Daily Archives: 2023-06-29

Wayland is pretty good, actually

Source: OSNews

Article note: The amount of easential functionality that is unstable or differs among compositors is still too high, both from recent experiences and from skimming that (quite cool) Wayland.app protocol doc compilation linked in the article. The Wayland core is about 1/4 of the necessary plumbing for building graphical environments. PipeWire (very nicely) stepped up to deal with another quarter. The one I'm harping on right now: We'll be paying for years (unless/until one subsumes the rest) for not getting early agreement around a unified, compositor agnostic input plumbing scheme to handle virtual inputs between programs, hotkeys, capture, inhibit, etc. libinput is too low, and all the conpsitors are hacking their own incompatible half-baked solutions at the moment.

Wayland is an interesting beast. X11, for all its faults, does a lot for the desktop environment. If you’re stretched for time, you could – in theory – just slap a panel onto the default X11 window manager and call it a day. The modern landscape of desktop environments built on top of X11 exists because developers have gotten really good at eschewing X11’s built-in crusty junk for their own new and shiny junk, so that things work as you’d expect them to. For the most part, this kinda works – with enough hacks, you can get things like variable refresh rate, fractional scaling, et cetera.

The problem here is that X11 definitely was not built for those things. Variable refresh rate works, but only if you’re using a single monitor, and mixed refresh rate monitors in a single X session don’t work at all outside of the hardware cursor. Fractional scaling is a hack. Compositing in general is optional and is sort of just stapled onto the existing architecture. X11 does do what it needs to do, which is display windows, but it’s kinda garbo when you need it to do anything more advanced.

Wayland is what happens when issues with the dominant windowing protocol have been festering for decades. It throws away everything and establishes a core set of standards that must be adhered to, along with a (very large) set of extensions that can be optionally implemented. The website https://wayland.app/ shows all the protocols worth knowing, and a lot more on top of that. It’s kinda like Vulkan, in a sense: the core has the basics, and everything else is extensions that can be queried for by clients.

Wayland is such a massive improvement over X11 it absolutely boggles the mind that people try to claim otherwise. I’m glad we’re finally at a point where Wayland has clearly won, and developers are finally free to focus their efforts on the clearly superior choice, instead of wasting more time trying to hack X11 into the 21st century.

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Supreme Court Sides With Postal Carrier Who Refused to Work on Sabbath

Source: NYT > U.S.

Article note: Any personal reason for (eg.) working hour restrictions should have exactly the same footing as religious ones. ...And, potentially, they will; TST, you know your job, time to run some absurd cases trying to establish basic workers' rights not protected in the US legal system by claiming them as religious beliefs since that's one that will get deferred to.

The unanimous decision interpreted a federal civil rights law to require employers to make substantial efforts to accommodate their workers’ religious practices.

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Supreme Court goes against precedent, guts affirmative action

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: Meh. "Elite" college admission is toxic gamification taken to the extreme anyway. It's difficult - maybe impossible - to distinguish exceptional intrinsically driven students from the effects of parents' time, money, knowledge of the appropriate prestige games, and personal connections to create opportunities. Working with students for a while you can often get an good guess at who is "Beaten and coached to shallow, sneaky, on-paper perfection," who is in college for more haphazard forms of status min-maxing, and who actually wants to be studying what they're studying for intrinsic reasons, but that's approximate and biased at best, there is considerable overlap between the groups who excel for different reasons, and no sane, humane, or cost effective admissions process could come close to making those distinctions. The tools used to exclude Jews in decades past are being used to exclude Asians in the present, and the benefits to underrepresented groups were always largely a smokescreen for policies favoring legacies anyway. Holistic admissions, taken to the satirical extreme, just means students demonstrate their means and pedigree by the time and money sunk into expensive extracurriculars and tutoring, and write a _very moving_ essay about how school X is important to them because ...everyone in their family has gone for three generations and their cumulative donations are in the tens of millions.

The Supreme Court has ruled against the consideration of race in the college admissions process, deciding that affirmative action violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The decision handles two separate cases brought against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina and overturns decades of precedent, NPR reported. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, "Both programs lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points." The decision keeps race as a factor in admissions to military academies.

The high court first ruled on race-based college admissions in 1978 in the case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke where it determined that "race or ethnic background may be deemed a 'plus' in a particular applicant's file." The precedent held up until now. The dissenting opinion, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, criticized the ruling. "The result of today's decision is that a person's skin color may play a role in assessing individualized suspicion," she wrote, "but it cannot play a role in assessing that person's individualized contributions to a diverse learning environment."  She added, "That indefensible reading of the Constitution is not grounded in law and subverts the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection."

"For many, this decision feels deeply personal," remarked Harvard University President-Elect Claudine Gay in a video response. "But at Harvard, it has also strengthened our resolve to continue opening doors." The university also released a statement agreeing to comply but reaffirming the "fundamental principle that deep and transformative teaching, learning, and research depend upon a community comprising people of many backgrounds, perspectives, and lived experiences." 

"While we don't have all the answers about what's next, we do know that we will move forward together," Gay concluded.

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Court Sentences YouTube Content ID Scammer to Over Five Years in Prison

Source: TorrentFreak

Article note: Someone is actually being punished for ContentID scams! I was starting to think the theft and shakedowns were intended features.

sad tubeYouTube’s Content ID system helps rightsholders and content creators prevent copyright infringement.

Copyright holders can either remove problematic content from the video platform, or they can choose to monetize it.

Monetization is preferred in many cases and can be quite lucrative. Over the years, the Content ID platform has generated more than $9 billion in ‘claimed’ advertising revenue.

Criminal Content ID Scam

This option isn’t just utilized by legitimate owners, scammers have been making use of it too. While it’s unknown how often the system is abused, an indictment published by the Department of Justice in late 2021 showed that a U.S. company run by two men built a multi-million dollar business on this scheme.

A criminal investigation had uncovered a massive YouTube Content ID scam. By falsely claiming to own the rights to more than 50,000 songs, the pair generated more than $24 million in revenue.

The scammers’ company, MediaMuv LLC., wasn’t a direct member of the Content ID program. Instead, it operated through a trusted third-party company, which had access to the platform,

Last year, one of the defendants confessed to his part in the ‘MediaMuv’ copyright swindle by pleading guilty. Webster Batista Fernandez described it as a relatively simple scheme: find Latin American music that wasn’t yet monetized on YouTube and claim the content as their own.

The ‘number two’ of the operation, Jose Teran, signed a plea agreement this February. While he wasn’t the driving force, Teran participated in the criminal conspiracy and plead guilty to money laundering and wire fraud.

Appropriate Sentence?

This week, Teran was the first to be sentenced for his role in the operation. The defense requested a mild probation or home confinement sentence, which would allow the defendant to continue to care for his family.

“[Mr. Teran] respectfully asks that the Court exercise its discretion to sentence him in a manner that allows him to continue supporting his family while working to make the victims whole,” the attorney wrote.

The prosecution, on the other hand, argued that a multi-year prison sentence would be more appropriate, to deter Mr. Teran and other scammers from abusing the Content ID system in future.

“Teran personally obtained more than $6 million in personal profit, which he used to sustain a lavish lifestyle. In addition to the harm Mr. Teran caused and the exorbitant profits that he reaped; a significant sentence is warranted to deter future conduct,” the Government argued.

Court Issues 70-Month Prison Sentence

After reviewing these two opposing positions, U.S. District Court Judge Douglas L. Rayes sided with the Government’s take, sentencing the defendant to 70 months in prison followed by three years of probation.


In addition to the prison sentence, Mr. Teran will forfeit various properties. These include a house in Phoenix, a Tesla Model C, a BMW i8, and bank accounts containing over a million dollars.

This is the first sentencing in this criminal Content ID case. The second defendant, who is seen as the leader of the operation, is expected to be sentenced later this year.

The scale of this scam was unprecedented but abuse of YouTube’s broader set of copyright tools certainly isn’t. Google previously went on the record stating that tens of thousands of accounts are terminated each year due to dubious copyright infringement claims.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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