTO. With 74 procedural denials to start the first three months of 2021—a quarterly record—it is projected that denials will rise by nearly 30% for the year, from 228 to nearly 300. If this trend holds, the Board will deny more petitions in 2020 without reaching the merits than in doing so. That’s in just over a year of Fintiv itself being precedential. If that projection holds, that will mean more than six hundred petitions will have been paid for and filed with the Board that will not have gotten a hearing on the merits.

[Meme] Enemies With Common Interests

Thursday 15th of April 2021 05:45:23 PM

Summary: The Software Freedom Movement (or Free Software Movement) has many enemies; some of them just hide in the shadows or speak out through shadowy front groups/NGOs that they semi-officially sponsor

[Meme] Germany’s Red Cash Cow

Thursday 15th of April 2021 05:20:12 PM


Summary: EPO brings a lot of money to the German state. But at what cost to citizens and Germany’s public image?

EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 19: The Deafening Silence of the Media

Thursday 15th of April 2021 05:06:06 PM

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis
  6. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 6: Dr Petri Starts the Ball Rolling…
  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 7: Ms Voßhoff Alerts the Bundestag…
  8. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 8: The EPO’s Tweedledum, Raimund Lutz
  9. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry
  10. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff
  11. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Appendix (Benoît Battistelli’s Vichy Syndrome): Georges Henri Léon Battistelli and Charles Robert Battistelli
  12. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 11: The BMJV’s Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst
  13. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 12: A Worthy Successor to His Mentor?
  14. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 13: The Failed Promise of a “Good Governance” Guru…
  15. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 14: The Notorious Revolving Door
  16. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 15: Different Strokes for Different Folks
  17. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 16: An Inimitable Duo
  18. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 17: Jawohl, Herr Minister!
  19. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 18: Zero Tolerance for “Lawless Zones”?
  20. You are here ☞ The Deafening Silence of the Media


Heiko Maas was undoubtedly grateful for the easy ride which the German media gave him in relation to EPO affairs.

Summary: “There has been speculation that Maas might have had his own political interest in protecting Battistelli and the Balkan Express because of certain allegations about financial irregularities involving the German Patents and Trademark Office (DPMA) which were doing the rounds at the time.”

Techrights has frequently commented on a "strange conspiracy of silence" and a "blackout" in the German media when it comes to coverage of EPO affairs.

The “presstitutes” responsible for this state of affairs have regularly been taken to task for their moral cowardice (see here, here and here).

The de facto German "media blackout" in relation to EPO affairs greatly assisted the Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, in his efforts to “duck away” from his responsibility to tackle the “lawless zone” of the EPO.

“The de facto German “media blackout” in relation to EPO affairs greatly assisted the Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, in his efforts to “duck away” from his responsibility to tackle the “lawless zone” of the EPO.”There has been speculation that Maas might have had his own political interest in protecting Battistelli and the Balkan Express because of certain allegations about financial irregularities involving the German Patents and Trademark Office (DPMA) which were doing the rounds at the time.

These allegations which were originally published in the Croatian press in March 2012 [PDF] concerned a transfer of funds from the DPMA to the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (DZIV) in Zagreb during the time when Željko Topić was in charge there.

These funds were intended as part of a programme of international cooperation to assist with the consolidation of documentation and automation at the DZIV.

However, according to the published allegations the funds ended up in the private bank account of the DZIV’s Director-General, Željko Topić.

In response to queries from German journalists, the DPMA denied that any transfer of funds to Croatia ever took place. However, this denial may not be entirely credible given that the official website of the DPMA mentions that there have been a number of official cooperation programs between the German DPMA and the Croatian DZIV in the past.

The unresolved question here is whether these cooperation programs involved the transfer of funds to Croatia and, if so, what exactly happened to that money.

Bearing in mind the stories that have circulated about Lufthansa's activities in Croatia, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that “sweeteners” were paid from Germany to keep people in Croatia “on the right side”.

If any evidence had emerged to support the allegations that financial irregularities involving the DPMA had taken place, it could have opened up a highly unpleasant can of worms for Heiko Maas because the DPMA comes under the remit of the Justice Ministry.

We may safely conclude that the Justice Minister was very grateful for the easy ride which he was given by the German media in relation to EPO affairs.


In April 2008 Ernst shared a platform with German journalist and author Udo Ulfkotte.

One interesting coincidence which emerged during the research for the present series was the fact that back in April 2008 [PDF] the self-styled “good governance” guru Christoph Ernst shared a platform with the maverick German journalist and author, the late Dr Udo Ulfkotte at a management conference in Wiesbaden.


Udo Ulfkotte exposed the systematic corruption of the German media in his book “Gekaufte Journalisten” (2014).

Some time later in 2014, Ulfkotte who had previously worked as a journalist for the leading liberal-conservative German daily the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published a book entitled “Gekaufte Journalisten” (Bought Journalists: How Politicians, Intelligence Agencies and High Finance Control Germany’s Mass Media).

In this book, Ulfkotte revealed how the CIA and other secret services pay money to German journalists to report stories in a certain light. This is part of a larger pattern of media corruption which he describes. An English version of the book was subsequently published under the title “Presstitutes Embedded in the Pay of the CIA: A Confession from the Profession”.

In his later years, Ulfkotte became an increasingly marginalised figure in Germany, largely due to his associations with anti-immigration groups like Pegida. He died on 13 January 2017 at the age of 56, allegedly from a heart attack. Publications have appeared suggesting that he may have been murdered but there is no conclusive proof of this.

We don’t know whether Ernst and Ulfkotte rubbed shoulders at that management conference in Wiesbaden in April 2008 and, if so, what they might have said to one another on that occasion.

But whether or not Ernst ever discussed the topic of “bought journalists” with Udo Ulfkotte, it can be safely assumed that this wily old fox from the Federal Ministry of Justice is fully aware of the fact that he can rely on the mainstream media in his home country to keep a discreet silence about the rogue international organisation whose headquarters is located on the banks of the Isar in Munich.

The Indirection Game

Thursday 15th of April 2021 04:42:06 PM

Summary: How to attack institutions and concepts by personifying them, then proceeding to character assassination based on lies and deliberate distortions

THEY don’t like copyleft
They don’t like the message
They tell us it’s like theft
Mere copyright passage

The institution they abhor
Yet they cannot just ignore
When the dirt presented starts to bore
They keep digging deeper for more

A message is powerful
A concept is masterful
Personification of the hateful
Creative concern-trolling ever so artful

Crucify the heretic
Won’t that be fantastic
Persecution automatic
Then somebody else they pick

Recursively repeat
As long as the interests fit
And sure their facts are shit
Libel, slander, and defamation writ

Making an example of the elder
Whose mind is mild and tender
Attacks on the older people don’t matter
We’re tolerant! We know better!!

Fact-checking to the rescue
It’s only just a coup
PentaGAFAM’s Dachau
"Master race" like Macao

FSF, FFS
Won’t you follow orders?
Oust the founder, add some moles
Open up your borders

Links 15/4/2021: LXQt 0.17, Proxmox Backup Server 1.1

Thursday 15th of April 2021 03:53:21 PM

Contents
  • GNU/Linux
    • Plex: Windows vs Linux – Which is better?

      So, ultimately, a lot of it comes down to tech-savviness and patience. If you fancy yourself brave and looking to become a little savvier, it can never hurt to install Linux on an old machine to practice and play with. It is a fantastic way to build up your skills and understanding of the complexities of computers and how they operate behind the scenes vs fancy GUI interfaces that do everything for you. Linux can be used in so many ways to build stable environments for various services (ie, Plex, Octopi for 3D printing, PiHole for network-wide ad-blocking, other complex custom firewall solutions, web servers, and more).

      If you are tech-savvy, usually Linux is always going to be your best bet. You can build it, configure it, and generally let it sit there until you are ready to update something.

      If you prefer to keep things as simple as possible, then Windows will be. You’ll just have to deal with administering it more often to keep Windows Update happy and reboot it from time to time to keep things fresh.

      Given, the war between OS environments comes in so many flavors as you can always find other reasons to like one over the other. So feel free to share your own experiences in the comments below. Which do you prefer to use for Plex?

    • Desktop/Laptop
      • Star Labs Launches Coreboot Configurator for Its Linux Laptops

        After many months of hard work, last month, Star Labs finally added support for installing the Coreboot open-source firmware in its Star LabTop Mk IV and Star LabTop Mk III Linux laptops, giving users faster boot times and a more secure boot experience where they have full control over their hardware.

        Today, Star Labs announced a new version of Coreboot that fixes various bugs, along with Coreboot Configurator, a new app that lets owners of its Linux-powered laptops to change various settings of the Coreboot open-source firmware via the nvramtool command-line utility.

    • Server
      • Sponsor Success at Apache: The Fork

        I joined the Apache CloudStack community in 2012 and became a committer in 2013, eventually becoming a PMC (Project Management Committee) member in 2017. My journey to becoming a PMC was both physical and literal, and included several forks in the road. The forks presented themselves in all aspects of my journey – although the literal forks came later, mainly because my journey began in China.

      • OpenStack Wallaby released

        The OpenStack cloud-infrastructure project has made its 23rd release, Wallaby. “The Wallaby release strengthens open infrastructure for cloud native applications with enhanced security and integration with other open source technologies. More than 17,000 code changes authored by over 800 contributors from 140 different organizations and 45 countries were merged into the release. In addition to delivering a wide range of improvements to the stable and reliable OpenStack core and its highly flexible project integration capabilities,

      • 5 Linux server distributions you should be using

        There are thousands of Linux distribution variants, some of them incredibly obscure and niche-y, while others are enterprise-ready. Some are desktop only, while others are server-only.

        if you’re new to the game, you might not know where to start.

        ThisTechRepublic Premium PDF download offers a helping hand so that you might have a better idea of which Linux server distribution is best suited for your needs, especially if your business is in the market for a new server operating system. You cannot go wrong with any one of these five.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Bad Voltage 3×27: Bargle-floop the podcast

        Stuart Langridge, Jono Bacon, and Jeremy Garcia present Bad Voltage, in which horrible neologisms are proposed, things are both funny and also sad, and there is ooh gosh loads of news…

      • BSDNow 398: Coordinated Mars Time

        FreeBSD 13.0 Full Desktop Experience, FreeBSD on ARM64 in the Cloud, Plan 9 from Bell Labs in Cyberspace, Inferno is open source as well, NetBSD hits donation milestone, grep returns (standard input) on FreeBSD, Random Programming Challenge, OpenBSD Adds Support for Coordinated Mars Time (MTC) and more

      • FLOSS Weekly 625: Endless Sky – Jonathan Steck

        Jonathan Steck joins Jonathan Bennett and Dan Lynch talk to about Endless Sky, an open source video game reminiscent of Elite and Escape velocity, and one that even hearkens back to Spacewar! On FLOSS Weekly, Steck and the show hosts talk about the game itself and the community around it. The project has attracted an interesting bunch of contributors, mainly through its presence on Steam as a free game. There are several challenges the project has overcome, from the sabbatical of the founder, to managing the continued growth and interest in the game. The game is addictive, and the conversation is just as good.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 902

        retro computing, sound cards, mumble woes

      • Conflict | Coder Radio 409

        We visit an alternate reality where Epic wins in their fight against Apple, COBOL reigns supreme, and the halls of great Jedi Temple are lined with Object-C developers.

      • KDE Neon | Plasma Desktop Linux Distrubution
    • Kernel Stuff
      • Native M1 Mac Support Coming Soon To Linux

        Since the launch of the M1 Mac a few groups have been scrambling to get Linux running on it and while there was some early headway we thought native Linux was still a long way away, turns it out it may be closer than expected.

      • This unikernel-based operating system is a faster, safer way to run Linux apps

        Want to secure your servers against cyberattacks once and for all? Then check out this new operating system from NanoVMs. It uses unikernels to run software faster and safer than Linux. And it can be deployed to public cloud providers, private data centers, and more. Keep reading this blog post to learn more about this exciting operating system.

        Keep your information secure and your programs running fast with this operating system for cloud infrastructure. The NanoVMs unikernel-based operating system takes up minimal resources and space yet improves speed, computer security, and cloud-based security. Because while the server operating system has stayed the same for 50 years, the ways we compute sure have changed. As we keep more information online, there’s a higher risk of data being compromised by cyber threats. This is especially problematic for companies that face expensive penalties and lost customer trust due to security breaches. It’s something this operating system for cloud infrastructure hopes to change.

      • Equinix boosts Packet’s Tinkerbell open source bare metal provisioning system

        The most important new component is Hook, an in-memory operating system installation environment developed within the community, based on Docker’s LinuxKit. Hook allows end-users to rebuild action images more quickly cutting build times from 45 minutes to 90 seconds. It also cuts memory footprint.

      • The Linux Kernel & GNOME Desktop Preparing For Privacy Screen Support – Phoronix

        Over the past year there has been an uptick in Linux developers from different vendors working on laptop privacy screen support under Linux. When it comes to the support with newer Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, it looks like that kernel support could soon land and the GNOME desktop is already preparing to support this feature.

        Select Lenovo laptops in recent years have offered a built-in “Privacy Guard ePrivacy Filter” for limiting the viewing angles of the laptop with a simple push of a button on the ThinkPad laptops. While the effectiveness of the “ePrivacy” feature is debatable in its current form and with the current work from home craze / limited travel making the feature less pressing at the moment, the Linux support is coming together.

      • Gigabyte Motherboard WMI Temperature Driver Queued Ahead Of Linux 5.13 – Phoronix

        Earlier this month I reported on a WMI temperature driver for Gigabyte motherboards being worked on by an independent developer. That “gigabyte-wmi” driver is now slated for inclusion in the upcoming Linux 5.13 cycle.

        This driver exposes the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) temperature sensors under Linux. When writing originally about this new driver it was only tested on a Gigabyte X570 Aorus Pro WiFi motherboard but since then has been tested and confirmed to also be working on the likes of the Gigabyte’s B550M DS3H, B550 Gaming X V2, and Z390 I Aorus Pro WiFi motherboards as well.

      • A New Gigabyte Motherboard WMI Temperature Driver Will Likely Arrive In Linux 5.13

        Linux users with newer Gigabyte and ASUS motherboards for AMD processors have to compile a out-of-tree version of the it87 to get hardware sensors and fan control working, and sensor support for the very newest motherboards is a shot in the dark even if you do that. That may change for Gigabyte-users with Linux 5.13 as a new, Gigabyte-specific WMI driver has been merged into the Linux kernels platform drivers git tree. It will likely be merged into Linux 5.13 when the merge window opens.

      • Rust Support In The Linux Kernel Undergoing Another Round Of Discussions

        Last month the initial infrastructure for allowing the Rust programming language to be used within the Linux kernel landed in the Linux-Next tree for more widespread testing ahead of its possible inclusion in the mainline kernel. Now a “request for comments” has been started again on the kernel mailing list around the prospects of Rust code for the Linux kernel.

        Kernel developer Miguel Ojeda started this latest “RFC” proposal on the Linux kernel mailing list. The lengthy mailing list post outlines the beliefs of the involved developers over adding Rust code to the kernel, the benefits like improved memory safety, and more.

      • Google backs effort to bring Rust to the Linux kernel

        After bringing support for the systems programming language Rust to Android, Google is now looking to bring it to the Linux kernel to reduce security flaws.

        As Google explained last month, Rust — a language that emerged from Mozilla — provides memory safety guarantees to the Android operating system, which has historically been written in C and C++. Google is targeting Rust at new Android code, rather than rewriting the millions of lines of existing code in Rust.

      • Google Supports Getting Rust Into The Linux Kernel

        It should come as little surprise — especially given the recent news of Google allowing Rust to be used for Android system-level code — but engineers at the search giant are in support of Rust code being used within the mainline Linux kernel.

        In addition to yesterday’s Rust RFC for the Linux kernel and that discussion still taking place on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Google engineers on the Google Security Blog have penned their own piece on the matter.

      • Graphics Stack
        • Nvidia Display Driver 465.24.02 For Linux Is Released

          Nvidias latest proprietary binary blob driver for using Nvidia graphics hardware on Linux adds support for three new Vulkan extensions, Nvidias upcoming RTX A4000 and A5000 GPUs, better X11 DrawText() performance, numerous bug-fixes and some new Vulkan extensions.

          [...]

          The only interesting non-Vulkan news in Nvidias release announcement is a claims that they have improved DrawText() performance on the Xorg display server, support for the newly announced RTX A4000 and A5000 GPUs and a mention of having enabled Runtime D3 Power Management on notebook machines with Ampere and newer GPUs. The remainder of the release announcement consists of less interesting bug-fixes.

          Xwayland recently merged support for hardware acceleration on machines using the Nvidia driver in preparation for a Nvidia driver with the proper bits required to provide that functionality. This driver does not have those bits, so those of you stuck with a Nvidia card who want to run X applications on Wayland with GPU acceleration will have to wait for a future driver release from Nvidia which includes those bits.

        • Nvidia GPU Passthrough To Windows VM From Linux Host

          Nvidia has now officially enabled GPU passthrough support for Windows virtual machines on GeForce graphics cards.

          In other words, this effectively means it’s possible to run a Linux machine and then run a virtual Windows machine within it, and hand that unfettered access to a graphics card. This is a big win for those wanting to run Windows games from within a virtual machine on your Linux desktop. They will be able to play Windows-based games using a virtual machine with GPU passthrough enabled.

        • Mesa 21.1.0-rc1 Is Releaed With Variable Rate Shading Support For AMD GPUs, New Vulkan Extensions And More

          The first release candidate for Mesa 21.1, is scheduled to be released on May 5th, has been set in stone. It is a good indication of what the final 21.1 release will have: Variable Rate Shading support on the very latest AMD RX 6000 GPUs, new Vulkan features, OpenGL 4.6 support in the OpenGL-To-Vulkan translation layer, graphics optimizations for Intel’s 12th generation GPUs/CPUs and a bit more.

          [...]

          Mesa a everything-on-one graphics library that provides all the free software graphics drivers used by Linux-based operating systems. The upcoming 21.1 versions brings some notable features for those who happen to have the very latest AMD graphics hardware, some nice features to those who happen to use a CPU-integrated Intel GPU and some minor updates for everyone else.

    • Benchmarks
      • Top 6 Web Server Performance Testing Tools

        Web server benchmarking is a way of determining the performance of a web server with the aim of establishing how well it copes under a sufficiently high workload. Performance testing is important to help maintain continuous system performance.

        The performance of a web server can be expressed in a number of different ways including the number of requests served within a certain time, the latency response time for each new connection or request, or the throughput.

        The open source Linux benchmarking tools featured in this article enable the performance of a web server to be tested prior to releasing it in a production environment. Accurately testing a web server is quite a challenging activity. This is, in part, because a web system is a distributed system. Further, Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the application protocol for hypermedia information systems, can cause connection usage patterns that the Transmission Control Protocol was not designed for. Moreover, problems are generated in testing the performance because of the sheer dynamism of a web server.

    • Applications
    • Instructionals/Technical
      • LFCA: Learn Binary and Decimal Numbers in Network – Part 10

        In Part 9 of the LFCA series, we covered the basics of IP addressing. To better understand IP addressing, we need to pay more attention to these two types of IP address representation – binary and decimal-dotted quad notation. As mentioned earlier, an IP address is a 32-bit binary number that is usually represented in decimal format for ease of readability.

        The binary format uses only the digits 1 and 0. This is the format that your computer comprehends and through which data is sent across the network.

        However, to make the address human-readable. It is conveyed in a dotted-decimal format which the computer later converts into binary format. As we stated earlier, an IP address is made up of 4 octets. Let’s dissect the IP address 192.168.1.5.

      • 6 advanced tcpdump formatting options

        The final article in this three-part tcpdump series covers six more tcpdump packet capturing trick options.

      • 5 Funny Commands to use in Linux and Terminal

        Not everything in Linux is serious, fortunately we can find fun programs created for the sole purpose of entertaining us. You may be wondering why? Well, because we are human and at the end of the day we need a little variety, laughter and maybe a drink on the train. And yes, speaking of the train, let’s introduce you to the first fun command-type application in Linux.

      • Ubuntu Blog: Should you ever reinstall your Linux box? If so, how?

        Broadly speaking, the Linux community can be divided into two camps – those who upgrade their operating systems in-vivo, whenever there is an option to do so in their distro of choice, and those who install from scratch. As it happens, the former group also tends to rarely reinstall their system when problems occur, while the latter more gladly jump at the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. So if asked, who should you listen to?

        The question of system management in Linux is a complex one, with as wide a range of answers as there are distributions. In this blog post, we discuss the concept of reinstall, and whether it’s necessary. Then, we address several other closely related ideas like system imaging, full disk encryption, and data backups.

        [...]

        System problems are an unfortunate side effect of software usage. With some luck and operational discipline, you can avoid most of them. When they do happen, you want to know what to do. Reinstalling your Linux system is always an option, but it’s usually not necessary, even for various difficult, complex problems.

        Even if you do decide to reinstall, you should consider using a live session to inspect the system or perform any last-minute backups, have a solid backup procedure in place regardless, and weigh the benefits of encryption against your day-to-day needs and risks. System images can also help you reduce the hassle of getting back to speed when you do decide to “reset” your distro. That’s all we have on Linux reinstallations. If you have any comments or suggestions, please join our forum, and let us know your thoughts.

      • How To Install Dig on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install the Dig on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Dig (Domain Information Groper) is handy to perform DNS lookup and investigate DNS-related issues, right from the terminal. But for some reason, it doesn’t exist on the latest version of CentOS or RHEL.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Dig on a CentOS 8.

      • How to use Ansible to configure a reverse proxy | Enable Sysadmin

        What is a load balancer? A load balancer is an efficient way to distribute the network traffic among various backend servers. It is also known as a server farm or server pool. It distributes client requests or network load to target web servers. Load balancers work on the round-robin concept, which ensures high reliability and availability.

      • [Howto] My own mail & groupware server, part 4: Nextcloud

        Let’s add Nextcloud to the existing mail server. This part will focus on setting it up and configuring it in basic terms. Groupware and webmail will come in a later post! If you are new to this series, don’t forget to read part 1: what, why, how?, and all about the mail server setup itself in the second post, part 2: initial mail server setup. We also added a Git server in part 3: Git server.

      • How to install StepMania on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install StepMania 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.

        If you have any questions, please contact us via a YouTube comment and we would be happy to assist you!

      • How To Install MediaWiki on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install MediaWiki on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, MediaWiki is free and open-source wiki software, used to power wiki websites such as Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and Commons, developed by the Wikimedia Foundation and others. It is very powerful, multilingual, extensible, customizable, reliable, and free of charge. Being a free-to-use and open-source software gives you the flexibility to customize it to suit your needs.

        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 MediaWiki 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.

      • How to install Minecraft Bedrock launcher on Ubuntu 20.04

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Minecraft Bedrock launcher on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • Gdu – A Fast Disk Usage Analyzer for Linux

        In this article we will look at the gdu program. It is an analyzer of the used disk space and is open source.

        The gdu tool is designed for SSDs where parallel processing can be used. This tool can also work with HDDs with lower performance compared to SSDs. You can also check the results of the benchmark. There are many other similar tools and you must first play with gdu to see if it meets your needs.

      • Shells makes using Linux in the cloud incredibly easy

        If you’re looking for a virtual Linux desktop or server host, Shells delivers simplicity and performance for just about any type of user.

      • Connect to Remote Servers Using SSH on Your Chromebook

        If you need to connect to a remote server, SSH is the best way to do it. Users who have a Chromebook can use SSH as well. Setting it up is easy and only takes a few clicks.

      • Google Chrome Linux users say cast to Chromecast function is broken

        Google’s cross-platform web browser, Google Chrome, is widely used on mobile devices as well as personal computers.

        A large number of people use Google Chrome on Linux distributions apart from Android, Windows, macOS, or iOS powered devices.

      • Simple guide to install SSH on Ubuntu – LinuxTechLab

        SSH is one of the most widely used methods to access Linux & Unix servers. SSH provides an encrypted method to access & communicate between…

      • How to Install and Manage Multiple Versions of Node.js on Linux

        If you have ever had trouble running a project because you do not have a compatible version of Node.js installed, then you are not alone. Fortunately, there is an easy fix to this problem.

        With Node Version Manager (NVM), you can install several versions of Node.js on your machine and choose which version you wish to use depending on the project you want to run.

        NVM is an open-source project that aims to ease out the installation and management process of Node.js.

      • How to play Metro Exodus on Linux

        Metro Exodus is the third entry in the Metro franchise, a video game centered around post-apocalyptic life in Moscow subway tunnels. In this guide, we’ll show you how to play Metro Exodus on Linux.

      • [Workaround] Fix Nautilus Admin Not Working in Ubuntu 21.04 | UbuntuHandbook

        Use GVfs admin backend to open Nautilus file browser or Gedit text editor with root permission? It’s not working in Ubuntu 21.04.

      • Jon Chiappetta: 0.33U WiFi-Bridge Network-Rack
    • Games
      • Metro Exodus Launches For Linux But Off To Bumpy Start

        As scheduled, Metro Exodus saw its native Linux port debut today. This first person shooter from 4A Games launched on Windows and consoles in 2019 while the 4A Engine powered game only debuted today for macOS and Linux. Previously it would work with Steam Play but now there is a native Linux port albeit with some kinks still to work out.

        Metro Exodus is available natively on Linux via Steam for $39.99 USD as the newest title in the Metro series.

        [...]

        But the latest issue comes down to the benchmarking mode not working… There are benchmark command-line options present in the Metro Exodus binary similar to Metro Last Light Redux, but they appear broken at the moment. Launching the game with “-benchmark” and the related arguments leads to… just a blank screen.

      • SimPocalypse (PC/Linux) is launching out of Early Access on Steam this May 11th
      • Eagre Games developer of surreal adventure ZED closes down

        ZED, a completely surreal first-person walking-sim adventure released back in 2019 after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Sadly it seems it didn’t do well overall.

        Showing how tough the market is with many thousands of new games per year, plus the added craziness of COVID-19, Eagre Games announced in a new Kickstarter update how “Covid was a bad year for us – we closed down Eagre Games as contracts were withdrawn and ZED limps along with low sales and royalties” and that the last year was simply “devastating”.

      • AI War 2 gets a massive ‘Paradigm Shift’ update out now, new expansion out in May

        Arcen Games have released another post-release massive free update for all players, along with a new expansion announcement for their grand-strategy RTS.

        AI War 2 is a game about defeating the odds that are thoroughly stacked against you. A terrible artificially intelligence has conquered the galaxy and it’s up to you to fight back against the overwhelming odds. Not seen it before or somehow never heard of it?

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • LXQt 0.17.0 Desktop Environment Released, Here’s What’s New

        Arriving more than five months after LXQt 0.16.0, the LXQt 0.17.0 release is here to add an option to the Panel to make it act as a dock by automatically hiding itself when it overlaps a window, add full support for file creation times in the file manager, as well as to add support for non-LXQt apps to save their last settings when the session is terminated.

        Moreover, LXQt 0.17.0 add separate idle watchers for AC and battery to the Power Manager, lets users create launchers from Tools menu of the file manager, improves support for SVG icon sets, improves opening of a mixed selection of files with different mime types, and adds natural keyboard navigation on the desktop.

      • LXQt 0.17 Released For This Lightweight Qt5 Desktop

        For fans of LXQt or those still looking for a nice lightweight Qt5 desktop, LXQt 0.17 is out as the latest version of this open-source desktop environment.

        LXQt 0.17 is the first update to this desktop environment for 2021. LXQt is the lightweight Qt desktop born out of the merger of the LXDE and Razor-qt projects.

        Over last November’s LXQt 0.16 release, version 0.17 brings a number of improvements but nothing too shocking or original with many of the features being found already on other Linux desktops. Among the LXQt 0.17 highlights are…

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • New desktop application: MiTubo

          I’ve recently started a new project, to enable me to playback videos from online sources in a desktop application: Mitubo.

        • Hilbert Transform

          The next release 2.9 will again come with many very useful and interesting new features. Today we want to talk about a new feature in the area of the data analysis that has been included into LabPlot’s master branch recently.

          Though it is possible in LabPlot to access many different computer algebra systems and programming languages with a plethora of packages relevant in scientific communities, it is sometimes useful and desired to perform the analysis of data in a more visual and interactive way. For this kind of analysis LabPlot already supports algorithms and computations like the Fourier Transformation, smoothing, interpolations, Fourier filter, etc (see this blog post for a couple of examples). To this list we have now added the Hilbert Transform.

          The Hilbert Transform has many applications, especially in signal processing. Below is an example produced in LabPlot that shows the time response of a super regenerative receiver to an ultra-wideband (very short) pulse consisting of few oscillating cycles enclosed within a Gaussian-like envelope (for high-Q receivers) or within a bilateral exponential envelope (for low-Q receivers).

        • Better Calendar, Better Kickoff and… Merge Requests?
        • Season of KDE 2021 Report

          When the project name is KWeather, the actual code is committed to KWeatherCore, a Weather library. We decided to add weather alerts functionality to KWeatherCore, possibly easing the difficulty later if we want to develop a weather alerts daemon.

          The data source is from metroelogy institutes around the world. Most of them provide CAP protocol for alerts. So the main goal is to write two parsers, one for CAP feed parsing and other for the CAP parsing. Anjani Kumar finished classes representing CAP feed entry and CAP message, as well as the CAP parser. Nikunj Goyal is supposed to work on feed parser and some of the daemon code. But due to various reasons, he wrote the AlertManager class which is an utility class. I wrote the feed parser and finished most of the documentation.

          Since the lack of man hours, we weren’t able to finish the promised daemon. However the library is working as expected. We use config files (in json format) to avoid hardcoding different formats of CAP feed. So in the future we can support more countries without edit our code (and releasing new library version).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • Pop!_OS Announced GNOME Based COSMIC Desktop. Here’s how it looks.

          A stunning and revamped GNOME-based desktop announced by the Pop OS team – named COSMIC. Let’s take a look.

        • There’s no place like GNOME: System 76 introduces COSMIC desktop GUI for its Pop!_OS Linux

          System76, a US company which markets laptops, PCs and servers running Linux, is developing a new GNOME-based desktop GUI called COSMIC for its Pop!_OS distribution.

          System76 has its own Linux distribution, called Pop!_OS, which is based on Ubuntu, though with a customised installer and drive encryption by default. The company said it is now developing COSMIC (Computer Operating System Main Interface Components) in time for the next release of Pop!_OS in June. This will be called version 21.04, based on the Ubuntu 21.04 release expected later this month.

          [...]

          “The split views allow you to access the application picker in a single click,” said the post about COSMIC.

          There is also a change to the behaviour of the Super key (another name for the Windows key on PC keyboards), which will now activate the application launcher by default.

    • Distributions
      • SUSE/OpenSUSE
        • Peter Czanik: The syslog-ng insider 2021-04: Grafana; Windows agent; BSD;

          This is the 90th issue of syslog-ng Insider, a monthly newsletter that brings you syslog-ng-related news.

        • SUSE Partners with Udacity to Address the Skills Gap Affecting Recent College Graduates

          SUSE, a global leader in innovative, reliable and enterprise-grade open source solutions, and Udacity, the global online learning platform, have introduced the Cloud Native Application Architecture Nanodegree program in an effort to combat the technical skills gap affecting current students and recent higher education graduates.

        • Making Automation a Reality with SUSE Manager

          Once upon a time, automating tasks on Linux servers was as simple as crafting a few Bash scripts and cron jobs. For some tasks, that process still works fine. You could create a simple backup script and run it with cron every night. Done and done. But with today’s increasingly challenging software stacks, the old Bash script approach won’t cut it. Instead, you need a real automation tool that can handle increasingly complex tasks and work with multiple platforms, clusters, containers, and more.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • Red Hat Satellite 6.8.6 has been released [Ed: They have unpublised this since.]

          We are pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.8.6 is generally available as of April 13, 2021.

        • A brief intro to Red Hat OpenShift for Node.js developers – IBM Developer

          Container-based deployment models are the modern way to develop and deliver your applications. The most common tool for building with containers is Kubernetes, an open-source container-orchestration system for automating computer application deployment, scaling, and management.

          Kubernetes has helped usher in a standardized way to deploy and manage applications at scale, but it can be a sprawling, difficult beast to manage when your application becomes more mature and more complex. A company will need to have a robust DevOps team to manage a full-fledged Kubernetes-based production system.

          [...]

          My colleague, JJ Asghar summed it up nicely: “OpenShift provides creature comforts to talk to the Kubernetes “API”—at the same level of robustness—as long as you’re willing to use the opinions OpenShift brings.”

          The good news? Those opinions are tried and tested, enterprise-ready choices with the backing and support of Red Hat.

          So, what do Node.js developers need to know about OpenShift deployment? This blog post covers the “what” and “how” of deploying your Node.js application in an OpenShift environment.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Community Blog monthly update: March 2021

          In March, we published 21 posts. The site had 5,520 visits from 3,652 unique viewers. 888 visits came from search engines, while 450 came from the WordPress Android app, and 386 came from Twitter and 208 from Reddit.

        • How Red Hat data scientists use and contribute to Open Data Hub

          Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) drive much of the world around us, from the apps on our phones to electric cars on the highway. Allowing such things to run as accurately as possible takes huge amounts of data to be collected and understood. At the helm of that critical information are data scientists. So, what’s a day on the job look like for data scientists at Red Hat?

          Don Chesworth, Principal Data Scientist, gives you a glimpse into his day-to-day in a short video (aptly named “A Day in the Life of a Red Hat Data Scientist”) that’s now available on our website. Isabel Zimmerman, Data Science Intern, provides a look at some of the tools she uses on the job in “Using Open Data Hub as a Red Hat Data Scientist.” We’ll cover some of the highlights in this post.

        • IBM Brings COBOL Capabilities to the Linux on x86 Environment

          IBM has announced COBOL for Linux on x86 1.1, bringing IBM’s COBOL compilation technologies and capabilities to the Linux on x86 environment.

          According to the IBM announcement, COBOL for Linux on x86 can help modernize, integrate, and manage existing applications, data, and skill sets to ease an organization’s transformation into a more flexible business. To connect business components with suppliers, partners, employees, and clients, and to position organizations to quickly take advantage of opportunities and respond to challenges in real time, COBOL for Linux on x86 can help meet these challenges and enable use of existing COBOL code while upgrading applications with the newest technologies.

        • Fedora Community Blog: tmt hint 01: provisioning options
        • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 242

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly.

          Here are the release notes from Cockpit version 242.

          Groundwork for Snowpack support

          Snowpack is a web project build system alternative to webpack. Previously, when using Snowpack to build Cockpit pages using an npm module with an @, the page could not be loaded. This has been fixed. As Cockpit uses @patternfly in this style, it was an important first step.

          Please be aware that there is not a fully working and supported example of a Snowpack-built Cockpit project at this time, just some initial experimentation.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Fedora Linux 34 Cloud Test Day 2021-04-16 through 2021-04-19

          Now that the Fedora Linux 34 is coming close to the release date, the Fedora Cloud SIG would like to get the community together this week to find and squash some bugs. We are organizing a test day from Friday, April 16th through Monday, April 19th.

        • 5 reasons sysadmins love systemd [Ed: IBM propaganda and loaded headlines for vendor lock-in; IBM has published "5 reasons sysadmins love systemd" so maybe tomorrow it'll publish "5 reasons Facebook loves privacy" and "5 reasons Microsoft loves Linux"...]

          As systems administrators know, there’s a lot happening on modern computers. Applications run in the background, automated events wait to be triggered at a certain time, log files are written, status reports are delivered. Traditionally, these disparate processes have been managed and monitored with a collection of Unix tools to great effect and with great efficiency. However, modern computers are diverse, with local services running alongside containerized applications, easy access to clouds and the clusters they run on, real-time processes, and more data to process than ever.

        • Resolve systemd-resolved name-service failures with Ansible

          Most people tend to take name services for granted. They are necessary to convert human-readable names, such as www.example.com, into IP addresses, like 93.184.216.34. It is easier for humans to recognize and remember names than IP addresses, and name services allow us to use names, and they also convert them to IP addresses for us.

          The Domain Name System (DNS) is the global distributed database that maintains the data required to perform these lookups and reverse lookups, in which the IP address is known and the domain name is needed.

          I installed Fedora 33 the first day it became available in October 2020. One of the major changes was a migration from the ancient Name Service Switch (NSS) resolver to systemd-resolved. Unfortunately, after everything was up and running, I couldn’t connect to or even ping any of the hosts on my network by name, although using IP addresses did work.

      • Debian Family
        • Proxmox Backup Server 1.1

          We are happy to announce version 1.1 of Proxmox Backup Server! The enterprise backup solution for backing up and restoring VMs, containers, and physical hosts seamlessly integrates into the virtualization management platform Proxmox Virtual Environment, allowing users to simply add a server as a new storage target.

        • Rocket.Chat Desktop

          There is a new application available for Sparkers: Rocket.Chat Desktop

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 91
          • Phabricator Etiquette Part 1: The Reviewer

            In the next two posts we will examine the etiquette of using Phabricator. This post will examine tips from the reviewer’s perspective, and next week will focus on the author’s point of view. While the social aspects of etiquette are incredibly important, we should all be polite and considerate, these posts will focus more on the mechanics of using Phabricator. In other words, how to make the review process as smooth as possible without wasting anyone’s time.

          • Robert O’Callahan: Visualizing Control Flow In Pernosco

            In traditional debuggers, developers often single-step through the execution of a function to discover its control flow. One of Pernosco’s main themes is avoiding single-stepping by visualizing state over time “all at once”. Therefore, presenting control flow through a function “at a glance” is an important Pernosco feature and we’ve recently made significant improvements in this area.

            This is a surprisingly hard problem. Pernosco records control flow at the instruction level. Compiler-generated debuginfo maps instructions to source lines, but lacks other potentially useful information such as the static control flow graph. We think developers want to understand control flow in the context of their source code (so approaches taken by, e.g., reverse engineering tools are not optimal for Pernosco). However, mapping potentially complex control flow onto the simple top-to-bottom source code view is inherently lossy or confusing or both.

            For functions without loops there is a simple, obvious and good solution: highlight the lines executed, and let the user jump in time to that line’s execution when clicked on. In the example below, we can see immediately where the function took an early exit.

          • Marco Castelluccio: On code coverage and regressions

            There are two schools of thought when it comes to code coverage: those who think it is a useless metric and those who think the opposite (OK, I’m a bit exaggerating, there are people in the middle…).

            I belong to the second “school”: I have always thought, intuitively, that patches without tests are more likely to cause postrelease regressions, and so having test coverage decreases risk.

            A few days ago, I set out to confirm this intuition, and I found this interesting study: Code Coverage and Postrelease Defects: A Large-Scale Study on Open Source Projects.

            The authors showed (on projects that are very different from Firefox, but still…) that there was no correlation between project coverage and the amount of bugs that are introduced in the project and, more importantly, there was no correlation between file coverage and the amount of bugs that are introduced in the file.

          • Privacy Talks | Interview with Tyler Ahn from Mozilla Firefox
      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • Czech Writer Guide 6.4 is now available

          The Czech team has completed its translation of the Writer Guide 6.4. Big thanks to all volunteers, especially to Radomír Strnad, who initiated the translation and translated more then half of the chapters. Translators: Petr Kuběj, Zdeněk Crhonek, Petr Valach, Vendula Crhonková, Radomír Strnad, Ludmila Chládková and Zuzana Pitříková; text corrections Petr Valach, Barbora Aydin, Marcela Tomešová, Ludmila Klatovská, Nicole Borkeszová, Alžběta Motlová and Vendula Crhonková; localized pictures Roman Toman and technical support Miloš Šrámek.

        • Improving borders of merged table cells in LibreOffice Writer

          Writer now has better support for Word-compatible border rending when it comes to vertically merged cells in tables.

          First, thanks Docmosis who made this work by Collabora possible.

      • CMS
        • WordPress 5.7.1 Security and Maintenance Release

          WordPress 5.7.1 is now available!

          This security and maintenance release features 26 bug fixes in addition to two security fixes. Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. All versions since WordPress 4.7 have also been updated.

          WordPress 5.7.1 is a short-cycle security and maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.8.

          You can download WordPress 5.7.1 by downloading from WordPress.org, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.

          If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

        • Wix and WordPress Tensions Rise

          Wix and WordPress have been engaging in a public spat that keeps getting nastier with each response. A new response from Wix seems to lower the temperature on the dispute.

          The latest round of open letters between WordPress and Wix was instigated by a series of polarizing video ads created by Wix.

          The ads were generally poorly received in the web development and search marketing community. But others found the ads to be humorous.

      • Programming/Development
        • LLVM 12.0 Released With Alder Lake + Sapphire Rapids Support, More C++20 – Phoronix

          After the release cycle dragged on an extra month due to blocker bugs, LLVM 12 was officially tagged on Wednesday night as the latest half-year update to this open-source compiler stack.

          LLVM 12 is a big feature release with support for x86-64 micro-architecture feature levels (matching the behavior of the GNU/GCC toolchain), adds support for Intel Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids processors, provides initial support for AMD Zen 3 with “znver3″ (though further tuning is still to land), continued work around C++20, POWER optimizations, Clangd is enjoying lower memory use, continued AMDGPU back-end improvements, and much more.

        • Fail fast with Opossum circuit breaker in Node.js

          The microservices pattern is pretty standard for today’s software architecture. Microservices let you break up your application into small chunks and avoid having one giant monolith. The only problem is that if one of these services fails, it could have a cascading effect on your whole architecture.

          Luckily, there is another pattern that can help with this issue: The circuit breaker pattern.

          This article explains what a circuit breaker is and how to use the pattern in your Node.js applications. We’ll use Opossum, a Node.js implementation of the circuit breaker pattern.

        • Sujeevan Vijayakumaran: One year at GitLab: 7 things which I didn’t expect to learn

          One year ago I joined GitLab as a Solution Architect. In this blog post I do not want to focus on my role, my daily work or anything all remote pandemic related. Also, there won’t be a huge focus in regard to all remote working. I rather want to focus on my personal experiences in regard to the work culture. I’ll focus on things which I certainly did not think about before I joined GitLab (or any other company before).

          Before joining GitLab I worked for four German companies. As a German with a Sri-Lankan Tamil heritage I was always a minority at work. Most of the time it wasn’t an issue. At least that’s what I thought. At all those previous companies there were mostly white male and with very few (or even none) non-males especially in technical and leading roles. Nowadays, I realize what a huge difference a globally distributed company makes with people from different countries, cultures, background and gender.

          There were sooo many small things which makes a difference and which opened my eyes.

        • Rethinking DevOps: What is it all About?

          Ever since I started working with diverse web-apps at Linux Handbook and High On Cloud, the DevOps term has grabbed my attention many a time since that is something we specifically cover at Linux Handbook.

          We’ve covered tutorials on many tools related to DevOps but we’ve never really tried to explore the actual concept in depth. Since Linux Handbook is dedicated to Linux Servers, we also need to explore their important role in the DevOps field.

          But before we do so, it is essential to understand what DevOps really is. DevOps is an extremely popular buzzword and you will find multiple definitions of it across the web. But based on my own experiences, I have arrived at the following conclusive definition and thoughts henceforth. This is an attempt to revisit existing DevOps norms and rethink them in the form of a new model that I propose here.

        • How the RESTful API Became a Gateway to the World

          We’re all connected these days, and our giddy, sped-up world calls on computer programs to make these connections. More and more information sites boast, “We have an API” to permit consumption of data by remote computer programs. The sites’ owners understand that it’s not enough to publish a document that humans can peruse. Sites must join their data with the vast computer processing infrastructure that spans Planet Earth—and beyond.

          Nowadays, when somebody says, “We have an API,” they’re talking about REST. Microservices—one of the most popular architectures for new applications—also communicate using REST. Many sites are moving to GraphQL, which uses many of the same concepts and tools as REST. So technological innovation continues on the web, but the invention of REST in particular was a historic turning point.

          The term REST was invented by Roy T. Fielding in a famous 2000 PhD dissertation, and stands for Representational State Transfer. In this article, I’ll explain why previous attempts to create a universal data processing infrastructure failed, and what made today’s REST-connected world possible.

        • Enrique Ocaña González: GStreamer WebKit debugging tricks using GDB (1/2)

          I’ve been developing and debugging desktop and mobile applications on embedded devices over the last decade or so. The main part of this period I’ve been focused on the multimedia side of the WebKit ports using GStreamer, an area that is a mix of C (glib, GObject and GStreamer) and C++ (WebKit).

          Over these years I’ve had to work on ARM embedded devices (mobile phones, set-top-boxes, Raspberry Pi using buildroot) where most of the environment aids and tools we take for granted on a regular x86 Linux desktop just aren’t available. In these situations you have to be imaginative and find your own way to get the work done and debug the issues you find in along the way.

          I’ve been writing down the most interesting tricks I’ve found in this journey and I’m sharing them with you in a series of 7 blog posts, one per week. Most of them aren’t mine, and the ones I learnt in the begining of my career can even seem a bit naive, but I find them worth to share anyway. I hope you find them as useful as I do.

        • Perl/Raku
          • Raku multiple dispatch with the new MoarVM dispatcher

            I recently wrote about the new MoarVM dispatch mechanism, and in that post noted that I still had a good bit of Raku’s multiple dispatch semantics left to implement in terms of it. Since then, I’ve made a decent amount of progress in that direction. This post contains an overview of the approach taken, and some very rough performance measurements.

        • Rust
        • Java
    • Standards/Consortia
  • Leftovers
    • Opinion | Denis Halliday: A Voice of Reason in an Insane World

      “I think the United States and its populous, who vote these governments in, need to understand that the children and the people of Iraq are just like the children of the United States.”

      Denis Halliday is an exceptional figure in the world of diplomacy. In 1998, after a 34-year career with the United Nations—including as an Assistant Secretary-General and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq—he resigned when the UN Security Council refused to lift sanctions against Iraq. 

    • Between Q’s Headspace and the Hard Place of Western History

      Fast forward 30 years to last week and I’m watching the documentary  Q: Into the Storm on HBO. Fredrick Brennan is one of the three protagonists in the film, which is nominally a search for Q’s identity. Brennan was born with a severely disabling disease that involves very brittle bones. Still, he buzzes around,  sometimes a bit headlong, in a motorized wheelchair with his little pomeranian aboard. He was a player at the website that ends up channeling the secretive Q’s “droppings.” Q is named for his “Q level” security clearance. Rumor has it, Q is close to the president and is tight with the highest-ranking military men. Q speaks in riddles like the Oracle at Delphi. Q is cool. Q is the game.

      Brennan is an amazing character. He got his first computer at age six and soon taught himself code. He’s clearly incredibly intelligent. The idea of engaging anonymously with other people in cyberspace and engaging in power struggles must be, for someone as disabled as he is, to literally accept your cyborgian reality.  He’s a rolling example of humanity melding with technology. Watching Brennan like this made me flashback on  Neuromancer. As a child, Brennan was literally weaned into cyberspace and immersed himself totally in that new and ever-expanding a place, a place where he could be as powerful as anyone else. Even he could pursue his very own Nietzschian Will To Power in a world assembled not out of atoms and cells but out of ones and zeros tricked out in codes and algorithms.

    • The News Media Offers Wall-to-Wall Propaganda Every Day. We Only Notice When a Royal Dies

      1. There is absolutely no commercial reason for the media to have dedicated so much time and space to the Prince’s death. The main commercial channel ITV, which needs eyeballs on its programmes to generate income from advertising, saw a  60 per cent drop in viewing figures after it decided to broadcast endless forelock-tugging. Audiences presumably deserted to Netflix and Youtube, where the mood of “national mourning” was not being enforced. Many viewers, particularly younger ones, have no interest in the fact that a very old man just died, even if he did have lots of titles.

    • Prince Philip (1921-2020), Saviour of Vanuatu

      This story line became the basis for a “cargo cult,” one example of a type of millenarian religious cult emerging in the 20th century Pacific. The cults are related to interactions between foreign mariners, traders and soldiers and local people who perceive these outsiders as bearers of a higher civilization. To bring back the visitors, the cultists think, and to again receive their amazing goods, the people must emulate the foreigners by embracing their symbols (like the Christian cross) and imitating their behavior (as in crude military drills). From at least 1945 stories about one John Frum, a (probably fictitious) GI on Tanna, began to circulate on the islands. A tall white man, Frum had told the people that if they prayed to him, he would bring “radios, TVs, trucks, boats, watches, iceboxes, medicine, Coca-Cola and many other wonderful things.” Ever Feb. 15 is John Frum day on Tanna; hundreds gather, women dance, men do cosplay military drills.

      Somehow the Frum cult got tangled up with stories about Britain’s Prince Philip. Do not ask why; religions as delusion-clusters do not develop rationally. The cult involving Philip, presumably emerging after Elizabeth was crowned in 1952, existed as of 1974 when the Queen and Royal Consort visited Vanuatu, six years before its independence. John Champion, the British Resident Commissioner for New Hebrides, explained to the prince that the adherents to this cult revered him as a god. (To this day Yaohnanen pray to Prince Philip to protect their yam crops.) He suggested that Philip send the Tanna villagers a personal photo, which his grace graciously did. It was a deliberate act of diplomacy catering to an absurd belief system, a statement of imperialist condescension. Moved by this generous token, the villagers sent Philip a nal-nal or pig-hunting club. A finely crafted weapon, the club was the most precious and symbolically charged gift the tribe could render its god.

    • Opinion | Rip It Out To the Studs: This Was No Accident
    • B. Traven: Fiction’s Forgotten Radical

      In England, Germany, the U.S.A., everywhere it is the police who do the whipping and the one in rags who gets whipped. And then the people who sit smugly at their well-laden tables are surprised when someone rocks the table, overturns it, and shatters everything to fragments.

      —B. Traven, The Cotton-Pickers

    • We Need Each Other
    • Science
      • From gene bombs to classroom curriculum How Vladimir Putin became infatuated with genetics and entrusted the industry to friends and family

        Until recently, the Russian authorities showed little interest in genetics. The breakthrough came in 2019, when the government allocated 127 billion rubles ($1.7 billion) to a special seven-year federal program. In fact, as Meduza learned, the Kremlin’s overall spending on projects involving genetics could actually reach 230 billion rubles ($3 billion) in the coming years. Vladimir Putin personally supervises the implementation of these programs, and he’s put his own relatives and closest friends (in particular, his eldest daughter Maria Vorontsova and the cellist Sergey Roldugin) in charge of overseeing the work. Additionally, the oil giant Rosneft acts as the state’s main corporate partner. Meduza explains how the president became infatuated with a field of science that was heresy in the Soviet Union and neglected in the decades after communism’s collapse.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • Biden’s Embrace of Trump-Era Fentanyl Ban ‘Threatens to Repeat Past Missteps,’ Critics Warn

        One expert urged policymakers to “rethink these efforts to double down on fear-based, enforcement-first approaches, and instead invest in public health alternatives.”

        After the Biden administration this week expressed support for a seven-month extension of a Trump-era policy imposing harsher sentences on people caught with synthetic painkillers containing fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances, public health advocates warned against doubling down on a fear-based and enforcement-first approach to drug use that perpetuates harmful effects and racial injustices.

      • 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief to Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach and Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

        “Global supply should not be dependent on the purely commercial prerogatives and exclusive rights of pharmaceutical companies holding the technology. There is simply too much at stake.”

        An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary approach that would keep life-saving technology under the total control of pharmaceutical corporations—and entrench massive global inequities.

      • India’s Farm Crisis: Mitti of the Martyrs, Singhu’s Soil of Struggle
      • Nimble Failure: The Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Program

        Part of the monumental failings of the government can be put down to its stubbornness in prioritising the use of one vaccine.  AstraZeneca was meant to be the vaccine wonder, the Godhead, the miraculous deliverer.  CSL, Australia’s only vaccine manufacturer, was given the task of producing the majority of 54 million ordered doses at its Broadmeadows factory in Melbourne.  Many of those now risk being essentially useless.

        AstraZeneca’s product has been plagued by a profile that has become a ballooning public relations nightmare.  While various medical authorities in Europe delayed the application of jabs fearing a possible link between the vaccine and a rare blood-clotting syndrome, Australia looked on with goggle-eyed wonder, insisting that no pause was necessary.  Administrative objectives took priority over medical ones.

      • A Tiny Number of People Will Be Hospitalized Despite Being Vaccinated. We Have to Learn Why.

        Dr. Carey Washington was eager to be vaccinated. The psychologist, who was still working at 80 years old, got his first coronavirus shot on Jan. 12 and followed up with the second Pfizer dose on Feb. 4. With both shots done, he let his guard down at the office he shared with another doctor, sometimes leaving his mask off.

        Then he woke up on March 7 with aches and fatigue, feeling as though he might have a cold. When he started experiencing chest pain and finding it hard to breathe, he booked an appointment with his primary care physician, who sent him on to his cardiologist. Both thought that his symptoms must be related to his past heart issues. But Washington’s symptoms got worse. He was so tired he could barely get out of bed. His cardiologist reassured him that the fatigue was likely due to the irregular heartbeat he was experiencing, and that the medications prescribed for that would take a while to kick in. But on March 12, Washington’s son took him to the emergency room anyway. A test revealed Washington was positive for COVID-19.

      • ‘We Need a People’s Vaccine’: Ex-World Leaders, Nobel Laureates Urge Biden to Back WTO Waiver

        “Supporting the emergency waiver of Covid-19-related intellectual property rules will give people around the globe a chance to wake up to a world free from the virus.”

        Calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to prioritize human need over corporate greed, more than 170 Nobel laureates and former heads of state and government on Wednesday sent an open letter urging him to back a waiver of intellectual property rules so that developing nations can ramp up coronavirus vaccine production and pursue a people’s vaccine to help end a pandemic that has now claimed nearly three million lives. 

      • Putin receives second dose of coronavirus vaccine

        On Wednesday, April 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had received his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

      • COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring: The J&J vaccine and blood clots

        Long ago (seemingly, at least, when in this pandemic months can seem like years), I—and many other vaccine advocates—warned that when safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines finally rolled out there would be adverse reactions and even deaths reported after the vaccines, that these events would be sensationalized by the news media, and that they would be weaponized by the antivaccine movement. This has come to pass even beyond what I had anticipated. Examples abound, ranging from Bell’s palsy to cardiac events to immune thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) to, yes, deaths, with antivaxxers like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. regularly mining the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in order to make it seem as though COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous and that “they” are covering it up, even though, as I and others have pointed out, these adverse events were not occurring above the expected baseline rate and have not been shown to be related causally to the vaccines. Our message was that, any time tens or hundreds of millions of doses of a vaccine are administered, the law of very large numbers dictates that there will be deaths and adverse events that occur after that vaccine by random chance alone, because coincidence is far more common than people believe. We also warned that it will take time to disentangle whether any given adverse event observed after COVID-19 vaccines could plausibly be causally related, particularly for rare adverse events, which brings us to the announcement yesterday from the FDA and CDC about the decision to pause the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to the reporting of rare instances of blood clots after the administration of this vaccine.

      • Kurdish Officials Demand Help With Looming COVID ‘Catastrophe’ in NE Syria

        Kurdish officials in northeast Syria are expressing concerns over a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in their region, calling on international health organizations to intervene to prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

        A 10-day curfew went into effect Tuesday in an attempt to curb the spread of the deadly virus in the semiautonomous region, which is home to nearly 5 million people, including thousands of internally displaced people, refugees and prisoners of the Islamic State (IS) terror group, also known as ISIS or its Arabic acronym, Daesh.

    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • Dell Will Spin Off VMware, Unwind Part of Biggest Tech Deal

          The spinoff will unwind, at least in part, a consolidation created five years ago in Dell’s $67 billion acquisition of VMware’s parent, EMC Corp. The spending spree helped Dell branch out from its origins as a personal computer maker, but left the company saddled with debt.

          VMware will distribute a special cash dividend of $11.5 billion to $12 billion to shareholders at the close of the deal, which is expected by the fourth quarter, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said Wednesday in a statement. Dell, which owns 81% of VMware, will receive a payout of as much as $9.7 billion.

        • Sony Invests $200M More in Epic Games as Part of $1B Funding Round

          The deal comes after Sony last year acquired a $250 million minority stake in Epic Games. Sony “has made an additional strategic investment of 200 million U.S. dollars in Epic through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America,” the conglomerate said in a regulatory filing. “By strengthening the already close relationship between the two companies through this additional investment, Sony will further promote efforts across the Sony Group’s businesses to explore collaborative opportunities leading to new value creation, and strive to accelerate business expansion in the area of entertainment.”

        • Pentagon acting CIO pushes on with cybersecurity, software development

          The U.S. Department of Defense is forging ahead with IT projects despite the absence of a Senate-confirmed chief information officer, grappling with cybersecurity after a government hack and a cloud infrastructure with an uncertain future.

          Leading the efforts in an acting capacity until President Joe Biden settles on the next CIO is John Sherman, the principal deputy under former DoD CIO Dana Deasy. He told C4ISRNET that he’s “not just keeping the seat warm here.”

          Though it’s uncertain how long he’ll hold the job, cybersecurity is his top priority in the aftermath of the SolarWinds breach discovered in December that infected networks across the federal government, he said.

        • Unpatched Microsoft Exchange Servers hit with cryptojacking

          Nation-state [attackers] and criminals have been rushing to take advantage of the Microsoft flaws since the company announced their existence last month, with security experts warning against an onslaught of webshell, ransomware and cryptojacking attacks. And although organizations have been working to patch against attacks, the Sophos research is a reminder that patching does not necessarily kick out [crackers] if they’ve already exploited the flaws.

        • Kevin Fenzi: A critique of google chat

          I’m not usually one to say bad things about… well, anything, but more and more people I interact with lately have been using google chat at their preferred communication medium and I have been asked a few times why I dislike it, so I thought I would do a blog post on it and can then just point people here.

          [...]

          So, all in all, I will use google chat if I have to, but it’s going to be my least favorite chat method and I wish everyone would switch to something else. Matrix perhaps?

        • Pseudo-Open Source
          • Privatisation/Privateering
            • Linux Foundation
              • Linux Foundation launches R&D division to investigate open source opportunities

                The Linux Foundation (LF) has announced the launch of a new research division to investigate the impact of open source collaboration in solving the most pressing challenges in the world today.

                LP argues that Linux Foundation Research will help broaden the understanding of open source projects, the dynamics of the ecosystem, and its impact, in order to quantify the efficacy of open source collaboration.

              • Linux Foundation creates research division to study open source impact

                In the latest sign of the growing influence of open source software, the Linux Foundation announced it is creating a new research unit to provide greater insight into the technology, as well as the people creating it.

                Linux Foundation Research will be a new division with a broad mandate to explore the social and technical aspects of open source in the hopes of expanding the types of people who participate and encouraging more enterprises to adopt the technology. Among the group’s priorities are examining diversity and security.

              • Linux Foundation Research aims to widen understanding of open source projects

                Non-profit organization the Linux Foundation today announces Linux Foundation Research, a new division that will broaden the understanding of open source projects, ecosystem dynamics, and impact.

                Through a series of research projects and related content, Linux Foundation Research will make use of the Foundation’s vast repository of data, tools, and communities and apply quantitative and qualitative techniques to create an unprecedented knowledge network to benefit the global open source community, academia, and industry.

        • Security
          • How the NAME:WRECK Bugs Impact Consumers, Businesses [Ed: Now they go ALL CAPS to increase the SHOCK FACTOR]

            How this class of vulnerabilities will impact millions connected devices and potentially wreck the day of IT security professionals.

          • Linux Foundation sigstore finds ‘origins’ in software supply chains [Ed: Companies connected to the Pentagon trying to centralise “trust” and over time control what people can and cannot install and run on their own GNU/Linux systems]

            The Linux Foundation announced the sigstore project this spring.

            Designed to improves the security of the software supply chain, sigstore is said to enable the adoption of cryptographic software signing backed by transparency log technologies.

            Software application development professionals will be able to securely sign software artifacts such as release files, container images and binaries.

            Signing materials are then stored in a tamper-proof public log.

            The service will be free to use for all developers and software providers, with the sigstore code and operation tooling developed by the sigstore community.

          • NSA uncovers new “critical” flaws in Microsoft Exchange Server [Ed: It sort of misses the point that there are NSA back doors in everything from Microsoft]

            Microsoft released three new patches for its Exchange Server software on Tuesday after the National Security Agency (NSA) alerted the company to a fresh batch of critical vulnerabilities.

            The new fixes are for three versions of Exchange Server – 2013, 2016 and 2019 – and the flaws are said to be different vulnerabilities to the ones disclosed in March. However, US agencies continue to find and remove vulnerabilities in their systems a month after the previous flaws were first discovered.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation
            • Not even the best antivirus could have shielded you from this Linux and macOS malware [Ed: Misinformation. It neglects to say that Microsoft delivers this malware. Instead it blames the recipients of Microsoft (NPM)]

              Researchers have identified a new strain of Linux and macOS malware capable of eluding even the most reputable antivirus services.

              According to security company Sonatype, the malicious program was discovered on the npm registry, a developer resource that catalogues various open source JavaScript packages.

          • Privacy/Surveillance
            • ‘Too Dangerous to Exist’: Coalition Calls for Ban on Private, Corporate Use of Facial Recognition

              “Letting this tool of authoritarian control spread throughout the private sector has serious implications for worker organizing rights and heightens the risk of catastrophic biometric data breaches.”

              A coalition of more than 20 human rights organizations released an open letter Wednesday morning calling for a total ban on private and corporate use of facial recognition, an invasive technology that the groups characterized as discriminatory and “too dangerous to exist.”

            • Forced Arbitration Thwarts Legal Challenge to AT&T’s Disclosure of Customer Location Data

              With cellphone carriers brazenly violating their customers’ privacy and the Federal Communication Commission moving slowly to investigate, it fell to consumers to protect themselves. That’s why in June 2019 EFF filed a lawsuit representing customers challenging AT&T’s unlawful disclosure of their location data. Our co-counsel are lawyers at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. The case, Scott v. AT&T , alleged that AT&T had violated a federal privacy law protecting cellphone customers’ location data, among other protections.

              That legal challenge, however, quickly ran into an all-too-familiar roadblock: the arbitration agreements AT&T forces on its customers to sign every time they buy a cellphone or new service from the company. AT&T claimed that this clause prevented the Scott case from proceeding.

              The court ended up dismissing the plaintiffs’ lawsuit earlier this year. The way it did so demonstrates why Congress needs to change federal law so that the public can meaningfully protect themselves from companies’ abusive practices.

            • The EU is considering a ban on AI for mass surveillance and social credit scores

              The European Union is considering banning the use of artificial intelligence for a number of purposes, including mass surveillance and social credit scores. This is according to a leaked proposal that is circulating online, first reported by Politico, ahead of an official announcement expected next week.

              If the draft proposal is adopted, it would see the EU take a strong stance on certain applications of AI, setting it apart from the US and China. Some use cases would be policed in a manner similar to the EU’s regulation of digital privacy under GDPR legislation.

            • Ireland launches inquiry into Facebook after reports of data leak

              Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) said on Wednesday it had launched an inquiry into Facebook Inc, after a dataset reported to contain personal data relating to some 533 million Facebook users worldwide was made public.

              Facebook said in a blog post last week that “malicious actors” had obtained the data prior to September 2019 by “scraping” profiles using a vulnerability in the platform’s tool for synching contacts.

              The DPC said that having considered information provided by Facebook, it was of the opinion that one or more provisions of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) and/or the Data Protection Act 2018 “may have been, and/or are being, infringed in relation to Facebook Users’ personal data.”

            • How to Check Whether Your Account Was Part of Facebook Data Breach 2021

              Facebook data breaches have become a tradition. Here is how you can make sure your Facebook account was not one of the 533 million to have been leaked since the beginning of the year but not publicized until last weekend. This most recent personal data leak was first discovered on January 14, 2021, by cybersecurity expert Alon Gal of Hudson Rock.

            • Govt inks MoU with Microsoft to provide post-harvest solutions to farmers

              As per the memorandum of understanding (MoU), Microsoft through its local partner CropData will leverage master database of farmers to address challenges of individual or group of farmers. “The government has a verified database of more than 50 million farmers along with their land records,” a senior agriculture ministry official said.

            • DuckDuckGo, Vivaldi join Brave in opposing Google’s new ad-targeting tech

              The companies behind privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo and Norwegian browser Vivaldi have joined the Brave browser chiefs in opposing Google’s new experimental ad-targeting technology known as Federated Learning of Cohorts.

            • Use the DuckDuckGo Extension to Block FLoC, Google’s New Tracking Method in Chrome

              Google has created a new tracking method called FLoC, put it in Chrome, and automatically turned it on for millions of users.

              FLoC is bad for privacy: It puts you in a group based on your browsing history, and any website can get that group FLoC ID to target and fingerprint you.

            • No, Google! Vivaldi users will not get FLoC’ed.

              Old habits die hard.

              Google’s new data harvesting venture is nasty. Called FLoC (The Federated Learning of Cohorts), this new advertising technology intends to replace third-party cookies and related technologies like third-party localStorage. This clearly is a dangerous step that harms user privacy.

              Currently, it is being trialled in Google Chrome and is a part of the Chromium browser engine.

              Now the real question; What is Vivaldi’s position on this new technology by Google?

              This is a pretty valid question as we are based on Chromium. But the truth is that while we rely on the Chromium engine to render pages correctly, this is where Vivaldi’s similarities with Chrome (and other Chromium-based browsers) end.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • Reporting Demonstrates Multiple Links Between White Supremacists and Police – Validated Independent News

        In August 2020, Sam Levitin, writing for the Guardian, reported on findings from an in-depth study titled “Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement,” which was conducted by Michael German, a 16-year veteran of law enforcement and a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security Program. Writing in The Intercept that same month, Alice Speri reported on a heavily redacted 2006 FBI threat assessment that had just recently been released to the public in unredacted form by Representative Jamie Raskin ahead of his September 29, 2020, House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on the subject. The Intercept’s reporting highlighted the fact that the FBI “had major concerns about the infiltration of police departments for years but failed to warn the public.” And Simon Purdue, reporting for Open Democracy in August of 2020, cited a 2019 Reveal News investigation which uncovered “hundreds of active duty and retired law enforcement officers” that are currently members of online forums dedicated to Islamophobia, Neo-Confederate ideology, and Neo-Nazism.

      • Dataminr Introduces Racial Bias, Stereotypes in Policing of Social Media – Validated Independent News

        Dataminr’s controversial First Alert program was created to notify “first responders to breaking events, enabling the fastest real-time response,” but, as one source told the Intercept, “Dataminr and law enforcement were perpetuating each other’s biases.”

      • ‘Shame’: Biden to Advance Trump-Era Sale of $23 Billion in F-35s and Armed Drones to UAE

        “We have to stop choosing political expediency over human rights,” said Kate Kizer of Win Without War.

        The Biden administration has reportedly informed Congress that it is planning to advance a $23.4 billion sale of weaponry to the United Arab Emirates that was inked under former President Donald Trump, a move anti-war critics denounced as a betrayal of President Joe Biden’s recent pledge to end U.S. support for “offensive operations” in Yemen.

      • From RussiaGate to UkraineGate: Route to Apocalypse

        Within three months of the ascendancy of Joseph Biden to the presidency of the United States, the world teeters on the edge of nuclear war, whether by design or accident, as Russia reports that the U.S. is placing considerable pressure on Ukraine to attack the independent republics of the Donbass for which Russia provides logistical support. The U.S. European Command has raised its alert status to the highest level and warned of a “ potential imminent crisis.”

      • Israel Rejects ICC Investigation: What Are the Possible Future Scenarios?

        “It will be made clear that Israel is a country with rule of law that knows how to investigate itself,” Netanyahu said in a statement on April 8. Subsequently, Israel “completely rejects” any accusations that it has committed war crimes.

        But it won’t be so easy for Tel Aviv this time around. True, Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute, according to which the ICC was established, but it can still be held accountable, because the State of Palestine is a member of the ICC.

      • What are Turkey and the US Up to in Afghanistan?

        Turkey is entering the cockpit to navigate the Afghan peace process to a conclusion that meets US objectives. This will have a salutary effect on the fraught Turkish-American relationship. The US appreciates that Turkey is an influential member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, enjoys historical links with Afghanistan and has a positive image among Afghans. But digging deeper, the unholy US-Turkey alliance in the Syrian conflict creates disquiet.

        The Pentagon and CIA are reluctant to vacate Afghanistan by the deadline of May 1. Turkey will be overseeing an open-ended US-NATO presence. The US hopes to retain a strong intelligence presence backed by special operations forces. A report Friday from CNN disclosed that “CIA, which has had a significant say in US decision-making in Afghanistan, has ‘staked out some clear positions’ during recent deliberations, arguing in favour of continuing US involvement.”

      • Capitol Police Knew Trump’s Mob Would Attack Congress But Were Unprepared Anyway

        Capitol Police knew ahead of January 6 that Congress itself was the target of the Donald Trump-fueled mob that violently breached the Capitol, but the police department’s leaders ignored warnings and were thoroughly unprepared for the mob, a new report from the department’s watchdog has found.

      • There’s Now a Glimmer of Hope That 20 Years of War in Afghanistan Might End

        The Biden administration has announced that all remaining U.S. non-special operations troops in Afghanistan — officially listed as 2,500, though the current number on the ground is reportedly closer to 3,500 — will be fully withdrawn by September 11, 2021. The Trump administration had negotiated a nebulous May 1 withdrawal, but in true Trump form did no work to facilitate the process. President Biden’s decision to establish a hard date for troop removal sets the stage, at long last, for the longest and most utterly useless war in U.S. history to be brought to a close.

      • DC Protests Catalyze PATRIOT Act-Style Domestic Terrorism Bill – Validated Independent News

        Opponents of H.R. 350 cite issues with the increased government power the bill provides, in addition to the potential risk that increased surveillance has on minority groups. These potential dangers hearken back to the sweeping legislation of the USA PATRIOT Act, enacted in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Act increased the federal government’s surveillance capabilities and its ability to go after potential ‘terrorist’ threats. With newly authorized powers, organizations including the FBI increased their surveillance of Muslim Americans. The PATRIOT Act built on previous legislation that negatively impacted minority groups in the name of “national security,” including the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which introduced the concept of “material support,” which provided news tools to prosecute individuals believed to support foreign terrorist organizations, even if those individuals did not intend to facilitate terrorist acts. The Anti-Terrorism Act disproportionately impacted the “mass of mostly poor and working-class people sitting on death rows across the United States” and not terrorists, Chris Gibbons, a reporter for Jacobin magazine, noted. “One thing is certain,” Gibbons wrote, failure to prevent the Capitol attack was not due to “lack of police powers or anti-terrorism measures.”

      • The US Is a Mass-Killing Machine

        By the time you read this piece, it will already be out of date. The reason’s simple enough. No matter what mayhem I describe, with so much all-American weaponry in this world of ours, there’s no way to keep up. Often, despite the headlines that go with mass killings here, there’s almost no way even to know.

        On this planet of ours, America is the emperor of weaponry, even if in ways we normally tend not to put together. There’s really no question about it. The all-American powers-that-be and the arms makers that go with them dream up, produce, and sell weaponry, domestically and internationally, in an unmatched fashion. You’ll undoubtedly be shocked, shocked to learn that the top five arms makers on the planet—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics—are all located in the United States.

      • AOC Blasts Police Department’s “Accident” Excuse in Daunte Wright’s Death

        Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) blasted the police department of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, this week for suggesting that the police-perpetrated killing of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was merely an “accident.”

      • Police Officer Who Killed Daunte Wright Will Face Manslaughter Charge

        Kim Potter, the white police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright on Sunday, will be charged with second-degree manslaughter, a county prosecutor said Wednesday . This announcement comes after three nights of mass protests in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, where Wright was killed.

      • Probe Finds Capitol Police Leaders Ignored Key Intel Ahead of January 6 Insurrection

        “Congress itself is the target,” warned one internal threat assessment three days before the deadly attack by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

        U.S. Capitol Police leaders brushed aside critical intelligence ahead of the deadly January 6 right-wing mob attack—including a warning that “Congress itself is the target”—and did not allow officers to use more forceful measures to stop the invasion, according to an internal agency investigation reported Tuesday by the New York Times. 

      • German Social Democratic Party approves EU war drone

        From 2030, European air forces want to have a drone for surveillance, interception or attack. The weapon system could be exported worldwide.

      • After Nearly 20-Year Assault on Afghanistan, Biden Says ‘It Is Time to End America’s Longest War’

        White House announcement for complete withdrawal comes nearly two decades after the U.S. president, then a senator, backed the 2001 invasion.

        After nearly 20 years, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and more than 2,300 U.S. service members killed, and Taliban forces who have never surrendered, President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced he plans to withdraw all regular American combat troops from Afghanistan by this year’s anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. 

      • Afghanistan: Biden Vows to End Nation’s Longest War by 9/11 After Decades of Bloodshed & Destruction

        The Biden administration has unveiled plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The War in Afghanistan has killed more than 100,000 Afghan civilians and over 2,300 U.S. servicemembers and has cost the U.S. trillions of dollars. The announcement comes just a week before the scheduled start of a new round of peace talks in Istanbul between the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan government, but the Taliban said it would boycott the talks because Biden is going back on a deal made by President Trump to have all U.S. troops out by May 1. Afghan American scholar Zaher Wahab says withdrawing is the right decision. “The United States and its allies should never have attacked and occupied Afghanistan,” Wahab says. “It was wrong. It was illegal. And I think it was immoral.” We also speak with Matthew Hoh, senior fellow with the Center for International Policy, who in 2009 resigned from the State Department in protest of the escalation of the War in Afghanistan. “This is a step that is necessary for the peace process to go forward, and that’s what the Afghan people desperately need,” he says. “It has been well over 40 years of fighting. Millions of Afghans have been killed or wounded. The devastation on the Afghan people is hard to imagine.”

      • American Insurrection: Deadly Far-Right Extremism from Charlottesville to Capitol Attack. What Next?

        A scathing new report by the Capitol Police’s internal watchdog reveals officials knew Congress was the target of the deadly January 6 insurrection, yet officers were instructed to refrain from deploying more aggressive measures that could have helped “push back the rioters.” Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports domestic terrorism incidents surged to a record high in 2020, fueled by white supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists on the far right. The Post found that, since 2015, right-wing extremists have been involved in 267 plots or attacks, leading to 91 deaths. Reporter A.C. Thompson, who explores the threat of far-right extremism in the new PBS “Frontline” documentary “American Insurrection,” says there was a “massive pool of radicalized individuals” ahead of the January 6 attack who were being pushed toward violence by “an abundance of lies by the former president, by this entire conspiratorial right-wing media and social media ecosystem.” We also speak with director Rick Rowley, who says many white supremacist groups began to splinter during the intense backlash to the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, but Trump gave the groups new life ahead of the January 6 insurrection. “Many elements inside the white supremacist movement found in him a path into the mainstream,” says Rowley. “They took off their swastikas, and they wrapped themselves in the flag.”

      • Watchdog lays bare Capitol Police’s riot security failures

        A blistering internal report by the U.S. Capitol Police describes a multitude of missteps that left the force unprepared for the Jan. 6 insurrection — riot shields that shattered upon impact, expired weapons that couldn’t be used, inadequate training and an intelligence division that had few set standards.

        The watchdog report released internally last month and obtained by The Associated Press before a congressional hearing Thursday, adds to what is already known about broader security and intelligence failures that Congress has been investigating since hundreds of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters laid siege to the Capitol.

      • FBI Director Concerned About QAnon’s Potential for Violence

        The FBI remains “concerned” about the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement’s potential for violence and will soon release an unclassified threat assessment about the group, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday.

        The FBI views QAnon as a “set of complex conspiracy theories largely promoted online, which has sort of morphed into more of a movement,” Wray testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    • Environment
      • Now Is Our Last Best Chance to Confront the Climate Crisis

        Now, our luck is running out. The industrialized nations of the world are dumping 34 billion tons or so of carbon into the atmosphere every year, which is roughly 10 times faster than Mother Nature ever did on her own, even during past mass extinction events. As a result, global temperatures have risen 1.2 C since we began burning coal, and the past seven years have been the warmest seven years on record. The Earth’s temperature is rising faster today than at any time since the end of the last ice age, 11,300 years ago. We are pushing ourselves out of a Goldilocks climate and into something entirely different — quite literally, a different world than humans have ever lived in before.

      • Environmental Racism is at the Heart of Europe’s Continued Coal Use – DeSmog
      • Climate Groups Cheer Keep It in the Ground Act of 2021

        “Our public lands and waters belong to all of us—not to fossil fuel executives who want to exploit our health and our kids’ future to get rich,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley.

        Climate advocacy groups applauded the reintroduction on Wednesday of legislation that would ban new leases for fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters.

      • Mexico’s cactuses find novel path to cooler climate

        Rainforests are prized for storing carbon, but Mexico’s cactuses are also vital to climate cooling, and provide leather too.

      • Federal Court Ends Trump Effort to Open 128 Million Acres of Atlantic, Arctic Oceans to Drilling

        “As the Biden administration considers its next steps, it should build on these foundations, end fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters, and embrace a clean energy future.”

        A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt the final blow to former President Donald Trump’s attempt to open nearly 130 million acres of territory in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans to oil and gas drilling.

      • A Tale of 2 Climate Migrants

        This story originally appeared in Nexus Media News and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

        Climate change is fueling longer dry spells, bigger floods, and more violent storms across the globe, but the effect is most pronounced in the tropics, where even a small rise in temperature can turn a heat  wave from miserable to deadly or lend a hurricane the destructive power needed to level a small town. In the decades to come, more chaotic weather in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean will spur millions of people to move to the mainland United States. This new migration has already begun, as drought devastates farmers in Guatemala and Honduras and more dangerous hurricanes imperil communities around the Gulf of Mexico.

      • Hospitals Try to Curb Astronomical Emissions as Pandemic Brings New Challenges
      • Wildfire Researchers Forecast 2021 Fire Season That May Be More Severe Than 2020

        Earlier this April, researchers at San José State University’s Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center in Northern California were gathering chamise at Blackberry Hill, a site in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. In the past few years, it was a site that they had revisited to gather samples of the native shrub. While surveying the land at the site, the researchers made a disconcerting discovery: new, green growth was nowhere to be found.

      • Passing Climate Bills Without Labor Standards Won’t Transition the Economy

        The failed unionization attempt at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, isn’t just a setback for the labor movement, it is a setback for all progressive movements, especially the climate movement. Amazon openly violated several labor laws in the unionization drive, and these violations are likely to be adjudicated in front of the National Labor Relations Board. But the fact remains that Amazon is not afraid to act illegally, and this level of unchecked corporate power is fatal for the climate.

      • Trump Administration Rushed to Allow Mining on Sacred Native Lands – Validated Independent News

        The land that the company Resolution Copper is trying to obtain through the Trump administration lies on 11 square miles of Apache burial grounds, sacred sites, petroglyphs and medicinal plants. Resolution Copper plans to extract more than 1.4 million tons of copper by excavating a 1,000-foot-deep, 2-mile-wide crater in the middle of native protected lands. The proposed mining operation is near enough to another important indigenous landmark, the Apache Leap, that mining operations could catastrophically destabilize the 400-foot high cliff. While the corporation has made attempts to “build a relationship” with neighboring tribes, its plan to destroy the land persists. Arizona officials say current preservation laws are not strong enough to prevent Resolution Copper’s claims, making it extremely difficult to enforce existing protections of the land.

      • Energy
        • Coalition Tells Biden White House That Any Further Fossil Fuel Projects ‘Incompatible’ With Paris Goals

          “Together our groups represent millions of people across the country all urging the Biden administration to put the health and safety of our communities and our climate before oil and gas profits.”

          As the Biden administration conducts a review of the U.S. government’s federal fossil fuels program, a diverse collection of hundreds of organizations is urging the Interior Department to ensure the assessment is science-driven in order to help “secure a thriving, climate resilient future.”

        • “Colonizing the Atmosphere”: How Rich, Western Nations Drive the Climate Crisis – Validated Independent News

          Lazare cites Jason Hickel, an economic anthropologist and author of a study published in the September 2020 issue of The Lancet: Planetary Health . Posing the question “Who got us into this mess?”, Hickel’s study begins from the premises that “the atmosphere is a common resource” and that “all people should have equal access to it within the safe planetary boundary (defined as 350 parts per million atmospheric concentration of CO2).” Hickel calculated the “national fair shares of a safe global carbon budget” and looked at “territorial emissions from 1850 to 1969, and consumption-based emissions from 1970 to 2015.” Using this data, he determined “the extent to which each country has overshot or undershot its fair share.” His conclusion seems obvious.

        • Fossil Fuel Phase Out Must Begin Where the Industry Has Hurt People the Most

          Without warning, on the most bitter winter days, or the hottest of summer, smoke stacks that sit idle much of the year switch online, spewing trails of climate-altering, coronavirus- exacerbating pollutants across the sky, like carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), known for penetrating deep into the lungs and entering the blood system.

        • Fracking Continues in California – Validated Independent News

          Agencies like the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) oversee the petroleum industry, and exemptions have made it possible for oil companies to continue to repeat the same damaging procedures time and time again. Though steps were taken in 2019 to describe the process oil companies must complete to fix spills, “there are no deadlines for stopping them and restoring the sites,” according to Wilson and Younes’ report. The most recent available report done by CalGEM states that the injection volumes for “water disposal, steam flood, and cyclic steam operations” all increased in 2018, continuing environmental damage (California Department of Conservation, California Geologic Energy Management Division, “2018 Report of California Oil and Gas Production Statistics”, October 1, 2019).

      • Wildlife/Nature
    • Finance
      • What’s Driving the Tax Games Corporations Play?
      • Dem Senators Propose New Standards to Permanently Increase Unemployment Benefits

        Two Democratic senators are introducing legislation to standardize federal unemployment insurance benefits, and to ensure extra benefits are added during times when unemployment is high across the country.

      • US Empire: A Dying Superpower Using NATO as its Financial Bandaging – Validated Independent News

        With only nine out of its twenty-eight members meeting the two percent GDP spending requirement established in 2014, NATO is in a financial predicament. However, Ritter reported, these financial struggles run deeper than NATO. US policymakers are unwilling or unable to fund occupation of the Baltics and Poland in order to stave off Russian aggression. “The only nation capable of providing the kind of sustainable, trained, and equipped combat power necessary to fight a viable ground combat campaign against Russian forces in either the Baltics or Poland is the United States. As things stand, the US is unwilling and unable to foot the cost,” Ritter, a longtime critic of the US military, wrote.

      • Opinion | What We Can Learn From the First New Deal to Make the New One Better

        Whether it is called “Build Back Better” or a “Green Industrial Policy” or, indeed, a Green New Deal, it is imperative to reject the false dichotomy of “jobs against climate.”

        Metaphors matter. As a metaphor, the “New Deal” has been mobilized both in response to climate change and in support of President Biden’s rescue and infrastructure initiatives. It needs examination if it is to go from serving as a mere slogan to defining a coherent program. Compelling invocation of the New Deal turns on:

      • Jayapal Calls for Crackdown on Wealthiest After IRS Chief Says Tax Evasion Costs US $1 Trillion a Year

        “We don’t just need a wealth tax, we also need to give the IRS the tools it needs to make sure the ultra-rich finally pay their fair share.”

        Following IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig’s admission Tuesday that tax dodgers are depriving the federal government of as much as $1 trillion or more per year, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal called for strengthening the agency’s ability to crack down on the rampant tax avoidance strategies used by America’s wealthiest individuals and corporations.

      • Does Trickle-Down Economics Actually Work?

        So don’t fall for trickle-down nonsense. Making big corporations and the rich even richer through tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks doesn’t make the rest of us better off. It just makes big corporations and the rich even richer.

      • What Forms Do I Need to File My Taxes and Where Can I Get Them?

        Over the years, the IRS has created a vast network of forms. To file your taxes, you’ve got to navigate a lot of paperwork. Get a regular salary? There’s a form for that. Unemployment benefits? There’s a form for that, too. Social Security? You get the idea.

        Nowadays, most people file their taxes using websites or other products that do the work of figuring out which forms you need to file and filling them out. But it’s not always cheap. Many of those services and software — like TuroTax or H&R Block — charge users depending on which forms they need to use.

      • Brexit isn’t working and business wants it fixed
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • The UK’s Northern Irish Brexit Blues

        While the connection between the more than a week of rioting by Protestant “Loyalists” and Brexit may not seem obvious, some, such as the Northern Ireland justice minister, Naomi Long, say the UK prime minister Boris “BoJo” Johnson’s “dishonesty” over the still-to-be-decided Brexit border has exacerbated the situation.

        The protocol agreed between the EU and the UK fudged the issue of the land border between the UK-member Northern Ireland (NI) and the EU-member Republic of Ireland to NI’s south.

      • Safely Past Another Election, Israel Turns Back to Policy of De-Arabization

        As these words are being typed, The Holy Month of Ramadan is about to begin and I want to begin by wishing my Muslim brothers and sisters, friends, and all Muslims around the world Ramadan Karim. I was born and raised in Jerusalem, which has been an Arab and Muslim city for over 1,500 years. The sight of this beautiful ancient city during Ramadan is unforgettable. The lights and decorations, the festivities, and the families enjoying all of this are heartwarming.

      • Opinion | The Loutish Lemmings of the GOP

        Flailing into oblivion, the frat boy politics of the Republican Party simply may end in its unseemly collapse—or national disaster.

        Joe Biden is thinking about the complexities of racial and social justice in America, vaccinating the population against COVID-19, combatting domestic terrorism, rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, bringing back jobs and climate change. Donald Trump is thinking about money and revenge—and maybe about why his pal Vladimir Putin has all the luck.

      • ‘It’s too early to talk about this meeting’ The Kremlin’s spokesman comments on potential talks between presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden

        During a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, April 13, U.S. President Joe Biden proposed a summit meeting between the two leaders in the coming months, “to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia.” However, in conversation with journalists on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “it’s still too early” to talk about the specifics of such a meeting. He also confirmed that Putin and Biden didn’t discuss jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny.

      • Time, Not Cheap Political Theater, is of the Essence

        For those who think we will somehow deal with the increasingly disastrous effects of climate change, global pandemics, rampant inequality and international tensions by waving a flag for one nation or political party, the National Intelligence Council’s “ Global Trends 2040” report will be a harsh awakening to reality. As the subtitle bluntly puts it: “A more contested future” looms large and unavoidable for mankind.

        Indeed, after decades of warnings of the impending environmental and economic cataclysm wrought by human-caused atmospheric pollution with the by-products of our industrialized societies, that future has arrived. Just last week the Mauna Loa Observatory on Hawaii’s Big Island  recorded carbon dioxide (CO2) levels of more than 420 parts per million, the highest levels ever in human history and twice the pre-industrial levels of this potent greenhouse gas.

      • Do We Have to Hate Lincoln Now?

        These recent stories out of San Francisco made some of us wonder if there is nothing higher on Bay area politicians’ agenda than renaming Abraham Lincoln Elementary School after Grace Slick or whoever. It’s not like San Francisco and Berkeley don’t have their share of problems. The cities are notorious for their struggles with homelessness, lack of affordable housing, NIMBYism and gentrification.

        But I suppose it is human nature that, faced with intractable problems, San Francisco’s elected officials would prefer to do something that will have an immediate impact.

      • Poll Finds More Democrats Are Enthusiastic About Voting in 2022 Than Republicans

        Democrats are going into the 2022 midterm elections with more voter enthusiasm than Republicans, a new poll from Morning Consult/ Politico finds. Though it’s early to be thinking about the midterm elections, Democrats and progressives are hoping they’ll be able to maintain their hold on power in Washington in order to pass legislation that has long sat dormant.

      • The Rise of Islamophobia in France – Validated Independent News

        For over a century, France has embraced the concept of laïcité, a policy that promotes a secularist socio-economic structure. However, the author writes that this ideal has developed into a form of neo- laïcité, which is used to discriminate against minorities, particularly Muslims, from practicing their religious and cultural traditions, including growing beards, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and wearing a hijab in public. Muhammad highlights a study conducted by the Observatory for the Defence of Rights, which reports how “[y]oung Arab and Black men are 20 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, three times more likely to be insulted verbally, and 2.5 times more likely to be physically attacked.” A recent case also finds that “Muslims face physical assault twice as often as their fellow citizens, like the two women who were stabbed near the Eiffel Tower recently, in a case where the prosecutor eventually identified anti-Muslim bias as part of the investigation.” These acts of violence are a continuation of the racist and Islamophobic rhetoric which the French government normalizes through its treatment of its Muslim citizens.

      • House Committee Applauded for Advancing DC Statehood Bill

        “The more than 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia moved one step closer to having equal representation in our government and power over the laws that govern them.”

        Democrats on the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform voted Wednesday to advance a bill that would make Washington, D.C. the nation’s 51st state, winning praise from progressive activists and local elected officials.

      • Opinion | Our House Continues to Burn, Yet Some Insist on Trying to Reason With Fire

        Tradition and aspirational values cannot matter more than the principles they are meant to serve.

        There is nothing sacred about nine.

      • If CEOs Really Want to Stop GOP Attacks on Voting, Say Progressives, They’d Support the For the People Act

        “While it’s great that these executives and their companies oppose the Jim Crow-style laws that GOP lawmakers are pushing across the country, this kind of talk is cheap without action.”

        With Republican state legislators from Georgia to Michigan to Texas waging war on voting rights, corporate executives and major businesses on Wednesday spoke out with an advertisement that ran in both the New York Times and Washington Post—but progressives want them to go even further and support federal legislation that would largely thwart the recent GOP attacks on American democracy.

      • Revisiting Polling for 2021 and Beyond

        Unfortunately, turnout error does not explain the entirety of the error in 2020. In fact, we found our pre-election turnout models were pretty accurate in the demographic composition of the electorate on key variables such as age, gender, race, and region. While thinking more smartly about the demographic composition of the electorate is essential, it isn’t the only solution. Some other source of error is in play.

      • Politics Without Lying
    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Deconstructing Justice Thomas’ Pro-Censorship Statement

        Last week, we had a post about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ very weird statement in a concurrence on mooting an unrelated case, in which he seemed to attack free speech and Section 230. Law professor Eric Goldman has written up an incredibly thorough response to Thomas’ statement that we thought the Techdirt community might appreciate, and so we’re reposting in here.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Lyft Blocks Users From Using Their Real Names To Sign Up (2019)

        Summary: Users attempting to sign up for a new ride-sharing program ran into a problem from the earliest days of content moderation. The “Scunthorpe problem” dates back to 1996, when AOL refused to let residents of Scunthorpe, England register accounts with the online service. The service’s blocklist of “offensive” words picked out four of the first five letters of the town’s name and served up a blanket ban to residents.

      • New Wave of Independent News Sources Demonetized by Google-Owned YouTube – Validated Independent News

        Other punitive measures from YouTube range from putting heavy restrictions on accounts to completely banning a channel. After receiving YouTube’s notification, Progressive Soapbox tweeted, “You guys have destroyed my channel without legit explanation as to why… frankly there is literally zero ‘harmful’ content on my channel.” Ford Fischer, another victim of demonetization tweeted,  “Last time you demonetized my channel, I spoke out for seven months….Please don’t do this again.”

      • A Chinese platform erased accounts promoting “radical” feminist views shunning men

        According to screenshots shared by members (link in Chinese) of the censored groups, Douban said in a notice to them that the forums were erased because they contained “extremism and radical political and ideological thoughts.” The company said the decision was made based on complaints from users and “related departments,” and attached links to China’s cybersecurity law and other internet regulations. Some of the erased groups didn’t advocate 6B4T but simply discussed feminist ideas, according to online news portal the Initium. Some Weibo users also said they were unable to even post about the blocking of the groups on Douban.

      • Censorship in the EU is very real – EU Politicians afraid of Facebook but not Rupert Murdoch (Fox Film and TV News)

        The Simpsons (sponsored by Keith Rupert Murdoch‘s https://www.foxnews.com/) is under Geographical Restrictions thus not viewable in the (parts?) of the EU #WTF!? SERIOUSLY!?

        I once asked Rupert Murdoch why he was so opposed to the European Union. ‘That’s easy,’ he replied. ‘When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.’

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Opinion | Police Must End Deadly, Racist Traffic Stops

        A cop stopped Daunte Wright for expired tags. Then, Wright died. This is intolerable. 

        I’m starting to write this column only a few minutes after watching the mayor and police chief of Brooklyn Center, Minn.—a suburb of Minneapolis—try to explain the utterly inexplicable, which is how yet another young, unarmed Black man ended up dead in the street, felled by a police bullet. My hands are still shaking a bit with fury.

      • Juvenile Justice Reform Remains Elusive – Validated Independent News

        According to the Children’s Defense Organization’s “The State of America’s Children 2020” report, “76,000 children are prosecuted, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults annually,” and children of color are overrepresented in this figure. Sixty-two percent of arrested children in the US are white, but children of color are more likely to be arrested in comparison to white children. Children of color make up approximately two-thirds of the population in the juvenile system with 41 percent being Black and 21 percent being Hispanic. These racial disparities continue to linger across the criminal justice system, making it more difficult for incarcerated young minorities to persevere during and after incarceration.

      • COVID-19’s Never-ending Struggles for Women of Color – Validated Independent News

        Soublet writes, “People of color have been shown to be disproportionately impacted ever since coronavirus cases and deaths began to surge in mid-March. Now, five months later, not much has changed.” Specifically, Black Americans are impacted the most. African American mothers and Hispanic mothers show the highest rates of being their family’s providers. Soublet states that women of color, “play a crucial role in maintaining the economic stability of their families.” APM Research Lab reports that among 100,000 Black Americans, there are 80.4 deaths. Moreover, in every 100,000 Latino Americans, there are 45.8 deaths. Due to these deaths, many families are losing their providers.

      • Domestic Violence Cases on Rise for LGBTQ+ Community during COVID Pandemic – Validated Independent News

        In November 2020, the Center held a panel on domestic violence during COVID-19. One participant, Xavier Guadalupe-Diaz, an associate professor of sociology at Framingham State University, explained the LGBTQ+ community experiences a higher severity of abuse due to being isolated with their abusers within their communities. “Queer and transgender people pre-pandemic were already more isolated from potential family members and friends,” Guadalupe-Diaz said. Queer and trans people were also “disproportionately affected by economic hardships, because they’re overrepresented in sectors of the economy that are closed or locked down or in some way severely impacted,” he added. Guadalupe-Diaz emphasized that people often incorrectly assume that domestic violence only occurs in families or between long-term couples,

      • ‘Now, We Need to Make the Change Permanent’: FDA Lifts Abortion Pill Restriction During Pandemic

        “The in-person dispensing restriction—which the Trump administration fought to keep in place during the pandemic—prioritized ideology over science and endangered the health and well-being of Americans.”

        Healthcare providers, reproductive rights advocates, and progressive politicians are not only celebrating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision this week to lift a restriction on accessing abortion medication during the coronavirus pandemic but also calling on regulators to retain the policy after the public health crisis is over.

      • Opinion | The Bloody Catch-22 of Modern Policing In America

        The system as it exists makes it almost impossible for Black and brown Americans to avoid harm.

        On the night of Dec. 5, a  familiar scene unfolded at a gas station in Windsor, Virginia.  Police pulled over Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino second lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps, claiming that his car didn’t have license plates. (Reports said that temporary plates were taped to the inside of the new car’s back window and that they were visible.)

      • Sens. Cruz, Hawley & Lee Show How To Take A Good Bill Idea And Make It Blatantly Unconstitutional

        Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Mike Lee, all hold themselves out to be “constitutional” lawyers. All graduated from law schools and went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justices (Cruz clerked for Rehnquist, Hawley for Roberts, and Lee for Alito — though before he moved to the Supreme Court). And yet, all three have shown that their support for the Constitution they swore to uphold and protect is a little wishy washy when they can build a culture war around it and get some silly press attention. The latest move is their new bill to strip Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption.

      • Anti-domestic violence group ‘Nasiliu.net’ fined for violating ‘foreign agent’ law

        On Wednesday, April 14, a Moscow court fined the anti-domestic violence group “Nasiliu.net” (No to Violence) 300,000 rubles ($3,970) for violating the law on “foreign agent” NGOs.

      • How to Lose a Union Drive

        Jane McAlevey has written a thorough postmortem on the lopsided loss suffered by union supporters in Bessemer, Ala. Anyone interested in the fate of workers and organized labor in the United States should read it, print it out, and tape it to the wall next to their desktop. Her conclusion is clear: “There’s plenty of evidence of what works. Social media and shortcut digital approaches don’t work when fear and division is the central weapon. Workers can win unions—and workers can strike and win. It is hard as hell, and to do that requires a no-shortcut approach.”

        McAlevey brings a lifetime of experience and study to her analysis. But, while she describes in detail the early warning signs of the debacle in Bessemer, she leaves out the fundamental touchstone that generates quality organizing and is absent from superficial attempts. That touchstone is ownership.

      • Undanced Dances During a Pandemic

        Santa Monica, Calif.

        My solo starts off with my arms out-stretched towards the sky, trying to touch the rafters, stretching on tip-toe, reaching, head up to the sky.

      • Lying NYPD Narcotics Detective Just Cost Prosecutors Nearly 100 Convictions

        Welcome once again to America’s War on Drugs, already in progress.

      • Opinion | The Message from the Amazon Union Defeat in Alabama Is Clear: Keep Organizing

        The union’s loss in Bessemer shows the urgent need for both labor law reform and organizing at a mass scale.

        On April 9, the National Labor Relations Board announced the results of a mail ballot certification election that concluded on March 29 for workers at the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama. With 3,215 votes cast, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) was  defeated with at least 1,608 votes against the union, enough to crush the drive. The result was not shocking given the millions of dollars that Amazon spent and its power inside the facility to pressure workers to vote against forming a union. 

      • Activists Call Out Legacy of Racism and Sexism in Forced Sterilization – Validated Independent News

        Forced sterilization campaigns “merge perceptions of disability with racism, xenophobia and sexism – resulting in the disproportionate sterilization of minority groups,” Alexandra Minna Stern reported for The Conversation. Some sources report anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 women have been affected, and now they are fighting back. Groups such as Project South, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, and the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab are three organizations actively working to document the extent of this underreported problem—and to bring an end to it.

      • I Guess They’re Not All On The Same Side: Cops Brutalize Soldier For [Checks Notes] Leading Them To A Well-Lit Area

        But for video.

      • More support for court challenge to TSA impunity

        Two months ago, the last time we checked in on Sai v. TSA (now Sai v. Pekoske) —  the landmark challenge to the TSA’s attempt to avoid ever facing a Federal trial over its checkpoint procedures —  the disabled, pro se plaintiff had been given what seemed an impossibly short deadline by the 1st Cicruit Court of Appeals to file “hypothetical” objections to whatever “orders” the TSA might have issued that adversely affected them, without knowing what those orders might be.

        Since then, we are pleased to report, things have been looking up for Sai and for all those who would subject the TSA to the rule of law.

        Jonathan Corbett, Esq., who has brought a series of lawsuits against the TSA on his own behalf and that of his clients, stepped in to represent Sai pro bono, and got a small extension of time.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • Cable Giant Charter Fined $19 Million For Lying About Competitors Going Out Of Business

        When last we checked in on cable giant Charter Communications (Spectrum), the company was busy using the Boys and Girl’s Club of America as a prop to try and kill helpful conditions affixed to its megamerger with Time Warner Cable. This week, the company’s under fire after it circulated advertising telling customers (falsely) that one of its competitors (Windstream Communications) was going out of business. While Windstream had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, it very much remains in business. Yet Charter’s advertising to customers informed them the company would likely be shuttering its doors soon.

      • Congress, Don’t Let ISP Lobbyists Sabotage Fiber for All

        The president’s plan,  which matches well with current Congressional efforts of Representative James Clyburn and Senator Klobuchar, is welcomed news and a boost to efforts by Congress to get the job done. This plan draws a necessary line that government should only be investing its dollars in “future-proof” (i.e. fiber) broadband infrastructure, which is something we have failed to do for years with subsidies for persistently low metrics for what qualifies as broadband. Historically the low expectations pushed by the telecom industry have resulted in a lot of wasted tax dollars. Every state (barring North Dakota) has wasted billions in propping up outdated networks. Americans are left with infrastructure unprepared for 21 st century, a terrible ratio of price to internet speed, and one of the largest private broadband provider bankruptcies in history. 

        Policymakers are learning from these mistakes as well as from the demand shown by the COVID-19 crisis and this is the year we chart a new course. Now is the time for people to push their elected representatives in Congress to pass the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act.

    • Monopolies
      • Opinion | To Bust Monopoly Power, Start With the Companies Controlling Our Food

        Busting the monopoly power of abusive and arrogant food giants is broadly popular—even in Congress.

        No longer just a parlor game, monopoly is what’s for dinner. Practically every commodity and every step in producing our families’ most essential consumer purchases is in the tight grip of four or fewer global conglomerates:

      • Donald Trump Caused The Techlash

        In October 2016, I pitched USC a research proposal about the tech coverage’s non-investigative nature and the influence of corporate PR. I thought that at the end of this project, I’d have indictive documentation of how the tech media is too promotional and not tough enough. When I sat down to analyze a full year of tech coverage, the data presented quite the opposite. 2017 was suddenly full of tech scandals and mounting scrutiny. The flattering stories about consumer products evolved into investigative pieces on business practices, which caught the tech companies and their communications teams off guard.

      • Apple submits summaries of expert reports seeking to rebut Epic Games’ expert reports
      • Apple expert incorrectly claims Apple would need to “redesign” iPhone hardware and software to allow alternative app stores

        Sooner than I’d have thought, here’s my first follow-up to the publication of the summaries of Apple’s expert witness reports in the Epic Games v. Apple App Store antitrust case.

        When I read those summaries for the first time, I tweeted about some of the statements I found in them.

        [...]

        The people who have already liked Mr. Sweeney’s tweet include many developers, among them the father of JavaScript.

      • Fortress-funded VoiceAge suing Apple, Lenovo, Motorola Mobility, HMD in Munich over standard-essential patents: next hearing scheduled for April 28 (Apple)

        Intel is currently defending itself against another case brought by a Fortress-funded non-practicing entity (NPE) in the Western District of Texas, and last month the chipset maker filed a second amended antitrust complaint against Fortress in the Northern District of California. There’s one particular Fortress entity that brought (literally) dozens of patent infringement complaints against Apple: Uniloc, whose former CEO is now running WSOU (doing business as Brazos), an entity that brought about 200 patent lawsuits last year in the U.S. alone (plus an unknown but likely staggering number in other jurisdictions). Whatever policy positions I’ve expressed on the NPE business model doesn’t prevent me from recognizing that Fortress Investment has financed a number of different NPEs, and they aren’t all like Uniloc.

        I’ve done some research on NPE activity in Germany, and found out that VoiceAge EVS–which has offices in Newport Beach as well as Ratingen (near Dusseldorf)–is a big fan of the Munich I Regional Court (Landgericht München I). Munich has become the best forum choice for patent plaintiffs seeking injunctions.

      • Discussion of Apple’s alleged need to redesign iPhone to support third-party app stores continued–and expanded into why web apps don’t help

        We then discussed the technical aspects of installing and running apps on iPhones that are not installed via the App Store (but via the Enterprise Program, TestFlight, or Microsoft App Center). @hishnash noted that there are certain feature sets, such as CarPlay, that require special permission. My understanding of everything said up to that point was that it was “all just about Apple lifting lifting restrictions (some contractual, some technical) as opposed to really having to take its architecture to a higher level.”

        This here hinges on how one would reasonably understand the verb “to redesign” in connection with “software and hardware.” There is another key term in this dispute–commission–that Apple clearly redefines in ways that no dictionary supports.

      • Patents
        • Will the EPO still be normal under the „New Normal“? [Ed: Breaking the law]

          The EPO’s planned “New Normal” seems to provide a (much?) extended teleworking scheme. It was presented as a reflection of the results of a staff consultation wherein many allegedly expressed a preference for teleworking, at least to some extent. However, without knowing the precise questions put to staff it is of course difficult to draw sound conclusions from the results of such a consultation. For example, were the questions just limited to “are you in favour of more/less teleworking in general?”, or was a price tag attached to it, e.g. “would you accept a lower salary when teleworking from your home country where the costs of living are lower than in Munich/The Hague?” – I may be wrong, but I would not be surprised if the answers were considerably different when staff are confronted with the full consequences of an extended teleworking scheme, at least if this extended scheme is supposed to have a significant impact on the EPO’s future building policy and if this policy is to be based – as it seems to be the case – on “the fact that an estimated 50% of staff on average may be on site on any given day.” Only 50%? And is this a “fact” or just an “estimate”, “assumption” or even “target”? In any case, if this will be the new normal, many staff will probably have to say farewell to their own office space and will have to live with open plan offices.

          I am also a bit worried about the consequences of a much extended teleworking scheme on the functioning of the examining and opposition divisions in the future. At least in my mind, which is probably a bit on the idealistic side, these divisions were originally supposed to sit together and thoroughly discuss the case before them until they have reached the best possible result. In view of the EPO’s declared top priority, i.e. quality, this would make a lot of sense to me but it requires that the members of these divisions have the necessary time and opportunity for a thorough discussion. If they are not sitting in the same location, there is a high likelihood that such discussions will be cut short, will be made even more subject to a strict time budget, and that any informal conversation about critical questions of a case will no longer take place, or will at least be reduced in frequency and intensity. I cannot imagine that extended teleworking will be good for the quality of the decision process of a panel. The ultimate outcome of the decision will depend even more than ever on the quality of the preparation of the case by the first examiner. Which raises the question why the EPO has “Examining Divisions” at all, rather than just individual examiners who grant patents or refuse applications. If the underlying rationale of an Examining Division is that three pairs of eyes see more than one, then the other two pairs of eyes should be given the necessary time for a thorough review of the case and the opportunity of an open and thorough discussion within the panel, which cannot always be organised in terms of the usual 0.5 or 1 hour intervals of a Video Conference. Mixing members of an ED or OD from different locations is no good idea and has never been one.

        • NHS Fights To Revive £220M Drug Patent Suit At Top UK Court

          The National Health Service argued at the U.K.’s highest court on Wednesday that its £220 million ($300 million) lawsuit accusing pharmaceutical giant Servier of dishonestly securing a patent for a blood pressure drug should be revived.

          The National Health Service has said that the lower courts were wrong to throw out its claim against the French pharmaceuticals company and its British subsidiaries over the sale of a blood pressure drug in the U.K. (iStock) The NHS said that the lower courts were wrong to throw out its claim against Servier Laboratories and its British subsidiaries over the sale of the drug…

        • Exploring Art at the European Patent Office

          On the occasion of UNESCO World Art Day, the EPO today launches its documentary “Exploring Art at the European Patent Office” which for the first time introduces the EPO art collection to a wider public.

          For 40 years, the EPO has been collecting and exhibiting international contemporary art at its sites as an expression of the great importance it attaches to art in the workplace. Now the Office opens digital doors to its significant collection on its website, which puts it on a par with other public institutions hosting art collections such as the ECB and the EIB.

          Initiated by donations of member states the collection today offers a fascinating artistic reflection on European creativity in the past decades. All works showcase a compelling artistic engagement with science and technology. In times of pandemic the EPO see it as its mission to provide a public platform for art, and so contribute to overcoming the keenly felt absence of art due to the corona restrictions.

        • Patents and the Pandemic: Can We Learn Anything?

          With the pandemic costing millions of lives around the world, and costing our economies trillions in lost output, we really should be asking whether the current system serves us well in producing vaccines, tests, and treatments. Incredibly, public debate is so dominated by the pharmaceutical industry and its allies, we are primarily seeing celebration of the system’s dubious claims to success, rather than discussions of the way in which system was and is failing us in addressing the pandemic. We also should be discussing the lessons for possible alternatives.

          Starting with the failures, while we should all be glad that we now have several effective vaccines, which a large percentage of the U.S. population has now received, the fact is that only a small portion of the world’s population has been vaccinated. In Latin America less than one percent of the population has been vaccinated and in Sub Saharan Africa the figure is less than one percent.

        • Stronger patent rights to enhance compensation claims in China [Ed: More of this “Sponsored by” nonsense ensures the publisher will never present the views of anyone who isn’t paying for. And by the way, patents are NOT right, no matter how many times lawyers repeat this lie.]

          Ming Wen and Helen Zhang of Purplevine IP explains how the evolving patents law in China will give right holders a better chance to enforce their patent rights

        • Software Patents
          • Banks Face Lawsuit ‘Frenzy’ After Business Patent Reviews End

            Lawsuits against banks and e-commerce companies over financial services patents are piling up, following the expiration of a patent office challenge process that many saw as a potent defense mechanism against some litigation.

            Nearly three times as many patent suits have been filed against financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase Bank NA and Bank of America Corp. since August 2020 as in the previous eight months, Bloomberg Law data show. E-commerce companies have also faced new patent suits.

            The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s review program for patents on business methods related to financial products or services offered companies accused of infringing them a way to challenge their validity more quickly and cheaply than in a federal district court.

            But Congress allowed the covered business method review program to expire last September. It’s one change among others at the patent office and the courts that have left banks, among other institutions, more exposed to lawsuits, attorneys say.

          • Pebble Tide, an IP Edge affiliate, loses PGR at Board

            On April 13, 2021, the Board granted Pebble Tide’s request for adverse judgment against itself and terminated PGR2020-00011, Unified Patents, LLC v. Pebble Tide LLC. After Unified filed the PGR petition, the claims in the challenged patent, U.S. Patent 10,303,411, were judged by the district court to be invalid and while Pebble Tide appealed the district court’s decision, the Federal Circuit dismissed the appeal with prejudice. The Board instituted Unified’s PGR in July 2020, before the Federal Circuit’s dismissal, and Pebble Tide attempted to file amended claims more than two months after the Federal Circuit’s dismissal. However, Pebble Tide now agrees that its motion to amend is moot and requested adverse judgment.

            The ‘411 patent had been asserted against over 25 companies, involving remote monitoring camera systems, mobile banking apps, online photo-sharing services, and auto insurance claims submission apps. All of the district court litigations have been terminated and the challenged patent is now owned by FlexiJet Technologies, Inc.

      • Trademarks
      • Copyrights
        • UK IPO publishes the 10th edition of the “Online Copyright Infringement Tracker” [Ed: UKIPO does not work for the British public but against it. It's fronting for the interests of the (mostly) US-based copyright cartel]

          The OCI report “is conducted annually to ensure that the IPO can monitor the impact of new online platforms on infringement behaviours”. The report tracks behaviours and attitudes among consumers aged over 12 years in the UK regarding online copyright infringement.

          [...]

          While cautious infringers responded better to a broad range of messages, savvy infringers reacted better to those highlighting risks to their hardware and devices (e.g., digital viruses). Savvy infringers also seemed “sceptical about the true impact of illegal access on industries or of the opinion that industries must change, not consumers”.

          The OCI report provides valuable insights into online copyright infringement and consumer behaviours, which will be beneficial when implementing policies, particularly concerning raising awareness in the fight against online piracy.

        • Hackers Use Software Cracks and BitTorrent Client to Steal Cryptocurrency

          Researchers from cybersecurity company Bitdefender are warning that hackers are using malicious software cracks to steal valuable data including cryptocurrency wallets. While compromised cracks are not new, this malware reportedly uses BitTorrent clients to transfer data and involves human operators.

        • Philippines Government & ISPs Reach Agreement to Rapidly Block Pirate Sites

          The Philippines Government and local Internet service providers have agreed to establish a voluntary mechanism through which pirate sites can be more effectively blocked. After receiving a verified complaint, the plan is for ISPs to block infringing platforms within two hours, although new legislation may be needed to speed up the initial verification process.

The Patent Battles in Europe Are Connected to the War on GNU/Linux (as a Community-Led Effort)

Thursday 15th of April 2021 10:01:15 AM

Video download link

http://techrights.org/videos/patent-catchup.webm

Summary: Monoplisers of GNU and Linux want us to think that OIN is the solution while they actively lobby for software patents in Europe and the people in charge of Europe’s second-largest institution and Europe’s largest patent office help them; this long video contains thoughts about news from the past couple of days

This video is the first one since Tuesday. Even though we’ve been under DDOS attacks since the start of February these attacks greatly intensified in recent weeks and yesterday it was the worst since it all began. DDOS attacks are possible to mitigate and prevent to a certain degree, but it is time-consuming. The good news is, no damage to data was done and we carry on as usual, unabated and undeterred. If anything, attacks serve to embolden us and indicate we’re “on the scent…” (touching what is true and may anger people with power and connections)

“DDOS attacks are possible to mitigate and prevent to a certain degree, but it is time-consuming.”Moving on, the video speaks of the lies told to JURI by EPO President António Campinos, especially his mumbling about VoIP ‘innovation’ and the UPC. All that ‘high tech’ stuff could be done several decades ago, as we noted here before. But Campinos is terrible when it comes to science and technology; he would not know that…

We then discuss this document from part 17 (published yesterday) in light of the fact that the EPO now writes statements ‘on behalf’ of the German government (who’s in charge of who?) and writes lots of lies in its ‘news’ section (here’s the latest lie about JURI and a puff piece about “art” (warning: epo.org link)), including some truly offensive lies about the EQE (IP Kat reveals there’s no imminent plan to correct that).

Finally, dealing with Free software and GNU/Linux, I discuss what large corporations like IBM (or Red Hat) plan to do for monopoly over the most widely used operating systems, aided by their sponsored lies (defamation) from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN), increasingly a corporate parrot/stooge/poodle rather than a journalist. He wasn’t always like that! We’ve recently explained why people should boycott ZDNet; it’s run by a marketing company, it’s not a news site! It still monetises the illusion (false perception) that it is a source of news…

“Finally, dealing with Free software and GNU/Linux, I discuss what large corporations like IBM (or Red Hat) plan to do for monopoly over the most widely used operating systems, aided by their sponsored lies (defamation) from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN), increasingly a corporate parrot/stooge/poodle rather than a journalist.”At the moment, or earlier this week, ZDNet’s SJVN was promoting IBM’s monopoly agenda. It’s propped up by fake solutions like OIN, which basically reinforce software patents, even after 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Alice, SCOTUS).

Here’s the latest paid-for press release [1, 2] and immediate (hours later) stenography from the corporate poodle (ads disguised as ‘journalism’). As we pointed out in Daily Links yesterday, “Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols no longer works for GNU/Linux but for monopolies trying hard to undermine it and then hijack the whole thing. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols should be treated accordingly.”

This pretty much sums up what’s covered in the above video.

Richard Stallman: Freedom is the Goal (Updated)

Thursday 15th of April 2021 09:51:06 AM




Summary: What Richard Stallman (RMS) told me in person on his trip here (I stand next to him in this video, hence he speaks to his side)

Update: Transcript below.

[00:00]

(intro music)

Roy (RSS): Let’s say you are presented with a situation where GNU/Linux gets a market share considerably above say, 50%, and a lot of people are using computers that are in many ways proprietary. They run something like the Steam Engine and they run things like proprietary drivers, how would you relate this to the goal of your work?

RMS: Well, our

[00:30]

goal is that all software be free, so that all users of software are free. If people are running mostly free software, we’ve taken a big step towards that goal, but we haven’t necessarily gotten all the way there. Because if you are running a non-free driver or a non-free application, then somebody still has a chain

[01:00]

or cords tied around part of you. So, how are we going to get all the way there? We’re going to have to make continuing efforts. And why would people do that? Only if they value freedom. If you want to reach a goal that requires a long journey the crucial point is to remember the goal. If you forget the goal, you won’t get there.

[01:30]

If we’re going to get to freedom some day, the crucial requirement is remember that freedom is the goal, teach others that freedom is the goal, so that we don’t forget it and wander off in some other direction.

Roy: To what degree to your think that GNU and the FSF should be seen as important to the focusing on freedom as the goal?

RMS: Well, I

[02:00]

already explained that. The name helps only because the name GNU is associated with our ideas and the name Linux is associated with other ideas.

Roy: Perhaps also corporate sponsorship and all kinds of sponsorships from companies …

RMS: That’s just part of the same thing.

Roy: Ok. And when it comes to software freedom, the full future with people running entirely

[02:30]

free software, are you a pessimist or an optimist?

RMS: I’m a pessimist by nature, but that’s irrelevant. We can’t see the future. The future depends on you. So instead of speculating about what the outcome’s going to be, which is not a useful question, I urge people to think about a different question, a useful question, what can I do to win

[03:00]

freedom for me and for others? That question will help you make the world a better place. Whereas thinking about whether to be pessimistic or optimistic doesn’t help anything.

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Thursday 15th of April 2021 07:35:34 AM

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors table#ipfs-table tr:nth-child(even) { background-color:#efefef; border-bottom: 2px solid #aaa; } CID Description Object type  QmXXUPdJU7uwHVX1yHVTtYVFbgSEYBRjG6vZ3erEfa2JG2 IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmY5w5kx5sFDtuwYQ4gNx99X9nRAb4xxYiiD3viMecbYPm IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  QmUz6R57xM5UWAUshxPHjUpdhBEbsEiSxX8sYbhR5U3QJU IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmdxSyftcfc7FT32fyv5rBJcx75UFJwFuEngkzQEygMBpy IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  QmUJfzq3jk2hZgRQ6bi4a7AGFMzXa46tSTjD4gywVow9Sb IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)  Qmf57HjTtCgCGc9L1U14f2H64cuWKYfYCdWgWqAgdtv66K IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  Qmc61Wt748wPVhX3ZnT2yp3gW4CS8d9EuM8RPEwY8jBMJ3 IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmX7yRseLbTg9UnjgEZUr2r4aGJVVFoacMGoNYzTULAiRh IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmeQXjcSNHGJsBoGy8uRLzXK3V9ajbWm4LoDbJMLu7W8ra

EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 18: Zero Tolerance for “Lawless Zones”?

Thursday 15th of April 2021 06:01:04 AM

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis
  6. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 6: Dr Petri Starts the Ball Rolling…
  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 7: Ms Voßhoff Alerts the Bundestag…
  8. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 8: The EPO’s Tweedledum, Raimund Lutz
  9. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry
  10. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff
  11. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Appendix (Benoît Battistelli’s Vichy Syndrome): Georges Henri Léon Battistelli and Charles Robert Battistelli
  12. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 11: The BMJV’s Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst
  13. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 12: A Worthy Successor to His Mentor?
  14. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 13: The Failed Promise of a “Good Governance” Guru…
  15. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 14: The Notorious Revolving Door
  16. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 15: Different Strokes for Different Folks
  17. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 16: An Inimitable Duo
  18. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Part 17: Jawohl, Herr Minister!
  19. You are here ☞ Zero Tolerance for “Lawless Zones”?


Heiko Maas as guest of honour at the 2014 EPO Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin.

Summary: “It comes as no surprise that Maas appeared as a guest of honour at the European Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin in 2014 where he was seen on stage clapping along with the EPO President.”

During his stint as Federal Minister for Justice (December 2013 to March 2018), Heiko Maas was fond of spouting slogans about the need for zero-tolerance for “lawless zones” (“rechtsfreie Räume”), for example in debates about FIFA abuses or discussions about the need to tackle Internet “hate speech”.

“The overriding concern of Maas in relation to the EPO appears to have been to ensure that nothing happened which might interfere with the cash flow generated by the EPO for its contracting states in the form of national renewal fees on EPO-granted patents.”He was also fond of enjoining his fellow citizens to “get up off the sofa and speak up” and not to “duck away” from confronting xenophobic political extremism.

But when it came to the EPO, it seems that Maas was more than willing to turn a blind eye to what numerous commentators have called “the last dictatorship on German soil”.


Heiko Maas: Zero tolerance for “lawless zones” – except in the case of the EPO!

The Justice Minister was evidently unperturbed by the vicious and cynical excesses of Battistelli‘s managerialist “reign of terror” à la France Telecom.

In this case Maas was quite happy to remain comfortably seated on his own ministerial sofa and to “duck away” from his responsibility to tackle the rogue international organisation with offices located on German territory in Munich and Berlin.


The Minister’s priority appears to have been to ensure that nothing interfered with the lucrative cash flow generated by EPO-granted patents.

The overriding concern of Maas in relation to the EPO appears to have been to ensure that nothing happened which might interfere with the cash flow generated by the EPO for its contracting states in the form of national renewal fees on EPO-granted patents.

It is recalled that the German slice of this “cake” in 2021 is estimated at around EUR 211 million.

“It comes as no surprise that Maas appeared as a guest of honour at the European Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin in 2014 where he was seen on stage clapping along with the EPO President.”In the German media Maas was often portrayed as an arrogant and venal character. He gives the impression of being the type of self-preening politico who would have been all too susceptible to the blandishments of the oleaginous Battistelli.

It comes as no surprise that Maas appeared as a guest of honour at the European Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin in 2014 where he was seen on stage clapping along with the EPO President.


Heiko Maas clapping along with Battistelli at the 2014 EPO Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin.

In the next part we will look at how the de facto media blackout concerning EPO affairs in Germany aided and abetted the Justice Minister in the evasion of his responsibilities in relation to EPO affairs.

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