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today's leftovers

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  • Parler Tricks: Making Software Disappear

    Much has been written and broadcast about the recent actions from Google and Apple to remove the Parler app from their app stores. Apps get removed from these app stores all the time, but more than almost any past move by these companies, this one has brought the power Big Tech companies wield over everyone’s lives to the minds of every day people. Journalists have done a good job overall in presenting the challenges and concerns with this move, as well as addressing the censorship and anti-trust issues at play. If you want a good summary of the issues, I found Cory Doctorow’s post on the subject a great primer.

    [...]

    This is part of the article where Android users feel smug. After all, while much more of their data gets captured and sold than on iOS, in exchange they still (sometimes) have the option of rooting their phones and (sometimes) “sideloading” applications (installing applications outside of Google’s App Store). If Google bans an app, all a user has to do is follow a list of complicated (and often sketchy) procedures, sometimes involving disabling protections or installing sketchy software on another computer, and they can wrench back a bit of control over their phones. Of course in doing so they are disabling security features that are the foundation for the rest of Android security, at which point many Android security experts will throw up their hands and say “you’re on your own.”

    [...]

    The Librem 5 phone runs the same PureOS operating system as Librem laptops, and it features the PureOS Store which provides a curated list of applications known to work well on the phone’s screen. Even so, you can use the search function to find the full list of all available software in PureOS. After all, you might want that software to be available when you dock your Librem 5 to a larger screen.

    We aim to provide software in the PureOS store that respects people’s freedom, security, and privacy and will audit software that’s included in the store with that in mind. That way people have a convenient way to discover software that not only works well on the phone but also respects them. Yet you are still free to install any third-party software outside of the PureOS Store that works on the phone, even if it’s proprietary software we don’t approve of.

  • Apple Mulls Podcast Subscription Push Amid Spotify's Land Grab

    The talks, first reported by The Information, have been ongoing since at least last fall, sources tell to The Hollywood Reporter, and ultimately could end up taking several different forms. Regardless, it’s clear that Tim Cook-led Apple — after spending the last two years watching rival-in-music-streaming Spotify invest hundreds of millions of dollars to align itself with some of the most prolific producers and most popular personalities in podcasting — is no longer content sitting on the sideline. “There’s a huge opportunity sitting under their nose with 1.4 million iOS devices globally,” says Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives, “and they don’t want to lose out.” Apple declined to comment about its podcasting plans.

    Much of the growth of the podcasting industry over the last decade can be traced back to Apple and its former CEO Steve Jobs, who in 2005 declared that he was “bringing podcasting mainstream” by adding support for the medium to iTunes. A few years later, the company introduced a separate Podcasts app that quickly became the leading distribution platform for the medium. But Apple, which netted $275 billion in sales in fiscal 2020, has refrained from turning podcasting — still a relatively small industry that the Interactive Advertising Bureau estimated would bring in nearly $1 billion in U.S. advertising revenue last year — into a moneymaking venture.

  • Blacks In Technology and The Linux Foundation Partner to Offer up to $100,000 in Training & Certification to Deserving Individuals [Ed: Linux Foundation exploits blacks for PR, even though it does just about nothing for blacks [1, 2]]

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, and The Blacks In Technology Foundation, the largest community of Black technologists globally, today announced the launch of a new scholarship program to help more Black individuals get started with an IT career.

    Blacks in Technology will award 50 scholarships per quarter to promising individuals. The Linux Foundation will provide each of these recipients with a voucher to register for any Linux Foundation administered certification exam at no charge, such as the Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate, Certified Kubernetes Administrator, Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator and more. Associated online training courses will also be provided at no cost when available for the exam selected. Each recipient will additionally receive one-on-one coaching with a Blacks In Technology mentor each month to help them stay on track in preparing for their exam.

  • the tragedy of gemini

    While everything I have seen served via Gemini is friendly and sociable, the technical barriers of what-is-a-command-line and how-do-I-use-one are a fence put up that keep out the riffraff. Certainly, you can walk around the corner and go through the gate, but ultimately the geminiverse is lovely because it is underpopulated, slower-paced, and literate. It is difficult enough to access that those who can use it can be welcoming without worrying its smallness will be compromised.

    The tragedy is that I don’t think many of its denizens would claim that they only want to hear from technical, educated people, but in order to use a small [Internet], an August [Internet], they have let the fence keep out anyone else.

"Let them eat coupons..."

  • Linux Foundation, Blacks In Technology Announce Up To $100,000 In Training & Certification

    The Linux Foundation and The Blacks In Technology Foundation have joined hands to launch a new scholarship program to help more Black individuals get started with an IT career.

    Blacks in Technology will award 50 scholarships per quarter to promising individuals. The Linux Foundation will provide each of these recipients with a voucher to register for any Linux Foundation administered certification exam at no charge, such as the Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate, Certified Kubernetes Administrator, Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator and more.

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More in Tux Machines

Events: GNOME, LF, and Linux App Summit (LAS)

  • Felipe Borges: Save the date: GNOME LATAM 2021, March 27th

    I’m happy to spread the word that a GNOME event in Spanish and Portuguese is taking place this month, on the 27th of March. It will be a free virtual event with talks and panels where everybody is welcome.

  • Cloud Foundry Summit 2021: Call For Papers Open

    The Summit will allow European attendees to participate, as well, with sessions tailored to the virtual format. The Cloud Foundry Foundation will join forces with the community-elected program committee to curate a program that fosters collaboration among attendees and offers interactive platform education.

  • The Linux App Summit (LAS) returns in May, applications open for talks until March 15 | GamingOnLinux

    Planned to happen online again during May 13-15, the Linux App Summit (LAS) is set to return giving you a chance to listen to talks about the future of application design, development and more for Linux. Last year had some pretty interesting talks, like Linux game porter and FNA developer Ethan Lee giving a presentation on how games get built and packages plus Collabora gave an overview of their work with Valve.

CoreELEC 19.0 “Matrix” Linux Distro Released for Amlogic Hardware Based on Kodi 19

As its codename suggests, CoreELEC 19.0 “Matrix” is the first release of this LibreELEC fork to be based on the recently released Kodi 19.0 “Matrix” open-source home theater software, which introduces numerous new featiures and improvements for those who want to make their own media center PC or HTPC. Based on the CoreELEC 9.2.6 Amlogic-NG release, the CoreELEC 19.0 series becomes the active development branch, supporting only Amlogic-NG devices like LaFrite, LePotato, ODROID-C4, ODROID-HC4, and ODROID-N2. Read more

Mozilla Leftovers

  • A Better Terminal for Mozilla Build [Ed: Mozilla is moving in a bad direction that serves Windows, not standards or the open Web or software freedom]

    If you’re working with mozilla-central on Windows and followed the official documentation, there’s a good chance the MozillaBuild shell is running in the default cmd.exe console. If you’ve spent any amount of time in this console you’ve also likely noticed it leaves a bit to be desired. Standard terminal features such as tabs, splits and themes are missing. More importantly, it doesn’t render unicode characters (at least out of the box).

  • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: India’s new intermediary liability and digital media regulations will harm the open internet

    Last week, in a sudden move that will have disastrous consequences for the open internet, the Indian government notified a new regime for intermediary liability and digital media regulation. Intermediary liability (or “safe harbor”) protections have been fundamental to growth and innovation on the internet as an open and secure medium of communication and commerce. By expanding the “due diligence” obligations that intermediaries will have to follow to avail safe harbor, these rules will harm end to end encryption, substantially increase surveillance, promote automated filtering and prompt a fragmentation of the internet that would harm users while failing to empower Indians. While many of the most onerous provisions only apply to “significant social media intermediaries” (a new classification scheme), the ripple effects of these provisions will have a devastating impact on freedom of expression, privacy and security.

  • Karl Dubost: Capping User Agent String - followup meeting [Ed: Hopefully enough people understand the degree to which use agents in a Web browser are leveraged for fingerprinting/tracking/surveillance/abuse]

    A couple of weeks ago, I mentionned the steps which have been taken about capping the User Agent String on macOS 11 for Web compatibility issues. Since then, Mozilla and Google organized a meeting to discuss the status and the issues related to this effort. We invited Apple but probably too late to find someone who could participate to the meeting (my bad). The minutes of the meeting are publicly accessible.

Security Leftovers

  • Is Your Browser Extension a Botnet Backdoor?

    A company that rents out access to more than 10 million Web browsers so that clients can hide their true Internet addresses has built its network by paying browser extension makers to quietly include its code in their creations. This story examines the lopsided economics of extension development, and why installing an extension can be such a risky proposition.

  • Security updates for Tuesday [LWN.net]

    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (bind, intel-ucode, ipmitool, isync, openssl, python, python-cryptography, python-httplib2, salt, tar, and thrift), Fedora (ansible, salt, webkit2gtk3, and wpa_supplicant), Oracle (bind), Red Hat (bind, kernel, and kpatch-patch), Scientific Linux (bind), SUSE (firefox, gnome-autoar, java-1_8_0-ibm, java-1_8_0-openjdk, nodejs10, open-iscsi, perl-XML-Twig, python-cryptography, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (bind9).

  • Malicious NPM packages target Amazon, Slack with new dependency attacks [Ed: Microsoft delivering malware again, but the media (actually a Microsoft propaganda site in this case) does not mention Microsoft (similar to this)]

    Last month, BleepingComputer reported that security researcher Alex Birsan earned bug bounties from 35 companies by utilizing a new flaw in open-source development tools.

  • Working Spectre exploits for Windows and Linux devices uncovered

    A security researcher has discovered several working Spectre exploits that were uploaded to the VirusTotal database last month. Spectre, along with Meltdown, are two extremely severe hardware vulnerabilities that affect Intel, IBM POWER, and some ARM-based processors. While Intel has since implemented hardware mitigations for the vulnerability in newer processors, older ones have to rely on software fixes that come with a performance penalty, which prevents its blanket use. This means that there’s still a large number of systems that are vulnerable to the recently discovered exploits by security researcher Julien Voisin.