DOJ finally posted that “embarrassing” court doc Google wanted to hide

So, what’s in the document that Google didn’t want to get out?

The document in question contains meeting notes that Google’s vice president for finance, Michael Roszak, “created for a course on communications,” Bloomberg reported. In his notes, Roszak wrote that Google’s search advertising “is one of the world’s greatest business models ever created” with economics that only certain “illicit businesses” selling “cigarettes or drugs” “could rival.”


Beyond likening Google’s search advertising business to illicit drug markets, Roszak’s notes also said that because users got hooked on Google’s search engine, Google was able to “mostly ignore the demand side” of “fundamental laws of economics” and “only focus on the supply side of advertisers, ad formats, and sales.” This was likely the bit that actually interested the DOJ.

“We could essentially tear the economics textbook in half,” Roszak’s notes said.

Juicy documents from an abusive monopolist are always a fun read.

Linux’s modprobe adds the ability to load a module from anywhere on the file-system

With today’s release of kmod 31, Linux’s modprobe utility for loading kernel modules can finally allow arbitrary paths to allow loading new kernel modules from anywhere on the file-system.

Surprisingly it took until 2023 for allowing Linux’s modprobe to accept loading kernel modules from any arbitrary path. Rather than just specifying the module name and then looking up the module within the running kernel’s modules directory, modprobe can now allow passing a path to the module. Relative paths are also supported when prefixed with “./” for the path to the desired module.


I tested an HDMI adapter that demands your location, browsing data, photos, and spams you with ads

I recently got my hands on an ordinary-looking iPhone-to-HDMI adapter that mimics Apple’s branding and, when plugged in, runs a program that implores you to “Scan QR code for use.” That QR code takes you to an ad-riddled website that asks you to download an app that asks for your location data, access to your photos and videos, runs a bizarre web browser, installs tracking cookies, takes “sensor data,” and uses that data to target you with ads. The adapter’s app also kindly informed me that it’s sending all of my data to China.

Just imagine what kind of stuff is happening that isn’t perpetrated by crude idiots, but by competent state-sponsored actors. I don’t believe for a second that at least a number of products from Apple, Dell, HP, and so on, manufactured in Chinese state-owned factories, are not compromised. The temptation is too high, and even if, say, Apple found something inside one of their devices rolling off the factory line – what are they going to do? Publicly blame the Chinese government, whom they depend on for virtually all their manufacturing?

You may trust HP, but do you trust the entire chain of people and entities controlling their supply chain?

SunOS multi-thread architecture

We describe a model for multiple threads of control within a single UNIX process. The main goals are to provide extremely lightweight threads and to rationalize and extend the UNIX Application Programming Interface for a multi-threaded environment. The threads are intended to be sufficiently lightweight so that there can be thousands present and that synchronization and context switching can be accomplished rapidly without entering the kernel. These goals are achieved by providing lightweight user-level threads that are multiplexed on top of kernel-supported threads of control. This architecture allows the programmer to separate logical (program) concurrency from the required real concurrency, which is relatively costly, and to control both within a single programming model.

The introduction to a 1991 USENIX paper about SunOS’ multithread architecture. Just the kind of light reading material for an Autumn weekend.

Bing Chat responses infiltrated by ads pushing malware

In March, Microsoft began injecting ads into Bing Chat conversations to generate revenue from this new platform.

However, incorporating ads into Bing Chat has opened the door to threat actors, who increasingly take out search advertisements to distribute malware.

And in case you’re thinking, “whatever, I don’t use these online chatbots anyway”, just remember that all this stuff is now built right into Windows and Microsoft Office, so one wrong click and you’re right in the thick of it.


Apple held talks with Microsoft about acquiring Bing in 2020

But come 2020, a new round of talks opened between Apple and Microsoft. Bloomberg reports that Microsoft executives met with Apple’s Services VP Eddy Cue to “discuss the possibility of acquiring Bing.” These talks were reportedly “exploratory” and “never reached an advanced stage,” Bloomberg says.

The revenue generated from its deal with Google was a “key reason” Apple’s talks to acquire Bing never advanced beyond that stage. “The company also had concerns about Bing’s ability to compete with Google in quality and capabilities,” today’s report explains.

Apple Bing sounds like something from hell. Imagine being forced to use Bing on every Apple device you own. That has to be one of the circle of hell Dante decided to not tell us about.

Raspberry Pi 5 unveiled

Today, we’re delighted to announce the launch of Raspberry Pi 5, coming at the end of October. Priced at $60 for the 4GB variant, and $80 for its 8GB sibling (plus your local taxes), virtually every aspect of the platform has been upgraded, delivering a no-compromises user experience. Raspberry Pi 5 comes with new features, it’s over twice as fast as its predecessor, and it’s the first Raspberry Pi computer to feature silicon designed in‑house here in Cambridge, UK.

While I personally think there are more interesting alternatives to the Pi, there’s no doubt the Pi is the most compatible and most popular of these small board computers, and a big upgrade like this is definitely welcome – assuming they can actually stock these at fair prices at the end of October, when the fifth iteration of the Pi actually launches.

COSMIC gets new window-swapping mode, gesture support, and more

COSMIC, the Rust-based desktop environment System76, makers of Pop!_OS are working on, has seen another month of work, and it turns out that it’s already being used daily by the COSMIC team, which is always an important milestone. For instance, COSMIC continues its focus on keyboard users:

Pop!_OS and COSMIC DE are built to stay out of your way so you can focus on getting things done. With Auto-tiling, new windows arrange themselves automatically on your screen to reduce the hassle. It’s important, then, that rearranging tiled windows manually feels as seamless as possible. COSMIC’s new window-swapping mode helps facilitate this seamlessness with, as the name suggests, an easy way to swap windows with your keyboard.

They’re also added dynamic settings – meaning, changing a setting applies it right away, instead of having to hit apply – as well as gesture support for touchpads. Furthermore, settings for panels have been implemented, so you can arrange and change your panels to your heart’s content. Of course, there’s more, so be sure to read their monthly update.

OpenBSD PF versus FreeBSD PF

I encountered yet another discussion about OpenBSD PF versus FreeBSD PF. For those who are new to the discussion: OpenBSD developers created PF in 2001, and it rapidly improved to become the most approachable open source packet filter. FreeBSD ported PF over to its kernel in 2004, with occasional updates since. Today a whole bunch of folks who don’t program echo cultish wisdom that one or the other version of PF has fallen behind, not kept up on improvements, or otherwise betrayed their community. My subtler comments have been misinterpreted, so let’s try this.

These claims are garbage.

Contrary to what the peanut gallery of open source thinks, in general, the rule is that open source teams work together all the time, more often than not across project lines. Of course the OpenBSD developers are working together and sharing code when it comes to things like PF – they most likely share a lot of features and code, and while one of the two versions of PF might get a certain feature first, it will make its way to the other soon enough.

These are professionals – not forum posters.

Playing with Caml Light on DOS

Caml Light is implemented as a bytecode compiler which made it highly portable. It is possible to create executables using the CAMLC.EXE command, but please be aware that the resulting binaries are not standalone when using the default linking mode, and the runtime system (CAMLRUN.EXE) is required to run them.

The latest available release of Caml Light for DOS is version 0.7 released in 1995.

Here’s a fun project for the weekend.

ChromeOS 117 brings Material You to ChromeOS

Google is rolling out ChromeOS 117, and it’s a very big update for Chromebooks that adds Material You, as well as other usability enhancements.

A pretty big update to ChromeOS, and the Material You is definitely welcome – perhaps it fixes up some of the issues I had with ChromeOS when I reviewed it a few months ago. The quick settings panel has been completely redesigned, too, this update adds specific colour correction settings for people with certain eye conditions, and a whole lot more.

The update will roll out over the coming days.

Linux interop is maturing fast… Thanks to a games console

Two unusual companies, Valve Software and Igalia, are working together to improve the Linux-based OS of the Steam Deck handheld games console. The device runs a Linux distro called Steam OS 3.0, but this is a totally different distro from the original Steam OS it announced a decade ago. Steam OS 1 and 2 were based on Debian, but Steam OS 3 is based on Arch Linux, as Igalia developer Alberto García described in a talk entitled How SteamOS is contributing to the Linux ecosystem.

Valve’s contributions to desktop Linux cannot be understated. Aside from Proton, the company also does a lot of work on graphics, as well as stuff like mentioned in the article. Without Valve, there would be no gaming on Linux – and it’s gaming that’s driving the recent surge in popularity of desktop Linux. Of course, it’s still small compared to Windows and macOS, but the growth is undeniable.

Dotfiles matter: please stop dumping files in users’ $HOME directories.

Dotfiles are important. We use them every day for storing configuration for all kinds of applications, knowingly or otherwise. You know the ones, hidden in your $HOME directory, ~/.ssh/ for your ssh keys, or ~/.Xauthority (whatever the heck that does). Something you may not know is these are legacy locations for configuration. Please do not copy their behaviour. Your application’s configuration may be the most important thing on a user’s machine. There are now standardised locations on major platforms for applications to store user-specific configuration.

Your application should not be dumping random files into an unconfigurable location in the user’s home directory.

This speaks to my soul.

Windows Subsystem for Android 2309 Preview released

We’ve shipped an update for Windows Subsystem for Android on Windows 11 to the Windows Subsystem for Android Preview Program. This update (2309.40000.2.0) includes improvements to platform reliability and functionality improvements.

It updates the Chromium WebView to version 117, allows .cer files to be shared to Android, contains various Android 13 platform updates, and more. The Windows Subsystem for Android is available in the Windows Store.

The Philips Hue ecosystem is collapsing into stupidity

Philips Hue products are about to get a whole lot worse – even the ones you already own.

Their latest round of stupidity pops up a new EULA and forces you to take it or, again, you can’t access your stuff. But that’s just more unenforceable garbage, so who cares, right? Well, it’s getting worse.

It seems they are planning on dropping an update which will force you to log in. Yep, no longer will your stuff Just Work across the local network. Now it will have yet another garbage “cloud” “integration” involved, and they certainly will find a way to make things suck even worse for you.

This should be illegal.

I wish Android 14 inspired as many app updates as iOS 17 did

Whenever Apple releases a major OS update, as it did last Monday with iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and watchOS 10, developers – both large but especially indie – release a slew of day one updates to support the latest platform features.


I understand how the Android update model is inherently different from Apple’s. Namely, updates start out only on Google’s Pixel phones, which have a relatively small market share, while Samsung’s lion’s share of Android phones are typically weeks or months behind. Third-party Android developers don’t have an incentive to update on day one as the majority of their users won’t be getting the new OS for quite some time.

It really depends on what kind of applications you’re looking at. Yes, the popular applications from big players like Facebook or Spotify are terrible at adopting new Android features, but there’s definitely a vibrant community of developers who care these days, and it’s entirely possible to use only applications that follow the latest features and visual style of Android.

It’s definitely not as good as it is on iOS, and it surely takes a bit longer, but it’s also not nearly as bad as some make it out to be.

macOS 14 Sonoma: the Ars Technica review

Apple released macOS 14.0 Sonoma today, and what’s the best way to celebrate the new release? Why, the Ars Technica review, of course.

So macOS Sonoma is a perfectly typical macOS release, a sort of “Ventura-plus” that probably has one or two additions that any given person will find useful but which otherwise just keeps your Mac secure and avoids weird iCloud compatibility problems with whatever software is running on your phone. You probably don’t need to run out and install it, but there’s no real reason to avoid it if you’re not aware of some specific bug or compatibility problem that affects the software you use. It’s business as usual for Mac owners. Let’s dive in.

You can download and install it from the usual place if your Mac supports it.