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Debian's Antoine Beaupré: The Neo-Colonial Internet

Filed under
Web
Debian

Sergey Brin and Larry Page are the Lewis and Clark of our generation. Just like the latter were sent by Jefferson (the same) to declare sovereignty over the entire US west coast, Google declared sovereignty over all human knowledge, with its mission statement "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". (It should be noted that Page somewhat questioned that mission but only because it was not ambitious enough, Google having "outgrown" it.)

The Lewis and Clark expedition, just like Google, had a scientific pretext, because that is what you do to colonize a world, presumably. Yet both men were military and had to receive scientific training before they left. The Corps of Discovery was made up of a few dozen enlisted men and a dozen civilians, including York an African American slave owned by Clark and sold after the expedition, with his final fate lost in history.

And just like Lewis and Clark, Google has a strong military component. For example, Google Earth was not originally built at Google but is the acquisition of a company called Keyhole which had ties with the CIA. Those ties were brought inside Google during the acquisition. Google's increasing investment inside the military-industrial complex eventually led Google to workers organizing a revolt although it is currently unclear to me how much Google is involved in the military apparatus. Other companies, obviously, do not have such reserve, with Microsoft, Amazon, and plenty of others happily bidding on military contracts all the time.

[...]

The Internet is, if not neo-colonial, plain colonial. The US colonies had cotton fields and slaves, we have disposable cell phones and Foxconn workers. Canada has its cultural genocide, Facebook has his own genocides in Ethiopia, Myanmar, and mob violence in India. Apple is at least implicitly accepting the Uyghur genocide. And just like the slaves of the colony, those atrocities are what makes the empire run.

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Chromium-Based Brave and Chrome News

Filed under
Google
Web
  • The Brave search engine is set to the browser by default - TechStony

    It doesn’t seem like it’s giving much to talk about the promising Brave seeker, and yet it is one of the most interesting initiatives that are being taken in favor of an open Internet apart from large corporations, in particular Google, but also others. Are you a Brave user? Get ready then, because Brave search begins to occupy its position in the browser as the default search engine.

    As we told you at the time, at the beginning of summer it was announced the new Brave seeker, a “feature” not intended for the browser of the co-founder and former CEO of Mozilla that, fortunately, is not only available to Brave users, but to anyone who wants to use an alternative search engine, but powerful and very well designed. All in all, the Brave search engine began its journey – and continues to do so – in beta.

  • Brave Search is now the default search engine for new users in 5 regions in Brave Browser - gHacks Tech News

    Brave announced today that it is switching the default search of the company's Brave Browser from Google Search to Brave Search in five regions for new users. The company launched a public version of Brave Search in June 2021. Brave Search is an independent search engine that does not rely on the indexes of large companies such as Google or Microsoft.

  • Chrome 95 improves payment security and more - TechStony

    That time of the month has come when the children of Chromium begin to release their monthly updates to the world, and if we speak of children of Chromium, Chrome is number one and Chrome 95 its new version. And since you most likely use Chrome, surely you are interested in what it brings.

    That said, Chrome 95 is a concise version in terms of news, but nothing to do with what happened a year ago, and that is that the competition is more alive than ever in the field of web browsers, badly than everything relevant comes from Chromium … with the notable, but small exception that represents Firefox, needless to add.

  • Not just deprecated, but deleted: Google finally strips File Transfer Protocol code from Chrome browser [Ed: Bloated pile of junk wants us to think that a little bit of code for FTP support was the real threat]

    The Chromium team has finally done it – File Transfer Protocol (FTP) support is not just deprecated, but stripped from the codebase in the latest stable build of the Chrome browser, version 95.

    It has been a while coming. A lack of support for encrypted connections in Chrome's FTP implementation, coupled with a general disinterest from the majority of the browser's users, and more capable third-party alternatives being available has meant that the code has moved from deprecated to gone entirely.

    [...]

    As for why FTP has attracted such ire – well, the protocol is over 50 years old and comes from more innocent times, when authentication was not what it is today. More secure options now exist (such as FTPS and SFTP) and, frankly, Google and pals would rather users opted for a dedicated transfer app than bother maintaining the code in the browser.

    There remain a good few FTP sites out there (such as the US Census Bureau), although many now have alternatives for file transfer. The final ejection of the code from Chrome, which lays claim to a huge userbase, means it really is time to move on. ®

WWW Browsers: Mozilla, Chromium, and Brave

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 102

    Gecko profiler Rust marker API has landed. It’s possible to add a profiler marker from the Rust to annotate a part of the code now. See the gecko-profiler crate for more information. Documentation is also coming soon.

  • Chromium Blog: Sunsetting the "basic-card" payment method in the Payment Request API

    The Payment Request API is a soon-to-be-recommended web standard that aims to make building low-friction and secure payment flows easier for developers. The browser facilitates the flow between a merchant website and "payment handlers". A payment handler can be built-in to the browser, a native app installed on user’s mobile device, or a Progressive Web App. Today, developers can use the Payment Request API to access several payment methods, including “basic-card” and Google Pay in Chrome on most platforms, Apple Pay in Safari, Digital Goods API on Google Play, and Secure Payment Confirmation in Chrome.

  • Chrome Releases: Stable Channel Update for Desktop

    The Chrome team is delighted to announce the promotion of Chrome 95 to the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. This will roll out over the coming days/weeks.

    Chrome 95.0.4638.54 contains a number of fixes and improvements -- a list of changes is available in the log. Watch out for upcoming Chrome and Chromium blog posts about new features and big efforts delivered in 95.

  • Chrome 95 Released With FTP Support Completely Removed, New Developer Additions - Phoronix

    Chrome 95 has rolled out as stable today as the latest version of Google's web browser.

    With Chrome 95 the previously-deprecated FTP support has been completely removed. There are also many new developer features available in Chrome 95 along with a number of mobile-focused additions.

  • Chromium Blog: Chrome 96 Beta: Conditional Focus, Priority Hints, and More

    Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. Learn more about the features listed here through the provided links or from the list on ChromeStatus.com. Chrome 96 is beta as of October 21, 2021.

  • Chrome 96 Beta Begins Preparing For Chrome 100, Adds Priority Hints Feature - Phoronix

    Following this week's release of Chrome 95, Google has now promoted Chrome 96 to beta status.

    Next year Chrome will see version 100 and for ensuring a smooth transition, Chrome 96 Beta is adding a new flag to force the major version to already be advertised as version 100. The new developer-minded option will set the Chrome HTTP user-agent string to Chrome 100, for helping developers test their web sites / web applications against that three digit version number. As some particularly older scripts may be just checking for the two major digits, Google developers added this option early to help catch any areas that may not be correctly handling a three digit major version number.

  • Google-bye: Brave now uses its own search engine by default • The Register

    The Brave browser will now default to the company's own search engine, claimed to preserve privacy, while a new Web Discovery Project aims to collect search data again with privacy protection.

    The Brave web browser is based on the Google-sponsored Chromium engine but with features designed to prevent tracking, as well as an unusual reward system using its own cryptocurrency, the Basic Attention Token (BAT). Brave search will now be the default on new installs for desktop, Android, and iOS. Existing Brave users will keep their current default unless they choose to change it.

Free Software Review: Trying out LibreWolf 93 as an alternative to Firefox. It’s less annoying, but there’s still DRM?

Filed under
Moz/FF
Reviews
Web

Firefox has recently crossed the line into malware territory.

I’ve been blogging a lot about how much I absolutely despise the direction they are taking the company in.

To recap a little, they’ve turned into a “woke” political party on a crusade to bring Cancel Culture to everyone who has a difference of opinion, their CEO is running them into the ground and swiping all the money while she’s at it.

They laid off most of the developers last year and blamed COVID, and now they hope to get a pile of dirty cash from a sleazy advertising partner with “sponsored suggestions”. A keylogger.

None of this is okay. This is actually worse than Chrome in some ways because it sends your private data to three companies, one of which is Google, then Mozilla, and then another advertising company (BuySellAds).

While I generally like GNOME Web and where it’s going, I’d like to keep using the parts of Firefox that actually do what I want them to, and I was even considering learning how to clean it myself. I’ve built the browser from source code before.

Most of the malicious anti-features are compile-time options.

But it appears that a project called LibreWolf beat me to this.

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More Mozilla Spying and Management Shuffle

Filed under
Moz/FF
Web
  • William Lachance: Learning about Psychological Safety at the Recurse Center

    Some context: I’m currently working as a software engineer at Mozilla, building out our data pipeline and analysis tooling. I’ve been at my current position for more than 10 years (my “anniversary” actually passed while I was out). I started out as a senior engineer in 2011, and was promoted to staff engineer in 2016. In tech-land, this is a really long tenure at a company. I felt like it was time to take a break from my day-to-day, explore some new ideas and concepts, and hopefully expose myself to a broader group of people in my field.

    My original thinking was that I would mostly be spending this time building out an interactive computation environment I’ve been working on called Irydium. And I did quite a bit of that. However, I think the main thing I took away from this experience was some insight on what makes a remote environment for knowledge work really “click”. In particular, what makes somewhere feel psychologically safe, and how this feeling allows us to innovate and do our best work.

    While the Recurse Center obviously has different goals than an organization that builds and delivers consumer software, I do think there are some things that it does that could be applied to Mozilla (and, likely, many other tech workplaces).

  • [Older] Firefox Now Sends Your Address Bar Keystrokes to Mozilla

    Firefox now sends more data than you might think to Mozilla. To power Firefox Suggest, Firefox sends the keystrokes you type into your address bar, your location information, and more to Mozilla’s servers. Here’s exactly what Firefox is sharing and how to control it.

  • Support.Mozilla.Org: What’s up with SUMO – October 2021

    As we enter October, I hope you’re all pumped up to welcome the last quarter of the year and, basically, wrapping up projects that we have for the remainder of the year. With that spirit, let’s start by welcoming the following folks into our community.

    [...]

    Thanks for Jefferson Scher for straightening the Firefox Suggest confusion on Reddit. That definitely help people to understand the feature better.

  • Welcome Imo Udom, Mozilla’s new Senior Vice President, Innovation Ecosystems

    I am delighted to share that Imo Udom has joined Mozilla as Senior Vice President, Innovation Ecosystems. Imo brings a unique combination of strategy, technical and product expertise and an entrepreneurial spirit to Mozilla and our work to design, develop and deliver new products and services.

Proprietary Web and Vista 11 Performance Catastrophe

Filed under
Microsoft
Web
  • Client-side content scanning as an unworkable, insecure disaster for democracy • The Register

    Fourteen of the world's leading computer security and cryptography experts have released a paper arguing against the use of client-side scanning because it creates security and privacy risks.

    Client-side scanning (CSS, not to be confused with Cascading Style Sheets) involves analyzing data on a mobile device or personal computer prior to the application of encryption for secure network transit or remote storage. CSS in theory provides a way to look for unlawful content while also allowing data to be protected off-device.

    Apple in August proposed a CSS system by which it would analyze photos destined for iCloud backup on customers' devices to look for child sexual abuse material (CSAM), only to backtrack in the face of objections from the security community and many advocacy organizations.

    The paper [PDF], "Bugs in our Pockets: The Risks of Client-Side Scanning," elaborates on the concerns raised immediately following Apple's CSAM scanning announcement with an extensive analysis of the technology.

  • Vivaldi Adblock is mostly Adblock Plus and ublock-origin.

    The Vivaldi browser has a built-in ad blocker.

    However, the company hasn’t been extremely forthcoming about how it works.

    However, it seems to accept any list in adblock plus format, and Vivaldi seems to have implemented Webkit Content Blockers as well.

    Vivaldi includes a list called “DuckDuckGo Tracker Radar”, which leads to what seems to be a Webkit Content Blocker format list mirrored by Vivaldi.

    In my testing, the DuckDuckGo Tracker Radar seems to largely duplicate what Fanboy’s Ultimate List already had in it.

    While Fanboy’s Ultimate List is not in Vivaldi by default, you can add it by going to Vivaldi Menu/Settings/Privacy, and then select “Block Trackers and Ads”, and then I would suggest de-selecting everything in both columns that Vivaldi defaults to having on, then clicking + under Ad Blocking Sources, then adding https://www.fanboy.co.nz/r/fanboy-ultimate.txt and then Import. It should tell you it brought in a bunch of ad blocking rules.

  • This week's Windows 11 patch didn't fix AMD performance woes • The Register

    Windows 11 received its first bundle of fixes this week, but AMD users hoping for respite from performance issues that have dogged their PCs were to be disappointed. In fact, for some, performance might have actually got a bit worse.

    It wasn't the news AMD fangirls and fanboys were hoping for. After AMD noted performance issues with Microsoft's latest operating system, a fix had been expected to drop during October. Alas, that fix didn't turn up in this week's first Cumulative Update for the GA code. In fact, according to hardware site TechPowerUp, things might have even deteriorated.

  • Microsoft’s first Windows “11” update addresses AMD CPU scheduling problems. Ends up making them worse. – BaronHK's Rants

    Microsoft released their first “Windows 11” update.

    It was deployed to try to correct the AMD CPU problems that Windows “11” created on Ryzen, which tripled L3 CPU cache latency and slowed the processor down by an average of 15%.

    The update ended up making the problem worse. Doubling the cache latency from where it already was at launch.

    “Early adopters” of Microsoft’s latest broken operating system are seeing much worse performance than they were on Windows 10, even on the Intel side, as Microsoft’s “virtualization based security” was already wreaking havoc on video game performance.

  • The "What If" Performance Cost To Kernel Page Table Isolation On AMD CPUs - Phoronix

    Made public this week by CPU security researchers at Graz University of Technology and CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security was the research paper published "AMD Prefetch Attacks through Power and Time". The paper points to AMD CPUs suffering from a side-channel leakage vulnerability through timing and power variations of the PREFETCH instruction. The paper argues that AMD CPUs should activate stronger page table isolation by default. AMD has now published their security response where they are not recommending any mitigation changes at this time. But what if Kernel Page Table Isolation (KPTI/PTI) proves necessary for AMD CPUs? Here are some initial benchmarks showing what that performance impact could look like.

Un-Googled Chromium and PDF Editor for Google Chrome

Filed under
Google
Web
  • Un-Googled Chromium update for Slackware 14.2 and -current | Alien Pastures

    After nearly two weeks of pulling my hair out I finally was able to build the newest Chromium in its un-Googled variant. You can find packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current in my repository on slackware.nl.

    It’s a jump from the 92 to the 94 release (94.0.4606.81 to be precise) but I simply did not have the opportunity to build a 93 release. In part because the un-googled repository maintained by Eloston did not offer release tarballs for a while. Extended leave of absence of the maintainer seems to be the issue which by now has been resolved by giving more people commit access to that repository.

    The un-Googled version of Chromium is incapable of “phoning home” to Google, by altering the source code and stripping/mangling all occurrences where that might happen. This is basically what Eloston’s project does.

  • Adobe Gives a Free PDF Editor for Google Chrome and Edge Users

    Adobe announced via a blog post that Acrobat extension for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge now have basic PDF editing features, right inside the browser.

Competitive Compatibility: Let's Fix the Internet, Not the Tech Giants

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Web

Tech's market concentration—summed up brilliantly by Tom Eastman, a New Zealand software developer, as the transformation of the Internet into "a group of five websites, each consisting of screenshots of text from the other four"—has aroused concern from regulators around the world.

In China tech giants have been explicitly co-opted an arm of the state. In Europe regulators hope to discipline the conduct of U.S.-based "Big Tech" firms by passing strict rules about privacy, copyright, and terrorist content and then slapping the companies with titanic fines when they fail to abide by them. At the same time, European leaders talk about cultivating "national champions"—monopolistically dominant firms with firm national allegiance to their local governments.

U.S. lawmakers are no more coherent: on the one hand, Congress recently held the most aggressive antitrust hearings since the era of Ronald Reagan, threatening to weaken the power of the giants by any means necessary. On the other hand, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to deputize Big Tech as part of law enforcement, charged with duties as varied as preventing human trafficking, policing copyright infringement, imposing neutrality on public discourse, blocking disinformation, and ending harassment and hate speech. If any of these duties can be performed (and some of them are sheer wishful thinking), they can only be performed by the very largest of companies, monopolists who extract monopoly rents and use them to fund these auxiliary duties.

Tech has experienced waves of concentration before and resolved them with minimal state action. Instead, tech's giants were often felled by interoperability, which allows new market entrants to seize the "network effect" advantages of incumbents to turn them to their own use. Without interoperability, AT&T ruled the nation. With interoperability, the ubiquity of the Bell System merely meant that anyone who could make an answering machine, radio bridge, or modem that could plug into an RJ-11 jack could sell into every house and business in America.

Everyone in the tech world claims to love interoperability—the technical ability to plug one product or service into another product or service—but interoperability covers a lot of territory, and depending on what's meant by interoperability, it can do a lot, a little, or nothing at all to protect users, innovation and fairness.

Let's start with a taxonomy of interoperability.

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Brython 3.10 Release, Python Implementation for Web Browsers

Filed under
Development
Web

Submitted by A release of the project Brython 3.10 (Browser Python) with a web browser-side implementation of the Python 3 programming language, allowing you to use Python instead of JavaScript to develop scripts for the Web. The project code is written in Python and is distributed under the BSD license.

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How to Enable Dark Mode in Web Browser

Filed under
Linux
Web

This guide is about guiding you how to enable dark mode in popular web browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Chromium and Microsoft Edge.
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Ferdi: A Free & Open-Source Alternative to Franz & Rambox

A single application to help you manage multiple services comes in handy when you do not want to do everything on your browser. While technically, you can, it may not be the most organized way of doing things. Hence, options like Rambox and Franz are pretty popular cross-platform solutions to sign in to several services and access all of them at a glance. Even though they both are available for Linux (and we’ve covered them separately), they offer limited features for free. In contrast, Ferdi is a fork of Franz offering many premium functionalities for free while aiming to provide a better experience. Read more

How to Install Python 3.10 in Ubuntu and Other Related Linux

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today's leftovers

  • Newest Linux Optimizations Can Achieve 10M IOPS Per-Core With IO_uring - Phoronix

    Just one week ago Linux block subsystem maintainer Jens Axboe was optimizing the kernel to get 8 million IOPS on a single CPU core. He progressed the week hitting around ~8.9M IOPS per-core and began to think he was hitting the hardware limits and running out of possible optimizations. However, this week he is kicking things off by managing to hit 10 million IOPS!

  • Ubuntu Kylin 21.10 Quick overview #Shorts - Invidious

    A Quick overview of Ubuntu Kylin 21.10.

  • Reset Password On Any Linux Distro (No Root Needed) - Invidious

    Losing your access to your user account on Linux can be really frustrating but luckily resetting that lost password is actually incredibly easy but the process slightly changes depending on the bootloader you're using at least for the easy approach

  • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 706

    Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 706 for the week of October 17 – 23, 2021.

  • Rakudo Weekly News: 2021.43 Thank You

    Oleksandr Kyriukhin has released the 2021.10 version of the Rakudo Compiler, which includes all of the work of the new MoarVM dispatch mechanism. This is the culmination of more than 1.5 year work by many people, but mostly by Jonathan Worthington. A historic step forward that lays the groundwork on more efficient executing of Raku programs, and actually delivers on a number of improvements.

  • Team Profile by KDE's Cornelius Schumacher

    What makes a great team? One important factor is that you have a balanced set of skills and personalities in the team. A team which only consists of leaders won't get much work done. A team which only consists of workers will not work into the right direction. So how can you identify the right balance and combination of people? One answer is the Team Member Profile Test. It's a set of questions which team members answer. They are evaluated to give a result indicating which type of team member the person is and where it lies in the spectrum of possible types.

  • Some users on Reddit report that Windows 11 loses Internet connectivity when trying to connect to NordVPN.
  • Pat Gelsinger's Open-Source Bias, Intel's Pledge To Openness [Ed: Intel is openwashing again, but leaks from Intel show that Intel is a foe, not a a friend. It's also rather ironic that Intel puts an "open" letter in a proprietary site of Microsoft, which is viciously attacking Free software. Intel is a Microsoft booster.]

    Ahead of Intel's inaugural Intel Innovation event taking place virtually later this week, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger published an open letter to an open ecosystem. In this open ecosystem letter, Gelsinger talks up opennness and choice, adding, "This is why I fundamentally believe in an open source bias, which powers the software-defined infrastructure that transformed the modern data center and ushered in the data-centric era."

Raspberry Pi and Arduino Leftovers

  • Fast Indoor Robot Watches Ceiling Lights, Instead of the Road

    To pull this off, [Andy] uses a camera with a fisheye lens aimed up towards the ceiling, and the video is processed on a Raspberry Pi 3.

  • Tackle The Monkey: Raspberry Pi Gets Round Screen | Hackaday

    You could argue that the project to add a round screen to a Raspberry Pi from [YamS1] isn’t strictly necessary. After all, you could use a square display with a mask around it, giving up some screen real estate for aesthetics. However, you’d still have a square shape around the screen and there’s something eye-catching about a small round screen for a watch, an indicator, or — as in this project — a talking head. The inspiration for the project was a quote from a Google quote about teaching a monkey to recite Shakespeare. A 3D printed monkey with a video head would be hard to do well with a rectangular screen, you have to admit. Possible with a little artistry, we are sure, but the round head effect is hard to beat. Honestly, it looks more like an ape to us, but we aren’t primate experts and we think most people would get the idea.

  • Move! makes burning calories a bit more fun | Arduino Blog

    Gamifying exercise allows people to become more motivated and participate more often in physical activities while also being distracted by doing something fun at the same time. This inspired a team of students from the Handong Global University in Pohang, South Korea to come up with a system, dubbed “Move!,” that uses a microcontroller to detect various gestures and perform certain actions in mobile games accordingly. They started by collecting many different gesture samples from a Nano 33 BLE Sense, which is worn by a person on their wrist. This data was then used to train a TensorFlow Lite model that classifies the gesture and sends it via Bluetooth to the host phone running the app. Currently, the team’s mobile app contains three games that a player can choose from.