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LinuxSecurity - Security Advisories

  • Debian LTS: DLA-2527-1: snapd security update>
    golang-go.crypto was recently updated with a fix for CVE-2019-11840. This in turn requires all packages that use the affected code to be recompiled in order to pick up the security fix.

  • Fedora 33: glibc 2021-6feb090c97>
    - x86: Check IFUNC definition in unrelocated executable [BZ #20019] - x86: Set header.feature_1 in TCB for always-on CET [BZ #27177] - Update for [BZ #27130] fix - x86-64: Avoid rep movsb with short distance [BZ #27130] - Fix for CVE-2019-25013 buffer overrun in EUC-KR conversion module (bz #24973) - tests-mcheck: New variable to run tests with MALLOC_CHECK_=3 - iconv:

  • Mageia 2021-0043: caribou security update>
    An issue in caribou, that was exposed by a CVE fix in server, permits a screensaver-lock bypass. It is possible to crash the screensaver and unlock the desktop via the virtual keyboard. References:

  • Kernel prepatch 5.11-rc4
    The 5.11-rc4 kernel prepatch is outfor testing. "Things continue to look fairly normal for this release:5.11-rc4 is solidly average in size, and nothing particularly scary standsout."

  • Stenberg: Food on the table while giving away code
    Daniel Stenberg writesabout getting paid to work on curl — 21 years after starting theproject. "I ran curl as a spare time project for decades. Over theyears it became more and more common that users who submitted bug reportsor asked for help about things were actually doing that during their paidwork hours because they used curl in a commercial surrounding – whichsometimes made the situation almost absurd. The ones who actually got paidto work with curl were asking the unpaid developers to help themout."

  • Security updates for Friday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (flatpak, ruby-redcarpet, and wavpack), Fedora (dia, mingw-openjpeg2, and openjpeg2), Mageia (awstats, bison, cairo, kernel, kernel-linus, krb5, nvidia-current, nvidia390, php, and thunderbird), openSUSE (cobbler, firefox, kernel, libzypp, zypper, nodejs10, nodejs12, and nodejs14), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), Slackware (wavpack), SUSE (kernel, nodejs8, open-iscsi, openldap2, php7, php72, php74, slurm_20_02, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (ampache and linux, linux-hwe, linux-hwe-5.4, linux-hwe-5.8, linux-lts-xenial).

  • [$] Fast commits for ext4
    The Linux 5.10 release included a changethat is expected to significantly increase the performance of the ext4filesystem; it goes by the name "fast commits" and introduces a new,lighter-weight journaling method. Let us look into how the feature works, whocan benefit from it, and when its use may be appropriate.

  • [$] MAINTAINERS truth and fiction
    Since the release of the 5.5 kernel in January 2020, there have been almost87,000 patches from just short of 4,600 developers merged into the mainlinerepository. Reviewing all of those patches would be a tall order for eventhe most prolific of kernel developers, so decisions on patch acceptanceare delegated to a long list of subsystem maintainers, each of whom takespartial or full responsibility for a specific portion of the kernel. Thesemaintainers are documented in a file called, surprisingly, MAINTAINERS.But the MAINTAINERS file, too, must be maintained; how well doesit reflect reality?

  • Wine 6.0 released
    Version 6.0 of the WineWindows not-an-emulator has been released. "This release isdedicated to the memory of Ken Thomases, who passed away just beforeChristmas at the age of 51. Ken was an incredibly brilliant developer, andthe mastermind behind the macOS support in Wine. We all miss his skills,his patience, and his dark sense of humor." Significant featuresinclude core modules built as PE executables, an experimental Direct3Drenderer, DirectShow support, a new text console, and more.

  • Security updates for Thursday
    Security updates have been issued by Fedora (adplug, audacious-plugins, cpu-x, kernel, kernel-headers, ocp, php, and python-lxml), openSUSE (crmsh, firefox, and hawk2), Oracle (thunderbird), Red Hat (kernel-rt), SUSE (kernel and rubygem-archive-tar-minitar), and Ubuntu (openvswitch and tar).

  • [$] A license change for Nmap
    It may be kind of an obvious statement, but licensing terms matter in ourcommunities. Even a misplaced word or three can be fatal for a license,which is part of the motivation for the efforts to reduce licenseproliferation in free-software projects. Over the last few months, variousdistribution projects have been discussing changes made to the license forthe Nmap network scanner; those changesseemed to be adding restrictions that would make the software non-free, thoughthat was not the intent. But the incident does serve to show the importance oflicense clarity.

  • The Default Router (Tedium)
    Tedium is running ahistory of the Linksys WRT54G router. "But the reason the WRT54Gseries has held on for so long, despite using a wireless protocol that waseffectively made obsolete 12 years ago, might come down to a feature thatwas initially undocumented—a feature that got through amid all thecomplications of a big merger. Intentionally or not, the WRT54G was hidingsomething fundamental on the router’s firmware: Software based onLinux."

  • Rosenzweig: Desktop OpenGL 3.1 on Mali GPUs with Panfrost
    Alyssa Rosenzweig presentsa progress report on the Panfrost driver for Arm Mali Midgard andBifrost GPUs, which now provides non-conformant OpenGL ES 3.0 on Bifrostand desktop OpenGL 3.1 on Midgard. "Architecturally, Bifrost shares most of its fixed-function data structures with Midgard, but features a brand new instruction set. Our work for bringing up OpenGL ES 3.0 on Bifrost reflects this division. Some fixed-function features, like instancing and transform feedback, worked without any Bifrost-specific changes since we already did bring-up on Midgard. Other shader features, like uniform buffer objects, required "from scratch" implementations in the Bifrost compiler, a task facilitated by the compiler's maturing intermediate representation with first-class builder support. Yet other features like multiple render targets required some Bifrost-specific code while leveraging other code shared with Midgard. All in all, the work progressed much more quickly the second time around, a testament to the power of code sharing. But there is no need to limit sharing to just Panfrost GPUs; open source drivers can share code across vendors."

  • Final days for some Arm platforms
    Arnd Bergmann stirred up a bit of a discussion with his January 8 "bringout your dead" posting, wherein he raised the idea of removing supportfor a long list of seemingly unloved Arm platforms — and a few non-Arm onesas well. Many of these have seen no significant work in at least sixyears. In aJanuary 13 followup, he notes that several of those platforms willbe spared for now due to ongoing interest. Several others, though (efm32,picoxcell, prima2, tango, u300, and zx) remain on the chopping block, andthe status of another handful remains uncertain. Readers who care aboutold Arm platforms may want to have a look at the list now and speak up ifthey still need support for one of the platforms that might otherwise bedeleted.

  • Security updates for Wednesday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (coturn, imagemagick, and spice-vdagent), Fedora (roundcubemail and sympa), Gentoo (asterisk and virtualbox), Oracle (kernel and kernel-container), Red Hat (dotnet3.1, dotnet5.0, and thunderbird), SUSE (crmsh, firefox, hawk2, ImageMagick, kernel, libzypp, zypper, nodejs10, nodejs14, openstack-dashboard, release-notes-suse-openstack-cloud, and tcmu-runner), and Ubuntu (coturn).

  • [$] Debian discusses vendoring—again
    The problems with "vendoring" in packages—bundling dependencies rather thangetting them from other packages—seems to crop up frequently these days.We looked at Debian's concerns aboutpackaging Kubernetes and its myriad of Godependencies back in October. A more recent discussion in thatdistribution's community looks at another famously dependency-heavyecosystem: JavaScript libraries from the npm repository. Even C-based ecosystemsare not immune to the problem, as we saw withiproute2 and libbpf back in November; the discussion of vendoring seemslikely to recur over the coming years.

  • A set of stable kernels
    Stable kernels 5.10.7, 5.4.89, 4.19.167, 4.14.215, 4.9.251, and 4.4.251 have been released. They all containimportant fixes and users should upgrade.

LXer Linux News

  • How to use KDEs productivity suite, Kontact
    In prior years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 6 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.

  • How to Install ELK stack on Ubuntu 20.04
    The ELK stack is an acronym of three popular open-source projects: Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana. It is an open-source and one of the most popular log management platform that collects, processes, sem and visualizes data from multiple data sources. It is mainly used for log analysis in IT environments. It is very helpful for a system administrator to search and analyze a large volume of data to make real-time decisions-all the time.

  • Python PIP Complete guide
    Python is a trendy programming language that comes with tons of libraries and modules. To install these libraries, you can install them using their wheel file or use any library manager.PIP is a python library that stands for PHP Install Packages or Preferred Installer Program that helps you install, remove, and upgrade all other libraries without reinventing wheel files every time when you install new packages.Today, we guide you on using PIP to install, reinstall, remove, and manage all other libraries with this single library.

  • 3 plain text note-taking tools
    In prior years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 5 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.Plain text is the most resilient format for documents. Plain text documents are small, transfer quickly between machines, and can be read on any device. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to take notes in a plain text more

  • How to Install Garuda KDE Dragonized
    Garuda Linux is based on Arch Linux. It is provided with all major Desktop environment like KDE, GNOME, Xfce, Cinnamon, MATE, LXQt-kwin, Wayfire, Qtile, BSPWM and i3wm.On a short period, Garuda Linux is most preferable distribution on Linux community.So, we will walk through the Garuda KDE Installation process and feel the Garuda KDE’s Beast.

  • 4 DevOps books to read this year
    We have just entered 2021, and DevOps will become much more relevant. It is smack dab in the spotlight given that the world is experiencing a pandemic and businesses are fighting to stay digitally relevant and more

  • Create Bootable USB Using Etcher in Linux – Download and Usage Guide
    Etcher is a utility created by Balena, that makes your life easy with its unique take on creating bootable USB and SD cards with a .iso file. In this guide, I will show you the steps to download and install Etcher. Although it is a bit trivial for some, may be difficult for others. Hence this guide.

  • 12 Useful Free and Open Source Git Tools
    Git is one of a number of open source revision control systems available for Linux. Git is frequently regarded by many developers to be the finest version control tool available.


  • 7% of Americans Have Had Covid-19
    CNN reports:  According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States, there have been at least 23,754,315 cases of coronavirus in the U.S., and at least 395,785 deaths. On Saturday, Johns Hopkins reported 198,218 new cases and 3,286 new deaths...   On Friday, the CDC said new more contagious variants of the coronavirus will likely accelerate the spread of the virus and that means the US must double down on efforts to protect people.   The U.S. Census Bureau calculates the country's entire population is 330,827,996 people. These figures suggest 7.18% of the American population has now experienced the disease — more than 1 out of every 14 Americans.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Virgin Orbit Just Successfully Launched a 70-Foot Rocket From Its 747
    CNN reports:  A 70-foot rocket, riding beneath the wing of a retrofitted Boeing 747 aircraft, detached from the plane and fired itself into Earth's orbit on Sunday — marking the first successful launch for the California-based rocket startup Virgin Orbit.   Virgin Orbit's 747, nicknamed Cosmic Girl, took off from California around 10:30 am PT with the rocket, called LauncherOne, nestled beneath the plane's left wing. The aircraft flew out over the Pacific Ocean before the rocket was released, freeing LauncherOne and allowing it to power up its rocket motor and propel itself to more than 17,000 miles per hour, fast enough to begin orbiting the Earth... The rocket flew a group of tiny satellites on behalf of NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellites, or ELaNa, program, which allows high school and college students to design and assemble small satellites that NASA then pays to launch into space... About four hours after takeoff on Saturday, Virgin Orbit confirmed in a tweet that all the satellites were "successfully deployed into our target orbit."  The successful mission makes Virgin Orbit only the third so-called "New Space" company — startups hoping to overhaul the traditional industry with innovative technologies — to reach orbit, after SpaceX and Rocket Lab. The success also paves the way for Virgin Orbit to begin launching satellites for a host of customers that it already has lined up, including NASA, the military and private-sector companies that use satellites for commercial purposes.   Virgin Orbit shared a 57-second video on Twitter showing the moment their rocket was released and then launched, saying the event went exactly as planned.   "To say we're thrilled would be a massive understatement, but 240 characters couldn't do it justice anyway."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Amazon Begins Removing QAnon Goods For Sale
    Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo quotes the Washington Post:  Amazon said it will remove merchandise related to QAnon, a discredited conspiracy theory that the FBI has identified as a potential domestic terrorist threat, just a day after the e-commerce giant suspended the pro-Trump social media site Parler from using its cloud computing technology.   Amazon is beginning to remove QAnon products from its site, a process that could take a few days, spokeswoman Cecilia Fan said Monday afternoon following inquiries from The Washington Post and other media outlets. Third-party merchants that attempt to evade Amazon's systems to list QAnon goods may find their selling privileges revoked, Fan added.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Twitter Temporarily Suspends Account of US Representative
    CNN reports:  Twitter on Sunday temporarily suspended the account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for repeated violations of new rules the social media platform put in place following the violent U.S. Capitol riot earlier this month, a company spokesperson told CNN.   "The account referenced has been temporarily locked out for multiple violations of our civic integrity policy," the spokesperson said. As a result, the congresswoman will be locked out of her account for 12 hours.  CNN also notes that Greene is a QAnon supporter, and that during her 12-hour suspension she'd complained that conservative Americans "shouldn't have to fear being cancelled by American corporations where they work, do business, and use services.   "They shouldn't be scared into submission by Socialists who want to end their way of life."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Report: US Halts Huawei's Suppliers, Including Intel, in Last Blow to China's 5G
    "The Trump administration notified Huawei suppliers, including chipmaker Intel, that it is revoking certain licenses to sell to the Chinese company and intends to reject dozens of other applications," Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the matter:  One of the sources said eight licenses were yanked from four companies. Japanese flash memory chip maker Kioxia Corp had at least one license revoked, two of the sources said. The company, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Corp, could not immediately be reached for comment... Companies that received the "intent to deny" notices have 20 days to respond, and the Commerce Department has 45 days to advise the companies of any change in a decision or it then becomes final. Companies would then have another 45 days to appeal...   Before the latest action, some 150 licenses were pending for $120 billion worth of goods and technology, which had been held up because various U.S. agencies could not agree on whether they should be granted, a person familiar with the matter said. Another $280 billion of licenses for goods and technology for Huawei still have not been dealt with, the source said, but now face a higher likelihood of denial... The United States made the latest decisions during a half dozen meetings starting on Jan. 4 with senior officials from the departments of Commerce, State, Defense and Energy, the source said. The officials developed detailed guidance with regard to which technologies were capable of 5G, and then applied that standard, the person said.   By doing that, the officials denied the vast majority of the roughly 150 disputed applications, and revoked the eight licenses to make those consistent with the new denials, the source said.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Florida's Whistleblower Covid-19 Data Manager Arrested Today
    The state of Florida's former Covid-19 data manager was apparently arrested today.   After her firing in May of 2020, Rebekah Jones had become a critic of the state's publicly-available information, even setting up her own online dashboard of Covid-19 case data. The state suspected her of being the person who'd illegally accessed the state's emergency alert health system in December to urge Health Department employees to speak up about the coronavirus, and state police obtained a warrant for a raid on her home during which they'd seized her computers and cellphones.   Jones later called the raid a "sham" to retaliate against her for not altering the state's COVID-19 data. This weekend on Twitter, Jones emphasized that the police found zero evidence during their raid to connect her to that message. She also argues that the newer allegation "was issued the day after a Tallahassee judge told police that if they're not investigating a crime, they had to return my equipment."   During that raid "police did find documents I received/downloaded from sources in the state, or something of that nature..." Jones posted Saturday. "[I]t isn't clear at this point what exactly they're saying I had that I shouldn't have had, but an agent confirmed it has nothing to do with the subject of the warrant."   The Tampa Bay Times reports: Jones announced Saturday on Twitter that she learned of the warrant and plans to turn herself in on Sunday. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed there is a warrant for Jones' arrest but said it cannot disclose what charges she faces until she is in custody.  Agency spokesman Gretl Plessinger said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times that "agents have been working with her attorney to have her turn herself in..."   Jones said she and her attorney were not told what she's being prosecuted for, just that she faces one criminal charge...   "The agent told my lawyer there would be only one charge," Jones tweeted on Saturday, "but emphasized that speaking out or going to the media may result in police 'stacking' additional charges."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Is There a Tech Worker 'Exodus' From the San Francisco Bay Area?
    The New York Times reports on an "exodus" of tech workers from the San Francisco Bay Area, where "Rent was astronomical. Taxes were high. Your neighbors didn't like you" — and your commute could be over an hour.  The biggest tech companies aren't going anywhere, and tech stocks are still soaring... But the migration from the Bay Area appears real. Residential rents in San Francisco are down 27% from a year ago, and the office vacancy rate has spiked to 16.7%, a number not seen in a decade. Though prices had dropped only slightly, Zillow reported more homes for sale in San Francisco than a year ago. For more than a month last year, 90% of the searches involving San Francisco on moveBuddha were for people moving out...   There are 33,000 members in the Facebook group Leaving California and 51,000 in its sister group, Life After California. People post pictures of moving trucks and links to Zillow listings in new cities.   They've apparently scattered across the country — even to tropical islands like Puerto Rico and Costa Rica  They fled to more affordable places like Georgia. They fled to states without income taxes like Texas and Florida... The No. 1 pick for people leaving San Francisco is Austin, Texas, with other winners including Seattle, New York and Chicago, according to moveBuddha, a site that compiles data on moving. Some cities have set up recruiting programs to lure them to new homes.  The Times also notes "there is a very vocal Miami faction, led by a few venture capital influencers, trying to tweet the city's startup world into existence," as other cities begin to realize that "the talent and money of newly remote tech workers are up for grabs."  Topeka, Kansas, started Choose Topeka, which will reimburse new workers $10,000 for the first year of rent or $15,000 if they buy a home. Tulsa, Oklahoma, will pay you $10,000 to move there. The nation of Estonia has a new residency program just for digital nomads. A program in Savannah, Georgia, will reimburse remote workers $2,000 for the move there, and the city has created various social activities to introduce the newcomers to one another and to locals...   But the article also points out that "More money was made faster in the Bay Area by fewer people than at any other time in American history," and speculates on what long-time residents may be thinking:  People who distrusted the young newcomers from the start will say this change is a good thing. Hasn't this steep growth in wealth and population in a tiny geography always seemed unsustainable? These tech workers came like a whirlwind. Virtually every community from San Jose in the south to Marin County in the north has fought the rise of new housing for the arrivals of the last decade. Maybe spreading the tech talent around America is smart.   Locals have also seen this play before. Moving trucks come to take a generation of tech ambition away, and a few years later moving trucks return with new dreamers and new ambitions.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Anti-Mask Protesters Proudly Filmed Their Confrontation With a Grocery Store's Manager
    Nine days ago America set a record: nearly 290,000 new Covid-19 cases within 24 hours. according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.   Four days later, anti-mask protesters in Oregon filmed their confrontation with employees at a Trader Joe's grocery store who wouldn't let them enter the store unless they were wearing a mask. Their 8-minute video has since been viewed over 325,000 times. The Oregonian newspaper reports:  As other masked customers enter the store, the manager repeats that the protesters are welcome to shop too, as long as they wear masks. He says he is more than willing to talk to the group but isn't interested in debating policy. Trader Joe's nationwide policy requires customers to wear masks in stores.   "We're not demonstrating, we're buying groceries," a protester says. "That's why I'm here." The manager says he is enforcing the store's mask mandate. "It's not a law. You cannot enforce non-law," a protester says. "You cannot deny somebody the right to commerce." The store manager appears to offer to shop for the protesters and bring out what they want.   Amid growing shouting, a woman says: "I need to buy groceries. I don't know what I want until I go in and see it. The Civil Rights Act protects me to go in and shop like everybody else."   Legal experts have told USA Today that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not give people the right to shop without a mask.  The manager patiently explains to the protesters that "The difference you guys are trying to make isn't going to made with us. It can made with your government."  But soon one protester starts amplifying their voice with a bullhorn, while another continues filming the grocery store's employees — zooming in on their name tags — and threatening, "I'm sorry that you're not going to be able to let anyone else in, because we're standing here."  Another protester says "Right, that's pretty much the only resolution. It's either we get to shop, like free American citizens, right? Without being forced into wearing this mask, right...?"  They don't appear to follow through on their threat to blockade entry into the store, but the manager continues talking to them throughout the video. And at one point he says calmly that "It's disheartening that we can't have any conversations any more... It's really disheartening.   "It's disheartening that people can't just talk to one another."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Darkened SpaceX Satellites Can Still Disrupt Astronomy, New Research Suggests
    "SpaceX's attempt to reduce the reflectivity of Starlink satellites is working, but not to the degree required by astronomers," reports Gizmodo: Starlink satellites with an anti-reflective coating are half as bright as the standard version, according to research published in The Astrophysical Journal. It's an improvement, but still not good enough, according to the team, led by astronomer Takashi Horiuchi from the National Astronomical Observatory in Japan. These "DarkSats," as they're called, also continue to cause problems at other wavelengths of light [and] were included in a batch of satellites launched by SpaceX on January 7, 2020. The new study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of that dark coating...   The scientists found that the "albedo of DarkSat is about a half of that of STARLINK-1113," as they wrote in their paper. That's a decent improvement in the visual spectrum, but still not great. What's more, problems persist at other wavelengths. "The darkening paint on DarkSat certainly halves reflection of sunlight compared to the ordinary Starlink satellites, but [the constellation's] negative impact on astronomical observations still remains," Horiuchi told Physics World. He said the mitigating effect is "good in the UV/optical region" of the spectrum, but "the black coating raises the surface temperature of DarkSat and affects intermediate infrared observations."   A third version of Starlink is supposed to be even dimmer. Called "VisorSats," they feature a sun visor that will "dim the satellites once they reach their operational altitude," according to Sky and Telescope. SpaceX launched some VisorSats last year, but the degree to which their albedo is lessened compared to the original version is still not known, or if these versions will exhibit elevated surface temperatures.   Horiuchi told Physics World that SpaceX should seriously consider lifting the altitude of the Starlink constellation to further reduce the brightness of these objects. .  The article ends with a quote from an astronomer at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and an expert on satellites. He'd told Gizmodo's reporter back in January of 2020 that "SpaceX is making a good-faith effort to fix the problem," and that he believes the company "can get the satellites fainter than what the naked eye can see."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Signal Back After 24 Hours of Outages Caused by Surging Traffic
    "After experiencing technical difficulties Friday, the Signal messaging app appears to be back up and running," reports the Verge:  The company tweeted Saturday night that it was "back," although added that some users may still see error messages in their chats. The company didn't explain what caused the outage.    For users still seeing error messages in their chats — which the company said was a "side effect" of the outage that began around 11:30AM ET Friday — Signal tweeted that those messages do not affect security, rather that you may have missed a message from another user. This will be fixed in the next app updates, the company said...   During the outage, the Signal tweeted that it was "working as quickly as possible to bring additional capacity online to handle peak traffic levels."   A headline at Android Authority suggests a theory about what caused the outage: "Mass exodus from WhatsApp causes Signal servers to buckle under pressure."   "Although we aren't certain why this specific outage occurred," they write, "Signal has made it clear that it is seeing a huge influx of new users. The surge in adoption is due in no small part to people running away from WhatsApp after that Facebook-owned service updated its privacy policy."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Estimated Cost of Poor Software Quality in the U.S. in 2020: $2.1 Trillion
    TechRepublic shares a remarkable calculation by the not-for-profit IT leadership group the Consortium for Information and Software Security:  CISQ's 2020 report, The Cost of Poor Software Quality in the U.S., looked at the financial impact of software projects that went awry or otherwise ended up leaving companies with a larger bill by creating additional headaches for them. According to the consortium, unsuccessful IT projects alone cost U.S. companies $260 billion in 2020, while software problems in legacy systems cost businesses $520 billion and software failures in operational systems left a dent of $1.56 trillion in corporate coffers.   As a result, the total cost of poor software quality in the U.S. amounted to approximately $2.08 trillion in 2020, CISQ said. Comparing this to the total U.S. IT and software wage base of $1.4 trillion, the company said the figures "underscored the magnitude of the negative economic impact of poor software quality."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Online Misinformation Dropped Dramatically After Twitter Banned Trump
    The Washington Post reports:  Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies last week, research firm Zignal Labs has found, underscoring the power of tech companies to limit the falsehoods poisoning public debate when they act aggressively.   The new research by the San Francisco-based analytics firm reported that conversations about election fraud dropped from 2.5 million mentions to 688,000 mentions across several social media sites in the week after Trump was banned from Twitter... The findings, from Jan. 9 through Friday, highlight how falsehoods flow across social media sites — reinforcing and amplifying each other — and offer an early indication of how concerted actions against misinformation can make a difference.   Kate Starbird, disinformation researcher at the University of Washington, also warned the Post that "What happens in the long term is still up in the air."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Are Tech Companies Ducking Responsibility For The Need to De-Platform?
    Long-time technology reporter/commentator Kara Swisher weighs in on the de-platforming of U.S. president Trump, arguing Trump "was only following the rules set for him and it was entirely the fault of the tech companies for giving him the kind of latitude that allowed him to go that far."  Like a parent who gives a child endless bowls of sugar and then wonders why their kid is batshit crazy, tech has pretended to be obtuse to the consequences of their products and the choices that have been made about them. For years I have written that these companies have turned themselves into the digital arms dealers of the Internet age, amplifying and weaponizing everything. They might have cleaned up the Trump mess, but they also made the Trump mess possible by architecting systems that thrive on enragement.   Most of all, they have tried to duck responsibility. I have always been amazed by Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg's statement that he did not want to be an "arbiter of the truth." My question for him: Why then did he build a platform that requires it?   Even more importantly, we must examine the power that these companies wield and how to deal with that going forward... [W]hile justifiably putting a sock in Trump's toxic pie-hole, they also showed how swiftly they could end whole businesses, as was the case with the right-fave social media platform Parler.... [T]here is nothing that Parler was doing that companies like Facebook were not guilty of too and in larger measure and for a very long time. While I would not go as far as calling the company a scapegoat, as it did allow its system to be used in dangerous ways, it certainly got a lion's share of the hurt that rained down on tech and that others probably deserved even more.  This brings us to the issue at hand: Power. Tech companies have too much of it, but it should be looked at through the lens of market concentration that results in the dampening of innovation needed to inevitably upend the leaders. Such a situation demands substantive and bipartisan action to deal with each company differently and with different remedies, which include fines, enforcement of existing laws, new regulation and, yes, antitrust action. That has already started, which is good, as has a series of dopey attempts to repeal Section 230, which provides broad immunity to digital platforms. What it needs is reform...

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • A 'Debilitating' Shortage of Computer Chips is Closing Auto Factories Worldwide
    "American automakers are asking the U.S. government to help solve a debilitating shortage of computer chips that is closing auto factories worldwide and could restrict production until the fall," reports Bloomberg:  The American Automotive Policy Council — a lobbying organization for General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and the U.S. operations of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV — is agitating with the U.S. Commerce Department and the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden to press Asian semiconductor makers to reallocate output away from consumer electronics and build essential chips for cars.   "We have requested that the U.S. government help us find a solution to the problem because it will diminish our production and have a negative impact on the U.S. economy until it's resolved," Matt Blunt, president of the AAPC, said in an interview Friday. "We are not primarily concerned with where blame may lie for this global shortage, if it lies anywhere, but we just want a solution. And the solution is more automobile-sector semiconductors."   The shortage forced Ford to shut a sport-utility vehicle factory in Kentucky this week, and it is closing a small-car plant in Germany for a month. Fiat Chrysler has had to temporarily stop output at plants in Mexico and Canada. More production is expected to be idled in the coming weeks.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Jamie Zawinski Calls Cinnamon Screensaver Lock-Bypass Bug 'Unconscionable'
    Legendary programmer Jamie Zawinski has worked on everything from the earliest releases of the Netscape Navigator browser to XEmacs, Mozilla, and, of course, the XScreenSaver project.   Now Slashdot reader e432776 writes:   JWZ continues to track issues with screensavers on Linux (since 2004!), and discusses a new bug in cinnamon-screensaver. Long-standing topics like X11, developer interaction, and code licensing all feature. Solutions to these long-standing issues remain elusive.   Jamie titled his blog post "I told you so, 2021 edition": You will recall that in 2004 , which is now seventeen years ago, I wrote a document explaining why I made the design trade-offs that I did in XScreenSaver, and in that document I predicted this exact bug as my example of, "this is what will happen if you don't do it this way."   And they went and made that happen.   Repeatedly.   Every time this bug is re-introduced, someone pipes up and says something like, "So what, it was a bug, they've fixed it." That's really missing the point. The point is not that such a bug existed, but that such a bug was even possible. The real bug here is that the design of the system even permits this class of bug. It is unconscionable that someone designing a critical piece of security infrastructure would design the system in such a way that it does not fail safe .   Especially when I have given them nearly 30 years of prior art demonstrating how to do it right, and a two-decades-old document clearly explaining What Not To Do that coincidentally used this very bug as its illustrative strawman!   These bugs are a shameful embarrassment of design -- as opposed to merely bad code...   ZDNet reports that Linux Mint has issued a patch for Cinnamon that fixes the screensaver bug. But HotHardware notes that it was discovered when "one Dad let the kids play with the keyboard. This button-mashing actually crashed the machine's screensaver by sheer luck, allowing them onto the desktop, ultimately leading to the discovery of a high priority security vulnerability for the Linux Mint team."    But that's not the only thing bothering Jamie Zawinski:  Just to add insult to injury, it has recently come to my attention that not only are Gnome-screensaver, Mint-screensaver and Cinnamon-screensaver buggy and insecure dumpster fires, but they are also in violation of my license and infringing my copyright.   XScreenSaver was released under the BSD license, one of the oldest and most permissive of the free software licenses. It turns out, the Gnome-screensaver authors copied large parts of XScreenSaver into their program, removed the BSD license and slapped a GPL license on my code instead -- and also removed my name. Rude...  Mint-screensaver and Cinnamon-screensaver, being forks and descendants of Gnome-screensaver, have inherited this license violation and continue to perpetuate it. Every Linux distro is shipping this copyright- and license-infringing code.   I eagerly await hearing how they're going to make this right.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Register

  • Xiaomi hit by US sanctions: Can't list on stock exchanges and investors can't invest
    Parting shot by Trump – but 'bi-partisan' push against China will continue, says analyst
    With five days left before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, the Trump administration has delivered a parting blow to China's tech industry by designating Xiaomi as a "Communist Chinese military company" and placing it on a financial ban list.…

  • Vatican absolved of one financial sin after revelation of data discrepancies
    Anti-money-laundering agency says it mis-interpreted info, leading to allegations of unexplained $1.8bn transfer to Australia
    The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), a government agency tasked with detecting and preventing financial crimes, has admitted that software errors led it to allege that the Vatican had inexplicably shipped AU$2.3bn to Australia.…

  • Admit it: Your legacy backup is actually making you less resilient
    Join us later this month to see what modern data management looks like
    Webcast There’s been a lot of talk about resilience lately. But while it’s one thing working through mid-pandemic self-care and wellness prescriptions for the individual, what does resilience mean when it comes to your company and its data?…

  • Semiconductor-flinger SK Hynix raises $1bn to green up its act
    Toxic wastewater and resource hungry - wafer-fabbing's a mucky biz
    South Korean memory biz SK Hynix has issued a $1 billion “green bond” with the funds intended for pay for projects designed to reduce the ecological impact of its manufacturing activities.…

  • Another Rust-y OS: Theseus joins Redox in pursuit of safer, more resilient systems
    This one is not just written in Rust – its design is based on Rust features
    Rust, a modern system programming language focused on performance, safety and concurrency, seems an ideal choice for creating a new operating system, and several such projects already exist. Now there is a new one, Theseus, described by creator Kevin Boos as "an Experiment in Operating System Structure and State Management."…

  • Fujitsu opens door, invites '200 to 250' staff from UK Delivery team to walk out
    Juicier payoff for those who do, but employees fear process will become compulsory if numbers aren't met
    Exclusive Fujitsu is looking for hundreds of volunteers in its UK Delivery organisation to leave with an enhanced payoff, though only employees with at least five years' service can currently apply. At the same time it is running a small redundancy process in other areas of the business where contracts are running off.…

  • Pirate Bay co-founder criticises Parler for its lack of resilience
    Torrent search engine is still up after years of whack-a-mole with copyright cops
    One of the co-creators of notorious BitTorrent search engine The Pirate Bay has criticised free speech social network Parler for the lack of resilience that saw it go dark after Amazon Web Services booted it out of its cloud.… offline for now


  • Gentoo Saw Total Commits Rise By 42% In 2020, Great Progress On Wayland
    The pandemic didn't adversely impact the Gentoo Linux project's operations with seeing the overall number of commits grow by nearly 42% last year within the Gentoo repository. Gentoo also saw commits from 333 unique authors in 2020, up from 333 the year prior. Plus they've made other improvements too for this technical-minded Linux distribution too during 2020...

  • GCC's Profile Guided Optimization Performance With The Ryzen 9 5950X
    Given the talk in prior days around patches for PGO'ing the Linux kernel and some readers not being familiar with Profile Guided Optimizations by code compilers, here are some fresh benchmarks on a Ryzen 9 5950X looking at the benefits of applying PGO optimizations to various benchmarks...

  • Mesa's Lima Driver Finally Implements OpenGL Shader Cache Support
    While Mesa's Panfrost Gallium3D driver has been working out well for modern ARM Mali open-source graphics support, for the old Mali 400/450 series hardware there still is the "Lima" driver within Mesa that doesn't receive too much attention these days (just around 70 commits over the past year) but as its first work of 2021 saw an initial shader cache implementation...

  • Linus Torvalds Decides To Land NVIDIA RTX 30 "Ampere" Support In Linux 5.11
    While new feature code is normally not allowed in past the end of the merge window for a given Linux kernel release cycle, Linus Torvalds has decided to merge the newly-published open-source driver code for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 "Ampere" graphics cards for the Linux 5.11 kernel that will debut as stable in February...

  • The Performance Of Clear Linux vs. Fedora vs. Ubuntu Over 2020
    Earlier this week we looked at the performance of Intel's Clear Linux over the past year but how does that compare to the likes of say Fedora and Ubuntu? This article is looking at the performance of Fedora Workstation, Ubuntu, and Clear Linux on the same hardware over the past year.

  • Genode OS Planning For PinePhone Bring-Up, Better GPU Support In 2021
    For those wanting to run a micro-kernel operating system for your low-cost, open-source friendly PinePhone, the Genode OS framework plans to port to the PinePhone this year. Genode OS and its Sculpt general purpose platform are also wanting to better embrace GPU support in 2021...

  • AMD Sends In More "New Stuff" For Radeon Graphics With Linux 5.12
    Sent in last week were many AMD graphics driver updates slated for Linux 5.12 including the likes of Radeon RX 6000 series OverDrive support. This week marks another batch of AMDGPU kernel driver changes being submitted to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.12 cycle...

  • Ubuntu 21.04 To Expand The Use Of Phased Package Updates
    With this spring's release of Ubuntu 21.04 there is more widespread use of "phased updates" for gradually rolling out new stable release updates to help avoid any regressions en masse from coming to light. For years the Ubuntu desktop has employed this phased updates strategy while now with it being plumbed into APT, Ubuntu Server and other versions will by default make use of phased updates...

  • Mesa's RADV ACO Adds Support For Rapid Packed Math
    Hitting the Mesa tree when Mesa 21.0 was being branched (but looks like it will still make it now part of "staging/21.0") is support for AMD's "rapid packed math" with the RADV driver's ACO compiler back-end...

  • Open-Source "Nouveau" Driver Now Supports NVIDIA Ampere - But Without 3D Acceleration
    Patches were sent out today that provide the open-source Linux kernel "Nouveau" driver with support for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series "Ampere" graphics cards. But at the moment there is no 3D acceleration and the developers are blocked still by signed firmware requirements, so it's basically just a matter of having kernel mode-setting display support...

  • Linux 5.12 To Allow Disabling Intel Graphics Security Mitigations
    The Linux 5.12 kernel will allow optional, run-time disabling of Intel graphics driver security mitigations, which so far is just in regards to last year's iGPU Leak vulnerability. This i915.mitigations= module parameter control is being added as part of finally fixing the Haswell GT1 graphics support that was fallout from this mitigaion...

  • CloudLinux Announces AlmaLinux As Their 1:1 RHEL Fork, Alternative To CentOS
    Following the surprise announcement last month that CentOS 8 will be discontinued at EOY2021 with CentOS Stream to be the new upstream for RHEL, several different organizations and developers have announced their intentions to create new community-oriented, open-source rebuilds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that will be free. One of the promising announcements so far has been from CloudLinux and today they have announced it as AlmaLinux...

  • Following LTO, Linux Kernel Patches Updated For PGO To Yield Faster Performance
    Clang LTO for the Linux kernel to provide link-time optimizations for yielding more performant kernel binaries (plus Clang CFI support) looks like it will land for Linux 5.12. With that compiler optimization feature appearing squared away, Google engineers are also working on Clang PGO support for the Linux kernel to exploit profile guided optimizations for further enhancing the kernel performance...

  • Mesa 21.0-devel RADV vs. AMDVLK 2021.Q1.1 Vulkan Driver Performance
    For those wondering how the open-source Radeon Vulkan drivers of Mesa's RADV and AMD's official AMDVLK are competing as we start the new year, here are some fresh benchmarks looking at the performance for various Linux games (native and via Steam Play with DXVK) as well as Vulkan compute tests.


  • Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee is going back to jail for bribery
    Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee has been sentenced to two and a half years of prison over bribery charges, wrapping up a court battle that started four years ago, walked free after just a year when his original term was suspended on appeal. South Korea’s Supreme Court overturned that decision and ordered a new trial back in August of 2019.

    Lee was arrested as part of the corruption scandal involving South Korean president Park Geun-Hye, who was herself sentenced to 20 years in prison for influence peddling. Lee was found guilty of using his wealth to influence Parkon Samsung’s business interests, including a merger of two Samsung units. Prosecutors had initially pushed for a 12-year sentencefor Lee to show that even Samung wasn’t above the law.

    While in jail, Lee may be unable to make major decisions for Samsung at a crucial time when demand for its memory chips and other products are sky high. Korea and Samsung in particular have attained more prominence of late because of rocky US/China relations.

    In the trial’s final hearing, Lee made a lengthy apology and promised to make a “new Samsung,” and “fix what the court has pointed out as the harms of chaebol [family-owned conglomerate],” he said. He also vowed not to pass power down to his children.

    The sentence was based in part on the court’s evaluation of an independent compliance committee set up by Samsung to monitor wrongdoing by executives. Lee’s legal woes aren’t over yet, as he’s also on trial for alleged fraud and stock manipulation. He’s still expected to become chairman of Samsung once he goes free, following the death of his father Lee Kun-hee late last year.

  • Homebrew Labo kit gives you a full-body 'Mario Kart' workout
    Do you feel like your body is going to waste when you play has built a concept Labo Fit Adventure Kart Kit that gives you a full workout while you race. You have to not only steer and squeeze a Ring-Con, but pedal a cardboard-clad bike above a certain speed if you want to keep moving. You won’t win unless you’re committed to your cardio, in other words.

    The kit is built around a TAPBO “robot” that presses Joy-Con buttons when it gets signals from both the Ring-Con and the bike. A sensor on the bike determines when your speed climbs above the necessary threshold.

    Other games will technically work, although you’re obviously at a disadvantage when the module will only press a handful of buttons.

    This won’t be a production device, unfortunately — you’ll just have to hop on a stationary bike with your Switch in hand if you want some Mario Kart-themed exercise. Choi stressed that he’d been using the homebrew Labo kit for over a month, though, and he hoped it would show how the Switch could be used as a fitness tool.

  • 'Hitman 3' owners won't have to buy earlier games to play their maps
    IO Interactive’s plans to let promised that PC gamers who own Hitman or Hitman 2 won’t have to purchase those games another time just to access their earlier material in the new assassin title. It outlined in a guide that it was “continuing to work on a solution” that would allow importing locations for free, but didn’t say when it would be ready beyond sometime in the “coming weeks.”

    There’s a solution in the meantime. IO said it would make the Hitman 1 GOTY Access Pass (to transfer content to the new game) available for free to all PC customers who either pre-order Hitman 3 on the Epic Games Store or buy it within the first 10 days. Anyone who owns the original Hitman on EGS will get a free GOTY Access Pass when they buy the third game, too. You won’t be quite so lucky with Hitman 2, but both the Standard and Gold Access Passes will be available at 80 percent discounts for two weeks after Hitman 3’s launch.

    It’s not a perfect solution. While console gamers will get to import content for free, there’s a chance you’ll still pay some money on PC. Still, this might be relieving if you were worried you might have to re-buy older games just to enjoy the continuity IO said you’d get.

    An important update to our @HITMAN 3 Pre-launch guide:
    — IO Interactive (@IOInteractive) January 17, 2021

  • Virgin Orbit carries satellites to space for the first time (update: deployed)
    Virgin Orbit’s second launch demonstration flight has been smoother than its first. The company has carried customer satellites into space for the first time after the Cosmic Girl host aircraft successfully deployed the LauncherOne rocket over the Pacific Ocean for its latest test. The payload included nine missions from NASA and several universities, most of which were launching cubesats and other tiny orbiters.

    LauncherOne had yet to release the satellites as of this writing, but Virgin said it had successfully crossed into space and entered orbit. The first demo ended abruptly after LauncherOne failed to ignite.

    It’s a major milestone. NASA is backing this as part of its Venture Class Launch Services program meant to explore new (and hopefully lower-priced) methods of bringing payloads to space. While Virgin still has a way to go before it’s regularly offering its services, the success could reduce the costs of fielding satellites and provide an alternative when smaller straight-to-space rockets aren’t an option.

    According to telemetry, LauncherOne has reached orbit! Everyone on the team who is not in mission control right now is going absolutely bonkers. Even the folks on comms are trying really hard not to sound too excited.
    — Virgin Orbit (@Virgin_Orbit) January 17, 2021
    Update 1/17/2021 6:50PM ET: LauncherOne successfully released the satellites into low Earth orbit.

  • Audi and BMW shut down car subscription programs
    More car subscription services are running into trouble. According to Autoblog, Automotive News has learned that Audi and BMW are respectively ending and pausing their services. Audi is winding down its Select program on January 31st with no mention of a revival, while the Nashville-only Access by BMW is closing as the automaker develops the “next iteration” of the service.

    The two brands haven’t elaborated on their decisions. When Mercedes-Benz shuttered Collection, however, it cited mediocre demand and complaints about the hassles of switching personal items between vehicles. While it wasn’t mentioned at the time, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped matters. People are commuting less if at all, and may be more interested in saving money than the flexibility of swapping cars.

    Subscription ervices like Volvo Care are still going, although it’s not certain how well they’re faring.

    There may be a slight revival. Automotive News claims Cadillac is testing a resurrected Book service with dealers, although it would arrive a year after the brand’s hoped-for early 2020 revival. However, the overall market appears to be contracting — for now, at least, the subscription strategy hasn’t panned out as expected.

  • Signal recovers from a day-long service outage
    Signal has learned first-hand that there really can be too much of a good thing. As Android Police reports, Signal has recovered from an outage that plagued the secure chat service for over a day. Messaging and even sign-ins became unreliable as the company dealt with an influx of WhatsApp users worried that platform’s new privacy policy would compromise their data. “Expanded capacity” helped deal with the surge, Signal said.

    The company warned that the outage might have led to some residual errors, such as missed messages. Future app updates should solve these automatically.

    It’s not certain just how many users Signal added in recent days, but Apptopia couldn’t read messages. However, the damage was already done — many were convinced WhatsApp would share chats with its parent, Facebook.

    Signal’s outage and extended recovery suggest that demand is still strong. It’s certainly a nice problem to have for a relatively small service — the company had 20 million active users as of December, while WhatsApp had over 2 billion total users last February. The question is whether or not Signal can take advantage of that momentum after the uproar is over.

    Signal is back! Like an underdog going through a training montage, we’ve learned a lot since yesterday — and we did it together. Thanks to the millions of new Signal users around the world for your patience. Your capacity for understanding inspired us while we expanded capacity.
    — Signal (@signalapp) January 17, 2021

  • Asics used EEGs to prove that, yes, running makes you happier
    It’s taken as read that exercise can make you happier, healthier and more resilient, at least if you actually enjoy running. Asics, with an eye on selling you a new pair of sneakers, recruited a researcher from Kings College London to put some numbers on those claims. Dr. Brendan Stubbs’ work explores the relationship between mental health and physical wellbeing, something Asics itself loves to talk about.

    Stubbs’ project used a portable EEG from Emotiv which can be worn while moving around strapped to three elite athletes and six “everyday athletes.” That term denotes amateurs who exercise for at least 150 minutes a week but are still otherwise pretty fit folks. Each participant wore the headset at rest to develop a baseline while undergoing cognitive tests, and then exercised for 20 minutes before the tests were re-run.

    The figures presented are pretty staggering, with an 18 percent increase in participants ability to relax, a 28 percent drop in rash decision making and a 29 percent improvement in stress resilience. Stubbs said that these numbers come from the EEG scans rather than self-reported by the test subjects. 

    He added that the EEGs also revealed a 58 percent reduction in the signs of cognitive stress, the symptoms of which are anxiety, forgetfulness and disorganization. The data also points to a 26 percent increase in the speed at which people’s brains process data, and a 21 percent improvement in memory. 

    Beyond the statistics, Stubbs’ research found that, for us normals, the mental health benefits of exercise were greater than for the pros. He told Engadget that he suspects that since professionals had already “mastered” their sport, they had to do less brain work while in motion. In addition, he found that runners who ran in groups saw better results than those who ran in isolation, something he wants to explore further.

    Stubbs told Engadget that he’s looking forward to clarifying these results with more research and will look to see if there is an ideal workout that will help boost people’s mental health. He also wants to examine if there’s a difference between the psychological boost offered to these amateur athletes versus folks who aren’t getting the recommended minimum amount of exercise in a week. 

    Asics is using the research as part of its plan to encourage people to get out and exercise while we’re all sheltering in place. It’s launched the Move With The Sun Challenge, where runners encourage their friends to get out and hit the sidewalks either using RunKeeper or, you know, by buying some new sneakers. 

  • Facebook and Google allegedly cut a deal that reduced ad competition
    The antitrust cases against Facebook and Google might have some additional fuel. The New York Times says it has obtained documents from Texas’ antitrust lawsuit elaborating on a “sweetheart deal” (first mentioned by the Wall Street Journal) Google gave to Facebook in 2018, allegedly reducing ad competition. Nicknamed “Jedi Blue,” it reportedly gave Facebook favors in ad header bidding, where sites could solicit ad space bids from multiple exchanges at once, in return for backing Google’s Open Bidding approach to selling those ads.

    The terms gave Facebook inherent advantages, according to the Times. Facebook had more time to bid for ads, direct billing deals with the sites hosting the ads, and help from Google to understand ad audiences. As part of the agreement, Facebook said it would bid on at least 90 percent of ad auctions when it could identify users, and promised minimum spending levels up to $500 million per year. It also asked Google to avoid using bid info to skew ad auctions in its favor.

    Other Google ad partners didn’t get nearly as sweet a bargain, according to partners talking to the newspaper. Texas’ complaint effectively accused Google of guaranteeing a set number of ad wins for Facebook and putting rivals at a disadvantage.

    Facebook and Google have already rejected notions Jedi Blue was anti-competitive. A Facebook spokesperson claimed that deals like that with Google “help increase competition” in ad bids, and that arguments to the contrary were “baseless.” A Google spokesperson, meanwhile, said that Texas’ lawsuit “misrepresents” the deal and other aspects of its ad business. The search firm has published a blog post outlining its objections.

    That won’t necessarily sway regulators, though, and there are even suggestions the two tech giants were conscious of the potential for scrutiny. A clause in the deal required that the two “cooperate and assist” if there was an investigation into their practices, and the agreement mentioned “antitrust” at least 20 times. Don’t be surprised if Texas, other states and the DOJ use Jedi Blue to justify regulatory action against Facebook and Google, no matter how much the companies believe they’re in the right.

  • After Math: Tesla recalls, Steam streams and COVID checks
    As tech journalists (as well as their laptop fans) begin to recover and recuperate from the first all-digital CES, let’s take a quick look at some other headlights from this past week.
    chameleonseye via Getty Images NHTSA wants Tesla to recall 158,000 Tegra 3-equipped vehicles
    If you bought a Model S between 2012 and 2018 or a Model X between 2016 and 2018, you’ll want to get in touch with your local Tesla dealership sooner rather than later. Turns out that Tesla’s sold during that period used NVIDIA Tegra 3 chips in their central displays. Problem is, those chips have a habit of wearing out when overwritten too many times, leaving the screen blank and unresponsive. According to the NHTSA, 158,000 Teslas are susceptible to the fault and is encouraging the company to issue a formal recall.
    hatchapong via Getty Images Visa abandons $5.3 billion acquisition after DOJ objections
    Visa will not be “going plaid” after all, the company announced last week. Following objections raised by the Department of Justice (not to mention a legal suit), the credit card company called off its proposed $5.3 billion merger with fintech startup, Plaid. The company claims it likely could have won the suit had it proceeded, but doing so would have led to years of litigation that Visa was not willing to spend.
    gorodenkoff via Getty Images Gamers spent a lot more time playing on Steam in 2020
    It’s no secret that the COVID pandemic has kept millions of people in their homes and in front of their screens since last March but the amount of time we’ve spent gaming during that time will make your jaw drop. According to Valve, hours spent playing on its Steam service jumped from 20.8 billion in 2019 to 31.3 billion last year — that’s a 50 percent year-over-year increase!
    Pawel Kopczynski / reuters NASA says 2020 tied 2016 for the warmest year on record
    You’d think that the Earth not setting yet another high temperature mark last year — only tying the record set in 2016 — would at least be sliver of silver lining in what is otherwise humanity’s increasingly bleak environmental news. But that’s only until you learn that the depressed temperatures were due to Australia’s massive 46 million acre wildfires and a deadly global pandemic that has already killed millions of people.
    Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Instacart tries to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations with a $25 stipend
    Now that the long-awaited COVID vaccine is finally becoming available for people under the age of 75, getting it into the arms of essential and gig workers is of paramount importance. To that end Instacart has announced that it will issue $25 vaccination stipends to its shoppers so that they won’t have to choose between working an order and getting the lifesaving jab.

  • Razer's BlackWidow Elite keyboard drops to an all-time low $70 at Best Buy
    You might not have to spend a small fortune if you crave a mechanical gaming keyboard. Best Buy is selling Razer’s BlackWidow Elite wired keyboard with Green switchesfor just $70, well under the regular $130. Amazon is selling it for the same price, too. That’s an all-time low price for the keyboard, which has dropped to $85 multiple times in the past. It’s only $10 more than Razer’s entry-level, membrane-based Cynosa v2 — easily worth the extra spend if you prefer a clicky mechanical design.

    Buy Razer BlackWidow Elite at Best Buy - $70 Buy Razer BlackWidow Elite at Amazon - $70

    The BlackWidow Elite’s Green switches promise both fast response times and stability when you’re in the middle of a fast-paced gaming session. This is a sprawling 108-key unit, too, with a programmable dial, three equally customizable media keys and a palm rest. And of course, there’s Chroma RGB lighting to complement your gaming rig.

    This won’t appeal to everyone. Compact keyboard fans will want to head elsewhere, of course, while the Green switches are louder and more tactile than their Yellow counterparts. The Elite also isn’t Razer’s most advanced keyboard (you’ll want to look at options like the BlackWidow V3 Pro for that). Still, it’s a solid pick if you prefer mechanicals and don’t want to make many compromises.

    Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

  • Bird's skid detection helps catch reckless scooter riders
    Don’t even think of using a Bird rental scooter for a wild ride. The company has revealed a Skid Detection feature that, as the name implies, watches for moments when an e-scooter goes sideways. If there’s a pattern of skidding Bird can attribute to excessive brake use and other irresponsible riding, it’ll send warning messages and even ban some users from rentals.

    Skids due to simple tire wear will prompt an inspection, Bird said.

    The alerts promise to boost safety for both riders and neighborhoods. It’ll increase the chances your next ride has healthy brakes and tires, and should discourage joyriders who might hurt others.

    The company isn’t alone in detecting scooter abuse. Lime uses accelerometer and speed info tell when you’re riding on the sidewalk, for instance. Unlike its rival, though, Bird is using Skid Detection for enforcement. That might not sit well if you dislike the thought of a scooter service judging your rides, even though there isn’t someone constantly watching your performance. However, Bird is clearly betting that more customers will feel at ease knowing that fewer rogue riders are on the streets.

  • Facebook temporarily bans ads for gun accessories and military gear
    Facebook is continuing its crackdown on potential domestic terrorism at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. The social network Capitol riot. The ads were frequently popping up for people who followed extreme right-wing groups and pages, and often directly addressed the potential violence surrounding Biden’s inauguration.

    Senators Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown and Tammy Duckworth accused Facebook of profiting from the chaos, while attorneys general for Illinois, Massachussetts, New Jersey and Washington, DC urged Facebook to freeze ads.

    The decision comes hours after Facebook blocked events in the DC area, and days after it banned all mentions of the “stop the steal” slogan used for rallying unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The thinking appears to be the same: Facebook doesn’t want even the slightest implication of enabling violence during inauguration week, even if it’s a largely symbolic move when extremists may already have the gear they need.

  • Ford delays some Mustang Mach-E orders over 'quality checks'
    Ford technically started Mustang Mach-E deliveries in December, but some drivers will have to wait considerably longer. Electrek has learned that Ford has delayed several hundred deliveries of the electric crossover by up to a month for “additional quality checks.” The brand didn’t elaborate on what issues might have prompted the checks, but said it wanted to be sure the EV met the quality levels buyers “expect and deserve.”

    The move comes just weeks after Ford EV lead Darren Palmer blasted quality issues at Tesla. He vowed the Mustang Mach-E would avoid basic production and manufacturing issues that have plagued Tesla EVs, like loose bumpers and stuck door handles. Some EVs across the industry have had general reliability problems, including electrical failures.

    This won’t guarantee that every Mach-E is well-built. It’s evident that Ford wants to make a good first impression, though. A successful debut for the first batch could not only ensure healthy sales, but lure would-be buyers of rival EVs worried their ride may spend more time in the shop than on the road.

  • FAA approves first commercial drone flights with no on-site pilots
    Farms and other agricultural operations in certain rural areas in the US can now use robotic drones to take images of or gather data on their crops. The FAA has approved Massachusetts-based American Robotics’ request to be able to deploy automated drones without human pilots and spotters on site. As documents (via The Verge) the FAA has uploaded on its website, the pilot “who is not co-located with the aircraft” will have to conduct pre-flight safety checks to ensure the drone is in working condition. American Robotics’ drones are 20—pound machines powered by its Scout System technology, which uses predetermined paths. Scout also has a Detect-and-Avoid feature that allows the unmanned aircraft system to maintain a safe distance from other aircraft, birds and obstacles. When it’s not in the air, the UAS can stay inside a weatherproof base station for charging, data processing/analysis and data transmission

    The company won the FAA’s trust by testing its technology for four years across eight states — last year, it flew as many as 10 autonomous flights a day to capture agriculture imagery and other data. AR’s drones can only fly in rural areas in Kansas, Massachusetts and Nevada and at altitudes below 400 feet at the moment. The company believes, however, that this is only the beginning and that it’s ushering in “a new era of widespread automated drone operations.”

    American Robotics CEO Reese Mozer said in a statement:

    “With these approvals, American Robotics is ushering in a new era of widespread automated drone operations. Decades worth of promise and projection are finally coming to fruition. We are proud to be the first company to meet the FAA’s comprehensive safety requirements, which had previously restricted the viability of drone use in the commercial sector. We are very grateful for the FAA’s willingness to work closely with American Robotics over the past four years on this precedent-setting authorization. With this set of approvals, American Robotics can begin safely operating our automated Scout platform for the benefit of the energy, infrastructure, agriculture, and security market verticals, helping unlock the projected $100 billion commercial drone market.”

  • Biden elevates science advisor to cabinet role for the first time
    Science is poised to get a much more prominent role in President-elect Biden’s administration. has named breakthrough geneticist Eric Lander (seen above in 2002) not only as the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, but will make him the first Presidential Science Advisor to have a cabinet-level role. This reflects a desire to have science “at the forefront” of the administration, according to Biden.

    Lander is best known as a key leader for the Human Genome Project that set out to sequence DNA. He’s also the founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a key research institute. He’s not a stranger to Biden — he was the external co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology during the Obama administration.

    It’s not a completely surprising decision. The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is at the heart of Biden’s initial strategy, and a life sciences expert could be critical to making informed decisions about the novel coronavirus and the vaccines meant to counter it. Biden has asked Lander what the pandemic can teach the US about broader public health issues. The President-elect has also asked Lander about the potential for scientific breakthroughs to address climate change and give the US a lead over rivals like China.

    The appointment, if confirmed, will nonetheless serve as a sharp contrast to the Trump administration’s anti-science policies. In addition to gutting environmental regulations, trying to prop up coal and and neglecting data, the outgoing White House hasn’t done much to champion scientific leaders. Trump only nominated Kelvin Droegemeier as his OSTP director in July 2018, nearly halfway into the presidency.

    There’s no guarantee future administrations will maintain the Presidential Science Advisor at such a high level. Lander’s nomination is still historic, though, and could spur similar choices going forward. If nothing else, it makes clear that science will influence many decisions for at least the next four years.

  • Belkin recalls portable phone charging stand over fire risk
    Belkin wants you stop using its Portable Wireless Charger + Stand Special Edition device if you have one. The accessory-maker has issued a voluntary recall for the power bank/charging stand due to a manufacturing defect in the power supply unit. Belkin says the defect can cause the charger to overheat and malfunction, which means the device poses fire and shock hazards. No injuries or property damage have been reported yet, and the company will give you a full refund to keep it that way.

    The product, with the model code WIZ003, has a 10,000 mAh power capacity and can wirelessly charge Qi-compatible phones while docked. Belkin ensured its compatibility with the iPhone 8 and later models — Apple even sold the product in its stores. If you want to check if your product is affected, you can cross-reference its serial number located at the back of the battery pack with this list: 35B01DO6029400-35B01DO6033704, 35B01DO5010350-35B01DO5014350, 35B01DO6016560-35B01DO6020560, 35B01DO5014500-35B01DO5020003, 35B01DO6010001-35B01DO6010500 and 35B01DO6010501-35B01DO6015500.

    In its announcement, Belkin stresses how important it is to stop using the device immediately and to disconnect it from the power supply. You can submit a request for a full refund through the company’s website, where you’ll have to enter your details, along with the device’s purchase information and photos showing the product’s model and serial numbers.

  • Watch NASA's historic Moon mission rocket test at 4PM ET (update: cut short)
    NASA is edging closer to sending a spacecraft around the Moon, and it’s about to conduct a crucial test to ensure that mission goes forward. As Reuters reports, the agency is conducting a hot fire test for the Space Launch System’s rocket core stage at 4PM Eastern, with coverage available on NASA TV starting at 3:20PM. You can also expect a press conference roughly two hours later to discuss the outcome.

    This is the first test firing all four of the rocket’s RS-25 engines at once, and the last of the Green Run series ensuring the core stage is ready for the Artemis I mission sending an Orion spacecraft to the Moon. NASA will be much closer to launch if the hot fire goes well.

    This isn’t the most powerful heavy-duty rocket in the near term. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy generates slightly more thrust at 1.7 million pounds at sea level versus SLS’ 1.67 million, and both are well below the 7.89 million pounds of Saturn V’s first stage. It’s more expensive than some offerings, too, at $2 billion per launch versus $90 million for the highly reusable Falcon Heavy and $350 million for ULA’s Delta IV Heavy.

    However, SLS is also poised to be one of the most capable platforms. One mission can carry payloads that might require two or more launches even for SpaceX’s upcoming Starship, let alone existing options. That could save NASA money, and greatly simplifies some missions. It’s just a question of how often you’ll see SLS in action — with the incoming Biden administration expected to delay the Artemis program, it might not get as much use as planned.

    Update 1/16/2021 at 2:45PM: NASA has moved the test up to 4PM Eastern from 5PM after preparation ran ahead of schedule. Coverage now starts an hour earlier as well, at 3:20PM. We’ve edited the post accordingly.

    Update 1/16/2021 at 5:30PM: NASA fired the rockets, but cut the test short of the planned eight-minute burn after what might be a component failure.

  • ICYMI: More gadget highlights from CES 2021
    While CES was a bit different this year, we still managed to check out a number of inspiring new devices, apps and services. While we acknowledged the most promising tech in Engadget’s Best of CES awards, there remain a bunch of gadgets that didn’t make the list that will be worth checking out when they actually hit shelves later this year. Things like HP’s new Dragonfly laptops, TCL’s 8K TVs and Cowin’s two-piece soundbar are all things to look forward to as 2021 progresses (and some are even available already). Here are some of the CES 2021 gadgets you may have missed this week. 
    HP extends its Dragonfly laptop lineup HP
    Cherlynn Low found a lot to like about last year's HP Dragonfly laptop: it was lightweight at 2.2 pounds, had a great battery life and an attractive design. This year, the company added two new Dragonfly laptops to the family. Available this month, the Dragonfly Max and Dragonfly G2 still boast the “lighter than air” claims at 2.49 and 2.2 pounds, respectively. However, the new laptops feature HP’s premium backlit and spill-resistant keyboard and they have more powerful processors -- the G2 in particular can be configured with 11th-generation Intel chips and up to 32GB of RAM. 

    Both of the new Dragonfly laptops also feature new tools like on-lap detection, Intrusion Detection, which will alert you if your device has been opened or compromised, and dynamic audio that optimizes sound depending on whether you're listening to music or on a conference call. They can be configured with 4G or 5G connectivity and have Tile trackers integrated into the WLAN module, too. Both should be available sometime this month, though HP hasn’t provided details on pricing yet.
    TCL’s 2021 TV models feature 8K and mini-LED tech TCL
    TCL has produced some of our favorite TVs over the past few years with features like Dolby Vision and Roku OS integration. At last year’s CES, the company announced an 8K TV and this year they announced that all the new sets in the midrange 6-Series lineup will also have 8K. In addition, TCL announced the third generation of its OD Zero backlighting technology, so named because the distance between its backlight layer and LCD panel is now 0mm, resulting in an even thinner display. 

    The company is also releasing an 85-inch 4K TV which will retail for $1,599, as well as a whole XL lineup of displays that will also have an 85-inch size option. This includes a lower-end, 4-Series XL model for $1,599 coming in Q1, a QLED TV with 120Hz HDMI input support, and a top of the line mini-LED edition that should arrive later this year. 
    Anker challenges AirPods Pro with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Anker
    Anker has a reputation for affordable, true wireless earbuds and it just added another pair to the Soundcore family. The $130 Liberty Air 2 Pro offer multi-mode ANC, Qi wireless charging, an IPX4 waterproof design and a six-hour battery life. The ANC is available in three settings -- transport, indoor and outdoor -- with each adjusting frequencies blocked depending on your environment. And the quick-charge technology Anker uses in the case will give you two hours of use after just ten minutes of charging. 

    Billy Steele was impressed by the sound quality when he reviewed Anker’s Spirit Dot 2 and Spirit X2 last year and expects similar quality from these buds. The Liberty Air 2 Pro’s are available now in black, white, blue or pink for $130.
    Cowin’s new Soundbar can split into two units Cowin
    Soundbars don’t always produce the same immersive experience that a surround sound system can. Cowin wants to remedy that with their new wireless 25W unit that can be placed either under a TV like a standard speaker, or broken into two pieces that can sit vertically on either side of an entertainment system. Alternatively, the segments can be mounted horizontally on opposite walls as well.

    Because the Soundbar isn’t tied to a central unit, there’s a lot of flexibility in how it can be used. It’s wireless via the Bluetooth 4.2 support, but it  can also use a wired connection over AUX, optical or HDMI ports. At $80 this provides an easy and affordable surround sound option for a variety of uses, and will be available sometime in the first quarter of the year.
    Philips’ new smart toothbrush provides real-time guidance on your brushing style Philips
    Smart toothbrushes aren’t new -- Oral-B and Colgate have a few -- but this year, Philips’ Sonicare 9900 Prestige is angling for a spot on your bathroom counter. The flagship toothbrush purports to use AI to monitor oral health and your personal brushing style in order to get you cleaner teeth. The 9900 Prestige also features a new brush head with angled bristles that Philips says will remove 20 times more plaque than existing models. The “SenseIQ” AI works with the smart brush to sense how hard you brush and will adjust the intensity of its vibrations accordingly.

    Philips claims that the more you use the software, the more it can personalize your recommendations and provide accurate progress reports weekly, monthly and annually. While there’s no pricing information yet, we know that the 9900 Prestige will also come with a new leatherette travel case that has an integrated USB-C port for easy charging.  
    Otterbox dives into gaming accessories Otterbox
    Though Otterbox has long been known for making sturdy, rugged smartphone cases, the company went in a slightly different direction this year with its new range of gaming accessories. Intended for Xbox players, the company came out with  an Easy Grip Shell to protect controllers; a Mobile Gaming Clip to attach your phone to an Xbox controller; a dedicated case to hold your mobile set up; an additional, bacteria-resistant gaming case and a privacy guard screen protector. 

    The accessories all look like Otterbox products: most have grey or black color schemes, are thick and chunky and have thoughtful inclusions like the pockets and passthrough on the Gaming Carry Case. The Easy Grip Gaming Case features Otterbox’s standard Drop+ protection and will be available for any current iPhone and select Android devices. While prices range from $30 to $55, they may be worth it if you want serious protection for your devices. Pre-orders open on January 25th and shipping will begin in mid-February. 
    The upgraded Razer Blade laptops feature NVIDIA’s new RTX GPUs Razer
    Razer’s new Blade notebooks have some impressive upgrades -- not only do the Blade 15 and Blade 17 feature NVIDIA’s new RTX 30 GPUs, but they also have high refresh rate 1440p screens to give gamers a high-res choice that won’t make the same demands as 4K screens do. These QHD displays feature NVIDIA G-SYNC and Advanced Optimus, which should make gameplay smoother and will help switch between integrated and dedicated GPUs.

    Both laptops will also ship with 10th-gen, H-series processors from Intel, maxed out with the 8-core i7 chip. The Blade 15 will be limited to the RTX 3060 or 3070 while the Advanced 15-inch version and Pro 17 can work with the more powerful RTX 3080. Devindra Hardawar says it’ll be interesting to see how well the laptops will handle ray-tracing using NVIDIA’s Ampere architecture. 

    The new notebooks still feature the same sleek unibody cases as their predecessors, with plenty of ports including USB-A, USB-C 3.2, Thunderbolt, HDMI 2.1 and Gigabit Ethernet. The 15 Advanced and the Pro 17 will also have a built in SD card reader, a rare feature these days. The Blade 15, our People’s Choice Award winner, will start at $1,700 while the Pro 17 will go for $2,300. Both are already available for preorder on Razer’s site. The Blade 15 will hit retailers later this month and the Blade 17 will be available in stores later in the first quarter. 
    The $39 Hatch Mini is an affordable noise maker for the nursery Hatch
    Hatch’s previous products have focused on offering minimalist, feature-rich sound machines with night light features. Their newest product, the Mini, scales things back even further. Like the other devices in Hatch’s lineup -- the Rest, Rest+ and Restore -- the Mini is subtle and white and will blend in nicely to a variety of decors. It has a speaker on top with physical buttons to play, stop, skip and adjust volume, but you can still control the Mini from your phone via the companion smartphone app.

    Unlike the other devices, it only plays audio so there is no night light component. In addition to playing the standard variety of white noise sounds, the Mini will also work with a subscription service that provides  stories and music with which your kids can grow. At $39, the Mini is now the cheapest device Hatch offers, making it a good option for parents looking for an affordable music player for a nursery. 
    TP-Link adds a bunch of security cameras to the Kasa family TP Link
    TP-Link extended its Kasa smart home line by announcing several new devices at CES, including a video doorbell, smart switches and plugs. The company, well-known as a router manufacturer, will now also produce a smart doorbell with a 1080p camera and AI-based person detection, a pan-and-tilt smart camera that has a starlight sensor for dark scenes and motion tracking, and an outdoor camera that supports 2K recording and full-color, night-vision video. 

    TP-Link also has Kasa Care, which provides a rolling 30 days of cloud storage for collected footage, but the devices will also support microSD cards with up to 128GB of storage if you’d rather keep your data local. Additionally, the company introduced a Smart Dimmer Switch that uses motion detection and an ambient light sensor to turn off lights in vacant rooms, a WiFi Light Switch with 3-Way Dimmer kit that gives you voice-controlled illumination and the Smart WiFi Outdoor Plug that controls outdoor lighting. We’re still awaiting details about release dates and pricing, but if you’re already using the Kasa ecosystem, you’ll have more ways to add to it soon.
    Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 gets an upgrade for business and education customers Microsoft
    Though not technically a CES announcement, we can’t forget Microsoft, which released an updated Surface Pro 7+ this week. There are some key upgrades here, notably a bigger battery, LTE connectivity and removable SSD storage. That latter is a unique feature that Microsoft added because this new Surface is intended for business customers, and they will have “specific data retention standards” that are a bit more demanding than those of regular consumers. A nice side effect is it should make life easier for IT admins in the case of any drive failures. The LTE addition is limited to the fanless Core i5 configuration, but will work with both physical SIM cards as well as eSIM in more than 180 countries. And that battery upgrade makes this the biggest battery in a Surface to date. 

    There are additional improvements too, like the processor upgrade to Intel’s 11th-generation Tiger Lake CPUs and the redesigned thermal system that sports larger vents. We don’t have any official word yet, but have heard that pricing will start at $899 for a Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. At the top of the scale, enterprise customers can get 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage on the i7 Surface Pro 7+, but that’ll cost significantly more at $2,799. 

  • Hitting the Books: Smaller cameras and projectors helped the Allies win WWII
    Modern cameras exist in high definition ubiquity — they’re in our laptops and phones; strapped onto our helmets and dangling from our drones — heck, you’d be hard pressed to find someone on the street without a video capture-capable device in their pocket these days. In the early era of cinema, however, cameras and projectors were anything but that. Bulky, temperamental and prone to catching fire, early motion picture technology would require decades of innovation to migrate from their gilded movie palaces to American living rooms and classrooms — even the front lines. In Everyday Movies: Portable Film Projectors and the Transformation of American Culture, Haidee Wasson explores this technological evolution and, in the excerpt below, examines the symbiotic (and quite lucrative) relationship between camera makers and the US Department of Defense during the second World War.
    University of California
    Excerpted from Everyday Movies: Portable Film Projectors and the Transformation of American Culture by Haidee Wasson, published by the University of California Press. © 2020 by the Regents of the University of California.

    During the 1940s, the tools of photography and filmmaking were boldly militarized. Cameras became housed in military planes, attached to weapon mounts and outright shaped like guns. Film and photography equipment came finished in army green or navy blue. Projectors, like movie cameras, became standard operating equipment, encouraging a series of innovations involving materials that were lighter in weight, more durable, and resistant to environmental factors (hot, cold, wet, dry) that caused corrosion, mold, or inoperable parts. New protective cases helped to preserve this equipment as it was transported across all manner of terrain. Simplified control knobs and inner mechanisms expedited operation and repairs. Camera and projector innovations also responded to the needs generated by swiftly expanding aerospace and munitions fields, growth areas that demanded specialized recording and display equipment. During the 1930s, film recording and analysis had become important tools of an ascendant industrial research and development culture. This led to faster shutter speeds, precise electronic flashes, increasingly sensitive film emulsions, and more powerful lenses that ushered in military and industrial applications of high-speed photography to machine analysis, ordinance testing, aerial surveillance, reconnaissance, and flight and instrumentation assessment, to name but a few. Film technologies served in the design of new information environments, comprised of film projection, three-dimensional terrain models, epidiascopes (opaque projectors), and other devices aimed at new modes of visualizing data and strategic analysis in multiple dimensions using multimedia displays. Celluloid and projectors became experiments within new conceptualizations of information storage, retrieval, display, and analysis. Vannevar Bush’s much-heralded Memex, essential to what became the computer, included film projections that created flexible data interfaces within nonlinear information environments. Film camera, stock, and projector together evinced distinct and multiple technical capacities — to record, store, access, project, display, and be moved from place to place — making film technologies uniquely useful to the military. This utility extended the role of film to research and development and information processing, forging new models to create and execute strategy, all of which continued to grow throughout the postwar period with strong military support.

    Many of these aspects of film technologies and their utility (and transformation) by the military are readily evident in the pages of the Journal of the Society for Motion Picture Engineers. During the war, SMPE meetings regularly hosted participants active in the military who reported about military film use. Presentations also featured information on film use by other national militaries. Before and throughout the war, American captains, lieutenants, majors, and corporals alike presented to the SMPE on military film activities. Topics covered specific aspects of camera or projector operation or film processing; the varied uses and functional elements of the military’s film program, including the challenges of combat camera work; the daunting logistics of global film distribution; and the enormous task of cataloging the spiraling number of films. Reports on special uses for film equipment such as flight training and data analysis also appeared on journal pages. During the war years, multiple issues of the journal were devoted solely to military practices, wherein all manner of military activity and needs were discussed.

    Early-on in the conflict, a joint military-SMPE committee formed, along with members of the American Standards Association, to advise on and establish technical standards for military equipment for all relevant arms of service. Members of the Signal Corps, the Army, and the Navy participated. First reporting in 1944, this committee focused on 16 mm rather than the film industry standard 35 mm film format. The smaller gauge appealed to the military precisely for its portability, adaptability, reduced cost, and capacity to serve multiple functions. Thus, war accelerated and amplified the relationship between the military and the technical constituents of the broader film industry, not only Hollywood. By the war’s end, major and minor manufacturers of motion picture materials and equipment had turned over significant portions of their activities to serving military need. Alice Lovejoy has recently documented the sizable contracts for film stock between Eastman Kodak and various branches of the military. Bell and Howell, just one of the major manufacturers with military contracts, totaled over $100 million worth of military optical and camera equipment production during the war.

    This industrial flurry was foundationally linked to a scope and scale of film use that is difficult to fully chart. Consider an emblematic case: the Army Pictorial Service (APS). Operational from 1942 until 1970, the Army bought and occupied a major film studio and post-production facility in Queens, New York, formerly owned by Paramount Pictures. Richard Koszarski has declared this studio the single busiest motion picture production center in the world during the war, with forty-five editing rooms and twenty-four screening rooms. The organization also had West Coast operations in Hollywood. Head of the APS during the war, Edward Munson claimed that as of 1946 its film library had over thirteen million feet of combat and production footage. The films made from this footage were in near-constant circulation to the eight million active soldiers enlisted overseas. Its V-mail units, charged with transforming letters written on paper into microfilm before delivery, had photographed more than a billion letters.
    The APS was not just a filmmaking operation. Its activities also encompassed an active research and development unit (Pictorial Engineering and Research Laboratory: PERL). “Pictorial engineers,” as they were called, completed over one thousand separate projects to design, test, and perfect film and photography equipment. Among the many activities, for instance, military specialists successfully intensified the brightness of portable projectors, which helped to improve the operation of daylight-cinema-viewing units. Some of PERL’s technical experiments were run out of Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. Other branches of the military carried out research as well. The Air Force was especially active in using film and photography as tools of measurement, required for many aspects of its operations, particularly flight paths and bombing dynamics. In these experiments, specialized cameras, high-speed flashes, and precise viewing devices became essential instruments for assessing and strengthening aerial weaponry. 

    In addition to the APS, the American military maintained a sprawling film production system, with all major bases housing smaller and more basic filmmaking facilities. While the Army headquartered its post-production and studio-based shooting in Queens, in truth, the need for military films was so great that facilities throughout the country were in near-constant use. Operating under its Bureau of Aeronautics, the Navy had its own Training Film and Motion Picture Branch with an estimated one thousand enlisted and civilian men and women working under its purview. The more specialized Photographic Science Laboratory Branch handled highly specific and often classified films, with hundreds of dedicated personnel. For more specialized and sensitive training needs, the Army Air Force built elaborate film processing facilities in order to maintain secrecy. Highly developed facilities supporting animation and special effects took root in Wright Field, Ohio (now called Wright-Patterson Air Force Base). Hundreds of personnel worked on films at this one facility alone. In addition, industrial filmmakers such as Burton Holmes, Jam Handy, Audio Productions, and many others reported hundreds of titles made on behalf of military and war manufacturers. Because such companies observed strict controls over film stock issued by the War Production Board, only military films and those subjects that made a “useful contribution to the war effort” were permissible. For instance, films that instructed about war products, as well as worker-recruitment films for strategic war plants, were numerous. These industrial filmmakers complained bitterly about the ways that their film use was restricted while Hollywood retained advantageous access to the industry’s raw materials.
    US Navy
    Clearly, by World War II, film technologies had become institutional necessities for the American military. While the expanse and depth of film use during the war was unquestionably unprecedented, earlier examples can be identified. During World War I, figures such as Frank Gilbreth and John Randolph Bray made military training films to assist enlisted men in mastering map reading, rifle operation, and battlefield survival. Gilbreth, along with his wife, Lillian, was a well-known industrial efficiency expert and advocate of time-motion studies that employed film in the task of analyzing and improving human movements in the age of scientific management. So eager was Gilbreth to market his business solutions and apply them to military need that in addition to negotiating with the American military, he also traveled to Germany in an effort to sell his techniques to the Kaiser. Reports suggest that films were ultimately of minor significance as regards training, research, and intraorganizational communication during World War I, though their role as propaganda had plainly been established. One source indicated that World War I entailed a total output of up to one hundred reels of training films. During World War I, films were occasionally shown as entertainment in training camp theaters. Films and film stars were used to raise money for the war. Newsreels addressing the war were a regular feature of military and civilian filmgoing. Throughout the interwar period, various military branches gradually institutionalized film use. For instance, as early as 1922 the US Navy issued a sixty-three-page guide instructing sailors in all aspects of its film program, including procurement and projection, maintenance, and safety. Similar guides were issued in subsequent years (figure 20). Select Hollywood studios also made films for the military during the 1930s. Many other national militaries used film well before World War II.

  • This software converts old CDs into digital tracks and more
    Your massive collection of hit CDs has probably been collecting dust since MP3 players went mainstream, and that was over a decade ago! Still, you shouldn’t toss out those classics without saving them digitally, and Audio Toolbox by Gilisoft features everything you need to do so.

    This comprehensive audio suite packs nine different tools in one program. This includes both a CD ripper and CD burner that can copy tracks from your old CDs into digital formats like WMA, MP3, FLAC and WAV formats or save them to a blank disc. You’re not limited to your old physical library either. With the Video to MP3 tool, you can rip audio from saved videos and turn them into an audio format of your choosing.

    Audio Toolbox offers additional features such as a recorder, cutter, joiner and converter. These allow you to capture streaming music, turn clips into sound bites, merge multiple audio files and add effects such as increased speed or altered pitch. 

    The program’s Transfer to iTunes feature lets you import your newly saved songs for easy media management. From here, you can access your music library by song, album and artist, or create your own personalized playlists to suit the mood. Audio Toolbox’s ID3 Tag Editor lets you adjust the metadata such as song title and track number, which is reflected when you import to iTunes.

    Whether you’re archiving an aging physical library or remixing newly streamed music, Gilisoft Audio Toolbox has plenty of features that can help. This useful app costs $179 at retail, but you can purchase the full version for just $40 with this 77-percent off deal.

    Prices are subject to change.

    Engadget is teaming up with StackSocial to bring you deals on the latest headphones, gadgets, tech toys, and tutorials. This post does not constitute editorial endorsement, and we earn a portion of all sales. If you have any questions about the products you see here or previous purchases, please contact StackSocial support here.

  • Bloomberg: 'Cyberpunk 2077' full development didn't start until 2016
    In one of probably many dissections of CD Projekt Red’s missteps in making impressive E3 2018 demo is described as “almost entirely fake.” Despite pledges from leadership that crunch wouldn’t be necessary, developers still felt pressured to work long hours, and when its spring 2020 release date was announced, they started taking bets on when it would be delayed.

    Management apparently hoped to "double dip" with versions for PS4/Xbox One ahead of next-gen upgrades, but underestimated their lack of horsepower and slow storage. Add in COVID-related restrictions during the last stretch of development, where programmers mostly played development builds of the game at home on PC, far away from testers on console who could see the game's issues.

    Major bugs and missing content were apparent right up until the game was finally released, and you know how things went after that. Refunds, Sony pulled the game from its digital store and the inevitable lawsuits. CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński offered an apology and an updated timeline on patches earlier this week, saying "The console version of Cyberpunk 2077 did not meet the quality standard we wanted it to meet." The first of two patches to address last-gen console issues is expected to arrive in the next week or so.

  • Netflix buys Gal Gadot's spy thriller 'Heart of Stone'
    Netflix has snapped up the worldwide rights to a spy thriller that could affect subscriber’s buying decision. The streaming giant has won the auction for Hearts of Stone, a Gal Gadot spy thriller developed by Skydance Media and to be directed by Tom Harper (The Aeronauts). According to early stages and hasn’t been shot yet — we may have to wait a while to get a glimpse of it. Gadot will co-produce the movie, which is written by Greg Rucka (The Old Guard) and Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figures). Skydance and Netflix had previously worked together in several projects, including Charlize Theron’s The Old Guard and Ryan Reynolds’ 6 Underground.

    Film studios and production companies turned to streaming services after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered theatres. Just a few days ago, Netflix revealed that it has a bunch of high-profile movies among the 71 films it’s releasing this year. The list includes heist film Red Notice, which also stars Gal Gadot, along with Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds

  • Facebook blocks events around D.C. and state capitals ahead of inauguration
    Facebook is cracking down on events in an effort to prevent its users from organizing violence ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration. The social network says it will block all events in areas around Washington D.C. and state capitals through next week’s inauguration.

    “We are blocking the creation of any new Facebook events happening in close proximity to locations including the White House, the US Capitol building and any of the state capitol buildings through Inauguration Day,” Facebook writes in an update. “Our operations center is also conducting a secondary review of all Facebook events related to the inauguration and removing ones that violate our policies.”

    The move comes amid increased anxiety around the inauguration. The FBI has warned of the possibility of violence at state capitals and in D.C. Facebook previously said that its planning for the inauguration had taken on “new urgency” in the wake of the violent mob that attacked the Capitol building last week. The social network has since faced questions about its role in facilitating the “Stop the Steal” movement, which spread baseless conspiracy theories about the election.


  • FreeBSD quarterly status report for Q4 2020
    This quarter had quite a lot of work done, including but certainly not limited to, in areas relating to everything from multiple architectures such as x86, aarch64, riscv, and ppc64 for both base and ports, over kernel changes such as vectored aio, routing lookups and multipathing, an alternative random(4) implementation, zstd integration for kernel dumps, log compression, zfs and preparations for pkg(8), along with wifi changes, changes to the toolchain like the new elfctl utility, and all the way to big changes like the git migration and moving the documentation from DocBook to Hugo/AsciiDoctor, as well as many other things too numerous to mention in an introduction. The best way to keep up with FreeBSD development from an outsiders perspective. FreeBSD is on my radar for the UltraSPARC server-as-a-workstation project  a reader has donated a SunFire V245 thats currently in shipping to me  so Im trying to be a bit more in tune than I usually am with the world of FreeBSD.

  • Exploring swap on FreeBSD
    On modern Unix-like systems such as FreeBSD, “swapping” refers to the activity of paging out the contents of memory to a disk and then paging it back in on demand. The page-out activity occurs in response to a lack of free memory in the system: the kernel tries to identify pages of memory that probably will not be accessed in the near future, and copies their contents to a disk for safekeeping until they are needed again. When an application attempts to access memory that has been swapped out, it blocks while the kernel fetches that saved memory from the swap disk, and then resumes execution as if nothing had happened. In 2021, cheap SSDs have become commonplace and have performance characteristics much better suited to swapping, so it seems worthwhile to revisit how swapping works in FreeBSD, and try to provide some insight into frequently raised issues. Some light reading for the weekend.

  • Genodes roadmap for 2021
    Herein, we lay out our plans for evolving Genode. Progress in addition to this planning will very much depend on the degree of community support the project will receive. The Challenges page collects some of our ideas to advance Genode in various further directions. The road map is not fixed. If there is commercial interest of pushing the Genode technology to a certain direction, we are willing to revisit our plans. This is a very detailed roadmap, but as clearly mentioned in the opening paragraphs, this is not set in stone, and things may change. Most of the planned focus seems to be on vastly improving support for ARM, for instance by working on bringing Genode to the PinePhone. They also want to streamline and improve the process for porting Linux device drivers to Genode, which should help in increasing hardware support.

  • WhatsApp delays privacy changes following backlash
    The WhatsApp messaging service announced on Friday that it would delay changes to new business features after people around the world criticized the new policy. The Facebook-owned company said it is going to do a lot more to clear up misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp.! Privacy rights activists heavily criticized the WhatsApp changes, saying it was the latest step showing Facebooks poor handling of user data. The real issue was a far larger than expected exodus of users to services like Signal and Telegram. I doubt Facebook will actually make any meaningful changes  instead, well see a different tone or wording.

  • Windows 10X is now Microsoft’s true answer to Chrome OS
    After years of waiting, it looks like Microsoft now has a true answer to Chrome OS. A new and near-final version of Windows 10X has leaked, and it offers a first look at the changes Microsoft has made to the upcoming operating system to get it ready for laptops. Windows 10X first started off life as a variant of Windows 10 designed for dual-screen devices. It was supposed to launch alongside Microsoft’s Surface Neo, a tablet-like device with two separate nine-inch displays that fold out to a full 13-inch workspace. Microsoft revealed last year that Windows 10X is now being reworked for “single-screen” devices like laptops, and Surface Neo has been delayed. While the company has spent years differentiating Windows 10X for foldable and dual-screen hardware, it now looks and feels more like Chrome OS than ever before. This is literally Chrome OS. It looks, feels, and tastes like Chrome OS  and of course, thats the point. It also points to what we can expect from regular Windows over the coming years.

  • A week with Plan 9
    I spent the first week of 2021 learning an OS called Plan 9 from Bell Labs. This is a fringe operating system, long abandoned by its original authors. Its also responsible for a great deal of inspiration elsewhere. If you’ve used the Go language, /proc, UTF-8 or Docker, you’ve used Plan 9-designed features. This issue dives into operating system internals and some moderately hard computer science topics. Sounds like an excellent article for us!

  • Wine 6.0 released
    Among the many highlights for Wine 6.0 are core modules now being implemented in Portable Executable (PE) format, the initial (experimental) Vulkan back-end for WineD3D as an alternative to OpenGL, DirectShow and Media Foundation support, and a redesign of their text console implementation. Wine is such an integral part of my computing life now, due to Proton and Valve.

  • Theseus: experimental OS written from scratch in Rust
    Theseus is a new OS written from scratch in Rust to experiment with novel OS structure, better state management, and how to shift OS responsibilities like resource management into the compiler. We are continually working to improve the OS, including its fault recovery abilities for higher system availability without redundancy, as well as easier and more arbitrary live evolution and runtime flexbility. Though still an incomplete prototype, we envision that Theseus will be useful for high-end embedded systems or edge datacenter environments. See our published papers for more information about Theseuss design principles and implementation philosophy, as well as our goal to avoid the phenomenon of state spill or mitigate its effects as much as possible. Also, see Theseuss documentation for more. Definitely an experimental operating system, and it joins the many other Rust-based operating systems projects out there.

  • Intel is replacing its CEO next month
    Intel CEO Bob Swan is stepping down from the position on February 15th, the company has announced. He will be replaced by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. Swan was named Intel’s permanent CEO two years ago in January 2019. He initially took on the role on an interim basis in June 2018 following the resignation of Intel’s previous CEO Brian Krzanich. They need a Lisa Su.

  • WRT54G history: the router that accidentally went open source
    In a world where our routers look more and more like upside-down spiders than things you would like to have in your living room, there are only a handful of routers that may be considered “famous.” Steve Jobs’ efforts to sell AirPort—most famously by using a hula hoop during a product demo—definitely deserve notice in this category, and the mesh routers made by the Amazon-owned Eero probably fit in this category as well. But a certain Linksys router, despite being nearly 20 years old at this point, takes the cake—and it’s all because of a feature that initially went undocumented that proved extremely popular with a specific user base. Today’s Tedium talks about the blue-and-black icon of wireless access, the Linksys WRT54G. This is the wireless router that showed the world what a wireless router could do. Ive often pondered tinkering with this, but Im terrible with anything related to networking  it seems like its a weird world of technology that exists on its own separate plane, disconnected from everything else. Networking is obtuse, and as long as our home network is functioning, Im not touching it.

  • BeagleV is a RISC-V single board PC for $150 or less
    The new BeagleV is a little different. It’s a small single-board PC with a RISC-V processor and support for several different GNU/Linux distributions as well as freeRTOS. With prices ranging from $120 to $150, the BeagleV is pricier than a Raspberry Pi computer, but it’s one of the most affordable and versatile options to feature a RISC-V processor. The makers of the BeagleV plan to begin shipping the first boards in April and you can sign up to apply for a chance to buy one of the first at the BeagleV website. Its a good sign that RISC-V hardware is getting more accessible  a truly open source ISA is something we need to compete with the proprietary mess that is ARM.

  • Mesa 21.0 is now working with Haiku for software OpenGL rendering
    A number of patches worked on for Haiku OS back for Mesa 20.x were freshened up and with some extra tweaking and code cleaning those patches have now been merged for Mesa 21.0. This includes factoring out a lot of the OpenGL legacy dispatch code and a lot of cleanups around the Softpipe driver handling. With Mesa 21.0-devel as of today, its at least enough where Mesa Git can now be built on Haiku OS and yield working OpenGL rendering with the LLVMpipe software. Neat, and a testament to Haiku being in a far better state than many people seem to think.

  • The confusing world of USB
    For decades, my perception of USB was that of a technology both simple and reliable. You plug it and it works. The two first iterations freed PCs from a badly fragmented connector world made of RJ-45 (Ethernet), DA-15 (Joystick), DE-9 (Serial), DIN (PS/2), and DB-25 (Parallel). When USB-3.0 came out, USB-IF had the good idea to color code its ports. All you had to do was to check for blue! in the chain to get your 5 Gbit/s. Even better, around the same time were introduced type-C connectors. Not only the world was a faster place, now we could plug things with one try instead of three. Up to that point in time, it was a good tech stack. Yet in 2013 things started to become confusing. USB and ThunderBolt have become incredibly complex, and it feels like a lot of this couldve been avoided with a more sensible naming scheme and clearer, stricter specifications and labeling for cables.

  • Steams login method is kinda interesting
    How do you send a password over the internet? You acquire a SSL certificate and let TLS do the job of securely transporting the password from client to server. Of course it’s not as cut-and-dry as I’m making it out to be, but the gist of it holds true and stood the test of time. This hasn’t always been this way though, and one incredibly popular storefront on the world wide web prefers to add a little extra to this day. I’ll be discussing Steam’s unique method of logging in their users, and go down a deep rabbit hole of fascinating implementation details. Not exactly my cup of tea, but if theres one thing Ive learned over the years here at OSNews, its that the most obscure stuff can generate a lot of interest. So, here you go.

  • Apples privacy labels reveals Whatsapp and Facebook Messengers hunger for user data
    When Apple unveiled major privacy upgrades at the WWDC 2020 for its iOS14, a battle royale broke out between the tech giant and Facebook. The social media giant claimed user data was critical to its ability to serve relevant ads and that Apples policies would stymie small business.  As the world now grapples with Facebooks privacy changes that require users to compulsorily share their Whatsapp data with the social media platform, Apples privacy labels update all but confirms what we always knew. That, data collected by Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger is far in excess of what its competitors do. Apples privacy labels are a great idea, and despite Google being a data-hungry company, I wouldnt be surprised if they make their way to Android soon, too. I love how they make the contrast between various applications to incredible stark and clear. Good move by Apple.

Linux Journal - The Original Magazine of the Linux Community

  • Virtual Machine Startup Shells Closes the Digital Divide One Cloud Computer at a Time
    Image       Startup turns devices you probably already own - from smartphones and tablets to smart TVs and game consoles - into full-fledged computers.
    Shells (, a new entrant in the virtual machine and cloud computing space, is excited to launch their new product which gives new users the freedom to code and create on nearly any device with an internet connection.  Flexibility, ease, and competitive pricing are a focus for Shells which makes it easy for a user to start-up their own virtual cloud computer in minutes.  The company is also offering multiple Linux distros (and continuing to add more offerings) to ensure the user can have the computer that they “want” to have and are most comfortable with.

    The US-based startup Shells turns idle screens, including smart TVs, tablets, older or low-spec laptops, gaming consoles, smartphones, and more, into fully-functioning cloud computers. The company utilizes real computers, with Intel processors and top-of-the-line components, to send processing power into your device of choice. When a user accesses their Shell, they are essentially seeing the screen of the computer being hosted in the cloud - rather than relying on the processing power of the device they’re physically using.

    Shells was designed to run seamlessly on a number of devices that most users likely already own, as long as it can open an internet browser or run one of Shells’ dedicated applications for iOS or Android. Shells are always on and always up to date, ensuring speed and security while avoiding the need to constantly upgrade or buy new hardware.

    Shells offers four tiers (Lite, Basic, Plus, and Pro) catering to casual users and professionals alike. Shells Pro targets the latter, and offers a quad-core virtual CPU, 8GB of RAM, 160GB of storage, and unlimited access and bandwidth which is a great option for software engineers, music producers, video editors, and other digital creatives.

    Using your Shell for testing eliminates the worry associated with tasks or software that could potentially break the development environment on your main computer or laptop. Because Shells are running round the clock, users can compile on any device without overheating - and allow large compile jobs to complete in the background or overnight. Shells also enables snapshots, so a user can revert their system to a previous date or time. In the event of a major error, simply reinstall your operating system in seconds.

    “What Dropbox did for cloud storage, Shells endeavors to accomplish for cloud computing at large,” says CEO Alex Lee. “Shells offers developers a one-stop shop for testing and deployment, on any device that can connect to the web. With the ability to use different operating systems, both Windows and Linux, developers can utilize their favorite IDE on the operating system they need. We also offer the added advantage of being able to utilize just about any device for that preferred IDE, giving devs a level of flexibility previously not available.”

    “Shells is hyper focused on closing the digital divide as it relates to fair and equal access to computers - an issue that has been unfortunately exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic,” Lee continues. “We see Shells as more than just a cloud computing solution - it’s leveling the playing field for anyone interested in coding, regardless of whether they have a high-end computer at home or not.”

    Follow Shells for more information on service availability, new features, and the future of “bring your own device” cloud computing:


    Twitter: @shellsdotcom


          #virtual-machine  #cloud-computing  #Shells                   

  • An Introduction to Linux Gaming thanks to ProtonDB
    by Zachary Renz    Video Games On Linux?   In this article, the newest compatibility feature for gaming will be introduced and explained for all you dedicated video game fanatics. 
    Valve releases its new compatibility feature to innovate Linux gaming, included with its own community of play testers and reviewers.
    In recent years we have made leaps and strides on making Linux and Unix systems more accessible for everyone. Now we come to a commonly asked question, can we play games on Linux? Well, of course! And almost, let me explain. 
    Proton compatibility layer for Steam client   With the rising popularity of Linux systems, valve is going ahead of the crowd yet again with proton for their steam client (computer program that runs your purchased games from Steam). Proton is a variant of Wine and DXVK that lets Microsoft Games run on Linux operating systems. Proton is backed by Valve itself and can easily be added to any steam account for Linux gaming, through an integration called "Steam Play." 
    Lately, there has been a lot of controversy as Microsoft is rumored to someday release its own app store and disable downloading software online. In response, many companies and software developers are pressured to find a new "haven" to share content with the internet. Proton might be Valve's response to this and is working to make more of its games accessible to Linux users. 
    Activating Proton with Steam Play   Proton is integrated into the Steam Client with "Steam Play." To activate proton, go into your steam client and click on Steam in the upper right corner. Then click on settings to open a new window.
    Steam Client's settings window 
    From here, click on the Steam Play button at the bottom of the panel. Click "Enable Steam Play for Supported Titles." After, it will ask you to restart steam, click yes and you are ready to play after the restart.
    Your computer will now play all of steam's whitelisted games seamlessly. But, if you would like to try other games that are not guaranteed to work on Linux, then click "Enable Steam Play for All Other Titles."
    What Happens if a Game has Issues?  Don't worry, this can and will happen for games that are not in Steam's whitelisted games archive. But, there is help for you online on steam and in proton's growing community. Be patient and don't give up! There will always be a solution out there.
        Go to Full Article          

  • How To Use GUI LVM Tools
    by Ares Lee   
    The LVM is a powerful storage management module which is included in all the distributions of Linux now. It provides users with a variety of valuable features to fit different requirements. The management tools that come with LVM are based on the command line interface, which is very powerful and suitable for automated/batch operations. But LVM's operations and configuration are quite complex because of its own complexity. So many software companies including Red Hat have launched some GUI-based LVM tools to help users manage LVM more easily. Let’s review them here to see the similarities and differences between individual tools.
    system-config-lvm (alternate name LVM GUI)
    Provider: Red Hat

    The system-config-lvm is the first GUI LVM tool which was originally released as part of Red Hat Linux. It is also called LVM GUI because it is the first one. Later, Red Hat also created an installation package for it. So system-config-lvm is able to be used in other Linux distributions. The installation package includes RPM packages and DEB packages.

    The main panel of system-config-lvm

    The system-config-lvm only supports lvm-related operations. Its user interface is divided into three parts. The left part is tree view of disk devices and LVM devices (VGs); the middle part is the main view which shows VG usage, divided into LV and PV columns.

    There are zoom in/zoom out buttons in the main view to control display ratio, but it is not enough for displaying complex LVM information.The right part displays details of the selected related objects (PV/LV/VG).

    The different versions of system-config-lvm are not completely consistent in the organized way of devices. Some of them show both LVM devices and non-lvm devices (disk), the others show LVM devices only. I have tried two versions, one shows LVM devices existing in the system, namely PV/VG/LV only, no other devices; The other can display non-lvm disks and PV can be removed in disk view.

    The version which shows non-lvm disks
    Supported operations
    PV Operations
    Delete PV  Migrate PV 
    VG Operations
    Create VG  Append PV to VG/Remove PV from VG  Delete VG (Delete last PV in VG) 
    LV Operations
        Go to Full Article          

  • Boost Up Productivity in Bash - Tips and Tricks
    by Antonio Riso    Introduction
    When spending most of your day around bash shell, it is not uncommon to waste time typing the same commands over and over again. This is pretty close to the definition of insanity.

    Luckily, bash gives us several ways to avoid repetition and increase productivity.

    Today, we will explore the tools we can leverage to optimize what I love to call “shell time”.
    Bash aliases are one of the methods to define custom or override default commands.

    You can consider an alias as a “shortcut” to your desired command with options included.

    Many popular Linux distributions come with a set of predefined aliases.

    Let’s see the default aliases of Ubuntu 20.04, to do so simply type “alias” and press [ENTER].

    By simply issuing the command “l”, behind the scenes, bash will execute “ls -CF”.

    It's as simple as that.

    This is definitely nice, but what if we could specify our own aliases for the most used commands?! The answer is, of course we can!

    One of the commands I use extremely often is “cd ..” to change the working directory to the parent folder. I have spent so much time hitting the same keys…

    One day I decided it was enough and I set up an alias!

    To create a new alias type “alias ” the alias name, in my case I have chosen “..” followed by “=” and finally the command we want an alias for enclosed in single quotes.

    Here is an example below.

    Sometimes you will have the need to automate a complex command, perhaps accept arguments as input. Under these constraints, aliases will not be enough to accomplish your goal, but no worries. There is always a way out!

    Functions give you the ability to create complex custom commands which can be called directly from the terminal like any other command.

    For instance, there are two consecutive actions I do all the time, creating a folder and then cd into it. To avoid the hassle of typing “mkdir newfolder” and then “cd newfolder” i have create a bash function called “mkcd” which takes the name of the folder to be created as argument, create the folder and cd into it.

    To declare a new function, we need to type the function name “mkcd ” follower by “()” and our complex command enclosed in curly brackets “{ mkdir -vp "$@" && cd "$@"; }”
        Go to Full Article          

  • Case Study: Success of Pardus GNU/Linux Migration
    by Huseyin GUC   
    Eyüpsultan Municipality decided to use an open source operating system in desktop computers in 2015.

    The most important goal of the project was to ensure information security and reduce foreign dependency.

    As a result of the research and analyzes prepared, a detailed migration plan was prepared.

    As a first step, licensed office software installed on all computers has been removed. LibreOffice software was installed instead.

    Later, LibreOffice training was given to the municipal staff.

    Meanwhile, preparations were made for the operating system migration.

    Instead of the existing licensed operating system, Turkey's developed Pardus GNU / Linux distribution was decided to use.

    Applications on the Pardus GNU / linux operating system were examined in detail and unnecessary applications were removed.

    And a new ISO file was created with the applications used in Eyüpsultan municipality.

    This process automated the setup steps and reduced setup time.

    While the project continued at full speed, the staff were again trained on LibreOffice and Pardus GNU / linux.

    After their training, the users took the exam.

    The Pardus GNU / Linux operating system was installed on the computers of the successful ones.

    Those who failed were retrained and took the exam again.

    As of 2016, 25% of a computer's operating system migration was completed.
    Immigration Project Implementation Steps  Analysis
    A detailed inventory of all software and hardware products used in the institution was created. The analysis should go down to the department, unit and personnel details.

    It should be evaluated whether extra costs will arise in the migration project.
    Migration plan should be prepared, migration targets should be determined.

    The duration of the migration should be calculated and the team that will carry out the migration should be determined.
    You can use an existing Linux distribution.

    Or you can customize the distribution you will use according to your own preferences.

    Making a customized ISO file will give you speed and flexibility.

    It also helps you compensate for the loss of time caused by incorrect entries.
    Start using the ISO file you have prepared in a lab environment consisting of the hardware you use.

    Look for solutions, noting any problems encountered during and after installation.
        Go to Full Article          

  • BPF For Observability: Getting Started Quickly
    by Kevin Dankwardt    How and Why for BPF
    BPF is a powerful component in the Linux kernel and the tools that make use of it are vastly varied and numerous. In this article we examine the general usefulness of BPF and guide you on a path towards taking advantage of BPF’s utility and power. One aspect of BPF, like many technologies, is that at first blush it can appear overwhelming. We seek to remove that feeling and to get you started.
    What is BPF?
    BPF is the name, and no longer an acronym, but it was originally Berkeley Packet Filter and then eBPF for Extended BPF, and now just BPF. BPF is a kernel and user-space observability scheme for Linux.

    A description is that BPF is a verified-to-be-safe, fast to switch-to, mechanism, for running code in Linux kernel space to react to events such as function calls, function returns, and trace points in kernel or user space.

    To use BPF one runs a program that is translated to instructions that will be run in kernel space. Those instructions may be interpreted or translated to native instructions. For most users it doesn’t matter the exact nature.

    While in the kernel, the BPF code can perform actions for events, like, create stack traces, count the events or collect counts into buckets for histograms.

    Through this BPF programs provide both fast and immensely powerful and flexible means for deep observability of what is going on in the Linux kernel or in user space. Observability into user space from kernel space is possible, of course, because the kernel can control and observe code executing in user mode.

    Running BPF programs amounts to having a user program make BPF system calls which are checked for appropriate privileges and verified to execute within limits. For example, in the Linux kernel version 5.4.44, the BPF system call checks for privilege with:
     if (sysctl_unprivileged_bpf_disabled && !capable(CAP_SYS_ADMIN))  return -EPERM;
    The BPF system call checks for a sysctl controlled value and for a capability. The sysctl variable can be set to one with the command
     sysctl kernel.unprivileged_bpf_disabled=1
    but to set it to zero you must reboot and make sure to not have your system configured to set it to one at boot time.

    Because BPF is doing the work in kernel space significant time and overhead is saved avoiding context switches and by not necessitating transferring large amounts of data back to user space.

    Not all kernel functions can be traced. For example if you were to try funccount-bpfcc '*_copy_to_user' you may get output like:
     cannot attach kprobe, Invalid argument  Failed to attach BPF program b'trace_count_3' to kprobe  b'_copy_to_user'
    This is kind of mysterious. If you check the output from dmesg you would see something like:
        Go to Full Article          

  • A Linux Survey For Beginners
    by John Duchek   
    So you have decided to give the Linux operating system a try. You have heard it is a good stable operating system with lots of free software and you are ready to give it a shot. It is downloadable for free, so you get on the net and search for a copy, and you are in for a shock. Because there isn’t one “Linux”, there are many. Now you feel like a deer in the headlights. You want to make a wise choice, but have no idea where to start. Unfortunately, this is where a lot new Linux users give up. It is just too confusing.

    The many versions of Linux are often referred to as “flavors” or distributions. Imagine yourself in an ice cream shop displaying 30+ flavors. They all look delicious, but it’s hard to pick one and try it. You may find yourself confused by the many choices but you can be sure you will leave with something delicious. Picking a Linux flavor should be viewed in the same way.

    As with ice cream lovers, Linux users have their favorites, so you will hear people profess which is the “best”. Of course, the best is the one that you conclude, will fit your needs. That might not be the first one you try. According to there are currently 481 distributions, but you don’t need to consider every one. The same source lists these distributions as “popular”: Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, OpenSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Debian, Mageia, Slackware, CentOS, Puppy, Arch. Personally I have only tried about five of these and I have been a Linux user for more than 20 years. Today, I mostly use Fedora.

    Many of these also have derivatives that are made for special purpose uses. For example, Fedora lists special releases for Astronomy, Comp Neuro, Design Suite, Games, Jam, Python Classroom, Security Lab, Robotics Suite. All of these are still Fedora, but the installation includes a large quantity of programs for the specific purpose. Often a particular set of uses can spawn a whole new distribution with a new name. If you have a special interest, you can still install the general one (Workstation) and update later.

    Very likely one of these systems will suit you. Even within these there are subtypes and “windows treatments” to customize your operating system. Gnome, Xfce, LXDE, and so on are different windows treatments available in all of the Linux flavors. Some try to look like MS windows, some try to look like a Mac. Some try to be original, light weight, graphically awesome. But that is best left for another article. You are running Linux no matter which of those you choose. If you don’t like the one you choose, you can try another without losing anything. You also need to know that some of these distributions are related, so that can help simplify your choice.

        Go to Full Article          

  • Terminal Vitality
    by George F Rice   
    Ever since Douglas Engelbart flipped over a trackball and discovered a mouse, our interactions with computers have shifted from linguistics to hieroglyphics. That is, instead of typing commands at a prompt in what we now call a Command Line Interface (CLI), we click little icons and drag them to other little icons to guide our machines to perform the tasks we desire. 

    Apple led the way to commercialization of this concept we now call the Graphical User Interface (GUI), replacing its pioneering and mostly keyboard-driven Apple // microcomputer with the original GUI-only Macintosh. After quickly responding with an almost unusable Windows 1.0 release, Microsoft piled on in later versions with the Start menu and push button toolbars that together solidified mouse-driven operating systems as the default interface for the rest of us. Linux, along with its inspiration Unix, had long championed many users running many programs simultaneously through an insanely powerful CLI. It thus joined the GUI party late with its likewise insanely powerful yet famously insecure X-Windows framework and the many GUIs such as KDE and Gnome that it eventually supported.

    GUI Linux

    But for many years the primary role for X-Windows on Linux was gratifyingly appropriate given its name - to manage a swarm of xterm windows, each running a CLI. It's not that Linux is in any way incompatible with the Windows / Icon / Mouse / Pointer style of program interaction - the acronym this time being left as an exercise for the discerning reader. It's that we like to get things done. And in many fields where the progeny of Charles Babbage's original Analytic Engine are useful, directing the tasks we desire is often much faster through linguistics than by clicking and dragging icons.

    A tiling window manager makes xterm overload more manageable

    A GUI certainly made organizing many terminal sessions more visual on Linux, although not necessarily more practical. During one stint of my lengthy engineering career, I was building much software using dozens of computers across a network, and discovered the charms and challenges of managing them all through Gnu's screen tool. Not only could a single terminal or xterm contain many command line sessions from many computers across the network, but I could also disconnect from them all as they went about their work, drive home, and reconnect to see how the work was progressing. This was quite remarkable in the early 1990s, when Windows 2 and Mac OS 6 ruled the world. It's rather remarkable even today.

    Bashing GUIs
        Go to Full Article          

  • Building A Dashcam With The Raspberry Pi Zero W
    by Ramon Persaud   
    I've been playing around with the Raspberry Pi Zero W lately and having so much fun on the command line. For those uninitiated it's a tiny Arm computer running Raspbian, a derivative of Debian. It has a 1 GHz processor that had the ability to be overclocked and 512 MB of RAM, in addition to wireless g and bluetooth.

    A few weeks ago I built a garage door opener with video and accessible via the net. I wanted to do something a bit different and settled on a dashcam for my brother-in-law's SUV.

    I wanted the camera and Pi Zero W mounted on the dashboard and to be removed with ease. On boot it should autostart the RamDashCam (RDC) and there should also be 4 desktop scripts,,, Also create and a folder named video on the Desktop for the older video files. I also needed a way to power the RDC when there is no power to the vehicle's usb ports. Lastly I wanted it's data accessible on the local LAN when the vehicle is at home.

    Here is the parts list:
    Raspberry Pi Zero W kit (I got mine from  Raspberry Pi official camera  Micro SD card, at least 32 gigs  A 3d printed case from  Portable charger, usually used to charge cell phones and tablets on the go  Command strips, it's like double sided tape that's easy to remove or velcro strips 

    First I flashed the SD card with Raspbian, powered it up and followed the setup menu. I also set a static IP address.

    Now to the fun stuff. Lets create a service so we can start and stop RDC via systemd. Using your favorite editor, navigate to "/etc/systemd/system/" and create "dashcam.service"  and add the following:
     [Unit] Description=dashcam service StartLimitIntervalSec=0  [Service] Type=forking Restart=on-failure RestartSec=1 User=pi WorkingDirectory=/home/pi/Desktop ExecStart=/bin/bash /home/pi/Desktop/  [Install] 

    Now that's complete lets enable the service, run the following: sudo systemctl enable dashcam

    I added these scripts to start and stop RDC on the Desktop so my brother-in-law doesn't have to mess around in the menus or command line. Remember to "chmod +x" these 4 scripts.

     #!/bin/bash  # remove files older than 3 days find /home/pi/Desktopvideo -type f -iname '*.flv' -mtime +3 -exec rm {} \;  # start dashcam service sudo systemctl start dashcam 
        Go to Full Article          

  • SeaGL - Seattle GNU/Linux Conference Happening This Weekend!
    by Webmaster   
    This Friday, November 13th and Saturday, November 14th, from 9am to 4pm PST the 8th annual SeaGL will be held virtually. This year features four keynotes, and a mix of talks on FOSS tech, community and history. SeaGL is absolutely free to attend and is being run with free software!

    Additionally, we are hosting a pre-event career expo on Thursday, November 12th from 1pm to 5pm. Counselors will be available for 30 minute video sessions to provide resume reviews and career guidance.
    The Seattle GNU/Linux conference (SeaGL) is a free, as in freedom and tea, grassroots technical summit dedicated to spreading awareness and knowledge about free/libre/open source software, hardware, and culture.

    SeaGL strives to be welcoming, enjoyable, and informative for professional technologists, newcomers, enthusiasts, and all other users of free software, regardless of their background knowledge; providing a space to bridge these experiences and strengthen the free software movement through mentorship, collaboration, and community.
    Dates/Times  November 13th and 14th  Friday and Saturday  Main Event: 9am-4:30pm  TeaGL: 1-2:45pm, both days  Friday Social: 4:30-6pm  Saturday Party: 6-10pm  Pre-event Career Expo: 1-5pm, Thursday November 12th  All times in Pacific Timezone Hashtags
    - `#SeaGL2020`

    - `#TeaGLtoasts`
    Social Media  Main Website  PixelFed  Mastodon  Twitter  Facebook  Facebook Event  IRC/Matrix? Reference Links  Schedule Overview  About Our Tech Stack  Pre-event Career Expo 
    Best contact:
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Page last modified on October 08, 2013, at 07:08 PM