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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 weeks 1 day ago

How We Record Videos With Very Low-Budget Gear and Only Free (Libre) Software

Wednesday 30th of December 2020 03:45:25 PM

Video download link

Summary: Some readers (or viewers) have asked us to explain how we record videos; today, for the first time, we seem to be doing that more properly and here’s an explanation of what we’ve tried and what we use currently (as of today)

A decade or so ago (slightly more) we started doing shows in audio form and occasionally experimented with video as well. That was known as TechBytes. It never really ended, but we’ve put a pause on that because my co-host Tim was between jobs and looking after 2 young children is a lot of work. I recently fired up GTK-RecordMyDesktop because I was trying to record a Downfall joke that I had subtitled (without realising it was not possible to then download the resultant video). Seeing that GTK-RecordMyDesktop was still working (it has not been updated at all for about a decade), I decided to experiment a bit with video and for webcam I went with something very simple; Cheese is widely used on GNU/Linux systems and it’s best suited for GNOME users, it’s in the Debian repositories and so on…

So I started with Cheese. Not a great choice. It seems to be better suited for taking selfies with some effects. It doesn’t do much more than that.

After a few lousy videos I started experimenting with a combination of GTK-RecordMyDesktop and Cheese (e.g. browser with Cheese on top of it, set to “always on top”/”Above Others” and a borderless window). But clearly enough there was a better way to do this, somewhere out there…

That’s when I discovered Webcamoid, which is unfortunately hosted by GitHub (Microsoft). Webcamoid is very impressive in its own right. It has even called itself “The ultimate webcam suite!” (In the page title)

Being the sort of person who sticks to old habits and what’s already rather familiar, the past couple of weeks were still spent recording everything using GTK-RecordMyDesktop, basically a graphical front end for RecordMyDesktop. I used it to make GNU tutorials almost a decade ago. It generally works, but it’s a screen grabber that has deficiencies such as major lag, low frame rate capture and so on.

It was only this afternoon that I finally found time to properly study Webcamoid, which based on information I found online is widely regarded as one of the better if not the best thing for this task. As it turns out, Webcamoid makes recording video very easy, so there’s no need for RecordMyDesktop (or GTK-RecordMyDesktop) anymore. This will certainly make life a lot easier and it also seems to enhance quality, not just simplify the whole workflow (working with several applications in tandem).

For those who asked how the videos are made, well… all I can say is, don’t be reluctant to try new things. New Free/libre software projects emerge (or get submerged) all the time and some of them are rich in features and are also mature/stable. Webcamoid has its share of bugs (I found no major bugs in RecordMyDesktop), but nothing is perfect and it costs nothing. It more importantly respects your freedom!

The video above is my first recording produced directly in Webcamoid. It’s not scripted or anything, it’s mostly a ramble, but it explains my journey (about a fortnight so far) in the world of video recording when Free (as in Freedom) is a strict requirement.

Next week when we start releasing some new leaks (not just EPO) I wish to be able to explain them not only in textual form, which lacks nuance. Obviously we’re not like some fancy newsroom or recording studio; it’s just some tiny home office at a corner of a room. But we do our best, every day, given those limited means. We don’t wish to be judged by or compared to people who do those sorts of things for a living. We have neither the experience nor the equipment/budget.

Seems Like a Lot of Free Software Projects Abandon Microsoft/GitHub These Days

Wednesday 30th of December 2020 01:46:52 PM

Video download link

Summary: The push to “delete GitHub” is proving more successful since Microsoft did what it did to YouTube-DL; we take stock of some new examples

THERE has been some good news this morning and further positive signs last night. Without going on another rant about GitHub (we explained its harms last week), let’s just say that every week we stumble upon projects that decide to delete GitHub. Sometimes they publicly cite a reason, but sometimes they do not.

There are high-profile GitHub-hosted (hence Microsoft-controlled) projects such as Rust, Curl, Godot and various other even larger projects I’ve been trying to persuade to leave GitHub for quite some time. Some progress is being made; but they have many developers, so this can take some time and a lot of effort (we aim to persuade the larger projects first).

Obviously, some smaller projects take a hike and go somewhere safer — something that’s actually based on (and remains) Free software and isn’t controlled by a company of liars, crooks, and criminals who bribe officials and attack critics by illegal and/or nefarious means. We see examples of that all the time.

Microsoft did not buy GitHub to help software freedom but to take control of it and then oppress millions of projects. It’s right there in the original plan (ambush since 2014).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Withrawing [sic] github-backup
  2. github-backup
  3. Chiaki, a free and open source PlayStation Remote Play client adds PlayStation 5 support

The War on Privacy, Bolstered by COVID Hysteria

Wednesday 30th of December 2020 01:30:08 PM

Video download link

Summary: While it is slowly turning out to be the case that novel coronavirus vaccines have limited efficacy and contact-tracing is worse than useless the surveillance capitalists together with the surveillance state wish to eliminate any remnant of personal privacy, even inside one’s home and car

THE alarming demonisation of privacy is a growing issue (we wrote several articles about that in the morning). When Edward Snowden leaked NSA documents the media bemoaned abuses of privacy. But now that there’s a pandemic the privacy-conscious people are increasingly being framed or stigmatised as selfish, highly suspicious, brainwashed nutcases who are generally a threat to the public.

A case of point was sent to us by an associate who is also a longtime reader (as long as this site has existed).

“…privacy-conscious people are increasingly being framed or stigmatised as selfish, highly suspicious, brainwashed nutcases who are generally a threat to the public.”“With the NBC article[1],” our reader noted, “the police should be able to get a warrant for the data but they should have to ask the car’s owner not Google or the car’s vendor.”

“There was another article[2] where the vehicle was stolen and the thief voice was recorded by the car and used to identify him while the car’s tracking placed him at the scene of the crime. ”

Our reader referred to it as “geofencing” and then asked, “who owns the smartphone and the data it collects?”

I decided to make a quick video about privacy (no notes or multiple takes) to express my personal views on these issues.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Insecure wheels: Police turn to car data to destroy suspects’ alibis
  2. She didn’t know her kidnapper. But he was using Google Maps — and that cracked the case.
  3. Bad Neighbors? How Amazon’s Ring Video Surveillance Could be Undermining Fourth Amendment Protections – California Law Review
  4. How your Tollway I-Pass could affect your divorce | Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C.
  5. The Illinois Tollway Turns Over Your I-Pass Data

Links 30/12/2020: Withdrawing GitHub-Backup From Debian, Dragonbox Pyra Shipping

Wednesday 30th of December 2020 12:10:18 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Server
      • 10 Linux Hardening Tips for Beginner SysAdmins

        Taking your first steps as a Linux sysadmin? Here are the OS hardening tricks you need to secure your systems.

        Linux systems are secure by design and provide robust administration tools. But no matter how well-designed a system is, its security depends on the user.

        Beginners often take years to find the best security policies for their machines. That’s why we are sharing these essential Linux hardening tips for new users like you. Give them a try.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Every Linux User Should Know Regex and Awk – YouTube

        Regex is a fundamental skill for anyone working with text streams, whether professionally or just for managing your Linux system but a lot of regex examples are needlessly complex and it doesn’t have to be like that. Regex is actually quite easy once you understand the components.

      • Vim Can Save You Hours Of Work

        I sometimes get people asking “Is learning Vim worth it?” The answer to that question is a resounding “YES!” Vim can save you so much time editing text once you learn some of the advanced features available within it.

      • mintCast 351 – Greasy Joysticks – mintCast

        First up, in our Wanderings, I nuke an SSD on accident, Joe gets buff…er, Tony fills a doggy bag, Moss is grateful, and Erik Linuxes all the things!

        Then in the news, Mint’s 20.1 Beta is available, Kentucky Fried Chicken reduces, reuses and recycles, XFCE sees an upgrade, and Gnome not far behind.

      • Perilously Precocious Predictions | LINUX Unplugged 386

        Friends join us for a special edition of the show to review last year’s predictions, and forecast the future.

        Special Guests: Alan Pope, Alex Kretzschmar, Brent Gervais, Drew DeVore, Joe Ressington, and Neal Gompa.

    • Kernel Space
      • Graphics Stack
        • Mike Blumenkrantz: poll()ing For WSI

          Any swapchain master is already well acquainted with the mechanism by which images are displayed on the screen, but the gist of it for anyone unfamiliar is that there’s N image resources that are swapped back and forth (2 for double-buffered, 3 for triple-buffered, …). An image being rendered to is a backbuffer, and an image being displayed is a frontbuffer.

          Ideally, a frontbuffer shouldn’t be drawn to while it’s in the process of being presented since such an action obliterates the app’s usefulness. The knowledge of exactly when a resource is done presenting is gained through WSI. On Xorg, however, it’s a bit tricky, to say the least. DRI3 is intended to address the underlying problems there with the XPresent extension, and the Mesa DRI frontend utilizes this to determine when an image is safe to use.

          All this is great, and I’m sure it works terrifically in other cases, but zink is not like other cases. Zink lacks direct WSI integration. Under Xorg, this means it relies entirely on the DRI frontend to determine when it’s safe to start rendering onto an image resource.

          But what if the DRI frontend gets it wrong?

          Indeed, due to quirks in the protocol/xserver, XPresent idle events can be received for a “presented” image immediately, even if it’s still in use and has not finished presenting.

        • Proposed Patches Would Enable FP16 Pixel Format Support For Older AMD GPUs – Phoronix

          Patches posted on Monday by independent open-source contributor Mario Kleiner would enable FP16 pixel format support for older generations of AMD Radeon GPUs.

          These latest patches from Kleiner would enable FP16 pixel format support for DCE8 through DCE11 display hardware, or basically Kaveri / Hawaii through Polaris.

        • Mesa’s Freedreno Gallium3D Now Exposes OpenGL 3.2 Support – Phoronix

          Mesa 21.0 has flipped on support for allowing OpenGL 3.2 contexts with the Freedreno Gallium3D driver that provides open-source GL support for Qualcomm Adreno hardware.

          OpenGL 3.1 support was advertised while all OpenGL 3.2 functionality was since wired up. Eric Anholt as a result has now exposed the OpenGL 3.2 support by flipping on GLSL 150 for Adreno 600 series and newer Qualcomm GPUs.

        • 56 Patches Volleyed For Improving Intel Linux Graphics Driver Scheduling – Phoronix

          Longtime Intel open-source graphics driver developer Chris Wilson sent out a set of 56 patches today working to improve their kernel graphics driver’s scheduling performance.

          Among the 56 patches out today include implementing support for fair low-latency scheduling based in part on BFS/MuQSS kernel scheduler concepts. There is also new infrastructure for ring scheduling and other work helping with latency reductions and support going back to Gen6 graphics.

    • Applications
      • 7 Linux Port Scanners for Admins and Enthusiasts

        Port scanners are tools that help users identify open ports on a computer network. Admins can use them for reviewing security policies and monitoring network services. Plus, an abundance of Linux port scanners makes it easy to discover sensitive network information. In this guide, we look at some of the best port scanners available for Linux users. Users just starting out can use them to gain hands-on experience with network security.

      • [Older] Best Ubuntu Screen Recorders –

        If you ever need to record your screen on Ubuntu Linux, there are a lot of tools you can use to accomplish the task. Not all Linux screen recording software is created equal, and you may find that one tool suits your scenario better than others.

        In this guide, we’re counting down our top 5 favorite screen recorders for Ubuntu. We’ll also cover their highlighted features and show you how to install and get started using each one via apt package manager on command line.

      • App Showcase: Backups – Purism

        Déjà Dup is the recommended way to backup your data on all Librem hardware. It allows you to schedule backups or restore past backups.

      • Experience alternate computing with the Pe text editor

        The Haiku operating system is a bold but successful attempt at reviving an old OS called BeOS. In the 1990s, BeOS was positioned to become the foundation for the next evolution of the Apple Mac line of computers. Back in the 1990s, Apple Inc. was poised to acquire BeOS as its next generation operating system. At the last minute, however, Apple decided the price was too steep and acquired the UNIX-based NeXT operating system instead (and so Mac OS X was born). BeOS, however, had made some remarkable progress in multi-threading, file systems and attributes, and interface design. When the company finally folded, its userbase persisted.

    • Instructionals/Technical
      • What is Kubernetes?

        Kubernetes is an open source platform originally developed by Google. Today it is supported and developed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. With Kubernetes, containers can be orchestrated. The platform enables the simplification and the automated setup, provision, operation, scaling and maintenance of the containers. It is the basis for many cloud-native applications that consist of microservices.

        The platform works on a master-slave basis with a structure consisting of pods, nodes and clusters. Containers can be operated on physical or virtual computers. Kubernetes provides a technical basis for modern cloud-native applications consisting of many individual microservices.

        Kubernetes was originally developed by Google. The software appeared for the first time in 2014. A year later, in 2015, Google donated the software to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Today it is responsible for the further development of the platform. In addition to Kubernetes, the CNCF is responsible for many other software solutions in the field of cloud native computing.

      • Top 5 OpenShift and Kubernetes guides | Enable Sysadmin

        Cloud-native applications consist of four different pillars: containerization, microservices, DevOps, and Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD). The Kubernetes platform is the de facto orchestration platform for containers while the other three components are deeply integrated into the platform itself. Red Hat OpenShift is a popular Kubernetes enterprise solution.

        As we enter 2021, we will observe more industries start to adopt container and digital transformation strategies. According to Brian Gracely, Senior Director of Product Strategy at Red Hat, adoption of Kubernetes-based strategies can help to scale and develop applications faster, and support hybrid and multi-cloud strategy.

        Here at Enable Sysadmin, we want to inform our readers about best practices for adopting and succeeding with Kubernetes. Check out our top Kubernetes and OpenShift articles of the past year. You may find a bit of practical information that you can put into your best practices today.

      • Openstack RDO && KVM Hypervisor: Deployment Java CRUD App to Tomcat 9.0.40 (MySQL 8.0.22)

        Encapsulate JDBC setup into public and afterwards in any JSP working with database we should be able import this class and invoke :-

      • Adding comments to your static blog with Mastodon

        One of the biggest disadvantages of static site generators is that they are static and can’t include comments.

        There are multiples solutions to solve this problem. You could add a third party blog engine like Disqus, but this has the drawback of including a third-party tool with a bad privacy record in your website. Another solution would be to host an open-source alternative but this comes at the cost of a higher maintenance burden. Having to host a database was something we wanted to avoid with a static site generator.

        In my opinion, a better solution is to leverage the Mastodon and Fediverse platform. Mastodon is a decentralized social network and it allows people to communicate with each other without being on the same server. It is inspired by Twitter, but instead of tweeting, you write toot.

      • How to Enable Timestamp in Linux Ping Command Output

        Learn how to enable timestamp in ping command output on Linux and UNIX systems.

      • Printing From The Raspberry PI Using CUPS

        In this guide you will be shown how to setup a printer using the Raspberry PI.

      • How To Connect To A Raspberry PI Using VNC
      • How To Connect To A Raspberry PI Using SSH
      • Create an SD-Card Using Raspberry PI Imager
      • How to enable Minimize button on Elementary OS distro

        Developers of Elementary OS has really done a good job with its Patheon desktop environment. It is really beautiful, sleek, and modern just like macOS. However, most of the time, the users of Elementary OS would face a problem when it comes to minimizing the active windows. Because there is no icon or button available to minimize.

        Well, we can get it using the elementary tweak tool, however, before that, we should know that really there is no way to minimize windows on this Linux distro.

      • How do I apply package updates to my Ubuntu system?
      • How to write FreeBSD image to USB disk for installation – nixCraft

        Explains how to write FreeBSD installer image to USB disk for installation purpose on Linux or FreeBSD system using dd command.

      • How To Prevent A Package From Upgrade In Debian, Ubuntu

        As you already know, we can upgrade all installed packages using apt upgrade command in Debian, Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems. During this upgrade process, all installed packages will be upgraded, some additional packages (i.e. dependencies) will be installed, and some unnecessary packages will be deleted. Apt package manager does all these things automatically to help the users to maintain a clean system. Apt also has an option to prevent a package from being automatically installed, upgraded or removed in Debian, Ubuntu and its variants. In this guide, we will discuss various methods to hold or prevent a package from upgrade in Debian, Ubuntu and its derivatives such as Linux Mint and Pop!_OS.

      • Running Classic MS-DOS games on the Pi 400 with RetroPie and DOSBox – YouTube

        The Raspberry Pi 400 is a complete computer with a built-in keyboard, so why not turn it into a classic PC game system? In this video, I talk about a recent project I worked on for fun where I configured RetroPie to run various MS-DOS games via DOSBox.

      • Fedora 33 : Install wordpress on Fedora distro.

        For those who are celebrating the winter holidays with the Linux operating system, I have created this little tutorial…
        First step – update and upgrade the Fedora 33 Linux distro.

      • Fedora 33 : Fixes and changes for wordpress – part 001.

        If you have the latest version of WordPress installed, then you may encounter this error when trying to add a new page or post.

      • The Linux Schools Project: System Information Page

        A new page has been added to the Web Management to show system information for the servers. This information was previously shown on other pages but moving it to one page makes it easier for administrators to see a summary for the server.

      • aria2 – A Command Line Multi-Protocol Download Tool for Linux

        aria2 is a free, open source, lightweight multi-protocol and multi-source command-line download application.

        It supports HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, BitTorrent and Metalink.

        aria2 can be manipulated via built-in JSON-RPC and XML-RPC interfaces.

        aria2 automatically checks chunks of the data when downloading a file.

    • Games
      • Bloody Service is an 80’s slasher inspired FMV and a visual novel, expect lots of death | GamingOnLinux

        Developer CASE has given us the very latest in interactive entertainment with Bloody Service, a throwback to classic 80′s slasher movies and it’s worth a look.

        Blending together a visual novel with a dark horror theme, along with FMV (full motion video), it’s an experience you’re not likely to forget any time soon. The developer said to “think of Carrie as if Carrie had a conjoined twin and loved to play tennis” so you know you’re in for something weird and dark.

    • Distributions
      • Puppy is still the mascot for EasyOS and EasyPup

        There is a security question for registration at the Easy Forum, that asks what is the mascot for EasyOS. The answer is that it is still the same little guy.


        EasyOS is a fork-of-a-fork of Puppy Linux, however, I don’t want to change the mascot. He remains the mascot forever!

      • Proposal: enhance xrandrshell to replace Zarfy

        As mentioned in that post, changing the screen after the desktop has started, is a sub-optimal way of doing it. The post mentioned using QuickSetup|xrandrshell to change the screen resolution — which uses xrandr, but if you choose to make it permanent, modifies /etc/X11/xorg.conf, so the desktop starts up first time in the desired resolution.

      • Zarfy fixed in OE

        Zarfy is a GUI for libxrandr, in particular for handling multiple monitors. Easy Buster has version 0.1.0, which works, however, Easy Dunfell has version 0.1.1, which is broken. In 0.1.1, the “-l” option, to load a configuration file, doesn’t work.
        Version 0.1.1 is not an official release, it is a fork of of the “official” project.

      • EasyOS Dunfell 0.104 released

        Ah, yes, that is due to the ‘dc’ applet in busybox being broken. After version 1.28.4, busybox ‘dc’ works differently, in conformance with the full ‘dc’ utility.
        Dunfell 0.103 and earlier has busybox 1.28.4. I have bumped it to the same as Buster, 1.32.0, and the problem has gone away.
        Actually, I had modified the scripts so they detect the old or new ‘dc’, and behave accordingly, however, that is not working for the old ‘dc’.

      • New Releases
        • Ultra-Lightweight Distribution 4MLinux 35.0 Released! Check Out What’s New

          The miniature Linux distribution 4MLinux sees a new release with stable version 35.0 that comes with updated packages and some new additions.

          4MLinux is an independent lightweight Linux distribution that focuses on Maintenance, Multimedia, Miniserver, and Mystery (a collection of classic Linux games).

          Recently the team behind 4MLinux team has announced the change of 4MLinux 35.0 series into a stable release version. As a result, the distribution underwent some changes that include updated packages and new features.

      • BSD
      • Screenshots/Screencasts
        • Deepin 20.1

          Today we are looking at Deepin 20.1. It comes with Linux Kernel 5.4 and uses about 1GB of ram when idling. Enjoy!

        • Deepin 20.1 Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Deepin 20.1

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family
        • Bluemail email client updated to 1.1.54

          BlueMail by Blix a free, beautifully designed, universal email app, capable of managing an unlimited number of mail accounts from various providers, allowing for smart push notifications and group emailing while enabling personalization across multiple email accounts. The BlueMail app connects directly to your mail server and is the perfect replacement for your stock email app.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • New Free & Community Distribution To Replace CentOS

          Red Hat recently announced that its turning the stable trusted CentOS distribution, which was a community clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, acquired by Red Hat a few years ago into a rolling release distribution called CentOS Stream.

        • Rocky Linux

          As a desktop Linux user, I haven’t been supper attentive to the CentOS drama.

      • Debian Family
        • Joey Hess: Withdrawing github-backup

          If the farce of youtube-dl being removed from github, thus losing access to all its issues and pull requests, taught us anything, it’s that having that happen does not make many people reconsider their dependence on github.


          That seems like something it might be worth building some software to manage. But it’s also just another case of Github’s mass bending reality around it; the average Github user doesn’t care about this and still gets archived; the average self-hosting git user may care about this slightly more, but most won’t get archived, even if that software did get built.

        • Debian vs Ubuntu in 2021- The Ultimate Showdown

          When it comes to Debian vs Ubuntu on the grounds of software, Ubuntu gives less importance to software licensing and cares much about usability. There are numerous differences in software policies, for example, Ubuntu has everything included in its default repository; sufficiently user-friendly. Debian has proprietary software as the least favorite as the separate repository of instructions is to be manually enabled by the user.

          Debian lacks a lot of firmware due to its kernel containing no proprietary binary large object (Blobs). And so, Debian is troublesome for firmware and drivers. Ubuntu works closely with hardware manufacturers to fix installation problems and so it possesses maximum firmware for increased usability. The reason behind the automatic installation and driver configuration of Ubuntu.

          Debian doesn’t have any PPAs while Personal Package Archives are available in Ubuntu, making it superior-easy for developers to activate with a single Linux Command. It is much easier than importing the GPG or GNU Privacy Guard and adding the repository address to the concerned configuration file.
          Everyone working for Debian is a volunteer, a set of community developers with their own set of structure and internal laws. A board of chosen developers runs the Debian atmosphere. While a company called Canonical is behind the development of Ubuntu and they have complete authority over their project. They have the potential to safely ship machines using Dell, negotiate with hardware manufacturers for better stability, and backup at times of disaster. If you run Ubuntu in a productive environment, you have Canonical on your back.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Xavier NX based edge AI system eyes large deployments

          Axiomtek’s “AIE100-903-FL-NX” is an edge AI system built around Nvida’s 6-core Carmel Arm v8.2 64-bit processor and 384-core Volta GPU. The system integrates Allxon’s device management solution.

          Axiomtek has announced its AIE100-903-FL-NX edge AI system. The box-level system is powered by the Nvidia’s Jetson Xavier NX module. The Xavier module sports a a 6-core Nvidia Carmel Arm v8.2 64-bit processor and 384-core Nvidia Volta GPU architecture with 48 Tensor cores. The system is designed for AI computing and deep learning applications, such as behavior analytics, face recognition and vehicle analysis. The box supports Linux Ubuntu 18.04, and features an operating temperature of -30°C to +50°C.

        • Contributing without Code

          Users of launchpad who contributed to Ubuntu would get karma – basically Internet Points. By early 2007 I’d amassed more karma – even more than core Ubuntu developers – by simply answering a lot of support questions, and having those answers marked as the solution. Karma on launchpad ages over time, so my ‘rank’ as shown on the ‘top contributors’ page is no longer evident. But at the time it was enough for me to be pointed out and thanked at an in person Ubuntu Developer Summit in Seville, which was nice. I wasn’t in it for the money, but a “Thank you” in front of my peers went a long way ;).

          In 2010 it was proposed that Ubuntu should create a “Stack Exchange” Q&A site to provide support for new users. Within a short period, AskUbuntu was successfully launched, and now, 10 years later, is my preferred way to provide new Ubuntu users with technical help. I’ve clocked up some 17K Internet points over on AskUbuntu for which I’m rewarded with additional site features. It’s a really effecive and friendly place to get and give support, so I’ll likely continue dipping in when I have time.

    • Devices/Embedded
      • Dragonbox Pyra begins shipping to customers (open hardware handheld gaming PC)

        The DragonBox Pyra is a handheld computer with a 5 inch display, a TI OMAP 5 processor, a QWERTY keyboard and built-in game controllers. Designed to be a hackable, open hardware device, the little PC ships with Debian Linux but supports alternate operating systems, and you can use the Pyra as a general purpose computer or a portable gaming machine.

        After years of development, the first DragonBox Pyra handheld computers are now being assembled and shipped to the first customers who placed pre-orders… although it might take a little while before all pre-orders are filled and the team behind the Pyra is ready to begin shipping units to customers who place new orders today.

      • Dragonbox Pyra open source hardware handheld Linux PC is finally shipping

        We first covered the Dragonbox Pyra in 2014 when it was described as an open-source handheld game console powered by Texas Instruments OMAP5432 SoC, or maybe AllWinner A80, Intel Bay Trail, or Qualcomm Snapdragon processors since the exact specifications were still in the works for the Pandora successor. Michael Mrozek (EvilDragon) finally decided to keep going with the OMAP5 processor due to the good documentation and software support, and pre-orders started in 2016 with a 330 to 400 Euros downpayment and no clear timeline about shipping.

      • The HSA Foundation Has Been Eerily Quiet As We Roll Into 2021 – Phoronix

        Much of the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) steam was lost when AMD began focusing on its Radeon Open eCosystem (ROCm) software stack. While AMD was just one of several founding members, there doesn’t seem to be much going on for the HSA effort as we roll into 2021 and in fact their website has been down for an extended period of time.

        There hasn’t been any real HSA news in a while since AMD began focusing on ROCm as its open-source compute stack, which recently reached version 4.0. AMD in the process of acquiring Xilinx has also been working on ROCm support for Xilinx FPGAs with AMD putting all their cards on this compute stack. Meanwhile Intel has been pushing oneAPI everywhere they can even on competitor hardware/platforms and NVIDIA remains all-in on CUDA.

      • Pumpkin i500 SBC uses MediaTek i500 AIoT SoC for computer vision and AI Edge computing

        MediaTek Rich IoT SDK v20.0 was released at the beginning of the year together with the announcement of Pumpkin i500 SBC with very few details except it would be powered by MediaTek i500 octa-core Cortex-A73/A55 processor and designed to support computer vision and AI Edge Computing.

        Pumpkin i500 hardware evaluation kit was initially scheduled to launch in February 2020, but it took much longer, and Seeed Studio has only just listed the board for $299.00.

      • IoT development board comes with AVR or PIC MCU, WiFi module
      • The official Raspberry Pi accessory distributor conundrum

        Why isn’t the Norwegian keyboard layout variant of the official Raspberry Pi keyboard accessory available for sale in Norway? Norway is the primary, if not the only, market for it. I went up the distribution chain to figure out why it isn’t available.

        I’ve been ogling the new Raspberry Pi 400: a single-board computer built into an 80s-style computer-in-a-keyboard case. It’s not currently available with a Norwegian keyboard layout. However, the top chassis of the Raspberry Pi 400, including the keyboard, is interchangeable with the official Raspberry Pi keyboard accessory. You can pop off the keyboard of a Pi 400 and swap it out with any other Raspberry Pi brand keyboard. According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the official keyboard accessory should be available in a Norwegian layout variant.

        What does “available” mean anyway? The official keyboard’s product page on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s website doesn’t list any resellers for the Norwegian layout variant in either of the available color options (red/white and black/gray). None of the companies that sell the Raspberry Pi in Norway sells any layout variant of the keyboard accessory. Neither Google Shopping nor any of the Norwegian price comparison websites can find it listed in any store. Bing and Google can’t find any Norwegian website that sells it either. The product doesn’t seem to exist.

      • 4 of the Best IoT Boards for Children – IoT Tech Trends

        Is your child interested in IoT? The best way to give them a proper introduction is through hands-on skills related to IoT boards, along with LCD displays, sensors, relays, LEDs, and other components. What you’re looking for is a child-friendly IoT board that can teach important IoT skills without requiring any prior electronics experience. Check out some of the best IoT boards for children below.

        Whether you need to acquaint your child with a single-board computer or an Arduino-based microcontroller, the following are some of the best IoT boards available for younger people. None of them require soldering, jumper wires, or any programming knowledge, so they may be a good fit even for adults who are curious about IoT.

      • 10 Things You Should Do With Your New Raspberry PI 400

        If you are reading this page then you have either just purchased or been given the Raspberry PI 400 or you are about to buy or receive the Raspberry PI 400.

        Built on the same technology as the Raspberry PI 4, the Raspberry PI 400 is a fully fledged desktop computer built into the casing of a nicely designed keyboard.

        This list highlights the first 10 things you should do when you use the Raspberry PI 400. The points below will help you get a better experience and enable you to get to know your Raspberry PI 400 and it’s capabilities.

        This guide assumes you have all the hardware you need such as a mouse, power cable, micro-hdmi to hdmi cable, a monitor and an sd-card and you have everything connected.


        It is possible to safely overclock the Raspberry PI 400 to give it a boost for some of the more resource intensive tasks.

        To overclock your PI open a terminal window by pressing ctrl, alt and t at the same time.

      • The Raspberry PI 400

        The Raspberry PI 400 is a low cost but fully functional desktop computer costing less than £100. You can perform most of your daily computing tasks with the Raspberry PI 400 and it is perfect as a first computer for younger family members although I use it as my main computer.

        The Raspberry PI 400 essentially has the same computing power as the Raspberry PI 4 which includes a Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM) processor running at 1.8 ghz. There are 4 gigabytes of RAM, bluetooth, dual-band wifi, gigabit ethernet, 3 USB ports, 2 micro-HDMI out ports and OpenGL graphics.

      • 10 Must Have Applications For The Raspberry PI 400

        This guide lists the 10 must have applications to complete the Raspberry PI 400.

        Some of the applications in this list are installed by default, and others you will need to install from the repositories.

        It is assumed that you are using Raspberry PI OS

      • Open Hardware/Modding
        • Automating an electric standing desk with Arduino

          IKEA sells – among many, many, other items – a motorized sit/stand desk called the BEKANT. Although it seems like a nice item, creator “Hardware Unknown” found having to hold a button down the entire time that it goes from one position to another to be a bit inconvenient.

          To remedy this situation, he cannibalized the stock PCB out of a spare control panel, then hooked up an Arduino Nano to emulate button presses to the board via a pair of MOSFETs. Four user input buttons were added, along with a 3D-printed enclosure for a custom controller.

        • Unused blackboard becomes vertical plotter

          The project uses a pair of NEMA 17 motors to dictate the lengths of timing belt that suspend the drawing instrument, with counterweights help keep it in position. An Arduino Mega running Makelangelo firmware controls the device, using a RAMPS 1.4 board and two A4988 stepper drivers.

        • Arduino Blog » The RoboTrombo is a MIDI-controlled robotic trombone

          Inspired by Wintergatan’s Martin Molin, iSax set out to create a MIDi-controlled robotic trombone of his own. Although the aptly named RoboTrombo may not replace professional trombone players any time soon, it’s nonetheless an impressive musical hack.

          The instrument is controlled by an Arduino Nano running Firmata, along with a host computer, and employs a variety of pneumatic and electrical actuators to produce the tunes.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Web Browsers
        • Brave adds support for IPFS distributed P2P websites

          The Brave browser recently added support for the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) protocol in its beta release channel (desktop only). IPFS is a peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol that can be used in web browsers to visit websites that are hosted by the website’s visitors instead of a central web server. This is called the distributed web. For the last two decades, the open web has been on a steady course into the hands of a few behemoth multinational companies. The distributed web is a tool that can wrangle back control from the few and hand it back to the many.

          The distributed web still hasn’t gone mainstream, and Brave’s one percent market share won’t drastically change the web’s architecture overnight. Brave’s adoption of IPFS is notable because it’s the first time an externally developed P2P protocol makes it into a web browser. Previous attempts at a P2P web browser, such as BitTorrent Maelstrom, has always been lead by the developers of the protocol. No P2P protocol has convinced a web browser vendor to integrate their protocol before.

          Previously, you’ve only been able to use IPFS in web browsers by installing a separate program and a companion extension in your web browser. Brave now comes with native built-in IPFS support. Its support isn’t quite equivalent to HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) yet, but it’s a huge leap forward for IPFS. When you open an IPFS link (ipfs://example/) in Brave, it will open it using a public web-gateway server by default. Gateways are public web servers that proxy content from the IPFS network via a traditional web server. Brave will also prompt you to enable native IPFS support, and warns you about IPFS privacy issues. More on the IPFS privacy issues later.

          Brave hasn’t developed a new implementation of IPFS. Instead, Brave ships the IPFS reference client and runs it as a helper process. I had wrongly assumed that js-ipfs, an almost fully-featured IPFS client written in JavaScript, would be the foundation of the first browser to ship with IPFS integration. Brave launches the IPFS daemon on demand when you access IPFS content. It doesn’t launch it with the browser when it’s not needed.

      • FSF
      • Programming/Development
        • z^7 Hexagonal Mandelbrot Fractal

          Every Christmas, I like to publish a fun program. Previous efforts include a brute force Sudoku solver, quaternion Mandelbrot animation and toroid animation. It is more fun if it includes fractals, spheres, toroids or hexagons. Or spherical cows or spherical reindeer. This year, I learned that there are variants of a Mandelbrot fractal which involve exponents larger than two. The result has a pleasing symmetry despite the off-by-one nature of the exponent. Specifically, zn+1 = znp + z0 has p-1 rotational symmetry and z7 has a pleasing six-way symmetry which looks like a snowflake.

        • Is An IP Address

          Python 3 knows that’s not an IPv6 address, so why doesn’t Python 2? The answer is in how differently the two Python versions handle text.

  • Leftovers
    • Apples

      The townspeople paste wax apples on the trees, glow shyly out their windows as the Dictator struts past the monument of his father strutting past nothing at all. Yesterday, the Dictator dressed the Butcher’s boy in the uniform of his own son. Today, at the orders of the Dictator, guards shot the boy.

      In the town of his childhood, the Curator is a tourist. He touches his mother with the language with which he does not touch his work. In the painting, bored bored Eve chomps on an apple. In the tongue of his work, he acquires her.

    • Random Assignment

      It seems to want to rain but can’t. It fades to pink, an argument. Relinquish the dream.

      You can’t ever get what you want, You can’t please any of the people Any of the time.

    • Opinion | On Wounded Knee: We Fight To Mend the Hoop
    • 2020: The Year Sports Should Have Stopped

      This cursed year of 2020 should be remembered as the time when sports was put in a meat grinder, mixed with all manner of offal and served to us as hope.

    • 125 years after cinema was born: Does it have a future?

      On November 1, 1895, a couple of weeks before the Lumieres, the German brothers Max and Emil Skladanowsky presented their projector. However, their device was technically inferior to the one presented by the Lumiere brothers, and it was thanks to technical superiority and commercial marketing that December 28, 1895 went down in history as the day when cinema was born.

      The age of streaming

      A century and a quarter later, that would actually be a reason to celebrate. But because of the coronavirus pandemic this year, no workshops or events have been organized — in stark comparison to events that took place five years ago when cinema turned 120. At the time, the Grand Palais in Paris recognized the achievements of the Lumiere brothers with a comprehensive exhibition.

    • Education
      • Trump Executive Order on Private School Vouchers Denounced as ‘Last-Ditch Effort to Claim Victory’ in War on Public Education

        “Trump fought against funding for public education for months, then does this as he begrudgingly signs [the] Covid relief bill.”

      • Higher Education Risks No Longer Being Worth It – Here’s How to Change Course

        Nearly all the revenue increases in higher education over the past few decades have been driven by growth in tuition, according to Fitch Ratings. And yet, the value of a bachelor’s degree has declined over these same years, manifested in the flattening of the college wage premium and rise in grade inflation.

        While one scenario is for higher education to emerge out of the pandemic with the same underlying strategy, but with some new bells and whistles, we should hope for more. Higher education should be an arena that inspires and creates. And yet, it often becomes a play pen, resource drain, and source of propaganda. Reforming higher education will require a fundamental change in incentives.

      • Inequality in Indian Education

        There was a recent article on scroll which shared how Indian education can’t go online as only a few have computers with decent netlink speeds as well as other factors which are needed for online education. But there are also many things that the article doesn’t take into account which actually make the task more difficult and raise the boundary more.

        Now in most schools and colleges, the number of students to teacher ratio could be anywhere between 70-150 or even more. In the last few years, a lot of schools have been closed down by various Governments, including and not limited to the ruling Govt. They have in fact intensified closures of public schools wherever their Govt. has been in power. Closing to 5000+ schools in one state in a year is a dramatic shift and such has been happening time and again. In fact, the rising costs of Indian education has made many to leave Indian shores and do studies abroad. And once they do their masters or whatever, the chances of them coming back to India become more and more remote. In India the costs have been becoming so bad that NBFC’s have started products targeting the same. How NBFC and Banks have (both public and private) have fared with respect to Indian consumers needs its own blog post but one word to describe it is ‘bad’. But as shared above, needs its own blog post.

        Coming to the Indian context though, what has not been captured in that article is that the responsibility of making new content also raises huge barriers for teachers. My own experience in teacher’s trainings for ICT usage has shown that most teachers do not know and use internet effectively both to sustain their own curiosity as well as their students. Part of which is whether you are private employee or a public school teacher, the teacher is not paid enough. I have had multiple conversations with friends over the years who are teachers who shared that they get 50% salary in-hand while they sign for 100%. This is more in the case or private schools though. In Govt. schools, the teachers apart from their regular administrative duties apart from teaching duties are also unpaid labor for Govt. policy. Take the recent covid crisis, it was the teachers who for months together went from door-to-door asking if they had a covid patient. This was all over India. Even for voter registration, census, polio and various other immunization efforts, the teachers are roped in. So apart from that, they somehow have to figure out how to make ends meet and also boost student morale. Hence the attention is only limited to the first couple of benches rather than the whole as a 45-minute to an hr. session is just not enough to go through a class of 70-150 school students giving individual attention. And this is when for most teachers, teaching is a means to an end and not the end itself.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • In ‘Monumental Win for Reproductive Freedom,’ Mass. Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto to Affirm and Expand Abortion Rights

        A coalition of supporters celebrated the development as “an important step in removing medically unnecessary barriers to abortion care.”

      • Mangal and Mirabai: Sisters in Farmers’ Struggle

        But one seat next to Mangal Ghadge is conspicuously empty. She does not allow anyone to sit there – it’s ‘reserved’. Then Mirabai Lange walks up to the van, sits in that empty space and adjusts her saree, while Mangal puts her arm around her shoulders. The door shuts, and Mangal tells the driver, “Chal re [Let’s go].”

        Both Mangal, 53, and Mirabai, 65, are from Shindwad village in Nashik’s Dindori taluka. However, it’s not their decades in the same village but the last few years that have cemented their bond. “We are busy with work and home in the village,” says Mangal. “At protests, we have more time to chat.”

      • Trump Administration Rejects Scientists’ Advice on Nutrition, Maintaining Guidelines for Sugar and Alcohol

        “Again going against scientific advice, again failing the people they serve.”

      • Fauci Describes Vaccine Rollout as “Below Where We Want to Be” Right Now
      • Covid-19 and the Nightmare of Food Insecurity

        As autumn fades and winter looms, the dire predictions public health experts made about Covid-19 have, unfortunately, proven all too accurate. On October 27, 74,379 people were infected in the United States; less than a month and a half later, on December 9, that number had soared to 218,677, while the 2020 total has just surpassed 15 million, a number no other country, not even India, which has a population three times that of the United States, has surpassed.

      • Opinion | Biden to Invoke Defense Production Act for Vaccine Manufacture. Trump? Playing Golf at Mar-a-Lago

        Trump really just doesn’t care.

      • Getting COVID Vaccines to Rural Areas Is Harder Than It Looks
      • Trump’s Covid Aid Shenanigans Were All About Me Me Me
      • COVID-19 Learns From Experience, Unlike Boris Johnson and His Crew
      • Advocates Call for Medical Parole to Avoid ‘Unintentional Death Sentences’ as Covid-19 Ravages US Prisons

        “The bottom line is, there are still thousands of people who are at very high risk of death trapped in a prison system where there’s no way that they can avoid the virus.”

      • Calling Covid-19 Crisis a ‘Wake-Up Call,’ WHO Experts Warn Next Pandemic Could Be Even Worse

        “This pandemic has been very severe… it has affected every corner of this planet. But this is not necessarily the big one.”

      • 2020

        We’ve had a year, you must admit, Whose misery would just not quit. At last, we offer this obit: We’re glad to see the back of it.

      • Spread Far and Fast

        The new disease, public officials said as people began to fall ill with unfamiliar symptoms, was “trifling” and “nothing to worry about provided ordinary precautions were taken.” It was just the flu. In Spain, one newspaper said all that people needed to overcome it was “three days’ bed rest and a medicine cabinet.” In the United States, as cases began to multiply, people were told that their government was working “to confine this disease to its present limits, and in this we are sure to be successful.” But that did not happen. Instead, it spread with astonishing rapidity from country to country, continent to continent. Medical

      • Chinese Government Sentences Journalist To Four Years In Jail For Reporting On The Spread Of The Coronavirus

        Shortly after the coronavirus started showing up everywhere uninvited, President Trump decided to amplify his China-centric trade war with a war of words, referring to the new virus as the “China virus.” The Chinese state media responded by suggesting the United States was actually the source of the virus, and then everything just kind of went to hell for awhile. Both countries took turns throwing each other’s journalists out — something that made a lot of noise but didn’t really accomplish anything.

      • Student Privacy and the Fight to Keep Spying Out of Schools: Year in Review 2020

        With millions of students studying from home to stay safe from COVID-19, new threats have popped up.

        Before the pandemic, the school panopticon toolkit was already wide-ranging. Many schools relied on cameras and microphones installed in buildings to watch students go about their day. The cameras might be equipped with facial recognition; the microphones might have “aggression detection” capabilities. Facial recognition is a biased technology, and cities have started banning government use of face surveillance because of this issue. Aggression detection technology simply doesn’t work.

        Some software scans students’ social media posts, both during and after school hours. Schools can even track students’ personal devices (as opposed to school-issued), by requiring the use of a certain kind of security certificate to use the school Internet, thus giving administrators the ability to monitor browser history and messages students send. These technologies cause real harm, including disproportionately impacting students of color and causing mental health issues. And knowing they might be punished for speaking up— like the Georgia student suspended for posting about inadequate coronavirus mitigation measures—is inherently chilling to students’ freedom of expression.

      • Taiwanese have 3,400 times lower chance of dying from Covid than Americans

        In order to highlight the stark difference in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic between Taiwan and the U.S., Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on Monday posted a tweet in which he compared the odds of death if an American had moved to one of the many countries that had better managed their domestic coronavirus outbreaks since the start of the pandemic in January. Frieden started by stating that if a person had moved to Denmark, Norway, or Finland in January, their chances of dying would have been five to 10 times lower than the U.S. for this year.

        If an American had moved to South Korea, Liberia, or Hong Kong, their odds of dying would have been 50 to 60 times less. If they had opted for New Zealand, the likelihood of them dying would be 200 times lower.

      • Operation Warp Speed at a crawl: Adequately vaccinating Americans will take 10 years at current pace

        The Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine distribution program needs a major shot in the arm because at the current rate, it would take almost 10 years to inoculate enough Americans to get the pandemic under control, a jarring new NBC News analysis showed Tuesday.

        The goal of Operation Warp Speed, a private-public partnership led by Vice President Mike Pence to produce and deliver safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines to the public, is to ensure that 80 percent of the country’s 330.7 million people get the shots by late June.

      • Dietary guidelines urge no added sugar for babies, toddlers under age 2

        The guidelines stop short of two key recommendations from scientists advising the government. The advisers said in July that everyone should limit their added sugar intake to less than 6 percent of calories and that men should limit alcohol to one drink a day.

      • California nurse tests positive over a week after receiving Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • VMware Sues Former Executive Who Left for CEO Job at Nutanix

          VMware’s lawsuit against Ramaswami, who was named CEO on Dec. 9, was filed Monday in California state court in San Jose. The company accused its former chief operating officer of products and cloud services of meeting with Nutanix executives and board members while helping VMware craft a strategy and acquisitions road map. VMware, majority owned by Dell Technologies Inc., said the executive’s actions and knowledge of its plans has caused “irreparable injury.” Nutanix, which wasn’t named as a defendant in the suit, called the case “misguided” and said it’s an attempt by VMware to hurt a competitor.

        • He spent 10 days in jail after facial recognition software led to the arrest of the wrong man, lawsuit says

          Investigators relied on facial recognition software to identify Parks as a suspect in crimes that occurred the afternoon of Jan. 26, 2019, at the Hampton Inn hotel on Route 9 North in Woodbridge.

          This kind of software has been criticized for its heavy reliance on billions of social media photos to identify criminal suspects. The use of such software has now been banned by the state of New Jersey.


          The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office offered Parks a deal: In exchange for a guilty plea, he would serve six years in prison with no early release until he’d served 85 percent of his sentence. He would also be on parole for three years after his release.

          If he went to trial, the prosecutor intended to seek a sentence of 20 years or more based on his previous criminal history, Parks said.


          Sexton said the software clearly led to his client’s false arrest.

        • Security
          • Jo Christian Oterhals: What did we learn from an astronomer’s hacker hunt in the 80′s? Apparently, not too much

            Computer security has seen its share of mind-boggling news lately. None more mind boggling than the news about how alleged Russian hackers installed a backdoor into the IT monitoring product Solarwind Orion. Through this they got got entrance into the computer systems of several US agencies and departments — ironically even into the systems of a cyber security company (Fireeye) and Microsoft itself . The news made me think of my own history with computer security, and down memory lane I went.

            One particular day in late July or early August 1989 my parents, sister and me were driving home from a short summer vacation. At a short stop in a largish city, I had found a newsstand carrying foreign magazines. There I’d bought a copy of PC/Computing’s September issue (to this day I don’t understand why American magazines are on sale a couple of months before the cover date) so that I had something to make time in the backseat pass faster.


            But my guess is that the IT department assessed the digital competence of the parliament members and concluded that it was too low for them to handle strong passwords and managing two-factor authentication.

          • Kali Linux + Mr. Robot ARG Society

            Many of you may have known about the show Mr Robot and its unique connection to Kali Linux. But there is a little bit more that we have not talked about due to NDAs. But it appears the mystery is over, the red tape has been removed, and we now wanted to take a moment to share it with everyone.

            We had a relationship with Mr Robot, which started during the filming of the 2nd season. While the 1st season was running, we were approached at BlackHat 2015 to give our permission to use Kali in the show. We worked out the legal parts of things (it’s legal to use Kali in media, we don’t care, but studios want that in writing), and starting in the 2nd season from time to time the production staff would reach out to us to ask us questions, have us provide them graphics, provide them with specific versions of Kali that were public on specific dates, and similar to keep the show accurate. We were very impressed with the efforts to keep the show grounded while still carrying on a strong hacking focused narrative.


            Any show would be nothing without an audience to watch it. Mr Robot is no exception, and after millions of people watched it, communities started to formed (either online or in person). People would discuss previous episodes, predict theories of where the show was going to go, and have watching parties. Its not un-common for shows to have “Easter eggs” embedded in them (these can be are little gems hidden in plain sight, which may give a “head nod” to something, or a spoiler for a up coming event). They are hunted after by people, and adds another level of excitement to re-watch a show. Mr Robot has plenty of them. But where Mr Robot is unique to any other show out, there is (for the time being) an various online elements which links beautifully back into the show. In a sense, these are mini “spin offs” to the show, allowing for people to go further, get interactive and solve challenges in the Mr Robot universe. One (of a few) domains is “Who Is Mr Robot“, which is where there was a lot of focus to solve its challenge(s). This was made up of a collection of virtual terminals all from the show, which has a series of technical challenges to solve.

          • AES-NI XTS To See 2~3x Performance Recovery After Regressing Hard From Retpolines

            It turns out the Intel/AMD AES-NI implementation of XTS regressed hard from the Retpolines functionality merged nearly three years ago for mitigating Spectre… But now the crypto performance with the AES-NI XTS implementation is set to recover from that regression with a huge improvement thanks to a new set of patches.

            It seems AES-NI XTS performance regressing hard from Retpolines went unnoticed when mitigating Spectre. This happened due to extensive use of indirect calls when processing small quantities of data. But thankfully Ard Biesheuvel investigated it and worked out a backport-friendly fix to address most of the regression. But then for future kernel releases is also a rewritten XTS implementation that is more flexible and avoids the nasty issues that led to the poor performance in the first place under Retpolines.

          • Finnish Parliament targeted in hacking, e-mails of lawmakers possibly compromised

            Muurman told Helsingin Sanomat that the identify of the attacker or attackers has yet been determined and that it remains premature to speculate whether or not they can be brought to justice.

          • How A Cybersecurity Firm Uncovered The Massive Computer [Attack]

            Multiple U.S. agencies were successfully [cracked], including the departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security as well as the National Institutes of Health.

            The [attackers] attached their malware to a software update from Austin, Texas-based company SolarWinds, which makes software used by many federal agencies and thousands of private companies to monitor their computer networks.

          • Microsoft: SolarWinds hackers’ goal was the victims’ cloud data [Ed: Damage limitation efforts by Microsoft, with their PR amplified by friendly sites]

            As the Microsoft 365 Defender Team explains, after infiltrating a target’s network with the help of the Sunburst backdoor, the attackers’ goal is to gain access to the victims’ cloud assets.


            The threat actors behind the SolarWinds hack first had to compromise the SolarWinds Orion Platform build system and abuse it to deliver a backdoor injected as a legitimate DLL via the software update system.

            Once the DLL is loaded after the application is started, the backdoor would reach out to its command-and-control server and allow the threat actors to infiltrate the network.

          • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Defence/Aggression
      • Western Sahara Remains a Crucial Legitimizing Crutch for the Moroccan Monarchy

        As the protesters neared Rabat’s central boulevards they were halted and corralled by armored personnel carriers, water cannons, and phalanxes of riot police. After blocking access to the entire area, the diminutive protest was, as is fairly common, declared “unauthorized” and the assembled protestors brusquely expelled. Needless to say, these events went unmentioned in the state-aligned media, which has remained hushed on the deal since its announcement. Long anxious about publicly advertising its intimate alliance with Tel Aviv, the Moroccan government is certainly sighing in relief at the muted and managable anger its decision has occasioned. It will be unsurprising if it moves, like the UAE, to criminalize criticism of its relations with Israel.

        But as little popular contestation as there is about the abandonment of Palestine in the kingdom, there is none whatsoever about the ancillary reward the monarchy has accepted for normalizing relations with Israel – Washington’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara. For as few of the brave demonstrators as there were in Rabat on Monday to oppose the normalization of Israel’s occupation, there were no expressions of solidarity with the other denial of self-determination enshrined in the deal. And there essentially never have been, for the Sahrawi cause finds even fewer vocal sympathizers in Morocco than the Palestinian one does inside the self-styled Jewish State.

      • UN Human Rights Expert Urges US to Lift Sanctions That ‘May Exacerbate the Already Dire Humanitarian Situation in Syria’

        After nearly a decade of war, the special rapporteur noted, Syrians are living with “extensively damaged houses, medical units, schools, and other facilities.”

      • An Open Letter to Biden: Selecting a CIA Director

        I’m assuming that you and your team are still debating the selection of a director for the Central Intelligence Agency.  I hope that you don’t think me presumptuous for making some suggestions.  I’m doing this on the basis of my 24 years of experience as a CIA intelligence analyst as well as my candid testimony before the Senate intelligence committee several decades ago regarding the confirmation process.

        I believe that CIA leadership is particularly important at this juncture if the agency is to regain its credibility.  Donald Trump’s efforts to politicize the intelligence community combined with the unfortunate appointment as director of Gina Haspel, who was heavily involved in the torture and abuse program, have undermined that credibility.  Haspel’s confirmation created cynicism toward the process among many CIA officials—both active and retired.  I’m also concerned that the media rumors point to the possible appointment of Mike Morell, who has been actively campaigning for the assignment, to succeed Haspel.  This would be particularly unfortunate given Morell’s active denial of the illegality and immorality of the torture program as well as his defense of the destruction of the torture tapes.

      • Ignoring the Church’s calls Defrocked Orthodox priest Sergii Romanov arrested during raid on monastery

        In the early hours of December 29, a SWAT team stormed the Sredneuralsk Women’s Monastery outside of Yekaterinburg and arrested Sergii Romanov — one of the region’s most well-known priests, who was excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church earlier this year. Romanov was taken to Moscow where a district court remanded him in custody for the next two months on charges of inciting minors to suicide, violating freedom of conscience and religion, and arbitrariness. Following Romanov’s arrest, his supporters have been gathering outside of the monastery and refusing to allow anyone to enter the grounds, for fear that the Yekaterinburg diocese will take back control of the convent.

      • In Like Flynn
      • Recidivist Criminal and Constitutional Outlaw Trump Rushes to Pardon Criminal Lawbreakers

        Trump thrills at what he considers his absolute power to pardon, including family members and himself. He is wrong. No constitutional right or power is pursued at all costs. All have limits. The power to pardon is limited at least by prohibitions on bribery, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and the 400-year honored maxim that “no man can be a judge in his own case.” Further, the Constitution’s framers specifically described corruptly motivated pardons as impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors and specifically authorized criminal prosecution of the President after impeachment and removal from office. The latter would become an overthrow of lawful orders with presidential self-pardons.

        No president has displayed the audacity or depravity to self-pardon. In 1974, the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department concluded that the president cannot self-pardon.

      • 9-Year-Old Ali Kinani Was Among Victims of Killers Pardoned by Trump
      • “Blackwater’s Youngest Victim”: 9-Year-Old Ali Kinani Was Among Victims of Trump’s Pardoned Killers

        President Trump’s pardon of four former Blackwater contractors convicted for their role in a massacre in Baghdad has sparked outrage in Iraq. The Blackwater guards include Nicholas Slatten, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the 2007 Nisoor Square massacre, when he and other Blackwater mercenaries opened fire with machine guns and grenades on a crowded public space in Baghdad, killing 17 unarmed civilians, including women and children. The youngest victim was a 9-year-old named Ali Kinani. We re-broadcast clips from a short documentary, “Blackwater’s Youngest Victim,” by The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill and filmmaker Rick Rowley, that first aired on Democracy Now! in 2010.

      • Lawyer Paul Dickinson: The U.S. Promised Iraqis Justice. Trump’s Blackwater Pardons Took It Away.

        President Trump’s pardon of four former Blackwater contractors has sparked outrage in Iraq and in the United States. Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted in the killing of 14 Iraqis in 2007, when contractors for the mercenary firm opened fire on civilians in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square. The four Blackwater guards were convicted in 2014 after years of painstaking work by investigators and prosecutors to address one of the most infamous chapters of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Paul Dickinson, who was the lawyer for several victims of the Blackwater massacre, says Trump’s pardons are a fresh insult to Iraqis who lost loved ones and who were promised justice would be served. “Now, after the promises that we made to each one of these victims that we were going to hold people accountable for their criminal actions abroad, that has been taken away from them,” he says.

      • Bernie Sanders Vows to Filibuster Military Budget to Force Vote on $2,000 Checks
      • ‘This Is No Bluff’: Sanders Vows to Filibuster Military Budget to Force Senate Vote on $2,000 Checks

        “It would be unconscionable, especially after the House did the right thing, for the Senate to simply leave Washington without voting on this.”

      • 19 House Democrats Join Ro Khanna in Voting Against Bloated Military Budget
      • Ro Khanna Applauds 19 House Democrats Who Joined Him in Voting No on ‘Bloated’ $740 Billion Military Budget

        “They are changing the culture of endless war and calling for more investment instead in the American people.”

      • Russian Investigative Committee launches case against Navalny for large-scale fraud

        The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case for large-scale fraud against opposition figure Alexey Navalny, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday, December 29. 

      • Russian advocacy group for victims of domestic violence declared a ‘foreign agent’

        The anti-domestic violence advocacy group “” (No to Violence) has been officially recognized as a “foreign agent,” the Russian Justice Ministry announced in a press release on Tuesday, December 29.

      • Boston Dynamics robots take over the dance floor in latest video

        Boston Dynamics was recently purchased by Hyundai, which bought the robotics firm from SoftBank in a $1.1 billion deal. The company was originally founded in 1992 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where it became known for its dog-like quadrupedal robots (most notably, the DARPA-funded BigDog, a precursor to the company’s first commercial robot, Spot.) It was bought by Alphabet’s X division in 2013, and then by Softbank in 2017.

      • The International Criminal Court: Now Simply Indefensible

        Support for the rule of international law, and for the institutions which uphold it, is one of the principles of this blog. I have therefore always been extremely keen to defend and support the International Criminal Court, despite widespread criticism that it is simply a tool for use against leaders in the developing world and other opponents of the neo-con world order. I maintained that the standard of justice and investigation in the cases it did consider was generally good, and the need was to widen its ambit.

      • Why Senators Must Reject Avril Haines for Intelligence

        Even before President-elect Joe Biden sets foot in the White House, the Senate Intelligence Committee may start hearings on his nomination of Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence.

      • Opinion | Why Senators Must Reject Avril Haines for Intelligence

        Haines is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    • Environment
    • Finance
      • Opinion | The Seven Secrets of 2020

        This year has resembled a rapidly receding tide, forcing us to confront submerged truths. One lesson we learned in 2020 is that national governments had been choosing not to exercise their enormous powers so that those whom globalization had enriched could exercise their own.

      • The Wealth Inequality Virus is Surging

        Below is a table based on the Federal Reserve Board Figures. The quarters selected represent the height of the wealth of the 1% during the Bush regime (2007Quarter 3) which was before the Great Recession, their wealth at the start of Obama’s presidency (2009Q1), at the end of his first term (2016Q4), at its high point, (2016Q3), and in his last quarter in 2016. For Trump, the numbers are for his first quarter in 2017, the high point which was just before the pandemic (2019Q4), the first quarter of 2020 that covers the onset of the pandemic, and the most recent figures that cover the third quarter of 2020.

        What the Fed figures show is just how well the top 1%, as a group, have been doing. The recovery of their nominal wealth from the negative impact of the great recession took about five years to exceed the high point achieved before the great recession. By contrast, under Trump, despite both the pandemic and economic decline, the recovery of the wealth of the 1% from its decline in the first quarter of 2020 back to its high point at the end of 2019, was not only reached in less than a year, but is even 4% greater.

      • ‘Err on the Side of Helping People’: AOC Slams Blue Dog Democrat for Opposing $2,000 Relief Checks

        “Is this really a good reason to block aid for millions?” the congresswoman asked, after Rep. Kurt Schrader claimed direct payments would provide too much support to people “making six figure incomes.”

      • McConnell Rejects Initial Moves to Pass $2,000 Stimulus Bill
      • Joseph Stiglitz on the Pandemic Economy & Why He Backs Sanders’ Filibuster for $2000 Stimulus Checks

        The House of Representatives has voted to approve a measure that would increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, sending the bill to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has said he will filibuster to delay an override on President Trump’s veto of this year’s $740 billion defense spending bill unless the Senate also holds a vote on the $2,000 checks. At least 12 Republicans would need to join with the Senate’s 48 Democrats to reach the necessary 60 votes to approve the increased payments. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is standing in the way of not just expanded stimulus payments, but a whole range of policies he has refused to bring to the floor of the Senate. “We think of ourselves as a democracy, but this one person has blocked the ability of the Senate to go on record of saying whether they’re for or against a whole variety of measures that large numbers of Americans think are important,” Stiglitz says. He also discusses the global economic crisis.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Opinion | The Union Members Who Voted for Trump Have to Be Organized—Not Ignored

        If the Left is to win progressive policies (and the next presidential election), it needs a militant labor movement.

      • Why Not Take Congressional Proxy Voting All the Way?

        US Representative Paul Mitchell (R-MI) gave his proxy to US Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA)  in early December, declaring by tweet that “I will not risk my family’s health in order to vote on key items.”

        Fast food cooks and grocery store cashiers don’t get to assign their work to proxies. They show up each day or lose their jobs, risking their health with every shift. Apparently Mitchell doesn’t consider his job as important as flipping burgers or bagging beer and bagels. But he still wants to collect that paycheck while someone else covers for him.

      • Kelly Loeffler’s Sacrilegious Campaign

        Kelly Loeffler’s relentless assault on the religious faith of the Rev. Raphael Warnock, her challenger in the January 5 Georgia runoff that could decide control of the US Senate, has been characterized by deliberate mischaracterizations of the pastor’s sermons and the Christian Scriptures on which they are based. At rallies, in media appearances and in their only runoff campaign debate, the appointed Republican incumbent has attacked her Democratic rival for preaching a social gospel rooted in New Testament teaching,

      • Opinion | Donald John Trump’s “Seditious Abuse”

        As we come to the end of four rotten years, the child king spends his final days throwing an extra ton of trauma-inducing tantrums.

      • Opinion | Hey, America, You Want a True Conservative Party?

        We’ve already got one: it’s called the Democrats.

      • Endings for Beginnings: Reaching a Brexit Deal

        Johnson’s lectern mood was stubbornly confident.  On December 24, he reiterated the reclaiming of British sovereignty, making the dubious assertion that “we left on Jan 31 with that oven-ready deal.”  (The ingredients for the meal still had yet to be gathered.)  Now, he could boast that, “we have completed the biggest trade deal yet, worth £660 billion,” likening it to a “Canada style free trade deal between the UK and the EU” that would preserve jobs in the country.

        UK goods and components could continue being sold without tariffs and quotas within the EU market.  There would “be no palisade of tariffs on Jan 1.  And there will be no non-tariff barriers to trade.”  But even better, praised Johnson, the deal “should allow our companies and our exporters to do even more business with our European friends.”  Keeping in mind his Brexit audience, he insisted that Britain had “taken back control of laws” and “of every jot and tittle of our regulation.”  British laws would not be subjected to EU scrutiny; the European Court of Justice would no longer be an irritating final arbiter of UK cases.  British standards – from the biosciences to financial services – would be British and British alone.


        In reality, this means that the spirited message of taking back control of the seas has failed, at least for the period when adjustments will have to be made. This caused considerable displeasure to Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, who accused British diplomats of dropping “the ball before the line” in a “fisheries sell-out”.

        While the deal is unlikely to be sabotaged when Parliament is reconvened, members will only have the shortest of time to consider a bulky document. As one MP told Fraser Nelson of The Spectator, the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost “might have missed something. He’s a good negotiator but he’s not Einstein.” The EU also had the better legal eagles; those from the UK had never wanted Britain to leave the EU in the first place.

        Staunch remainers such as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon see little to merit the arrangements, positioning her nation for the spring. “Before the spin starts, it’s worth remembering that Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will.” No deal would be able to “ever make up for what Brexit takes away from us. It’s time to chart our own future as an independent, European nation.”

      • Trump’s Stimulus and Defense Shenanigans Are Having Ripple Effects in Georgia
      • Civil Rights Groups Fight Back Against Georgia’s Voter Purges
      • Citing Violation of Federal Law, Judge Halts Voter Purges in Rural Georgia Counties Ahead of Senate Runoffs

        Officials in Muscogee and Ben Hill Counties used little concrete evidence to defend their purge of more than 4,000 voters, a U.S. district judge found. 

      • Purge of 4,000 Georgia Voters Violated Federal Law, Judge Rules
      • The ‘Moderate’ Rot at the Top of the Democratic Party

        For OMB director, Biden selected corporate centrist Neera Tanden, whose Center for American Progress thrives on the largesse of wealthy donors representing powerful corporate interests. Tanden has been a notably scornful foe of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing; former Sanders speechwriter David Sirota calls her “the single biggest, most aggressive Bernie Sanders critic in the United States.” Who better to oversee the budget of the U.S. government?

        For Secretary of State, Biden chose his longtime top foreign-policy adviser, whose frequent support for U.S. warfare included pushing for the disastrous 2011 military intervention in Libya. Antony Blinken is a revolving-door pro who has combined his record of war boosterism with entrepreneurial zeal to personally profit from influence-peddling for weapons sales to the Pentagon. Who better to oversee diplomacy for the U.S. government?

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Section 230 Isn’t A Subsidy; It’s A Rule Of Civil Procedure

        The other day Senator Schatz tweeted, “Ask every Senator what Section 230 is. Don’t ask them if they want to repeal it. Ask them to describe it.”

      • When You Can’t Innovate, You Litigate: Oracle Gleefully Takes Credit For Attacks On Section 230 And Google

        A few weeks ago, Oracle announced that it was moving its headquarters out of Redwood Shores, in the middle of Silicon Valley, to Austin, Texas. The move is more symbolic than anything else. The company told employees they can continue working from wherever they want and founder Larry Ellison sent an email to all employees saying he’ll be working from the island of Lanai, which he purchased a few years ago. But the symbolism of the move works in multiple ways. Despite being founded and headquartered in Silicon Valley for almost half a century, Oracle has long represented the anti-Silicon Valley approach to innovation.

      • McConnell ties full repeal of Section 230 to push for $2,000 stimulus checks

        Democratic party leaders criticized the inclusion of Section 230 repeal as an effort to scuttle stimulus talks. “Senator McConnell knows how to make $2,000 survival checks reality and he knows how to kill them,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement Tuesday. “Will Senate Republicans go along with Sen. McConnell’s cynical gambit or will they push him to give a vote on the standalone [bill]?”

        McConnell’s bid for a full repeal of Section 230 comes amid increasingly chaotic negotiating over the level of direct payments to be included as part of stimulus efforts. On Sunday, President Trump signed into law Congress’ $900 billion COVID-19 relief and government spending package that would provide $600 in stimulus payments to most Americans. In a public statement after signing the bill, Trump urged congressional leaders to hold a standalone vote on increasing direct payments to $2,000.

      • Mitch McConnell Using Section 230 Repeal As A Poison Pill To Avoid $2k Stimulus Checks

        As you likely know by now, President Trump is trying to use his last few weeks in office to use various levers of power remaining to him to make sure he fucks up the open internet. However, he also threw a wrench in the works of the long-overdue and way too small COVID relief package by saying that the checks to individuals should be $2,000 rather than $600. He’s not wrong, but it was bizarre that his own White House was part of the negotiations that made sure the checks were smaller. It’s almost as if the President and his own administration don’t communicate very much.

      • McConnell Objects as Sanders, Senate Democrats Attempt to Force Vote on $2,000 Checks

        “Working families need help now. Not next year, now,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
      • UN independent expert asks outgoing US president: Pardon Wikileaks’ Assange

        He made the case that Mr. Assange had never hacked, stolen or published false information, nor caused reputational harm through any personal misconduct, pointing out that whether one agrees or disagrees with their publications, “they clearly cannot be regarded as crimes”.

        The Special Rapporteur upheld that Mr. Assange had obtained his information from “authentic documents and sources in the same way as any other serious and independent investigative journalists conduct their work”.

        Don’t shoot the messenger

        The independent expert explained his request, saying that prosecuting Mr. Assange for publishing true information about serious official misconduct would amount to “shooting the messenger” rather than correcting the problem he exposed.

        Moreover, it would be incompatible with the core values of justice, rule of law and press freedom, as reflected in the American Constitution and US-ratified international human rights instruments.

      • Fifty journalists killed in 2020, targeted in ‘barbaric murders’, watchdog says

        Fifty journalists and media workers were killed in connection with their work in 2020, the majority in countries that are not at war, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Tuesday.

      • UN rapporteur on Assange: ‘The US is trying to criminalize investigative journalism’

        Nils Melzer: The legal proceeding in itself is not respecting the basic standards of human rights, of due process and the rule of law. Already, the motivation behind the extradition request is not in compliance with basic legal standards, with the protections of freedom of the press and so on. Julian Assange is being prosecuted by the United States for espionage, just because he practiced investigative journalism.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Opinion | A Deportation Moratorium, What Comes Next for Biden?

        A deportation moratorium is a critical step to repairing the harm that has been waged against our immigrant communities and reimagining our existing system.

      • Opinion | 2020 Has Shown Us the Way Forward

        A new kind of social justice movement has risen above the misery of 2020, and it has taken root in our common humanity.

      • U.S. activist ordered to leave Russia taken from her home by police

        On Tuesday, December 29, police officers in Moscow took American human rights lawyer Vanessa Kogan — the executive director of the rights group Justice Initiative, who was recently ordered to leave Russia — from her home and detained her at a police station, Justice Initiative spokesperson Ksenia Babich told Mediazona. 

      • Russian film director charged for underwear protest outside FSB headquarters

        Law enforcement officers have written up Russian film director Vitaly Mansky for the administrative offense of taking part in an unauthorized demonstration (under article 20.2, section 5 of the Administrative Code), lawyer Alena Borisova from the rights group Pravozashchity Otkrytki told MBX Media. 

      • Trump Signs Tibetan Policy And Support Act Into Law, Prompting Warnings From Beijing

        Formerly an independent nation, Tibet was invaded and incorporated into China by force nearly 70 years ago, following which the Dalai Lama and thousands of his followers fled into exile in in India and other countries around the world. Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting separatism in Tibet.

      • Section 215 Expired: Year in Review 2020

        In the week before the law expired, the House of Representatives passed the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, without committee markup or floor amendments, which would have extended Section 215 for three more years, along with some modest reforms. 

        As any cartoon viewer knows, in order for any bill to become law, the House and Senate must pass an identical bill, and the President must sign it. That didn’t happen with the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act. Knowing that House’s bill would fail in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought a bill to the floor that would extend all the expiring provisions for another 77 days, without any reforms at all. Senator McConnell’s extension passed the Senate without debate.

        But the House of Representatives left town without passing Senator McConnell’s bill. That meant that Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, along with the so-called lone wolf and the roving wiretap provisions expired. Section 215 is best known as the law the intelligence community relied on to conduct mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone records, a program held to be likely illegal by two federal courts of appeals. It has other, largely secret uses as well.

      • Black Lives Matter and the Future of Humanity

        If we view various forms of domination as forming a ball of twine, we can see how pulling on one string can start to unravel the whole thing. Approaching racism, patriarchy, and class exploitation, for example, as interlocking and mutually reinforcing, organizing against any one of these might begin to reveal connections and relationships to the whole. Each is a potential entryway to understanding the complexity and interconnection of contemporary hierarchies. Better comprehending these relationships offers the possibility of beginning to detangle them. In this way we can relate the movement for Black lives, for instance, to the movement for climate justice.

        As with police violence, pollution disproportionately impacts Black and poor communities. For instance, a recent study found that Black people are exposed to twice the particulate matter as white people, and that Hispanics had more exposure than non-Hispanic whites. The study also found that people in poverty had more exposure than people not in poverty. That the people of Flint, Michigan, almost half of whom live in poverty, were drinking lead contaminated water is only one of the more well-known recent examples.

      • ‘She’s very courageous’: Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul appeals jail sentence

        Al-Hathloul made a name for herself as one of the few women to openly call for women’s right to drive in the deeply conservative kingdom, as well for an end to the country’s restrictive male guardianship system that had long limited women’s freedom of movement. She was arrested along with other female activists in May 2018, just weeks before the kingdom ended a decadeslong ban on women driving.

      • The New Humanitarian | Thank you for supporting our journalism in 2020

        Despite a pandemic that has been described as an “extinction event” for the news media, we have thrived in this difficult year: the doubling of our audience in 2020 reaffirms our belief that the pandemic has created an opening to bring our journalism to wider audiences.

        After all, independent journalism about crises has never been more important. As a survey of nearly 1,400 humanitarian policy-makers and practitioners found earlier this year, mainstream media coverage of humanitarian issues is inadequate in both quantity and quality, leaving a chasm in reporting that we aim to fill.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • “Trumptalk’ may outlast Trump

        President Trump’s brash communication style — combined with a societal shift towards streaming, where there are no regulatory restrictions on speech — has forced the entire media industry to present information in a more candid and less polished way.

        Why it matters: It’s no longer uncommon to hear cable anchors use foul language or for TV or radio personalities to make indecent remarks on air. Now that the standard has been set, it’s hard to see how networks and news outlets could go back to their postured presentations of the past.

    • Monopolies
      • The DOJ’s Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google Is Gaining Ground
      • Patents
        • Patent Office Updates You Need to Know [Ed: The EPO is now breaking the law, the EPC, using "decision" by the executive branch]

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has decided, with effect from 4 January 2021, to hold oral proceedings in opposition by videoconference (VICO) in accordance with Article 2 of the Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 10 November 2020concerning the modification and extension of the pilot project for oral proceedings by VICO before opposition divisions. Where there are serious reasons preventing the use of VICO in opposition, oral proceedings will be postponed until after 15 September 2021. For further details, see the news item of 10 November 2020 Opposition hearings by VICO – changes in 2021.
          The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) has launched a service of issuing business licenses to practice intellectual property activities. The strategic initiative aims to regulate and follow up licenses for intellectual property agents, in addition to developing existing cadres and providing new cadres qualified to practice intellectual property activities and services. The initiative contributes to enhancing investment opportunities.

        • Software Patents
          • Velos Media patent challenged

            On December 29, 2020, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 9,743,086, owned by Velos Media as part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. The ‘086 patent and its corresponding extended patent family is the largest family known to be owned by Velos and represents approximately 5.3% of Velos’ known U.S. assets. Velos claims to have and seeks to license patents allegedly essential to the HEVC / H.265 standard.

          • First UK challenge filed by Unified against Velos Media

            As part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone, Unified filed its first UK challenge against EP 2 664 149, owned by Velos Media International Limited. The EP ‘149 patent is related to U.S. Patent 9,414,066, which Unified has also challenged in the U.S. (IPR2020-00352, instituted June 30, 2020). The EP ‘149 patent and its corresponding extended patent family is one of the largest families known to be owned by Velos. Velos claims to have and seeks to license patents allegedly essential to the HEVC / H.265 standard. EP’149 is directed to video decoding techniques and was originally assigned to Ericsson before being transferred to Velos.

          • Simio, LLC v. FlexSim Software Products, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

            Simio sued FlexSim in the District of Utah for alleged infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 8,156,468. FlexSim moved for dismissal on the pleadings under 35 U.S.C. § 101, on the grounds that the claims were directed to no more than an abstract idea. The District Court granted the motion, and Simio appealed.

      • Copyrights
        • Apple Loses Copyright Claims Against ‘Virtual iPhone’ Maker

          Corellium’s actions fell under an exception to copyright law because it “creates a new, virtual platform for iOS and adds capabilities not available on Apple’s iOS devices,” District Court Judge Rodney Smith in West Palm Beach ruled Tuesday. That Corellium sells its product “does not undermine its fair use defense, particularly considering the public benefit of the product.”

        • Undercover Cops Arrest Sellers of ‘Pirate’ Amazon Firesticks At Florida Flea Market

          The Polk County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference a few days ago to announce the results of an undercover operation stat started months ago. Detectives busted four sellers of ‘pirate’ Amazon Fire Sticks, including an 88-year-old suspect. According to the police, selling jailbroken devices is a crime.

        • Pirate Site Operators Facing Six Years Prison, Six Million Euros in Damages

          In 2015, authorities in Spain launched an investigation into pirate site and around 15 associated domains. At the time the sites were considered to be the most important platforms targeting Spanish-speaking audiences. Two men, alleged to be the sites’ operators will go on trial in 2021, with prosecutors demanding six-year prison sentences and damages in excess of six million euros.

Reminder: Absolutely Do Not Install Contact-Tracing ‘Apps’ (They Solve Nothing)

Wednesday 30th of December 2020 09:43:34 AM

COVID doesn’t care for surveillance; it’s just that surveillance giants are exploiting COVID for their own agenda

Video download link

New COVID-19 strain UK: What is the new coronavirus variant?

Summary: Media hype about a solution to COVID-19 being foreseeable and even imminent is really just hype and erosion of civil liberties has been put ‘on steroids’; we need to assess the need for a balance instead of blindly accepting every proposal, including futile ones such as contact-tracing (not even remotely effective at this stage)

THOSE who keep abreast of key issues will already know that the virus is mutating (the virus everyone keeps talking about is a moving target) and, as we’ve noted in the previous post, vaccination will be too scarcely adopted — if it’s truly effective at all — to eradicate the virus and all its mutations. To quote a headline from yesterday (for impeding Daily Links), ‘Fauci Describes Vaccine Rollout as “Below Where We Want to Be” Right Now’ and it’s barely surprising. Russia has had the same problem. Confidence is generally low and we’re not trying to induce/reinforce defeatism, we’re just pointing out what’s going on.

As we also pointed out earlier today, human rights are at growing/great risk because governments — not just large businesses and institutions like the EPO — are looking to exploit these things. Benoît Battistelli used terror attacks to justify his attacks on staff and António Campinos uses COVID-19 to justify breaking the law.

Back in October, Marco Fioretti wrote ‘Contact Tracing remains irrelevant’ and we’d like to quote what he said back then (we found his article yesterday; he’s a Free software advocate): “I have just come across the last of a long series of article on why Immuni [Italian app] has become half problematic, all irrelevant

“As of last week, says that article, about 18% of italian smartphone owners 14 and 75 years old had installed Immuni. Installing however, does not mean “actually using as intended”, and the fact that there has been, until now, very little transparency on this makes it harder to convince more people.

“The real problem that magnifies all the others, however, is another. Installing Immuni and being 100% committed to use it as intended does not mean at all that you will be able to do so.

“All is certain for Immuni users is that if they get a notification that they got too close to someone then tested positiv, they should immediately “contact their family doctor, and voluntarily self-quarantine”.

“Immuni users who are tested positive, instead, should immediately get, from a public healthcare servant, the authorization codes necessary to transmit the anonymous notifications mentioned above.”

Towards the end Fioretti concludes: “All in all, Immuni seems (and it is a shame) another example of the Soviet-like solutionism of yore that I reported two days ago.”

The awful, awful Linux Foundation has been promoting this horrible thing, which we’ve compared to “Stalin’s Dream” (to quote Richard Stallman). To make matters worse, the awful Linux Foundation lets Microsoft control the code in its proprietary and monopolistic trap. This isn’t a solution to COVID-19 (or whatever comes after it) but a solution to the ‘problem’ of some people being difficult to spy on. Already, in 2020, many EPO staff members (examiners for the most part) have been forced to install malware on their home PCs, monitoring their every action and movement. Many are not even aware of what the secret code does.

IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Wednesday 30th of December 2020 07:31:00 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  QmeY2F9eBDUASrM6pBDg4e4MWiWgyRkNYKvccmRCUrGHNK IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmWYyBxGVz4ECEZk4VPTqgGxhqPGLkThS1Z3Upscq74mmW IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  QmP2RTZAu1AE4gP9wHcoVPkei9vS9zF8ju5jHQgqpkG5Y1 IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmZWcy9iik9UW1MFTYWnTwPgyJxZ2NE2ayF3cuKCVcvs3h IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  QmTarzwSf4mRaLUCy8zWaJViywS9kGfMRAoVMHvZG7Zsed IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmaVLrqe9SVo2zWtSDzACLNjYSNWSjynvRGMLkMC8HGi8v IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  Qmcjb9W3hRHzUTjFgHo3MwM7QUpKvxsponXnwt8GX2nhKF IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmZ1XgSyrypYZBDB8YXRq63bT36BxNRtbnmBvcS4H81x8C IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmWzJPniMtb3SfrYyRRc9aN9sx4BQcsVRaBipsquzkyPyP

2021 Will Be a Year to Pursue Justice

Wednesday 30th of December 2020 07:14:11 AM

Summary: After 4 years of sinister fascism and law-breaking (it was a lot worse than in prior years) 2021 could (but probably would not) be a year for accountability and justice

Short of last-minute coup attempts, in 3 weeks from now the United States will have a new president and maybe (according to reports) Edward Snowden will be allowed back into his home country (without risk of arrest). For the time being, Donald Trump is mostly pardoning violent criminals and reportedly himself/family (if possible), not just close associates. It’s really ugly. Really, really unprecedented. When nations fail they don’t fail gracefully. We saw that before (decades ago it was the Soviet Union). It’s not limited to nations by the way; we also see that in institutions such as the Linux Foundation and corporations like Microsoft, which now loot the American taxpayers.

“There’s no factual basis upon which to believe that 2021 will be any better than 2020.”2021 won’t be a good year. We already said that last week. There’s no factual basis upon which to believe that 2021 will be any better than 2020.

For us, as a site, 2020 was OK. For instance, over the past couple of weeks, owing to videos for the most part, Techrights served an average of almost 5MB/second. The year is almost over and we’ve more or less decided to continue making videos. They’re generally well received, we just need to improve their quality (over time).

COVID-19 is a Real Crisis, It Kills a Lot of Humans, But Don’t Let It Kill Human Rights Too

Wednesday 30th of December 2020 06:28:25 AM

Vaccines aren’t bad; vaccine monopolies are bad.

Summary: People should take coronavirus very seriously; but that does not mean we should make imperative a complete abandonment of common sense such as democratic safeguards, including fundamental rights of workers and citizens (individuals out of the workplace)

THE government of China is not telling the world what’s going on (no, it’s impossible that only 2 Chinese people died with COVID-19 since April of this year), the Russian government probably divulges semi-truths, and I hardly trust even the numbers that come out of the United States (where the regime is exceedingly corrupt).

“You needn’t be an ‘antivaxxer’ to think that this is wrong and results from polls suggest that if we’re to use this label sparingly, then certainly 38% of Russians are not ‘antivaxxers’ (and perhaps a similar figure for the American population).”Earlier this week, as per Meduza: “According to the latest data from the Russian Federal Statistics Service (Rosstat), 219,872 people died in Russia in November 2020. Compared to November 2019, the country recorded 78,541 excess deaths — an increase of 56 percent.”

In the United States, based on a recent reading, excess deaths will be about a million in a few months (the UK will reach 100,000 some time soon). So regardless of the severity of COVID-19, no doubt a lot more people are dying (than usual, or compared to the expected/projected numbers).

Still in denial about the issue?

Still insisting it’s all just a big hoax?

Then to quote or paraphrase Obama (in relation to terrorism), you might wish to get your head examined.

COVID deniers are, in a lot of ways, similar to climate change deniers (denying the impact of humans and industrialisation on the environment and median temperatures). There’s even an overlap, as those two groups mostly resort to an ‘alternate reality’ that’s more convenient to them and often passes blame (their own failing) to somebody else.

Having said all that, being sceptical of the proposed ‘solutions’ (e.g. “contact-tracing”, in effect surveillance that’s rather useless and pointless at this scale — it’s too late when so many people have already contracted the virus) is not unreasonable. For instance, Russia has long suggested that people get vaccinated. What vaccine? Something rushed out, beating the US ‘to market’ by simply jumping the gun. According to another Meduza report from this week (and that’s in spite of tight media controls and censorship in Russia): “More than half of Russia’s residents (58 percent) don’t want to be immunized with the “Sputnik V” coronavirus vaccine and only 38 percent are willing to get the shot, according to the results of a new poll from the independent Levada Center shared with Meduza.”

We’ve seen similar results from similar polls in the US. Over time, in some cases, consent rates actually deceased rather than increased. We know that for vaccination to be effective (the real “herd immunity” or collective innoculation) almost everyone needs to be vaccinated and the virus needs to be almost eradicated. We’re far from that. Moreover, we don’t yet know much about the efficacy of the existing vaccines (including Russia’s), their adaptability to mutations (of which there are many), and potential long-term side effects (we already know about some short-term issues, especially for those with allergies).

My father is in his mid 60s. He’s very pro vaccination. He even got vaccinated recently (for ordinary flu), but he rejects the latest clinical trials from Pfizer, which he views with scepticism and considers to be a big gamble (with many people who are early takers). He shares my views on this matter — although we never discussed this much before (we just reached the same conclusion independently) and he’s in a very sensitive group (underlying medical conditions). My parents in law are the same; vaccinated as children and throughout life, this one they’re unsure about because it has been scarcely tested and it’s being imposed on people using threatening language (like messages warning people they won’t be allowed to travel, i.e. restrictions on movement, unless they submit to the private monopoly of some foreign corporation).

You needn’t be an ‘antivaxxer’ to think that this is wrong and results from polls suggest that if we’re to use this label sparingly, then certainly 38% of Russians are not ‘antivaxxers’ (and perhaps a similar figure for the American population).

My father, who has long been vaccinated (but not this vaccine), says that for the time being the best one can do is wear a mask and practice/adopt precautionary measures such as social distancing. This is not guaranteed to work, especially not in densely-populated places, but then again a vaccine rushed ‘to market’ in a few months is not guaranteed to work, either. Too little is still (un)known about it. Too much remains uncertain.

Please don’t overuse the label ‘antivaxxer’ (it’s tempting, isn’t it?); as we explained yesterday, incidents do sometimes happen and if the media brushes those incidents under a rug (there was such an incident in China a few years ago and a major CIA scandal too), then we need to question such media as well. At the moment it’s playing a big role in marketing for Pfizer and for monopolistic patent pools. To foster trust and to encourage more people to welcome vaccination a public and patent-free (generic) solution ought to be developed and administered. During lockdowns the super-rich people became a lot richer and, if anything, the public grew even more sceptical/suspicious of corporate interests and better aware of oligarchs’ greed. Nobody really believes that those people are trying to save the world.

Coming Soon: New Leaks for the New Year

Wednesday 30th of December 2020 03:53:39 AM

When everything fails, blame “Russia” and “Chinese virus”

Summary: The Techrights team is working to release previously-unseen information (of interest to the general public); please bear with us

With a bunch of scheduled (for Christmas) maintenance tasks mostly completed, and with the datacentre migration still impending, we’re finally focusing on EPO publications (not mere memes; it’s slow news at the EPO albeit this new page shows management of the EPO ‘going rogue’; it’s nowadays breaking the law, the EPC, using a mere “decision” by the executive branch). We ask for readers’ patience because although it may seem like we’re not doing much lately (except videos and relatively short articles) we’ve actually been very busy working on other sorts of tasks (not visually obvious like the banner at the top of the blog or the new (simplified) front page). This morning, for example (it’s only 4AM), hours were spent communicating privately with key people. We have some exciting things lurking over the horizon and rushing them through would be counterproductive if not highly risky to sources. To the best of our ability (taking risk into account) we reveal information about operations in our IRC logs. Sometimes we redact a bit.

Links 29/12/2020: Git 2.30, Second Beta of digiKam 7.2.0

Tuesday 29th of December 2020 08:29:15 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Desktop/Laptop
      • Bring an old MacBook back to life with Linux

        Recently, I stumbled on an old MacBook Pro 13″ from late 2011, with a 125GB SSD and 8GB RAM. I’ve taken this machine on trips around the world, and back in the day, I ran many a session, workshop, or demo to share all the AppDev goodness from JBoss technologies.

        After verifying that its battery works, charging it up, and reinstalling a new OS X, it turns out that the Safari browser version is limited to an old security specification, which means it can’t connect to a lot of HTTPS sites now. This renders this solution defunct.

    • Server
      • 10 Linux System Administrators New Year’s Resolutions for 2021

        It is a time to make our New Year’s resolutions. Regardless of your experience level as a Linux system administrator, we think it is worth and well to set goals for growth for the next 12 months.

        In case you are out of ideas, in this post we will share 10 simple professional resolutions that you may want to consider for 2021.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Destination Linux #206: Hindsight is 2020, Looking Back at How 2020 Affected Technology

        This week we’re going to be looking back on 2020 to end out this ‘most interesting’ year. While 2020 is a year many of us want to forget, from an open-source standpoint there are still plenty of exciting things that took place we’re going to cover in this episode. We’ll name our favorite open-source software, the big events of the year making headlines and our favorite distros of 2020. Of course, we’ve also got our famous tips, tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux.

      • I’m Deleting Discord From My Life

        I don’t like to chat on the Internet. I find it to be unproductive but more than that, I find it to be mundane and just not fun for me. And because of my attitude towards Internet chat, I am never on my Discord channel or my IRC channel.

      • GTK4 Is Here: Why You Should Even Care – YouTube

        I don’t use GNOME on my system but most of the GUI apps I run are GTK3 apps and because of that any changes to GTK are really important to me especially a new version of GTK like GTK4 which will come along with a bunch of interesting features.

      • Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.10 overview | Ubuntu, traditionally modern.

        In this video, I am going to show an overview of Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.10 and some of the applications pre-installed.

    • Kernel Space
      • Linux Kernel 5.11 rc1 Released with many AMD changes

        The merge window for Linux Kernel 5.11 is closed and with that, Linux Kernel 5.11 rc1 (release candidate) is now released for testing. This release brings many new features and improvements.

      • Intel Sends Out Latest AMX Support For The Linux Kernel

        Of all the new Linux 5.11 features and all the enablement work Intel has already completed for Xeon “Sapphire Rapids” hardware, one big feature not yet mainlined is the Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX) support.

        Since this past summer Intel has been posting open-source patches around AMX from the compiler toolchains to the kernel support. Ahead of EOY, Intel’s engineers have sent out the latest AMX kernel patches for Linux.

        AMX is Intel’s new programming paradigm with a focus on better AI performance both for training and inference. AMX is built around the concept of “tiles” as a set of two-dimensional registers for representing a larger memory image and accelerators that can operate on said tiles. Initial AMX features are for BFloat16, TILE, and INT8 while the design is extensible for new accelerators to be added later.

      • Large Page Support for NAS systems on 32 bit ARM

        Storage space has become more and more affordable to a point that it is now possible to have multiple hard drives of dozens of terabytes in a single consumer-grade device. With a few 10 TiB hard drives and thanks to RAID technology, storage capacities that exceed 16 or 32 TiB can easily be reached and at a relatively low cost.

        However, a number of consumer NAS systems used in the field today are still based on 32 bit ARM processors. The problem is that, with Linux on a 32 bit system, it’s only possible to address up to 16 TiB of storage space. This is still true even with the ext4 filesystem, even though it uses 64 bit pointers.

      • Bootlin’s Pursuit To Let 32-bit ARM NAS Devices Support More Than 16TiB Of Storage – Phoronix

        Bootlin working under contract for an unnamed NAS vendor has been working to update the Large Page Support for 32-bit ARM and ultimately coming up with an upstream-friendly way to be able to support more than 16TB of storage on 32-bit ARM devices.

        While 64-bit ARM has been available for years, there still are network attached storage (NAS) devices available that rely on 32-bit ARM SoCs. The problem is 32-bit ARM with the mainline kernel only allows addressing up to 16 TiB of storage. Some NAS vendors as a result have carried the out-of-tree Large Page Support patches to allow supporting greater amounts of storage. Bootlin this year updated the Large Page Support for 32-bit ARM.

        Those patches were made back in June but only written about now on the Bootlin blog and not yet merged to the mainline Linux kernel. The Large Page Support for 32-bit ARM will likely not be mainlined. With large pages, each file in the page cache uses at least one page and ultimately a lot of memory is wasted as the page size increases. Linus Torvalds as a result has been against this approach.

      • Linux 5.12 To Support Radeon RX 6000 Series OverDrive Overclocking – Phoronix

        With the Linux 5.12 kernel next spring it looks like the Radeon RX 6000 “RDNA 2″ overclocking support will be in order.

        One of the missing features of the RDNA 2 “Sienna Cichlid” Linux support has been OverDrive overclocking for the Radeon RX 6800/6900 series. Granted, not the highest priority especially for Linux users where overclocking is predominantly done via writing to sysfs via the command-line given the lack of any nice overclocking GUI control panel from AMD.

      • Linux 5.12 Could Support Intel’s Proprietary HDR Backlight Interface

        It didn’t land for Linux 5.11 but it looks like Linux 5.12 could end up supporting Intel’s “HDR Backlight Interface” for helping newer Intel laptops with their backlight controls where they don’t comply with VESA specifications but rather catering to Intel’s proprietary interface.

        Lyude Paul of Red Hat has been spending some time the past several months working to properly handle Intel’s eDP backlight controls used by newer laptops, dubbed the Intel HDR backlight interface as the implementation appears primarily with notebooks using High Dynamic Range panels. Patches by Lyude for this interface have been floating around for several months but not yet merged.

        However, giving hope to potential Linux 5.12 support is the HDR backlight interface register definitions being queued last week to drm-intel-next as material for Linux 5.12. Just the register definitions and other work were queued so far without the actual Intel HDR backlight support, but given work is just beginning around new features to ultimately appear in the spring with Linux 5.12 and seeing these early bits queued, it’s hopeful we could see the complete implementation ready for the next kernel cycle.

      • Sony’s PlayStation 5 Controller Now Works With Linux

        Sony has released an official Linux driver for its PlayStation 5 DualSense controller. The driver allows using the controller to play Linux games, which is good news for Linux gaming enthusiasts.

        The new Linux kernel driver fully supports Sony’s PlayStation 5 DualSense controller’s key functionality, including the gamepad, touchpad, and motion-sensing both in USB and Bluetooth modes, reports Phoronix. At the same time, the driver doesn’t yet support the advanced capabilities of the new controller, such as Adaptive Triggers and the VCM-based haptics.

      • Linux 4.14.213 I'm announcing the release of the 4.14.213 kernel. All users of the 4.14 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 4.14.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-4.14.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser: thanks, greg k-h
      • Linux 4.9.249
      • Linux 4.4.249
    • Benchmarks
      • Fedora Workstation 33 Performing Very Well – Runs Past Clear Linux On Intel Tiger Lake Notebook

        Following the recent AMD Zen 3 tests on Intel’s Clear Linux a user expressed curiosity over the Intel-backed Linux distribution on Tiger Lake hardware given I hadn’t done a multi-distribution comparison there yet. Using the Dell XPS 9310 as my lone Tiger Lake notebook I ran some benchmarks of Clear Linux, Ubuntu, Manjaro, and Fedora. For a change, Clear Linux wasn’t the distant front-runner.

        From the Dell XPS 13 9310 with Core i7 1165G7 Tiger Lake processor, Clear Linux 34130, Manjaro 20.2, Fedora Workstation 33, and Ubuntu 20.10 were all tested on this same Tiger Lake notebook.

        All four Linux distributions were freshly installed and tested in their out-of-the-box state.

        While on desktops and servers we are used to seeing Clear Linux smashing the rest in out-of-the-box Linux performance, it wasn’t as much the case this time. Clear Linux does still rack up wins but its aggressive performance optimizations ultimately lead it to more frequently hitting the thermal limits and throttling with today’s ultra-thin Intel EVO notebooks. So with the Clear Linux runs there is also an increased number of runs and higher variance as reported for a number of tests due to Clear Linux on the Tiger Lake Dell XPS running warmer than the other configurations. On a geometric mean basis of all the results, Fedora Workstation comes out in front of the rest for this modern Intel/Dell notebook.

    • Applications
      • Olive Video Editor Review – Hard to Believe that It’s Free!

        We take a look at the Olive Video Editor which is still under development at the moment. You would be amazed to see how easy and feature-packed this editor is. This is a review of Olive 0.2 video editor (alpha).

      • qBittorrent 4.3.2 Adds Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) Support

        qBittorrent 4.3.2 was released a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu via PPA.

        The new release of the Bittorrent client features an option for Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) support, which enable people around the world to use domain names in local languages and scripts.

        It now allows to add root folder to torrent content. And “HTTPS tracker validation” option is available on all platforms with latest libtorrent.

      • Systemd Had A Pretty Big 2020 With Homed, OOMD Components Merged

        The systemd service and system manager had another busy year with the merging of “homed” for modernizing and reinventing home directory capabilities to “oomd” being merged for improving the Linux memory pressure / out-of-memory handling, among other new features coming to light.

        The pandemic didn’t slow down work on systemd but was another very busy time continuing to introduce new features and trying to modernize longstanding concepts. Systemd as of today is up to 1.469 million lines of code spanning 48,463 commits from around 1,746 different authors.

      • Chess and KDE

        Some of us have started a KDE community chess players team on the Mostly as a place to find people who are interested in chess and occasionally playing various variants of chess


        I initially wanted to get rid of animation completely but I realised that the animation speed is configuration option instead of something hard-coded. I proposed a patch to change default animation speed to instant.

        My next idea is to change the animation code to animate movement of single piece that is moving instead of the knights currently animating all of the pieces from center of board so that users who prefer animation get something sensible.

      • Notifications on Task Completion

        More seriously, I do often leave a software build, or packaging script running, while I context-switch to answer support requests, proof-read a blog post, or prepare for a meeting. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded when that long-runner finishes, otherwise I might forget it’s sat there, all lonely in another workspace somewhere on my computer.


        I install this on all of my Ubuntu desktop / laptop systems. You might want to as it’s pretty handy. I know some other Linux distributions have this kind of feature baked into their out-of-the-box experience, but Ubuntu doesn’t, so I install it myself.

      • 5 Linux text editor guides | Enable Sysadmin

        As sysadmins, we spend a good part of our connected time using text editors. Whether it’s updating config files, writing automation playbooks, or designing Kubernetes manifests, a good text editor makes your tasks easier and makes you more productive. A nice text editor also makes your job more enjoyable.

        At Enable Sysadmin, 2020 was the year of Vim. Four out of the top five text editor articles showcase this flexible and efficient editor. This list contains a great selection of articles covering topics from basic Vim usage to more advanced use cases such as applying macros and deploying plugins to extend Vim’s functionality. If Vim is not your thing, the other article in this list presents five IDE (Integrated Development Environment) alternatives for sysadmins that should appeal to different tastes and backgrounds.

        Whether you choose a text editor or an IDE, the important thing is choosing a tool that makes you comfortable. The list of the top five text editor articles will help you with that.

      • TeXstudio 3.0.2 Released! How to Install in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        TeXstudio, an open-source fully featured LaTeX editor, released version 3.0.2 a few hours ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu, Linux Mint.

        Though it’s a bug-fix version, TeXstudio 3.0.2 was released after two beta test releases.

    • Instructionals/Technical
      • Quick NetBSD serial console install on libvirt

        I wanted to set up a small VM with NetBSD to test a couple of virt-install option. It turns out it you can get to the installer prompt quite fast.

      • Our alerts are quiet most of the time (as they should be)

        It’s the middle of the University of Toronto’s winter break right now so officially we’re off work. Unofficially we’re checking in on email and we’ll probably notice if something explodes. During this time, one of the things that has made this not much of a burden is that we basically haven’t gotten any alerts from our Prometheus system. This is by design.

      • Install GnuCash 4.4 In Ubuntu 20.04 / Linux Mint. | Tips On UNIX

        GnuCash is a personal and small-business financial-accounting software and freely licensed under GNU. It is designed to be easy to use and flexible.

        GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income, and expenses. It is available for Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Windows.

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install GnuCash 4.4 in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, and LinuxMint 20.

      • How to setup Elastic Container Service (ECS) on AWS

        Elastic Container Service is a fully managed container orchestration service provided by AWS. It is a choice to run containers on AWS. It supports Fargate to provide serverless compute for containers. Fargate removes the need to provision and manage servers. ECS helps to focus on building and managing applications instead of infrastructure. It is a highly scalable, fast container management service that makes it easy to run, stop, and manage containers on a cluster.

      • Install Git 2.30.0 In Ubuntu 20.04 / Linux Mint / CentOS | Tips On UNIX

        Git a free and open-source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to large projects with speed and efficiency. It is a client for the Popular GitHub.

        This tutorial will be helpful for the beginners to install git 2.30.0 in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Ubuntu 20.10 LTS, CentOS 8.X, and Linux Mint 20

      • How to install XFCE GUI on Oracle Linux 8 or 7? – Linux Shout

        Oracle Linux which is based on RHEL (red hat enterprise Linux) works in a similar fashion and also supports its RPM and other packages.

        Although the full package ISO comes with an option to install GNOME graphical user interface on Oracle Linux, however, if you are using a command-line server and after some time, you would like to have GUI, then it is possible as well. By default, the “Server with GUI” environment option is available in the group list of Oracle, however, you will not find XFCE there by default. Therefore to get it we need to add an Extra package repository called EPEL, which is popular on Centos, RHEL, and Fedora… Being a copy of RedHat, we can use the same on Oracle as well…

      • How to install Budgie Desktop on Debian 10 Linux distro – Linux Shout

        Budgie Desktop environment is popular because of its simplicity yet user-friendly and easy to use. It developed by the team Solus and comes officially out of the box in the Solus Linux Distros. However, being open-source software, other Linux distros can also install and use it. For example, one of the Ubuntu flavor distros is based on Budgie and known as UbuntuBudgie. In the same way, if someone wants can install it manually on other Linux distros such as Debian, Linux Mint, and more that is possible as well.

      • How to hide a file or directory on CentOS

        Most of the time you share your Linux desktop system with your friends or colleagues while you are working at the workplace. So, you need to hide your personal files as well as directories from others. For this purpose, you have to create hidden files or folders that are not visible to everyone. Some Linux users, don’t have enough knowledge to create a hidden file in their system.

        In this article, I will provide you a complete tutorial about how to create a hidden file and directory on your CentOS 8.

      • How to change LUKS passphrase in Linux – nixCraft

        Explains how to change your LUKS disk encryption passphrase (password) in Linux using CLI and GUI tools for new developers and sysadmins.

      • How to Read File Line by Line in Bash Script [3 Methods]

        Here we learn 3 methods in bash script to read file line by line. For example for searching strings in a file by reading lines individually.

      • How to Convert PDF to Image Using Gimp

        This article will be showing you how to convert the pages of a PDF document to image files (PNG, JPEG, and others) using the GIMP tool in Linux.

      • How to Change the Color and Theme in Chrome – Make Tech Easier

        Tired of the boring white Chrome theme? Learn how to change the color and theme in Chrome and even add your own images.

      • 12 Podman guides to get started with containers | Enable Sysadmin

        From running containers without root privileges to using REST API’s in Podman 2.0, these 12 guides can enhance how you use the Pod Manager tool.

      • How do I enable UFW in Ubuntu? Learn how to protect your box

        So how do you enable UFW in Ubuntu Linux 20.04 / 18.04 / 16.04 LTS server or desktop system to protect yourself from hackers and crackers? Let us see how easy it is to use ufw on Linux.

      • How to Install and Configure GitLab in Debian 10 – TecAdmin

        Gitlab is a web-based DevOps lifecycle management tool developed by GitLab Inc. Similar to the Github, Gitlab is also another popular Git version control system used by large number of users. Gitlab also provides great features like issue tracking, To-Do list, continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines for the applications. Gitlab also supports integration with various services.

        The Community edition of Gitlab is available free for use on development and production environment. It provides large number of features required for small to large scale companies. The enterprise edition provides more features but required a paid license.

        This tutorial will describe you to how to install Gitlab on Debian 10 Buster Linux system. You are going to install Gitlab community edition using this tutorial.

      • How to install PyCharm on Linux Mint 20 – Community Edition – YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at how to install PyCharm on Linux Mint 20.

      • How to Install KeeWeb Password Manager on Ubuntu 20.04

        KeeWeb is an open-source password manager used to store passwords both online and offline. It is compatible with KeePass and also available as a web version and desktop apps. It can be sync with other cloud services like, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. It helps you to manage all your passwords in a secure way. It offers a lot of features including, Easy tags input, Multiple file support, History, Themes, Keyboard shortcuts, Inline image viewer and many more.

      • The Beginner’s Guide to Git – Make Tech Easier

        If you’re a Linux user, you’ve likely come across Git at some point, perhaps while trying to download a new program or looking into version control systems like CVS or Subversion. Git is the revision control system created by the Linux kernel’s famous Linus Torvalds, due to a lack of satisfaction with existing solutions. The main emphasis in the design was on speed, or more specifically, efficiency. Git addresses many of the shortcomings of previous systems and does it all in much less time. If you are looking to learn Git, this beginner’s guide will help you get started.

      • How to add Mods in Sonic Robo Blast 2 (SRB2) on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to add Addons/Mods in Sonic Robo Blast 2 (SRB2) 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.

      • Trisquel 9, Public Wifi, and USB Tethering Internet

        Don’t worry, you can run Trisquel laptop to access wifi internet. If you worry about wifi device being disabled due to proprietary software, you can still take advantages of existing tools you already have such as phone or portable mifi. This article is an expansion to Trisquel Friendly Guide II (published two years ago) especially to help users who find their laptop wifi hardware not working with Trisquel.


        You can still connect to public hotspots such as coffee shops or town parks by taking advantage of your phone. The route is: laptop -> usb tethering -> phone -> public wifi -> internet. To do so, first connect your phone to the wifi, then make sure your phone got internet access, and finally do USB tethering to your Trisquel laptop. This way, you can still access a wifi even though your laptop internally cannot.

        I use this trick at a coffee shop I often go to and it works well. For example, aside from browsing, I can even do telephony and video calls using GNU Jami.

        Up to this point, now you should find your Trisquel laptop enabled to install more applications, surf the internet, send emails, and everything.

    • Games
      • Atari VCS games really are just plain Linux desktop builds | GamingOnLinux

        Now that the Atari VCS is out in the wild for plenty of IndieGoGo backers, we’ve seen plenty of reports of how it works and one GamingOnLinux reader gave us plenty of info.

        Currently, it seems like the whole thing is still in something of a Beta stage. The software seems a little on the buggy side, and there’s still not much in the way of games available for it. However, it actually does sound like a reasonable good little device – which I am sure will surprise plenty of naysayers.

        User slaapliedje in our Forum has been going through details including how, yes, you really can load a plain Linux distribution up with Debian Buster tested working (once you do a couple small tweaks). All very interesting but even more so is how their own Atari World OS is clearly a normal Linux distribution with a fancy console interface on top.

      • Chiaki, a free and open source PlayStation Remote Play client adds PlayStation 5 support | GamingOnLinux

        Own a shiny new PlayStation 5 and want to stream games from it to your desktop or laptop? Or perhaps you’re clinging onto your PlayStation 4 and want to do the same? Chiaki is here to help.

        Linux gaming? Not quite but it’s another brilliant FOSS application that can enable you to do whatever you want, with what you already own. I’ve used Chiaki occasionally with my own PlayStation 4 to stream it to my Linux desktop and for the most part, it actually works surprisingly well depending on the network setup.

      • Fantasy RTS city-builder Songs of Syx has sold over 11 thousand copies | GamingOnLinux

        After a Kickstarter success back in May 2020, then an Early Access release on Steam in September 2020 – the fantasy grand-strategy city-builder Songs of Syx has continued to be a big indie success. Here’s a look over it.

        “Songs of Syx is a fantasy city-builder where you start off as an insignificant colony and build, scheme, and fight your way towards a metropolis and empire. The mechanics are complex and true to life, where small events can spiral into the collapse of kingdoms.”

      • Social deduction game Untrusted launching free to play on January 29, 2021 | GamingOnLinux

        Inspired by the likes of Werewolf, Mafia and similar games Untrusted from evolvedlabs is ready to go out to a wider audience after releasing a few Alpha builds from their website.

        On January 29, 2021, this social deduction / hacking game will be launching on Steam in Early Access and the developer told us over email that it will be initially free to play as it still needs plenty more testing (including ensuring server capacity is good).

      • Hole Punch is an upcoming physics platformer where you cut up the environment

        Using a powerful dash you’re not just avoiding people in Hole Punch, you’re smashing through the level itself to get around the challenges.

        A fun and very playful physics platformer we have here, one that wants you to try and destroy everything. Thanks to the destruction mechanic, you can play it in a number of ways. Do you try to be stealthy and avoid everyone? Go for the fastest time or try to take everyone out? Either way, you’re going to be dashing and cutting up entire levels. Starting off very simplistic, it doesn’t take long for it to become quite challenging.

      • Crooks Like Us us an upcoming party game where you steal everything, try the free Alpha | GamingOnLinux

        Need another amusing co-op and PvP party game? Crooks Like Us is all about grabbing as much as you can, and then making a run for it.

        The overall goal is to carry as many items as you can, and dump them into the getaway van before the timer runs out. Sounds easy right? Not so much. If you stack up a bunch of items and dump them into the van together, you get a score multiplier but actually carrying a stack to the van is another matter – you wobble all over the place and it’s quite silly. It also leaves you open to the other crooks to grab your stuff if you take on too much.

      • Godot Engine – Complex text layouts progress report #3

        This is the third part of my work on Complex Text Layouts for Godot 4.0.

        See godot-proposals#1180, godot-proposals#1181, godot-proposals#1182, and godot-proposals#1183 on GitHub for detailed information on CTL proposals and feedback.

        See also the previous progress report for UI mirroring details and the first part for the TextServer API implementation details.

      • Point and click dreamworld noir adventure ‘Oniria Crimes’ lands on Linux | GamingOnLinux

        Oniria Crimes is a point and click noir adventure game from cKolmos Game Studios, originally released back in early December 2020 and they ported it to Linux not long after release.

        “Oniria Crimes is an adventure game that takes place in Oniria, the Land of Dreams. Help Detective Santos and Inspector Torres to investigate crime scenes as part of the Rounders, a secret society that pursues crime in dreams.”

      • Programming puzzler inspired by retro computing Comet 64 releases February 5, 2021 | GamingOnLinux

        Find programming relaxing? Enjoy puzzle games? Comet 64 could be your next game, with a theme and visuals inspired by some early computing devices.

      • GameSir x2 Type-C game controller transforms your phone into a gaming console

        Some buttons found on actual portable gaming console may be missing and, for instance, Gamesir x2 does not come with L3/R3 buttons. Since it’s designed for phones, you’d have to run Android. If you are fond of software like EmulationStation available for Windows and Linux only, this may not be suitable unless your phone actually runs Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • digiKam 7.2.0-beta2 is released

          Just a few words to inform the community that 7.2.0-beta2 is out and ready to test four month late the 7.2.0 beta1 release.

          After integrating the student codes working on faces management while this summer, we have worked to stabilize code and respond to many user feedbacks about the usability and the performances improvements of faces tagging, faces detection, and faces recognition, already presented in July with 7.0.0 release announcement.

          One very important point introduced with this release is the separation of the huge data model files used with face detection and recognition which are now downloaded on demand at run-time if necessary. This reduces a lot the size of digiKam bundles files published at release times..

        • How KDE can transcend the cycle of Geeks, Mops, and Sociopaths

          Well first of all, I acknowledge that my goal is more aspirational than realistic. Better to shoot for the moon and fall short, I think. I’d be pretty happy if we get Plasma to 15% global market share. That’s enough to be a major player with a direct and ongoing positive impact on human civilization.

          Anyway, here’s how I think KDE can avoid the cycle, and grow powerful without being corrupted…

    • Distributions
      • EasyOS Dunfell 0.103 almost released

        It would have been released, but a quick test and discovered a little bug. A minor bug, but will fix it, so 0.103 will be delayed, maybe tomorrow morning.

      • BSD
        • A Big Sur look for WindowMaker on OpenBSD

          A rainy day leads to an attempt to give a 2020 look to some old 90s software I love: a macos Big Sur look for WindowMaker. Obviously running on OpenBSD here but this is not mandatory.

      • Slackware Family
        • XFCE 4.16 Landed in [Slackware] Current

          I never used XFCE before, but i’m curious about this lightweight desktop environment since it’s included in Slackware and has just released it’s latest release 4.16. The new version drop GTK+2 support and fully migrated to the newer GTK+3. The announcement of XFCE 4.16 showed that this is a major upgrade both in the backend and also in the front-end (UI/visual). They now have the cool icons, many new APIs, support for fractional scaling, and many more.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora
        • CloudLinux Commits More Than $1 million a Year to CentOS Replacement

          If you’ve had your eyes on the news, you may have read the CentOS 8 end-of-life announcement by Red Hat. The announcement came with several significant changes to the CentOS project roadmap which is bound to affect infrastructure and deployment plans for end-users as well as data centers and online businesses.

          The most relevant change to us currently is the accelerated end-of-life for CentOS 8 which means that as of December 31, 2021, no further operating system updates will be available. Summarily, CentOS 8 will be transformed into CentOS Stream – a development branch of RHEL with previous versions remaining part of the stable branch. Users are therefore advised not to use CentOS 8 in production environments.

        • This CentOS alternative will be available by spring 2021

          Rocky Linux, one of the latest new CentOS clones, has announced that its project is targeting to put out a working release sometime in the second quarter of 2021.

          Rocky Linux came about when the Red Hat-owned CentOS project recently shifted focus, much to the chagrin of its users.

          Miffed at the move, Gregory Kurtzer, one of the original co-founders of CentOS announced Rocky Linux to give the stranded users a viable option to migrate their servers to, before the current release of CentOS reaches its premature end in December 2021.

        • What’s your favorite Kubernetes feature? Hear from the experts

          Every week I run DevNation: The Show, where guests and I discuss today’s hottest technologies impacting developers and architects—and have a lot of fun. In each episode, I ask my guest: “What is your favorite Kubernetes feature?”

        • Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for Kernel 5.10
        • Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for Kernel 5.10

          The kernel team is working on final integration for kernel 5.10. This version was just recently released, and will arrive soon in Fedora. As a result, the Fedora kernel and QA teams have organized a test week from Monday, January 04, 2021 through Monday, January 11, 2021. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

          How does a test week work?

          A test week is an event where anyone can help make sure changes in Fedora work well in an upcoming release. Fedora community members often participate, and the public is welcome at these events. If you’ve never contributed before, this is a perfect way to get started.

        • Integrating Red Hat Single Sign-On version 7.4 with Red Hat Directory Server (LDAP) – Red Hat Developer

          This article describes the integration of Red Hat Single Sign-On (SSO) with Red Hat Directory Server 11 (LDAP). It also illustrates how it is possible to perform user synchronization and group synchronization between Red Hat Directory Server and Red Hat’s single sign-on tools.

        • IBM Makes Available Experimental Release Of Crossplane For IBM Cloud

          IBM recently joined the Crossplane community and released an experimental release of a Crossplane provider for IBM Cloud, enabling IBM Cloud managed resources to be exploited from Crossplane.

          Crossplane is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Sandbox project that provides the ability to manage infrastructure and resources, including cloud managed services using Kubernetes CRDs, and has contributions and support from a number of major vendors.

        • Top 10 Red Hat blogs from 2020

          Just like that, 2021 is closing in on us. Too soon? Not soon enough? We’ll let you decide.

          What a year we’ve had at Red Hat. Since we published Red Hat president and CEO Paul Cormier’s message on how Red Hat is here to help, we pivoted in many ways throughout 2020 to best meet our customers’ evolving needs, and we used our digital channels—like this blog—to share the latest updates with you.

      • Debian Family
        • Salsa updated to GitLab 13.7

          Yesterday, Debian Salsa was updated to the new GitLab 13.7 upstream release. As always, this new release comes with a bunch of new features.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Design and Web team summary – 29 December 2020 | Ubuntu

          The web team here at Canonical run two-week iterations. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work from this iteration.

        • Ubuntu Mauritius

          In 2021, we are going to sort out a few things and make the Ubuntu Mauritius group active again. Chittesh has agreed to take on the reign. He is already the team’s go-to person. Expect to see more purple desktops next year!

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 663

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 663 for the week of December 20 – 26, 2020.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Rocket.Chat: An Amazing Open-Source Alternative to Slack That You Can Self-host

        Slack is a useful and popular team communication app that potentially replaces emails for work. A lot of big and small teams use it, even we at It’s FOSS relied on Slack initially.

        However, we needed a good open-source alternative to Slack and that’s when we came across Rocket.Chat. Sure, there are several other open-source slack alternatives, but we opted for Rocket.Chat for its similarity with Slack and ease of deployment.

      • IBM: 2021 will be the year open source projects overcome their diversity problems [Ed: IBM et al announcing problems, then looking to solve them to better suit corporate takeover of volunteers’ work and monopolistic hegemony 1, 2, 34]]

        It’s incredibly important that everyone that has any power at all in the open source space pushes for diversity — the same goes for us at IBM.

      • O-RAN no near-term challenger to Huawei, Ericsson [Ed: It's almost 2021 and some hacks still push this false idea that "open approach has vulnerabilities"]

        Their wish is to open the equipment market to allow compatible products from more vendors to become available. A new open-sourced intellectual property approach has been proposed that would level the playing field the way the introduction of open-sourced Linux displaced the proprietary Unix computer operating system.


        As envisioned by the consortium, this new ecosystem would use new open sourced software operating on elements built to international standards that would allow new suppliers to enter the equipment market. Products from different vendors would be interchangeable, freeing the carriers from dealing from only one vendor while emulating the network function now performed on proprietary equipment from Huawei and others.

        The O-RAN initiative is based on two factors. The first is that no corporation or government is in a position to challenge Huawei’s lead. The second is the belief that new software technology will challenge the current hardware.

      • The 10 Best Website Creation Tools (Open Source CMS)

        With the World Wide Web’s flexibility mapping every idea, business, and hobby on the internet, the need for a website has become mandatory. A website is a remote mirror that gives both perspective and access to what the world offers. Purchasing a website creation service is one thing and having the ability to create one is another thing.

        Therefore we should commence this article on a fun note because the knowledge it is about to offer is not easily dismissed. How about a knock-knock joke?

      • Top 23 Open-source Free CRM Self-hosted systems

        CRMs stands for “Customer Relationship Management” solutions which are built to manage the interactions with current or potential customers. CRM software manages the interaction process between sales, marketing and customer support departments with customers.

        Most of CRM systems extend their functionalities with post-sale service management, and some even add accounting, finance and billing management.

      • ownClouds Virtual Files on the Linux Desktop

        In professional usecases, users often have a huge amount of data stored in ownCloud. Syncing these completely to the desktop computer or laptop would be too much and costly in bandwidth and harddisk space. That is why most mature file sync solutions came up with the concept of virtual files. That means that users have the full structure with directories and files mirrored to their local machines, but have placeholder of the real files in the local file manager.

        The files, however, are not on the disk. They get downloaded on demand.

        That way, users see the full set of data virtually, but save time and space of files they never will need on the local system.


        To make that possible, Elokab-fm now pulls some information from the ownCloud Sync Client config file and connects to the sync client via local socket to share some information. That means, that the sync client needs to run to make that work.

        Directories that are synced with ownCloud now show an cloud overlay in the center (1).

        The placeholder files (2) which are not present on the local hard drive indicate that by showing a little cloud icon bottom right. However, other than before, they are displayed with their correct name and mime-type, which makes this already much more useful.

        Files, which are on the local disk as the image (3) show their thumbnail as usual.

        In the side panel (4) there are a few details added: The blue box on the bottom indicates that the file manager is connected to the sync client. For the selected virtual file (2), it shows an button that downloads the file if clicked which would turn it into a non virtual, local file. There is also an entry in the context menu to achieve that.

      • Haiku activity report – November and December 2020

        This report covers hrev54716-hrev54805 (about 5 weeks of work).

      • Events
        • Daniel Lange: No CCC Congress this year but rC3 online

          The virtual version of the annual CCC Congress is underway and feels like a huge playground. Things are bumpy but the participants are still having fun. Of course, we have IRC as a save heaven. That always works.

          The virtual world (which is the only thing the sold out tickets are needed for) is really fun. It feels like debugging a DOS game in the 80/90s. Not much works but it is engaging enough to keep poking at things.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases
        • 2020 Holiday Greetings

          YottaDB moved to 100% telecommuting in mid-March, and we have been working remotely since then. We anticipate returning to the office after the pandemic; meanwhile, the office is for computers and the occasional cobweb.

          Nevertheless, we have been busy this year. Our major milestone was the release of Octo 1.0, for querying YottaDB databases using SQL-92 and JDBC. Our next major target for Octo is read-write capability using SQL. Although the following is very much code that is under development, this demonstration of INSERT INTO will give you a taste of what we plan to release in 2021: [...]

        • An exploration of the cybercrime ecosystem around Shodan

          Our recent paper published at the 7th IEEE International Conference on Internet of Things: Systems, Management and Security (IOTSMS 2020) presents an analysis of underground forum discussions around Shodan, one of the most popular search engines of Internet facing devices and services. In particular, we explored the role Shodan plays in the cybercriminal ecosystem of IoT hacking and exploitation, the main motivations of using Shodan, and popular targets of exploits in scenarios where Shodan is used.

          To answer these questions, we followed a qualitative approach and performed a thematic analysis of threads and posts extracted from 19 underground forums presenting discussions from 2009 to 2020. The data were extracted from the CrimeBB dataset, collected and made available to researchers through a legal agreement by the Cambridge Cybercrime Centre (CCC). Specifically, the majority of posts we analysed stem from Hackforums (HF), one of the largest general purpose hacking forums covering a wide range of topics, including IoT. HF is also notable for being the platform where the source code of the Mirai malware was released in 2016 (Chen and Y. Luo, 2017).

        • Today I faced the first consequences of my TXT & Let’s Encrypt strict policy

          Today I faced the first implications of deciding to tightly restrict the use of nsupdate keys for modifying TXT records for dns-01 challenges with Let’s Encrypt.

      • FSF
        • GNU Projects
          • Trying GNU Jami On Laptop And Phone

            Trisquel is a fully free computer operating system while Jami is a complete cross platform communication app. Following the release of the latest OS version 9 codenamed Etiona, and the latest version of the communication app codenamed Together, now I want to explain my experiments with Jami by using my laptop and phone altogether. The results are it works with calls, for both usual audio and also video; can do two ways of share screen; text chats and file sharing also works, with some important notes. Thanks to Trisquel Developers, now using Jami is much more easier than ever. Now let’s go chatting!

          • GNU libmicrohttpd 0.9.72 released Dear all, I'm glad to announce the release of GNU libmicrohttpd 0.9.72. This release is mostly bugfix release, with greatly improved compatibility with various OSes/kernels, including FreeBSD, Windows, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Darwin (macOS), Solaris. Performance is improved, especially with stay-alive HTTP and HTTPS connections. Notable changes since version 0.9.71: + New function MHD_create_response_from_pipe(). * Fully rewritten code for buffering/pushing from kernel network buffers for compatibility with various OSes. Reduced number of additional sys-calls, network is better utilized, responses are delivered faster. Restored optimal sendfile() usage on FreeBSD. * MHD now takes care about SIGPIPE handling by blocking it in internal threads and avoiding functions (like sendfile()) that could generate SIGPIPE when blocking of this signal is not possible. * Fixed crash in PostProcessor. * Fixed several resources leaks in corner cases. * Improved thread sync, thread safety and fixed one use-after-free under special conditions during stopping of daemon. * Updated HTTP status codes, header names and methods from the registries. * Fixed functioning without listen socket and with internal threads. * Fixed streaming of chunked responses for both HTTP and HTTPS. * Various compatibility fixes.
          • GNU’s Embed-Friendly Web Server Updated With Better OS Portability, Performance – Phoronix

            Libmicrohttpd as the GNU project’s embedded HTTP web server library is out with a final release of 2020.

            This lightweight C library providing an HTTP web server that can be used by other applications with ease has been focusing on better operating system / kernel portability as one of the themes for this new release. Libmicrohttpd’s buffering/pushing code has been fully rewritten with better portability across environments. There are a reduced number of system calls now used and the operating systems being focused on are the likes of FreeBSD, Windows, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Darwin/macOS, and Solaris.

          • Update from Guix: Moving forward into 2021

            In the two years following the last Guix fundraising campaign, the project has made great advances through thousands of commits and hundreds of contributors. There are now more than 15,000 packages in the collection, almost doubling the number reported two years ago. The continuous integration build farm (the automatic and continuous building of the source and binary packages in Guix for continuous integration, testing, and analyses to make sure the system is 100% reproducible) is also in better shape, although more work is being done to improve its performance.

            The strength and health of the project can, without any doubt, be attributed to the Guix community, which has come to be known as one of the most welcoming, friendliest communities out there.

            It is also in part the result of the Guix project being well-funded, which has enabled the project to strengthen its build farm with more machines, organize events, participate in the Outreachy program, and pay for hosting fees, among other regular expenses.

          • Life Without Amazon (Well, Almost)

            In 1999, the programmer and activist Richard Stallman led one related to a lawsuit the company filed against Barnes & Noble to protect a patent covering “1-click” ordering, which he worried would stifle competition in e-commerce.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Data
          • CERN Announces New Open Data Policy in Support of Open Science

            The four main LHC collaborations (ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb) have unanimously endorsed a new open data policy for scientific experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which was presented to the CERN Council today. The policy commits to publicly releasing so-called level 3 scientific data, the type required to make scientific studies, collected by the LHC experiments. Data will start to be released approximately five years after collection, and the aim is for the full dataset to be publicly available by the close of the experiment concerned. The policy addresses the growing movement of open science, which aims to make scientific research more reproducible, accessible, and collaborative.

          • CERN Adopts New Open Data Policy

            CERN has announced a new open data policy for scientific experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The policy commits to publicly releasing level 3 scientific data—the type required to perform scientific studies—that is collected through LHC experiments. According to the announcement, the policy also “addresses the growing movement of open science, which aims to make scientific research more reproducible, accessible, and collaborative.”


            “The policy sets out the concrete steps towards its implementation at CERN, which will make data available to the extended scientific community as well as the general public.”

        • Open Access/Content
          • Elsevier Wants To Stop Indian Medics, Students And Academics Accessing Knowledge The Only Way Most Of Them Can Afford: Via Sci-Hub And Libgen

            Last month Techdirt wrote about some ridiculous scaremongering from Elsevier against Sci-Hub, which the publisher claimed was a “security risk”. Sci-Hub, with its 85 million academic papers, is an example of what are sometimes termed “shadow libraries”. For many people around the world, especially in developing countries, such shadow libraries are very often the only way medics, students and academics can access journals whose elevated Western-level subscription prices are simply unaffordable for them. That fact makes a new attack by Elsevier, Wiley and the American Chemical Society against Sci-Hub and the similar Libgen shadow library particularly troubling. The Indian title The Wire has the details:

          • New Blume Library grant funds open source theology textbook

            St. Mary’s University is among two universities to receive a grant this fall from Atla to fund the creation of open educational resources.

            The grant to Blume Library will support the creation of a modular, open textbook supplemented with primary source readings and community-created content for the undergraduate Core Curriculum course Foundations of Reflection: God.

      • Programming/Development
        • Git v2.30.0 The latest feature release Git v2.30.0 is now available at the usual places. It comprises 495 non-merge commits since v2.29.0, contributed by 83 people, 29 of which are new faces. The tarballs are found at: The following public repositories all have a copy of the 'v2.30.0' tag and the 'master' branch that the tag points at: url = url = git:// url = New contributors whose patches weren't in v2.29.0 are as follows. Welcome to the Git development community! Alexey, Amanda Shafack, Arusekk, Baptiste Fontaine, Bradley M. Kuhn, Caleb Tillman, Charvi Mendiratta, Daniel Duvall, Daniel Gurney, Dennis Ameling, Javier Spagnoletti, Jinoh Kang, Joey Salazar, Konrad Borowski, m4sk1n, Marlon Rac Cambasis, Martin Schön, Michał Kępień, Nate Avers, Nipunn Koorapati, Rafael Silva, Robert Karszniewicz, Samuel Čavoj, Sean Barag, Sibo Dong, Simão Afonso, Sohom Datta, Thomas Koutcher, and Victor Engmark. Returning contributors who helped this release are as follows. Thanks for your continued support. Adam Spiers, Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason, Alexander Shopov, Alex Vandiver, Arnout Engelen, brian m. carlson, Christian Couder, Chris. Webster, David Aguilar, Denton Liu, Derrick Stolee, Dimitriy Ryazantcev, Đoàn Trần Công Danh, Drew DeVault, Elijah Newren, Emily Shaffer, Emir Sarı, Eric Sunshine, Felipe Contreras, Han-Wen Nienhuys, Jean-Noël Avila, Jeff Hostetler, Jeff King, Jiang Xin, Johannes Berg, Johannes Schindelin, Jonathan Tan, Jordi Mas, Josh Steadmon, Junio C Hamano, Kyle Meyer, Martin Ågren, Matheus Tavares, Matthias Rüster, Nicolas Morey-Chaisemartin, Patrick Steinhardt, Peter Kaestle, Peter Krefting, Philippe Blain, Phillip Wood, Pranit Bauva, Pratyush Yadav, Ramsay Jones, Randall S. Becker, René Scharfe, Sergey Organov, Serg Tereshchenko, Srinidhi Kaushik, Stefan Haller, Štěpán Němec, SZEDER Gábor, Taylor Blau, Trần Ngọc Quân, and Yi-Jyun Pan.
        • Git 2.30 Released As More Projects Shift To “Main” As Their Default Branch Name – Phoronix

          Git 2.30 is out today as the latest stable release update of this wildly-popular, distributed revision control system.

          Earlier in 2020 the Git 2.28 release brought the support for a configurable/default branch name to replace the “master” usage that has been the default behavior up to this point. That configurable option has been working out well for those wanting to change the default Git branch from the likes of “master” to “main” or “default”. Git itself has been working towards such a transition to the “main” name and with Git 2.30 are some updates around their internal tests to accommodate the eventual change.

        • Some things a potential Git replacement probably needs to provide

          Recently there has been renewed interest in revision control systems. This is great as improvements to tools are always welcome. Git is, sadly, extremely entrenched and trying to replace will be an uphill battle. This is not due to technical but social issues. What this means is that approaches like “basically Git, but with a mathematically proven model for X” are not going to fly. While having this extra feature is great in theory, in practice is it not sufficient. The sheer amount of work needed to switch a revision control system and the ongoing burden of using a niche, nonstandard system is just too much. People will keep using their existing system.

          What would it take, then, to create a system that is compelling enough to make the change? In cases like these you typically need a “big design thing” that makes the new system 10× better in some way and which the old system can not do. Alternatively the new system needs to have many small things that are better but then the total improvement needs to be something like 20× because the human brain perceives things nonlinearly. I have no idea what this “major feature” would be, but below is a list of random things that a potential replacement system should probably handle.

        • KD Soap 1.10.0 Released! – KDAB – KDAB on Qt

          KD Soap is a tool for creating client applications for web services. With KD Soap, it’s possible to create web services that don’t require further components. This tool makes it possible to interact with applications that have APIs that can be exported as SOAP objects. The web service then provides a machine-accessible interface to its functionality via HTTP. You can find out more about KD Soap on our KD Soap homepage.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Agda – LinuxLinks

          Agda is a dependently typed functional programming language based on intuitionistic type theory. Type theory is concerned both with programming and logic.

          Agda is an extension of Martin-Löf’s type theory, and is the latest in the tradition of languages developed in the programming logic group at Chalmers. It has inductive families, i.e., data types which depend on values, such as the type of vectors of a given length. It also has parametrised modules, mixfix operators, Unicode characters, and an interactive Emacs interface which can assist the programmer in writing the program. Other languages in this tradition are Alf, Alfa, Agda 1, Cayenne. Some other loosely related languages are Coq, Epigram, and Idris.

          This language is also a proof assistant based on the propositions-as-types paradigm, but has no separate tactics language, and proofs are written in a functional programming style.

          Agda is open-source and enjoys contributions from many authors. The center of the Agda development is the Programming Logic group at Chalmers and Gothenburg University.

          Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn Agda.

        • Perl/Raku
          • Rakudo Weekly News: 2020.52 ReReRevolution!

            Jonathan Worthington describes the road from the first release five years ago of what is now Raku in Reminiscence, Refinement, Revolution. Reminiscing on the torture of core developers, remaking design decisions, but also about the forging of lifetime friendships. An inspiring blog post in these dark times (/r/rakulang comments)!

          • Perl weekly challenge 93

            These are some answers to the Week 93 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

        • Python
          • Show progress in your Python apps with tqdm |

            Most programs have a clear goal, a desired end state. Sometimes, calculating that end state can take a long time. While computers don’t care, not having feelings, people do. Humans are not happy sitting around waiting without any visible sign of progress. Doubt creeps in. Has the program crashed? Is the disk thrashing? Did the operating system allocate all its computing resources to other tasks?
            Like justice, progress must be seen, not merely done. The tqdm Python library helps make progress explicit.

            The tqdm module works with the console, but it also has special support for one of my favorite environments: Jupyter. To use tqdm in Jupyter, you need to import the notebook submodule and have ipywidgets installed. The notebook submodule is interface-compatible with tqdm

        • Rust
          • Rust Language 2020 Survey Results

            When asked how to improve adoption of Rust, 15 percent of respondents said they would use Rust more if it were “less intimidating, easier to learn, or less complicated.”

            According to respondents, the most difficult aspect to learn is lifetime management with 61 percent stating that using lifetimes is either tricky or very difficult.

          • [Rust] 1.49.0 pre-release testing

            The 1.49.0 pre-release is ready for testing. The release is scheduled for this Thursday, December 31st. Release notes can be found here.

          • Please welcome cjgillot and Nadrieril to compiler-contributors

            Please welcome @cjgillot and @Nadrieril to the compiler-contributors group!

            @cjgillot has been working to improve the query system used internally in rustc which powers incremental compilation. Some of their improvements have been to reduce unnecessary work performed during incremental compilation, leading to faster builds. Other improvements have made the query system leaner allowing rustc to bootstrap faster. @cjgillot has also made many tweaks and optimizations to the query system.

          • Philip Chimento: Advent of Rust 25: Baby Steps

            It’s the final post in the series chronicling my attempt to teach myself the Rust programming language by solving programming puzzles from Advent of Code 2020.


            Today’s puzzle is about cracking an encryption key, in order to get at a piece of secret information (called loop size in the puzzle) by taking a piece of known public information (public key) and reversing the algorithm used to generate it. Of course, the algorithm (called transform subject number) is not easy to reverse, and that’s what the puzzle is about.

        • Java
          • How to use a functional interface in Java

            A functional interface is an interface that contains a single abstract method. It is used as the basis for lambda expressions in functional programming.

            Such an interface may contain also other non-abstract methods even though this is not considered a good practice. Also, the notation @FunctionalInterface is optional but it will ensure that the intention of the interface is clear and the Java compiler will make sure the code conforms to the rules for functional interfaces.

  • Leftovers
    • John Q. Adams’ Apples

      After John Q. Adams served His term as president He walked back to Braintree

      Braintree, he explained to me, Is named for Braintree, England But brain tree’s a corruption of branca tree, like blanca tree, A white, snow-coated grey one

    • The Outsider

      There’s a memorable scene near the end of Joe Sacco’s latest book, Paying the Land, that encapsulates his ethos as a comics journalist. For the project, he made two trips to Canada’s remote Northwest Territories to interview members of the Dene Nation about their relationship to the land and resource extraction. At the time of his visits, the gas and oil industries had been established in the region for years, but a global petroleum glut had paused operations. Sacco and his guide, Shauna, visited several towns and heard a range of Indigenous perspectives on drilling and fracking, which provide jobs and economic opportunity but also endanger the habitats and cohesion of communities. What he found was that the complications surrounding resource extraction were inextricable from larger issues the Dene have been facing for generations. Sacco couldn’t parse the conflicts over oil and gas without understanding the Canadian government’s ruthless program of colonization, enacted via unjust treaties and the residential school system. He also couldn’t understand it without following the Dene’s resistance to the government and their fight to regain control of their land and maintain their independence and identity.1

    • What Comes Next for the Santa Clara Principles: 2020 in Review

      Later that same year, we worked with a group of more than one hundred organizations from dozens of countries to send a strong message to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, reminding him that much of the world’s ability to speak freely is in his hands, and urging him to ensure that Facebook offer appeals in every circumstance. That campaign was a success: Not only did Facebook respond to our letter, but they broadened the right to appeal to most cases, with a handful of exceptions.

      From that action, we also began developing a loose coalition of other experts—NGOs, academics, and journalists—engaged broadly in the topic of platform governance, and have continued (with the help of our allies) to grow that group and broaden collaboration in the field.

      In 2019, we succeeded in getting a dozen companies to endorse the Principles, with several companies furthering their compliance. One company, Reddit, went all the way in implementing the Principles into their platform.

    • US Approves Delivery Drones Over Populated Areas

      On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the use of delivery drones over populated areas at night. Many see the move as the next step to widespread adoption of drone deliveries.

    • Drone Delivery Gets Clearance from FAA – Make Tech Easier %

      Drone delivery just took a giant leap forward. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced it is issuing rules that will allow small drones to fly out over people as well as at night. These are rules that the delivery industry has long waited for so that they can expand fleets and possibilities.

    • Craving Coffee 07 – Cool Kids Go Static

      Somehow I also managed to completely redesign my site and migrate from WordPress to Jekyll. I’ve been somewhat of a Static Site Generator (SSG) naysayer in the past, but I have to say after spending a decent amount of time using Jekyll, I’m a complete convert. I’m particularly enjoying the new writing workflow that comes with using Jekyll instead of WP.

    • Nashville Blast Suspect Died In Explosion, Police Say

      FBI forensic experts matched DNA samples recovered from the scene to that of Anthony Q. Warner, whose home in nearby Antioch was searched on Saturday by federal agents.

      “We’ve come to the conclusion that an individual named Anthony Warner is the bomber and he was present when the bomb went off and that he perished in the bombing,” Donald Cochran, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, told a news conference.

      Officials said it was too early in the investigation to discuss the suspect’s motives.

    • Education
      • Warburg-Backed Chinese Online Tutoring Startup Weighs U.S. IPO

        Zhangmen, which means leader or master in Chinese, was founded in 2005 with an initial focus on afterschool tutoring in classrooms. In 2014, the company shifted its business model to online one-on-one tutoring for students from elementary schools to high schools, according to its website. The firm has more than 60 million registered members.

        The startup has completed at least five funding rounds since 2015 and counts Shunwei Capital, a fund co-founded by Xiaomi Corp. Chairman Lei Jun, and Warbug Pincus among its investors. Last year, Zhangmen raised about $350 million in a series E funding round led by investors including CMC Capital and a unit of China Investment Corp. A venture capital fund backed by Chinese movie stars Li Bingbing and Zhang Ziyi also participated in another fundraising.

    • Health/Nutrition
    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • Biden announces White House digital team

          The White House digital operation will be composed of 12 Democratic operatives who have experience in roles on Biden’s presidential campaign, transition team or the inaugural committee.

        • Security
          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (horizon, kitty, python-apt, and roundcube), Fedora (libmaxminddb, mediawiki, mingw-binutils, and thunderbird), Mageia (erlang-rebar3), openSUSE (blosc, ceph, firefox, flac, kdeconnect-kde, openexr, ovmf, PackageKit, python3, thunderbird, and xen), and SUSE (thunderbird).

          • How Reverse Engineering Can Help Secure Your Linux Systems Against Malware

            Linux malware is a growing concern for administrators, as both the prevalence and sophistication of variants targeting Linux systems continues to increase. That being said, the rise in Linux malware is not a reflection of the security of Linux, as the majority of attacks on Linux systems can be attributed to misconfigured servers and poor administration.

            Testing and verifying server security on an ongoing basis is crucial in preventing attacks, and reverse engineering is an excellent method of detecting and analyzing malware on Linux systems, and gathering threat intelligence that can be used to prevent future attacks. There is an array of great open-source tools, toolkits and utilities for reverse engineering and malware scanning available to Linux users, the majority of which are powerful, user-friendly and free to download.

          • Windows Zero-Day Still Circulating After Faulty Fix

            A high-severity Windows zero-day that could lead to complete desktop takeover remains dangerous after a “fix” from Microsoft failed to adequately patch it.

            The local privilege-escalation bug in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 (CVE-2020-0986) exists in the Print Spooler API. It could allow a local attacker to elevate privileges and execute code in the context of the current user, according to Microsoft’s advisory issued in June. An attacker would first have to log on to the system, but could then run a specially crafted application to take control of an affected system.

          • Emails compromised in cyber attack on Finland’s Parliament

            In a separate press release, the NBI said that a preliminary probe into the incident was launched in late autumn, and the matter is now being investigated as a suspected case of aggravated [cracking] and espionage.

          • UK cosmetic surgery provider hit by ransomware, customer data stolen

            Transform Hospital Group Ltd., a U.K. provider of cosmetic and weight loss surgery, has been hit by ransomware, resulting in the theft of customer data including intimate pictures.

            Exactly when the attack took place is not clear. Transform, best known in the U.K. for breast enhancement surgery, described it only as a data security breach. “None of our patients’ payment card details have been compromised but at this stage, we understand that some of our patients’ personal data may have been accessed,” the company said in statement reported today by the BBC.

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Mageia (flac, graphicsmagick, jackit, kdeconnect-kde, libmaxminddb, libvirt, openjpeg2, pngcheck, python3, roundcubemail, and spice-vdagent), openSUSE (gimp), and SUSE (containerd, docker, docker-runc, golang-github-docker-libnetwork, cyrus-sasl, and gimp).

          • debsecan : you will not miss another security update

            Do you ever wonder how to keep up with the new security updates releasing daily? Debsecan is a great tool that you can use to simplify this task. This utility will help you to evaluate your current security status without searching for the new security updates manually. And also it comes with the feature to report the missing security updates. Most importantly, it will let you know if there’s any known vulnerabilities exists in the already installed programs.

          • Privacy/Surveillance
            • Insecure wheels: Police turn to car data to destroy suspects’ alibis

              In recent years, investigators have realized that automobiles — particularly newer models — can be treasure troves of digital evidence. Their onboard computers generate and store data that can be used to reconstruct where a vehicle has been and what its passengers were doing. They reveal everything from location, speed and acceleration to when doors were opened and closed, whether texts and calls were made while the cellphone was plugged into the infotainment system, as well as voice commands and web histories.

              But that boon for forensic investigators creates fear for privacy activists, who warn that the lack of information security baked into vehicles’ computers poses a risk to consumers and who call for safeguards to be put in place.

              “I hear a lot of analogies of cars being smartphones on wheels. But that’s vastly reductive,” said Andrea Amico, founder of Privacy4Cars, which makes a free app that helps people delete their data from automobiles and makes its money by offering the service to rental companies and dealerships. “If you think about the amount of sensors in a car, the smartphone is a toy. A car has GPS, an accelerometer, a camera. A car will know how much you weigh. Most people don’t realize this is happening.”

            • In 2023, you won’t be able to fly most drones in the US without broadcasting your location

              If you intend to fly a drone in the US, you’re going to want to pay attention: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just issued the single biggest set of changes to US drone law since the agency first took an interest in the technology. With the proper license, you’ll soon be able to fly at night and over people. But the biggest change is this: in 2023, it may be illegal for you to fly some drones at all unless you retrofit them with their own broadcasting equipment.

            • COVID-19 Vaccine Passport? You Might Need It To Travel In 2021

              Several companies and technology groups have begun developing smartphone apps or systems for individuals to upload details of their Covid-19 tests and vaccinations, creating digital credentials that could be shown in order to enter concert venues, stadiums, movie theaters, offices, or even countries.

              The Common Trust Network, an initiative by Geneva-based nonprofit The Commons Project and the World Economic Forum, has partnered with several airlines including Cathay Pacific, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, as well as hundreds of health systems across the United States and the government of Aruba.

            • Smart Doorbell Disaster: Many Brands Vulnerable to Attack

              Smart doorbells, designed to allow homeowners to keep an eye on unwanted and wanted visitors, can often cause more security harm than good compared to their analog door bolt alternatives. Consumer-grade digital doorbells are riddled with potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities ranging from hardcoded credentials, authentication issues and devices shipping with unpatched and longstanding critical bugs.

              That fresh assessment comes from NCC Group, which published a report last week outlining “domestic IoT nightmares.” In partnership with the publication Which?, it assessed smart doorbell models made by three vendors Victure, Qihoo and Accfly along with white-box offerings from three additional doorbell makers.

            • LetsEncrypt will continue working for older Android devices!

              I find it funny that Android does not enforce the expiration dates of CA root certs. So even though the IdenTrust CA root cert on Android devices has expired, it is still considered valid and any certs signed by it even with dates much later than its own expiry are considered valid. [...]

            • Zoom is reportedly developing email and calendar services

              According to sources who spoke to The Information for a report published today, Zoom is developing its own web-based email service and may launch an accompanying calendar tool as well. The tipsters didn’t divulge much information on the calendar offering. However, they did share a few details about Zoom’s ambitions to take on Gmail and Outlook.

              The company is reportedly looking to launch an initial version of its email service as soon as early 2021 with a goal of providing a “next generation” experience for users. It’s unclear exactly how the offering would differ from traditional email services.

            • WireGuard: great protocol, but skip the Mac app

              WireGuard is an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, it’s a solid transport, and just sits there and runs and runs. The ‘plumbing’ side of things has never been a problem. The ‘porcelain’, that is, the user interface and things that humans actually interact with, however, is another story entirely.

            • On the Surveillance Creep that is WeChat

              So what to do? Enter Island, a sandbox environment that basically let you have an “Android for Work” profile that have its own set of data. I only ran WeChat from there, and so whenever it tried to hoover up my contacts and phone logs, it gets… nada. Media files I want to send, I transfer to the “Island” work profile before then sharing via WeChat. A bit cumbersome but it works – and there’s no easy way to get media files I receive via WeChat back out, but it’s mostly cat pictures and memes so… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

              Notice the use of past tense? That’s because, today, after not using the app for a few months, I received the blocking notice above. Island (or an Android for Work profile) certainly doesn’t qualify for any of the above, which made me assume that it just suspected I’m using a simulator because no real phone would have no contacts to datamine?

            • quick thoughts on bouncy castle bcrypt broken compare

              To recap, the bug is that password hashes are compared by looking at the position of each character value, instead of comparing the character values at each position. This leads to a great many false positives, effectively a password bypass.

            • Decrypting TLS Streams With Wireshark: Part 2

              In this blog post, we will use the client to get the necessary information to decrypt TLS streams.

            • [Old] Decrypting TLS Streams With Wireshark: Part 1

              In this first example, I show how to decrypt a TLS stream with Wireshark.

              I made my example as such, that the encryption in this example is done with keys derived from a master secret. This master secret is derived from a pre-master secret, which is securely exchanged between the client and server using RSA crypto.

              Remark that this method will not work with modern browsers and web servers, as they use perfect forward secrecy. This will be explained in part 2.

            • Facebook’s Activity Log Does Not Spark Joy

              As a current Facebook employee, for various reasons I would rather not get into I still need to have a personal Facebook account.

              I do not really want it to keep a trail of my personal life to be squeezed for every last cent of advertising revenue, though. And slashing-and-burning by deleting this account and starting a new one might cause technical issues so … better not to try it.

              Enter Activity Log. While available on both web and the Facebook apps, currently only the app version (the full Android and iOS apps as well as Facebook Lite) let you delete your activity in bulk. For some interpretations of bulk.

              Here’s a few bugs I’ve already discovered, and why after more than a week my profile is still not a nice clean slate: [...]

            • Twitter Sued for Defamation by NY Post’s Source for Hunter Biden Stories

              A Delaware computer repair shop owner sued Twitter, alleging the social network defamed him by effectively labeling him a “hacker” after his business was cited as the source for info obtained from a laptop allegedly owned by Hunter Biden that served as the basis for several New York Post articles published in October.

            • Older Phones to Stop Working with T-Mobile in 2021

              You may be among the T-Mobile customers receiving a text message from the company on December 28, 2020. This message will state that older phones or other devices will no longer be getting T-Mobile service in the new year.

            • I have no sound or vibration on my phone and it’s great

              It all started a couple of years ago when I started to feel that my phone was becoming too distracting for me. I began to go through my installed applications and I found a few that I could uninstall right away, but I quickly realised that was never the issue as I don’t have that many applications to begin with.

              The only applications that actually send me daily notifications is my XMPP-client Conversations and my e-mail client K-9 Mail. And removing those two applications was never an option. XMPP and e-mail are my two primary (and basically only) way of communicating with my family, friends and the world.

              Because e-mail is not used for real-time conversations, I decided to disable the notifications to see if that made any difference for me. Well. It didn’t. I really don’t get that many e-mail messages per day to begin with, it only made me spend more time checking my inbox to see if I haven’t missed anything.

              Then one morning, everything changed. I was sitting in my kitchen, eating my breakfast and listening to some netcast show before getting ready for work when my phone all of a sudden just went silent. I poked at the phone trying to wake it up, but nothing happened. It was dead.

              It turned out that my phone had been affected by the notorious “bootloop of death” issue, which seems to be a common issue for both my Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P. To my knowledge, it’s something that eventually happens to every phone? It seems that I was just lucky that it took me more than 4 years for my phone to turn into an expensive brick.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • Trump’s Pardons for the Festive Season

        The power to pardon can be found in Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the US Constitution, a provision, which states, in part, that the President “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”  That most eminent of judicial heads Chief Justice Marshall described a pardon as “an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.”

        Those of curious legal mind will detect the residue of the monarchical prerogative in all of this.  The great synthesising authority of English law, William Blackstone, praised the monarchy for having a distinct advantage: “there is a magistrate, who has it in his power to extend mercy, wherever he thinks it is deserved: holding a court of equity in his own breast, to soften the rigour of the general law, in such criminal cases as merit an exemption from punishment.”  Justifying the mirroring of this power in the US Constitution, Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist 74 argues that, “Humanity and good policy conspire to dictate, that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed.”

      • How the Fight Over Spain’s Anti-Fascist Legacy Involves a Former ‘Nation’ Editor

        On November 30, the Spanish government announced that it would step in to save the tomb of a longtime Nation journalist, Julio Álvarez del Vayo, who worked as one of the magazine’s editors from the early 1940s to the mid-1950s.

      • Presidential Commission On Law Enforcement Says Pretty Much Everyone But Cops Are To Blame For The Shitty State Of American Policing

        [Note: this is one of what will probably be several posts covering the Commission's 332-page report. There's a lot to cover in here and one post simply isn't enough to cover everything in it. Stay tuned.]

      • In Brief: The Silent Threat of Canada to World Peace

        Citizens become responsible with their governments if they are blind to what their governments are doing in their name in war crimes and crimes against humanity under codified international law.

        “We didn’t know” is a form of denial and justification.

      • Doomsday ex Machina: Daniel Ellsberg and the Nuclear Gang

        In his recent book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Daniel Ellsberg paints a doom and boom picture of the future, unless we immediately engage in negotiations with other nuclear armed nations to strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and begin the dismantling of the Doomsday Machine that is programmed to destroy as much life as possible on the planet once global nuclear war begins — a perilously close possibility under the current postures and protocols of nuclear-armed governments. (Even as late as last week, NATO rejected a UN call for the elimination of these omnicidal weapons.)

        In the above example, Richard Nixon was inspired by Dwight D. Eisenhower’s strong arming tactics in securing an armistice in Korea. Citing Nixon Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, Ellsberg writes,

      • Trump and Barr Use Last Days to Execute the Most Federal Prisoners Since WWII
      • 2020 Ends as It Began: With the Looming Threat of a US War With Iran

        Amid increasing hostility towards Tehran, the United States is building up its military presence on Iran’s borders. In the past three weeks alone, the U.S. has flown in a squadron of fighter jets and extra B-52 bombers while deploying the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier (with its strike group) and a large submarine to the Persian Gulf. This comes on top of the 2,500 troops it sent to Saudi Arabia earlier in the year, the first build-up of forces in the country in 17 years. The nuclear powered Nimitz is home to nine squadrons of fighting aircraft and has also long been rumored to carry nuclear weapons.

      • Rep. Ro Khanna Won’t Vote to Override Trump Veto on Defense Bill
      • “The Priorities Are Wrong”: Rep. Ro Khanna Says He Won’t Vote to Override Trump Veto on Defense Bill

        Congress is set to override President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, the $740 billion annual defense policy bill that funds the U.S. military. Trump vetoed the legislation last week over objections to liability protections for social media companies and because he did not want to rename military bases currently named for Confederate generals. Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna says Trump’s reasons for vetoing the bill are “disingenuous,” but that he will not be voting to override the veto. “The bottom line is $740 billion is way too much defense spending,” says Khanna. “The priorities are wrong.”

      • US Must Commit to Arms Reduction If It Wants North Korea to Do So
      • After a Violent Crime, Arizona Promised Reforms for People With Developmental Disabilities. It Has Yet to Deliver.

        On New Year’s Eve 2018, an Arizona long-term care facility became a crime scene.

        A 29-year-old resident with disabilities so profound she could not talk, walk or care for herself shocked staff when she gave birth to a boy. No one had even noticed she was pregnant. Immediately it was clear she had been raped.

      • Killer Cops: Police Killed Over 1,000 Americans in 2020

        American law enforcement officers have killed well over 1,000 people in 2020. Between January 1 and December 15 of this year, the Mapping Police Violence project has recorded 1,066 people nationwide killed at the hands of the police, an average of around three killings per day. Despite the fact that 2020 has brought with it a pandemic forcing Americans to stay off the streets (and, presumably, out of trouble) as much as possible, there have only been 17 days recorded this year where the police did not kill someone.

      • Evading oversight The Russian authorities want Navalny back in Moscow for a parole hearing first thing tomorrow morning

        Despite the fact that he was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent in Russia, opposition figure Alexey Navalny has been adamant about his plans to return home. But now the Russian authorities have called him back to Moscow earlier than expected. On Monday, December 28, Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service threatened to file a complaint against Navalny in court for violating the terms of his probation. Citing an article published by the doctors who treated him in Germany, the Russian authorities maintained that Navalny has long since recovered from his “illness” and demanded that he show up to a parole hearing in Moscow first thing the next day. While Navalny’s lawyer warns that the opposition figure could end up in jail if his previous sentence is overturned, Navalny and his associates are drawing attention to the fact that this is the first time a branch of the Russian government has effectively acknowledged that he was poisoned. 

      • Lawyer Lyubov Sobol refuses to pledge not to leave Moscow following criminal charges

        Lawyer Lyubov Sobol, who works for Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, has been released on her own recognizance after being charged with criminally infringing on the inviolability of the home of Konstantin Kudryavtsev — one of the FSB operatives implicated in Navalny’s poisoning. 

      • Russian authorities threaten Navalny with prison time unless he appears for parole hearing in Moscow tomorrow

        The Moscow branch of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) has threatened to go to court with a request to overturn Alexey Navalny’s suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case unless he appears for a parole hearing in Moscow tomorrow. This was reported by Navalny’s lawyer Vadim Kobzev on Twitter. 

      • Biden calls for modernizing US defenses following massive [crack] [iophk: Windows TCO]

        “We have to be able to innovate and reimagine our defenses against growing threats in new realms like cyberspace,” Biden said at a press conference following a briefing from intelligence and defense officials on national security issues.

        Biden pointed to the need to address challenges from Russia and China and said that “modernizing our defense priorities to better deter aggression in the future, rather than continuing to over-invest in legacy systems designed to address the threats of the past” would be necessary.

      • Three French Soldiers Killed in Mali

        The soldiers were part of France’s Operation Barkhane mission, which is fighting an Islamist extremist insurgency in Africa’s Sahel region.

        They were working as part of a 5,000-troop mission “in an area where terrorist groups are attacking civilians and threatening the regional stability,” according to Florence Parly, France’s defense minister.

      • Even as a Weak President, Trump Has Undermined Democracy

        An American president is both head of government (like a prime minister in other regimes) and head of state (like a monarch). In his capacity as quasi-monarch, Trump has acted in deeply unsettling ways. He’s denounced the press as “the enemy of the people” and incited violence against reporters and political foes. He’s mainstreamed racism and given his stamp of approval to violent groups like the Proud Boys. He’s nurtured the QAnon conspiracy theory. He’s refused to accept the legitimacy of his clear electoral defeat and has egged on outlandish moves to overturn the results.

        Trump’s legislative weakness and his unhinged demagoguery are connected. It’s precisely because Trump can’t win victories on the field of legislative battle that he’s welcomed the creation of a fictional alternative reality where he is constantly victorious. And to judge by polls, he’s dragged millions of Republicans into this alternative reality.

      • The quest for water: Will the Abraham Accords change the water landscape for the region?

        Water scarcity remains a critical matter to the Middle East and specifically to the Gulf countries. Water resources are in short supply, even as the demand for water grows with socio-economic development and population growth. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), thirty-three countries are estimated to suffer from a severe water crisis by 2040; half of these countries are in the Middle East, with the top ten including all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. In order to mitigate this coming predicament, countless ideas have been thrown around. One suggestion was the importation of water from the Antarctic and other areas of the globe. However, complicated economic and technical issues proved the idea not feasible.

        Chronic water problems come with their own sets of challenges. Understanding water insecurity means looking past the issue of supply shortages and into the political, social, and economic landscape. Societies depend on water for survival and its absence impacts their health and livelihood; from sanitation services to economic activities like agriculture, energy production, and transportation. When societies are unable to provide for themselves, countries will be unable to achieve economic stability and growth, which in turn leads to the inability to alleviate the impacts of urbanization, climate change, and the rise of protests that may lead to political tensions.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • Doping Whistle-Blowers Have No Plans To Return To Russia

        The Russian couple who played a major role in exposing the nation’s sports doping scandal said in an interview published on December 27 that they no longer consider Russia their home and have no plans to return to the country.

    • Environment
      • Ecologists to Erdoğan: We are not vandals, we are life defenders

        Releasing a statement in response to these remarks, the Ecology Union (Ekoloji Birliği) has underlined that the struggle for ecology is both righteous and legitimate. The union has briefly stated the following: [...]

      • Ron Howard Admits He Had a Hard Time Shooting Interviews for the Devastating Story of ‘Rebuilding Paradise’

        The director estimates that original footage followed between 20 and 25 subjects, but that amount was soon whittled down to those actively working and taking charge in the restoration efforts.

        “There were a lot of people who we began following who fell away, not so much because they stopped talking to us, but because they decided not to stay,” he said. “A lot of the people we began focusing on were the ones who were innately a little more resilient. And they were kind of natural leaders — they were the ones who kept showing up.”

        “Rebuilding Paradise” also chronicled those spared by the fires who moved back into their smoke-ruined homes and were then being poisoned by their own water systems (the fire caused the plastic pipes to leech benzene into the town’s waterways). Paradise citizen Carly Ingersoll, a school psychologist, spent her days helping children cope with post-traumatic stress disorder but was told she should hold off trying to have children of her own while the town’s water was still polluted. Spoiler alert: Howard has since updated us that Ingersoll is currently pregnant and starting a family of her own.

      • Biden Already Facing Pressure to Tackle Backlog of ‘Unfunded’ Toxic Waste Sites Threatened by Climate Crisis

        More broadly, campaigners are calling on the incoming president to deliver on the environmental justice promises he made as a candidate.

      • Religion Meets Climate Change

        Global warming is the biggest challenge of all time. It impacts every living species. However, the inherent dangers are very difficult to comprehend, as such, people brush it off as one more issue in life that will somehow be handled, fixed, no worries, human ingenuity will prevail.

        But, what if it’s not that simple?

      • Opinion | Biden Needs to Make Good on Environmental Justice Promises

        We need him to take urgent action to curb the global climate crisis and to restore justice for communities impacted by air, water and land polluters.

      • The Mythology of Fire Suppression

        Despite making an excellent case for the influence of climate and weather on fire spread, the reporter several times referenced the myth that fire suppression was partially responsible for these large blazes.

        Ecologically speaking, fire suppression and the consequence fuel build-up have almost nothing to do with the large blazes occurring around the West. Most forest types in Oregon and the rest of the West have long fire-free intervals of centuries between major fires, during which they do not burn for a host of reasons related to climate and weather.

      • Energy
    • Finance
    • Teetering on the Edge: A Postcard From London

      If you believe the relentless cheerleading of the Murdoch press, Britain is in the final stages of a heroic drama that will finally see this island nation declare economic independence and stride boldly onto the global stage, its precious sovereignty regained. Freed from the fetters of the European Union, Britons will once again become shopkeepers to the world, negotiating on advantageous terms with trade partners from Tokyo to Toronto. Meanwhile, every day brings new developments in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit brinkmanship: a disastrous dinner with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, stern warnings from chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier, brave posturing from Johnson over an “Australian-style deal”—which means crashing out without a deal.

    • Opinion | The European Union: Free at Last

      The goal of ‘ever closer union’, anathema to English exceptionalists, is back on the agenda.

    • When the Landlords Say, “Fuck You”

      I know it is often hard to see, but significant elements of the folks in power at various levels of government are keenly aware that we’re in a crisis, and they want to avoid a total meltdown of the social order.  They often like to act blase and in control of the situation, they like to pretend that we all believe we live in a society governed by law, where we all play by certain rules that are more or less sacred.  But really they know they rule over a house of cards that sits on top of a powder keg, and there’s a fire burning nearby, which they need to keep from reaching the powder keg, and any notions of the rule of law are relatively worthless when millions of people are suddenly unable to house themselves or put food on the table.

      The more progressive elements among the kleptocracy that passes itself off as government in this country is aware that what would be truly needed for long-term social cohesion, and long-term successful governance, would involve a reversal of the ongoing stratification of society under monopoly capitalism that has been taking place for several decades, which could begin with radical policies like government regulation of the cost of housing.  But at every level of government, government is bought and sold by the corporate landlords at public auctions which we call elections, and so even the legislators and governors intelligent enough to see the crisis that is in front of them are unable to do what they know needs to be done — in the longer term, instituting effective rent control policies, and in the shorter term, doing things like canceling all rent and deferring all mortgage payments for the duration of the pandemic.

    • With Relief Bill Signed, Sanders Says Trump Must Get ‘McConnell and His Republican Friends’ to Stop Blocking $2,000 Checks

      “The House must pass this legislation tomorrow and the Senate must quickly follow suit. Let’s get this done—NOW!”

    • ‘A Terrible and Costly Stunt’: Trump Delay in Signing Relief Bill Could Cost Millions a Full Week of Unemployment Aid

      “Caused needless anguish and financial distress for tens of millions of jobless living on the brink.”

    • After Deadly Delay, Trump Folds and Signs Coronavirus Relief Bill

      But only after the president “let 1,309 more people die from Covid-19 and 179,104 more people contract it,” lamented Rep. Mark Pocan.

    • Sanders Says Trump Must Get GOP to Stop Blocking $2,000 Relief Checks
    • New York Lawmakers Poised to Pass Nation’s Strongest Eviction Ban as Millions Face Housing Insecurity

      “It is not just unconscionable to evict people during a pandemic winter, it is deadly.”

    • Rep. Ro Khanna: $2,000 Stimulus Checks Are Needed, Not More Austerity, Amid Economic & Health Crisis

      President Trump has unexpectedly signed a $2.3 trillion spending package that includes a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package. The bill includes direct payments of $600 for most adults, expanded unemployment benefits, aid for small businesses, money for vaccine distribution and a temporary extension of a federal eviction ban. Millions were plunged into uncertainty over the holidays as Trump delayed signing the bill, allowing two unemployment programs to lapse. He is also demanding lawmakers amend the bill to give $2,000 in direct payments to most Americans, a proposal opposed by most Republicans but endorsed by Democratic leaders. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Trump is to blame for the delay, for the anxiety people had, and [Mitch] McConnell and Republicans are to blame for not having $2,000,” says Rep. Ro Khanna, Democratic congressmember from California.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Opinion | Neera Tanden and Antony Blinken Personify the ‘Moderate’ Rot at the Top of the Democratic Party

      What’s so moderate about being on the take from rich beneficiaries of corporate America while opposing proposals that would curb their profits in order to reduce income inequality and advance social justice?

    • Opinion | Jumping the Shark with Stalin
    • Over a Year Away From Primaries, NY State Democratic Leader Warns AOC Against Challenging Schumer

      “Instead of dividing our party, the Establishment should embrace progressive ideas that over 85% of Democrats already support!”

    • Not E. P. Thompson’s People; Or, Life at Fuckingham Palace: On The Crown Seasons Three and Four

      The December 28, 2020 issue of People magazine has a cover story about the “real” Princess Kate, wife of Prince William, and mother of their three children. It depicts Kate, her husband and kids as just another close-knit family that shops at the Sainsbury supermarket near their country home in Norfolk. People magazine casts royalty as exalted and at the same time as down home.

      The royals aren’t just another family, as The Crown, the popular Netflix series amply demonstrates. They are wealthier and more powerful than the garden variety British family. If The Crown is to be believed, the royals are also much more venial and hideous than ordinary Brits. They don’t behead anyone these days, but they punish those who don’t toe the line. Personal lives and personal happiness don’t matter. The bloodline does. The show must go on.

    • Levada Center: More than half of Russians don’t want the ‘Sputnik V’ coronavirus vaccine

      More than half of Russia’s residents (58 percent) don’t want to be immunized with the “Sputnik V” coronavirus vaccine and only 38 percent are willing to get the shot, according to the results of a new poll from the independent Levada Center shared with Meduza. 

    • What it cost to build the Power Vertical Two political scientists explain how Russia’s abandonment of mayoral elections hasn’t delivered on promises of more effective management

      Thanks to Russia’s recent constitutional amendments, local self-government has effectively lost its independence. State officials at all levels now belong to the “unified system of public authority,” accountable to the president. Dramatic as these changes seem on paper, the reforms, in fact, formally recognize what has long been true in reality: appointed “city managers” have largely replaced the country’s elected mayors. As is often the case with Russia’s legislative innovations, lawmakers have justified the abolition of these popularly elected positions by citing “international practices” — particularly in the United States, which is where they grabbed the term “city manager.” In Russia and around the world, the main purpose of these reforms has been to reduce ineffective and often politically-driven municipal spending. In an article specially for Meduza, Center for Advanced Governance political scientists Kirill Kazantsev and Alexandra Rumyantseva examine whether Russia’s retreat from popularly elected mayors has ushered in an era of more effective city management.

    • ‘Now It’s the Senate’s Turn’: All Eyes on McConnell After House Approves $2,000 Coronavirus Relief Checks

      Progressives in both chambers of Congress are pressuring the GOP majority leader to urgently hold a vote on the Covid-19 legislation.

    • Trump Is Humiliated and More Dangerous Than Ever
    • BBC nominates J.K. Rowling’s controversial essay on trans rights for award

      The writer behind the Harry Potter series was in the running for her essay on sex and gender that triggered a public furor when it was first released in June. The essay made controversial statements about trans rights and the classification of trans women as women.

    • Eugene Debs on the Real Religion of Jesus

      In December 1914, socialist leader Eugene V. Debs sent a Christmas letter to a man in a Michigan prison. We reprint the message here in full.

      Eugene V. Debs was a skeptic of organized religion. He’d seen too many pastors and preachers, ostensible promulgators of the word of Jesus Christ, fulminate from the pulpit about the “ungodliness” of unions and radical politics.

      But Debs was also a devoted Christian. The aim of socialism, as he saw it, was to create a human brotherhood that stretched across the Earth, freeing prisoners and oppressed workers from despotism. Genuine democracy would replace the rule of Mammon in the cooperative commonwealth to come.

      In December 1914, Debs opened his hometown newspaper, the Terre Haute Tribune, to find a reprinted letter from a Michigan prisoner who had sent two dollars to a “Good Fellow Club” to purchase toys for disadvantaged kids. Debs was touched. On the sixteenth, Debs wrote a short message to Inmate No. 9756 in Jackson, Michigan, praising the imprisoned man as a better representative of the spirit of Jesus than the supposedly Christian society that had locked him up.

      We reprint it here, in honor of Christmas.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Unimpressed Judge Tosses One Of Devin Nunes’ SLAPP Suits Against The Washington Post

      Back in March, Devin Nunes filed yet another of his many, many SLAPP suits. This one was against the Washington Post and reporter Shane Harris. As we noted at the time, the lawsuit was mostly performative, and had no real legal argument. After first being transferred to the appropriate venue, last week the federal court in DC easily tossed the case noting that Nunes failed to plead anything actually defamatory.

    • Russia Is Cracking Down on Political Performance Art, Again. Why It Should Listen, Not Lash Out.

      This in turn increases the pressure authorities exert on the artists and activists in efforts to crush free speech. The flurry of prosecutions in recent months has made this clear.

      On November 28, two women dressed in costumes like those worn by Snegurochka (“Snowgirl”), a companion to Russia’s version of Santa Claus, were on a central square in Moscow. With them was a man dressed as a riot police officer. He stood with his back to a lamp post while the women tied him up with packaging tape and signs reading “Careful, Fragile.”

    • In 2020, Congress Threatened Our Speech and Security With the “EARN IT” Act

      Times have changed. Today, some U.S. senators have come to the view that speech in the online world is an exceptional case, in which website owners need to “earn it”—whether they intend to carefully moderate user content, or let users speak freely. In 2020, two Senators introduced a bill that would limit speech and security online, titled the EARN IT Act, which is also an acronym that stands for “Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies.”  

      Using crimes against children as an excuse to blow a hole in critical legal protections for online speech, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) co-sponsored this law. The original EARN IT Act created a 19-person government commission, stacked with seats reserved for law enforcement, that would create “best practices” for online platforms to follow. This wouldn’t have just targeted big websites like Facebook—the new rules would apply to a local news websites, hobby blogs, and email services, among other online services. Anyone who didn’t follow the “best practices” would lose critical legal protections and could be held liable, or prosecuted, for the actions of the people who use their services. 

      It’s clear what practices law enforcement want Internet companies and website hosts to adopt. U.S. Attorney General William Barr has said it repeatedly—in his view, law enforcement agencies should always have access to encrypted communications. But as we’ve explained over and over again, encryption with a “backdoor” is just broken encryption. It doesn’t matter if you call the means of accessing encryption “client side scanning” or “endpoint filtering” or anything else. Backdoors don’t just get used by good guys, either. Authoritarian governments and criminals are always interested in reading other peoples’ messages. 

    • Content Moderation Case Study: Profanity Filter Causes Problems At Paleontology Conference (October 2020)

      Summary: With the COVID pandemic still in full force, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology moved its annual meeting online. The event was due to run for an entire week, but early issues caused attendees and moderators to question the contents of the pre-packaged content filter provided by Convey Services, which operated the virtual meeting software.

    • Egyptian blogger Shadi Abu Zeid jailed for 6 months over 2016 Facebook video

      On November 21, a Cairo appeals court sentenced video blogger Abu Zeid to six months in prison after convicting him of insulting a government official in a Facebook post, according to news reports and his lawyer Nasser Amin, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview.

      Later that day, Abu Zeid was transferred to Cairo’s Tora Prison to begin his jail term, Amin said.

    • Terrorist Content Online: Is this the end?

      Two years after the release of the Commission’s proposal, the problematic parts of the agreed text have been successfully curbed thanks to a large coalition of civil society groups. As a result of this collective action by digital rights groups, journalists, free speech and rule of law organisations; we have been able to improve the worrying initial proposal. However, the agreed text is still a softened version of the original proposal and still raises doubts as to whether it would pass the legality test of the Court of Justice of the European Union or not.

    • Justice Minister announces online freedom of speech bill

      Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro announced a legal initiative on Thursday aimed at enabling [Internet] users to file complaints against the removal of online posts as well as the creation of a special court for freedom of speech.

    • Online Safety Bill: Social media firms could be fined up to £18m for not protecting users

      Online platforms that fail to protect users or remove harmful content will face fines of up to £18 million under new laws.

      In the Online Safety Bill, to be brought forward next year, Ofcom will be given the power to fine companies up to £18 million or 10 per cent of global turnover, whichever is higher, for failing to abide by a duty of care to their users – particularly children and the vulnerable.

      However, proposals for criminal liability for senior executives at non-compliant firms appear to have been scaled back, with the Government aiming to bring those powers into force through secondary legislation.

    • Free Speech Tuesday: Tinker on Snapchat

      B.L. apparently was a varsity cheerleader during her freshman year, but was relegated to J.V. during her sophomore year. After receiving that news, B.L. posted a photo of herself and several friends raising their middle fingers and including the following quote: “Fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything.” Although the post was only temporarily on Snapchat, at least one student took a screenshot and provided it to a school official. In addition, at least one person accessed the vulgarity from a school computer.

      B.L. was then kicked-off the team. According to the school, a good cheerleader must have “have respect for the school, coaches, teachers, [and] other cheerleaders” and must also avoid “foul language and inappropriate gestures.” ACLU sued on B.L.’s behalf and won, including a 3rd Circuit decision limiting School’s control over student off-campus speech.

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
    • First Circuit Appeals Court Reaffirms Its 2011 Decision: The First Amendment Protects The Recording Of Cops

      More than a decade ago, Simon Glik was arrested by Boston police officers for the “crime” of recording them in public. This was made possible by a law passed in the mid-60s, which turned Massachusetts into a “two-party” recording state. Unless the person doing the recording has the consent of the person being recorded, it’s a violation of the state’s wiretap law.

    • CNN’s Acosta says ‘a number of us’ get death threats from Trump supporters

      “I am not the only reporter who covered this White House who has had death threats,” Acosta said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday. “We can’t be at a place in this country where political reporters, White House correspondents, need bodyguards to cover political campaign events.”

      “It is just a pervasive hostility and anti-democratic hostility towards the process that I just hope we never receive the likes of ever again,” he added. “It is just so damaging and destructive for our democracy.”

    • Chinese citizen journalist Zhang Zhan jailed for ‘provoking trouble’ with Wuhan reporting

      Zhang, a former lawyer, arrived in Wuhan in early February from her home in Shanghai to document in a series of online posts how the city was holding up against the new, deadly virus. Some of her posts were critical of the Chinese government’s response.

      Zhang was detained in May and accused of spreading false information, giving interviews to foreign media, disrupting social order and attacking the government.

    • China jails citizen journalist for Wuhan coronavirus reports

      A court in Shanghai sentenced a citizen journalist to four years in prison Monday after finding her guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” by reporting on China’s early coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, per rights groups.

      Why it matters: Zhang Zhan’s conviction marks the first known sentence of someone “who chronicled authorities’ early struggle to manage the outbreak,” Bloomberg notes.

    • China Jails Ex-Lawyer for Four Years Over Virus Reports in Wuhan

      The verdict represents China’s latest effort to punish those who exposed shortcomings in the country’s initial response to the virus, which was first discovered a year ago in the central city of Wuhan before spreading around the globe. After being accused of covering up the severity of the virus, President Xi Jinping’s government has sought to recast its response as competent and compassionate.

    • Chinese citizen journalist Zhang Zhan sentenced for reporting early on COVID in Wuhan

      Lawyer Zhang Keke confirmed the sentence but said it was “inconvenient” to provide details – usually an indication that the court has issued a partial gag order. He said the court didn’t ask Zhang whether she would appeal, nor did she indicate whether she would.

      Zhang, 37, traveled to Wuhan in February and posted on various social media platforms about the outbreak that is believed to have emerged in the central Chinese city late last year.

    • Zhang Zhan gets 4 years’ jail over Wuhan reporting

      A Chinese citizen journalist was jailed for four years Monday for her reporting from Wuhan as the Covid-19 outbreak unfurled, her lawyer said, almost a year after details of an “unknown viral pneumonia” surfaced in the central China city.

    • Zhang Zhan: China jails citizen journalist for Wuhan reports

      Ms Zhang is one of several citizen journalists who have run into trouble for reporting on Wuhan.

      There is no free media in China and authorities are known to clamp down on activists or whistleblowers seen as undermining the government’s response to the outbreak.

    • Journalists in Uganda face accreditation hurdles ahead of election, risk criminal sanction

      On December 10, the Media Council of Uganda, a statutory body, said that local and foreign journalists would be barred from covering electoral events if they failed to properly register with that body, and directed all foreign journalists in the country to renew their accreditations within a week, as CPJ documented at the time. On December 21, the council issued a statement giving a December 30 deadline for registration, and threatened criminal sanctions for non-compliance.

      “Ugandan authorities’ excessive and arduous accreditation rules lay bare their disregard for the role of the press in democratic processes,” said CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative, Muthoki Mumo. “Officials must abandon efforts to use accreditations as a pretext to restrict coverage of the elections, and should withdraw their threats of criminal sanctions against the media and ensure that journalists can do their jobs safely.”

    • Trump pardons Blackwater war criminals — but ignores Julian Assange, who exposed U.S. war crimes

      Observers decried as “grotesque” Trump’s full pardon of Blackwater guards Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard, and Nicholas Slatten and failure to pardon Assange as the publisher struggles to survive in a notorious British jail ahead of an expected extradition ruling on January 4. If extradited to the U.S., Assange could spend the rest of his life in prison for the “crime” of obtaining and publishing classified documents—an act of journalism.

    • Assange, and the critical threat to publishing state secrets

      Remember that little spying case against Julian Assange? The Department of Justice indicted him last year for publishing classified US military and State Department documents leaked in 2010 by Chelsea Manning, who was then a soldier in Iraq. While Attorney General William Barr is now on his way out the door, the charges against the WikiLeaks founder, brought under the Espionage Act, are alive and as dangerous as ever.

      New leadership at the Justice Department traditionally sticks with most of the cases initiated by the prior administration, so it seems unlikely that the Biden team will abandon the Assange prosecution. Any precedent it sets, therefore, may be with us for a long time.

    • A record number of journalists were behind bars in 2020

      Many journalists were locked up because of their reporting on the pandemic. At least two have died after contracting the virus in custody. On July 13th Mohamed Monir, an Egyptian journalist who had been arrested on charges of spreading misinformation, died after contracting covid-19 in Cairo’s Tora prison complex. On July 18th David Romero Ellner, a Honduran, died after falling ill with covid-19 while imprisoned in Támara National Penitentiary (he had been serving a ten-year sentence for defaming a former prosecutor).

      Others were punished for their coverage of other politically sensitive subjects. After protests erupted in Belarus after the country’s rigged election on August 9th, ten journalists were jailed. The former Soviet republic had not featured on the CPJ’s census since 2014. At least seven journalists are detained in Ethiopia, where armed conflict broke out in November, up from one in 2019. All of the 24 journalists detained in Saudi Arabia have been in prison since before the pandemic.

    • Al-Akhbar under cyberattack for reporting Saudi and Emirati bankrolling Israel deals

      The website of the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper has been under a cyberattack since Tuesday morning, following the newspaper reporting on Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates’ efforts to bankroll normalisation deals between Arab, Islamic countries and Israel.

      On Monday, Al-Akhbar published a report on Saudi and Emirati plans to finance the new Arab normalisation agreements with Israel, citing a Moroccan diplomat anonymously.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Opinion | Our Next Attorney General Must Boldly Set a Course Toward Justice

      Black people showed up for Biden; now we need an attorney general who will show up for us.

    • Opinion | The Year That Labor Hung On By Its Fingertips

      Disasters, missed opportunities, and a few bright spots in 2020.

    • Members of Congress Profited From Paycheck Protection Program
    • EFF Members Rise Up: 2020 in Review

      EFF members didn’t skip a beat and proved the strength of their numbers this year. Last spring, the EFF membership team was tasked with planning the first-ever virtual Members’ Speakeasy. Despite being an organization whose entire purpose is to fight for digital rights, we had to climb a steep learning curve to throw a successful program in virtual space! Thankfully, our members showed that they are ready and willing to fight for our mission, joining a live workshop to research and collect data about American police surveillance technologies. This event helped launch our Atlas of Surveillance database, which aims to raise awareness about the surveillance technologies that law enforcement agencies have in your neighborhood.

      It doesn’t stop there. July 10th marked EFF’s 30th Anniversary of supporting you in the fight for a better digital future. We knew that we wanted to do something big. To mark the occasion, EFF presented a seven-hour live-streamed event that included: DJ performances, our first EFF30 Fireside chat discussing the future of encryption, video game streams, and even our 4th Annual Tech Trivia where viewers could test the limits of their nerdiness with the contestants. This anniversary stream was bigger and more fun than we could have ever imagined. We’re grateful to EFF’s members for showing up for the Internet and celebrating with us—even in cyberspace.

    • “I Just Felt Like I Had No Control Over My Body”: Survivors of Alleged ICE Medical Abuse Speak Out

      Dozens of immigrant women detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia have joined a class-action lawsuit against ICE over allegations they were subjected to nonconsensual and invasive gynecological procedures and surgeries that were later found to be unnecessary, and in some cases left them unable to have children. The lawsuit cites sworn testimony from at least 35 women about their treatment by Mahendra Amin, a physician in Ocilla, Georgia, and describes retaliation and threats of deportation for speaking out. “We have more than 40 women who filed sworn testimony in court despite consistent attempts by ICE to silence them,” says Azadeh Shahshahani, legal and advocacy director at Project South and co-counsel for women at Irwin who say they were subjected to these procedures. We also speak with two women who say they underwent unnecessary medical procedures: Wendy Dowe, who was deported to Jamaica after she says her fallopian tubes were removed without her consent, and Elizabeth, who is detained at the Irwin County ICE jail and who says she faced retaliation for speaking up about her unnecessary medical treatment.

    • What you need to know about Russia’s updated ‘foreign agent’ laws

      On December 25, Russian senators approved a law that allows for ordinary citizens and informal organizations (ones not registered as legal entities) to be deemed “foreign agents” if they are involved in political activity in Russia and receive assistance from abroad. The new law refers to more than just financial assistance and offers a broad interpretation of what constitutes political activity. What’s more, potential foreign agents are responsible for registering their status themselves and, under yet another law, failure to do so can threaten not only a fine, but also up to five years in prison. Now, all that’s left is for Russian President Vladimir Putin to sign these new measures into law, which he undoubtedly will. Meduza breaks down why this new legislation puts almost everyone at risk of being labeled a foreign agent.

    • Donald Trump signs Tibet policy to preempt Chinese move on Dalai Lama’s succession

      It authorises assistance to non-governmental organisations in support of Tibetan communities in Tibet; places restrictions on new Chinese consulates in the United States until a US consulate has been established in Lhasa, Tibet.

      The law now authorises the Office of the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and expands the office’s duties to include additional tasks, such as pursuing international coalitions to ensure that the next Dalai Lama is appointed solely by the Tibetan Buddhist faith community.

      It also directs the Secretary of State not to open a new Chinese consulate in the US unless China allows the opening of an American consulate in Lhasa.

    • Why Iranian authorities force women to wear a veil

      The veil became a hallmark of this new, old order — symbolizing Iran’s decidedly anti-Western way of life. “The Islamic Revolution developed into a sexual counter-revolution, a fight over women’s sexuality,” writes US political scientist Hamideh Sedghi in her 2007 report Women and Politics in Iran: Veiling, Unveiling, and Reveiling. Sexuality had thus become a deeply politicized issue, with a strong anti-Western connotation. One of the slogans making the rounds in 1979 was: “Wear a veil, or we will punch your head.” Another was: “Death to the unveiled.”

    • Conviction of Loujain al-Hathloul in Saudi Arabia Condemned as ‘Blatant Attack on the Most Basic Human Rights’

      “We stand with the al-Hathloul family and their friends who have not given up, and continue to call on the Saudi government to free Loujain,” said Ariel Gold of CodePink.

    • Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul given five-year prison sentence

      A Saudi terrorism court handed rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul a prison sentence of five years and eight months on Monday, with two years and 10 months of the term suspended. FRANCE 24′s correspondant in Riyadh, Saeed Al Jaber, said that with time served Hathloul could be released as soon as March.

    • Saudi Arabia jails women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul — local media

      A Saudi anti-terrorism court has jailed Loujain al-Hathloul for five years and eight months, local media have reported. She was arrested along with other women activists in 2018.

    • Irving Howe: A Socialist Life

      Walking on Manhattan’s Upper West Side one chilly day in the 1980s—it was not long after a suggestion came from within the Reagan administration that ketchup replace vegetables in school lunches to save money—Irving Howe made a remark to me that captured a great deal about his own political journey: “I know how to debate with these guys about politics and economics, but how do you argue with social meanness?”
      Howe, whose centennial we commemorate this year and who was Dissent’s founding spirit, could have easily launched into a dissection of capitalism. His political awakening began in the 1930s and 1940s as a teenaged Marxist. A half century later his aversions hadn’t much changed, but his ways of understanding had. Instead of an “analysis,” he expressed simple moral outrage. If his intellectual evolution has meaning for today’s left, and certainly it does, it is to be found in his struggle to transcend sectarian mindsets while remaining principled.
      Two factors were particularly important in his case. One was an ability to speak frankly about things that had gone wrong on the left. The other was how literature shaped his sensibilities. When this “liberal socialist” used the word “critical,” it was not just against foes but to trouble his own deepest beliefs. Egalitarian humanism was at their core. However, the experiences of the twentieth century, particularly the damage inflicted on the very idea of socialism by Communist parties, taught him the need for modifiers. The word liberal implied not just individual freedoms but the importance of “self” and securing spaces for an individual’s life. Engaging literature fostered the self.
      Political and economic unfairness made him bridle; he bristled if someone blamed those suffering social pain for their predicament. Howe, born Horenstein, said that he “stumbled” into socialism at the age of fourteen, but tripwires abounded: Depression at home, the rise of Hitler and Stalin abroad. And then there was the Bronx, to which his poor Yiddish speaking parents came from Bessarabia. Waves of Jewish immigrants had arrived in the “New World” fleeing upheaval and anti-Semitism. They felt, Howe wrote, as if always “on the edge of foreseen catastrophe.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Verizon’s Latest 5G Innovation: A 5G ‘DSS’ Network That’s Slower Than 4G

      While unveiling its shiny new 5G-enabled iPhones back in October, Apple brought Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg to the stage to declare that Verizon had launched an updated, “nationwide” 5G network that shores up the company’s 5G coverage. Until now, Verizon has largely embraced “high band” or millimeter wave 5G, which provides amazing speeds if you’re near an antenna, but suffers from terrible range and building wall penetration issues. As a result, the company has been routinely criticized for comically overstating not only what 5G is capable of, but where 5G is available.

    • Coalition Of Internet Companies Who Are Decidedly Not ‘Big Tech’ Raise Their Voices About The Importance Of Section 230

      A few weeks ago we noted that smaller, but still important, internet companies were working to get in the room on the discussions regarding Section 230 in Congress. The issue is that, among many in Congress and the media, they believe (falsely) that Section 230 is some sort of subsidy “only for Big Tech.” As we’ve pointed out many times, the opposite is true. Facebook and Google have giant legal teams who can handle the liability without 230. It’s everyone else who is screwed. This is why Facebook has always been first in line to undermine Section 230.

    • AT&T recovers from multi-state outage after Nashville bombing

      The AT&T building, located blocks away from the company’s better-known office tower, provides a regional network connection point in addition to local service. The blast reportedly damaged the building’s structure and facade. Combined with water and fire damage, it disabled backup generators that were supposed to keep AT&T’s network functioning.

      The result was days of partial service outages, mitigated partly by emergency cell sites. AT&T is also suspending data overage charges across parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, and Missouri over the final five days of December.

    • Internet outage impacts subscribers following Nashville, Tennessee Christmas Day blast

      Network data from the NetBlocks Internet Observatory confirm that [Internet] connectivity in Tennessee and Kentucky remain impacted for many subscribers some two days after an explosion on 25 December 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee triggered a series of events that knocked AT&T offline. AT&T is a major provider of home and business broadband, fiber and cellular network connectivity in the region, also serving as the backbone for other consumer services and data centers.

      Technical data from the observatory corroborate the provider’s assertions that the outage was not caused by the immediate impact of the explosion, but rather linked to secondary impacts attributable to the loss of power hours after the detonation itself. As such, the shutdown of services occurred in the context of efforts by authorities and engineers to secure the blast site, make the area safe and restore power toward the resumption of business.

    • The Network is not the Issue Dude

      The next big issue for me is that this theory of inherited insecurity made sense for a while, when TCP/IP was used “raw” even for sensitive data. This was rsh, rlogin, telnet, and the monster that outlived everything — HTTP. This was a legitimate complaint about the [Internet] protocols: they don’t have encryption by default.

      The lack of mandated encryption for TCP/IP et al. is actually probably really fortunate. These days we can use modern ciphers rather than everyone being stuck on 3DES because some vendors are so committed to their legacy install base.

      The modularity of [Internet] protocols is a good thing (they’re stackable!) and the historical lack of encryption for telnet and HTTP has long been rectified. We live in an age where toasters are perfectly capable of offering https and ssh access. Encryption at the network layer is a solved problem, not something we can blame on the original designers and their weak slow computers.

  • Monopolies
    • Chinese trustbusters’ pursuit of Alibaba is only the start

      The Alibaba probe marks the first one of its kind into Chinese e-commerce. Its timing—a month after authorities suddenly halted the $37bn initial public offering (IPO) of Alibaba’s fintech affiliate, Ant Group, and days before another regulator told Ant to curtail its lucrative lending and wealth-management activities—has fuelled speculation that it is Beijing’s way of chastening the two firms’ flamboyant co-founder, Jack Ma.

    • ‘If You Own the Seeds You Own the Food System’: Campaigners Demand Public Ownership to Counter Big Ag Privatization

      “Empty shelves during the pandemic made clear, allowing huge corporations to ‘own’ seeds is a very bad idea!”

    • Brexit and Intellectual Property Rights [Ed: This gives the false impression that UPC will exist and the UK could participate in something that did not, does not and will never exist]

      Protection of patents is largely unaffected by Brexit. However, recently, the EU has been working towards a Unitary Patent System with a Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UK has announced that it no longer intends to participate in the UPC system. This means that patents will continue to require a separate UK registration to ensure protection in the UK, rather than having the option of a unitary patent under any new patent regime.

    • Patents
      • FOSS Patents: Samsung won the race to the courthouse against Ericsson–but notoriously patentee-friendly Judge Gilstrap acts as if the U.S. were a banana republic

        It’s not always true that “the second is the first of the losers,” but when there are only two in a race, then there’s simply one winner and one loser. On December 11, Ericsson brought a new FRAND lawsuit against Samsung in the troll-friendly Eastern District of Texas. The parties had been negotiating a renewal of their patent cross-license, but their positions were apparently too far apart for them to come to an agreement this year. Therefore, they need guidance from courts to resolve their dispute.

        It now turns out that Ericsson wasn’t first to go to court. Instead, Samsung pre-empted Ericsson by almost a week, filing a case with the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court in China as an Ericsson filing in Texas revealed yesterday.

        Not only did Samsung seek a global FRAND determination in China but, shortly after Ericsson’s filing in the Eastern District of Texas, the Korean electronics giant sought an antisuit injunction in China, which was granted on the morning of December 25, says Ericsson.

      • Patent case: Nichtigerklärung des Klagepatents II, Germany

        The decision concerns the provisional enforcement of a court judgment on patent infringement. In an earlier decision in the same proceedings the Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) ruled that where the patent in suit is declared invalid the provisional enforcement of the infringement judgment is to be suspended. Now the FCJ has confirmed that the suspension is to be lifted when the nullity decision is reversed on appeal.

      • Broad Files Motion Opposing CVC’s Motion to Subpoena Witnesses

        At the end of October, in Interference No. 106,115 between Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”) and Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) consented to CVC’s request that they file a motion under 37 C.F.R. § 41.156(a) for leave to subpoena discovery from Luciano Marraffini and Shuailiang Lin, neither of whom is a party to this interference. (Readers may remember that Dr. Marraffini, faculty at The Rockefeller University, was involved in a dispute over inventorship of certain of the Broad’s patents that resulted ultimately in some of the European counterparts of these patents to be revoked by the European Patent Office; see “The CRISPR Chronicles — Broad Institute Wins One and Loses One”).


        Turning to Dr. Lin, Broad contends that CVC’s category 1 evidence — relating to the experiments performed in the Zhang lab — were available from other Broad declarants, particularly because they were members of the Zhang lab as opposed to Dr. Lin’s status as a visiting graduate student (nicely supporting an effort to discredit the competence of his testimony). Similar, according to Broad CVC’s category 2 evidence has been presented in Dr. Zhang’s declaration, and certain of the e-mails referenced with regard to this evidence were not shared while Dr. Lin was in the Zhang lab. Broad interprets this statement, “. . . Feng Zhang and Le Cong quickly jumped to the project without letting me know,” as evidence that Dr. Lin lacked knowledge.


        And for category 4, as with Dr. Marraffini Broad asserts that the testimony sought was too broad under Tropix, Inc. v. Lumigen, Inc. for the Board to properly permit CVC to subpoena Dr. Lin.

        For all these reasons, Broad asks the Board to deny CVC’s motion or, in the alternative, to grant leave for Broad to depose these witnesses equally during the 7-hour deposition period.

      • Software Patents
        • GE Video Compression patent challenged

          On December 23, 2020, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 10,057,603, owned by GE Video Compression LLC (GEVC). The ‘603 patent has been designated as essential in the HEVC Advance patent pool.

          Unified is represented by Eric Buresh and Jocelyn Ram of Erise IP, and in-house counsel, Roshan Mansinghani and Ashraf Fawzy, in this proceeding. Visit Unified’s Public Portal for more information about its Video Codec landscape (OPAL) and standard submission repository (OPEN). Read the request below.

        • Federal Circuit: User Experience is not Computer Functionality

          In this case, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the lower court’s summary dismissal of Simio’s infringement lawsuit on eligibility grounds.


          Dennis Pegden has received many awards for his work developing software (and programming languages) for simulating real-life processes in order to optimize decisionmaking; perform risk analysis, etc. He was a professor who then developed his own company that was bought-out by Rockwell. Later, he formed the new company Simio, that owns the patent at issue here: U.S. Patent No. 8,156,468. The ‘468 patent is effectively an object-oriented simulation programming tool that allows users to develop simulation models of process flows using a graphical framework.


          Quoting the patent specification. And, the court agreed that “Simply applying the already-widespread practice of using graphics instead of programming to the environment of object-oriented simulations is no more than an abstract idea.”

          Prior decisions have found innovations that improve computer functionality to be non-abstract (and thus patent eligible). Here, the court admitted that the claimed innovation may well improve the ability of many individuals to create simulations, but found that such a usability improvement does not count as an improvement to the computer’s functionality.

    • Trademarks
      • Farewell Post: Can QR codes be registered as trade marks?

        QR codes have become well-nigh ubiquitous so that it was merely a question of time until courts had to deal with applications for QR codes as trade marks. For my last post as a GuestKat, it seems fitting to draw Kat readers’ attention to a recent Swiss decision dealing with this question.

        A QR (shorthand for “Quick Response”) code is a machine-readable matrix barcode. QR codes originated in the automotive industry and are now commonly used in areas as advertising, payments, product tracing and detection of counterfeits and, more recently, to allow global travel in the pandemic based on a person’s health status.

        The centre of a QR code does not need to be coded and can be left empty. In fact, the centre of the matrix is sometimes used to place a sign or logo that is readable by humans.


        The Swiss court’s decision is not the first one to deal with the registration of a QR code as a trade mark. In particular, a German Federal Patent Court decision of 2015 already came to the same conclusion with regard to the matrix pattern: it is not readable by humans and is not understood to distinguish goods and services, but rather serves as a technical access path to further information on a product or service. In the German decision however, there was no distinctive sign at the centre of the matrix (or, at least, it was not separately distinguishable from the rest of the pattern).

        Overall, this Kat agrees with both the outcome and the reasoning of the decision. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen what protection this trade mark will afford its owner. The applicant seemingly wishes to obtain exclusivity (related to the services claimed) for QR codes with a cross at their centre. Now, (1) if the matrix pattern is considered non-distinctive and can be disregarded, and (2) given that QR codes are generally represented in black and white, a combination that has been explicitly disclaimed, it is unclear whether the applicant would have a strong case against anyone using a black and white QR code with a cross-shape in its centre.

    • Copyrights
      • Sweet grapes, sour grapes, or the grapes of wrath: what is going on with this collecting society?

        But perhaps not so. An article that appeared in The Marker, a section of the respected Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, suggests that when it comes to the operations of at least one collecting society, the motto seems more— “me, myself and I”. Instead of helping each other, the article suggests that senior management may be less than forthcoming regarding the financial well-being of their members. Even more, such disregard is justified by a claim of trade secrets. Since the newspaper report is in Hebrew, permit this Kat to summarize its most salient points.

        The name of the Israeli collecting society is “Eshkolot” (which roughly means “bunch” or “cluster”, as in grapes). It was founded in 1983 by three performers for the purpose of advancing the interests of their fellow performers, a year before the Israeli legislator gave statutory recognition to performers’ rights. About decade later, the law was amended to entitle performers to receive royalties. Since Eshkolot represented the largest number of performing artists, it became the collecting society that would administer the collection and distribution of the moneys paid for such performances.


        The organization is described as a private company that serves as a fiduciary on behalf of its members (currently reported to be approximately 40,000) Eshkolot has 100 shareholders, none of whom holds any share capital. Rather, shareholder status only confers the right to supervise the organization and to vote at the general meeting on a variety of issues.

      • Beast IPTV Shut Down By Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment

        Beast IPTV, a popular pirate IPTV service that has faced numerous issues over the past few weeks, has shut down and will not be returning. In a pair of statements, one of which goes into more detail than the other, the service says it was “forced” to close its doors. Fingers are pointing to action by the Alliance of Creativity and Entertainment and what appears to be legal action in the United States and Canada.

      • NZBgeek Has Been Hacked Leaving Private User Data Exposed

        Popular Usenet indexer NZBGeek has been hacked. The site’s database was copied exposing the personal details of all users. The hackers also managed to install a keylogger, opening the door to further abuse. The site’s operators recommend that users should secure their online accounts as well as credit cards that were used on the site recently.

When it Comes to Bill Gates and Vaccination, Critics Need to Focus on Monopoly and Profits at Taxpayers’ Expense

Tuesday 29th of December 2020 06:12:04 PM

Video download link

Summary: This video does not deal with whether or not COVID-19 vaccines (Russia and the US promote some) are effective and/or safe; instead, it focuses on who stands to benefit from them financially (the elephant in the room is the co-founder of Microsoft, who is wrongly portrayed as an expert)

THE mass hysteria over Bill Gates isn’t entirely unfounded, but it’s often misdirected and misguided. It attributes to Mr. Gates things he did not actually do and does not intend to do, either. We’ve often wondered aloud if this is intentional — that is, whether there’s an attempt to make a caricature out of critics of Bill Gates.

“The media cites as an authority on the matter people with no real (technical) understanding of vaccination — people like Gates who are in effect vaccine profiteers rather than vaccination gurus.”This subject is hardly new to us. For over a decade we’ve warned that Gates was aligning himself to make a lot of money out of vaccination — to the point where he was hijacking decision-making bodies all around the world (some insiders from those bodies openly complained about Gates and his intervention). India is a good example of it, but Africa doesn’t lack examples as well.

At the moment many people are urged to adopt mass vaccination shouldered by national budget (i.e. taxpayers) and little attention is being paid to monopoly aspects. The media cites as an authority on the matter people with no real (technical) understanding of vaccination — people like Gates who are in effect vaccine profiteers rather than vaccination gurus. The media itself often turns out to have been paid by Gates, leading to yet another issue and raising perfectly legitimate questions because the press and TV channels ought not reduced themselves to pure marketing; their job ought to be informing the public and doing so responsibly.

Links for/from the video (more recent first):

  1. Donald Trump Helped Bill Gates Increase His Wealth by More Than 50%, Especially During the Pandemic
  2. Conspiracy Theories Have Successfully Distracted From Perfectly Legitimate and Real Scandals of Bill Gates in India, the Fertile Ground for Unethical Mass Experimentation on Humans
  3. Latest Tim Schwab Investigative Report on Bill Gates Explores His Latest Vaccine Profiteering Drive (important video of Bill Gates at the bottom)
  4. While the Poor Get Sick, Bill Gates Just Gets Richer
  5. Bill Gates, King of Piracy and Serial Vandal, is a Terrible Public Face for Vaccination Efforts/COVID-19 Response Drive
  6. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called ‘Charity’ to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

Migration to GNU/Linux in China Still Progressing, Just as Planned, in Spite of Ridicule and Misinformation From Microsoft

Tuesday 29th of December 2020 03:31:06 PM

Earlier this year: Microsoft Propagandist Turns “Years” Into More Than Ten Years to Belittle a Massive Migration to GNU/Linux in China

Summary: China is preinstalling GNU/Linux on laptops; “The [above] laptop,” says an English report, runs “Deepin OS 20,” which is based on Debian GNU/Linux

THE world is changing. South Korea, Russia, and China (sharing a border) plan to move their governments and then their citizens to GNU/Linux (South Korea started this year). This won’t happen overnight (due to legacy workflows and systems), but progress is being made; they moreover make their own chips (processors and beyond) to promote self-reliance. Is this good for North America and Europe? Maybe not. Depending on one’s political orientation and stance on security (including back doors).

“We heard about the MateBook earlier this year; Qingyun L410 shows it must have been a success, as otherwise they would not put GNU/Linux on further and newer models of laptops.”Recently, in Daily Links we mentioned this article citing a Chinese portal (screenshot above; it’s hard to access that site). It spoke of a laptop that comes with GNU/Linux preinstalled. “The laptop itself,” it said, “is named Qingyun L410 and is expected to be a cheaper version of the MateBook 14. There’s also the possibility of the device supporting 5G connectivity given that the SoC itself features an integrated 5G modem.”

We heard about the MateBook earlier this year; Qingyun L410 shows it must have been a success, as otherwise they would not put GNU/Linux on further and newer models of laptops.

Kylin and Deepin are the better known Chinese distributions these days (it changes over time and there’s also UOS). Here’s an article about UOS (from May 2020):

Certainly the decline of Windows worries Microsoft; lobbyists even begged the Trump administration to allow Microsoft to carry on imposing Windows on banned companies (so much for “Microsoft loves Linux”). Did it work? Not really, at least not based on the above. China has other ideas for its future and it rightly views Microsoft as an imperial espionage tool that’s subsidised by the US taxpayer. Not only did Trump pass a lot of military budget to Microsoft (Pentagon budget as Microsoft stimulus); he also helped Microsoft steal a Chinese company (TikTok) even if that did not materialise at the end.

Microsoft is telling us (even confirming) Azure layoffs, in spite of Microsoft pretending to have found an alternative and promising future in Clown Computing. They literally join or come to our primary IRC channel, trying to interject damage-limiting PR.

Let’s hope that in 2021 the mask will slip further (causing more project exoduses in GitHub), Microsoft layoffs will carry on, and nations as large as China (with the largest number of computer users) will migrate to GNU/Linux.

SystemD: When More is Less (Freedom)

Tuesday 29th of December 2020 11:59:31 AM

Video download link

Summary: The sorts of bills people are expected to receive for GNU/Linux support from IBM are reminiscent of ‘old’ IBM; systemd helps lock-in, making avoidance of such support contracts more difficult over time (now that CentOS is more or less going away)

IN relative terms, systemd isn’t mature software. It’s about a decade old, compared to 37 years of GNU and almost 30 years of Linux. But systemd rapidly takes over more and more functions in today’s GNU/Linux systems and it is controlled mostly by IBM, which develops systemd on Microsoft servers.

“But systemd rapidly takes over more and more functions in today’s GNU/Linux systems and it is controlled mostly by IBM, which develops systemd on Microsoft servers.”The video above isn’t intended to be too hostile; it’s just pointing out some simple facts about systemd and highlights some of the main concerns, which are centered around vendor lock-in (for support) rather than technical aspects, including security.

Well, systemd may be working perfectly well in practice (except on some particular systems with unique setups); but should we therefore ignore possible future issues? It’s not like IBM is getting any nicer and less aggressive, as we’ve mentioned in two videos over the past 24 hours [1, 2].

Links/pages from the video:

  1. The NSA Is Looking At Systemd’s KDBUS
  2. Systemd Had A Pretty Big 2020 With Homed, OOMD Components Merged
  3. “By today standard it seems that any stupid idea you throw in qualifies as “modernizing”…” Phoronix comment
  4. Running GNU/Linux With a Top Process Controlled by Microsoft and Far Too Many Lines of Code
  5. What Former Debian Project Leader (Second to the Late Ian Murdock) Thinks About SystemD in Debian GNU/Linux
  6. Simpler Systems, Better Systems
  7. Systemd Has Become (Almost) an Operating System
  8. Foreclosure by Systemd and IBM
  9. Pseudo Novelty is Coming Home
  10. Guest Meme: Systemd and GitHub as Digital Colonisation
  11. The Systemd Song
  12. Monopoly (or Vendor Lock-in) is Not Modularity

According to Statcounter, Microsoft Windows Reaches Lowest Market Share Since 1990s (Now Just 31.8%)

Tuesday 29th of December 2020 09:55:56 AM

Video download link

Summary: Less than a third of Web users observed by Statcounter are Windows users, according to the latest available statistics

IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 28, 2020

Tuesday 29th of December 2020 07:45:24 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  QmSWcHMvMbJEUbt9iHB6thjxuNFtAQnm58HBjk4aZWkgSh IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmRwYkpDFofajWYJNeVafHBCrRTDXXkPkPVumQwar1XF54 IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  QmQAeMeUbg9Zgse8uDPwtaQDq49feRUh7TrRU8MXjVAijq IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmbZTVy5qFdMH6rLZQGt1XnFHV3ByuT6MN5sHorTmAmKYT IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  QmYV8oU4HiA1qdvJGmm7ZXxV8eAgmdkpfCHS5hS8nhSBVe IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)  Qma1FyTTCR3Cb7oWZBkPzFiUqNB1m1b4JrapCuPeVQPJmj IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)  QmQ8SDvg6eSkHRiWjnhfeN5wVCmuxhvpLbmzxtMGjbrny2 IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)  QmYX4zgDeMwmqMbnDoe4LrE9TGrRGZVU4FcpdFAKaC4HD3 IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmYqhYrKEV9gAAitfZidCc8mCztdegVqsSjGntAvWHtCKY

IBM Likes to Speak About Diversity in Order to Distract or Confuse People About IBM’s Past and Present

Tuesday 29th of December 2020 07:36:56 AM

Video download link

Summary: Diversity is a very good and desirable thing — hardly something that anyone would reject — but when monopolisers mention “diversity” they have something else in mind (like distracting the public, fracturing/destabilising harmonious communities, and ousting good people who typically obstruct monopolies rather than minorities)

IN 2020, as we noted less than a day ago, IBM is still a patent bully (this has not changed since buying Red Hat), but IBM wishes to be seen as an ethical company with new puff pieces [1] and longstanding PR campaigns [2]. This video goes through some articles we wrote in 2020 [3-5] (there were dozens more) to explain why Linus Torvalds was temporarily expelled [3], based on mischaracterisations which mostly distract from IBM's sexism (a real problem, albeit outside the scope of the video) and overt racism [4,5].

“…IBM wishes to be seen as an ethical company…”IBM is not a friend of Free software and it’s not a friend of diversity, either. But like the fossil fuel companies, IBM is trying to seed doubt and confusion by saturating the media with conflicting messages, turning facts into a “debate” (over whether IBM is racist or not; akin to global warming “controversies”). “There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge,” Bertrand Russell once said, but in this time it’s just mindless propaganda by IBM, wrapped up as “news”. With something like OIN, for instance, IBM also tricked (or fooled) many people into thinking that IBM is saving or protecting Free software projects from patents. Marshall Phelps, who helped turn IBM into a patent bully, once said: “Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio” (because Microsoft is the next IBM, struggling to find its place in the world and resorting to patent monopolies instead, whether on software or vaccines). “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today,” Bill Gates said after he had checked IBM’s patent portfolio. Decades later he’s doing exactly what IBM did (which he also complained about), in essence shifting the profit-making model to patents while pretending to be looking after “health” or “diversity” or whatnot (and while also associating with pedophiles and the world’s very worst autocrats, just like Mr. Watson in his days).

Things cannot be rosy and the future is not bright when people who are a blight on civilisation pretend to be our salvation.

  1. 2021 will be the year open source projects overcome their diversity problems
  2. Diversity Comes in Many Forms
  3. They Tell Us Linus Torvalds is Sexist But Evidence Suggests Otherwise
  4. IBM’s Founder, Mr. Watson (Yes, That Watson), Had “Very Keen Sense of Public Relations”
  5. The Full Story (With References) of IBM’s Role in a Purge of Black People and Mixed-Race Couples

Links 28/12/2020: Linux 5.11 RC1, Linus Torvalds Turns 51, Parole Media Player 4.15.0

Monday 28th of December 2020 04:57:39 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup: December 27th, 2020 – 9to5Linux

      The thirteenth installment of the 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup is here, for the week ending on December 27th, keeping you guys up to date with the most important things that have happened in the Linux world.

      This past week was slow in news and that’s mostly because everyone celebrated the Christmas holidays with their loved ones. But, since it was Christmas, we had some nice presents from Santa under the tree, such as the release of the highly anticipated Xfce 4.16 desktop environment.

    • Linux Weekly Roundup #110

      Hello and welcome to this week’s Linux Roundup.

      Linspire 10 Public Beta 1 has been released this week.

      This is it for this week, a peaceful week which makes sense.

      We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and will have a fantastic 2021!

    • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Kernel Space
      • Kernel prepatch 5.11-rc1

        Linus has released 5.11-rc1 and closed the merge window for this development cycle.

      • Linux 5.11-rc1 Released – Many New Features While Dominated By AMD Header Additions
      • Linux 5.11-rc1 Two weeks have passed, Christmas is over, and so is the merge window. I want to thank all the maintainers who sent in their pull requests early: we all wanted to get things done before the holidays really hit, and mostly it seemed to work quite well. In fact, it was rather nice to handle the big bulk of all the merge window pull requests in the first three or four days of the merge window. I wouldn't want to do it that way every time - it would stress me out - but as an occasional "let's get it over with so that the second week is calm" it really wasn't bad at all. It probably helped that 5.11 isn't going to be an LTS release and isn't as big as 5.10 was, but it's not small either. Solidly average. Well, it's average, unless you look at the actual diffs, and notice another huge dump of AMD GPU descriptor header files, which completely dwarfs all the "real" changes here. The AMD "Van Gogh" include file additions are in fact about two thirds of the whole patch, even if it comes from basically one single commit that just adds the register definitions. We've had it before, I'm sure we'll see it in the future too: header files probably generated from the hardware description for all the possible bit masks etc get very very big. Oh well. If you ignore that area, everything else looks normal. Driver updates dominate, but all the usual other suspects are there: arch updates, filesystems, networking, docs and tooling. And while it doesn't look like a huge release, it's certainly still big enough that what's appended below is just my "merge log". As always, my merge logs credit only the people I pull from, which is a much smaller set than all the people involved in actually writing the patches. As usual we had more than 1500 actual developers, and roughly 12,500 changes merged. That's pretty much our average these days. Please go kick the tires, Linus
      • Linus Torvalds Announces First Linux Kernel 5.11 Release Candidate

        That’s right, two weeks have passed since Linux kernel 5.10 LTS was released and the merge window of the Linux kernel 5.11 opened, so now it’s time to get busy again and test the next major Linux kernel branch, which looks to be an average release, not too big, but not too small either.

        The biggest changes in Linux kernel 5.11 appear to be made around the AMD GPU open-source graphics driver for AMD Radeon GPUs, which received a “huge dump” of descriptor header files, along with support for the AMD “Van Gogh” GPU family, which looks to be about two-thirds of the entire RC1 release.

      • Linux Kernel Ported to the Nintendo 64
      • Sony brings OFFICIAL DualSense support to Linux!

        Sony’s Roderick Colenbrander published open source drivers for the DualSense (PS5) controller in the new hid-playstation kernel module!

      • Sony to officially support the PS5 DualSense on Linux with a new driver

        Roderick Colenbrander of Sony Interactive Entertainment has sent in a brand new and official Linux driver for the PS5 DualSense for even better out of the box support.

        With the newly proposed driver, it enabled the DualSense to function in both Bluetooth and USD modes along with most other features working including LEDs, Touchpad, Motion Sensors and Rumble. However, they make it clear that the Adaptive Triggers and VCM-based Haptics are not yet supported but they hope to “have a dialog on how to expose these over time in a generic way”.

      • PS5 Controller Now Linux-Compatible With Official Sony Driver

        Sony has published a new and official kernel driver for Linux that brings support for the company’s new PlayStation 5 DualSense controller to the platform. The new game controller that came with the launch of the PlayStation 5 recently received improved support on PC via Steam with a recent update that added support for rumble over Bluetooth and the use of external haptic feedback even when rumble is in use.

        Sony has also released a recent update for the PlayStation 5 that included a firmware update for the DualSense controller, requiring users to connect their controllers to their consoles via USB cable. The company did not specify what the updated firmware will be changing or introducing so it could just be stability improvements or minor background updates. Unfortunately, the update won’t be able to fix a problem users have been experiencing with the DualSense controller. PS5 players have recently been reporting that their DualSense controller adaptive triggers are breaking.

      • Linux Developers Ponder Decade-Old Decision To Disable PCI Runtime Power Management By Default

        Fast forward to today, some developers don’t recall that original discussion or in some cases weren’t even involved in kernel development at that point and wondering about the breakage. Thus the discussion over this default has been brought back up with some seemingly hoping for it to be reverted or at least enabling it by default for newer systems.

        PCI subsystem maintainer Bjorn Helgaas ushered in a discussion over removing this default restriction. The user who proposed removing it argued that with run-time power management disabled by default, the PHY on network devices can remain powered up even when no cable is attached, among other situations where this default hurts.

      • 2020 is the year of Linux on the Nintendo 64

        Linux has been ported to the Nintendo 64 game console – a game console that was launched more than two decades ago.

        Open-source developer Lauri Kasanen who has contributed to Mesa and the Linux graphics stack took to developing a new Nintendo 64 port and announced it on Christmas day. This isn’t the first time Linux has been ported to the N64 but prior attempts weren’t aimed at potentially upstreaming it into the mainline Linux kernel.

      • Linus Torvalds Turns 51 Today: Here Are 10 Interesting Facts About Him

        Ideas come in various forms. At some point in our lives, we’ve all perceived incredible ideas when we were least expecting them, and we end up losing them thinking they’re too stupid. “A good idea becomes a great idea when you let it out,” but, clearly, not all the ideas are fuelled by just great minds. Some emerge from the feeling of revenge, while others due to our inability to get what we desire the most. The latter was the case with Linus Torvalds.

        Here are some facts that you need to know about Linus Torvalds and his journey of developing Linux.

    • Benchmarks
      • Intel Xe Graphics Are Looking Great On Linux 5.11 With Nice Performance Uplift

        While Linux 5.11-rc1 was just released yesterday, we have already been closely monitoring the new features of Linux 5.11 as well as carrying out early benchmarks. One area looking quite good so far are the Intel graphics performance and features with Linux 5.11, or more specifically Gen9 and newer while the latest Xe Graphics are obviously the most interesting from a benchmarking perspective.

        The Intel kernel graphics driver has some fun features this time like integer scaling support, big joiner enablement, and more. There is also continued work on Intel discrete graphics enablement that continued with Linux 5.11. Perhaps the most interesting Intel graphics performance work for Linux 5.11 is the async page-flipping support being flipped on and enabled by default for Skylake/Gen9 graphics and newer. See our Linux 5.11 feature overview for more details on the kernel changes this cycle.

    • Applications
      • Best Photoshop Alternatives You Can Run on Linux

        Adobe Photoshop is a widely used photo editing software as it offers various features to the users. If you learn to use photoshop, then you can create incredible creations with multiple tools.

        Many people use this tool for photo editing, daily designing, digital drawings, etc. However, if you are a Linux enthusiast and don’t want to go for Windows or Mac, you may face disappointment because Adobe Photoshop doesn’t have so many Linux options. This article will give you the complete details on the best photoshop alternatives you can run on Linux for photo editing and designing job.

      • Parole Media Player 4.15.0 Released

        Following the incredible Xfce 4.16 release, Parole Media Player has been updated with refreshed dialogs, a more powerful playlist, and improved DVD support.

      • Xfce’s Parole Media Player 4.15.0 Released With Improved DVD Support

        After successfully releasing the latest stable Xfce 4.16 desktop, Xfce core developer and Xubuntu Tech Lead Sean Davis has announced a new version 4.15.0 of Xfce’s default media player named Parole.

        The latest Parole 4.15.0 has arrived after a year of development with refreshed dialogs, more robust playlist support, and improved DVD support.

        For those who don’t know, Parole is a free, open source, and GStreamer-based media player specially designed for the Xfce desktop.

        Though it’s a default video player of Xubuntu Linux distribution, you can install and run it on other Linux and Unix-like operating systems as well.

      • Learn to use the JOE text editor on Linux

        I’m a fan of text editors that make it easy for you to learn how to use them. GNU nano is my favorite example of this: you launch nano, and you see a list of the most common commands along the bottom of the window throughout your entire session. Joe’s Own Editor (that’s joe for short) is another great example.

        The joe editor uses a terminal-based interface, providing simple text editing capabilities and an easily accessible help screen. It’s written in C, it’s small with a hard dependency only on libc (ncurses is optional), and it’s licensed under the GPL.

      • butterfly – web terminal based on websocket and tornado

        The terminal is a program that you use to type in commands. It’s a text input/output environment.

        The terminal window allows the user to access a console and all its applications such as command line interfaces (CLI) and text user interface software. Even with the sophistication of modern desktop environments packed with administrative tools, other utilities, and productivity software all sporting attractive graphical user interfaces, it remains the case that some tasks are still best undertaken with the command line.

        butterfly is an xterm compatible terminal that runs in your web browser.

    • Instructionals/Technical
      • How to Boot Arch Linux in Single User Mode / Rescue Mode

        In this guide, we learn how to boot arch linux into single user mode or rescue mode step by step.

      • How to Install ONLYOFFICE Docs on Debian and Ubuntu

        If you use the file sync & share platform and want to expand its functionality by adding online editing features, you should definitely give a try to ONLYOFFICE Docs.

        ONLYOFFICE Docs allows you to create a collaborative environment by adding its online editors to the platform of your choice, whether it be Alfresco, Confluence, Liferay, Nextcloud, Nuxeo, ownCloud, SharePoint, or ONLYOFFICE Groups.

      • Asynchronous Email: Exim over NNCP (or UUCP) | The Changelog

        Following up to yesterday’s article about how NNCP rehabilitates asynchronous communication with modern encryption and onion routing, here is the first of my posts showing how to put it into action.

        Email is a natural fit for async; in fact, much of early email was carried by UUCP. It is useful for an airgapped machine to be able to send back messages; errors from cron, results of handling incoming data, disk space alerts, etc. (Of course, this would apply to a non-airgapped machine also).

        The NNCP documentation already describes how to do this for Postfix. Here I will show how to do it for Exim.

      • How to restart CentOS or RHEL server safely – nixCraft

        I use the reboot command to reboot our PostgreSQL server running on RHEL 7. We have a development server running on CentOS 7 too. However, sometimes I noticed database corruption or file issues. Is there is a safe reboot command that will do a graceful reboot for our CentOS or RHEL 7 server without causing any issues? What is the best way to appropriately restart CentOS/RHEL over ssh?

        There is no graceful shutdown or restart. However, modern Linux distro does an outstanding job when you need to reboot the server powered by CentOS or RHEL. Let us different options to restart the CentOS/RHEL 7/8 server.

      • How to Install GNOME on Linux Mint 20

        Installing an additional desktop environment allows more user experience without installing another Linux distro. Gnome is the default desktop environment for many Linux distributions. Gnome is based on GTK+ and has a new release every 6 months.

        Linux Mint by default supports Cinnamon, MATE, or Xfce desktop environment. Cinnamon and Mate are a fork of GNOME with a codebase of GNOME 3 and GNOME 2 respectively. Switching desktop

        In this article, I will guide how to install the GNOME 3 (gnome-shell) desktop in your Linux Mint 20.

      • Upgrade To Fedora Silverblue 33 From Fedora Silverblue 32 – OSTechNix

        This brief guide walks you through the steps to upgrade to Fedora Silverblue 33 from Fedora Silverblue 32. Upgrading Fedora Silverblue is very easy and fast! It is way faster than other traditional Linux desktop operating systems. If something goes wrong after upgrading to latest version, we can easily rollback to previous working version. Now let us begin to upgrade Silverblue 33 from Silverblue 32.

        Before upgrading the current Fedora Silveblue version, make sure you take a backup of all important data that you can’t afford to lose.

      • 11 Linux command line guides you shouldn’t be without

        I do not know whether it is really true but I have heard there is a traditional Chinese curse that goes, “May you live in interesting times.” 2020 has certainly been a very interesting year for many reasons. My idea of interesting is probably different from most people’s because I find Linux command line interface (CLI) tools to be some of the most interesting things on the planet. So I had a very interesting year because Enable Sysadmin published many articles this year that explored numerous command line utilities.

      • Resize a Btrfs Filesystem – Linux Hint

        The Btrfs filesystem can be resized online (when the filesystem is mounted), but if you want to resize a partition that is added to a Btrfs filesystem, you will have to do it offline (when the filesystem is not mounted). You can grow/expand or shrink a Btrfs filesystem online and grow/expand or shrink a Btrfs partition offline.

        The Btrfs filesystem is a multi-device filesystem. If you have multiple devices added to your Btrfs filesystem, then you need to resize specific storage devices attached to the filesystem to resize the filesystem itself. Otherwise, you can directly resize the filesystem (as by default, the only attached storage device will be selected when you perform the resize operation).

        In this article, I am going to show you how to grow/expand and shrink a Btrfs filesystem online and a Btrfs partition offline. I will also show how to resize a Btrfs filesystem that has multiple devices attached to it. So, let’s get started.

      • How to configure Intel Wifi on Debian Linux when you get firmware: failed to load iwlwifi-8265-36.ucode error

        I have an Intel Corporation Wireless/WiFi 8265 / 8275 (rev 78) card. How do I configure this card? I always get an error, “iwlwifi 0000:01:00.0: firmware: failed to load iwlwifi-8265-36.ucode“. How do I load iwlwifi-8265-36 firmware and enable this driver card on Debian Linux version 10/11 and assign an IP address using DHCP?

        Intel WiFi device needs firmware, and it has to be loaded into the device driver during the device initialization. Some firmware is opensource and free to load. However, Intel WiFi driver requires a non-free binary blob. Let us see how to configure Intel WiFi on Debian to load firmware and configure networking using the command-line.

      • How to install Gedit on a Chromebook

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

      • How does git submodule work?

        Git submodule is a Git subdirectory or component of another host, Git repository, that simply refers to a specific commit in another external Git repository. Submodules are static and keep track only of the particular commits. They don’t track the Git branches or refs and are not updated automatically with the host repository. Git submodules allow you to enable the Git repository to incorporate and to track the version history of all external code. When a user includes a submodule to a Git repository, a new file with the name .gitmodules will create.

        In this article, we will give you an idea about how to use Git submodules in an external Git repo in the Linux system.

      • How to install Raft, an game, on Linux Mint 20

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Raft, an game, on Linux Mint 20.

      • How to use LinSSID on Linux for wireless scanning – Linux Hint

        We all prefer to find the most suited, wireless channel from our Wi-Fi network. The most recommended way is to configure your routers to automatically determine the optimal channel number that depends on periodic frequency analysis. However, there are ways to scan your Wi-Fi network and determine the optimal channel that lies within the range of your network adapter.

        With the help of modern utilities, it’s easy to determine the Wi-Fi signal from the access point to the room. One among many of these utilities is LinSSID. It is an open-source Wifi-Analyzer tool that is written in C++ using Linux wireless tools and Qt4, Qt5, Qwt 6.1, etc. It has a graphical interface that shows nearby wireless routers and ad-hoc connections. LinSSID interface is similar in appearance and functionality to the Windows Wi-Fi network analyzer (Insider).

        By default, the Ubuntu network-manager identifies all wireless networks and allows you to connect with one manually. However, with the help of this utility, you can check the nearest networks along with the number of radio channels used by them. Moreover, this app does not only inform you about the strength of your Wi-Fi network but also the strength and frequency of other Wi-Fi signals. This information allows you to choose the less congested radio channel and the strength of radio signals in different places of your home.

      • How To Setup Linux Chroot Jails – Linux Hint

        Especially those dedicated to critical services, Linux systems require expert-level knowledge to work with and core security measures.

        Unfortunately, even after taking crucial security measures, security vulnerabilities still find their way into secure systems. One way to manage and protect your system is by limiting the damage possible once an attack occurs.

        In this tutorial, we’ll discuss the process of using chroot jail to manage system damages in the event of an attack. We’ll look at how to isolate processes and subprocesses to a particular environment with false root privileges. Doing this will limit the process to a specific directory and deny access to other system areas.

      • How to Use Docker Inspect – buildVirtual

        First of all, what is docker inspect? Docker inspect is a tool that enables you do get detailed information about your docker resources, such as containers, images, volumes, networks, tasks and services. In this article, I will go through examples of how you can use docker inspect to get detailed information about your docker resources, which will aid you in the management and troubleshooting of your docker objects.

      • How To Use Strace On Linux – Linux Hint

        When working with Linux systems, you’ll often need to inspect and understand the actions performed by processes and the system calls carried out by their execution.
        When it comes to performing such tasks, the Linux kernel provides features such as ptrace to debug and diagnose processes.

        This article discusses how to use the strace tool to trace, monitor, and debug processes interacting with the Kernel.

      • How To Hide Files Inside Images In Linux – Linux Hint

        Today, we use personal computers as workstations and personal devices. On these devices, we keep personal information and private files not intended for public access.

        Given this, even if you do not share your computer with others, it’s essential to treat your security as a high priority and secure your files with cryptography and encryption methods.

        This tutorial discusses how to protect and secure your files by hiding them inside other files. For this tutorial, we will look at how to hide files in images; as a bonus, we’ll also discuss how to hide files in audio files.

    • Wine or Emulation
      • A fourth Release Candidate is now available for Wine 6.0

        Currently in a feature-freeze while as many lingering issues are solved as possible for the next big stable release, Wine has a fourth Release Candidate up now.

        What is Wine? It’s a compatibility layer for running various Windows-only applications and games on Linux and other operating systems. Tons of people work on it, with some sponsored or employed directly by CodeWeavers who have their special version with the CrossOver application. Wine is also the backbone of Steam Play Proton.

    • Games
      • Cooler Master and KFC team up to create a ‘console’ PC and now I’ve seen everything | GamingOnLinux

        Is this actually seriously real? I still have some doubts but I am beginning to get hungry. KFC and Cooler Master have properly announced the KFConsole.

        Going over the details of it, what they’ve actually created is a fully powered custom-built PC case with a built-in “Chicken Chamber”. Yeah, really. It mentions how it uses “the systems natural heat and airflow system you can now focus on your gameplay and enjoy hot, crispy chicken between rounds”. Completely ridiculous of course but I’ve no doubt if it really becomes available, people will absolutely buy it.

      • The Humble Holiday in Space Bundle has a few nice picks | GamingOnLinux

        Another week another game bundle, a chance for you to build up that collection of games with the Humble Holiday in Space Bundle out now. Running for another 10 days, it does have a few nice picks. As usual, we shall highlight in bold text those that offer Linux builds.

      • Feudal Kingdoms is a promising upcoming medieval grand strategy game

        Need more grand strategy in your gaming time? Get ready to go medieval and expand with Feudal Kingdoms from developer Blood and Pixels.

        Sounds like it’s going to have a pretty interesting amount of depth to it too. Lots of little details big and small will affect the gameplay, from weather affecting food production to training your troops directly from your existing population and more. Pretty ambitious sounding too with the army customization, a special agent system, research trees, per-settlement resources and attributes and so on.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • Lightweight desktop Xfce 4.16 released with a visual refresh and fractional scaling

        1 year and 4 months of work later, the sleek and simple Linux desktop Xfce 4.16 is out now along with plenty of visual upgrades and some big tech upgrades too. A desktop for those of you who like less bling, more “classic” styling and one that just stays out of you way.

        On top of various visual upgrades including a whole new set of icons for the default applications with a consistent colour palette, Xfce 4.16 has seen some other impressive improvements with one major tech change being the introduction of display scaling with a new fractional scaling option in the Display Settings.

      • 7 Best Desktop environments for Linux to install in 2021

        However, which one is the best desktop environment to install on Linux Desktop PC in 2021?

        Although there are dozens of GUI desktops, the answer to this question is very narrowed because choices are limited when it comes to the best one. However, opting for any desktop environment is mainly depends on the taste and comfortability of a user on the Linux distribution, where he or she uses it. Furthermore, it also depends on the technical reasons, for example, if you have an old pc or laptop then you definitely want lightweight LDE such as XFCE.

      • Whisker Menu 2.5 Released With Xfce 4.16 Support [PPA Available]

        Xfce 4.16 was released a few days ago. Since it uses GTK 3 and has some new functions, third-party applications like Whisker Menu has to refactor their code for the Xfce 4.16 code.

        Whisker Menu is an application launcher for Xfce desktop environment. It is not part of the Xfce package itself. It’s one of the additional tools that you can use to customize Xfce desktop.

        Whisker Menu has released version 2.5.0 with Xfce 4.16 support among several other changes. Let’s see what has changed here.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • The Universe full of hydrogen and … a new feature in LabPlot

          The Universe is full of the hydrogen and one of its emission lines that is very important in astronomy is caused by the hyper-fine interaction. This electromagnetic radiation has the frequency of ca. 1420.4MH which corresponds to the vacuum wavelength of ca. 21cm.

          Observations performed at this wavelength reveal many structures in the Universe. The following plot shows the results of such observations in the Milky Way…

    • Distributions
      • New Releases
        • Lightweight Linux distribution 4MLinux 35.0 Released with Notepad++ and new games

          4MLinux is very lightweight and has the ability to revive your old PC/Laptop. It comes with Multimedia applications, maintenance apps, a LAMP stack powered mini-server, and a couple of mystery games. Hence the name “4M”.

          It features the lightweight pcmanFM file manager which is also a file manager for LXDE based systems. 4MLinux comes with 32-bit and 64-bit installer for your all hardware need.

          4MLinux follows a quarterly release cadence, hence this release comes after 4 months of the prior 4MLinux 34.0 release, 4MLinux in its latest version 35.0 brings some changes with its applications stack with the latest version of the software.

      • BSD
        • DragonFlyBSD Adds HAMMER2 Multi-Volumes Support

          The HAMMER2 file-system that has been used by default on DragonFlyBSD for some time has lacked multi-volumes support compared to its former HAMMER1 file-system. But as of this weekend in the latest Git development code, HAMMER2 now has initial support for multiple volumes.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Make way for an $80 handheld that runs Ubuntu with the ODROID-Go Super

          Looking for a little gaming on the go or perhaps something in bed? The upcoming ODROID-Go Super announced recently sounds like quite a useful little Switch-styled device.

          Going on sale in late January for $80, this is the next-generation of the ODROID-Go Advance which Hardkernel announced back in 2019. This time the ODROID-Go Super will feature a bigger 5 inch screen with tough tempered glass for protection, a higher resolution at 854×480 and also a bigger 4000mAh battery. On top of that a bunch of hardware design changes also went in including being pre-assembled instead of a kit, dedicated volume buttons, a second joystick and more smaller changes.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • FSF
        • GNU Projects
          • Bash 5.1 brings back older behavior

            Bash 5.1, described as the fifth major release of the Unix and Linux shell in a release bulletin, was published earlier this month, featuring a return to Bash 4.4 behavior regarding pathname expansion.

            Called the most significant change in the new release, the return to Bash 4.4 behavior involves not performing pathname expansion on a word that contains backslashes but does not contain unquoted globbing special characters. The Bash 5.1 release also introduces changes in trap handling while reading from the terminal, and it fixes a number of bugs including several that caused the shell to crash.

          • GnuCash 4.3 – Neowin

            GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

      • Programming/Development
        • Practice programming in C++ by writing a simple game

          There are a couple of ways to learn a programming language. If you’re new to coding, you usually learn some basic computer coding concepts and try to apply them. If you already know how to code in another language, you relearn how coding concepts are expressed in the new language.

          In either case, a convenient way to learn these new principles is to create a simple guessing game. This forces you to understand how a language receives input and sends output, how it compares data, how to control a program’s flow, and how to leverage conditionals to affect an outcome. It also ensures that you know how a language structures its code; for instance, Lua or Bash can easily run as a script, while Java requires you to create a class.

        • Perl/Raku
          • vrurg: Runtime vs. Compilation, Or Reply \#2

            The friendly battle continues with the next post from Wenzel where he considers different cases where strict typechecking doesn’t work. The primary point he makes is that many decisions Raku makes are run-time decisions and this is where static typechecking doesn’t work well. This is true. But this doesn’t change the meaning of my previous post.


            Just to sum up the above written, Wenzel is right when he says that coercion is about static type checking. It indeed is. For this reason it ought to be strict because this is what we expect it to be.

            It is also true that there’re cases where only run-time checks make it possible to ensure that the object we work with conforms to our requirements. And this is certainly not where coercion comes into mind. This is a field of dynamic transformations where specialized routines is what we need.

        • Python
          • Learn Python by coding a simple game

            In this series, we’re writing the same application in different programming languages to compare how various languages work and to show how using a standard test program is a great way to learn new ways to program.

            When you learn a new programming language, it’s good to focus on the things they have in common. Variables, expressions, and statements are the basis of most programming languages. Once you understand these concepts, you can start figuring the rest out.

        • Rust
    • Standards/Consortia
      • Sensible Open Source Licenses For Standards Development Organizations

        New technologies such as 5G, IoT, blockchain and many others are implemented as ecosystems with many interoperable products and services designed to communicate seamlessly through a developing web of technical standards. Today’s standards are far more software-driven than in the past. As a result, standards development organizations (SDOs) are increasing their use of open source software (OSS) to promote both the rapid development of new standards and the deployment of standards-conformant products and services in the marketplace.

        Although SDOs have traditionally avoided requiring the use of any specific software code for conformance to its standards, SDOs have relied on OSS communities to develop tools, test suites, and independent implementations to assist implementers in developing products and services utilizing the standard. Today, however, there is a growing movement for SDOs to initiate their own OSS projects so that the standards and open source development efforts can be better integrated.

        SDOs understandably seek to replicate the benefits of collaborative development associated with OSS projects. In doing so, SDOs are also selecting the most common OSS licenses for the software they develop through these projects, such as the BSD or Apache licenses. These common licenses are ones that have been certified by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) as being compliant with its open source definition (OSD). While OSI does not hold a trademark on the term “open source” nor is it the arbiter of which software is considered OSS, OSI discourages others from referring to software as open source if the applicable software is licensed under a license that does not meet the requirements of the OSD.

  • Leftovers
    • Hardware
      • Apple AirPods Pro 2 Patent Reveals Jaw-Dropping New Upgrade

        As spotted by Patently Apple, a patent granted today relates to new inputs which would be pretty cool. “Detecting Through-Body Inputs At A Wearable Audio Device,” it’s called.

        If you’ve used true-wireless earbuds – of many brands, actually – you may have found them hard to control easily. Some use touch-sensitive areas, few have buttons. One of the triumphs of Apple’s latest headphones, AirPods Max, is that the controls are simple, down to a button and a Digital Crown-like dial. Sometimes, swiping up, tapping or squeezing to make things happen can be a bit hit-and-miss. So, how would it be if you could just touch your face to make things happen? Or just wave your hand near the AirPods Pro?

    • Health/Nutrition
    • Integrity/Availability
      • Proprietary
        • 3 Metrics That Will Indicate We’re Taking Security Seriously

          So ask yourself: how close are we to seeing these three things happening?

          Yeah. Pretty far.

        • Unprotected Azure blob exposes 500,000 confidential documents

          The fact is that this Microsoft Azure blob from the cloud was completely unsecured and accessible via the Internet. Anyone who knew the required URLs could access the stored information. There were no security controls for the Azure blob, meaning the data could be accessed without authentication. If it had just been test data, it could have been shrugged off. But the developer was using real data from specific operations.

          The unsecured Microsoft Azure blob contained more than half a million confidential and sensitive documents from customers, which were thus freely accessible on the Internet. According to The Register, the information contained in the Azure Blob included occupational health reports, U.S. company insurance claims documents underwritten by Lloyds of London, and private opinions from senior lawyers about younger colleagues applying for promotion.

        • Security
          • Privacy/Surveillance
            • Surveillance Self-Defense and Security Education: Year in Review 2020

              SSD covers myriad topics, and is broken up into four main sections:

              In 2017, we also launched the Security Education Companion, also known as SEC, as a sister site to SSD. It’s geared toward people who would like to help their communities learn about digital security, but are new to the art of security training.

              SEC also features four main areas of educational resources:

            • Facebook Shutting Irish Units at Center of Tax Dispute: Times

              The Irish companies were used to hold its intellectual [sic] property [sic] for international sales, and Facebook companies around the world would pay the units for the use of the IP, shifting much of the sales outside the U.S., the newspaper said. Facebook’s main Irish holding company paid $101 million in taxes on profit of more than $15 billion in 2018, the last year records were available, the paper said.

    • Defence/Aggression
    • Finance
      • ‘Unbelievably Cruel’: Sanders Slams Trump’s Intransigence as Millions Lose Unemployment Lifeline

        “People are losing their extended unemployment benefits,” said the senator from Vermont. “They’re going to be evicted from their apartments because the eviction moratorium is ending.”

      • The European Citizens’ Initiative for a Basic Income

        Unemployment and poverty figures, already very high in 2019, have shot up in 2020 in ways that were almost unimaginable just a few months ago. A year ago, more than 21% of the EU population was considered to be at risk of poverty with data that vary greatly between the countries, many of which give figures of over 25%, among them Spain, Lithuania, Italy, Latvia, Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria (the latter with more than 32%). The contrast with other states is considerable. For example, in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Finland, Denmark, Slovakia, the Netherlands, and Austria, they range from 12% and 17%. However much the numbers vary, one constant is that things are getting worse every week. Soon we’ll have more end-of-year data. All the signs are that the news will be anything but good.

        It’s hardly surprising, then, that the proposal of a basic income, a universal and unconditional payment of public money to all registered residents, was one of the measures that got most attention from a good part of the mainstream press in the early weeks of the pandemic. On April 3, a Financial Times editorial titled “Virus Lays Bare the Frailty of the Social Contract” was fairly upfront: “Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.” Quite a few people were surprised, not to mention absolutely gobsmacked. It’s anybody’s guess what political intentions lurked behind the Financial Times piece, but what it said about economic policy is clear enough. A few months later, on 22 September, in his address to the opening debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Inclusivity means investing in social cohesion and ending all forms of exclusion, discrimination and racism. It means establishing a new generation of social protection – including Universal Health Coverage and the possibility of a Universal Basic Income.” Another surprise. This year we have the Financial Times and the UN secretary-general speaking out for such an “eccentric” policy as a universal basic income, and the two related focuses of redistribution and social cohesion are especially interesting.

      • 50-year study of tax cuts on wealthy shows they always fail to “trickle down”

        Republicans have touted the idea popularized by Ronald Reagan that tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations would inevitably “trickle down” to workers, despite ample evidence showing that wealth has accumulated at the top while worker wages have barely budged for decades. A new working paper from researchers at the London School of Economics and Kings College’s London, which looked at the effect of five decades of tax cuts for the wealthy in 18 developed countries, shows that the concept has always been flawed.

      • Sanders Condemns Trump for Allowing Millions to Lose Unemployment Benefits
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Trump’s Vilest Legacy

        Their acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy.  

      • How to Shut Down ICE Detention in Your Community, a Detention Watch Network Guide

        Many people are shocked to learn that the United States maintains the world’s largest immigration detention system with over 200 detention centers across the country, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In our work at Detention Watch Network (DWN), we’ve seen how ICE locks up survivors of torture, people seeking asylum, people who have lived in the U.S. for years, and families with children — even babies. Chances are there’s a detention center unjustly detaining immigrants near you.

      • Police will be banned from ‘digital strip searches’ of rape victims

        A new bill, to be unveiled next month, will only permit police searches of a victim’s mobile phones where it is strictly necessary, and to extract only the minimum of data required for their investigation.

      • Explained: Who was Karima Baloch, the Pakistani activist found dead in Canada?

        In 2016, BBC had included Baloch in their ‘BBC 100 Women 2016’ list for her work involving “campaigns for independence for Balochistan from Pakistan.” She had used her social media profile to highlight abductions, torture, forced disappearances and other human rights violations that people in Balochistan were being subjected to by the Pakistan government and the army.

        In her activism, she had placed emphasis on fighting for the rights of Balochi women, and had highlighted how the legal system and religious groups in Pakistan would use state and social machinery to intentionally target women, particularly from vulnerable groups.

        In her last tweet on December 14, she had shared a news report by The Guardian titled ‘Kidnap, torture, murder: the plight of Pakistan’s thousands of disappeared’.

      • The humanitarian news you couldn’t get enough of in 2020

        Here’s a snapshot, in the form of our top articles from the year. It’s a look at the coverage you found most compelling, from the unfolding of coronavirus to how the Black Lives Matter movement reverberated through the humanitarian sector.

        Proclaiming which articles are “most compelling” is more of an art than a science, to be honest. Yes, we have statistics in the form of unique pageviews; the list below is in order of the most-viewed articles first. Why you gravitated to these particular reports, and just what impact those stories had on you, is often little more than conjecture, though.

        Sex, conspiracy theories, and allegations of corruption always attract clicks, and our coverage is no exception. It’s no surprise that coronavirus-themed coverage was a big draw, as the world scrambled for information. The need to find bright spots in a particularly trying year perhaps accounts for the interest in coverage that upended usually dire pandemic news, such as our piece on potentially positive changes in the works in South Africa. And there’s comfort perhaps in counting on the appearance of a perpetual favourite: our 10 crises and trends to watch list.

        If you missed any of these stories the first time around, there’s still time to catch up before the countdown to 2021 (and our 10 Crises and Trends to Watch list, to be published in mid-January) begins.

    • Monopolies
      • Brief of Amici Curiae Fifty-Seven Law, Economics, Business, Health, and Medicine Professors in Support of Cross-Appellant’s Petition for Rehearing En Banc

        “Skinny labels” have a funny name. But that is all that is funny about them.

        When a drug can be used to treat multiple conditions, a generic can “carve out” the patented indications from its label. The resulting “skinny label” allows the generic to launch its product for uses not covered by a patent. In this case, the Federal Circuit panel majority held, contrary to the regulatory regime and Federal Circuit precedent, that this long-recognized practice of skinny labeling could form the basis for induced infringement.

        The panel’s decision is far-reaching and exceptionally important. As Chief Judge Prost explained in dissent, a finding of inducement based on Teva’s skinny label “invites a claim of inducement for almost any generic that legally enters the market with a skinny label.” This brief argues that such a “nullification” of a 35-year-old law that has been an indispensable path for generics to enter the market contradicts the Federal Circuit’s decisions giving effect to skinny labels and threatens to sow uncertainty for generics, undermine the balance at the heart of the Hatch-Waxman pharmaceutical regime, and increase the costs of drugs for millions of Americans.

      • Can Directed Innovation Mitigate Climate Damage? Evidence from US Agriculture

        We study how innovation reacts to climate change and shapes its economic impacts, focusing on US agriculture. We show in a model that directed innovation can either mitigate or exacerbate climate damages depending on competing equilibrium effects. To test the model’s predictions, we combine data on the geography of agricultural production, shifting temperature distributions, and crop-specific temperature tolerance to estimate crop-specific exposure to damaging extreme temperatures; we then use a database of crop-specific biotechnology releases and patent grants to measure technology development. We find that new technology has systematically re-directed toward crops with increasing exposure to extreme temperatures and that a given county’s exposure to new innovation, measured by the extent of climate-induced innovation for locally grown crops, significantly dampens the economic damage from extreme temperatures. Our estimates imply that directed innovation has negated 20% of the damage from climate change on US agriculture since 1960, and will negate 15% of the damage from projected climate change over the 21st century. The results, taken together, highlight the vital importance—but incomplete effectiveness—of endogenous technological change as a systemic adaptive response to climate change.

      • Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 [Ed: The corrupt, corporate regime is not bailing out the American public but monopolies and large corporations seeking new protectionism mechanisms.]

        Illicit digital transmission: Big new copyright protections against streamers with felony penalties.


        Trademark Modernization Act of 2020: Presumption of injunctive relief — overcoming eBay:

        ‘‘A plaintiff seeking any such injunction shall be entitled to a rebuttable presumption of irreparable harm upon a finding of a violation identified in this subsection in the case of a motion for a permanent injunction or upon a finding of likelihood of success on the merits for a violation identified in this subsection in the case of a motion for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order.’’

        Biologic Patent Transparency: requires the holder of a license to market a biologic drug to disclose all patents believed to be covering that drug.

      • Patents
        • EPO study reveals UK and European positions in global 4IR patent race [Ed: Slaughter and May's Catherine Cotter is helping EPO propaganda designed to 1) promote illegal software patents and 2) distract from EPO staff going on strike due to crimes of the management]

          What do you know of Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)? Characterised by the growing utilisation of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things and advanced wireless technologies (many of which have been discussed here on The Lens), 4IR is global technological innovation concerning automation. The development of 4IR technology blurs the boundaries between the physical, digital and business spheres, and seeks to remove the need for human intervention within them.

        • Unwired Planet v Huawei And Conversant v Huawei & ZTE – Supreme Court Judgment 2020 [Ed: British patent lawyers (liars) from Bristows priming the UK for patent trolls of all varieties so they can engage in destruction for profit; we don’t need Brexit, we need Bristows in exile.]

          English courts may set the terms for global FRAND licences to portfolios of declared standard essential patents.

          On 26 August, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSC) gave judgment in Unwired Planet v Huawei and Conversant Wireless Licensing v Huawei & ZTE [2020] UKSC 37. The judgment confirms that English courts may set the terms for global FRAND licences to portfolios of declared standard essential patents.

          The Unwired case involved the first full judicial determination of the terms of a FRAND portfolio licence with global scope. In Conversant, the defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the English courts to undertake such an exercise. Both cases were appealed, to the Court of Appeal, and then to the UKSC.1

        • PCT DIRECT a great tool in patent prosecution strategy [Ed: PCT is globalisation in the monopoly sense]
        • Eli Lilly & Co. v. Apotex, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          After more than two decades of being the red-headed stepchild of patent infringement before the Federal Circuit, infringement under the doctrine of equivalents has made a dramatic comeback in the past few years, the Court affirming plaintiffs asserting their patents under the doctrine six times (versus denying DOE infringement on the basis of prosecution history estoppel twice, on the basis of the dedication-disclaimer estoppel twice, and finding no equivalents twice). One of those affirmances was in Eli Lilly & Co. v. Hospira, Inc., directed to the same patent and with assertion of infringement under the doctrine of equivalents as in the most recent case decided by the Federal Circuit, Eli Lilly & Co. v. Apotex, Inc.


          And finally, the panel also did not credit Apotex’s argument that in a corresponding European Patent Convention application the Applicant had substituted pemetrexed disodium for pemetrexed per se, saying “[i]n light of the European prosecution history as a whole, we do not read Lilly’s statement that it was “refocus[ing]” the claims in its application to suggest that Lilly equated “ALIMTA” with “pemetrexed.”

        • Plant breeding sector split over potential of patenting to spur innovation [Ed: This Bill Gates-bribed propaganda site, EURACTIV (truly corrupt site of famous criminals pushing an agenda), plays the “two side-ism” on patents like Monsanto's (Gates is an investor; no disclosure)]

          However, stakeholders were quick to point out that IPR are not yet properly tailored to reflect the complexities of the agricultural sector.

          “The IP system is not focused enough on issues in certain sectors, including agriculture,” Heli Pihlajamaa, director of patent law at the European Patent Office (EPO), pointed out during the event.

          He added that this is despite the fact that patent law is becoming “more and more important” with the advancements in biotech developments.

          However, while panellists in the plant breeding sector were united in stressing the need to innovate, they were split as to the role of patenting in achieving this.

          “All innovators need a stable and predictable framework of IP protection that ensures legal clarity for both the innovator and the user of that innovation, and this particularly holds true in the field of agriculture and plant breeding, which has become very technical over time,” said Jürgen Eckhardt, senior vice president and head of innovation programme ‘Leaps by Bayer’.

        • Major step forward for the Unified Patent Court [Ed: This article did not age well at all, as only days later the UPC died again]

          After the Bundestag (German Parliament) passed the Act approving the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA) on 26 November 2020, the Bundesrat (German Federal Council) also approved this Act today.

          Thus, eight years after the adoption of the EU patent package by the European Parliament in December 2012, there is now (almost) nothing standing in the way of the launch of the Unified Patent Court – and thus also the EU Unitary Patent.

        • Towards a Better Patent System for Europe: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) [Ed: Just a day after two constitutional complaints against UPC Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP is pushing a fraud and constitutional violation for financial gain. Who publishes it? Think tanks in “media” clothing… also here]

          On 18th December 2020, the German Federal Assembly (Bundesrat) approved the law on the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court of 20th June 2013 (UPC-Agreement) with the required two-thirds majority. It was the last puzzle piece for paving the way for a Unitary Patent System in Europe, which is now expected to be operational from 2022.

          The entry into force of the UPC-Agreement was dependent on the ratification by the three Member States with the highest number of European patents, at that time Germany, France and the United Kingdom. France had already deposited its ratification in 2014 and the United Kingdom in 2018, but withdrew it in July 2020 due to Brexit. With its withdrawal from the European Union, the United Kingdom has refrained from participating in the establishment of a Unified Patent System.

        • Sony patent filing shows head acoustic biometrics, Apple granted patent for multi-user authentication [Ed: Patents that reveal pervasive surveillance agenda]

          A patent filing from Sony Corporation showing the use of acoustic measurements of users as a biometric modality has been published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
          The patent application for a ‘head related transfer function (HRTF) as biometric authentication’ describes how user’s head geometry is used to tailor audio playback, and how this HRTF, if well-modeled “is very personalized and can be considered as biometric data.”
          The system would use HRTF templates stored locally or in the cloud in encrypted form, and used to grant access to a computer or certain functions. The HRTF can take the form of a password or simply as a biometric measurement, and be combined with other biometric modalities or factors to implement multi-factor authentication.
          The drawings depict an individual performing biometric authentication through a wearable headset.
          The application was filed in June, 2019, and as with all patent filings, may or may not depict a system actually in development.

        • Patent index documents history of iconic Saskatchewan inventions [Ed: Wrongly conflating patents with innovation or misleadingly/dishonestly insinuating innovation cannot happen without patent monopolies]

          With bitter cold, sweltering sun and winds strong enough to tear through sturdy brick churches, the climate here demands invention.

          A lengthy research project from the Western Development Museum (WDM) documents part of the province’s history with patents and their inventors’ gadgets. At almost 600 pages and comprising more than 3,200 patents, it serves as a kind of tinkerer-toiling snapshot of how people made a go of it on the Prairies.

          Called Made in Saskatchewan: A Story of Invention, the patents index covers 1905 to 1979, and lists patent holders’ name, location, object name and patent date.

          Some of the first items patented here in 1905, when Saskatchewan gained status as a province, include things typical of early settlement: A track laying machine by John Oliver in Battleford; a mower and reaper by Jules Gagne in Jackfish Lake; a twine holder, held jointly by Otto and C. Krienkie in Lemburg.

          “In the time before mass-produced goods, Saskatchewan came up with solutions that are really rooted in the place. In that way it’s a really interesting document — just to read through to kind of see what people [were] inventing,” said Elizabeth Scott, the curator at the WDM and a historian.

        • Surgical Complications: T1631/17 and implicit surgical steps [Ed: No mention of the fact that this board does not have autonomy and therefore cannot rule on anything independently]

          It is well known that “methods of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery” are not patentable at the EPO in accordance with Article 53(c) EPC. What may not be so well known is that method claims that do not comprise any explicit surgical steps may still be excluded from patentability under Article 53(c) EPC, if one or more surgical steps are considered to be implicit.

          A recent decision by the EPO’s Technical Board of Appeal (BOA), T1631/17, addresses the question of when an unclaimed surgical step is considered to be implicit to a claimed method.

          In this article of two halves, we first set out a brief summary of the decision and some practical tips to consider when drafting and prosecuting patent applications containing methods which require a preceding surgical step. For those readers interested in a deeper dive, we then take a look at the background to this decision and examine the findings of the BOA in more detail.


          In conclusion, T1631/17 adds to the varied (and sometimes conflicting) case law surrounding the exclusion of the patenting of surgical methods, and in particular to the question of when unclaimed surgical steps are considered to be essential and therefore implicit to a claimed method. The case does provide a confirmation of the approach taken in T992/03 and T429/12, but also identifies another set of conditions under which an unclaimed surgical step may be considered implicit to a claimed method. Given the BOA’s tendency to argue that decisions on this matter are highly case-specific, it remains to be seen the extent to which this decision will influence the EPO’s approach to such methods going forward.

        • EPO sufficiency: can medical use claims encompass all patients if the majority are non-responders? [Ed: Once again, no mention of the fact that this board does not have autonomy and therefore cannot rule on anything independently]

          If a therapeutic benefit is only observed in a sub-group of patients (in particular, a small group), is a claim sufficient if it claims all patients or do the non-responders need to be disclaimed? This was the question posed in T0421/14, an appeal decision concerning the opposition division’s decision to maintain patent EP1732548 in an amended form.

          According to established case law of the Boards of Appeal, in order to meet with the requirements of sufficiency under Article 83 EPC (“The European patent application shall disclose the invention in a manner sufficiently clear and complete for it to be carried out by a person skilled in the art”) the therapeutic efficacy of the composition and the dosage regime for the claims therapeutic indication must be at least credible/plausible from the description and/or common general knowledge.

          In T0421/14 (Acorda Therapeutics Inc v Synthon BV neuraxpharm Arzneimittel GmbH) a key objection asserted against the patent was that the desired therapeutic benefit was only attained in a small subpopulation of “responders” rather than in all patients and, thus, the claims were not sufficient.

          The medical use claims at issue in this case concerned the use of a sustained release composition at a specific dose in a specific dosage regime for increasing the walking speed of a patient with multiple sclerosis.

        • Software Patents
          • IBM Settles Patent Lawsuit With Airbnb; Street Sees 16% Upside [Ed: Even after buying Red Hat (2019/2018) IBM continues to act a lot like a patent troll shaking down every company imaginable.]

            IBM on Dec. 23 announced the dismissal of its patent lawsuit with Airbnb that was filed in early 2020 in the Federal District Court in Delaware. Shares of Airbnb lost 3.2% at the close on Wednesday.

            The terms of the settlement between IBM (IBM) and Airbnb (ABNB) remain confidential.

            “IBM invests more than $5 billion annually in research and development. This agreement further demonstrates the value of our intellectual property that results from this innovation. We’re pleased this matter has been resolved.” said IBM general manager Dr. William Lafontaine.

      • Trademarks
      • Copyrights
        • Hundreds of thousands of photos released by Finnish Heritage Agency

          Some of the newly-released images have [copy-]rights restrictions, but the vast majority were published under a Creative Commons license, which means that those photographs can be downloaded and used free-of-charge on websites, apps, books, educational materials and interior decoration products, the agency said, as long as attribution is included.

          Another caveat is that if, for example, a photo to be used in marketing or advertising contains an image of an individual who is still alive, his or her permission is required.

        • In reversal, Trump signs spending bill, unlocking Covid aid and averting shutdown

          If he had chosen to veto the legislation, it would have set up his second showdown with Republicans in Congress who have been reluctant to cross him.

        • What is the fight over the ‘COVID relief bill’ all about?

          It is a bulging Santa’s bag of special treats: it creates medication and safety standards for horse racing, makes illegal streaming of music and films a felony, provides for sanctions against any Chinese official who interferes with the selection of the next Dalai Lama, authorises the creation of a National Museum of the American Latino and a Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum, allocates $1.375bn for Trump’s wall on the US-Mexican border, foreign aid for Cambodia, Nepal, Burma, Ukraine, Pakistan, Egypt, and Sudan, some money for Israel and Jordan, and funding for one new submarine (even just one is expensive), eight submarine-hunting aircraft, sexual abstinence programmes, and Space Force. Packing such things into big, must-pass legislation is very normal.

        • Sci-Hub & Libgen Face ISP Blocking in India After Publishers File High Court Complaint

          A legal campaign by academic and scientific publishers to prevent Internet users from accessing Sci-Hub and Libgen has expanded to India. In a complaint filed at the High Court in Delhi, Elsevier, Wiley, and American Chemical Society, are demanding that local ISPs should block the sites to prevent copyright infringement.

        • EU Study Proposes New ‘Anti-Piracy Act’ to Effectively Tackle Online Piracy

          A recent study published through the European Parliamentary Research Service suggests that a new ‘EU Anti-Piracy Act’ is the most effective way to tackle online piracy of sports events and other premium content. This new legislation should harmonize anti-piracy policies and tools across EU member states, providing strong enforcement options including site-blocking.

[Meme] Edward Snowden Taught Us About Illegal Surveillance and Back Doors. Time to Pardon Snowden.

Monday 28th of December 2020 04:04:17 PM

Recent: Support Julian Paul Assange

Summary: Mr. Snowden has provided truly valuable proof of NSA-Microsoft collusion (they had also started PRISM), but instead of holding them accountable for collusion they want to hang the person who exposed this collusion

More in Tux Machines

Graphics: OpenGL, Intel and Zink

  • More OpenGL Threading Improvements Land For Mesa 21.1 - Phoronix

    Even in 2021 longtime open-source AMD Mesa driver developer Marek Olšák isn't done optimizing OpenGL for delivering the best possible performance with the Radeon graphics driver. Marek's latest work includes more OpenGL threading enhancements and other work seemingly targeted at SPECViewPerf workloads. Marek has spent the past several weeks working to remove the last OpenGL threading synchronization stalls that happen with SPECViewPerf 13. As part of this latest pull request he added support to glthread for executing display lists asynchronously. Plus there are some other OpenGL code improvements too.

  • More Intel Graphics Work In Linux 5.12: Gen7 Improvements, Faster Suspend/Resume

    New feature material for Linux 5.12 continues getting ready ahead of the merge window opening in February to formally kick off the cycle. On top of the prior Intel graphics driver improvements queued up in recent weeks to DRM-Next, another batch of Intel updates were sent out this week.

  • Zink OpenGL On Vulkan Now Supports OpenGL 4.2 With Mesa 21.1

    Going back to last summer there have been patches experimentally taking Zink as far as OpenGL 4.6 albeit it's been a lengthy process getting all of the relevant patches upstreamed. Additionally, some patches have required reworking or proper adjustments after going through the conformance test suite to ensure they are up to scratch for merging. Thanks to that ongoing effort by Mike Blumenkrantz working under contract for Valve and the work by Collabora developers, it was a quick jump this month from seeing OpenGL 4.1 to OpenGL 4.2 in mainline.

  • Mike Blumenkrantz: Itshappening.gif

    I meant to blog a couple times this week, but I kept getting sidetracked by various matters. Here’s a very brief recap on what’s happened in zinkland over the past week.

  • Zink OpenGL-On-Vulkan vs. RadeonSI OpenGL Performance As Of January 2021 - Phoronix

    With the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan implementation within Mesa on a nice upward trajectory with most recently now having the backing of a Valve contract developer and a focus on getting the backlog of patches to this Gallium3D code upstreamed, here are some fresh benchmarks looking at where the performance currently stands when using Zink atop the RADV Vulkan driver compared to using the native RadeonSI driver with this round of testing from a Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics card.

Android Leftovers

Zink OpenGL-On-Vulkan vs. RadeonSI OpenGL Performance As Of January 2021

With the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan implementation within Mesa on a nice upward trajectory with most recently now having the backing of a Valve contract developer and a focus on getting the backlog of patches to this Gallium3D code upstreamed, here are some fresh benchmarks looking at where the performance currently stands when using Zink atop the RADV Vulkan driver compared to using the native RadeonSI driver with this round of testing from a Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics card. Read more

Mozilla Leftovers

  • Karl Dubost: Site interventions and automated testing

    We follow a strict release process tied to the release cycle of Firefox. You can discover our CSS interventions and JavaScript Interventions. The calendar for the upcoming releases is defined in advance. Before each release cycle for site interventions, the Softvision Webcompat team (Oana and Cipri) makes sure to test the site without the patch to discover if the site intervention is still necessary. This takes time and requires a lot of manual work. Time that could be used for more introspective work. To activate deactivate site interventions, you can play with extensions.webcompat.perform_injections in about:config.

  • Firefox UX: Who Gets to Define Success? Listening to Stories of How People Value Firefox to Redefine Metrics

    Firefox Monthly Active Users (MAU): Measures the number of Firefox Desktop clients active in the past 28 days. (Source: Firefox Public Data Report) With over 200 million people using our web browser every month, Firefox has arguably achieved classic definitions of scale. However, as researchers, we also know that the reasons behind product choice and usage are often more complex than numbers alone can illustrate. In early 2019, our Data Science team began to review our current in-product metrics in an effort to better understand how to interpret our usage numbers and expose any gaps. Firefox User Researcher Jennifer Davidson (and co-author) consulted on that project, which ultimately found that we had very limited qualitative understanding of Firefox usage numbers. Around the same time, a cross-functional team, including Firefox User Researcher Gemma Petrie (and co-author), began an internal research project to gain a top-down view of value by asking our senior leaders how they would define the value of our products. Perhaps unsurprisingly in such a large organization, there were a wide variety of responses. In late 2019, Gemma and Jennifer proposed a study to align these efforts and explore the gaps we were observing. We knew it was time to get an “outside in” perspective to inform our internal narrative, and ultimately help our organization make better product decisions. At the heart of this research was a fundamental question: How do people describe the value they get out of Firefox? We hypothesized that by better understanding how people describe the value they get out of Firefox, we would be able to better inform how to measure our success as a company and encourage our leaders to complement traditional measures of scale with more human-centered metrics. Some of you may be thinking, “That is a very fundamental question for such an established product! Why don’t you already know the answer to it?” There are two primary reasons why this is a difficult question for our Firefox researchers to study. First, commonplace products like a web browser present unique challenges. The role of a web browser is almost akin to a utility–it is so deeply domesticated into people’s lives, that they may use Firefox every day without thinking much about it (Haddon 2006). A second unique challenge for Mozilla is that the usage data to understand how people use Firefox is often nonexistent. Mozilla practices very limited data collection. Our data practices are aligned with our mission and we do not collect information about the content people visit on the web (Mozilla 2020b, Mozilla 2020c, Mozilla 2020d). Often, user research is the only opportunity our organization has to understand the content people seek out and their workflows within the browser.

  • Mike Taylor: The Mike Taylor method™ of naming git branches

    I started doing this about 10 years ago when I worked at Opera. I don’t know if it was a widely used convention, or I just copied it off someone, but it’s pretty good, IMHO.

  • Tor Browser: Anonymity and Beyond

    There are three types of web: the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web. All that you can access using your Google browser is known as the surface web - it is visible to one and all. The deep web is all information that is under lock and key. In other words, we don’t have access to it. The dark web, on the other hand, is a creepy and secret underworld where access is denied using normal browsers. But with special tools handy and ready, users can buy almost anything - from guns to atom bombs - with total anonymity. In order to access the dark web, we need a special browser capable of opening and displaying dot onion links. This is where the Tor browser comes in. Typically, when we surf the web, we leave digital footprints everywhere in the form of our IP address. We allow ourselves to be tracked and monitored by everyone out there. This is because our typical browsers allow it. Tor, on the other hand, does not allow tracking. It is a specialized browser whose first priority is anonymity.