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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 1 min ago

Language Patent Lawyers Are Using to Warp the Debate and Decrease Public Understanding of Patents

4 hours 13 min ago

Summary: The patent microcosm, trying to get the public all baffled/confused about the patent system, continues (mis)using words to convey things in misleading ways

YESTERDAY we wrote about how law firms had retreated to buzzwords by which to describe software patents. They’re not being honest to the public or even to their clients. Why pay for bad advice? All they care about is how much they can bill, even for worthless products/services (which they know to be worthless). Over the past week we caught some more examples worth mentioning.

“…it’s widely known that patents, for example, often stand in the way of geniuses. They limit their scope of exploration.”The latest patent propaganda from Forbes, which has become like a think tank of litigators, is titled “Feeding the Fire Of Genius: Intellectual Property And America’s High-Tech Future” and it makes the false assumption/assertion that for “genius” one needs Intellectual [sic] Property [sic]; it’s widely known that patents, for example, often stand in the way of geniuses. They limit their scope of exploration.

A Conservatives’ outfit, Daily Caller, would just publish anything provided that someone calling himself or herself “Conservative” would be happy. Even if that’s totally untrue, e.g. a case of self interest. Consider “OPINION: Make Patents Great Again” by James Edwards, “Executive director of Conservatives for Property [sic] Rights [sic]” (patents are neither). It’s like all those lies Watchtroll habitually tells about the USPTO, mislabeling low-quality patents as “strong”. When they say “great” they mean the opposite. They mean rubbish quality of patents! There’s also the dying STRONGER Patents Act.

“…if more people properly grasped or really understood how patents work, public consent for them would erode. Alternatively, patent scope would be significantly narrowed.”Some of the above is just lobbying. There’s also marketing by David J. Dykeman, Greenberg Traurig and Patrick West, Mirus Capital Advisors. It’s titled “How strong patent portfolios attract strategic investments and deals” and what they mean by “strong” here is plenty of them rather than actual quality and legitimacy; it’s the stockpiling mentality, building a fence of dubious monopoly claims.

How about Intellectual [sic] Property [sic] Right [sic] (none of the above) in the Indian sphere (Faculty of Juridical Sciences Rama University, Kanpur)? We sadly keep seeing such words being thrown in tandem. As we explained in the distant past, the patent microcosm deliberately mischaracterises patents. Why? Because if more people properly grasped or really understood how patents work, public consent for them would erode. Alternatively, patent scope would be significantly narrowed.

USPTO FEES ACT Makes the US Patent Office a Money-Making Machine That Systematically Disregards Patent Quality

4 hours 55 min ago

Taken for a ride by large corporations and their lawyers

Summary: The lingering issues with patent assessment at the US patent office, which unlike US courts isn’t quite so impartial an actor (it benefits more from granting than from rejecting)

THE PATENTS being granted by the USPTO are sometimes worrying for ethical reasons, not just economic/business/innovation reasons. Consider this new article. Companies now compete over who can best figure out what’s inside your mind based on photos you take (or are taken in, even without your consent). Suffice to say, from our point of view a big issue with this patent is that it’s a software patent. Why do examiners still grants these? As if 35 U.S.C. § 101 does not exist and as if the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) — assuming an inter partes review (IPR) got filed — would not invalidate it with the Federal Circuit‘s approval?

“They reject abstract things for not being patentable, for being mere thoughts, not “revolutionary”.”These patents are not at all “innovative”; the underlying ideas, moreover, are implementations in code, not innovation. Watchtroll’s David Wanetick wrote the other day that US “[p]atent examiners deem inventions to be “abstract” if they are too revolutionary” (Watchtroll actually wrote that nonsensical sentence last week!). What an utter lie. What lunacy. They reject abstract things for not being patentable, for being mere thoughts, not “revolutionary”. Here’s the full paragraph for more context:

Patent examiners deem inventions to be “abstract” if they are too revolutionary or “obvious” if the invention is less than revolutionary. Those patent applications that survive such prosecutorial rejections are likely to be clipped if they become subject to inter partes review challenges. For example, in Ex parte Hiroyuki Itagaki, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled that a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is an abstract idea and thus patent ineligible.

No, that wasn’t what actually happened. MRI machines are very old (I should know; I worked with these); the writer alludes to the claims by the wrong ‘wholesale’ description. And so something that somehow relates to MRI machines got rejected (as patent ineligible).

“There should never be patents on mathematics.”Yes, so? So what? This is generally the sort of “intellectual dishonesty” we’ve seen Watchtroll accused of online. Watchtroll now celebrates software patents (i.e. bogus, invalid patents) in “A Look at RSA Cryptography and the Seminal Patent that Landed the Inventors in the Hall of Fame,” but we don’t suppose the writer knows (or cares) that these algorithms are not inventions but implementations or applied mathematics. There should never be patents on mathematics. Few would attempt to dispute that.

It has meanwhile been noted by Dennis Crouch (a patent maximalist, albeit more moderate than Watchtroll) that the USPTO maintains the financial incentive to just grant and grant and grant. Giving large corporations monopolies and making a lot of money in the process (creating money out of a mere concept!) or in his own words:

S. 3416 An Act to amend the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act to extend the period during which the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office may set or adjust certain fees.

Mr. Grassley (for himself, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Coons, and Mr. Hatch) recently introduced the USPTO FEES Act – Funds for Efficient and Effective Services Act. The primary clause in the provision would extend the USPTO feemaking authority for an additional eight years.

Why should the USPTO get to decide how much money it makes unless it is a private, pro-profit corporation? Going back to Watchtroll, yesterday it carried on pushing for legislation that would worsen patent quality. They said, “let us go on the record to say that we support: The TROL Act, R.6370; The STRONGER Patents Act, R.5340; The Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act, H.R. 6264, sometimes referred to as the Massie-Kaptur Act…”

“…what we have at the moment is a system that puts profit before public interest and therefore grants like mad.”All of these are awful and that last one we wrote about several times in summer [1, 2, 3].

What’s needed in the US is a patent system that prioritises public interest. Instead, what we have at the moment is a system that puts profit before public interest and therefore grants like mad. There’s also a profound issue with corruption.

Guest Post on Ronan Le Gleut and Benalla at the French Senate (in Light of Battistelli’s Epic Abuses)

5 hours 55 min ago

Previously:

  1. Alexandre Benalla, Macron’s Violent Bodyguard, Was Also Battistelli’s Bodyguard
  2. It Wasn’t Judges With Weapons in Their Office, It Was Benoît Battistelli Who Brought Firearms to the European Patent Office (EPO)
  3. Benoît Battistelli Refuses to Talk to the Media About Bringing Firearms to the EPO

Summary: Thoughts on the possibility that Battistelli will belatedly be held accountable for his abuses, knowing that a senator representing French Citizens residing Abroad comes from the EPO

There is one senator who might take a particular interest in the Benalla hearings: Ronan Le Gleut, who is since 2017 a senator with a six year mandate representing the electoral district of French Citizens residing Abroad.

He is technically on leave from the EPO for duration of his mandate. Le Gleut is only 42, which is quite young for a senator. but would be close to 50 if and when he were to resume his career as an examiner at whatever will be left then of the EPO, after having been a member of various senatorial working groups on exciting subjects such as Brexit.

“Let’s hope he [Benalla] didn’t do like he did in France and carry his fetish beyond the limits of EPO premises. That would have been an iffy proposition even within.”According to my information, he had previously run for various offices on a right wing ticket (Sarkozy’s party), until he squeaked through thanks to quirks of proportional representation mathematics by founding his own party list of which he was the sole candidate.

It will be interesting to see where his loyalties would lie, if he has any involvement in the hearings… He is in the opposition to Macron’s party, but belongs to Battistelli’s.

Regarding Benalla, it is generally quite difficult to obtain a firearm permit in Germany, and from what I know of the requirements, it seems to me extremely unlikely that a man who had just arrived in the country without any prior history or local knowledge could quickly obtain one, even using the EPOnia joker. Let’s hope he didn’t do like he did in France and carry his fetish beyond the limits of EPO premises. That would have been an iffy proposition even within.

A Lot of US Patents Are Entirely Bogus, But Apple Was Willing to Pay for Them

Monday 24th of September 2018 02:27:39 AM

Steve Jobs gave today’s richest person (whose firm’s valuation is at $1 trillion, just like Apple) $1 million for a bogus patent on ’1-click’ shopping


Photo credit: AP

Summary: Apple’s resistance to Qualcomm’s patent aggression was preceded by very heavy (“thermonuclear” by Steve Jobs’ description/words) patent wars against Android and even legitimisation of clearly bogus software patents from Amazon

W

HEN Qualcomm leveraged its questionable USPTO-granted patents against Apple (Qualcomm is getting desperate and trying the same in Europe now) it didn’t foresee the full impact. As IDG makes clear and San Diego Union-Tribune does too, Qualcomm assumed it would get an injunction; instead it drove away its biggest clients, which effectively ‘ban’ (or boycott) Qualcomm. That’s just the cost of being a patent bully — a fact that Qualcomm underestimated. Qualcomm now buys back its own shares at an incredible rate (to avoid/save the stock from completely collapsing like its attempted — albeit failed — takeover bid).

Qualcomm was also mentioned on Sunday by Watchtroll. It’s about a case from 10 days ago:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued a ruling discussing the differences between obviousness determinations of apparatus and method claims. According to the Federal Circuit, an apparatus that is “capable of” performing certain functions may be anticipated by or made obvious by the prior art, whereas, a method claim requires a person of ordinary skill to be motivated to operate the apparatus in a manner that would satisfy a limitation. See ParkerVision Inc. v. Qualcomm, Inc., Nos. 17-2012, 2013, 2014, 2074 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 13, 2018) (Before O’Malley, Reyna, and Taranto, Circuit Judges) (Opinion for the court, O’Malley, Circuit Judge).

Qualcomm gradually finds out, for it has started to attack with patents, that many of its patents are bogus. They should never have been granted in the first place. We certainly hope that Apple will challenge all of these patents; failing to do so may mean that Qualcomm would later leverage these against Android/Linux OEMs.

Days ago we also saw creepy new Amazon patents being reported on [1, 2]. These seemed rather shallow, not just creepy, and even the patent microcosm joked about/ridiculed Amazon’s patents (“Amazon one-click patent is no doubt DRT under rationale of SCOTUS case Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank.”), citing this new report titled “Steve Jobs licensed Amazon’s one-click patent for $1 million in one phone call” (about something which happened a long time ago, almost two decades ago). To quote:

In 1999, Amazon—then merely “Earth’s biggest bookstore” rather than a corporate beast that shall soon devour everything in its path—introduced and patented one-click payments. This was in the early days of e-commerce when people were fearful of sending their credit-card details online. One-click processing allowed the startup to keep customers’ billing details on file so that they could make instant purchases.

That feature quickly came to Apple in 2000 in one of the earliest versions of its online store. “Licensing Amazon.com’s 1-Click patent and trademark will allow us to offer our customers an even easier and faster online buying experience,” Steve Jobs said at the time.

[...]

When Apple licensed Amazon’s patent in September 2000, Apple had a market cap of $8.4 billion and Amazon had one of $13.7 billion. Recently, Apple became the first US company to reach $1 trillion—followed soon after by Amazon.

So Apple’s Steve ‘patent blackmail’ Jobs (he used patents against GNU/Linux as well) legitimised bogus software patents. Instead of challenging them he gave them perceived legitimacy. What a ‘genius’!

‘Owning’ Nature, Thanks to Patent Insanity and People Who Profit From That

Monday 24th of September 2018 12:57:34 AM

Related: Stop Patenting Life, Nature is Not an Invention (you owe nature, you don’t own it)

Summary: Questionable patents on things that always existed and are merely being explained or reassembled; those sorts of patents typically serve to merely discredit the patent system and courts too increasingly reject such patents (e.g. SCOTUS on Mayo Collaborative Services and Myriad Genetics, Inc.)

THE subject of patents on life/nature is a hotly-debated one at the EPO; many patents got voided (at least virtually) en masse. The USPTO is a lot more lenient and there are some blogs/sites that proudly promote patents on life (or what they call “patents for life”).

One such site is Patent Docs. Kevin Noonan and Donald Zuhn have just advertised this event which they participate in:

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP and Patent Docs will be hosting a CLE program on Biopharma Patent Law from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on October 24, 2018 at the Boston Marriott Cambridge in Cambridge, MA. MBHB attorneys and Patent Docs authors Kevin Noonan and Donald Zuhn…

They had also advertised this event on ‘biosimilar’ patents, set up by patent zealots from the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO). “In light of FTC challenges to a series of contemporaneous business deals including patent settlements,” it says, “the future of non-cash forms of compensation” is debated. A few days prior to this Kevin Noonan wrote about a case that we covered before: E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v Synvina C.V.

What made this unique was an invalid patent in the context of chemistry:

The Federal Circuit reversed a finding of non-obviousness in a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision in an inter partes review, in an opinion handed down Monday in E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Synvina C.V.

The patent was directed to methods for oxidizing 5-hydroxymethylfurfural or derivatives thereof under reaction conditions specified by the claims (“temperature, pressure, catalyst, and solvent”), to form 2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid (“FDCA”). FDCA can be produced from sugars and thus is considered by the Department of Energy to be a “green” or environmentally beneficial precursor to other materials.

[...]

(Interestingly, the evidence adduced by DuPont in support of standing establishes their intent to willfully infringe should the panel not decide that the PTAB erred in not finding the ’921 patent to be invalid, although the panel was careful to state in a footnote that “we make no judgment on whether DuPont has infringed or is infringing the ’921 patent.”)

A similar article was produced by Dennis Crouch, who revisited the case by saying: “My prior post on DuPont v. Synvina focused on the obviousness of a claimed range in the context of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. The decision also raises a question of standing — whether the patent challenger DuPont had standing to appeal the IPR decision favoring the patentee Synvina. [...] With the standing requirement met, the Federal Circuit was able to hear DuPont’s argument and agreed that the claims are obvious.”

So the US patent office granted the patent in error. The effect of such errors can be profound; Acorda was recently brought up by Crouch in relation to this (after its shares had collapsed, following Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. v Roxane Laboratories Inc.). Watchtroll wrote about it three days ago and on the same day it wrote about CRISPR-Cas9 patents (life being ‘owned’ by patents, hence a controversial type of patents). To quote: “The Court affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) decision finding there was no interference-in-fact between UC’s patent application and the claims of twelve patents and one application owned by Institute. See Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Broad Inst., Inc., No. 2017-1907, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25535 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 10, 2018) (Before Prost, Schall, and Moore, J.) (Opinion for the court, Moore, J.).”

This case received a lot of media attention [1, 2, 3, 4] and the decision [PDF] from the Federal Circuit is widely cited. The US patent system has truly gone insane if things that aren’t inventions but are naturally-occurring can become a private monopoly. People (design-)patent nature now, too. As Crouch noted a few days ago, there are patents on marble!

A natural phenomenon is not patent eligible — neither is a man-made items that is identical to a naturally occurring. The image below sure looks like a natural stone pattern, but is actually an image of an artificial quartz stone slab patented in U.S. Design Patent No. D825,787 that issued in August 2018.

[...]

As per usual standard operating procedures, the USPTO issued the design patent in a first-action-allowance without rejection and without citing must of relevance.

It is pretty incredible that the USPTO lets this slip in, not through. Opioid addiction, as we noted quite recently, was also exploited by patents; a family of billionaires had created lots of drug addicts in the US (with many fatal consequences) and the USPTO is rewarding them for a crisis of their own making with a monopoly on treatment. As Watchtroll put it on Saturday, there’s a Delaware case (the 'new' Eastern Texas) dealing with this and “[t]he Federal Circuit reversed the District of Delaware’s decision to invalidate Orexo’s opioid treatment patent as obvious because obviousness was not proved by clear and convincing evidence.”

Sure then. Make treatment of deadly drug addiction a monopoly too. Maybe drug addicts will then have to commit lots of crimes just to add up the money to get a cure for their addiction. This is an exercise in self-discreditisation by the USPTO.

Patents Stranger Than Fiction and ‘Protection’ From Fictional Things

Sunday 23rd of September 2018 11:57:10 PM

Are patent examiners reading fiction literature (e.g. SciFi novels) in search of prior art now?

Summary: Fictional things are being treated like “inventions” and insurance companies now look to exploit fear of fictional things (man-made concepts), such as ownership of mere ideas or words

Fictional things with patents on them aren’t so new — or shall we say “novel” — a thing. We gave examples of that before and earlier today Patently-O did too, partly joking about references to SciFi novels. To quote Crouch: “I’m looking forward to reading the first office action in this case — pretty cool approach for thinking through how to use a hollowed-out asteroid for a manned interplanetary spaceship. In his IDS, inventor Wayne White includes a set of interesting references — including a citation to the Greg Bear’s 1985 SciFi novel EON that included an alien hollowed-out asteroid.”

Is this what USPTO boils down to now? Science fiction as patents? We aren’t aware of anything similar to it at the EPO; it would serve to merely discredit the premise that patents exist to support existing innovation (applied work, not mere theory).

Selling insurance for fictional things is what we saw in the US earlier this year (in summer) and commented about. As it turns out, almost like a ‘protection’ racket (akin to RPX or Microsoft’s Azure ‘IP’ Advantage [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21]), insurance companies now sell “IP insurance policy”. Months ago we saw it in the US, now (Sunday night or Monday morning over there) we see it in New Zealand, as per the following new article:

A new policy by Delta Insurance may go some way to offering protection against spiralling litigation costs.

[...]

In an interview, Mr Kirk said cover started at $2500, giving up to $250,000 coverage, and rose to up to $100,000 per policy, which would offer cover of $1 million.

Mr Kirk said excesses could be as low as $5000, but were more typically about $10,000.

So they basically exploit an atmosphere of blackmail to make money. Rather than tackle the blackmail itself. The ‘protection’ is also fictional in the sense that it ‘protects’ from fictional things like “intellectual” “property” rather than storms, car accidents, death of a breadwinner and so on. Insurance as a universal tax? Because of things like these man-made problems?

Benoît Battistelli Refuses to Talk to the Media About Bringing Firearms to the EPO

Sunday 23rd of September 2018 11:09:11 PM

“Immunity” would probably be invoked even if someone got shot (and investigations suppressed, as usual)

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s highly aggressive approach has attracted the attention of French media; Battistelli has reportedly refused to comment on that matter, knowing that he lacks a defense (same thing happened after he had hauled millions of EPO euros to his other employer)

CORRUPT Benoît Battistelli has a lifelong obsession with bodyguards; it didn’t start at the EPO but at INPI apparently. INPI wants more people inside the EPO and “revolving doors” is what Benjamin Henrion called it. “INPI has been corrupting the process during the swpat [software patents] debate, as any other NPO in other countries,” Henrion added. There are clinical words that describe Battistelli’s chronic paranoia, which has created a deeply toxic atmosphere at the Office and has cost it over a million euros just in ‘bodyguard bills’ (not that these French firms/bodyguards would mind the unchecked money flow).

“Some mainstream French media approached us for further pointers and has apparently asked the Liar in Chief for a comment.”A few days ago we wrote about the firearms aspect (see article/image above), confirmed in light of the Alexandre Benalla scandal. Some mainstream French media approached us for further pointers and has apparently asked the Liar in Chief for a comment. We can’t really read French (not properly), so we rely on occasional translations. Maybe SUEPO will produce and publish some soon.

“Benoît Battistelli,” said one new tweet, “ex President of the European Patent Office EPO did not respond to requests for comment? Why not answer the questions of the journalists? Lack of transparency in the European Patent Office? No answer is an answer, right?”

“EPO corruption lives on, albeit it’s disguised a little better.”Much of the discussion about it is in French, e.g. [1, 2, 3] and very little is in English, e.g. this tweet which says: “From an European perspective, it’s rather interesting to discover that the violent bodyguard Benalla worked as well for Battistelli the President of the European Patent Office.”

He ran the EPO like a Mafia, so why not arm it like a Mafia? Suffice to say, António Campinos will never investigate any of it. He will be a good lapdog to Battistelli, having received his job from Battistelli. EPO corruption lives on, albeit it’s disguised a little better.

Patent Law Firms Have Become More Like Marketing Departments With an Aptitude for Buzzwords

Sunday 23rd of September 2018 05:06:07 PM

Summary: What we’re observing, without much reluctance anymore, is that a lot of patent lawyers still push abstract software patents, desperately looking for new trendy terms or adjectives by which to make these seem non-abstract

THE EPO and the USPTO are both relying on buzzwords by which to promote software patents, knowing that software patents in Europe are not quite allowed and SCOTUS — with growing support from the Federal Circuit and endless action via Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) — is frowning/scoffing at such patents (as per Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office). We have written literally dozens of articles about this subject and included over a thousand examples over the years. We keep seeing many of the same buzzwords, which need to be named and deconstructed (they usually don’t mean a thing; it’s marketing).

Over the past week (as in every other week) we’ve been tracking activity like software patenting. What makes it a tad tricky is the (mis)use of homonyms and synonyms, along with the above-mentioned buzzwords. The buzzwords change over time, with some of them aging out of existence and new ones being introduced (e.g. so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’ or “4IR” as the EPO likes to call it). We don’t want to mock or obsess over these buzzwords too much. From what we can gather, EPO examiners are clever enough to spot this nonsense and have a good chuckle over it. This post will, instead, be a rundown of outline or recent articles which demonstrate what we’re talking about.

Several days ago we saw “FogChain Patent Secured Data Access Control”; if this sounds abstract, well… that’s because it is. And the article is just self-promotional junk from Crypto Block Wire, LLC (the publisher). To quote:

FogChain Corp. is a futuristic, highly reputable company offering solutions to software development, testing, and deployment. The company is gratified to announce its most recent decision regarding filing for a new patent. The patent covers secured data access control utilizing localized cryptographic innovation.

Technological advancements in the blockchain industry have empowered secure distribution of digital information using cryptographic techniques. Consequently, secure and quick transactions, including other data adjustments, can take place in a more dynamic and economical manner. In particular, its decentralization endeavors may bring about absolute transparency and immutability of the data.

The patent’s underlying technology covers localized network typologies that are able to grant access control and data management capabilities. The technology can additionally provide particular network architecture models that accommodate and empower such functionalities.

How is that not abstract? It’s so obviously invalid based on Section 101 criteria. But they say “blockchain” and “innovation”, so it must be very, very innovative. “Patent please!”

Remember that all these "blockchain" patents are bunk software patents; we cannot stress this strongly and often enough. This sort of “blockchain” hype is everywhere this year, including in the domain of patents, wherein it’s presented either in the context of patenting or management of patent data (sometimes both, sometimes interleaving to the point of revealing writers’ inability to comprehend what they even write about or get told by law firms). Here is a fairly new article titled “What would a blockchain patent war look like?”

The opening paragraphs go like this:

Blockchain is perhaps the most hyped technology of the past five years. The technology that allows us to create trustless immutable shared ledgers promises to bring transparency and honesty to commerce by disintermediating and decentralizing functions that rely on trusted third parties today. The promise and the potential are almost as big as the hype.

While still the early days, there are several applications that have already launched on blockchains — the first being the Bitcoin cryptocurrency payment protocol. Bitcoin is just a unit of account on blockchain. And more recently, with the implementation of smart contracts, code that is shared across the whole blockchain to execute conditionally with irrefutable results, we have the possibility to tokenize many new financial constructs on blockchains.

It’s all abstract; it’s software.

Another new article, this one titled “Mastercard Eyes Blockchain For B2B,” promoted the misconception that large companies (such as Mastercard) applying for a patent means they intend to implement something rather than simply obstruct competition/disruption. We wrote about this in past years, even in relation to Mastercard. To quote:

Blockchain has been receiving attention well beyond cryptocurrencies, and the focus has shifted in part to patent filings. Though it may seem that China has dominated patent filing activity in recent weeks, a number of firms (not Alibaba) have been making their own way across the patent landscape.

In the latest news germane to intellectual property and blockchain, Mastercard has filed three patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as reported this week. Amid those patent filings came details that the payments giant has developed a blockchain-based system, which aims to streamline high-volume B2B transactions. The patents are titled “Method and System for Recording Point-to-Point Transaction Processing.”

UseTheBitcoin (blog) then published a rather poorly-researched item that attempts to rank large companies based on “Blockchain Patents”, preceding the list with a logo of Microsoft. From the introduction:

Blockchain technology is one of the most trending topics in 2018. With blockchain becoming one of the most popular buzzwords today, every startup or established company wants to jump on the opportunity. This has led to the abundance of companies filing patent applications, hence triggering a potential blockchain race.

This year alone, several major companies applied for Blockchain-related patents. Like any other patent, a blockchain patent is a strict form of legal protection over an invention and the intellectual base of that invention. It’s a legal means for inventors to prevent others from making use of their invention.

Promotion of totally bogus software patents is likely to do no good, except for law firms; it’s about databases. There are also those that pertain to computer vision (mathematics) and are being promoted in press releases like this one which says: “This report provides insights into the development of facial recognition-related granted patents for automotive applications and offers a snapshot of facial recognition-based technology and application trends in the automotive industry.”

Well, facial recognition is all software. I know this, having reviewed scholarly papers on this (even for leading international journals). Why are such patents still being hailed as worthwhile after Alice? The mind boggles…

Campbell University is meanwhile calling algorithms “AI”, failing to note that these buzzwords won’t make these algorithms any less abstract and thus invalid as per Section 101. Here they are advertising the event. Topics include “Patentable Subject Matter for Computer Related Inventions” and “Protecting AI Software & Protecting Inventions Created with the Help of AI” (two different things, but in both cases boiling down to mere algorithms). Their calendar says they are giving “Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit from the North Carolina Bar Association” by lying to people about software patents and telling them, even wrongly, that ‘dressing up’ algorithms as “AI” would be worth the time and money. This is a recipe for major disappointment as judges would throw out such patents.

Matt Acosta and Emilio Nicolas (Jackson Walker) have meanwhile published in JD Supra (press releases platform for lawyers) something about surveillance in one’s toothbrush. They are calling abstract things “smart” and “IoT” to make them seem patentable and desirable (they’re neither). With a term like “Internet of Things” preceding/starting the headline, what could possibly go wrong? Putting the “Internet of Things” on just about anything is supposed to make things sound new, amazing and novel.

We have meanwhile also noticed, from South Africa for a change, the International Law Office (not what it sounds like) publishing a nonsensical piece with “fourth industrial revolution” (three buzzwords) and “IP protection” (three propaganda terms) in the headline. Louw Steyn and Dawid Prozesky use misleading propaganda words like “property” and “protection”, conjoined/combined with “4IR” from the EPO, to promote the false perception that software patents have legitimacy (they lack that in courts, even in South Africa). In the body they also namedrop “artificial intelligence” (AI) and “additive manufacturing” (AM), not to mention “smart” (nowadays everything that does mass surveillance gets called “smart”). From the introductory paragraph:

The so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’ is in full swing. Fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) and additive manufacturing (AM) are no longer a thing of the future, but rather an increasing part of everyday life in the form of smart devices, driverless cars and automated assistants – to name a few examples. This revolution is generally centred on a fusion between physical and digital technologies.

The above is just a big “salad” of buzzwords — something to be expected from a marketing department rather than a law firm. Sadly, however, many law firms have been decimated to just that. They just recite a lot of propaganda terms and trendy words like “smart” or “innovative”. They don’t like using terms like “software patents” anymore, knowing that examiners and judges would be instinctively inclined to reject like a reflex.

Interlude: The Need to Counter Misinformation From the Patent and Litigation ‘Industry’

Sunday 23rd of September 2018 03:10:33 PM

Summary: 24,500 posts reached; so we pause and reflect, seeing that many sites/blogs of patent maximalists gradually ebb away

LONG before we even had a wiki (around 2008) we wrote about the USPTO and later about the EPO. The site began as a reaction to patent assaults on Free/Libre Open Source software, dating back to the Microsoft/Novell deal. Our style has always been the same; we try to debunk and challenge misinformation, presenting overlooked and/or suppressed points of views, facts, sometimes leaked material. The site grew pretty rapidly and before the “social media” hype it was able to attract a lot of comments, sometimes over a hundred per day. We used to write about Free/Libre Open Source software, to use the most “inclusive” term. Later we focused almost entirely on patents, seeing that there was a vacuum to fill in the absence of refutations to the patent ‘industry’. Groklaw, a site which used to write a great deal on this matter (from a Free/Libre Open Source software-centric perspective) took a long break around 2010 and then a permanent break a few years later. The advent and growth of so-called ‘social media’ has since then reduced the frequency of blogging online. A lot of blogs that had been active for many years became less active or completely inactive — a trend we continue to see as IAM goes ‘dark’, Watchtroll writes almost half what it did a year ago, various law firms’ blogs going silent, and recently even Docket Report (part of Docket Navigator) going silent. There have been no updates there for one month and one day (last post is dated August 22nd).

Patent Docs has also been slowing down, albeit not as considerably as some other blogs. Patent Docs probably publishes more ads than articles, however, and many are totally off-topic (e.g. posts about fashion and animals, not patents). Today it ‘wrote’ (published ads) about the abomination which is SEPs (Standard Essential Patents) among other things like the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty). But those are all ads. They outnumber the actual articles.

Techrights still publishes more or less as often as ever before (we peaked around 2009). Some time soon we’ll reach 25,000 posts (that’s more than 2,000 per year, on average). We never relied on any form of sponsorship, so money plays no role in it. It’s idealogical and the guiding ideology is science, progress, cooperation.

Advocacy of the Unitary Patent System Has Become Almost Identical to the ‘Leave’ (Brexit) Campaign

Sunday 23rd of September 2018 02:22:08 PM

Distinguishable and wholly detached from underlying facts


Source

Summary: The charades of Team UPC carry on in Kluwer Patent Blog — a blog which for a very long time served no purpose other than Unified Patent Court (UPC) advocacy

THE EPO barely mentions the UPC anymore. Maybe it’s concerned about still seeming dishonest, even under António Campinos who hasn't mentioned the UPC for more than a couple of months (see photo at the top).

“No UPC sceptics, opposition or even realists allowed. The usual brainwash from those who call people who do not agree with them “idiots” and “trolls”, then delete their comments.”“Kluwer Patent blogger” (typically Bristows) has just published a Team UPC and UPC boosters’ roundtable-style propaganda piece (for their wallets). No UPC sceptics, opposition or even realists allowed. The usual brainwash from those who call people who do not agree with them "idiots" and "trolls", then delete their comments. Campinos can be like that too. There are no comments yet (the blog has generally been in decline lately, just like the UPCA). Reading between the lines, much of what we find there is a lot like the Brexit/Leave campaign. They make false assumptions (e.g. that Brexit will happen for sure or that UPC can happen irrespective of the UK). From the introduction:

The patent world is holding its breath in expectation of the judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) on the complaint that was filed last year against ratification of the UPCA.

We find it amusing that what they allude to as “experts” are actually 1) UPC profiteers (like the ‘Brexiter’ MPs looking to gain financially if not already gaining financially from departure from the Union) and 2) “co-author of The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court” (no bias here!).

So basically, this is like getting one’s Brexit ‘news’ from the Express or the Daily Mail, except here we have Kluwer Patent Blog, which presents itself as an objective observer.

Open Invention Network is Rendered Obsolete in the Wake of Alice and It’s Not Even Useful in Combating Microsoft’s Patent Trolls

Sunday 23rd of September 2018 07:13:20 AM

Summary: Changes at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in US courts’ outcomes may have already meant that patent trolls rather than software patents in general are a growing threat, including those that Microsoft is backing, funding and arming to put legal pressure on GNU/Linux (and compel people/companies to host GNU/Linux instances on Azure for patent ‘protection’ from these trolls)

THE situation at the USPTO has changed in recent years. AIA introduced the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and inter partes reviews (IPRs) — together with 35 U.S.C. § 101 as relevant law — helped eliminate a lot of software patents which had been granted for a couple of decades.

These changes posed a problem not just for patent trolls and bullies but also law firms and bodies whose sole purpose was to ‘protect’ from these patent trolls and bullies. Some were rendered moot or redundant. See the demise of RPX for example. Well, what about Open Invention Network (OIN)? The terrain is changing and OIN is totally failing to adapt. It’s still stuck in the past.

OIN’s Jaime Siegel and Mirko Boehm reappeared several days ago. Usually its their CEO who appears in the media.

OIN has such a misguided and pointless strategy these days that even the patent trolls’ proponents can support these people. Watchtroll entertains Jaime Siegel, OIN’s Global Director of Licensing (yes, licensing!). It’s a large “cross-license agreement” — one that Oracle did not even seem to obey when it sued Google over Android/Java. Abolish software patents instead, OIN, don’t do this:

As Jaime Siegel, OIN’s Global Director of Licensing, notes, OIN is able to grant free membership to companies joining the consortium thanks to the efforts of eight full-funding member companies which have each funded $20 million to support OIN’s operations through an endowment. These companies include the first six companies to form OIN: Sony, Phillips, IBM, Red Hat, NEC and SUSE; joining those companies are Google and Toyota. OIN’s board consists of representatives from each of these full funding members. Every new member of OIN signs the same licensing agreement as the full-funding members, giving all members in the organization equal standing in terms of the cross-license agreement.

[...]

Siegel said that the only kind of company that wouldn’t benefit from membership in OIN would be a company which was building a patent assertion program to get companies to license Linux core patents. Despite the massive expansion of Linux-based systems across industries, however, Siegel said that there has been virtually no patent litigation around the Linux core. “While OIN won’t take all the credit for it, I think OIN has been a big factor as to why there’s been so little litigation around the Linux core,” Siegel said. “While we are a pro-patent organization, we’re very aggressive about going after assets that are threats to Linux and opposing activities that are targeted against the Linux core.”

“OIN’s Members include Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, Sony” (and others), according to Wikipedia. Sony is one of “the first six companies to form OIN,” according to the above interview. Days ago Sony’s patents made some headlines [1, 2] because Sony is still a patent maximalist, hardly a reformer in any sense of the word. IBM is a major patents-wielding bully, as well, and OIN’s first CEO came from IBM.

OIN’s Mirko Boehm wrote about FRAND in the European Union on the very same day the above got published. Here is what he said:

As part of the research project on “The Interaction between Open Source Software and FRAND licensing in Standardisation”, a workshop was organised by the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) in collaboration with Directorate General Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) to present and discuss the intermediate results to date. The workshop took place in Brussels on September 18, 2018. I presented a set of observations from the research on the case studies performed as part of the project that are outlined below. Other speakers where Catharina Maracke on the issue of legal compliance between Open Source and FRAND licenses, Bruce Perens on “Community Dynamics in Open Source”, and Andy Updegrove on “Dynamics in Standardisation”.

You may ask what the relevance of this debate is for the wider Free and Open Source Software community. The obvious answer is that to distribute software “without restriction”, the user needs all the usage rights associated with the program. While most FOSS contributors assume that this is naturally the central motivation for anybody to contribute in the first place, there is a long history of attempts to maintain some sort of exclusive control over a piece of FOSS code, possibly using other rights than copyright.

Mirko Boehm’s (auto)biography says that he is “Director, Linux System Definition, Open Invention Network.” With people like Andy Updegrove and Bruce Perens involved (in the above) it looks a lot more legitimate than IAM's disgraced event.

Anyway, if the goal is to protect GNU/Linux from patents (rather than protecting software patents from GNU/Linux advocates, as Perens once put it), then OIN must evolve. Microsoft is operating through trolls while offering (selling) ‘protection’ from these [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20]. One example is Microsoft’s patent troll Finjan, which days ago issued a widely-spread and paid-for press release [1, 2, 3] about its laughable software patents that it uses to blackmail Microsoft’s rivals. This spoke of the Federal Circuit‘s stance on the ‘408 patent:

“Finjan is gratified to have the Federal Circuit’s decision affirming the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision rejecting Palo Alto Networks’ challenges to Finjan’s ‘408 Patent,” stated Julie Mar-Spinola, CIPO and VP, Legal Operations for Finjan. “While this allowed Palo Alto Networks to delay Finjan’s day in court for nearly four years, we believe we are due and will seek past and accrued damages for that period until resolution, which is not insignificant.”

There have been similar Federal Circuit challenges to patents from Intellectual Ventures (IV) with its notorious proxies like ‘offspring’ trolls. It’s another Microsoft proxy which goes after Microsoft’s rivals with frivolous lawsuits and threats thereof. Where is OIN in all this? Not interested? Apathetic? Therein lie some of the biggest problems.

Bogus Patents Which Oughtn’t Have Been Granted Make Products Deliberately Worse, Reducing Innovation and Worsening Customers’ Experience

Saturday 22nd of September 2018 05:07:07 PM


EP2460270 by Marco Cassia (warning: epo.org link)

Summary: How shallow patents — or patent applications that no patent office should be accepting — turn out to be at the core of multi-billion-dollar cases/lawsuits, with potentially a billion people impacted (their products made worse to work around such questionable patents)

IN OUR previous post we mentioned how the EPO had begun feeding patent trolls in the same way the USPTO did for a number of decades. Qualcomm is a poorly-managed aging company in a state of decadence, so it nowadays resorts to patents more than anything, even dubious European Patents (EPs), granted by the EPO.

Florian Müller has been keeping a close eye on legal filings from Qualcomm, especially earlier this year. He more or less understands the underlying issues, having spoken to some of the people involved and also glanced at the underlying patents. “Very long (by local standards) Qualcomm v. Apple patent trial just finished,” he wrote some days ago. “Stuff for more than one blog post: infringement, validity, antitrust, licenses to contract manufacturers… By far their most interesting court fight to date.”

The CCIA‘s (Computer & Communications Industry Association) Joshua Landau weighed in by saying: “The FRAND obligation means you negotiate a license with *anyone* who asks, not “anyone but your competitors.” This shouldn’t be controversial-even Qualcomm has argued that when they were in the position of wanting a license.”

“Qualcomm [is] presently asserting 13 patents against Apple in Germany,” Müller noted. “Until today‘s trial, „only“ 10 were known, including the one the court in Munich told me about yesterday.”

Müller, Landau said, “beat me to it (and beat our press release as well), but yeah, FRAND means FRAND – you have to be willing to license anyone who asks for a license. Qualcomm even agrees with this principle—when they’re the ones who want a license.”

Müller already wrote a number of posts about it — ones that we took stock of last week. He separately took note of another FRAND case: “Huawei v. Samsung: no deal. Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore: Case did not settle. Settlement Conference held on 9/17/2018. Total Time in Court: 4 hours 17 minutes…”

But focusing on the main case in question (one which impacts Android/Linux as well), Müller said that “[i]ndustry bodies @actonline and @ccianet support @FTC’s motion to require #Qualcomm to license SEPs to rival chipset makers,” basically citing a disgraced Microsoft front group which pretends to represent small businesses. He wrote a blog post about it and assured me that “I never said they represented me. I just agree selectively…”

Here’s what’s happening in a nutshell:

It’s a busy September on the FRAND front…

As I reported on the first of the month, the Federal Trade Commission brought a motion for partial summary judgment that may open up the wireless chipset market–by reminding Qualcomm of its self-imposed obligation to license rival chipset makers–even prior to the big antitrust trial in the Northern District of California.

It’s odd that a mere reminder would be a potential game-changer, but that’s the way it is because of Qualcomm’s refusal to live up to the FRAND promise.

Disturbing it was to then see CCIA liaising with a Microsoft AstroTurfing group:

Yesterday, CCIA and ACT filed an amicus brief in the FTC’s case against Qualcomm in the Northern District of California. As explained in the brief, the FRAND obligation which patent owners voluntarily agree to when they participate in the development of a standard requires the owners of standard-essential patents to license their patents on “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.” And the “non-discriminatory” portion of that obligation means precisely what it states—that the patent owner may not discriminate amongst willing licensees, but has to license anyone who wants a license.

Why would CCIA wish to associate with ACT? We could expect this perhaps 7 years ago when CCIA did all sorts of questionable things, but why now? Why again?

“Trolling with junk patents works best in Germany,” Müller wrote later. “With respect to injunctions, worse than the Eastern District of Texas.”

Something like the UPC would put that ‘on steroids’ if it was ever to materialise, further broadening scope of injunctions. The patent maximalists deny that a problem even exists in that regard.

As it turns out, the European Patent in question may in fact be bunk: [via]

Yesterday’s Qualcomm v. Apple trial took twice as long as the average Mannheim patent trial. In fact, the ventilation system was switched off in the late afternoon, so for the last hour, two doors had to be kept open. The courtrooms at the Mannheim Regional Court, Europe’s leading venue for wireless patents, are famously windowless.

Presiding Judge Dr. Holger Kircher forthcomingly stated at the outset that this case was, in my words, too close to call (unlike the one that Qualcomm agreed to stay in June), thus the court had to elaborate on all our of Apple’s defenses: non-infringement, invalidity (which German district courts don’t determine, but they can and often do stay cases pending a parallel nullity or revocation proceeding in another forum), abusive conduct (antitrust), and licensing (through one or more contract manufacturers). I’ll address the first two–the traditional defenses to patent infringement–in this post, and the affirmative defenses (the remaining two) in a subsequent post since there’s an abundance of interesting things to report and comment on.

The patent-in-suit, EP2460270 on a “switch with improved biasing” (“biasing” in this context basically meaning that one voltage gets to control another), is not standard-essential. Essentiality hasn’t been alleged by any party to the German Qualcomm v. Apple cases that have been heard so far. Nor is it related to wireless baseband processors: it’s a general circuity patent covering a type of switch. It was mentioned during yesterday’s trial that the chip allegedly infringing on the patent is supplied to Apple by Avago/Broadcom. But all of the accused devices come with an Intel baseband chip, a fact that will be relevant to the antitrust part of the next post.

Another sore eye for patent quality at the EPO? As Landau put it: “An Expert Opinion from the Swedish Patent Office says that Qualcomm’s Patent used to Sue Apple Should be Invalidated…”

It cites an Apple proponents’ site, which in turn cites Müller and says: “Yesterday’s Qualcomm v. Apple trial took place in the Mannheim Regional Court, Europe’s leading venue for wireless patents. The trial took twice as long as the average Mannheim patent trial, reports Florian Mueller. Mueller described the Apple v. Qualcomm case the commercially biggest patent-related dispute ever and could be truly seen as the World Series of IP cases. Apple is trying to invalidate Qualcomm’s patent titled “Switch with Improved Biasing” in this Mannheim case based on an expert opinion from Sweden.”

Apple too has been granted bogus European Patents, based on reliable sources of ours. It’s somewhat of a crisis. Another new post from Müller says: [via]

This is my second post on the Qualcomm v. Apple patent infringement trial held by the Mannheim Regional Court yesterday. In the previous post I reported on the alleged (non-)infringement and (in)validity of the patent-in-suit, EP2460270 on a “switch with improved biasing”. While the case is too close to call, this patent assertion may fail on the merits just like the first one that went to trial in Mannheim. But the court might also, contrary to what the non-asserted independent claim 16 implies for claim construction purposes and despite a finding by the Swedish patent office that the patent lacks a sufficient inventive step over prior art presented by Apple, hold Apple liable for infringement and decline to stay the case pending a parallel nullity action. In that case, Apple’s affirmative defenses–antitrust and licensing–will be outcome-determinative at least with respect to the availability of injunctive relief.

For a long time, it was hard to fend off even standard-essential patent injunctions in Germany on antitrust grounds (with or without a FRAND commitment, which German courts wouldn’t deem enforceable by third-party beneficiaries anyway). It was arguably hardest in Presiding Judge Dr. Kircher’s court. The situation improved after the Court of Justice of the EU ruling in Huawei v. ZTE; in a way, it already got a little bit better after the European Commission took action against Samsung and Motorola. But very regrettably, the thinking of German patent judges is still, by and large, that antitrust defenses are just part of a throw-in-the-kitchen-sink tactic of infringers.

The patents Qualcomm is asserting in Germany–at least the ones that have been discussed in hearings or trials–aren’t standard-essential, which ups the ante for Apple’s antitrust defense. However, the fact that Qualcomm’s conduct has been deemed anticompetitive by competition enforcers in multiple jurisdictions (“Antitrust Grand Slam”).

Last but not least is this post about Apple’s workaround (around the patents):

Yesterday the Munich I Regional Court held a six-hour (including breaks, though) trial on Qualcomm’s eight lawsuits asserting four different search user interface patents against Apple’s Spotlight search, with two lawsuits per patents targeting a total of three different Apple entities. A first hearing had been held in early May.

That part of the wide-ranging, earth-spanning, multifaceted Apple-Qualcomm dispute is, however, strategically so unimportant that it’s not worth multiple posts or anything. That set of eight cases is a total waste of court and party resources–sort of a tempest in a teacup–as these Munich Spotlight cases have been defanged in three important ways…

This is no doubt useful for patent law firms, especially German or Germany-based ones, but who else does that serve? All these ruinous lawsuits already contribute to deliberate exacerbations in product development. And based on what? Bogus patents that should never have been granted in the first place?

EPO is Like a Patent Litigation (Without Actual Trial) Office, Not a Patent Examination Office

Saturday 22nd of September 2018 01:37:30 PM

It’s already acting like the UPC (with judges controlled by the office), giving way/rise to litigation or shakedown irrespective of the merit of underlying patents


Examination fast-tracked for litigation if not blackmail purposes (putting the burden of proof on the accused). See “Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office”.

Summary: Examination of patent applications isn’t taken seriously by an office whose entire existence was supposed to be about examination; bureaucracy at the top of this office has apparently decided that the sole goal is to create more demand (i.e. lawsuits) for the litigation 'industry'

THE EPO is weaponising its monopoly powers and arming patent aggressors; it gives “weapons” to firms that leverage totally bogus patents against rivals (we’ll use Qualcomm as a new example in our next post).

The EPO no longer cares about quality of patents; the only “quality” it seems to understand is speed of granting. It’s a rubber-stamping operation, which the EPO increasingly puts in the hands of proprietary machines rather than humans (examiners). It’s like another INPI. Yesterday the EPO persisted with the usual number of tweets in favour of software patents (same old ‘script’); it has gotten so bad that we see no point even pointing this out anymore; it would be almost spurious because it has become so banal and repetitive. The EPO has no remorse about blatantly and openly pushing software patents in Europe. Any patent will do; just apply. Apply today! Apply now!

“The EPO no longer cares about quality of patents; the only “quality” it seems to understand is speed of granting.”Some firms are looking to exploit these declining standards with self-promotional announcements, seminars, events, brochures and so on. Just before the weekend we saw some in Business Wire (press release) at least a couple of times, the Associated Press wire several times and PR Newswire (press release). They just try to shove lots of patents into the EPO, knowing perhaps that it has gotten a lot easier to have them accepted (even if courts later invalidate these).

What has the EPO become? Who will benefit from this?

We have meanwhile noticed that Liz Cohen from Bristows LLP is writing from the distant past again (27 September 2016). Their CMS is eternally broken and they don’t even know how to use it. So many errors. Maybe she just updated a post of hers from 2 years ago after she had published this little piece and promoted it from an account that they’ve described as “Keeping you up to date with the latest Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent news and developments” (it’s actually a stream of jingoism and lies, sometimes fabrications).

“Wrongly-granted patents need not even go to/on trial; threat of litigation — or blackmail — is often enough.”Cohen desperately uses as evidence of UPC “confidence” (don’t laugh) a litigation ‘industry’ lobby doing a PR charade. This is laughable beyond belief, but this is the sort of propaganda we’ve become accustomed to seeing at Bristows LLP. The EPLIT (European Patent Litigators Association) is cited as “proof” of UPC “confidence” and Cohen says “content of these three courses corresponds to the curriculum for the European Patent Litigation Certificate (EPLC), set out in Rule 3 of the draft EPLC Rules.”

But there’s no UPC; they are promoting a lie. Remember that CIPA lied along with Battistelli about UPC in the UK; that was before the Max Planck Institute issued an almost 200-page-long paper disputing it (recall Bristows' appalling response to it several days ago). Thankfully, if not very much belatedly, English-speaking sites talk about it. IPPro Patents wrote the following yesterday:

The continued participation of the UK in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and unitary patent will “not be possible” post-Brexit, according to Matthias Lamping and Hanns Ullrich of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition.
Lamping and Planck made the comments in a paper covering “the impact of Brexit on unitary patent protection and its court”.

In the paper, Lamping and Planck argued that the unitary patent system rests on two legally different but interconnected pillars.

These are EU Reg 1257/2012, on the implementation of enhanced cooperation by the creation of unitary patent protection, and the Agreement between the Member States of the EU on the establishment of the UPC.

The UPC will have exclusive jurisdiction over invalidation and infringement actions concerning the European patent with unitary effect and/or the classic European (bundle) patent.

However, as Lamping and Planck commented, the link between unitary protection of European patents and the UPC Agreement is not only one of jurisdiction, but also one of “substantive law”.

According to World Intellectual Property Review, which wrote about it yesterday:

Two researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition have argued that the UK will not be able to remain in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement after leaving the EU.

Matthias Lamping and Hanns Ullrich jointly published two studies in a paper called “The Impact of Brexit on Unitary Patent Protection and its Court”, where they argued that the inclusion of a post-Brexit UK in the Agreement will run contrary to the EU’s core values.

They said unitary patent protection cannot be dissociated from the “general legal order of the EU’s internal market” and be extended to the UK once it has left the EU.

The UPC will likely never happen, but the EPO’s abusive behaviour already facilitates the arrival of many patent trolls — a fact that Bristows staff try to deny in vain. Facts do not seem to exist (or are dismissed as invalid) when Team UPC does not like these facts.

BoingBoing has meanwhile caught up with an old paper which is summarised in yesterday’s headline, “Research shows that patent examiners are more likely to grant patents to companies they later work for” — a subject we wrote about back in May. In BoingBoing‘s words:

In their National Bureau of Economic Research working paper From Revolving Doors to Regulatory Capture? Evidence from Patent Examiners (Sci-Hub Mirror), Business School profs Haris Tabakovic (Harvard) and Thomas Wollmann (Chicago) show that patent examiners are more likely to grant patents for companies that they subequently go to work for; they also go easier on patents applied for by companies associated with their alma maters (where they have more connections and will find it easier to get a job after their turn in government service).

Appointments in this fashion aren’t limited to the USPTO; as we showed in our previous post, there are similar and rather profound issues at the management level of the EPO. There’s also the rumour that Battistelli is still trying to head the UPC (if such a thing ever exists), having laid the ground for poor patent quality and thus a lot of frivolous lawsuits.

Does the EPO work for UPC? Is the EPO itself becoming de facto UPC? Wrongly-granted patents need not even go to/on trial; threat of litigation — or blackmail — is often enough.

Philippe Cadre From the French National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) Wants to Join António Campinos

Saturday 22nd of September 2018 11:28:05 AM

It would suit the endemic nepotism culture and software patents agenda of Campinos

Summary: Yet another example of INPI’s creeping influence if not ‘entryism’ at the EPO and this time too patent quality isn’t a priority

EARLIER THIS month EPO insiders and former insiders sent a letter warning that António Campinos was again surrounding himself by some of the very same people who enabled or tolerated Battistelli’s abuses. The letter spoke of “the French candidate – whose name we don’t know yet but who is described as a “Bercy candidate” close to Battistelli (ENA?) – would become VP1.”

As we noted here before, The term "diversity" at the EPO means not diversity but a corrupt cabal of French people. Even Campinos is French and he has long known Battistelli, who lobbied for him to get the job. According to World Intellectual Property Review, the rogue EPO is still a den of corruption and nepotism (which is a form of institutional corruption) because INPI looks to ‘take over’ the EPO some more (in terms of examination standards it’s already getting there). To quote:

The director of IP at France’s National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), Philippe Cadre, has confirmed he has applied for a vice president position at the European Patent Office (EPO).

On October 11, the EPO’s 38 member states will elect three new vice presidents, one of whom will be responsible for the patent-granting process. The role is currently held by Alberto Casado Cerviño.

Cadre, who works under INPI’s director-general Pascal Faure, told WIPR it is the “fervent wish” of the French government that a French national should hold the patent-granting position because of INPI’s experience in handling some of the core challenges facing the EPO.

INPI was retweeted by EPO on Friday (EPO retweets INPI a lot, even if it’s not in the official language of the EPO’s account!). Former INPI staff played a massive role in EPO corruption (sending EPO budget to France, even to Battistelli’s other employer). By publicly promoting “EIA2019″ (European Inventor Award is the funnel of EPO money to France) INPI reinforces the view that all these events in France were a form of robbery. The EPO wrote about “EIA2019″ four times in 24 hours (until yesterday evening; see [1, 2, 3]). How will EPO management rob the treasury this time around and will these outrageous acts ever receive the attention of the EU at all? Do European officials care about such blatant abuse of public European funds?

Links 22/9/2018: Mesa 18.2.1, CLIP OS, GPL Settlement in Artifex/First National Title Insurance Company

Saturday 22nd of September 2018 10:19:39 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Google Keeps Pushing ChromeOS and Android Closer Together

      A supposed merge of Android and Chrome OS has been rumored for years—to the point where some people believe one will eventually replace the other. That’s not what’s really going to happen—but the two are joining forces.

      This started with the introduction of Android apps into Chrome OS, which was a massive leap forward for the platform—but it was also just the beginning of this “combining” of operating systems. Chrome OS as we have known it for years is changing dramatically.

      [...]

      It’s clear that Google’s future is still with Android, and now it’s pushing Chrome OS in that direction. Android is not replacing Chrome OS, nor is Chrome OS replacing Android. But the two will absolutely and undoubtedly work in tandem moving forward.

      The biggest changes to Chrome OS are happening now. Chrome OS 69—which just hit the stable channel—is starting to show the direction Google is moving. Chrome OS features a new overall look with a material design theme, bringing it very close to what you find on Android.

  • Kernel Space
    • A Time Namespace Has Been Proposed For The Linux Kernel

      A set of experimental patches were sent out on Wednesday for implementing a time namespace within the kernel, part of an effort that’s been going on for more than a decade around time virtualization.

      These 20 patches under a “request for comments” flag allow for per-namespace offsets to the system clocks, including for monotonic and boot-time clocks.

      But why have a time namespace and allowing for these clock offsets? It’s mostly for container purposes. The expressed use-cases for this time namespace are for allowing the date/time to be changed within a container and for adjusting clocks for a container that have been restored from a snapshot/checkpoint.

    • On the topic of being part of a large and diverse community, including people whose identities you might not be able to personally understand [Ed: Microsoft employees push anti-Torvalds messages into Planet GNOME now]
    • Linux – The beginning of the end

      You should never swear at people under you – I use the word under in the hierarchical sense. Colleagues? Well, probably not, although you should never hold back on your opinion. Those above you in the food chain? It’s fair game. You risk it to biscuit it.

      I say, Linus shouldn’t have used the language he did in about 55-65% of the cases. In those 55-65% of the cases, he swore at people when he should have focused on swearing at the technical solution. The thing is, people can make bad products but that does not make them bad people. It is important to distinguish this. People often forget this. And yes, sometimes, there is genuine malice. My experience shows that malice usually comes with a smile and lots of sloganeering. The typical corporate setup is an excellent breeding ground for the aspiring ladder climber.

      Speaking of Linus, it is also vital to remember that the choice of language does not always define people, especially when there are cultural differences – it’s their actions. In the remainder of the cases where “bad” language was used (if we judge it based on the approved corporate lingo vocab), the exchange was completely impersonal – or personal from the start on all sides – in which case, it’s a different game.

      The problem is, it’s the whole package. You don’t selective get to pick a person’s attributes. Genius comes with its flaws. If Linus was an extroverted stage speaker who liked to gushy-mushy chitchat and phrase work problems in empty statements full of “inspiring” and “quotable” one-liners, he probably wouldn’t be the developer that he is, and we wouldn’t have Linux.

      So was he wrong in some of those cases? Yes. Should he have apologized? Yes, privately, because it’s a private matter. Definitely not the way it was done. Not a corporate-approved kangaroo court.

      The outcome of this story is disturbing. A public, humiliating apology is just as bad. It’s part of the wider corporate show, where you say how sorry you are on screen (the actual remorse is irrelevant). Linus might actually be sorry, and he might actually be seeking to improve his communication style – empathy won’t be part of that equation, I guarantee that.

      But this case – and a few similar ones – set a precedence.

      People will realize, if someone like Linus gets snubbed for voicing his opinion – and that’s what it is after all, an opinion, regardless of the choice of words and expletives – how will they be judged if they do something similar. But not just judged. Placed in the (social) media spotlight and asked to dance to a tune of fake humility in order to satisfy the public thirst for theatrics.

      You are not expected to just feel remorse. You need to do a whole stage grovel.

      And once the seed of doubt creeps in, people start normalizing.

      It’s a paradox that it’s the liberal, democratic societies that are putting so much strain on the freedom of communication and speech. People forget the harsh lessons of the past and the bloody struggles their nations went through to ensure people could freely express themselves. Now, we’re seeing a partial reversal.

      But it’s happening. The basket of “not allowed” words is getting bigger by the day. This affects how people talk, how they frame their issues, how they express themselves. This directly affects their work. There is less and less distinction between professional disagreement and personal slight. In fact, people deliberately blur the lines so they can present their business ineptitude as some sort of Dreyfuss witchhunt against their glorious selves.

      As an ordinary person slaving in an office so you can pay your bills and raise your mediocre children, you may actually not want to say something that may be construed as “offensive” even though it could be a legitimate complaint, related to your actual work. This leads to self-censored, mind-numbing normalization. People just swallow their pride, suppress their problems, focus on the paycheck, and just play the life-draining corporate game. Or they have an early stroke.

    • Torvalds Steps Back From Linux Leadership to Fix ‘Tooling’ Issues

      Torvalds has always been known to have strong opinions on issues and hasn’t always used the politest language or approaches to communicate those opinions, but he said he now sees the need to step back to focus on improving his own empathy to others. “I need to take a break to get help on how to behave differently and fix some issues in my tooling and workflow,” Torvalds said.

      In his stead, Greg Kroah-Hartman, who currently maintains the stable branch of the Linux kernel, will step up and manage the rest of the Linux 4.19 release cycle.

    • With Linux’s founder stepping back, will the community change its culture?

      The revamped Linux code of conduct encourages behaviors like accepting constructive criticism gracefully, using inclusive language, and being respectful of “differing viewpoints and experiences.” It bars “sexualized language or imagery,” derogatory comments and personal or political attacks, and “public or private harassment,” among other behaviors. Community members can report violations to the Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board or TAB, a 10-person committee that fosters communication between the community and the official Linux Foundation.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Open Source Summit EU Registration Deadline, Sept. 22, Register Now to Save $150 [Ed: Microsoft is the "DIAMOND" sponsor of this event, the highest sponsorship level! Linux Foundation, or the Zemlin PAC, seems to be more about Microsoft than about Linux.]
      • Building a Secure Ecosystem for Node.js [Ed: Earlier the Zemlin PAC did this puff piece for Microsoft (a sponsor)]
      • The Human Side of Digital Transformation: 7 Recommendations and 3 Pitfalls [Ed: New Zemlin PAC-sponsored and self-serving puff piece]

        Not so long ago, business leaders repeatedly asked: “What exactly is digital transformation and what will it do for my business?” Today we’re more likely to hear, “How do we chart a course?”

        Our answer: the path to digital involves more than selecting a cloud application platform. Instead, digital, at its heart, is a human journey. It’s about cultivating a mindset, processes, organization and culture that encourages constant innovation to meet ever-changing customer expectations and business goals.

        In this two-part blog series we’ll share seven guidelines for getting digital right. Read on for the first three.

    • Graphics Stack
      • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Shows Very Strong Compute Performance Potential

        Besides the new GeForce RTX 2080 series being attractive for developers wanting to make use of new technologies like RTX/ray-tracing, mesh shaders, and DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), CUDA and OpenCL benchmarking so far on the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is yielding impressive performance — even outside of the obvious AI / deep learning potential workloads with the Turing tensor cores. Here are some benchmarks looking at the OpenCL/CUDA performance on the high-end Maxwell, Pascal, and Turing cards as well as an AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 for reference. System power consumption, performance-per-Watt, and performance-per-dollar metrics also round out this latest Ubuntu Linux GPU compute comparison.

      • IoT Graphics: Mir Release 1.0

        The Mir team is pleased to announce the milestone release of Mir 1.0.0. This is the first major release targeted at IoT device makers and enthusiasts looking to build the next-generation of graphical solutions.

      • Mir 1.0 Released For “Next-Generation of Graphical Solutions”

        As we were expecting over the last few days, the long-awaited release of Mir 1.0 is now available. It’s certainly a different beast now than when “Mir 1.0″ was talked about in the past now that it’s focused on providing Wayland support.

      • Intel Preparing A Final Batch Of Graphics Driver Changes For Linux 4.20~5.0

        Intel open-source developers have already sent in multiple pull requests of feature work to DRM-Next that in turn will be pulled into the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel merge window and they have one final batch of feature changes on the way.

        The cut-off is quickly approaching for new feature work slated for this next kernel cycle (Linux 4.20, or renamed to Linux 5.0 if Linus Torvalds sticks to his usual versioning preference) and Intel has announced a batch of changes ready for testing ahead of issuing it as a pull request to DRM-Next.

      • NVIDIA Sends Out DRM Display Patches For Tegra’s Xavier SoC

        Going back to the beginning of the year NVIDIA developers have been contributing “Tegra194″ enablement to the upstream Linux kernel. They’ve now moved on to contributing T194 support to the Tegra Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver for display support on this SoC that’s better known as Xavier.

        The Tegra194 / Xavier is NVIDIA’s latest SoC with the eight Carmel ARMv8 cores and Volta-based GPU. The NVIDIA Xavier Developer Kits have begun shipping and now with all of the other necessary hardware enablement bits upstream or on their way to mainline, the latest patches being published are for the display support with the Tegra DRM driver.

      • More Linux Tests & Driver Observations With The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

        Here are some additional notes to complement my GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Linux review from yesterday now that I’ve had more time with this card and a working Linux driver.

      • Mesa 18.2.1 Is Coming This Week With Dozens Of Fixes

        As the first stable point release to the newly-christened Mesa 18.2, the Mesa 18.2.1 release is going to be a big one.

        The release candidate to Mesa 18.2.1 was issued on Wednesday and has nearly 60 patches over the recent 18.2.0 stable release. This includes Vulkan header updates for v1.1.84 and many RADV / ANV Vulkan driver fixes ranging from CTS issues to hangs to other fixes.

      • Mesa 18.2.1 Released With A Number Of Fixes For The Vulkan Drivers

        Mesa 18.2.1 is out this morning as the first stable point release to the recently introduced Mesa 18.2 series. Mesa 18.2.1 marks the point at which it should be relatively safe for stable-minded users to switch over to this quarterly release stream.

        Given it’s the first point release after a very active development cycle, there are a lot of fixes: around five dozen changes are making up today’s release coming two weeks after v18.2.0.

      • AMD Adds A Seemingly New Polaris ID To Their Linux Driver

        It looks like another re-branded AMD Polaris graphics card might be on the way given the latest AMDGPU Linux kernel patch.

        Either there’s a new AMD Radeon “Polaris” graphics card coming, some new modem for OEMs, or just very tardy maintenance in adding the necessary PCI ID for an existing Polaris graphics card revision… But two years after Polaris RX 400 cards first debuted (and a year and a half since the RX 500 series), there is now a new Polaris PCI ID being added to the AMD Linux graphics driver.

      • Mesa Can Finally Build With Almost No Compiler Warnings

        Quite a feat for modern open-source projects with large C/C++ code-bases developed over the years, Mesa3D can almost be compiled now without any warnings — there’s just one remaining.

        When paired with the latest GCC 8 stable compiler, Mesa paired with some pending patches is down to just one compiler warning left in the build process — quite an improvement compared to in the past with older versions of GCC and Mesa.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GSConnect v13 Alpha Includes Do Not Disturb Feature, Experimental Bluetooth And SMS/Contacts Sync

        The v13 alpha release is a rewrite with changes to the architecture, settings and default behavior, and it includes new features like Do Not Disturb, experimental Bluetooth and SMS/Contacts sync, and more.

        GSConnect is a Gnome Shell implementation of KDE Connect, which integrates Android devices with the Gnome desktop. Using it you can mirror notifications from your phone to your desktop (and the other way around), control a desktop music player from your phone, browse your phone wirelessly from your desktop, synchronize the clipboard between Android devices and your desktop, and much more.

        GSConnect v13 alpha requires Gnome Shell version 3.28 or newer, and one of the most interesting changes for users is probably the new Do Not Disturb button which lets users silence mobile device notifications:

      • GUADEC 2018 Reminiscences

        This year’s GUADEC in Almería, Spain, was over two months ago, and so here is a long overdue post about it. It was so long ago that I might as well call it a reminiscence! This will be a different kind of post than the ones I’ve done in past years, as plenty of other bloggers have already posted summaries about the talks.

  • Distributions
    • Top Linux Distros for Software Developers

      A major factor in the choice of Linux distro is your personal preference. You may try one of the most popular Linux distros but find that you prefer one that’s less often used. Your experience with Linux will also factor into which distro is suited to you. With the benefits Linux can offer — including flexibility, stability, and support — it’s worth evaluating your options.

    • New Releases
      • Solus Releases Version “3.9999″ With Newer Kernel, Desktop Updates

        It’s not quite yet time for Solus 4 but version 3.9999 of this popular Linux distribution, which is designed for desktop workflows and based in part on optimizations from Intel’s Clear Linux, is now available.

        Solus 3.9999 ships with better hardware support over Solus 3 thanks to the upgrade to the Linux 4.18.5 kernel, Intel GVT-g graphics virtualization support is now enabled, various other kernel modules now come enabled, and there are various other package updates — mostly on the desktop side.

      • Purism Launches the Librem Key, Mir 1.0 Released, Solus 3 ISO Refresh Now Available, New Malware as a Service Botnet Discovered and Sparky 5.5 Is Out

        Solus 3 ISO Refresh was released yesterday. This refresh of the operating system designed for home computing “enables support for a variety of new hardware released since Solus 3, introduces an updated set of default applications and theming, as well as enables users to immediately take advantage of new Solus infrastructure”. You can download Solus Budgie, Solus GNOME or Solus MATE from here.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Deepin Linux: As Gorgeous As It Is User-Friendly

          Deepin Linux. You may not have heard much about this distribution, and the fact that it’s often left out of the conversation is a shame. Why? Because Deepin Linux is as beautiful as it is user-friendly. This distribution has plenty of “wow” factor and very little disappointment.

          For the longest time, Deepin Linux was based on Ubuntu. But with the release of 15.7, that all changed. Now, Deepin’s foundation is Debian, but the desktop is still that beautiful Deepin Desktop. And when I say it’s beautiful, it truly is one of the most gorgeous desktop environments you’ll find on any operating system. That desktop uses a custom-built QT5 toolkit, which runs as smoothly and with as much polish as any I’ve ever used. Along with that desktop, comes a few task-specific apps, built with the same toolkit, so the experience is consistent and integrated.

        • Q4OS 3.4 Centaurus, testing

          A significant update to the Q4OS Centaurus testing version is available for download, you can find 64bit iso image at the dedicated Testing releases site. Anybody is invited to try it out and report bugs and glitches.

          This release brings quite significant changes and improvements, the most important one is that Q4OS switched to the Calamares installer. That offers nice new installation features, for example fully encrypt target system, easy disk drive partitioning and many others. Another important change is move to the new Trinity 14.0.6 development version. All dependencies from the current stable Q4OS Scorpion has been removed, so the Centaurus now becomes fully independent getting its own repositories and dependencies. Secure boot support has been improved too. The Calamares installer detects, if secure boot is active and adjusts the target system accordingly. If secure boot is switched off in the firmware, no Secure boot stuff is installed.

          Q4OS Centaurus 3.4 is based on the current Debian ‘Buster’ and Trinity desktop 14.0.6 development branches. Q4OS Centaurus will be in development until Debian Buster becomes stable, and will be supported at least five years from the official release date.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • How to install PlayOnLinux in Ubuntu Desktop 18.04

            If you need to install a Windows desktop app on Linux, your best bet is PlayOnLinux.

          • Help needed to improve proposed migration

            Every once in a while, in the Foundations team, we do a coding day. A year ago, Lukasz and I wrote a script, following an idea from Steve Langasek, to provide “hints” and help for the next steps necessary for a package to migrate from -proposed to -release.

            “ubuntu-archive-assistant” was born. I just pushed this to lp:ubuntu-dev-tools, after it being on its own in a separate git tree for a long while. I’d love to get help for feedback, as well as more people contributing fixes, etc. ubuntu-archive-assistant is designed to let you look at a specific package in -proposed and try to tell you what to do next to ensure it migrates from -proposed.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E28 – Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes – Ubuntu Podcast

            This week we’ve been playing Two Point Hospital and experimenting with ChromiumOS. We bring you some command line love and go over all your feedback.

          • Ubuntu does Kubernetes

            Canonical also does Kubernetes, but not in a ‘me too!’ kind of way. The Canonical Distribution of Kubernetes (CDK) is pure upstream Kubernetes tested across the widest range of clouds — from public clouds to private data centres, from bare metal to virtualised infrastructure.

          • Ubuntu 18.10′s SDL2 Build Will Ship With Vulkan Support Enabled

            Released almost exactly one year ago to the day was SDL 2.0.6 that brought with it some Vulkan helpers. Finally with the upcoming Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” release, those Vulkan bits will be enabled.

          • NVIDIA PRIME in Ubuntu 18.04 and 18.10, and a call for testing

            Ubuntu 18.04 marked the transition to a new, more granular, packaging of the NVIDIA drivers, which, unfortunately, combined with a change in logind, and with the previous migration from Lightdm to Gdm3, caused (Intel+NVIDIA) hybrid laptops to stop working the way they used to in Ubuntu 16.xx and older.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Ubuntu-based elementary OS 5.0 ‘Juno’ Beta 2 Linux distro now available

              Why don’t more desktop computer users use Linux? Well, software compatibility aside, there is fear of change and the unknown. For a user to switch from Windows, it must be a fairly simple affair. For years, just installing a Linux-based operating system was a daunting task. These days, it can be faster and easier than installing Windows 10 — depending on distro, of course.

              For beginners, once installed, their chosen Linux distro should be easy to use with an intuitive desktop environment. I’m a big fan of GNOME, but understandably, not all folks like it — especially Linux novices. One particular Linux-based desktop operating system has been focusing on accessibility to all — elementary OS. This distro is polished and aims to be easy to use for both experts and beginners alike. Today, version 5.0 of the OS — called “Juno” — reaches Beta 2. Impressively, there have been over 200 fixes implemented since Beta 1.

            • Elementary OS Juno Beta 2 Released

              Elementary OS June beta 2 is now available to download.

              This second beta build of the Ubuntu-based Linux distribution touts a number of changes over the elementary OS june beta released back in July.

              Due to the shifting sands on which Juno is built the elementary team advise those planning on testing the release to do so by making a fresh install rather than doing an upgrade from beta 1 or (worse) an older version of elementary OS.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Vilnius: “Open source improves our public services”

    The city of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital and with over half a million inhabitants the country’s largest city, is increasingly using open source software. The most recent example is WordPress: in July the city unveiled its new portal built on this content management system. “Open source enables us to improve our public services and empowers us to share our solutions and data,” says Dalius Kazlauskas, senior project manager at Vilnius’ E-City department.

  • Reply to Rick Moen on DNG

    Ah, deliciously vague language. Useful to, in time, get uncooperative maintainers thrown off the project to be replaced by more cooperative, on-message maintainers. Remember that technical merit or quality is not the goal of the author of the Contributor Covenant on which this CoC is directly based.

  • IssueHunt: A New Bounty Hunting Platform for Open Source Software

    IssueHunt is a new bounty hunting platform for open source software that aims to bridge the gap between open source projects and open source developers.

  • More curl bug bounty

    The idea is that sponsors donate money to the bounty fund, and we will use that fund to hand out rewards for reported issues. It is a way for the curl project to help compensate researchers for the time and effort they spend helping us improving our security.

    Right now the bounty fund is very small as we just started this project, but hopefully we can get a few sponsors interested and soon offer “proper” rewards at decent levels in case serious flaws are detected and reported here.

    If you’re a company using curl or libcurl and value security, you know what you can do…

  • Edge compute platform is open source

    Deutsche Telekom and Aricent have partnered for the creation of an Open Source, low latency Edge compute platform available to operators, to enable them to develop and launch 5G mobile applications and services faster.

  • Deutsche Telekom and Aricent Create Open Source Edge Software Framework

    Deutsche Telekom and Aricent today announced the creation of an Open Source, Low Latency Edge Compute Platform available to operators, to enable them to develop and launch 5G mobile applications and services faster. The cost-effective Edge platform is built for software-defined data centers (SDDC) and is decentralized, to accelerate the deployment of ultra-low latency applications. The joint solution will include a software framework with key capabilities for developers, delivered as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and will incorporate cloud-native Multi-access edge computing (MEC) technologies.

  • DT and Aricent announce telco Open Source Edge framework for 5G

    Deutsche Telekom and Aricent have announced the creation of an Open Source Edge software framework, designed especially for developers, platform-as-a-service and cloud-native multi-access edge computing technologies and on-track to intersect with the deployment of 5G enabled network edge facilities to tackle ultra-low latency network applications.

    The Edge platform has been built for software-defined data centers (SDDC) and will include a software framework with key capabilities for developers, delivered as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and will incorporate cloud-native Multi-access edge computing (MEC) technologies.

  • Deutsche Telekom, Aricent brew up edge compute platform for 5G apps and services

    In order to speed up the rollout of 5G applications and services, Duetsche Telekom and Aricent have teamed up to build an edge compute platform.

    The open source, edge software framework was built for use in software-defined data centers in decentralized locations. It also uses cloud-native multiaccess edge computing (MEC) technologies.

  • Deutsche Telekom, Aricent Bridge Cloud Native, Telco MEC Gap

    German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom and Aricent threw their collective weight behind an open source edge computing platform targeted at software-defined data centers (SDDC). The initiative gamely joins a growing list of open source multi-access edge computing (MEC) initiatives.

    The DT-Aricent collaboration is at its core a decentralized platform designed to help telecom operators develop and launch low-latency 5G mobile applications and services. It includes a software framework with features delivered through a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model.

  • French Government Open Sources Secure Operating System

    The French government’s national cybersecurity agency has released an operating system built using open source components internally over the course of more than 10 years for use by the French administration.

    Dubbed CLIP OS, the operating system is based on the open source Linux kernel, but focuses on security hardening and provides partitioning mechanisms that allow the processing of both public and sensitive information in isolation on the same computer.

  • AxonIQ Launches New Open Source Server

    AxonIQ, the company behind the open source Axon Framework, launches Axon 4.0 the open, integrated development and operations tool for Microservices and Event Sourcing on the JVM.

  • Events
    • Outreachy Opens Applications For Open-Source Winter 2018 Internship Program

      For eligible students or others with time to participate, the winter 2018 round of the Outreachy program openened this week for applications.

      This next round of the Outreachy program runs from December to March and accepted participants receive a $5,500 USD stipend as well as a $500 travel allowance. As is always the case with Outreachy, the program isn’t limited to programming tasks but also include documentation, UI/UX work, illustrations, and other areas. These projects are very diverse and range from a coloring book to this year’s VKMS work.

  • Web Browsers
  • Databases
    • PostgreSQL 11 Beta 4 Released With JIT Compilation Disabled By Default

      The fourth and likely last beta release of PostgreSQL 11 is now available.

      One of the headlining features of PostgreSQL 11 was the new LLVM JIT compiler option but as of a few days ago it’s been disabled by default due to some performance problems and at this stage seeming to really only help long and complex queries. But for those wanting to try out this just-in-time support can easily enable it with a configuration option in this beta as well as for the final release.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
    • Tidelift surpasses $1M to pay open source software maintainers

      Tidelift announced that it has surpassed one million dollars committed via its platform to pay open source software maintainers to provide professional assurances for their projects, as momentum behind this new approach to professional open source continues to build. Over 100 packages are already on the Tidelift platform, with maintainers getting paid to provide support for their packages through the Tidelift Subscription. Top packages featured include Vue, Material-UI, Babel, Gulp, Fabric, Active Admin, Doctrine, and StandardJS.

      With Tidelift, software development teams receive assurances around maintenance, security, and licensing from a single source. By bringing together maintainers with a global market of customers, Tidelift is helping make open source work better for everyone.

  • BSD
    • FreeBSD Desktop – Part 16 – Configuration – Pause Any Application

      After using UNIX for so many years I knew that I could freeze (or pause) any process in the system with kill -17 (SIGSTOP) signal and then unfreeze it with with kill -19 (SIGCONT) signal as I described in the Process Management section of the Ghost in the Shell – Part 2 article. Doing it that way for the desktop applications is PITA to say the least. Can you imagine opening xterm(1) terminal and searching for all Chromium or Firefox processes and then freezing them one by one every time you need it? Me neither.

      Fortunately with introduction of so called X11 helper utilities – like xdotool(1) – it is now possible to implement it in more usable manner.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Sonali’s Internship work on the Free Software Directory, part 2
    • Internship work on the Free Software Directory, part 2
    • Office Hours #0: Debugging with GDB

      This is a report on the first “office hours”, in which we discussed debugging Rust programs with gdb. I’m very grateful to Ramana Venkata for suggesting the topic, and to Tom Tromey, who joined in. (Tom has been doing a lot of the work of integrating rustc into gdb and lldb lately.)

      This blog post is just going to be a quick summary of the basic workflow of using Rust with gdb on the command line. I’m assuming you are using Linux here, since I think otherwise you would prefer a different debugger. There are probably also nifty graphical tools you can use and maybe even IDE integrations, I’m not sure.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Artifex and First National Title Insurance Company Reach Settlement Over MuPDF Open Source Dispute

      Artifex Software, Inc. and First National Title Insurance Company announced today a confidential agreement to settle their legal dispute. Case No. 4: 18-cv-00503-SBA, filed by Artifex in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, concerned the use of Artifex’s open source software MuPDF under the GNU Affero General Public License and the GNU General Public License. While the parties had their differences in the interpretation of the open source licenses, the companies were able to reach an amicable resolution based on their mutual respect for and recognition of copyright protection and the open source philosophy. Terms of the settlement remain confidential.

  • Programming/Development
    • C Programming | Introduction | Features – For Beginners

      C is a general-purpose programming language developed by the ultimate god of the programming world, “Mr.Dennis Ritchie” (Creator of C programming ).

      The language is mainly used to create a wide range of applications for operating systems like windows and iOS. The popularity of the language can be clearly seen as this language has made to the list of top 10 programming languages in the world.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Trump Administration Proposes Weakening Rules Governing Organ Transplant Centers

      The Trump administration this week proposed eliminating a decade-old regulation that puts hospitals at risk of losing their Medicare funding if too many of their patients die or suffer organ failure after receiving transplants.

      The rule the government is proposing to scrap is the same one that led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to cut off funding last month for heart transplants at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston after an investigation by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle revealed an outsized number of patient deaths and complications in recent years.

      The proposal was unveiled Monday as part of the White House’s push to “cut the red tape” and do away with “burdensome regulation” that officials said put paperwork ahead of patients. In a speech announcing the proposed changes, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the agency’s existing policies have “put lives in danger.”

      “We are proposing to remove those inefficiencies to reduce the amount of time patients have to wait, so that they can begin healing,” Verma said.

      The proposal, now subject to public comment and revision before it is finalized, surprised many transplant physicians who have long called for relaxed federal oversight. They’ve argued that the rules requiring that hospitals meet certain survival thresholds for transplants discourage them from taking on risky patients or accepting less-than-perfect organs, lengthening the time patients spend on the waiting list.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Friday
    • Mirai botnet hackers [sic] avoid jail time by helping FBI

      The three men, Josiah White, 21, Dalton Norman, 22, and Paras Jha, 22, all from the US, managed to avoid the clink by providing “substantial assistance in other complex cybercrime investigations”, according to the US Department of Justice. Who’d have thought young hacker [sic] types would roll over and show their bellies when faced with prison time….

    • A healthcare IT foundation built on gooey clay

      Today, there was a report from the Solicitor General of Singapore about the data breach of the SingHealth systems that happened in July.

      These systems have been in place for many years. They are almost exclusively running Microsoft Windows along with a mix of other proprietary software including Citrix and Allscript. The article referred to above failed to highlight that the compromised “end-user workstation” was a Windows machine. That is the very crucial information that always gets left out in all of these reports of breaches.

      I have had the privilege of being part of an IT advisory committee for a local hospital since about 2004 (that committee has disbanded a couple of years ago, btw).

      [...]

      Part of the reason is because decision makers (then and now) only have experience in dealing with proprietary vendor solutions. Some of it might be the only ones available and the open source world has not created equivalent or better offerings. But where there are possibly good enough or even superior open source offerings, they would never be considered – “Rather go with the devil I know, than the devil I don’t know. After all, this is only a job. When I leave, it is someone else’s problem.” (Yeah, I am paraphrasing many conversations and not only from the healthcare sector).

      I recall a project that I was involved with – before being a Red Hatter – to create a solution to create a “computer on wheels” solution to help with blood collection. As part of that solution, there was a need to check the particulars of the patient who the nurse was taking samples from. That patient info was stored on some admission system that did not provide a means for remote, API-based query. The vendor of that system wanted tens of thousands of dollars to just allow the query to happen. Daylight robbery. I worked around it – did screen scrapping to extract the relevant information.

      Healthcare IT providers look at healthcare systems as a cashcow and want to milk it to the fullest extent possible (the end consumer bears the cost in the end).

      Add that to the dearth of technical IT skills supporting the healthcare providers, you quickly fall into that vendor lock-in scenario where the healthcare systems are at the total mercy of the proprietary vendors.

    • Leaked NSA Exploits Shifting From Ransomware To Cryptocurrency Mining

      This report, from Zack Whittaker at TechCrunch, says there’s really no endpoint in sight for the unintended consequences of exploit hoarding. But at this point, it’s really no longer the NSA or Microsoft to blame for the continued rampage. Stats from Shodan show more than 300,000 unpatched machines in the United States alone.

      EternalBlue-based malware still runs rampant, but the focus has shifted from ransom to cryptocurrency. An unnamed company recently watched the NSA’s exploit turn its computers into CPU ATMs.

      [...]

      There will never be a full accounting of the damage done. Yes, the NSA never thought its secret stash would go public, but that doesn’t excuse its informal policy of never disclosing massive vulnerabilities until it’s able to wring every last piece of intel from their deployment. And there’s a chance this will happen again in the future if the agency isn’t more proactive on the disclosure front. It was foolhardy to believe its tools would remain secret indefinitely. It’s especially insane to believe this now.

    • The Rust Programming Language Blog: Security advisory for the standard library

      The Rust team was recently notified of a security vulnerability affecting the standard library’s str::repeat function. When passed a large number this function has an integer overflow which can lead to an out of bounds write. If you are not using str::repeat, you are not affected.

      We’re in the process of applying for a CVE number for this vulnerability. Fixes for this issue have landed in the Rust repository for the stable/beta/master branches. Nightlies and betas with the fix will be produced tonight, and 1.29.1 will be released on 2018-09-25 with the fix for stable Rust.

    • Cloudflare Secures Time With Roughtime Protocol Service

      If time is money, then how important is it to secure the integrity of time itself? Time across many computing devices is often synchronized via the Network Time Protocol (NTP), which isn’t a secure approach, but there is another option.

      On Sept. 21, Cloudflare announced that it is deploying a new authenticated time service called Roughtime, in an effort to secure certain timekeeping efforts. The publicly available service is based on an open-source project of the same name that was started by Google.

      “NTP is the dominant protocol used for time synchronisation and, although recent versions provide for the possibility of authentication, in practice that‘s not used,” Google’s project page for Roughtime states. ” Most computers will trust an unauthenticated NTP reply to set the system clock meaning that a MITM [man-in-the-middle] attacker can control a victim’s clock and, probably, violate the security properties of some of the protocols listed above.”

    • DDoS Vulnerability Can Disrupt The Whole Bitcoin Infrastructure [Ed: Latest FUD about Bitcoin. A DDOS attack can disrupt anything at sufficient capacity levels, including Wall Street and ANY financial market.]
    • Crippling DDoS vulnerability put the entire Bitcoin market at risk
    • This Russian botnet mimics your click to prevent Android device factory resets

      According to researchers from Check Point, the botnet has been developed by a group of Russian-speaking hackers known as “The Lucy Gang,” and demos have already been provided to potential subscribers to the system looking for Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) solutions.

      Botnets are a thorn in the side for cybersecurity firms, hosting providers, and everyday businesses alike. The systems are made up of enslaved devices including mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets, and PCs.

    • DigiCert, Gemalto, ISARA Partner on Quantum-Safe Encryption
    • ICANN sets plan to reinforce internet DNS security

      The ICANN Board at its meeting in Belgium this week, decided to proceed with its plans to change or “roll” the key for the DNS root on Oct. 11, 2018. It will mark the first time the key has been changed since it was first put in place in 2010.

      During its meeting ICANN spelled out the driving forces behind the need for improved DNS security that the rollover will bring. For example, the continued evolution of Internet technologies and facilities, and deployment of IoT devices and increased capacity of networks all over the world, coupled with the unfortunate lack of sufficient security in those devices and networks, attackers have increasing power to cripple Internet infrastructure, ICANN stated.

      “Specifically, the growth in attack capacity risks outstripping the ability of the root server operator community to expand defensive capacity. While it remains necessary to continue to expand defensive capacity in the near-term, the long-term outlook for the traditional approach appears bleak,” ICANN stated.

    • Microsoft’s Jet crash: Zero-day flaw drops after deadline passes

      The Zero Day Initiative has gone public with an unpatched remote-code execution bug in Microsoft’s Jet database engine, after giving Redmond 120 days to fix it. The Windows giant did not address the security blunder in time, so now everyone knows about the flaw, and no official patch is available.

      The bug, reported to Microsoft on May 8 with a 120-day deadline before full disclosure, was described on Thursday by ZDI, here. It was discovered by Lucas Leong of Trend Micro Security Research.

    • Canonical extends security support for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

      Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, which is the basis for many cloud and enterprise services, is coming up on its end of life this April. Canonical will begin offering an Extended Security Maintenance service in April that will continue rolling out security patches. However, the service is designed primarily for enterprise customers.

    • Canonical announces Extended Security Maintenance for Ubuntu
    • Custom Sustes Malware Infects Linux and IoT Servers Worldwide [Ed: This only impacts poorly-secured and already-cracked servers. The article overstates the risk.]

      The dangerous characteristic is the fact that an estimate of the infected computers cannot be made at this time. The only way to prevent the infiltrations is to strengthen the network security of the Linux and IoT servers exposed in public. It is very possible that further attacks will be carried out with other distribution tactics.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Assange Reveals Biggest Threat to Humanity in Latest Released Recording

      Before being cut from almost all means of communication with the outside world in March, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, has shared his outlook on threats the humanity faces in connection with AI development and data protection.

      One of the world’s most famous whistleblowers, Julian Assange, sought by the US for leaking classified documents through his site WikiLeaks on the Iraqi war for almost a decade, has predicted a grim scenario which is “very unstable about technological civilization,” claiming it “doesn’t go on for long” because of very rapid competition in the wired-up world.

    • Generation being born now is the last to be free – Assange in last interview before blackout (VIDEO)

      Before his links to the world were cut by his Ecuadorian hosts, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gave an interview on how technological advances are changing humankind. He said global surveillance will soon be totally unavoidable.

      The interview was provided to RT by organizers of the World Ethical Data Forum in Barcelona. Assange, who is currently stranded in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London with no outside communication except with his legal team, has a pretty grim outlook on where humanity is going. He says it will soon be impossible for any human being to not be included in global databases collected by governments and state-like entities.

    • Julian Assange warns this generation is the last to be free of surveillance and says ‘idiotic parents plastering photos all over Facebook’ are partly to blame

      Julian Assange has warned that global surveillance of citizens will soon be ‘unavoidable’ thanks to social media and online applications of official documents such as passports.

      The Wikileaks founder said that within a year of being born, children are now known to ‘all major world powers’ because their ‘idiotic parents’ post their names and pictures on Facebook.

      Assange, who is into his seventh year living at the at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, gave an interview during the World Ethical Data Forum in Barcelona.

    • Pledge of no extradition could resolve Julian Assange impasse, lawyer says

      The impasse over Julian Assange could be resolved immediately if the UK Government gave an assurance that he would not be extradited to the US if he leaves the embassy where he has been living for more than six years, one of his legal team said on Thursday.

      Jennifer Robinson told a conference in Barcelona that the WikiLeaks founder had been under some form of restrictions on his liberty for almost eight years without ever being charged.

    • Pledge of no extradition could resolve Julian Assange impasse, lawyer says
    • Pledge of no extradition could resolve Julian Assange impasse, lawyer says
    • Assange lawyer in no extradition plea
    • Julian Assange’s lawyer in no extradition plea

      A member of Julian Assange’s legal team says the impasse over the Australian WikiLeaks founder could be resolved immediately if the UK Government gave an assurance he would not be extradited to the United States.

      Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, fearing he will be extradited to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves.

      Jennifer Robinson told a conference in Barcelona that the 47-year-old had been under some form of restrictions on his liberty for almost eight years without ever being charged.

    • Lawmaker urges Ecuador to strip Assange of citizenship
    • Assange: Today’s Generation Last to be Free; Technology May End Civilization

      Is despotism our descendants’ destiny? Are they fated to live in a “Marxtrix”? And will rogue artificial intelligence put us out of our misery before any of this is too far along? These are good questions now with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s assertion that “the last free generation” is upon us and that “technologically advanced civilization” is “unstable” and may not “go on for long.”

      Assange (shown), now in his seventh year living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, made the remarks in an interview — the last one before the Ecuadorian government terminated his Internet and telephone — during the World Ethical Data Forum in Barcelona, Spain.

    • Julian Assange Predicts ‘AI Model’ will Replace Capitalism
    • Reports on Moscow Plans to Help Assange Escape Are ‘Fake News’ – Russian Embassy

      The Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom on Friday dismissed media reports claiming Russia tried to help WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange flee London, where he has been stuck in Ecuador’s Embassy for years.

      [...]

      The embassy’s response comes as a reaction to claims made by the Guardian newspaper that the plan on Assange’s escape involved Ecuador trying to grant him diplomatic immunity in 2017 that would allow the whistleblower to flee the United Kingdom, with Russia considered as one of the options for the final destination. The newspaper also claimed that Russian diplomats have allegedly expressed willingness to help Assange receive asylum in Russia.

      Earlier, the Guardian reported, citing unnamed sources, that Russian diplomats have allegedly held secret talks in the UK capital with Assange’s associates in order to help the whistleblower escape from the United Kingdom, and former Ecuadorian Consul to London Fidel Narvaez allegedly served as an intermediary in talks with Russia.

    • ‘Special designation’? Ecuador reportedly mulled sending Assange as a diplomat to Russia

      The Russian embassy in London called the article a clear example of “disinformation and fake news by British media,” while the Foreign Ministry also rejected the report. “It is worth noting that attempts to picture Ecuadorian diplomats’ meetings at the Russian embassy in the light of conspiracy theories do not stand up to criticism,” the ministry stressed.

  • Finance
    • Singapore Says It Needs Foreign Tech Talent

      A key issue is whether Singapore has a critical mass of workers to make itself a vibrant economy that will attract investments and encourage enterprise, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said. The nation will maintain little restriction on foreign labor for high-end jobs such as in artificial intelligence, while keeping a quota system for lower-skilled industries including construction.

    • Dean Baker on Bank Bailout, Nathan Schneider on the Next Economy

      Hundreds of thousands of people lost homes or jobs or savings in the financial meltdown of 2008, but those casualties were not a big part of media’s “10 years later” stories. Those foreground the personal reminiscences of policymakers like former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke, who suggest that they did what had to be done, but maybe didn’t sell it properly to the public. We’ll discuss how things could’ve gone differently with Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. His column “The Bank Bailout of 2008 Was Unnecessary” appeared recently in the Los Angeles Times.

    • Objects from Titanic wreck set for multimillion-dollar auction

      Thousands of items salvaged from the wreck of the RMS Titanic are set to go to auction next month to satisfy bankruptcy debts piled up by the company that owns them.
      The collection features more than 5,500 artifacts rescued from the shipwreck of the famous ocean liner, including a bronze cherub from its grand staircase, sets of china from its dining rooms and a section of its hull.

    • Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings

      That Frank Sinatra’s recording of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash I was Takin’ a Bath” are both among Charlie Mullins’s declared musical favorites might come as something of surprise—Cole Porter’s ironic exercise in faux-sophistication from the 1958 movie High Society romping with boisterous teen trifle from the same decade—until one learns that the sixty-four-year-old Mullins is Britain’s richest plumber, his wealth estimated at some seventy million pounds. This well-washed, blondly-coiffed businessman believes Britain is taking a bath on Brexit. Deal or not, Mullins wants to pull the plug on the whole thing, branzely broadcasting his views as the Brexit negotiations in Brussels clog and sputter, threatening even to bring down Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.

      For the last decade the mogul from meager beginnings has spent much of his time at his villa on the Costa del Sol, that stretch of decimated Spanish beachfront running northeast from Gibraltar towards the EasyJet destination of Malaga and thick with hundreds of thousands of British pensioners and holiday-makers.

      But since last January, when he announced his intention to run for London Mayor at the next election for that post in two years, Mullins has been increasingly present in his hometown, London. Indeed, he is trying as best he can to make political waves with a position shared by many liberals at home and by British expats on the Costa del Sol, where Mullins also opened up a branch of his plumbing empire a decade ago and where Brits have recently been snapping up property in advance of their own country’s divorce from the mainland.

      A few blocks from where I’m staying on the Kennington Road—a wide street busy with busses and swarms of mad bicyclists not far from the south bank of the River Thames—is the headquarters of Mullins’ Pimlico Plumbers. The company’s building has a rounded façade of two-storeys that turns the corner of Juxton and Sail Streets amidst large housing projects built in the middle of the twentieth century and a stone’s throw from the upscale gallery of one-time bad-boy artist, Damien Hirst, now comfortably ensconced in the establishment. Such near-collisions have for a long time been typical of the district, a Labour Party stronghold that has been rapidly gentrifying for some two decades. The Houses of Parliament are just across the river.

      A plumbers’ depot might be the last place one expects to find political slogans shouted from the rooftops, but since before the 2016 referendum that led to the UK’s imminent departure from the EU, Pimlico HQ has been crowned by a banner. Last week it read: “BREXIT—Nobody voted to be poorer!” This week it shouts: “BOLLOCKS TO BREXIT: IT’S NOT A DONE DEAL.” The imagery cladding the building sends a mixed message, however. Below these slogans runs a row of flags of St. George, symbols of English nationalism. Nowhere to be seen is the European Union’s circle of gold stars on a blue background.

      [...]

      As for political and professional aims, Mullins’ musical tastes are more illuminating than his brash sloganeering. Also on his playlist are Beyonce’s Runnin’, the video of which is set underwater, its breath-holding lovers running in slow-motion across what seems to be a Mediterranean sea bed: the aqueous imagery suggests a plumbers’ paradise of true romance in waters rather more alluring than those of a toilet tank. ABBA’s Waterloo from Mullins’ 1970s youth is another coy choice, since water—its flow and containment—are the source of his wealth, as is “-loo”—another British word (there are so many!) for toilet. Given the current trouble being made by French President Emmanuel Macron, who is seen here as unyielding in his rough treatment of the departing Brits, the reference to the glorious victory of a British-led European coalition over French aggression seems to betray at best an ambivalence towards Brexit.

      Another tune tapped by Mullins is Tina Tuner’s “Simply the Best.” It begins with what could well be the tagline of a plumbing service that’s at the ready 24/7, 365 days a year: “I call you when I need you.” Later Tina sings “Don’t let go,” but the Brits are doing just that. And as for Mullins’s avowed admiration for David Bowie’s Major Tom songs, he falls towards earth from space—a Hard Brexit, indeed. Many here think and hope that Mullins’s political fortunes will never lift off, and if they do a crash will be soon to follow. The same might be said of the militantly down-to-earth Mullins as what he has said about Brexit: “You can’t sugar-coat a turd.”

    • Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?

      The real crisis is thus an internal matter for the UK, and here there is no way forward for anything that approximates to its possible resolution.

      [...]

      BoJo is Britain’s facsimile of the orange inhabitant of the White House. Congenitally incapable of paying serious attention to anything, he has failed dismally in the major positions (London mayor, UK foreign secretary) he’s occupied, and this week was dumped by his wife of 24 years, who finally had enough of his multiple infidelities, and penchant for a certain stimulative white powder. It is a reflection of the Tory party’s wretched state today that this shallow narcissist and shameless self-promoter is in the running for its future leadership.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • What’s in a Resume? A Lot, When It Comes to Trump Staffers

      It’s no surprise that hundreds of staffers on 2016 presidential and congressional campaigns parlayed their work into political jobs in the Trump administration. But you wouldn’t always know about those roles from reading their financial disclosures, which sometimes reveal them and sometimes don’t.

      Details about the past jobs and work histories of these staffers — from on-the-ground field work for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to fundraising for super PACs supporting Republican congressional candidates — can be found in the place where people tend to exhaustively list their credentials: their resumes.

      The Washington-based transparency group Property of the People took information from ProPublica’s Trump Town database and submitted Freedom of Information Act requests seeking the resumes of more than 2,700 political appointees in the Trump administration.

      We’ve added the documents the group collected to the Trump Town app and created a separate page so that you can examine them yourself. We’ll update the page as we get more.

    • They Think It Would Be Fun to Run a Newspaper

      The announcement that Time magazine would be bought by software CEO Marc Benioff highlighted the growing trend of billionaires buying up media outlets. While media moguls have always been wealthy—with press barons (Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg, Donald Newhouse, etc.) still well-represented on Forbes’ running list of the world’s billionaires—what distinguishes this new breed of press magnate is that they bought their media properties with fortunes made in other industries.

      Some, like Benioff, come out of the tech industry; tech tycoons like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, eBay’s Pierre Omidyar and Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs have profited from a tech boom (or bubble) that gives them plenty of cash to spend. Others come out of the financial sector, which has doubled its share of the US economy over the past 70 years. Real estate developer Mort Zuckerman—who owned The Atlantic from 1980–1999, the Daily News from 1993–2017, and still owns US News & World Report, which he bought in 1984—was a harbinger of non-media money coming into the media sector.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Samsung Is Struggling With the Slowly Dawning Realization That No One Cares About Bixby

      In a new update to the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung is changing how that dedicated Bixby button works. Instead of clicking it once to activate Bixby, you’ll have to click it twice.

      To say that Bixby is unpopular would be an understatement. This has led to plenty of demand to let users turn the dang thing off. On some older phones, you could disable the dedicated Bixby button, but the Note 9 didn’t allow this option. This was particularly frustrating since, as an Android phone, Google Assistant is readily available. Most usage of the Bixby button is accidental. Users naturally asked for the ability to turn the button off entirely or, even better, reassign it to a more useful function.

    • Are Your Smarthome Devices Spying on You?

      Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of different products out there that are spying on you, like smart televisions and browser extensions, but what about things like smart speakers, Wi-Fi cams, and other smarthome devices? Let’s talk about it.

    • GDPR Being Used To Try To Disappear Public US Court Docket

      Way back when the GDPR was still under consideration, we were among those who warned that, in the name of “protecting privacy,” Europe was about to create a tool for massive censorship by encapsulating a massive “right to be forgotten.” As we noted at the time, a big part of the problem was that the GDPR was written by privacy and data protection experts, with little to no consideration given to free speech experts, who could have told the drafters how “right to be forgotten” rules would likely be abused. The basic idea behind them seems sound — allowing people to delete data from services they no longer use — but the ability to turn that into a tool to take down public information is a real problem.

      And, now that the GDPR is official, we’re already seeing it in practice. Aaron Greenspan, from Plainsite — a site that hosts court dockets — recently noted that he had received a RTBF demand from a guy named Michael Francois Bujaldon, who was seeking to disappear a docket involving a case in which Bujualdon was sued for real estate and securities fraud. The complaint against Bujaldon is fairly damning, and while Bujaldon tried to get the case dismissed, the court was not at all impressed. The current docket suggests that the parties are attempting to work out a settlement, but having yourself be a defendant accused of real estate and securities fraud can’t be good for the old reputation.

    • Ron Wyden Wants Federal Government To Do More To Protect Personal Devices/Accounts Used By Senators And Staffers

      To protect against hacking attempts, Wyden is introducing legislation that would eliminate the SAA silos. The bill would allow the SAA to “provide cybersecurity assistance” for personal devices on an opt-in basis. We’ll have to see how this plays out when implemented. It may make it more difficult to discern if any federal funds were misused by Senators or their staff.

      On the other hand, it will help secure devices some government employees mistakenly believe aren’t prime targets for state-sponsored hacking. It takes a certain amount of obtuseness to reach this conclusion, considering how heavily some government officials rely on their personal devices for communications with other government officials. The old FOIA dodge is still a popular one, and the difficulty of separating official work from personal work — especially during election years — likely means personal devices are used far more frequently than their government-issued ones.

      While it’s good the government as a whole is continually working towards more robust security, the fact is the private sector offers plenty of options for government officials to better secure their personal devices. Personal responsibility is still underutilized at the federal level, which makes them no better (or worse) than much of the general public.

    • Privacy activism in the era of the GDPR
    • Labor asks govt to proceed with care on encryption bill

      The Australian Labor Party has termed “unacceptable” the government’s introduction of its encryption bill into Parliament on Thursday, just 10 days after public submissions to the draft ended and with no response released to stakeholders.

    • BSA urges judicial oversight, challenge mechanism for encryption bill

      Global software industry advocate [sic] BSA, the software alliance, has urged the Australian Government to include in its encryption bill a judicial oversight and challenge mechanism in order to ensure that any new powers given to law enforcement are not abused.

    • Facebook Is Testing Its Dating Service. Here’s How It’s Different From Tinder

      Facebook begins publicly testing its online-dating product, called Dating, in Colombia today. The service was first announced at the annual F8 conference in May this year, and will likely be available in other locations in the future. For now, users aged 18 and older in Colombia will be able to create dating profiles and, once those reach a critical mass, find some matches. WIRED got to preview an early version of the service, and it looks promising—especially for users looking for meaningful long-term relationships rather than hookups.

    • Google defends third-party developers’ scanning of Gmail inboxes

      Google has mounted a defence of the way it scrutinises the activities of third-party add-ons within its Gmail email service, telling a number of US senators in a letter on Thursday that most add-ons which had malicious intentions were caught in a review before they were allowed to be deployed.

    • Google defends Gmail data sharing, gives few details on violations

      Google said in a letter to U.S. senators made public on Thursday that it relies on automated scans and reports from security researchers to monitor add-ons after launch, but did not respond to lawmakers’ request to say how many have been caught violating the company’s policies.

    • No, Google Doesn’t Just Let Apps Read Your Email

      There’s a story spreading in the news today that Google is letting companies scan through your email and sell the data, but this is really misleading. So what’s actually going on?

      The way the story is framed makes it sound like something very nefarious is being allowed. Google is letting companies scan my Gmail account? What?

    • Ensuring your security and privacy within Gmail

      A vibrant ecosystem of non-Google apps gives you choice and helps you get the most out of your email. However, before a published, non-Google app can access your Gmail messages, it goes through a multi-step review process that includes automated and manual review of the developer, assessment of the app’s privacy policy and homepage to ensure it is a legitimate app, and in-app testing to ensure the app works as it says it does.

    • Google Admits: Third-Party Apps Can Still Access Your Gmail Data

      Back in July 2018, it was reported that Google shares Gmail user data with third-party apps and US lawmakers had asked the company to explain what it was up to.

      Now Google has officially admitted to not giving Gmail account data to third-party developers, but also allowing them to share that data with other third parties as well.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • What More Can We Learn From Chicago Ticket Data?

      A few weeks ago, Melissa Sanchez and I presented our team’s reporting on parking tickets at Chi Hack Night, a weekly gathering that welcomes anyone who is curious about data and civic technology. Most Chi Hack Night events include a presentation followed by hands-on working groups. During the question-and-answer period of our presentation, someone in the audience asked us if we hope to create a “layered map” combining all kinds of disparities to show the plight of African-American communities in Chicago.

      This is a common question for anyone who reports on systemic issues with data and code. My first response is to be somewhat dismissive because a single reporter at a tiny organization simply can’t cover that many data sources with enough rigor to have impact. Instead of being dismissive, we need to be creative by working with others outside of journalism.

      That’s why it’s so exciting that our readers have downloaded the Chicago parking ticket data and Chicago gang database so often that they have become two of the most popular recent additions to the ProPublica Data Store, our collection of free and commercial datasets. A small newsroom can only do so much. But together we can amplify the impact of work like our reporting on tickets and ticket debt with open data and open-source software.

    • Colleges and Universities Have a Racial Profiling Problem

      College students and employees being reported to 911 for “living while Black” are part of a larger issue in the U.S. Our new campaign will address it.

      We have seen it again and again: A Black or brown person is sitting in a Starbucks, barbequing in a public park, touring a college they hope to attend, or sitting down in the college they already attend. Then someone calls the cops on them for looking like they “don’t belong” or are “out of place.”

      These calls target former White House staffers and longtime university employees just as aggressively as they target any other person of color. And when the police arrive, they often enforce the caller’s biases, leaving people of color traumatized by the experience of being detained, interrogated, or even arrested solely for occupying space while Black or brown. As Lolade Siyonbola, a Yale graduate student, recently said in response to having the police called on her for taking a nap, “We’re constantly having to prove that we’re allowed to be where we are, that we have permission — that we have freedom papers.”

      Police keep acting as the instruments of biased 911 callers for two reasons: first, the bias-driven assumptions and cultural overreliance on police intervention of the people who call the police, and second, the failure of law enforcement agencies to adopt policies and training that help them avoid being used to weaponize the biases of those who call them.

      Programs that vaguely advise people to act on poorly articulated feelings that someone is out of place — most notably the “See Something, Say Something” programs that have proliferated since 9/11 — often result in race-based “suspicious person” calls and put an official stamp of approval on these biases. But even without such ill-advised programs, the BBQ Beckies and racist ranters of the country will keep calling the cops on people of color for simply living their lives.

    • A Tale of Two New York Cities When It Comes to Policing

      A new New York Civil Liberties Union report reveals the fear and distrust of a violent New York Police Department.

      New Yorkers know that the New York Police Department will treat us differently depending on our zip code and the color of our skin. But many New Yorkers don’t know the intensity and the violence of police contact in neighborhoods heavily targeted by the NYPD.

      A new report from the NYCLU exposes the radically different ways in which NYPD officers behave depending on what neighborhood they’re working in and the impacts of that discrimination on everyday New Yorkers. “Shattered: The Continuing, Damaging, and Disparate Legacy of Broken Windows Policing in New York City” is based on the findings of an NYCLU survey that documents the disparate impacts of policing on heavily policed and lightly policed communities. It may surprise you to know that neighborhoods across New York City have similar rates of serious crime, especially given how astoundingly different the police treat them.

      But our survey reveals a tale of two cities when it comes to policing.

      Nearly nine out of 10 survey respondents in heavily policed communities said they actively changed things about their behavior, relationships, use of space, or schedule to avoid police surveillance. Nevertheless, almost half of respondents in heavily policed communities said the police wrongly accused them of committing a crime. And nearly one in five respondents in heavily policed communities reported at least one incident of sexual harassment by police versus five percent for those in lightly policed neighborhoods.

    • “Humanitarian Crisis” Looms as Arizona Threatens to Revoke Immigrant Children Shelter Licenses

      Arizona health officials threatened on Wednesday to revoke the licenses of 13 federally funded immigrant children shelters, accusing the facilities’ operator, Southwest Key, of displaying an “astonishingly flippant attitude” toward complying with the state’s child protection laws.

      But a day after the state sent its blistering letter to Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez, it became clear that any shutdown would create a tumultuous chain of events for federal and state regulators, who lack options for housing tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who cross the border every year.

      “Shutting down the shelters would create a crisis for the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is charged with housing children caught at the border,” said Maria Cancian, deputy assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families from 2015 to 2016.

    • Judge Says Student Can Sue School For Suspending Her After She Called A Fictional Cop A ‘Pig’

      Where do you even start? The bullshit “bullying” accusation? Well, the lawsuit states the student supposedly offended by this wasn’t even in the room when the “pig” comment was made. K.C. apologized for referring to a fictional cop character as a “pig,” even though there was no reason for her to do so.

      From there, it’s just an embarrassment of richly embarrassing — if not downright insulting — conversational tactics by a bunch of disciplinarians who apparently felt compelled to straighten out a gay, multiracial student by [checks notes] using the words “nigger” and “fag” in an entirely abhorrent analogy that presumes “cop” is a race or sexual orientation.

      Also: Black Lives Matter is to “sexually-degrading conversation between two teachers” as Colin Kaepernick is to:

      A: gumball machine
      B: complete works of Proust
      C: narcolepsy
      D: deciduous

      This atrocious trainwreck of judgment calls was followed by a one-day suspension. This, in turn, was followed by the lawsuit.

    • California Police Officers Used Self-Destructing Messaging App For Years

      This may be true. But even if this was the full extent of TigerText usage, it’s still a problem. Personnel issues can become matters of public interest, especially in civil rights lawsuits. Details of police operations are normally inaccessible to the public, but in rare cases, these too become matters of public interest.

      On top of that, there’s a good possibility some of these vanished discussions may have been pertinent to criminal trials. Defendants should have the chance to obtain relevant discussions that may help their defense, but Tiger Text ensures information that prosecutors might be obligated to turn over to the defense is now completely inaccessible.

      In fact, the Al-Jazeera article quotes two former officers as claiming their superiors told them to use TigerText specifically to prevent conversations from being discoverable. The department has denied giving officers these instructions, but former officers claim the PD’s participation in the discovery process is anything but “on the up and up.”

      The Long Beach PD had more than 100 officers using TigerText to preemptively destroy possible public records and/or evidence. The use of self-destructing messages, if nothing else, violates record preservation laws. Depending on what disappeared into the ether, there’s a good chance criminal cases were also affected by the rolling destruction of communications.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • GAO Again Points Out That Terrible U.S. Broadband Maps Drive (Intentionally) Terrible Broadband Policy

      We’ve made it pretty clear by now that U.S. broadband policy generally stinks because the nation’s biggest broadband providers (and the politicians who adore their campaign contributions) want to keep the U.S. broadband market as it is: uncompetitive, expensive, and broken. There are myriad ways they accomplish this, from quite literally writing and lobbying for the passage of protectionist state laws, to convincing regulators like Ajit Pai to turn a blind eye to pretty much all of the worst habits of entrenched telecom mono/duopolies.

      But at the heart of the problem sits the flawed form 477 broadband mapping data the FCC collects from broadband providers. With a vested interest in portraying a healthy market, ISPs have long submitted data that over-states broadband speed and availability. And, like a loyal servant to the industry it’s supposed to hold accountable, the FCC (under both parties) rarely does much to actually verify that this data is accurate. This bad data then goes on to inform bad FCC policy.

      Case in point: the GAO released a study last week noting that the FCC routinely overstates broadband availability in tribal areas, which in turn results in policy that doesn’t do a good job fixing the problem.

    • Former Google CEO predicts the internet will split in two — and one part will be led by China

      Eric Schmidt, who has been the CEO of Google and executive chairman of its parent company, Alphabet, predicts that within the next decade there will be two distinct internets: one led by the U.S. and the other by China.

      Schmidt shared his thoughts at a private event in San Francisco on Wednesday night convened by investment firm Village Global VC. The firm enlists tech luminaries — including Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Diane Green — as limited partners, then invests their money into early-stage tech ventures.

    • Ex-Google CEO: There Will Be Two Versions of The Internet by 2028

      Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, has made a bold prediction about the internet. According to him, by 2028 the internet will be divided into two parts – one led by China and the other by the US.

      [...]

      His prediction is considered important as Google is pushing hard to launch a Chinese and censored version of its search engine named; the secret search engine is named “Project Dragonfly.”

      Through this, Google is trying to penetrate the Chinese market which has long eluded from the tech giant owing to strict laws. The censored search engine, to avoid government policies, would block sensitive search queries related to democracy, religion, peaceful protest, and humans rights.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Top Brexit considerations for trade mark owners

        Taylor Wessing’s Roland Mallinson spoke to MARQUES delegates about what they should do to prepare for a Brexit no-deal scenario if they have trade mark registrations or oppositions pending

      • An overview of the post-graphical representation landscape

        Speakers at MARQUES looked at non-traditional trade mark filing practices since the scrapping of the graphical representation requirement last year

      • US Copyright Office Review Board denies registration of ‘Vodafone Speechmark’

        Readers might recall last month’s post concerning the US Copyright Office Review Board’s refusal to register UEFA’s Starball logo. This work was denied registration because it was not sufficiently original to sustain a claim for copyright.

        On similar grounds, the Review Board has now delivered yet another blow – this time against Vodafone.

      • Russian Company Wants To Gift A Trademark For ‘Chemical Production’ On Two Accused Russian Assassins

        Strangest trademark story of the month? Strangest trademark story of the month! As you may have heard, back in March, a former Russian spy who had been a double agent for the UK, Sergei Skirpal (and his daughter), was poisoned in the UK with a nerve agent. Earlier this month, UK officials moved to charge two Russians with attempted murder over that event. They named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as being behind the plot. Along with the announcement, the Crown Prosecution Service admitted that it will not seek to extradite the men from Russia, as Russia will not extradite its own nationals.

        Somewhat bizarrely, the two men (who many believe are not actually named Petrov and Boshirov) then decided to go on Russian TV to profess their innocence, claiming, improbably, that they were just tourists with no connections to Russian intelligence who had really wanted to go visit a cathedral in Salisbury where the attacks took place. A somewhat fascinating Bellingcat investigation has torn to shreds most of their story and suggested pretty strong evidence connecting them to the Russian government (and that their names are fake).

    • Copyrights
      • Articles 11 and 13 in the New EU Copyright Directive Enable More Surveillance

        Privacy activists were caught off guard last week when the EU passed its controversial copyright legislation. The new law has far reaching consequences that technical experts and internet companies alike have strongly advised would damage EU businesses and change fundamentally how the Internet works.

        This article is intended to show you WHY these two directives (articles 11 and 13, known as the link-tax and upload filter) are highly problematic from a technical point of view, and how these laws will further weaken privacy on the Internet.

      • Japan raises music royalty for foreign films

        Japanese largest musical copyright administration society JASRAC reached an agreement with a movie theater group on September 6 2018 that, for foreign films which will be released from November 2018 to March 2021, JASRAC will collect 6-level of music royalty of JPY 150,000 (approx. USD 1,350) to JPY 300,000 (approx. USD 2,700) in accordance with the number of screens. Currently, JASRAC is collecting JPY 180,000 (approx. USD 1,600) per film work. Reportedly, JASRAC is calculating on increased revenue by 15% to 20% by this agreement. For Japanese films, JASRAC is collecting the royalty for each of the musics in accordance with the number of screens, which is different from the collection for foreign films even after this agreement. JASRAC will continue to negotiate with them for foreign films to change to the collection of the royalty for each of the musics.

      • Top 14 Free Movie Download Websites | Completely Legal Places For 2018

        We love movies and we love them even more if they are for free. Right? If you open your web browser and type free movie download websites, you’ll be presented with a long list of illegal websites promising to grab your favorite blockbuster in a matter of seconds. Even Google keeps recommending such collections of websites at the top. Apart from being illegal, these websites are also a gateway to a torrent of malware.

      • Artist Inspired By Andy Warhol, Creates Truly Astounding Work… Ends Up Giving It Away Over ‘Copyright Infringement’

        Well, here’s yet another crazy story of copyright interfering with art (ht to Jean for sending this over). Buckle in, because there’s a lot to explain, starting with some truly astounding art, followed by more truly astounding art, with an extra helping of even more astounding art… and then an apparent claim of copyright infringement. What follows is truly amazing work by artist CJ Hendry. Most of this is taken from a long Instagram story in which she documented this entire process, so forgive the image heavy explanation here, but it helps to explain what happened — so I’ll include some explanatory screenshots.

        [...]

        Again, it’s not entirely clear who is behind this. The book publisher Taschen published the book of Andy Warhol’s Polaroids, so perhaps they have a copyright interest here? The only other one I can think of would be Campbell’s Soup, though that would be crazy. Of course, a decade ago, we wrote about the letter that Campbell’s Soup sent to Warhol back in 1964, joking that if Warhol had tried to do the same thing today, he undoubtedly would have received a cease and desist from a humorless corporate trademark lawyer. Instead, Campbell’s celebrated Warhol’s creativity:

      • FAB IPTV Says it Has Shut Down Following Europol-led Raid

        FAB IPTV, one of the major providers of unlicensed streaming content in the UK, says it has shut down completely following a Europol-led raid. The statement follows raids and arrests in both England and Southern Ireland last week. Europol previously indicated that a warrant had been executed in Scotland, where FAB IPTV is reportedly based, but is yet to confirm the news.

Links 21/9/2018: Cockpit 178, Purism ‘Dongle’

Friday 21st of September 2018 12:11:34 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Alternative Linux-centric App Stores to Google Play for Chrome OS

      The native Linux experience on Chrome OS is relatively new in the form of debian Linux and was limited to the extremely unstable canary and dev channel of the operating system up until recently when it made its debut in the beta channel.

      The container came in the exclusive form of an interaction via the inbuilt terminal after you might have activated the Linux functionality in the settings of your Chrome system. Before its acclaimed popularity, the sub-platform was infamously codenamed Crostini with what is a relatively active subreddit.

    • What Apps Can You Actually Run on Linux?

      Most Linux distributions include Mozilla Firefox as the default web browser. Google also offers an official version of Google Chrome for Linux, and you can even get an “unbranded” open-source version of Chrome named Chromium.

      Pretty much everything inside your web browser should “just work” in Linux. Netflix now works normally in both Firefox and Chrome on Linux thanks to added support for its DRM.

      Adobe Flash has become less common on the web but is also available for Linux. It’s included with Chrome, just like on Windows, and you can install it separately for Firefox or Chromium. Linux doesn’t support some older browser plug-ins like Silverlight, but those are no longer widely used on the web.

      As the desktop PC world has shifted more and more to online, web-based software, Linux has become easier to use. If an application you want to run has a web version, you can use it on Linux.

  • Kernel Space
    • New Yorker claims credit for Torvalds’ apology on behaviour

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds’ decision to apologise for his abrasive putdowns of developers was prompted by an American news magazine asking him a series of questions about his behaviour for an article, the author claims.

    • The Linux Code of Conduct is long overdue

      It finally happened. Linus Torvalds, the intrepid creator and leader of Linux kernel development, realized that in today’s world his attitude and behavior doesn’t fly in the face of an enlightened, progressive global population. Further, locker room talk and the sometimes cruel treatment of others simply cannot and will not be tolerated anymore.

      At least, that’s the hope with the Linux Code of Conduct, which was released to foster a global community of passionate developers who want to work and build something good together.

      The code is based on the Contributor Covenant and aims to be a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation.

      How important this is cannot be repeated enough.

    • Something is rotten in the Linux Foundation

      When I agreed to talk about the management problems at the Linux Foundation to Noam Cohen, the reporter who wrote this story on Linux for the New Yorker, I expected to wait at least a year to see any significant change in the Linux community.

      Instead, before the story was even published, the Linux project leader Linus Torvalds suddenly announced that he was temporarily stepping down from his leadership role. He also instituted a new code of conduct for the Linux kernel community after resisting years of requests for one.

      I was (and am) astonished. So is everyone else. Now that I’ve read the New Yorker story, I am even more surprised–everything in it is public knowledge. Here’s why I don’t think the story explains why he stepped down.

      Torvalds has been in charge of Linux for 27 years, and he’s been verbally abusive most of that time. I know, I personally spent more than 15 years struggling to change the Linux community for the better, first as a Linux kernel developer for more than 7 years, then as co-founder and executive director of a non-profit working to make things better for my fellow kernel developers. In 2016 I sent a letter to the Linux Foundation board of directors detailing pervasive mismanagement at the foundation. Nothing I or anyone else did changed the culture of Linux.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Nouveau Developers Begin Reverse-Engineering NVIDIA Turing Driver Support

        The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics cards are only officially beginning to ship today, but at least one independent Nouveau developer already has his hands on the hardware and beginning to work on the clean-room, driver reverse-engineering process in order to eventually get open-source “Nouveau” driver support working.

      • NVIDIA CUDA 10 Officially Released With Turing Support, nvJPEG, CUDA-Vulkan

        Coinciding with the debut of the GeForce RTX 2080 series line-up is now the official release of CUDA 10.0.

        CUDA 10.0.130 is now official after being announced back at SIGGRAPH. This NVIDIA compute architecture update provides Turing GPU support and its Tensor Cores, NVSwitch Fabric support, nvJPEG as a new library for JPEG processing, various performance tuning for its expansive library set, a new async task-graph programming model, interoperability improvements with Vulkan and D3D12, and new developer tools.

      • NVIDIA have released the 410.57 driver as well as a 396.54.06 Vulkan beta driver to help DXVK

        Along with the release of the GeForce RTX 2080 GPU series NVIDIA have put out a new 410.57 driver to support it. Additionally, there’s a new Vulkan beta driver which should help DXVK.

      • Help Test Intel+Nvidia Hybrid Graphics GDM3 Fixes In Ubuntu 18.04

        Ubuntu 18.04 shipped with two issues for Intel+Nvidia hybrid graphics users: an increase in power consumption when the discrete GPU is off, and the inability to switch between power profiles with a simple logout (a restart is currently required).

        These issues are caused by changes in logind, Nvidia drivers packaging (which is now more granular), and the migration from LightDM to GDM3, and they were fixed in Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish.

      • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 To RTX 2080 Ti Graphics/Compute Performance

        Yesterday were the initial NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Linux benchmarks based upon my early testing of this high-end Turing graphics card paired with their new 410 Linux graphics driver. For your viewing pleasure today is a look at how the RTX 2080 Ti compares to the top-end cards going back to Kepler… Or, simply put, it’s the GeForce GTX 680 vs. GTX 780 Ti vs. 980 Ti vs. 1080 Ti vs. 2080 Ti comparison with OpenGL and Vulkan graphics tests as well as some initial OpenCL / CUDA tests but more Turing GPU compute tests are currently being conducted. For making this historical comparison more interesting are also power consumption and performance-per-Watt metrics.

        With the Linux support on the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti fairing well, one of the curiosity-driven tests was this comparison featuring the “[x]x80″ series cards of Kepler, Maxwell, Pascal, and Turing for an interesting benchmarking look at the NVIDIA graphics/compute speed going back to the GTX 680 debut in 2012. The GTX 680, GTX 780 Ti, GTX 980 Ti, GTX 1080 Ti, and RTX 2080 Ti were all tested using this newest Linux driver release, 410.57 beta, while running on the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS box with the Linux 4.18 kernel.

  • Applications
    • 16 Useful Bandwidth Monitoring Tools to Analyze Network Usage in Linux

      Are you having problems monitoring your Linux network bandwidth usage? Do you need help? It’s important that you are able to visualize what is happening in your network in order to understand and resolve whatever is causing network slowness or simply to keep an eye on your network.

    • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 178

      Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 178.

    • Proprietary
      • WinWorld – A Large Collection Of Defunct OSs, Software And Games

        The other day, I was testing Dosbox which is used to run MS-DOS games and programs in Linux. While searching for some classic programs like Turbo C++, I stumbled upon a website named WinWorld. I went through a few links in this site and quite surprised. WinWorld has a plenty of good-old and classic OSs, software, applications, development tools, games and a lot of other miscellaneous utilities which are abandoned by the developers a long time ago. It is an online museum run by community members, volunteers and is dedicated to the preservation and sharing of vintage, abandoned, and pre-release software.

        WinWorld was started back in 2003 and its founder claims that the idea to start this site inspired by Yahoo briefcases. The primary purpose of this site is to preserve and share old software. Over the years, many people volunteered to improve this site in numerous ways and the collection of old software in WinWorld has grown exponentially. The entire WinWorld library is free, open and available to everyone.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • The excellent 2D action RPG ‘CrossCode’ is now officially out

        CrossCode from Radical Fish Games is a rather great 2D action RPG and today it was officially released across multiple stores.

        It’s a fun idea, having you play as a character who is actually in an MMO set in the far future, where your avatar has a physical form. It’s 2018 after all, we have films like Ready Player One that follow a guy running around in VR…

        Inspired by some of the classic JRPGs, CrossCode has a lot of familiar RPG elements and anyone who has played an action-RPG will feel right at home. I’ve been waiting so long for this to be finished and it’s absolutely worth the wait.

      • Transhuman Design has removed the Linux version of BUTCHER due to issues in favour of Steam Play

        It seems Transhuman Design have removed the Linux version of BUTCHER after users reported issues, opting instead to ask Steam to add it as an approved Steam Play title.

        [...]

        After digging into the Steam forum, I came across this forum topic started in August, where four users mentioned trouble starting the game. That doesn’t seem like a lot of people to make such a big decision, but it’s understandable that with a tiny team and little time they’re trying to make it so Linux gamers still have a good experience. Probably a good case for Valve to allow people to have a choice between native and Steam Play’s Proton.

      • Free to play third-person shooter ‘The Misfits’ has a Linux version that’s currently hidden on Steam, works well

        The Misfits, a free to play third-person shooter from PigDogGames that’s currently in Early Access has a Linux version on Steam, although it’s currently hidden it does work well.

      • The latest Steam Client Beta has some fixes for Steam Play, Steam Link improvements and so on

        For those of you who like to live life on the edge, the Steam Client Beta was updated yesterday with some fixes for Steam Play amongst other things.

        For Steam Play, Valve fixed an issue with install scripts for Steam Play games sometimes not running correctly after you’ve used Big Picture Mode. Additionally, something a few people noticed with Steam Play was missing DLC, this should also now be fixed. Hopefully not long before those go in the stable client, since they can be quite troublesome issues.

      • Fast-paced platform racer ‘RAZED’ is now out and it’s pretty good

        Much like Sonic, the idea is to run as fast as you can while avoiding obstacles with your special running shoes. They’re not your ordinary running shoes, since one of them will explode if you run out of energy which you accumulate by running. Any special abilities you have, will also use that same energy so if you use too much—boom!

      • Lamplight City, the steampunk-ish detective adventure game is now out

        From developer Grundislav Games, who also made A Golden Wake, Lamplight City is a detective adventure set in a alternate “Victorian” setting.

      • Din’s Legacy action-RPG enters Early Access with Linux support

        Din’s Legacy, the latest action-RPG from Soldak Entertainment has entered Early Access on Steam and early reports suggest it could be good when further developed.

      • The MMO tactical shooter Mavericks has a release delay, Linux support still coming

        Mavericks [Official Site] is an incredibly promising sounding shooter with an interesting take on the Battle Royale-type games although it’s having a delay in the release.

        The Windows release for people who become “Founders” (their form of giving people Early Access) was due today, instead they’re now aiming for November 29th. Talking about the delay, they mentioned how they needed some “more advanced tools” to keep an eye on what’s going on along with needing some gameplay adjustments.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KaOS Linux Gets the KDE Applications 18.08 Treatment, Latest Calamares Installer

        KaOS 2018.08 is August 2018′s ISO snapshot for the independently developed GNU/Linux distribution inspired by Arch Linux and built around the latest KDE technologies. It ships with the most recent KDE Applications 18.08.0 open-source software suite, as well aas the KDE Plasma 5.13.4 desktop environment and KDE Frameworks 5.49.0, all built on the Qt 5.11.1 framework.

        “It is with great pleasure to present to you the August release of a new stable ISO. With almost 70 % percent of the packages updated since the last ISO and the last release being over two months old, a new ISO is more than due. No major changes this time to announce, as was with last ISO, just the usual large package movement,” said the developers in the release announcement.

      • Let’s Tally Some Votes!

        We’re about a week into the campaign, and almost 9000 euros along the path to bug fixing. So we decided to do some preliminary vote tallying! And share the results with you all, of course!

        On top is Papercuts, with 84 votes. Is that because it’s the default choice? Or because you are telling us that Krita is fine, it just needs to be that little bit smoother that makes all the difference? If the latter, we won’t disagree, and yesterday Boudewijn fixed one of the things that must have annoyed everyone who wanted to create a custom image: now the channel depths are finally shown in a logical order!

      • Almost Bionic

        Maybe it’s all the QA we added but issues kept cropping up with Bionic. All those people who had encrypted home folders in xenial soon found they had no files in bionic because support had been dropped so we had to add a quirk to keep access to the files. Even yesterday a badly applied patch to the installer broke installs on already partitioned disks which it turns out we didn’t do QA for so we had to rejig our tests as well as fix the problem. Things are turning pleasingly green now so we should be ready to launch our Bionic update early next week. Do give the ISO images one last test and help us out by upgrading any existing installs and reporting back. Hasta pronto.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Hello GNOME 3.30!

        GNOME 3.30 “Almeria” has been released at 5 September 2018 as announced in mailing list by Matthias Clasen. This version is a Stable version after 6 month development with GUADEC 2018 conference at Almeria, Spain. It brings improvements in its core apps Files, Games, Boxes, Settings, Builder, and it adds new app called Podcasts. In short, the 3.30 is a very attractive and comfortable desktop to use in mid-high computers with RAM 4GB or more. Also, Builder makes GNOME 3.30 amazingly easy for everyone to contribute back to GNOME Project. I tested GNOME 3.30 on Fedora Rawhide (as per 15 September 2018) as Ubuntu users still need to wait until 18.10 released. Thanks to all GNOME Developers and Contributors for bringing this awesome version. Here’s my review. Enjoy!

      • Speeding up AppStream: mmap’ing XML using libxmlb

        AppStream and the related AppData are XML formats that have been adopted by thousands of upstream projects and are being used in about a dozen different client programs. The AppStream metadata shipped in Fedora is currently a huge 13Mb XML file, which with gzip compresses down to a more reasonable 3.6Mb. AppStream is awesome; it provides translations of lots of useful data into basically all languages and includes screenshots for almost everything. GNOME Software is built around AppStream, and we even use a slightly extended version of the same XML format to ship firmware update metadata from the LVFS to fwupd.

      • GNOME 3.30 Released – Here’s What’s New

        GNOME 3.30 is the latest version of GNOME 3, and is the result of 6 months’ hard work by the GNOME community. It contains major new features, as well as many smaller improvements and bug fixes. In total, the release incorporates 24845 changes, made by approximately 801 contributors.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • What’s New in PeppermintOS 9

        PeppermintOS 9 is the latest release of Ubuntu-based distribution featuring a desktop environment mashup of Xfce and LXDE components. The latest release nearly completes a process begun several upgrades ago, using more Xfce elements and fewer LXDE components.

        Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Peppermint OS 9 is using the Linux 4.15 kernel and supports both 32-bit and 64-bit hardware architectures. Highlights of this release include a new default system theme based on the popular Arc GTK+ theme, support for both Snap and Flatpak universal binary packages via GNOME Software, which will now be displayed in the main menu.

    • New Releases
      • Escuelas Linux Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Major Release, Here’s What’s New

        Continuing the Edubuntu legacy of delivering Linux-based operating systems and Open Source software projects to schools and other educational institutions around the world, Escuelas Linux 6 has been released earlier this month with major improvements and new features. The biggest highlights of this release being the availability of dedicated English language ISO images for non-Spanish users.

        “Escuelas Linux 6 as a massive amount of improvements, but one of them is key around Softpedia,” said Alejandro Díaz. “And, at this point came your help, that above improvement would not be worth the effort if English language people are not aware of our existence. In fact, we recognize that most downloads from non-Spanish language countries are due to your nice articles about us.”

      • Solus 3 ISO Refresh Released

        We are proud to announce the availability of Solus 3.9999, our ISO refresh of Solus 3. This refresh enables support for a variety of new hardware released since Solus 3, introduces an updated set of default applications and theming, as well as enables users to immediately take advantage of new Solus infrastructure.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • Tumbleweed Gets New Versions of KDE Plasma, Applications

        A total of four openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots were delivered to users of the rolling release this past week and the snapshot brought new versions of KDE Plasma and KDE Applications.

        The most recent snapshot 20180917 updated three packages. The GNOME package dconf-editor was updated to 3.30.0. Users of the ext2 filesystem will notice the utility package e2fsprogs 1.44.4 will fix the debugs ncheck command to work for files with multiple hard links; the updated package also has new debugfs commands for dumping xattr blocks and i_blocks array. Another GNOME package was updated with the iagno 3.30.0 package for the game reversi, which shows that GNOME 3.30 packages are starting to be integrated into Tumbleweed snapshots.

        Another three packages were updated in the 20180916 snapshot. The GNU Project debugger, gdb 8.2, added several patches and support access to new POWER8 registers. A fix was made for a GNU Compiler Collection 8.1 warning with the perl-DBD-mysql 4.047 updated, which also added options needed for public key based security. The other package that was updated in the snapshot was perl-Glib 1.327.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • New SparkyLinux 5.5 “Nibiru” ISOs Released with Latest Debian Buster Updates

          The new SparkyLinux 5.5 “Nibiru” Rolling images are now synced with the Debian Testing (soon to become Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”) software repositories as of September 17, 2018, which means that they are now shipping the Linux 4.18.6 kernel, the Calamares 3.2.1 installer, as well as the latest GCC 8 system compiler by default aas GCC 7 has been completely removed.

          “There are new live/install iso images of SparkyLinux 5.5 “Nibiru” available to download. The live system of MinimalGUI/CLI uses Debian’s Linux kernel 4.18.6 as default. The live system of LXQt, due to a problem with long loading the desktop, features Sparky’s Linux kernel 4.18.8 (32bit pae/64bit amd64) as default; and the Debian’s one as well,” reads the release announcement.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 18.04 and 18.10 Hybrid Laptop Users Invited to Test Nvidia PRIME Support

            With the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) as the first LTS (Long Term Support) Ubuntu release to ship with the GNOME desktop environment by default instead of Canonical’s in-house built Unity desktop, hybrid laptop users with Intel and Nvidia GPUs lost the way Nvidia PRIME worked in the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) series.

            But it looks like some Ubuntu developers like Alberto Milone never stopped looking for a fix, and he and his team have successfully released a patch for the bug causing increased power consumption when using the power saving profile with the Nvidia GPU turned off, as well as the inability to switch between power profiles when logging out.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Linux Mint 19

              Well, there you have it. I have covered everything that I can think of in this review.

              Installation is as straight forward as downloading an ISO image, copying it to a USB and then navigating a few installation screens.

              The Cinnamon user interface is first class. It looks incredibly stylish and is very easy to use.

              The default software with Linux Mint is perfect for most purposes although I would always go with Chrome over Firefox and Evolution over Thunderbird but they are personal preferences.

              The software manager makes it easy to find new software and you can install either flatpak packages or debian format packages.

              Steam is available for playing games and you can now play Windows games without installing WINE but it isn’t yet 100% perfect.

              If you need Citrix then I have covered the fact that it works but there are a few pitfalls. These are not unique to Linux Mint and are generally the same on every distribution.

              I have shown that it is possible to run Windows 10 in a virtual machine meaning you can use Linux Mint for most tasks and swap into a virtual machine for everything else. No need to waste disk space dual booting.

              Timeshift is a great new tool for adding system restore points and there are various tools for keeping your system up to date, changing the look and feel of your system and for setting up hardware such as graphics cards and printers.

              It is easy to see why Linux Mint is so popular. It is straight forward, easy to use and consistent.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Top 3 benefits of company open source programs

    Many organizations, from Red Hat to internet-scale giants like Google and Facebook, have established open source programs (OSPO). The TODO Group, a network of open source program managers, recently performed the first annual survey of corporate open source programs, and it revealed some interesting findings on the actual benefits of open source programs. According to the survey, the top three benefits of managing an open source program are…

  • Control your data with Syncthing: An open source synchronization tool

    These days, some of our most important possessions—from pictures and videos of family and friends to financial and medical documents—are data. And even as cloud storage services are booming, so there are concerns about privacy and lack of control over our personal data. From the PRISM surveillance program to Google letting app developers scan your personal emails, the news is full of reports that should give us all pause regarding the security of our personal information.

    Syncthing can help put your mind at ease. An open source peer-to-peer file synchronization tool that runs on Linux, Windows, Mac, Android, and others (sorry, no iOS), Syncthing uses its own protocol, called Block Exchange Protocol. In brief, Syncthing lets you synchronize your data across many devices without owning a server.

  • California’s First Open Source Election System: Maybe not!

    OSI Affiliate Member, California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO), has expressed concerns that a recent announcement by Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (Dean Logan) and the State of California’s Secretary of State (Alex Padilla) was not accurate in their descriptions of a newly certified elections tally system, “Voting System For All People” (VSAP), as using “open source technology.”

    Both the Los Angeles County and California Secretary of State announcements stated the elections system was, “the first publicly-owned, open-source election tally system certified under the California voting systems standards” [emphasis added].

  • Hide your real name in Open Source

    If you’re thinking about contributing to Open Source, please take a moment to think of the negative impact it could have on your career…

  • Events
    • Thermal Microconference Accepted into 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference

      As the energy density of computer systems has increased, thermal issues have become an increasingly hot topic across the spectrum from hand-held systems to internet datacenters. Because the need for thermal management is relatively new, there is a wide variety of hardware and firmware mechanisms, to say nothing of a wide variety of independently developed software to interact with these mechanisms. This in turn results in complex and almost-duplicate code to manage and control thermal excursions. This microconference will therefore look to see if it is possible to consolidate or at least to better align the Linux kernel’s thermal subsystems.

      This microconference will therefore discuss better handling of low ambient temperatures, userspace thermal control, improvements to thermal zone mode, better support for indirect (virtual) temperature measurement, sensor hierarchy, scheduler interactions with thermal management, and improvements to idle injection as a way to cool a core.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Performance-Tuning a WebVR Game

        For the past couple of weeks, I have been working on a VR version of one of my favorite puzzle games, the Nonogram, also known as Picross or Griddlers. These are puzzles where you must figure out which cells in a grid are colored in by using column and row counts. I thought this would be perfect for a nice, relaxing VR game. I call it Lava Flow.

        [...]

        There is a weird glitch where the whole scene pauses when rebuilding the game board. I need to figure out what’s going on there. To help debug the problems, I need to see the frames per second inside of VR Immersive mode. The standard stats.js module that most three.js apps use actually works by overlaying a DOM element on top of the WebGL canvas. That’s fine most of the time but won’t work when we are in immersive mode.

        To address this, I created a little class called JStats which draws stats to a small square anchored to the top of the VR view. This way you can see it all the time inside of immersive mode, no matter what direction you are looking.

      • Firefox 63 Beta 10 Testday, September 28th

        We are happy to let you know that Friday, September 28th, we are organizing Firefox 63 Beta 10 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Firefox Customize, Font UI, Tracking protection.

      • So long Buildbot, and thanks for all the fish

        Last week, without a lot of fanfare, we shut off the last of the Buildbot infrastructure here at Mozilla.

      • The future of themes is here!

        Themes have always been an integral part of the add-ons ecosystem and addons.mozilla.org (AMO). The current generation of themes – also known as lightweight themes and previously known as Personas (long story) – were introduced to AMO in 2009. There are now over 400 thousand of them available on AMO. Today we’re announcing the AMO launch of the next major step in the evolution of Firefox themes.

      • 8 tips for hosting your first participatory workshop

        “Why not give it a try?” Ricky, our senior user researcher said.
        “Design with people in my parents age without any design backgrounds? In-ter-est-ing……!” I couldn’t believe that he just threw such a crazy idea in our design planning meeting.

        Before we go through the whole story, let me give you more context about it. Mozilla Taipei UX team is currently working on a new product exploration for improving the online experience of people between the age of 55~65 in Taiwan. From 2 month, 4 rounds of in-depth interviews we conducted with 34 participants, we understood our target users holistically from their internet behaviors, unmet needs, to their lifestyles. After hosting a 2-day condense version of design sprint in Taipei office for generating brilliant product concepts (more stories, stay tuned :)), we were about to reach the stage of validation.

  • Databases
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Daniel Pocock: Resigning as the FSFE Fellowship’s representative

      I’ve recently sent the following email to fellows, I’m posting it here for the benefit of the wider community and also for any fellows who don’t receive the email.

    • Parabola GNU/Linux-libre: Server loss

      However, that sponsorship has come to an end. We are alright for now; the server that 1984 Hosting is sponsoring us with is capable of covering our immediate needs. We are looking for a replacement server and are favoring a proprietor that is a “friend of freedom,” if anyone in the community has a suggestion.

  • Programming/Development
    • Qt 5.11.2 Released

      Qt 5.11.2 is released today. As a patch release it does not add any new functionality, but provides important bug fixes, security updates and other improvements.

      Compared to Qt 5.11.1, the Qt 5.11.2 release provides fixes for more than 250 bugs and it contains around 800 changes in total. For details of the most important changes, please check the Change files of Qt 5.11.2.

      The recommended way for getting Qt 5.11.2 is using the maintenance tool of the online installer. For new installations, please download latest online installer from Qt Account portal (commercial license holders) or from qt.io Download page (open source).

    • Qt 5.11.2 Released With ~800 Changes, 250+ Bug Fixes

      Since the June release of Qt 5.11.1 on the 5.11 branch there has been more than 800 changes and 250 bug fixes that made it into Qt 5.11.2 as the next point release.

      Qt 5.11.2 is out today as the newest bug/security fix release. The release has many bug fixes, various code improvements, a number of QtWayland QPA plug-in fixes, support for building QtWayland on macOS (why?), some QtCore regression fixes, updating SQLite against v3.24, build system work, and other mostly minor changes.

    • Python 3.7 beginner’s cheat sheet

      The Python programming language is known for its large community and diverse extension menu, but much is packed into the language itself. This cheat sheet rounds up a few built-in pieces to get new Python programmers started.

    • 8 Python packages that will simplify your life with Django

      Django developers, we’re devoting this month’s Python column to packages that will help you. These are our favorite Django libraries for saving time, cutting down on boilerplate code, and generally simplifying our lives. We’ve got six packages for Django apps and two for Django’s REST Framework, and we’re not kidding when we say these packages show up in almost every project we work on.

      But first, see our tips for making the Django Admin more secure and an article on 5 favorite open source Django packages.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • EU investigating German automakers, alleging collusion on emissions tech

      The European Commission said on Tuesday that it is opening an investigation into possible collusion among Volkswagen Group, BMW, and Daimler to avoid competition on developing state-of-the-art emissions control technology.

    • VW, BMW, Daimler Face EU Probe Over Clean-Car Collusion

      Germany’s beleaguered car industry faces another regulatory tangle, as the European Union opened a probe into Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG over suspected collusion that could have delayed clean-emissions technology for cars.

      The investigation, which could lead to heavy fines, focuses on joint technical talks to develop selective catalytic reduction systems to reduce nitrogen-oxides emissions from diesel cars and “Otto” particulate filters for gasoline engines.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Sloan Kettering’s Cozy Deal With Start-Up Ignites a New Uproar

      A for-profit venture with exclusive rights to use the cancer center’s vast archive of tissue slides has generated concerns among pathologists at the hospital, as well as experts in nonprofit law and corporate governance.

      [...]

      The arrangement has sparked considerable turmoil among doctors and scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering, which has intensified in the wake of an investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times into the failures of its chief medical officer, Dr. José Baselga, to disclose some of his financial ties to industry in dozens of research articles. He resigned last week, and Memorial Sloan Kettering’s chief executive, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, announced a new task force on Monday to review the center’s conflict-of-interest policies.

      At a staff meeting Thursday morning, Thompson and others, including Dr. Lisa DeAngelis, the acting physician-in-chief who replaced Baselga, described the recent events as a disruption and acknowledged that the hospital was under a microscope, according to several people who attended. Doctors said they were concerned about a lack of communication from hospital leadership, and one said patients were nervous that their health data was being commercialized by the institution.

      Hospital pathologists have strongly objected to the Paige.AI deal, saying it is unfair that the founders received equity stakes in a company that relies on the pathologists’ expertise and work amassed over 60 years. They also questioned the use of patients’ data — even if it is anonymous — without their knowledge in a profit-driven venture.

    • US, EU Consumer Group Releases Resolution Calling To Delink R&D From Monopoly Incentives

      The resolution notes that in “many countries, policy interventions designed to control costs are based upon withholding coverage for products that are too expensive … and/or imposing costly co-payments on patients. In such cases, the patient rather than the monopoly is put at risk when there are price disputes.”

      The TACD resolution addresses this asymmetry by calling for new incentive mechanisms that position R&D as a public good to facilitate affordable access to health technology. To this end, the resolution presents a set of recommendations to policymakers, included below.

    • WHO Releases Draft Roadmap For Access To Medicines; Comments Show Polarised Views

      WHO member states were consulted on the draft roadmap on 10-11 September. On 10 September, the WHO organised an informal discussion with stakeholders, who provided a range of comments to the draft.

      The Roadmap for access 2019-2023 “Zero draft” [pdf] was developed after member state consultations starting in July for the purposes of consulting with member states on its development, according to the WHO. An online survey was carried out from 9 July to 31 August. Some 56 countries answered the survey. Their contribution can be found here [pdf].

  • Security
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • NewEgg cracked in breach, hosted card-stealing code within its own checkout

      The popular computer and electronics Web retailer NewEgg has apparently been hit by the same payment-data-stealing attackers who targeted TicketMaster UK and British Airways. The attackers, referred to by researchers as Magecart, managed to inject 15 lines of JavaScript into NewEgg’s webstore checkout that forwarded credit card and other data to a server with a domain name that made it look like part of NewEgg’s Web infrastructure. It appears that all Web transactions over the past month were affected by the breach.

    • “Master Password” Is A Password Manager Alternative That Doesn’t Store Passwords

      Master Password is a different way of using passwords. Instead of the “know one password, save all others somewhere” way of managing passwords used by regular password managers, Master Password’s approach is “know one password, generate all the others”.

    • French cyber-security agency open-sources CLIP OS, a security hardened OS

      The National Cybersecurity Agency of France, also known as ANSSI (Agence Nationale de la Sécurité des Systèmes d’Information), has open-sourced CLIP OS, an in-house operating system its engineers had developed to address the needs of the French government administration.

      In a press release, ANSSI described CLIP OS as a “Linux-based operating system [that] incorporates a set of security mechanisms that give it a very high level of resistance to malicious code and allow it to protect sensitive information.”

    • Ubuntu 14.04 Will Get Extended Security Maintenance Support

      Canonical has confirmed that Ubuntu 14.04 Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) support will be available from next year. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS ‘Trusty Tahr’ will reach end of life (EOL) in April 2019, but Canonical is aware that not everyone running or relying on the release is in a position to upgrade right away.

    • Ubuntu flings 14.04 LTS users a security lifeline, chats some more about Hyper-V

      14.04 LTS users looking down the same end-of-life barrel, on 30 April 2019, are to be offered the same lifeline. Without wishing to alarm customers still clinging to the veteran operating system, Ubuntu pointed to some of the notable security issues of the last year – such as Spectre and Meltdown – while trumpeting that lucky 12.04 LTS users saw 120 updates, including fixes for over 60 high and critical vulnerabilities during the ESM period.

      As before, ESM is aimed fairly and squarely at enterprises that have purchased Canonical’s commercial support package, Ubuntu Advantage (UA) (although it can be bought by itself if needs be). UA currently costs $150 per desktop per year (and you’ll need at least 50 of the things). A server, which is the most likely candidate for something that admins don’t want to upgrade, will cost $750 a year.

    • Debian: DSA-4298-1: hylafax security update
  • Defence/Aggression
    • HOLD THE FRONT PAGE. THE REPORTERS ARE MISSING

      The death of Robert Parry earlier this year felt like a farewell to the age of the reporter. Parry was “a trailblazer for independent journalism”, wrote Seymour Hersh, with whom he shared much in common.

      Hersh revealed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia, Parry exposed Iran-Contra, a drugs and gun-running conspiracy that led to the White House. In 2016, they separately produced compelling evidence that the Assad government in Syria had not used chemical weapons. They were not forgiven.

      Driven from the “mainstream”, Hersh must publish his work outside the United States. Parry set up his own independent news website Consortium News, where, in a final piece following a stroke, he referred to journalism’s veneration of “approved opinions” while “unapproved evidence is brushed aside or disparaged regardless of its quality.”

      Although journalism was always a loose extension of establishment power, something has changed in recent years. Dissent tolerated when I joined a national newspaper in Britain in the 1960s has regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves towards a form of corporate dictatorship. This is a seismic shift, with journalists policing the new “groupthink”, as Parry called it, dispensing its myths and distractions, pursuing its enemies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Ecuador pledged to not kick out Assange, but threat of US prosecution still serious – lawyer to RT

      Despite widespread speculation a few months ago that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be kicked out of the Ecuadorian embassy by the country’s new leadership, his asylum seems to be safe for now, his lawyer told RT.

      In July, there were numerous reports that Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, may revoke the political asylum given to Assange by his predecessor, Rafael Correa, as part of an effort to establish closer ties with the US. The threat never materialized, but his long-time lawyer said “anything could happen at any time.”

      [...]

      Assange believes that publishing classified materials, however embarrassing they are to a government, is protected by the fundamental right to freedom of speech. Many US officials depict WikiLeaks as traitorous spies, especially after the website published stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee amid the 2016 presidential election. The publication, they claim, was part of a Russian effort to damage the US, an allegation that both WikiLeaks and Moscow have denied.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • A Guide to Plastic in the Ocean

      Plastic is everywhere: In your home, your office, your school — and your ocean. Among the top 10 kinds of trash picked up during the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup were food wrappers, beverage bottles, grocery bags, straws, and take out containers, all made of plastic. How did it all get there? Why is it a problem? What can we do?

    • Climate Change Made Florence a Monster—but Media Failed to Tell That Story

      That Hurricane Florence broke rainfall records for tropical storms in both North and South Carolina shouldn’t be surprising, as global climate change has increased extreme precipitation in all areas of the continental United States. One analysis released before the massive storm hit, by researchers at Stony Brook, Berkeley National Lab and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, projected that warming would cause Florence to bring twice as much rain compared to a similar storm with normal temperatures.

      But news audiences were rarely informed about the contribution of human-caused climate disruption to the devastating storm, according to a study of hurricane coverage by Public Citizen. Less than 8 percent of Florence stories in the 50 top-circulation US newspapers (9/9–16/18) mentioned climate change—and only 4 percent of segments on major TV outlets.

      [...]

      “When outlets fail to connect these events to global warming, audiences are left uninformed about some of the most critical decisions we face,” David Arkush, who directs Public Citizen’s climate program, said in a statement. “We need a serious national discussion about the urgent, existential threat from climate change and how we are going to fix it—and it’s very difficult to have that conversation when media won’t talk about the topic.”

  • Finance
    • EU taking ‘close look’ at Amazon’s business practices

      The European Union has started taking a close look at the business practices of American retail giant Amazon, the bloc’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, told a news conference in Luxembourg on Wednesday.

    • Facebook could face EU sanctions if it doesn’t tweak terms of service

      Facebook updated its own TOS policies to get more in line with the new EU laws back in February, but the changes didn’t go far enough to tow the line Brussels had extended.

      The EU called Facebook out on this, but it doesn’t look like Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has done much publicly to appease the EU’s bigwigs, unlike Airbnb, which fell into line to comply with new regulations some three months after being told to.

    • EU warns Facebook it faces sanctions over ‘misleading’ T&Cs

      The EU commissioner in charge of consumer protection, Věra Jourová, said she had run out of patience with the social network after nearly two years of discussions aimed at giving Facebook’s European users more information about how their data is used.

    • Facebook yet to comply with EU consumer rules, Airbnb in line: EU sources

      Online platforms are under pressure in Europe because of their dominance and anti-competitive business practices, which have resulted in hefty fines handed down to some companies. Privacy and consumer concerns have also aggravated the situation.

    • EU drops ‘sweetheart deal’ lawsuit as Apple pays €14.3bn in taxes to Ireland

      The Irish government, however, still disagrees with the EC’s ruling. Finance minister Paschal Donohoe emphasised this a statement, saying: “While the government fundamentally disagrees with the Commission’s analysis in the Apple State Aid decision and is seeking an annulment of that decision in the European Courts, as committed members of the European Union, we have always confirmed that we would recover the alleged State aid.”

      The matter will likely take several years to be settled by the European courts, the statement added.

    • Danske bank chief resigns over €200bn money-laundering scandal

      The boss of Denmark’s biggest bank has resigned after admitting that the vast majority of €200bn (£178bn) flowing through its Estonian branch was money-laundered cash flowing illegally out of Russia, the UK and the British Virgin Islands.

    • Communist China Moves To Control Billions Through “Social Credit”

      The data is combined with information collected from individuals’ government records, which include medical and educational, along with their financial and internet browsing histories. Overall scores can go up and down in “real time” dependent on the person’s behavior but they can also be affected by people they associate with.

    • Parliament watchdog probes Rees-Mogg’s hard Brexit lobby group over “other sources of funding”
    • ‘Second’ bank account: MPs demand probe into Rees-Mogg’s Brexit group

      Senior MPs are calling for a deep investigation of the ‘second’ bank account and undisclosed funding held by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s group of hard-line anti-EU Conservatives.

      They want full public scrutiny of the financial operations and shrouded membership list of the European Research Group (ERG). Their demands follow the latest disclosure in openDemocracy’s ongoing investigation into the ERG’s affairs, which revealed an undisclosed second bank account with unknown “sources of funding”.

    • The Great Brexit Disorder

      The burning issue in the UK, where immigration is concerned, consists in the subsequent denial of the right of residence to those who entered the country entirely legally.

      The recent scandal concerning the so-called “Windrush generation” is a central instance of this official duplicity.

      The British Nationality Act was passed in 1948 to allow British Commonwealth citizens legal entry into the UK, as a way of dealing with the country’s acute postwar labour shortage. Only proof of residency in a Commonwealth country was needed for entry.

      The steamship Windrush brought the first of several thousands of immigrants from the British Caribbean to the UK.

      In a government “paper reduction” exercise decades later, the entry papers of these immigrants were shredded (other euphemisms were used, but this is basically what happened).

      When the Tories introduced their policy of a “hostile environment” for immigrants after they returned to power in 2010, proof of legal residence in the UK was suddenly required for all medical treatment, applications for government jobs, all kinds of licenses, and so forth.

      (Incidentally, the current prime minister, Theresa May, was the architect of this vicious “hostile environment” policy when she was home secretary/interior minister prior to becoming PM. This policy was a cynical ploy to prevent hard-right Tory voters from absconding to the xenophobic and anti-immigration UKIP.)

      The Windrush generation, entering the UK legally, had assumed for decades that they were legal UK residents (and were treated as such by officialdom until this policy change), and therefore saw no need to apply for UK documents such as passports, etc.

    • The Brexit “Who Dunnit?”

      As soon as the Brexit result was announced two summers ago, I immediately saw reverberations within academia as many colleagues had grants in the air which depended on EU money. Most didn’t go forward. Many other colleagues chose to return to their homelands of France, Germany, and Austria seeing the writing on the wall. In recent months U.K. scientists have expressed extreme concern as to how Brexit has already begun to affect the country’s ability to draw in the best talent through research fellowships. There has already been a 5% decrease by scientists outside the UK noted from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017. Since it was launched last month, leading British scientists to include two Nobel prize winners are among the 687,000 who have signed the “Final Say” petition launched by the Independent asking for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

    • The High Court case which could reveal the DUP’s secret Brexit donors

      Someone gave the Democratic Union Party £435,000 before the Brexit referendum in 2016. But we don’t know who. Now a campaigning barrister is taking the Electoral Commission to court to force out the truth.

      Last week in the High Court, senior barrister Jolyon Maugham won a case against the Electoral Commission and Vote Leave – one of the two official campaigns in the referendum. The court ruled that a donation from Vote Leave to Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes should have been counted as expenditure for Vote Leave and not Grimes’ independent campaign. This is because the money was paid directly to AggregateIQ, a political data marketing company that was supposed to be working for Grimes’ campaign. The extra expenditure means that Vote Leave broke the laws relating to how much the campaigns were allowed to spend.

      Now Maugham’s non-profit organisation, the Good Law Project, is arguing that the same logic must also apply to the Constitutional Research Council, the body that gave the £435,000 donation to the Democratic Unionist Party, as revealed here on openDemocracy. More than half the money went on a DUP advert in the Metro newspaper, which ran in England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland – and earlier this year, an investigation by BBC Northern Ireland revealed that Richard Cook, the chairman of the CRC, had personally placed that advert.

    • Labour won’t support Brexit, their critics are ignoring all the clues

      .

      Not much is clear in the fog created by Brexit, except for two cold calculations: The Tory party is far more split over Europe than Labour. And, therefore, Theresa May will likely need Labour votes to get approval for her Brexit deal.

      If May is able to satisfy all her MPs with a deal of some sort, it would be a miracle. But, to be frank, she has never looked like a miracle worker.

      So I can see why strong Remainers are constantly critical of the Labour leadership. They want Labour to take a strong stance against Brexit, yet all they get from Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell is ambivalence. They don’t see the Labour leadership articulate the rage and anger they feel, which leaves them feeling ignored. I know that feeling too.

      But this criticism is misplaced.

    • Brexit: Stop the Sabotage

      Few of our fishermen could survive this transition period. The government admits it will bankrupt 60 per cent of our fishing fleet. So why accept it? We didn’t vote to destroy our fishing fleet, we voted to save it.

      This transition traps us in a legal minefield. The European Commission said, “Union law shall be binding upon and applicable in the United Kingdom during the transition period.” It went on, “For the purposes of the Treaties, during the transition period, the parliament of the United Kingdom shall not be considered to be a national parliament.” It is for us, not the EU, to judge whether parliament is a national parliament.

      EU leaders like Guy Verhofstadt want us never to leave. He said in June that the EU would not ratify Brexit until 2038. We didn’t vote to stay in for another 20 years, we voted to leave now.

      And Michel Barnier said, “It will be crystal clear at the end of this negotiation that the best situation will be to remain a member of the EU.” What kind of organisation forbids you to leave? A mafia.

      The Sunday Telegraph editorial of 8 July, appearing immediately following the publication of the disastrous Chequers proposal, said, “Millions of people have indeed been betrayed, let down by a political class that had promised to implement the referendum…Last Friday felt like a political coup by the establishment.”

    • If the Troubles Return After Brexit, It Won’t Just be Because of the Irish Border Issue

      As with any topic relating to Brexit, useful analysis is blurred by discussing political issues in economic terms. Certainly, any attempt to restore an economic frontier along the 310-mile border with its estimated 200 crossing points would face resistance and could only be implemented – and even then ineffectually – by police and army in fortified positions. Inability to close the border and control border areas was a persistent British military weakness during the whole course of the Troubles.

      The British government is removing essential building blocks of the Good Friday Agreement of which the nature of the border is only one element. It has most crucially abandoned its own neutrality between unionists and nationalists and is threatening the legal guarantees to civil rights and equality given authority by the role of the EU. Without anybody paying much attention, the toxic ingredients that were the original cause of the Troubles 50 years ago are being reconstituted.

    • On Brexit, there’s no doubt that UK negotiators have adopted a hard bargaining strategy

      All eyes in British politics are on the negotiations between the UK and the EU over the terms of the forthcoming British withdrawal from the Union, or Brexit. Surprisingly, questions of bargaining strategy – once the preserve of diplomats and niche academic journals – have become some of the most defining issues in contemporary British politics.

      [...]

      Assumptions about Britain’s status as a global power, the myriad alternatives in the wider world, and the unity of the public mandate for Brexit, have contributed to the overstatement of the UK’s bargaining power and the (false) belief that hard bargaining will prove a winning strategy.

      Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK’s bargaining power. This is not ‘treasonous’, as ardent Brexiteers have labelled similar nods to reality, but is rather the only way to ensure that strategies designed to protect the national interest actually serve this purpose. Power is a finite resource that cannot be talked into existence. Like a deflating puffer fish, the UK’s weakness will eventually become plain to see. The risk is that before this occurs, all bridges will be burned, all avenues exhausted, and all feathers ruffled.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Why conservatives should just give up on Kavanaugh
    • Voting in America Is NUTS. Here’s How to Plan Ahead.

      Are you registered to vote?
      Do you know where your polling place is?
      Do you know what you need to bring with you?

      [...]

      Electionland, a coalition of hundreds of newsrooms around the country, is working to change this. Its reporters monitor problems that can stop voters from casting their ballots, like changed voting locations, flyers with false information, voter purges, broken machines and hacking. Led by ProPublica, Electionland uses data and technology to track problems, in real time, at every stage of the voting process.

      We’ll talk more about what those problems look like and what they might mean for your community. In the meantime, let’s make sure you’re set for November.

    • Russell Coker: Words Have Meanings

      As a follow-up to my post with Suggestions for Trump Supporters [1] I notice that many people seem to have private definitions of words that they like to use.

      There are some situations where the use of a word is contentious and different groups of people have different meanings. One example that is known to most people involved with computers is “hacker”. That means “criminal” according to mainstream media and often “someone who experiments with computers” to those of us who like experimenting with computers. There is ongoing discussion about whether we should try and reclaim the word for it’s original use or whether we should just accept that’s a lost cause. But generally based on context it’s clear which meaning is intended. There is also some overlap between the definitions, some people who like to experiment with computers conduct experiments with computers they aren’t permitted to use. Some people who are career computer criminals started out experimenting with computers for fun.

      [...]

      Another example is the word “communist” which according to many Americans seems to mean “any person or country I don’t like”. It’s often invoked as a magical incantation that’s supposed to automatically win an argument. One recent example I saw was someone claiming that “Russia has always been communist” and rejecting any evidence to the contrary. If someone was to say “Russia has always been a shit country” then there’s plenty of evidence to support that claim (Tsarist, communist, and fascist Russia have all been shit in various ways). But no definition of “communism” seems to have any correlation with modern Russia. I never discovered what that person meant by claiming that Russia is communist, they refused to make any comment about Russian politics and just kept repeating that it’s communist. If they said “Russia has always been shit” then it would be a clear statement, people can agree or disagree with that but everyone knows what is meant.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Elon Musk May Have Talked His Way Into A Pretty Serious Defamation Lawsuit

      So many defamation lawsuits that we see are so obviously bogus on their face that often it feels like we should reconsider the rules for defamation in the first place. Over and over again we see defamation lawsuits that are obviously SLAPP suits, in which the powerful seek to silence those who criticize them. This lawsuit is one of the rare cases where it does not appear to be a SLAPP suit at all — and, Elon Musk almost seemed to force the hand of Vern Unsworth into suing him for defamation. Musk, who is a visionary innovator, but who has been involved in increasingly bizarre behavior of late, kicked a bunch of this off with a tweet back in July calling Vern Unsworth a “pedo guy” after Unsworth criticized his submarine plan.

      If you somehow missed all of this, there were 12 children trapped in a cave in Thailand, and Musk got intrigued by the rescue attempts and very quickly worked with his own engineers to design and prototype a small submarine that might be used to help rescue the kids. There were a lot of mixed reports on all of this, from some thanking and appreciating Musk making such an effort (he even flew to Thailand with the sub) to others mocking him for shoving himself into the rescue efforts. Wherever you stand on that debate, it really makes no difference for what came next. While some of those involved in the rescue thanked Musk for trying (even though his sub wasn’t needed), Unsworth, who had spent years mapping the caves and was widely credited for both bringing in the more experienced divers and for helping the rescuers find the kids in the first place, was unimpressed by Musk’s sub and said so. Specifically, he called it a PR stunt, said it had no chance of working, and said “he can stick his submarine where it hurts.”

    • The First Amendment Bars Officials From Targeting Nike Because They Don’t Like Colin Kaepernick

      From Louisiana to Mississippi to Rhode Island, governments are trying to use the power of their offices to impose their views of Nike on others.

      In response to the Nike ad campaign featuring NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick, some state and local government officials in Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Louisiana have sought to discourage or prohibit the purchase of Nike products in various ways.

      While everyone is entitled to have their own opinion about the ads — including public officials — government efforts to boycott a company based on hostility to its political expression violate the First Amendment. That’s because one of the most fundamental precepts of the First Amendment is that the government can’t act to suppress one side of a public debate.

      In 2016, Kaepernick famously kneeled during the national anthem to protest police violence against minority communities, provoking vigorous debate about the relationship between protest and patriotism, the place of politics in sports, and free speech in the workplace. In the ads, Nike asks people to “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

      Kaepernick has indeed sacrificed enormously for his beliefs, as his protests effectively brought an end to his NFL career. Although Kaepernick and his allies have repeatedly made it clear that their grievances are directed at systemic racism, some politicians — including President Trump — have insisted that the protest is disrespectful to police and military personnel.

    • Wherein Jean Luc Picard Learns How Not To Moderate Twitter

      For those not familiar with the Star Trek: the Next Generation cannon, in the episode “Hero Worship” the Enterprise receives a distress call from somewhere deep in space, and in responding discovers a heavily-damaged ship with just one survivor. While the Enterprise crew is investigating what happened to the ship, they soon realize that they are being pounded by energy waves, and eventually it dawns on them that these waves could eventually destroy their ship like they apparently did the other. As the Enterprise tries to channel more and more power to its shields to protect itself from the battering, the waves hitting the ship become more and more violent. Until finally – spoiler alert! (although let’s be honest: the episode basically telegraphs that this will be the solution) – Commander Data realizes that the waves are reflecting back the energy the Enterprise is expending, and that the solution is to cut the power or else be destroyed by the slapback.

      This is a sci fi story illustrating a phenomenon with which we’re all familiar. It’s that basic principle: to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And that’s what’s happening as people demand more censorship from platforms like Twitter, and then get more outraged when platforms have inevitably censored things they like. Of course increased calls to remove content will inevitably result in increased calls not to. And of course platforms’ efforts to comply with all these competing demands will just make the platform more unusable until, like the wrecked ship, it will have torn itself apart to the point that it’s hardly recognizable.

      As the Enterprise crew learned, solutions don’t always require figuring out ways to expend more energy. Sometimes they involve disengaging from a struggle that can never be won and finding new ways to view the problem. And when it comes to platform moderation, that same lesson seems relevant here.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Find ways to trace origin of messages: Government to WhatsApp

      Unhappy with the steps taken so far by WhatsApp, the government plans to reiterate its demand to the messaging app to work out a technical solution to trace the origins of incendiary messages spread on its platform.

      The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) is drafting a letter — its third since July to the Facebook-owned platform — asking it to design a technology-led solution to the issue that in the past has led to mob lynching or riots in the country.

    • Xiaomi Launches A New Smart Alarm Clock With Xiao AI And Bluetooth 4.0 – Comes with Internet Radio And News Functionality

      While it looks like most digital alarm clocks since only the time is displayed on the screen, it is truely aesthetic and minimalist. But what makes this device unique is it’s digital assistant Xiao AI, the smart assistant launched some time ago and present by default on some of the brand’s smartphones, think Bixby(China version).

    • Cloudflare Solves The Problem of CAPTCHAs For Tor Users with Cloudflare Onion Service

      In a recent development reported by ZDNet, Cloudflare has launched its new service known as the ‘Cloudflare Onion Service’. The announcement was made in Cloudflare’s blog published today where the idea of ‘Onions’ has been elaborated upon. This service is unique in its ability to distinguish between legitimate Tor traffic and bots. The basic benefit of this service is especially meant for Tor users who will now view much less or even zero CAPTCHAs while accessing a website protected by Cloudflare in Tor Browser.

      The introduction of this new service by Cloudflare required small tweaking in Tor binary by the Tor team. Therefore, it would only function with Tor Browser’s recent versions Tor Browser 8.0 and Tor Browser for Android, both of which were launched last month.

      [...]

      Cloudflare’s blog highlighted the functioning of this new service, “Just as with Opportunistic Encryption, we can point users to the Cloudflare Onion Service using HTTP Alternative Services, a mechanism that allows servers to tell clients that the service they are accessing is available at another network location or over another protocol…If the certificate is signed by a trusted certificate authority, for any subsequent requests to “cloudflare.com” the browser will connect using HTTP/2 via the onion service, sidestepping the need for going through an exit node.”

    • The DOJ’s Rules For Spying On Journalists Get A Bit Flimsy When It Reaches The FISA Court

      Back in the spring of 2013, just a month or so before Ed Snowden started revealing all sorts of surveillance shenanigans, there was another important revelation: the Obama DOJ had gone way overboard in spying on journalists, including grabbing the phone records of some AP reporters (without letting them know) and, even worse, telling a court that a Fox News reporter was a “co-conspirator” with a leaker in order to get his phone and email records.

      The Obama administration’s war on the press has been well documented on this site, with many in the press highlighting how he was the most secretive — not to mention the most aggressive in abusing the Espionage Act to target leakers and journalists more times than every other President combined prior to him. Once those two stories above came out, the DOJ initially promised to create new guidelines, though, when those guidelines came out, they seemed pretty limited and left a lot of avenues open for the government to spy on journalists, including using National Security Letters — the meaningless “letters” the FBI/DOJ often hands out like post-it notes, demanding all sorts of info with zero due process, and frequently with an indefinite gag order.

      Back in 2015, we noted that the Freedom of the Press Foundation was suing the DOJ demanding the details of the rules used around those national security letters, given that the DOJ didn’t want to release them. Earlier this week, the Freedom of the Press Foundation stated that (thanks to the lawsuit), the DOJ has now revealed its rules for seeking FISA Court orders spying on journalists, which are different than its rules for collecting general information from journalists (and different than the rules for the FBI to use NSLs, which is still secret).

    • Facebook ‘Dating’ Is Finally Rolling Out: The First Look From Testing

      Facebook has begun public testing its online-dating service called ‘Dating’ in Colombia. The company announced the service back at the annual F8 conference in May this year. If all goes well, this service will soon be rolled out to other countries in the future.

    • Machine learning and the right to explanation in GDPR

      This blogpost is a small section of a much larger research report Debates, awareness, and projects about GDPR and data protection. The report complements the launch of the Digital Rights Finder tool delivered by Projects by IF and Open Rights Group. We highlight some of the most interesting and important debates around GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

      There is some concern about the practical feasibility of implementing the right to explanation in GDPR in the context of complex data processing such as big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. (See this section of the report for more on debates about the existence of the right to explanation.)

      Lilian Edwards and Michael Veale argue that a right to an explanation is not the remedy to harms caused to people by algorithmic decisions. They also argue that the narrowly-defined right to explanation in GDPR of “meaningful information about the logic of processing” is not compatible with how modern machine learning technologies are being developed.

    • GDPR use in urls – Discuss – HTTP Archive

      It appears that more and more sites are adding gdpr compliance to their sites, and the term is appearing in the urls of requests that are gdpr compliant. in 4 months, we’ve seen a jump from near 0 to 2.4% of all urls containing the term GDPR.

    • Cloudflare Ordered to Expose YTS, Showbox, and Popcorn Time Site ‘Operators’

      A recent DMCA subpoena has ordered Cloudflare to expose the people linked to various popular pirate sites and tools. The request, quietly submitted out of public sight, comes from a group of movie studios attempting to hold site owners responsible for piracy damages.

    • Nest customer is locked out after his doorbell mistakes him for Batman
    • UIDAI’s rollout of face recognition for Aadhaar authentication expected today
    • John Hancock To Only Sell “Interactive” Life Insurance, Will Heavily Push Health Tracking

      John Hancock plans to only sell life insurance packages that offer incentives to customers who wear a smart watch and track their health data.

      The company started offering an “interactive” life insurance policy called “Vitality” back in 2015. Soon all John Hancock life insurance policyholders will be switched to that program, which offers discounts and gift cards to anyone willing to track their health information. Wearing a smart device is not mandatory to keep your insurance.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Facebook is letting job advertisers target only men

      A ProPublica review of Facebook ads found that many purchased by Drive with Uber, the company’s recruiting arm, targeted only men in more than a dozen cities across the US. Our survey of 91 Uber ads found just one targeting only women; three did not target a specific sex.

    • How Bail Reform Trapped Marijuana Activist NJ Weedman In Jail

      Through the metal detectors, past the indoor basketball court dotted with men in orange, and into a small whitewashed room with six telephones, New Jersey’s resident marijuana activist sat behind a window. He sat at the fourth phone, his face framed by a thick border of blue paint around the polycarbonate glass, chipped in some areas. His dreadlocks were tied back and his calm gray-colored eyes were underlined by dark bags. He was tired.

      Edward Forchion, known ubiquitously as “NJ Weedman,” has been locked up at the Mercer County Correctional Center for more than a year with no conviction. His incarceration is the result of the state’s new bail reform act, which allows for the detainment of a defendant with no option of bail and extra time to be added to a trial date through the use of excludable time.

      His lock-up in the New Jersey jail has an ironic timing. With the election of Governor Phil Murphy, who campaigned on legalizing marijuana, the state is closer than it has ever been to seeing the drug become regulated. But at a time when activists are rejoicing in the plant’s acceptance in the Garden State, New Jersey’s most ardent pot advocate is behind bars.

      The man who spent most of his adult life advocating marijuana reform is now fighting bail reform.

    • Ninth Circuit Says No, You Fucking May Not Arrest A Bunch Of Middle School Students To ‘Prove A Point’

      The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court has upheld the stripping of immunity from a school resource officer who clearly violated the rights of multiple students, but still felt the need to be told twice by consecutive federal courts.

      School is school and kids will get in fights. Some accusations about bullying brought several seventh grade students to the school’s office, along with Deputy Luis Ortiz. Ortiz reached the limits of his training and experience extremely quickly when he was unable to determine who was bullying who or why these seventh grade students wouldn’t give him the respect he so clearly felt he was owed. So, here’s how he made the most (constitutional violations) of a bad situation.

      [...]

      There’s no ducking the lawsuit. On top of that, Ortiz (and another officer named in the lawsuit) will be facing state claims in addition to the federal civil rights violation allegations. Without a doubt, officers sometimes arrest people simply to “prove a point.” But usually they’ll do it with a bit more subtlety and try to eliminate any recordings that might undermined their official narrative. Ortiz was so determined to teach a bunch of uncooperative seventh graders a lesson, he completely forgot to make the arrest minimally plausible.

    • 2 Native American Teens Were Reported to Police for Joining a Campus Tour. Now We’re Stepping In.
    • Jeff Sessions Says If You Want More Shootings And Death, Listen To The ACLU And Black Lives Matter

      Jeff Sessions is still quoting a bad study to score points with law enforcement officials. Earlier this year — while speaking to the National Association of Police Organizations — he cited a study by two Chicago lawprofs that supposedly drew a connection between violent crime spikes in Chicago and a settlement with the ACLU, reached after years of police misconduct and abuse.

      The Attorney General’s point was clear: misconduct and abuse are what’s keeping criminal activity at bay. Constitutionally-sound police work lets the criminals win. The problem with Sessions’ assertions — and the law profs’ conclusions — is several cities with consent decrees or settlements in place have seen violent crime rates continue to go down, indicating there’s really no provable connection between violent crime rates and so-called “limitations” on police activity.

    • New Jersey Judicial Commission Says State’s Courts Are Maximizing Revenue, Minimizing Justice

      If there’s something our nation’s courts do well, it’s make life as difficult as possible for anyone caught in its gears. The premise of “innocent until proven guilty” has been made a mockery by prosecutors who stack charges until defendants give up and give in. Plea deals end more than 90% of criminal cases before they ever go to trial.

      Criminal infractions subject only to tickets and fines become jailable offenses as well, once the courts are finished piling on. A $50 parking ticket can balloon into hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees and the routine issuance of bench warrants assures some who have committed moving violations spend a few hours or days in jail as part of the process.

      The New Jersey Judicial Commission recognizes the problem. It’s having trouble working towards a solution, but at least it’s trying. Much like anywhere else in the country, depriving drivers of their licenses in lieu of collected fees doesn’t do anything to help the state collect fines. People with suspended licenses either can’t get to work or take a calculated risk to ensure their income flow doesn’t come to a halt. With automatic license plate readers flagging drivers with suspended licenses, cops are finding it easier to turn small driving infractions into life-crippling situations.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Court Orders FCC To Hand Over Data On Bogus Net Neutrality Comments

      You might recall that when the Trump FCC killed net neutrality, the public comment period (the only chance consumers had to actually offer their opinion) was plagued with all manner of identity theft and bogus comments. Oddly, the FCC didn’t seem too concerned that dead people were filing comments to the FCC website supporting their extremely unpopular decision, and even actively blocked law enforcement investigations into what happened. It’s worth noting that similar campaigns to generate bogus support for unpopular policies have plagued other government agencies in the post-truth era.

      Annoyed by the FCC’s lack of transparency and its refusal to respond to FOIA requests for additional data, journalist Jason Prechtel sued the FCC in late 2017. This week, a ruling (pdf) by Christopher Cooper of US District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the FCC to hand over at least some of the data. The ruling requires that the FCC hand over email addresses that were used to submit .CSV files, which in turn contained the bulk comments. The order did not, however, grant Prechtel’s request for server logs, which could help detail who used specific APIs.

    • You Can Make the House of Representatives Restore Net Neutrality

      For all intents and purposes, the fate of net neutrality this year sits completely within the hands of a majority of members of the House of Representatives. For one thing, the Senate has already voted to reverse the FCC. For another, 218 members of the House can agree to sign a discharge petition and force a vote to the floor, and nothing could stop it procedurally. This represents the last, best chance for a 2018 end to the FCC’s misguided journey into abandoning consumer protection authority over ISPs such as Comcast and AT&T.

      But we need you to take the time to contact your elected officials and make your voice heard. Do not underestimate your power to protect the Internet. You’ve done it before when we stopped Congress from passing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) as it barreled forward towards passage. We’ve even done it on net neutrality just this year. Every time it seemed the ISP lobby had control over the state legislative process and was going to ruin progress on net neutrality laws, we collectively overcame their influence. In fact, every state that has passed net neutrality legislation so far as interim protections have done so on a bipartisan basis.

  • DRM
    • John Deere Just Swindled Farmers Out of Their Right to Repair

      Just after the California bill was introduced, the farm equipment manufacturers started circulating a flyer titled “Manufacturers and Dealers Support Commonsense Repair Solutions.” In that document, they promised to provide manuals, guides, and other information by model year 2021. But the flyer insisted upon a distinction between a right to repair a vehicle and a right to modify software, a distinction that gets murky when software controls all of a tractor’s operations.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Germany: Tongeber (Sound Generator), Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 56/16, 17 April 2018

      The patent relates to a sound generator, in particular for parking assistance systems for vehicles. The sound generator is equipped with a housing comprising a base part and a top part. The base part has a receiving space, which can be covered by the top part, for receiving a diaphragm.

    • Trademarks
      • How the EU Copyright Directive could affect trade marks

        Speakers at MARQUES annual conference analysed how the European copyright legislation could raise challenges for brand owners and benefit the furniture industry. They delved into amendments made to the directive draft voted through last week

    • Copyrights
      • Sony Decides That It Too Can Compete With Free With Its Own Retro Console

        Remember that quaint mantra from a few years back, “You can’t compete with free!” The misguided idea behind the quip was that if the public could get your product for free, typically in digital form via the internet, then you were sunk. Dunzo. Kaput. The problem with this thinking is that selling a product has always had to be about more than an infinitely reproducable digital file, making any claim that “you can’t compete with free” exactly two words too long. And, of course, we’ve seen so many counterexamples in which people and companies very much compete with free, and in fact make a killing at it, so as to make this theory essentially dead. We recently touted the fact that Nintendo is barely able to keep its Nintendo NES Mini in stock as perhaps the ultimate example of this, given how pretty much every computer and smartphone can get all those same games and functions via emulators.

      • Canada’s Supreme Court Offers Hope to Falsely Accused File-Sharers

        In recent years hundreds of thousands of IP-addresses have been implicated in piracy lawsuits. But does that mean that the account holder is always liable? According to a recent comment by Canada’s Supreme Court, merely being associated with a ‘pirating’ IP address “is not conclusive of guilt.”

      • PIPCU Wins Piracy Enforcement Award From US Chamber of Commerce

        The City of London Police Intellectual Property [sic] Crime Unit has been presented with the Intellectual Property [sic] Champions Award for Excellence in Enforcement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center. The award, handed for the first time this year to an international player, is in recognition for the unit’s work in anti-piracy enforcement.

      • Senate passes copyright bill to end 140-year protection for old songs

        The Senate must now negotiate with the House, which passed its own version of the legislation earlier this year. Public Knowledge was not a fan of that legislation because it keeps pre-1972 sound recordings out of the public domain for much longer. The big question now is whether the final version of the bill will look more like the consumer-friendly Senate version or the more industry-friendly House legislation.

Criticism of Unitary Patent (UPC) Agreement Doomed the UPC and Patent Trolls’ Plan — Along With the Litigation Lobby — for Unified ‘Extortion Vector’

Thursday 20th of September 2018 04:46:07 PM

But dark clouds remain due to European Patents (EPs) that are leveraged by patent trolls

Summary: The Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court (UPC) was the trolls’ weapon against potentially millions of European businesses; but those businesses have woken up to the fact that it was against their interests and European member states such as Spain and Poland now oppose it while Germany halts ratification

TODAY’S EPO works for the litigation 'industry', not for science and technology. Examiners, who are themselves scientists and technologists, are rightly concerned. Will their job merely help trolls blackmail other scientists and technologists? What would happen to Germany if it became all about litigation? As the German Florian Müller told me yesterday: “Trolling with junk patents works best in Germany. With respect to injunctions, worse than the Eastern District of Texas.”

The threat of trolls in Europe is a growing threat; even predating anything similar to the UPC, litigation by trolls is soaring, especially in Germany. Some are using EPs, granted by the EPO. As American right groups such as the EFF can tell, patent trolls that only make a living by threatening lawsuits (and sometimes suing) also threaten and sometimes sue their exposers, their critics. I’ve received some threats (even death threats/death wishes) and the EFF was sued several times. Here is what it wrote a couple of days ago:

EFF to Court: The First Amendment Protects Criticism of Patent Trolls

EFF has submitted an amicus brief [PDF] to the New Hampshire Supreme Court asking it to affirm a lower court ruling that found criticism of a patent owner was not defamatory. The trial judge hearing the case ruled that “patent troll” and other rhetorical characterizations are not the type of factual statements that can be the basis of a defamation claim. Our brief explains that both the First Amendment and the common law of defamation support this ruling.

This case began when patent assertion entity Automated Transactions, LLC (“ATL”) and inventor David Barcelou filed a defamation complaint [PDF] in New Hampshire Superior Court. Barcelou claims to have come up with the idea of connecting automated teller machines to the Internet. As the complaint explains, he tried to commercialize this idea but failed. Later, ATL acquired an interest in Barcelou’s patents and began suing banks and credit unions.

Things aren’t yet this bad in Europe, but they can only get a lot worse if the EPO continues moving in the same trajectory.

Darts-ip has been mentioned this week in relation to a new partnership. Like similar firms in the US that claim to mitigate/reduce the risk from trolls, Darts-ip gathers information to that effect; they help track patent trolls and earlier this year they produced publications for IP2Innovate (speaking out against UPC on behalf of technology firms). This is their latest move:

Minesoft will partner with Darts-ip to include Darts-ip’s collection of patent and intellectual property litigation data on the PatBase database.

PatBase offers a searchable global database of patents, utility models, and designs. As part of the agreement, direct links from PatBase will lead to detailed disclosures in the Darts-ip Case Law database.

[...]

Eric Sergheraert, legal patent manager at Darts-ip, added: “The combination of PatBase’s exhaustive patent database and Darts-ip’s litigation data provides a unique opportunity for patent professionals to streamline and target their searches.”

“We look forward to providing this double insight for our clients and working with PatBase.”

Assuming litigation will grow, Darts-ip expects more ‘business’.

The UPC has all along been the promise of a boon for patent trolls in Europe. It’s pretty obvious and it’s not hard to understand why that might be.

Kluwer Patent Blog was cited by SUEPO today as well as by Team UPC (about Thorsten Bausch), which said (not collectively): “As I have pointed out before, for all practical purposes Art. 87(3) UPCA may be key to the UPC-Brexit conundrum.”

FFII’s Benjamin Henrion said: “UPC: UK might wish to take up any other topic of reforming patent law (e.g. computer-implemented inventions) to the extent that it is not bound by the EPC…”

Thorsten Bausch basically weighed in on a new paper from Germany, introducing it as follows:

A recent study by two eminent scholars from the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (MPI) on „The Impact of Brexit on Unitary Patent Protection and its Court“, which is available here, casts significant doubts whether it will be possible for the United Kingdom to stay in the UPC Agreement after the UK has left the European Union.

I know that this is to some extent a “hot potato”, and at least a very political topic in patent circles, where different stakeholders hold quite different views, also on this blog. I will try my best to focus on the arguments raised by Professor Dr. Hanns Ullrich and Dr. Matthias Lamping without fury or favour. Before doing so, a note of caution may be appropriate. This „Research Paper“ actually consists of two studies which, as the authors write in their joint General Introduction, have been undertaken spontaneously and independently to reflect such concerns in the authors’ particular field of expertise. Each of them and even more so the paper as a whole is weighty and voluminous: 182 pages in total. Trying to summarize the work that went into this research paper on a blog like this one will inevitably fail to do justice to the authors and their work. Hence, I apologize in advance for all omissions and simplifications and would encourage the readers to read the original source rather than just relying on this „super-executive summary“.

What is the authors’ core thesis and what are their arguments? The authors state that it would neither be in conformity with the EU Treaties, nor politically desirable from a point of view of retaining the EU’s ability to control the conditions of innovation and its legal protection within the Internal Market, if the UPCA were opened to accession by third countries.

[...]

Whether the UPC will ever come into force or not, and whether or not the UK will then be part of it, remains to be seen. The MPI authors certainly have a point in arguing that uncertainty is not good for the UPC system, and that it would be better to clarify the compatibility of the UPCA with EU Law through the CJEU sooner rather than later. But whatever the outcome of such deliberations, it is good that the patent judges of Europe work together and develop a consistent methodology how to approach their respective cases.

From comments (first comment, there aren’t many), noting the difference between litigation (Gordon & Pascoe) and MPI:

It is nice to (finally!) see a report covering the MPI articles reach an IP blog. I believe that it will be very interesting indeed to see what happens next.

Predictably, there have already been attempts by those firmly in the “pro-UPC” camp to dismiss / minimise the significance of the articles. However, to date, this has been done solely by attempting to infer that the MPI authors are somehow lacking in EU law expertise, at least compared to Gordon & Pascoe. In my view, that amounts to nothing more than an unprofessional (and ad hominem) attack upon the credentials of the authors. Frankly, I expected better. Indeed, the whole of the patent profession across Europe DESERVES better. This means addressing the SUBSTANCE of the concerns raised by the authors.

I have to say that I am not going to hold my breath waiting for credible answers to the substantive points raised in the articles. This is not least because one of the main concerns raised relates to Article 267 TFEU. That is precisely the concern that I have repeatedly raised (in this forum and others) over recent years, and to which I have NEVER received a credible answer. No matter how much I would like to be surprised on this point, I do not see a credible answer emerging any time soon … though there will no doubt be a plentiful supply of smoke and mirrors to help the politicians to continue to cling to the belief that there is nothing to worry about.

Blogs like IP Kat have not said a word about it; considering the ties to CIPA, perhaps they just hope nobody will notice what MPI said.

It Wasn’t Judges With Weapons in Their Office, It Was Benoît Battistelli Who Brought Firearms to the European Patent Office (EPO)

Thursday 20th of September 2018 03:18:29 PM

Armed and dangerous

Summary: The EPO scandals deepen in light of a very major scandal which has occupied the French media for a couple of months

THE delusional, painting-himself-as-the-victim Benoît Battistelli is in some headlines again. He probably would rather not be seen right now, especially in light what he’s in headlines for. Some French media (very large networks) approached us for information; Battistelli’s obsession with violence (like terror attacks) is well documented, even if there’s no history of violence at the EPO. Battistelli is a chronic paranoid, having developed an obsession with bodyguards predating his time at the EPO. The hiring of Alexandre Benalla as his 'hitman' was a mere symptom of it. SUEPO has just taken note of it (at long last), having just linked to this new article in French; there’s hopefully an English translation on its way (SUEPO often produces these for articles after linking to them).

“Battistelli is a chronic paranoid, having developed an obsession with bodyguards predating his time at the EPO.”Much of the discussion about it is in French as well, e.g. “[] ah. Benalla trouve que batistelli est un saint ! [] #benalla conseillé du président de l’OEB sur la sécurité… En fait c’est lui qui a passé entre 7 et 9 mois (il sait plus trop #LOL) a harceler les gens et les syndicats… #woké (cc @zoobab ) [] bon, #benalla a fait la securité a l’ #OEB avant d’etre ches @enmarchefr…”

From the article itself (opening paragraphs):

Les sénateurs auditionnant Alexandre Benalla ce mercredi 19 l’ont notamment interrogé sur son parcours professionnel, et son poste de garde du corps de Benoît Battistelli, président de l’Office européen des brevets de 2010 à 2018.

Alexandre Benalla a dit ainsi n’avoir “jamais parlé à Emmanuel Macron” ou à son directeur de cabinet Alexis Kohler de celui qu’il considère comme un “grand serviteur de l’Etat” qui a “eu d’excellents résultats”. Benoît Battistelli traîne cependant une réputation sulfureuse qu’ont soulignée à demi-mot plusieurs sénateurs.

One EPO observer said: “Benalla war auch Leibwächter von Benoît Battistelli, ex-Präsident beim Europäischen Patentamt mit Hauptsitz in München. Pikantes Detail, Benalla hat dem Senatsausschuss mitgeteilt dass er bei der Ausführung seiner Tätigkeit im Patentamt immer eine Waffe trug! Was geht denn da ab?”

An automatic translation of it: “Benalla was also a bodyguard of Benoît Battistelli, former president of the European Patent Office, headquartered in Munich. Spicy detail, Benalla has told the Senate committee that he always wore a gun in the execution of his work in the Patent office! What’s going on?”

“Judge Corcoran was accused by Battistelli of possessing a ‘weapon’ because at his office he actually kept just ordinary sports equipment (club we’ve presumed) he used for exercise purposes.”So it was Battistelli who brought firearms to the EPO while falsely accusing judges of having weapons in their office. We could never quite confirm that Judge Corcoran was accused by Battistelli of possessing a ‘weapon’ because at his office he actually kept just ordinary sports equipment (club we’ve presumed) he used for exercise purposes. The details about this were always quite vague.

It might be interesting to know if António Campinos kept those bodyguards and, if so, how many of them and whether Bergot also gets a pair. If anyone out there has details regarding this matter, please get in touch…

From the point of view of patent quality (our main focus all these years), Campinos has been an utter disaster. They’re organising pro-software patents events and keep promoting this agenda dozens of times per week. It was done about 4 times yesterday (it’s increasing in frequency over time) and such devaluation of European Patents (‘diluting’ whatever value they once had) will deepen the cuts. There are already layoffs in effect, but the media refuses to write about these because the EPO does not publicly acknowledge that.

“There are already layoffs in effect, but the media refuses to write about these because the EPO does not publicly acknowledge that.”Ellie Mertens, writing from New York for a publication that helped Battistell promote the UPC, speaks of “Managing IP’s Life Sciences Forum,” i.e. another think tank (yet another one!) of the litigation ‘industry’, i.e. firms whose contribution is ruinous at best. Notice how sites like these (IAM, Managing IP, IP Kat) totally and very much by intention ceased covering EPO scandals. It’s not because these scandals ended; it’s all about their agenda and the changing roles at these sites.

In the next post we’ll deal with UPC. Moments ago the thought-provoking image below was published.


“Battistelli is only the tip of the iceberg (EPOgate)” (Source)

Links 20/9/2018: 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference and Blackboard’s Openwashing

Thursday 20th of September 2018 01:10:21 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
  • Kernel Space
    • Moving Compiler Dependency Checks to Kconfig

      One reason became clear recently when Linus Torvalds asked developers to add an entirely new system of dependency checks to the Kconfig language, specifically testing the capabilities of the GCC compiler.

      It’s actually an important issue. The Linux kernel wants to support as many versions of GCC as possible—so long as doing so would not require too much insanity in the kernel code itself—but different versions of GCC support different features. The GCC developers always are tweaking and adjusting, and GCC releases also sometimes have bugs that need to be worked around. Some Linux kernel features can only be built using one version of the compiler or another. And, some features build better or faster if they can take advantage of various GCC features that exist only in certain versions.

      Up until this year, the kernel build system has had to check all those compiler features by hand, using many hacky methods. The art of probing a tool to find out if it supports a given feature dates back decades and is filled with insanity. Imagine giving a command that you know will fail, but giving it anyway because the specific manner of failure will tell you what you need to know for a future command to work. Now imagine hundreds of hacks like that in the Linux kernel build system.

    • Virtme: The kernel developers’ best friend

      When working on the Linux Kernel, testing via QEMU is pretty common. Many virtual drivers have been recently merged, useful either to test the kernel core code, or your application. These virtual drivers make QEMU even more attractive.

    • After Torvalds’ apology, the Linux community is adopting a new code of conduct
    • Linux programmer developing tools for new open source Code of Conduct
    • Chaos follows Linux dev community’s new code of conduct
    • Linux developers adopt proper Code of Conduct

      Linux leader Linus Torvalds’ admission of anti-social behavior, and his public promise not to do it any more, now has a sequel: a Code of Conduct for the Linux kernel development community.

      The new behavioural document is intended to replace the “Code of Conflict” that Torvalds created in 2015 .

      That 220-word Code did not describe unacceptable behavior and offered no guidance other than “Try to keep in mind the immortal words of Bill and Ted, ‘Be excellent to each other’.”

      The post announcing the new rules says “The Code of Conflict is not achieving its implicit goal of fostering civility” and adds that “Explicit guidelines have demonstrated success in other projects and other areas of the [Linux] kernel.”

    • Linux 4.18.9
    • Linux 4.14.71
    • Linux 4.9.128
    • Linux 4.4.157
    • After Years of Abusive E-mails, the Creator of Linux Steps Aside

      The e-mails of the celebrated programmer Linus Torvalds land like thunderbolts from on high onto public lists, full of invective, insults, and demeaning language. “Please just kill yourself now. The world will be a better place,” he wrote in one. “Guys, this is not a dick-sucking contest,” he observed in another. “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” he began in a third.

      Torvalds has publicly posted thousands of scathing messages targeting programmers who submit what he deems flawed code to the Linux computer-operating-system kernel, which he brought to life more than twenty-five years ago and now administers as a collaborative, open-source project. Today, the Linux kernel is famous, running the enormous computers of Google, PayPal, Amazon, and eBay, and the two billion mobile phones using the Android operating system. Torvalds, though, retains final say over each precious line of code, just as he did when he first started working on the system as a graduate student at the University of Helsinki. For years, he has been known as Linux’s “benevolent dictator for life.”

      On Sunday, the benevolent dictator announced that he would be stepping down temporarily, to “get some assistance on how to understand people’s emotions and respond appropriately.” Torvalds, who is forty-eight and lives with his family outside Portland, Oregon, made clear that he wasn’t burned out. “I very much do want to continue to do this project that I’ve been working on for almost three decades,” he wrote in a post to the Linux-kernel mailing list. “I need to take a break to get help on how to behave differently and fix some issues in my tooling and workflow.” Torvalds named a deputy, Gregory Kroah-Hartman, to run the project while he was away.

    • WireGuard Picks Up A Simpler Kconfig, Zinc Crypto Performance Fix

      WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld sent out the fifth revision of the WireGuard and Zinc crypto library patches this week. They’ve been coming in frequently with a lot of changes with it looking like this “secure VPN tunnel” could reach the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel.

      With the WireGuard v5 patches there are various low-level code improvements, a “saner” and simpler Kconfig build-time configuration options, a performance regression for tcrypt within the Zinc crypto code has been fixed and is now even faster than before, and there is also now a nosimd module parameter to disable the use of SIMD instructions.

    • Toward better handling of hardware vulnerabilities

      From the kernel development community’s point of view, hardware vulnerabilities are not much different from the software variety: either way, there is a bug that must be fixed in software. But hardware vendors tend to take a different view of things. This divergence has been reflected in the response to vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre which was seen by many as being severely mismanaged. A recent discussion on the Kernel Summit discussion list has shed some more light on how things went wrong, and what the development community would like to see happen when the next hardware vulnerability comes around.

      The definitive story of the response to Meltdown and Spectre has not yet been written, but a fair amount of information has shown up in bits and pieces. Intel was first notified of the problem in July 2017, but didn’t get around to telling anybody in the the Linux community about it until the end of October. When that disclosure happened, Intel did not allow the community to work together to fix it; instead each distributor (or other vendor) was mostly left on its own and not allowed to talk to the others. Only at the end of December, right before the disclosure (and the year-end holidays), were members of the community allowed to talk to each other.

      The results of this approach were many, and few were good. The developers charged with responding to these problems were isolated and under heavy stress for two months; they still have not been adequately thanked for the effort they put in. Many important stakeholders, including distributions like Debian and the “tier-two” cloud providers, were not informed at all prior to the general disclosure and found themselves scrambling. Different distributors shipped different fixes, many of which had to be massively revised before entry into the mainline kernel. When the dust settled, there was a lot of anger left simmering in its wake.

    • Writing network flow dissectors in BPF

      Network packet headers contain a great deal of information, but the kernel often only needs a subset of that information to be able to perform filtering or associate any given packet with a flow. The piece of code that follows the different layers of packet encapsulation to find the important data is called a flow dissector. In current Linux kernels, the flow dissector is written in C. A patch set has been proposed recently to implement it in BPF with the clear goal of improving security, flexibility, and maybe even performance.

    • Coscheduling: simultaneous scheduling in control groups

      The kernel’s CPU scheduler must, as its primary task, determine which process should be executing in each of a system’s processors at any given time. Making an optimal decision involves juggling a number of factors, including the priority (and scheduling classes) of the runnable processes, NUMA locality, cache locality, latency minimization, control-group policies, power management, overall fairness, and more. One might think that throwing another variable into the mix — and a complex one at that — would not be something anybody would want to attempt. The recent coscheduling patch set from Jan Schönherr does exactly that, though, by introducing the concept of processes that should be run simultaneously.

      The core idea behind coscheduling is the marking of one or more control groups as containing processes that should be run together. If one process in a coscheduled group is running on a specific set of CPUs (more on that below), only processes from that group will be allowed to run on those CPUs. This rule holds even to the point of forcing some of the CPUs to go idle if the given control group lacks runnable processes, regardless of whether processes outside the group are runnable.

      Why might one want to do such a thing? Schönherr lists four motivations for this work, the first of which is virtualization. That may indeed be the primary motivation, given that Schönherr is posting from an Amazon address, and Amazon is rumored to be running a virtualized workload or two. A virtual machine usually contains multiple processes that interact with each other; these machines will run more efficiently (and with lower latencies) if those processes can run simultaneously. Coscheduling would ensure that all of a virtual machine’s processes are run together, maximizing locality and minimizing the latencies of the interactions between them.

    • Machine learning and stable kernels

      There are ways to get fixes into the stable kernel trees, but they require humans to identify which patches should go there. Sasha Levin and Julia Lawall have taken a different approach: use machine learning to distinguish patches that fix bugs from others. That way, all bug-fix patches could potentially make their way into the stable kernels. Levin and Lawall gave a talk describing their work at the 2018 Open Source Summit North America in Vancouver, Canada.

      Levin began with a quick introduction to the stable tree and how patches get into it. When a developer fixes a bug in a patch they can add a “stable tag” to the commit or send a mail to the stable mailing list; Greg Kroah-Hartman will then pick up the fix, evaluate it, and add it to the stable tree. But that means that the stable tree is only getting the fixes that are pointed out to the stable maintainers. No one has time to check all of the commits to the kernel for bug fixes but, in an ideal world, all of the bug fixes would go into the stable kernels. Missing out on some fixes means that the stable trees will have more security vulnerabilities because the fixes often close those holes—even if the fixer doesn’t realize it.

    • Trying to get STACKLEAK into the kernel

      The STACKLEAK kernel security feature has been in the works for quite some time now, but has not, as yet, made its way into the mainline. That is not for lack of trying, as Alexander Popov has posted 15 separate versions of the patch set since May 2017. He described STACKLEAK and its tortuous path toward the mainline in a talk [YouTube video] at the 2018 Linux Security Summit.

      STACKLEAK is “an awesome security feature” that was originally developed by The PaX Team as part of the PaX/grsecurity patches. The last public version of the patch set was released in April 2017 for the 4.9 kernel. Popov set himself on the goal of getting STACKLEAK into the kernel shortly after that; he thanked both his employer (Positive Technologies) and his family for giving him working and free time to push STACKLEAK.

      The first step was to extract STACKLEAK from the more than 200K lines of code in the grsecurity/PaX patch set. He then “carefully learned” about the patch and what it does “bit by bit”. He followed the usual path: post the patch, get feedback, update the patch based on the feedback, and then post it again. He has posted 15 versions and “it is still in progress”, he said.

    • Linux Foundation
      • 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference

        As in previous years we’re trying to organize an audio miniconference so we can get together and talk through issues, especially design decisons, face to face. This year’s event will be held on Sunday October 21st in Edinburgh, the day before ELC Europe starts there.

      • How Writing Can Expand Your Skills and Grow Your Career [Ed: Linux Foundation article]

        At the recent Open Source Summit in Vancouver, I participated in a panel discussion called How Writing can Change Your Career for the Better (Even if You don’t Identify as a Writer. The panel was moderated by Rikki Endsley, Community Manager and Editor for Opensource.com, and it included VM (Vicky) Brasseur, Open Source Strategy Consultant; Alex Williams, Founder, Editor in Chief, The New Stack; and Dawn Foster, Consultant, The Scale Factory.

      • At the Crossroads of Open Source and Open Standards [Ed: Another Linux Foundation article]

        A new crop of high-value open source software projects stands ready to make a big impact in enterprise production, but structural issues like governance, IPR, and long-term maintenance plague OSS communities at every turn. Meanwhile, facing significant pressures from open source software and the industry groups that support them, standards development organizations are fighting harder than ever to retain members and publish innovative standards. What can these two vastly different philosophies learn from each other, and can they do it in time to ensure they remain relevant for the next 10 years?

    • Graphics Stack
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Multiboot Pinebook KDE neon

        Here’s a picture of my Pinebook running KDE neon — watching Panic! At the Disco’s High Hopes — sitting in front of my monitor that’s hooked up to one of my openSUSE systems. There are still some errata, and watching video sucks up battery, but for hacking on documentation from my hammock in the garden, or doing IRC meetings it’s a really nice machine.

        But one of the neat things about running KDE neon off of an SD card on the Pinebook is that it’s portable — that SD card can move around. So let’s talk about multiboot in the sense of “booting the same OS storage medium in different hardware units” rather than “booting different OS from a medium in a single hardware unit”. On these little ARM boards, u-boot does all the heavy lifting early in the boot process. So to re-use the KDE neon Pinebook image on another ARM board, the u-boot blocks need to be replaced.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Glade in Libre Application Summit

        As usual, it was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones specially outside the GNOME community.

        This opportunity I talked about the plans I have to integrate Glade with Gnome Builder and other IDEs

  • Distributions
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Solving the storage dilemma with open source storage

    Business IT is facing storage growth that’s exceeding even the highest estimates, and there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. Unstructured data in the form of audio, video, digital images and sensor data now makes up an increasingly large majority of business data and presents a new set of challenges that calls for a different approach to storage.

    For CIOs, storage systems that are able to provide greater flexibility and choice, as well as the capability to better identify unstructured data in order to categorise, utilise and automate the management of it throughout its lifecycle are seen as the ideal solution.

    One answer to solving the storage issue is software defined storage (SDS) which separates the physical storage hardware (data plane) from the data storage management logic or ‘intelligence’ (control plane). Needing no proprietary hardware components, SDS is the perfect cost-effective solution for enterprises as IT can use off-the-shelf, low-cost commodity hardware which is robust and flexible.

  • New Open Source Library Nyoka Aids AI, Data Science

    Software AG launches Nyoka, an open source library that eases transforming machine learning and AI models into standard Predictive Model Markup Language.

    Data scientists may breathe a little easier with Software AG’s launch of a new open source library that eases the transformation of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) models into an industry-standard language.

    The Frankfurt-based company released its Nyoka library that enables data scientists to transform models for predictive analytics, AI and machine learning into the industry standard Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML). It unveiled Nyoka at the Big Data Conference in Santa Clara, CA, this week.

  • Deutsche Telekom and Aricent Create Open Source Edge Software Framework

    Deutsche Telekom and Aricent today announced the creation of an Open Source, Low Latency Edge Compute Platform available to operators, to enable them to develop and launch 5G mobile applications and services faster. The cost-effective Edge platform is built for software-defined data centers (SDDC) and is decentralized, to accelerate the deployment of ultra-low latency applications. The joint solution will include a software framework with key capabilities for developers, delivered as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and will incorporate cloud-native Multi-access edge computing (MEC) technologies.

  • A Deeper Look at Sigma Prime’s Lighthouse: An Open-Source Ethereum 2.0 Client
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Notable moments in Firefox for Android UA string history
      • Dweb: Creating Decentralized Organizations with Aragon

        With Aragon, developers can create new apps, such as voting mechanisms, that use smart contracts to leverage decentralized governance and allow peers to control resources like funds, membership, and code repos.

        Aragon is built on Ethereum, which is a blockchain for smart contracts. Smart contracts are software that is executed in a trust-less and transparent way, without having to rely on a third-party server or any single point of failure.

        Aragon is at the intersection of social, app platform, and blockchain.

  • Databases
    • PostgreSQL 11: something for everyone

      PostgreSQL 11 had its third beta release on August 9; a fourth beta (or possibly a release candidate) is scheduled for mid-September. While the final release of the relational database-management system (currently slated for late September) will have something new for many users, its development cycle was notable for being a period when the community hit its stride in two strategic areas: partitioning and parallelism.

      Partitioning and parallelism are touchstones for major relational database systems. Proprietary database vendors manage to extract a premium from a minority of users by upselling features in these areas. While PostgreSQL has had some of these “high-tier” items for many years (e.g., CREATE INDEX CONCURRENTLY, advanced replication functionality), the upcoming release expands the number considerably. I may be biased as a PostgreSQL major contributor and committer, but it seems to me that the belief that community-run database system projects are not competitive with their proprietary cousins when it comes to scaling enterprise workloads has become just about untenable.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • LLVM 7 improves performance analysis, linking

      The developers behind LLVM, the open-source framework for building cross-platform compilers, have unveiled LLVM 7. The new release arrives right on schedule as part of the project’s cadence of major releases every six months.

      LLVM underpins several modern language compilers including Apple’s Swift, the Rust language, and the Clang C/C++ compiler. LLVM 7 introduces revisions to both its native features and to companion tools that make it easier to build, debug, and analyze LLVM-generated software.

    • LLVM 7.0.0 released
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Visual Schematic Diffs in KiCAD Help Find Changes

        In the high(er)-end world of EDA tools like OrCAD and Altium there is a tight integration between the version control system and the design tools, with the VCS is sold as a product to improve the design workflow. But KiCAD doesn’t try to force a version control system on the user so it doesn’t really make sense to bake VCS related tools in directly. You can manage changes in KiCAD projects with git but as [jean-noël] notes reading Git’s textual description of changed X/Y coordinates and paths to library files is much more useful for a computer than for a human. It basically sucks to use. What you really need is a diff tool that can show the user what changed between two versions instead of describe it. And that’s what plotgitsch provides.

  • Programming/Development
    • The best editor for PHP developers who work in Linux OS

      Every programmer knows that coding is fun! Don’t you agree with me? However, to be an absolutely professional PHP developer, we have to know a lot about all the specific details of coding.

      Selecting the editor you are going to use to happily code is not an easy decision and must be taken unhurriedly.

      If you are a beginner, you may try a great code editor with a rich functionality and very flexible customization which is known as Atom Editor, the editor of the XXI century. You may say that we have many pretty alternatives available. Read the explanation below, and the introduced information will knock you off!

Leftovers
  • eSports Milestone: Pro Gamer Ninja To Be The First Pro Gamer Featured On ESPN Magazine Cover

    We have been tracking milestones in the maturity of eSports as a real cultural pastime for several years now, given how eSports almost perfectly intersects two main topics here at Techdirt: technology and digital economies. While those that claimed eSports would become a real thing have long been the recipients of skeptical narrow eyes, pro gaming has already zoomed past a number of important checkpoints on its way to legitimacy. Tournaments were heavily viewed overseas at first, but pro gaming then became recognized by universities for athletic scholarships. Next came coverage of tournaments on ESPN, followed eSports leagues being created by some of the major professional sports leagues in America and abroad. Even the IOC kicked around the idea of including eSports in future Olympic Games.

    While the latest milestone perhaps isn’t as grand as the opening of leagues and new broadcast channels, it is still a notable development that the very first pro gamer will be featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine this week. That honor will go to Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who has amassed an enormous following on Twitch and elsewhere.

  • Hardware
    • The New iPhone XR Has A Critical Flaw And Why You Should Skip It

      This year Apple actually launched three phones, like last year. But we got two different lineups, the XS and XR. iPhones still have the best chips, the A12 Bionic, but they still lag behind in displays, specially when they are compared to the likes of Samsung.

      It was only last year that they moved to OLED displays with the iPhone X. Whereas Android flagships have them for quite sometime now. The new iPhone XS models actually have a OLED display with a resolution of 2436×1125 and a ppi of 458. These are fairly decent display specs for a flagship phone.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • UN Declaration On Noncommunicable Diseases Upholds Intellectual Property Flexibilities

      After weeks of uncertainty among civil society organisations as to whether or not the United Nations political declaration on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) would uphold language on intellectual property flexibilities for affordable access to medicines, the document was finalised today with even stronger language affirming the use of these flexibilities.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • State Department Still Sucks At Basic Cybersecurity And Senators Want To Know Why

      The senators are hoping the State Department will have answers to a handful of cybersecurity-related questions by October 12th, but given the agency’s progress to compliance with a law that’s been on the book for two years at this point, I wouldn’t expect responses to be delivered in a timelier fashion.

      The agency’s track record on security isn’t great and these recent developments only further cement its reputation as a government ripe for exploitation. The agency’s asset-tracking program only tracks Windows devices, its employees are routinely careless with their handling of classified info, and, lest we forget, its former boss ran her own email server, rather than use the agency’s. Of course, given this long list of security failures, there’s a good possibility an off-site server had more baked-in security than the agency’s homebrew.

    • EternalBlue Vulnerability Puts Pirated Windows Systems at Malware Risk [Ed: Microsoft's collusion with the NSA (for US-controlled back doors) continues to cost billions... paid by people who foolishly chose or accepted PCs with Windows.]

      A particular vulnerability that has been codenamed EternalBlue is to be blamed for this misfortune. The malware risk especially affects computers which use pirated Windows versions. This gap in security has its traces back in the legacies of US secret service NSA. Even after several years, many systems continue to be vulnerable. For more than three years, US intelligence was using it for performing hidden attacks on all kinds of targets. The agency finally had to leak the vulnerability to Microsoft due to the danger of hacking by a famous hacker group, Shadow Brokers. Microsoft then consequently had to abandon a patch day for the very first time in the company’s history for filling in the gap as quickly as possible.

    • Debian Outs Updated Intel Microcode to Mitigate Spectre V4 and V3a on More CPUs

      The Debian Project released an updated Intel microcode firmware for users of the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series to mitigate two of the latest Spectre vulnerabilities on more Intel CPUs.

      Last month, on August 16, Debian’s Moritz Muehlenhoff announced the availability of an Intel microcode update that provided Speculative Store Bypass Disable (SSBD) support needed to address both the Spectre Variant 4 and Spectre Variant 3a security vulnerabilities.

      However, the Intel microcode update released last month was available only for some types of Intel CPUs, so now the Debian Project released an updated version that implements SSBD support for additional Intel CPU models to mitigate both Spectre V4 and V3a on Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” systems.

    • Announcing Extended Security Maintenance for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS – “Trusty Tahr” [Ed: Canonical looking to profit from security flaws in Ubuntu like Microsoft does in Windows.]

      Ubuntu is the basis for the majority of cloud-based workloads today. With over 450 million public cloud instances launched since the release of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, a number that keeps accelerating on a day-per-day basis since, many of the largest web-scale deployments are using Ubuntu. This includes financial, big data, media, and many other workloads and use cases, which rely on the stability and continuity of the underlying operating system to provide the mission-critical service their customers rely on.

      Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) was introduced for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS as a way to extend the availability of critical and important security patches beyond the nominal End of Life date of Ubuntu 12.04. Organisations use ESM to address security compliance concerns while they manage the upgrade process to newer versions of Ubuntu under full support. The ability to plan application upgrades in a failsafe environment continues to be cited as the main value for adoption of ESM. With the End of Life of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in April 2019, and to support the planning efforts of developers worldwide, Canonical is announcing the availability of ESM for Ubuntu 14.04.

    • Canonical Announces Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) Extended Security Maintenance

      Canonical announced today that it would extend its commercial Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) offering to the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating system series starting May 2019.

      Last year on April 28, 2017, when the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system series reached end of life, Canonical announced a new way for corporate users and enterprises to receive security updates if they wanted to keep their current Ubuntu 12.04 LTS installations and had no plans to upgrade to a newer LTS (Long Term Support) release. The offering was called Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) and had a great success among businesses.

    • Canonical reveals Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS ‘Trusty Tahr’ Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) plans
    • BlackArch Linux Ethical Hacking OS Now Has More Than 2000 Hacking Tools

      The BlackArch Linux penetration testing and ethical hacking computer operating system now has more than 2000 tools in its repositories, announced the project’s developers recently.

      Used by thousands of hundreds of hackers and security researchers all over the world, BlackArch Linux is one of the most acclaimed Linux-based operating systems for hacking and other security-related tasks. It has its own software repositories that contain thousands of tools.

      The OS is based on the famous Arch Linux operating system and follows a rolling release model, where users install once and receive updates forever, or at least until they do something that can’t be repaired and need to reinstall.

    • Video: Hackers To The Rescue – Defining Good Hacking

      Noci, the fictional city attacked by malevolent hackers during ICON2018, was saved and the challenge was won by a Swiss team. What is a hacker, how do they define themselves? Two members of ICON, a young non-governmental organisation in Geneva, answered that question for Intellectual Property Watch, with the same affirmation: a hacker is first and foremost a curious mind. View the IP-Watch video interviews below.

      ICON 2018, “The journey to digital trust” co-organised by ICON, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP,) and the MCI group, took place on 13-14 September. The event held what the organisers qualified as the “World premiere cyber-attack simulation.”

      Participants came from France, Italy, Norway and Switzerland, selected after a qualifying competition at the global level, according to an ICON press release. In the end, the challenge was won by Swiss participants Team Sw1ss, it said.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Trump is unshackling America’s drones thanks to Obama’s weakness

      For more than a decade, the worst-kept secret in the world has been the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency owns and operates lethal drones outside of recognized battlefields abroad. Newspapers blare it from their headlines. Legislators discuss it on television. Foreign governments protest it through press releases. And, of course, human beings witness it through the death and destruction foisted upon their communities.

      Still, according to the US government and the federal courts, the CIA’s operation of drones to hunt and kill terrorism suspects – a campaign that has killed thousands of people, including hundreds of children, in places like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia – remains an official secret.

      Toward the end of the Obama administration, the president moderately circumscribed the agency’s role in executing lethal strikes abroad, in part to increase public transparency. Compared to the US military (which also uses lethal force abroad), the CIA is relatively less accountable to policy makers, members of Congress, and the American public. With a diminished role in targeted killings, it appeared then that the CIA’s official secrecy was becoming less important to the overall drone program. But as critics warned could happen, President Trump quickly lifted many of the late-Obama-era limits while ramping up the government’s use of lethal drones abroad and reportedly putting the CIA back in the drone business.

    • Death Of Jon Burge: Commander Set Standard For Police Terror In Chicago

      Former Chicago police commander Jon Burge was involved with several officers in the torture of more than 110 black men. He was never held fully accountable for the trauma inflicted on black communities and died on September 19.

      At the trial for former Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is accused of murdering Laquan McDonald, former Fraternal Order of Police president Dean Angelo spoke about Burge.

      “Jon Burge put a lot of bad guys in prison,” Angelo stated. “You know, people picked a career apart that was considered for a long time to be an honorable career and a very effective career.”

      Angelo added, “And I don’t know that Jon Burge got a fair shake based on the years and years and years of service that he gave the city. But we’ll have to wait and see how that eventually plays out in history, I guess.”

      The FOP argued the “full story” of the Burge cases has never been told. They clearly plan to keep spreading propaganda about Burge’s actions, even after death, because the reality of his conduct left such a stain on the reputation of the Chicago Police Department.

      Burge and his “Midnight Crew” engaged in the torture of dozens of black men from 1972 to 1981. This came directly after the civil rights movement and rise of groups organizing for black power. In fact, Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, was assassinated by Chicago police in 1969 (along with fellow Black Panther Mark Clark).

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • WikiLeaks denies Julian Assange sought Russian visa

      WikiLeaks has denied publisher Julian Assange sought a visa from Russia, disputing a recently leaked letter written to Moscow’s consulate in London shortly after the website first started releasing classified U.S. diplomatic documents.

      The anti-secrecy organization pushed back on social media Monday after The Associated Press released a “letter of authority to the Russian consulate” from Mr. Assange dated Nov. 30, 2010, two days after WikiLeaks began releasing hundreds of thousands of sensitive U.S. Department of State cables.

      “I, Julian Assange, hereby grant full authority to my friend, Israel Shamir, to both drop off and collect my passport, in order to get a visa,” said the letter.

      WikiLeaks declined to comment for the AP’s reporting on the letter, instead taking to Twitter to dispute its authenticity in dozens of tweets.

      “Mr. Assange did not apply for such a visa at any time or author the document,” WikiLeaks said in a statement posted at least 35 times by its official Twitter account following publication of the AP’s report.

    • Tanzania Plans To Outlaw Fact-Checking Of Government Statistics

      As the iAfrikan article points out, the amendments will mean that statistics published by the Tanzanian government must be regarded as correct, however absurd or obviously erroneous they might be. Moreover, it will be illegal for independent researchers to publish any other figures that contradict, or even simply call into question, official statistics.

      This is presumably born of a thin-skinned government that wants to avoid even the mildest criticism of its policies or plans. But it seems certain to backfire badly. If statistics are wrong, but no one can correct them, there is the risk that Tanzanian businesses, organizations and citizens will make bad decisions based on this dodgy data. That could lead to harmful consequences for the economy and society, which the Tanzanian government might well be tempted to cover up by issuing yet more incorrect statistics. Without open and honest feedback to correct this behavior, there could be an ever-worsening cascade of misinformation and lies until public trust in the government collapses completely. Does President Magufuli really want that?

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Android Phones Now Share Precise Location Data With More 911 Call Centers

      More Android phones will share your precise location when you call 911 in the United States, thanks to a couple of new partnerships worked out by Google. The change will save lives.

      Most 911 calls come from cell phones, but until recently mobile devices didn’t share your precise location with emergency dispatchers. Phone companies can provide a rough location, but your phone’s GPS capabilities are a lot more accurate.

    • Google Home Hub Images Leaked; To Be Launched On October 9 With Pixel 3
    • [Exclusive] Google Home Hub To Be Launched On October 9; A Smart Speaker with 7-inch Display
    • Congress Fails To Include A Single Consumer Advocate In Upcoming Privacy Hearing

      As the U.S. ponders what meaningful privacy protections should look like in the Comcast & Cambridge Analytica era, it should probably go without saying that consumers should be part of that conversation. Unsurprisingly, that hasn’t really been the case so far. That was exemplified, in part, by the GOP’s decision to neuter FCC broadband privacy rules much the same way they dismantled net neutrality: by ignoring any consumer-oriented input that didn’t gel with their pre-existing beliefs: namely that all regulation is always bad and a nuanced conversation on the merits of each instance of regulation simply isn’t necessary.

      When a “conversation” does occur, it tends to be superficial at best, and consumers pretty consistently aren’t invited to the table. Case in point: on September 26, the Senate Commerce Committee will be holding a hearing entitled “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy.” One of the motivating reasons for this hearing, at least according to Senator John Thune,

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • I Came to the U.S. Fleeing Horrific Abuse in My Home Country. Jeff Sessions Wants to Send People Like Me Back.

      People like me come from countries where the justice system does not protect women and girls. To deny us refuge says our lives mean nothing.

      I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood that don’t involve violence. My father beat my mother up all the time in our hometown a few hours outside of Mexico City. He hit her with his hands and with any object he could find. Several times he used a knife to cut her. I think my father’s sexual abuse of me started when I was 4 or 5.

      I lived in terror of this man who claimed my body as his and thought of me as disposable. He could hit me or touch my most private parts. He could threaten to hurt my mother to get me to do what he wanted. I often wanted to die — and several times I tried to. The authorities in Mexico did nothing to help me, and even when I was hospitalized after a suicide attempt, there were no questions and no follow-up.

      In June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that immigrants fleeing domestic abuse and gang violence generally would no longer be eligible for asylum in the United States. Since then, asylum officers have been rejecting applicants who fear domestic and sexual violence in their home countries. It’s so hard for me to understand this new policy because the reason I am alive today is because I was granted asylum in the United States.

      People like me come from countries where the police and justice system do not protect women and girls. For the United States to deny us refuge says our lives mean nothing.

      The abuse I suffered is very difficult for me to recount. Even now, when I do, it gives me nightmares. My father would touch me inside my pants when my mother was in the kitchen cooking or when my two younger brothers were playing in the same room. He threatened to hurt me and my mom if I said no.

      It was a promise he kept.

    • ‘When Governments Fail to Take Action, They Step In’

      John Bolton, currently Trump’s national security advisor, savors violent imagery. The International Criminal Court, Bolton wrote last year—referring to the international body founded in 1998 to prosecute war crimes—should be “strangle[d]… in its cradle.” This week, in a speech to the Federalist Society, broadcast by C-SPAN, Bolton declared the ICC “the founders’ worst nightmare come to life” and “dead to us,” an “outright dangerous” entity from whom the US “will use any means necessary to protect its citizens.”

      Yes, this is bombast—typical “the US makes its own rules,” “if you aren’t for us you’re agin’ us,” “diplomacy is for suckers” chest-thumping. Reuters called it taking a “tough stance.” The New York Times chose “unyielding.” But what should those interested in peace and justice think? And what do others around the world think, when the US declares itself officially unaccountable when it comes to the worst kinds of crimes?

    • Private Trash Haulers Resist New Safety Measures

      On its face, the agenda for the Business Integrity Commission’s public hearing on Monday seemed uncontroversial enough: The agency that oversees New York City’s private garbage industry wanted to adopt new safety measures requiring trash companies to regularly report accidents, traffic violations and license suspensions involving their truck drivers.

      Turns out, the measures struck the private trash haulers as too much. Testifying before the BIC, industry members called the measures “onerous.” They said they were suspicious about what the oversight body would do with the information, although they did not spell out what they feared. They even sought to question what, exactly, constituted a “crash” worth reporting.

      “I start with the definition of crash in the proposed regulations,” Thomas Toscano, chief executive officer of Mr. T Carting, said. “In a highly populated area with millions of parked cars and over 100,000 customers picked up nightly, small property damage incidents are bound to happen. Cars suffer minor damages and carters pay to resolve these issues many times without going through insurance.”

    • Amid Accusations of Age Bias, IBM Winds Down a Push for Millennial Workers

      Faced with a mounting pile of lawsuits accusing it of age discrimination — the latest, a class action, was filed this week in federal district court in New York — tech giant IBM appears to be winding down its Millennial Corps, an internal network of young employees that’s been cited in several legal complaints as evidence of the company’s bias toward younger workers.

      ProPublica reported in March that IBM, which had annual revenue of $79 billion in 2017, had ousted an estimated 20,000 U.S. employees ages 40 or older in the past five years, in some instances using money saved from the departures to hire young replacements to, in the words of an internal company document, “correct seniority mix.”

      IBM deployed several strategies to attract younger workers, establishing a digital platform catering to millennials, a blog called “The Millennial Experience,” a Twitter account, @IBMillennial, as well as creating the Millennial Corps, whose members company executives pledged to consult about major business moves. The Corps was featured in a 2016 FastCompany piece titled “These Millennials Have Become the Top Decision Makers at IBM.”

    • Justice Department Inspector General to Investigate DEA Program Linked to Massacres in Mexico

      The Justice Department’s inspector general announced on Tuesday that his office would investigate a Drug Enforcement Administration program linked to violent drug cartel attacks in Mexico that have left dozens, possibly hundreds, of people dead or missing.

      In a letter to senior congressional Democrats, Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that an internal review had flagged the DEA’s Sensitive Investigative Units program as “an area of high risk.” His office, he wrote, would examine the drug agency’s management of the program and whether internal controls are in place to ensure that “DEA operations, information and personnel are protected from compromise.”

      Under the program, the DEA vets and trains teams of Mexican federal police officers, known as SIUs, that conduct DEA-led operations in Mexico. Last year, ProPublica and National Geographic reported that at least two such operations were compromised and triggered deadly spasms of violence, including one that occurred less than an hour’s drive away from the Mexican border with Texas. A June 2017 story revealed that an attack on the small ranching town of Allende in the Mexican state of Coahuila in 2011 was unleashed after sensitive information obtained during a DEA operation wound up in the hands of cartel leaders, who ordered a wave of retaliation against suspected traitors.

    • At Trial, Officers Undermine Notion Jason Van Dyke Feared For His Life When Killed Laquan McDonald

      Brandon Smith, who sued the city of Chicago to force the release of video of the shooting that killed Laquan McDonald, is covering CPD Officer Jason Van Dyke’s murder trial for Shadowproof.

      Please help us reach our $1400 to fund our reporting (learn more here).

      Often in cases where a police officer is charged with murder, the predictions of the most cynical observers turn out to be correct—the officer escapes the “justice system” into which they have processed so many others.

      But in this case, the murder trial of Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago police officer who shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, the outcome truly seems up for grabs.

      It is the first time an on-duty Chicago police officer has been charged with murder since anyone in the city can remember. And it represents a small part of a system trying to attack its cancer. Someone from inside the department tipped off a journalist to bring the case to light. Plenty of officers have also fought against accountability, beginning with those who “shooed away” witnesses to the homicide, and according to a civil suit, took at least one witness into custody overnight to tell her something akin to “you didn’t see what you think you saw.”

      So far, in Van Dyke’s trial, two police officers have testified that they didn’t use lethal force (or indeed any force) because at the scene they decided it wasn’t necessary. Another officer, Joe Walsh, who was shift partner of the accused that night, stood by Van Dyke seemingly at every turn in his testimony—at one point standing in the middle of the courtroom to demonstrate how he remembered Laquan moving before the shooting.

    • New Bill Would Ensure No Woman Is Forced to Give Birth in Chains

      The practice of shackling pregnant women who are incarcerated is as shocking as it is widespread.

      When a woman becomes pregnant, the nature of her health care by necessity becomes tailored to her being pregnant. This is no less true when a pregnant woman is incarcerated. But corrections officials across the nation would often rather ignore the fact and needs of incarcerated pregnant women than address their health care needs or even their basic rights. For example, pregnant prisoners are often shackled during childbirth in this country as well as put in solitary confinement, practices that are as shocking as they are pervasive.

      When a woman goes to prison or jail, the criminal justice system is very likely to treat her not as a woman with needs particular to women, but as a smaller, more docile man. And they are treated that way even when they are in a hospital setting. This is flawed, and its consequences are great.

      Male prisoners are routinely shackled when taken to a hospital when they are considered a flight risk. The reason this rubric has extended to women is not because anyone has thought about the needs and realities of incarcerated women, but because male prisoners are the baseline for all criminal justice and corrections policies. This one-size-fits-all approach puts women at severe and unnecessary risk.

      Fortunately, there is now a bipartisan effort in Congress to begin eliminating dangerous and degrading practices for pregnant women. The Pregnant Women in Custody Act (PWCA) places strict limits on the use of shackles and solitary confinement on pregnant women in federal prison and in the custody of the United States Marshals Service. It also sets forth basic standards for pregnancy care.

    • State Cops Accidentally Out Their Surveillance Of Anti-Police Groups With Browser Screenshot

      A little opsec goes a long way. The Massachusetts State Police — one of the most secretive law enforcement agencies in the nation — gave readers of its Twitter feed a free look at the First Amendment-protected activities it keeps tabs on… by uploading a screenshot showing its browser bookmarks.

      Alex Press of Jacobin Magazine was one of the Twitter users to catch the inadvertent exposure of MSP operations.

    • The Disappeared

      Every few minutes, Miguel’s phone pinged with messages, distracting him. Carlota asked who kept texting him and he answered, with teenage vagueness, “Just a boy from school.”

      Carlota was just over 5 feet, with thick black hair that fell midway down her back. At 5-foot-10, Miguel towered over her. As he tried on clothes in the dressing room, he teased her, “Why did you make me so handsome?”

      The messages kept coming. They were from Alexander, a classmate of Miguel’s at Brentwood High on Long Island, and promised a taste of cool on a dull and frigid February afternoon. “Hey, let’s smoke up today,” Alexander wrote on Facebook Messenger.

      “No way. You’re so bad — what did you do?” Miguel responded.

      Miguel eventually agreed to join him, but not until later, and he wanted to bring a friend. “No, only us,” came the response. “We’ll get the blunts. That man Jairo is going to treat you. But just you, dog. I can pick you up and bring you here with us. But just us.”

      After lunch, Carlota dropped Miguel at a neighbor’s to play video games, calling out to be careful as he jumped out of the car and ran across the quiet street. A man had recently been found dead in the woods, and she was worried.

      Miguel and Alexander switched to Facebook voice messages. “Should I wait for you in the woods?” said Alexander, whose Facebook handle was Alexander Lokote, Spanish slang for “Homeboy.”

      “No, better at my house — I don’t like to go out there in the trees,” Miguel said, pressing the phone close to his mouth to be heard over the video game music.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce Trademark Bullies Kevin Smith’s Podcast Over Hollywood Sign

        The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is somewhat infamous for its constant trademark bullying over the famed Hollywood sign (you know the one). Its latest target is apparently the Hollywood Babble-On podcast that is done as a live show each week by radio/podcast guy Ralph Garman and filmmaker/entertainer Kevin Smith. Before the show this past weekend, Garman had tweeted out that it might be the last Hollywood Babble-On ever. In the opening minutes of their latest episode, Garman explains that they’ve received a cease and desist letter from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce “re: unauthorized use of Hollywood stylized mark and Hollywood Walk of Fame mark.”

        While I haven’t seen the full cease-and-desist letter, from what Garman said on the podcast, the issue is so ridiculous that the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce should be called out for blatant trademark bullying.

    • Copyrights
      • No Fair Use for Mu(sic)

        It’s an open secret that musicians will sometimes borrow portions of music or lyrics from prior works. But how much borrowing is too much? One would think that this is the province of fair use, but it turns out not to be the case – at least not in those cases that reach a decision. Edward Lee (Chicago-Kent) has gathered up the music infringement cases and shown that fair use (other than parody) is almost never a defense – not just that defendants lose, but that they don’t even raise it most of the time. His article Fair Use Avoidance in Music Cases is forthcoming in the Boston College Law Review, and a draft is available on SSRN.

        [...]

        This is an interesting article, and I certainly learned something I didn’t know before. Every “yeah but probably…” skeptical thought I had was answered, and that’s pretty rare. That said, my one critique is that the background section, which is supposed to be discussing why fair use is the type of thing that we should often see in music (see history of borrowing, above), often conflates a variety of other defenses to copying in the same discussion. For example, the article points to the ubiquitous YouTube video that shows how many songs are based on the same four chords. The use of those chords, though, isn’t really a fair use; it’s more of scenes a faire or other defense to copying. Those four chords, after all, lead to very different sounding songs, and where they do sound the same, they can be traced to a common source, not to each other. An empirical study that I would like to see is how many songs that fit the four chord mold have been accused of and/or held liable for infringement. Perhaps Professor Lee’s data has that, for reported decisions at least.

        The reason this conflation is problematic leads back to the study results. Perhaps it should not be surprising that so many defendants win outright on non-copying defenses because there are so many ways to win on non-copying defenses without having to resort to an admission of copying and reliance on fair use. It may be that despite a history of borrowing, musicians can tell the difference between illicit copying and either copying from the same source/methods or real fair use. After all, only an average about four cases per year went to decision.

      • The New Music Modernization Act Has a Major Fix: Older Recordings Will Belong to the Public, Orphan Recordings Will Be Heard Again

        The Senate passed a new version of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) as an amendment to another bill this week, a marked improvement over the version passed by the House of Representatives earlier in the year. This version contains a new compromise amendment that could preserve early sound recordings and increase public access to them.

        Until recently, the MMA (formerly known as the CLASSICS Act) was looking like the major record labels’ latest grab for perpetual control over twentieth-century culture. The House of Representatives passed a bill that would have given the major labels—the copyright holders for most recorded music before 1972—broad new rights in those recordings, ones lasting all the way until 2067. Copyright in these pre-1972 recordings, already set to last far longer than even the grossly extended copyright terms that apply to other creative works, would a) grow to include a new right to control public performances like digital streaming; b) be backed by copyright’s draconian penalty regime; and c) be without many of the user protections and limitations that apply to other works.

        Fundamentally, Congress should not be adding new rights in works created decades ago.

        The drafting process was also troubling. It seemed a return to the pattern of decades past, where copyright law was written behind closed doors by representatives from a few industries and then passed by Congress without considering the views of a broader public. Star power, in the form of famous musicians flown to Washington to shake hands with representatives, eased things along.

        Two things changed the narrative. First, a broad swath of affected groups spoke up and demanded to be heard. Tireless efforts by library groups, music libraries, archives, copyright scholars, entrepreneurs, and music fans made sure that the problems with MMA were made known, even after it sailed to near-unanimous passage in the House. You contacted your Senators to let them know the House bill was unacceptable to you, and that made a big difference.

Links 19/9/2018: Chromebooks Get More DEBs, LLVM 7.0.0 Released

Wednesday 19th of September 2018 05:53:02 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • It’s time to pay the maintainers

    Earlier this year, Tidelift conducted a survey of over 1,200 professional software developers and open source maintainers. We found that 83% of professional software development teams would be willing to pay for better maintenance, security, and licensing assurances around the open source projects they use. Meanwhile, the same survey found that the majority of open source maintainers receive no external funding for their work, and thus struggle to find the time to maintain their open source projects.

  • Desktop
    • Chrome OS 69 Finally Brings Linux Apps to Some Chromebooks, Night Light Feature

      Chrome OS 69 is the first release of the Linux-based operating system that enables support for running Linux apps on Chromebooks. However, the Linux app support is still in development and it’s presented to users in a beta form, available only on select devices due to hardware restrains. A complete list with the Chromebooks supporting Linux apps is available here.

      “While we would like to be able to bring this work to all Chromebooks, the required kernel and hardware features limit where we can deploy this,” says Google in the blog announcement. “A lot of features we use had to be backported, and the further back we go, the more difficult & risky it is to do so. We don’t want to compromise system stability and security here.”

    • Chromebooks Are Getting Better Parental Controls

      Better parental controls are coming to Chromebooks, with the ability to set screen time limits and manage apps.

      We’ve shown you how manage your child’s Android phone with Google Family Link. The feature allowed parents to set up an account for a child under 13, giving parents control over how their kids can use the phone.

    • Linux Apps Are Now Available in Chrome OS Stable, But What Does That Mean?

      Chrome OS 69 just hit the stable channel and is currently rolling out to devices. This brings a handful of new features and changes, including Google’s Material theme, Night Light, an improved file manager, and most importantly: support for Linux apps.

      Linux Apps for Chromebooks?

      At Google I/O earlier this year, Google announced that it was going to bring support for Linux applications to Chrome OS, starting first with the Pixelbook. While Linux support has been available on the developer and beta channels for a while now, users who choose to stick with the stable channel (a wise choice for the most part) may now get their chance to check this out.

  • Kernel Space
    • ​Linus Torvalds is doing a good and brave thing

      Linus Torvalds is known for his “salty” language and take-no-prisoners approach to Linux developers. If you get things wrong, he’s not afraid to let you know — in no uncertain terms — that you’re an idiot. It gets results, but it also drives away many talented developers and leads to a development culture where harsh attacks are tolerated and even approved of by some.

      But Torvalds realized he was hurting both the development process and his fellow programmers. So, he announced he’s stepping away from the Linux developer community to change his personal behavior. Torvalds also approved a new “Code of Conduct” for Linux kernel developers. No one would have expected to see either of these changes.

    • Linux Patches Surface For Supporting The Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5

      Last year Creative Labs introduced the Sound BlasterX AE-5 PCI Express gaming sound card while finally there are some patches pending for supporting this high-end sound card in Linux.

      Connor McAdams who most recently got the Creative Recon3D support into good shape on Linux has now been working on getting the Sound BlasterX AE-5 working well on Linux.

    • Linux Has a Code of Conduct and Not Everyone is Happy With it

      The code of conduct was signed off by Linus Torvalds and Greg Kroah-Hartman (kind of second-in-command after Torvalds). Dan Williams of Intel and Chris Mason from Facebook were some of the other signees.

      If I have read through the timeline correctly, half an hour after signing this code of conduct, Torvalds sent a mail apologizing for his past behavior. He also announced taking a temporary break to improve upon his behavior.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Blockchain Training Takes Off

        Meanwhile, job postings related to blockchain and Hyperledger are taking off, and knowledge in these areas is translating into opportunity. Careers website Glassdoor lists thousands of job posts related to blockchain.

    • Graphics Stack
      • AMD Picasso Support Comes To The RadeonSI OpenGL Driver

        Last week AMD sent out initial support for yet-to-be-released “Picasso” APUs with the Linux AMDGPU kernel graphics driver. Today on the user-space side the support was merged for the OpenGL RadeonSI Gallium3D driver.

        Picasso details are still fairly light but they are expected to be similar to Raven Ridge and for the AM4 processor socket as well as an edition for notebooks. On the same day as publishing the Picasso AMDGPU kernel patches, AMD also went ahead and published the Linux patches for the “Raven 2″ APUs too.

      • The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Arrives For Linux Benchmarking

        It looks like NVIDIA has their launch-day Linux support in order for the GeForce RTX 2080 “Turing” graphics cards slated to ship later this week as arriving today at Phoronix was the RTX 2080 Ti.

        The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is NVIDIA’s new flagship desktop GPU with the Turing GPU architecture, 4352 CUDA cores, a 1635MHz boost clock speed rating for this Founder’s Edition model, 11GB of GDDR6 video memory yielding a 616 GB/s memory bandwidth rating, and designed to suit real-time ray-tracing workloads with their RTX technology. Pricing on the RTX 2080 Ti Founder’s Edition is $1,199 USD. Last week NVIDIA published more details on the Turing architecture for those interested as well as on the new mesh shader capability.

      • NVIDIA Vulkan Beta Adds New KHR_driver_properties & KHR_shader_atomic_int64

        Not to be confused with the new NVIDIA Linux/Windows drivers that should be out today for RTX 2070/2080 “Turing” support and also initial RTX ray-tracing support, there is also out a new Vulkan beta driver this morning.

        The NVIDIA 396.54.06 driver is this new Vulkan beta and as implied by the version number is still on the current stable branch and not in the Turing era. But this driver release is quite exciting as it does bring support for two new extensions… These extensions are very fresh and not yet in the official Vulkan specification: VK_KHR_driver_properties and VK_KHR_shader_atomic_int64.

      • GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Linux Benchmarks Coming Today, NVIDIA Driver Bringing Vulkan RTX

        NVIDIA’s review/performance embargo has now lifted on the GeForce RTX 2080 series ahead of the cards shipping tomorrow. I should have out initial Linux benchmarks later today, assuming Linux driver availability.

        As wrote about yesterday, just yesterday I ended up receiving the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti for Linux benchmarking. But, unfortunately, no Linux driver yet… But I am told it will be posted publicly soon with the Windows driver. Assuming that happens within the hours ahead, I’ll still have initial RTX 2080 Ti benchmarks on Ubuntu Linux out by today’s end — thanks to the Phoronix Test Suite and recently wrapping up other NVIDIA/AMD GPU comparison tests on the current drivers.

      • Intel’s New Iris Gallium3D Driver Picks Up Experimental Icelake Bits, GL Features

        One of the talks we are most interested in at XDC2018 is on the Intel “Iris” Gallium3D driver we discovered last month was in development.

        We stumbled across the Iris Gallium3D driver that’s been in development for months as a potential replacement to their “i965″ classic Mesa driver. But they haven’t really detailed their intentions in full, but we should learn more next week. This is particularly exciting the prospects of an official Intel Gallium3D driver as the company is also expected to introduce their discrete GPUs beginning in 2020 and this new driver could be part of that plan.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • New KDE.ru website

        Today, on September 18th, 2018, the Russian-speaking KDE community launches its updated website on KDE.ru.

        The new website serves as the main page for the Russian-speaking community. It provides localized information about the community, product download links and the list of social network pages we maintain. It is also meant to help new members get involved in KDE’s projects, particularly in our translation and promotion efforts.

        The website was created by me and Alexander Potashev on top of Jonah Brüchert‘s work for plasma-mobile.org. It uses Jekyll and is now hosted on official KDE servers. It replaces the old forum that has significantly lost its users in the past years.

      • Everything old is new again

        Just because KDE4-era software has been deprecated by the KDE-FreeBSD team in the official ports-repository, doesn’t mean we don’t care for it while we still need to. KDE4 was released on January 11th, 2008 — I still have the T-shirt — which was a very different C++ world than what we now live in. Much of the code pre-dates the availability of C++11 — certainly the availability of compilers with C++11 support. The language has changed a great deal in those ten years since the original release.

        The platforms we run KDE code on have, too — FreeBSD 12 is a long way from the FreeBSD 6 or 7 that were current at release (although at the time, I was more into OpenSolaris). In particular, since then the FreeBSD world has switched over to Clang, and FreeBSD current is experimenting with Clang 7. So we’re seeing KDE4-era code being built, and running, on FreeBSD 12 with Clang 7. That’s a platform with a very different idea of what constitutes correct code, than what the code was originally written for. (Not quite as big a difference as Helio’s KDE1 efforts, though)

      • Let’s take this bug, for example…

        Krita’s 2018 fund raiser is all about fixing bugs! And we’re fixing bugs already. So, let’s take a non-technical look at a bug Dmitry fixed yesterday. This is the bug: “key sequence ctrl+w ambiguous with photoshop compatible bindings set” And this is the fix.

      • Andrew Crouthamel: How I Got Involved in KDE

        Since this blog is starting after the beginning of my contributions to KDE, the first few regular posts will be explaining my prior contributions, before moving into the present.

      • Akademy 2018

        I had the awesome opportunity to attend Akademy in Vienna this year. First off, a big thank you to the organising team for pulling off this years Akademy without a hitch.

        This Akademy was a bit more special, since it was decided to switch up the format, which in my opinion worked quite well. There were training’s that ran alongside the talk’s and BoF’s, which I think was a great idea. I signed up to the Public Speaking Training and the Non Violent Communication training, which I think were run exceptionally. I hope that these training sessions are run again next Akademy because I found them exceptionally valuable.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME.Asia 2018

        GNOME.Asia 2018 was co-hosted with COSCUP and openSUSE Asia this year in Taipei, Taiwan. It was a good success and I enjoyed it a lot. Besides, meeting old friends and making new ones are always great.

      • NetworkManager Merges An Initrd Generator For Early Boot Handling

        Days following the NetworkManager 1.14 release, feature activity on the next release is progressing and the newest addition is nm-initrd-generator.

        The NetworkManager Initrd Generator is used to generate an early-boot NetworkManager configuration. This new utility scans the command line for supported options and from there generates a network configuration and the necessary configuration files to handle an early instance of NetworkManager that runs from the initial ramdisk during the system’s early boot stage.

  • Distributions
    • The History of Various Linux Distros

      Linux has been around for almost 30 years. Yes, it’s that old, and it did make history. If you are interested in the history of some of the major Linux distros, here it is in a nutshell – the history of various Linux distros, like Ubuntu, Fedora, REHL, Linux Mint, Slackware, etc. The reasons for their creation and their philosophy will be briefly discussed.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • Mageia at fête de l’humanité 2018

        The booths were in a different place from previous years, and we had a lot more visitors. We gave out all the flyers we brought by Saturday evening – there was only one left for Sunday – so we gave out Mageia stickers instead. We did not sell any T-shirts, but we sold two USB sticks.

        Many people asked for general information; I spoke so much that I lost my voice! We had strong interest, coming from people already using a Linux distribution as well as from people wishing to turn to free software.

    • Red Hat Family
      • BU Spark! teams up with Red Hat, hosts software design workshop

        Students traveled across Boston to its Fort Point neighborhood to attend a BU Spark! workshop about interaction design Friday. There they delved into interaction design and explored how to develop user-friendly software.

        BU Spark! and Red Hat Inc. hosted the Interaction Design Bootcamp jointly at Red Hat’s Boston office. BU students and Spark! Interaction design fellows attended.

        Red Hat is a software company that specializes in information technology and has a research relationship with Boston University that includes educational elements. The programs taught by Red Hat focus on user experience design, one of Red Hat’s specializations, according to their website.

      • Open source can spark innovative business transformation in government, Red Hat leaders say

        The federal government, largely hamstrung by legacy systems, is in need of a major digital transformation. Open source technology can be the spark that sets off that revolution, leaders from open-source software company Red Hat said Tuesday.

        “The types of technologies that you choose matter,” said Mike Walker, global director of Open Innovation Labs at Red Hat. “It will influence the way your business operates and open new doors to new business process, and ultimately allow you to become a software company that can achieve some of those innovations and reductions in cost and time.”

      • Kubernetes Ingress vs OpenShift Route

        Although pods and services have their own IP addresses on Kubernetes, these IP addresses are only reachable within the Kubernetes cluster and not accessible to the outside clients. The Ingress object in Kubernetes, although still in beta, is designed to signal the Kubernetes platform that a certain service needs to be accessible to the outside world and it contains the configuration needed such as an externally-reachable URL, SSL, and more.

        Creating an ingress object should not have any effects on its own and requires an ingress controller on the Kubernetes platform in order to fulfill the configurations defined by the ingress object.

        Here at Red Hat, we saw the need for enabling external access to services before the introduction of ingress objects in Kubernetes, and created a concept called Route for the same purpose (with additional capabilities such as splitting traffic between multiple backends, sticky sessions, etc). Red Hat is one of the top contributors to the Kubernetes community and contributed the design principles behind Routes to the community which heavily influenced the Ingress design.

      • VirtualBox DRM/KMS Driver Proceeding With Atomic Mode-Setting Support

        The “vboxvideo” DRM/KMS driver for use by VirtualBox guest virtual machines that has been part of the mainline Linux kernel the past several cycles will soon see atomic mode-setting support.

        Hans de Goede of Red Hat, who has been stewarding this driver into the Linux kernel after Oracle has failed to do so, is tackling the atomic mode-setting as his latest advancement to this driver important for a VirtualBox desktop VM experience. Published today were initial patches preparing the move to atomic mode-setting but not yet the full migration to this modern display API that offers numerous benefits.

      • Troubleshooting FDB table wrapping in Open vSwitch

        When most people deploy an Open vSwitch configuration for virtual networking using the NORMAL rule, that is, using L2 learning, they do not think about configuring the size of the Forwarding DataBase (FDB).

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Test Day: Fedora Silverblue

          Fedora Silverblue is a new variant of Fedora Workstation with rpm-ostree at its core to provide fully atomic upgrades. Furthermore, Fedora Silverblue is immutable and upgrades as a whole, providing easy rollbacks from updates if something goes wrong. Fedora Silverblue is great for developers using Fedora with good support for container-focused workflows.

          Additionally, Fedora Silverblue delivers desktop applications as Flatpaks. This provides better isolation/sandboxing of applications, and streamlines updating applications — Flatpaks can be safely updated without reboot.

        • Understand Fedora memory usage with top

          Have you used the top utility in a terminal to see memory usage on your Fedora system? If so, you might be surprised to see some of the numbers there. It might look like a lot more memory is consumed than your system has available. This article will explain a little more about memory usage, and how to read these numbers.

          [...]

          Your system has another facility it uses to store information, which is swap. Typically this is an area of slower storage (like a hard disk). If the physical memory on the system fills up as needs increase, the OS looks for portions of memory that haven’t been needed in a while. It writes them out to the swap area, where they sit until needed later.

          Therefore, prolonged, high swap usage usually means a system is suffering from too little memory for its demands. Sometimes an errant application may be at fault. Or, if you see this often on your system, consider upgrading your machine’s memory, or restricting what you run.

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Flavours and Variants
            • What’s New in Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS

              Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS is the latest release of Ubuntu budgie. As part of Ubuntu 18.04 flavor this release ships with latest Budgie desktop 10.4 as default desktop environment. Powered by Linux 4.15 kernel and shipping with the same internals as Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), the Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS official flavor will be supported for 3 years, until April 2021.

              Prominent new features include support for adding OpenVNC connections through the NetworkManager applet, better font handling for Chinese and Korean languages, improved keyboard shortcuts, color emoji support for GNOME Characters and other GNOME apps, as well as window-shuffler capability.

              Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS also ships with a new exciting GTK+ theme by default called Pocillo, support for dynamic workspaces, as well as a “minimal installation” option in the graphical installer that lets users install Ubuntu Budgie with only the Chromium web browser and a handful of basic system utilities.

            • Endless OS May Be the Best Linux Version for New Computer Users

              Linux appeals to a certain kind of computer user: if you like computers enough to read about or tinker with them in your free time, then there’s a good chance you’ll find something to like about Linux. Otherwise, you will probably consider it too much work to bother.

              Endless Computer’s Endless OS aims to provide a complete desktop experience that’s versatile enough to serve families. Is this the ideal way to introduce newcomers to Linux?

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Google AI Tool Can Distinguish Between Different Types of Lung Cancer
  • Artificial intelligence can determine lung cancer type
  • Scientists dig up cancer’s secrets buried in ‘gene deserts’
  • CloudBees Announces Availability of Support for Jenkins Open Source

    This marks the first-ever, support-only offering for Jenkins users.

  • New CloudBees Suite Addresses DevOps Gaps in Software Delivery

    CloudBees is bringing a set of products into a new CloudBees Suite that it said will help companies of all sizes streamline the software development process. The new software is set to be announced Sept. 18 at the company’s DevOps World / Jenkins World conference in San Francisco. Jenkins is the open-source version of CloudBees, which is a commercial offering.

    A central piece of the CloudBees Suite is the CloudBees Core for unified governance of continuous delivery operations and processes used in DevOps. Software pipelines can also use Core to run software pipelines more efficiently in a self-managed way in the cloud or on-premises.

  • First results of the ROSIN project: Robotics Open-Source Software for Industry

    Open-Source Software for robots is a de-facto standard in academia, and its advantages can benefit industrial applications as well. The worldwide ROS-Industrial initiative has been using ROS, the Robot Operating System, to this end.

    In order to consolidate Europe’s expertise in advanced manufacturing, the H2020 project ROSIN supports EU’s strong role within ROS-Industrial. It will achieve this goal through three main actions on ROS: ensuring industrial-grade software quality; promoting new business-relevant applications through so-called Focused Technical Projects (FTPs); supporting educational activities for students and industry professionals on the one side conducting ROS-I trainings as well as and MOOCs and on the other hand by supporting education at third parties via Education Projects (EPs).

  • Baidu To Launch World’s First Intelligent Vehicle Infrastructure Cooperative Systems Open Source Solution By End Of 2018

    Baidu Inc. has announced it will launch the Apollo Intelligent Vehicle Infrastructure Cooperative Systems (IVICS) open-source solution by the end of 2018, leveraging its capabilities in autonomous driving to bring together intelligent vehicles and infrastructure to form a “human-vehicle-roadway” interplay – an important step toward developing future intelligent transportation.

  • Versity Open Sources Next Generation Archiving Filesystem

    The ScoutFS project was started in 2016 to address the rapidly growing demand for larger POSIX namespaces and faster metadata processing. The design goal for ScoutFS includes the ability to store up to one trillion files in a single namespace by efficiently distributing metadata handling across a scale out cluster of commodity compute nodes.

  • IBM launches tool aimed at detecting AI bias

    The Fairness 360 Kit will also scan for signs of bias and recommend adjustments.

    There is increasing concern that algorithms used by both tech giants and other firms are not always fair in their decision-making.

  • IBM launches tools to detect AI fairness, bias and open sources some code

    IBM said it will launch cloud software designed to manage artificial intelligence deployments, detect bias in models and mitigate its impact and monitor decision across multiple frameworks.

    The move by IBM highlights how AI management is becoming more of an issue as companies deploy machine learning and various models to make decisions. Executives are likely to have trouble understanding models and the data science under the hood.

  • IBM Debuts Tools to Help Prevent Bias In Artificial Intelligence
  • IBM launches software to detect racist and sexist AI
  • IBM launches cloud tool to detect AI bias and explain automated decisions
  • IBM announces cloud service to help businesses detect and mitigate AI bias
  • Top 5 Open Source Data Integration Tools

    Businesses seeking to improve their data integration know that today’s data integration software perform complex tasks. They enable applications to access data associated with other applications, and also to migrate data from one platform to another, transforming it as necessary. Given this sophistication, selecting the best data integration tool is far from easy.

    Adding to the complexity of the selection process: early data integration tools focused on ETL – extract, transform, and load processes. However, most of today’s data integration products have much more advanced capabilities and can generally connect both on-premises and cloud-based data. Many also integrate with other data management products, such as business intelligence (BI), analytics, master data management (MDM), data governance and data quality solutions.

    To help sort through the complex options, the list below highlights five of the best open source data integration tools, based on vendor profile and completeness of their data integration tool set.

  • The Future of Open Source

    Linux and the open source business model are far different today than many of the early developers might have hoped. Neither can claim a rags-to-riches story. Rather, their growth cycles have been a series of hit-or-miss milestones.

    The Linux desktop has yet to find a home on the majority of consumer and enterprise computers. However, Linux-powered technology has long ruled the Internet and conquered the cloud and Internet of Things deployments. Both Linux and free open source licensing have dominated in other ways.

    Microsoft Windows 10 has experienced similar deployment struggles as proprietary developers have searched for better solutions to support consumers and enterprise users.

  • Web Browsers
    • Microsoft Windows U-turn removes warning about installing Chrome, Firefox [Ed: Microsoft showed us its true colours though]

      The feature raised some hackles and brought back memories of Microsoft’s strong-arm tactics promoting its old Internet Explorer browser in the first browser wars two decades ago. But Microsoft isn’t alone in such tactics: Google promotes its Chrome browser as faster and safer to people who visit its own websites with other browsers.

      Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the change of direction.

    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • AutoFill your passwords with Firefox Lockbox in iOS

        Today Firefox Lockbox 1.3 gives you the ability to automatically fill your username and password into apps and websites. This is available to anyone running the latest iOS 12 operating system.

      • Streaming RNNs in TensorFlow

        The Machine Learning team at Mozilla Research continues to work on an automatic speech recognition engine as part of Project DeepSpeech, which aims to make speech technologies and trained models openly available to developers. We’re hard at work improving performance and ease-of-use for our open source speech-to-text engine. The upcoming 0.2 release will include a much-requested feature: the ability to do speech recognition live, as the audio is being recorded. This blog post describes how we changed the STT engine’s architecture to allow for this, achieving real-time transcription performance. Soon, you’ll be able to transcribe audio at least as fast as it’s coming in.

      • Mozilla Launches Firefox Reality Web Browser For Virtual Reality Headsets

        Mozilla is ready to take web browsing experience to the next level with its virtual reality web browser called Firefox Reality. It has been built exclusively to work with standalone VR and AR headsets.

        You can actually use Firefox Reality inside a virtual reality headset to search and browse websites just with your VR hand controller. This web browser makes use of voice search for searching while you step into an immersive computer-generated world.

      • Explore the immersive web with Firefox Reality. Now available for Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream

        Earlier this year, we shared that we are building a completely new browser called Firefox Reality. The mixed reality team at Mozilla set out to build a web browser that has been designed from the ground up to work on stand-alone virtual and augmented reality (or mixed reality) headsets. Today, we are pleased to announce that the first release of Firefox Reality is available in the Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream app stores.

        At a time when people are questioning the impact of technology on their lives and looking for leadership from independent organizations like Mozilla, Firefox Reality brings to the 3D web and immersive content experiences the level of ease of use, choice, control and privacy they’ve come to expect from Firefox.

        But for us, the ability to enjoy the 2D web is just table stakes for a VR browser. We built Firefox Reality to move seamlessly between the 2D web and the immersive web.

      • These Months In Servo 113

        In the past 1.5 months, we merged 439 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

      • Things Gateway – Rules Rule

        A smart home is a lot more than just lights, switches and thermostats that you can control remotely from your phone. To truly make a Smart Home, the devices must be reactive and work together. This is generally done with a Rule System: a set of maxims that automate actions based on conditions. It is automation that makes a home smart.

        There are a couple options for a rule system with the Things Gateway from Mozilla. First, there is a rule system built into the Web GUI, accessed via the Rules option in the drop down menu. Second, there is the Web Things API that allows programs external to the Things Gateway to automate the devices that make up a smart home. Most people will gravitate to the former built-in system, as it is the most accessible to those without predilection to writing software. This blog post is going to focus on the this rules system native to the Things Gateway.

      • Lessons from Carpenter – Mozilla panel discussion at ICDPPC

        The US Supreme Court recently released a landmark ruling in Carpenter vs. United States, which held that law enforcement authorities must secure a warrant in order to access citizens’ cell-site location data. At the upcoming 40th Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, we’re hosting a panel discussion to unpack what Carpenter means in a globalised world.

      • The future of online advertising – Mozilla panel discussion at ICDPPC

        At the upcoming 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, we’re convening a timely high-level panel discussion on the future of advertising in an open and sustainable internet ecosystem.

  • CMS
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • LLVM 7.0.0 released

      The release contains the work on trunk up to SVN revision 338536 plus work on the release branch. It is the result of the community’s work over the past six months, including: function multiversioning in Clang with the ‘target’ attribute for ELF-based x86/x86_64 targets, improved PCH support in clang-cl, preliminary DWARF v5 support, basic support for OpenMP 4.5 offloading to NVPTX, OpenCL C++ support, MSan, X-Ray and libFuzzer support for FreeBSD, early UBSan, X-Ray and libFuzzer support for OpenBSD, UBSan checks for implicit conversions, many long-tail compatibility issues fixed in lld which is now production ready for ELF, COFF and MinGW, new tools llvm-exegesis, llvm-mca and diagtool. And as usual, many optimizations, improved diagnostics, and bug fixes.

    • LLVM 7.0 Released: Better CPU Support, AMDGPU Vega 20; Clang 7.0 Gets FMV & OpenCL C++

      As anticipated, LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg announced the official availability today of LLVM 7.0 compiler stack as well as associated sub-projects including the Clang 7.0 C/C++ compiler front-end, Compiler-RT, libc++, libunwind, LLDB, and others.

      There is a lot of LLVM improvements ranging from CPU improvements for many different architectures, Vega 20 support among many other AMDGPU back-end improvements, the new machine code analyzer utility, and more. The notable Clang C/C++ compiler has picked up support for function multi-versioning (FMV), initial OpenCL C++ support, and many other additions. See my LLVM 7.0 / Clang 7.0 feature overview for more details on the changes with this six-month open-source compiler stack update.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • What’s happening this International Day Against DRM?

      We couldn’t be more excited about what’s happening today on the Web and around the world. Organizations, nonprofits, and companies have stepped up to take action, sharing their work to make the world DRM-free.

    • Digital Handcuffs

      This report examines issues arising from Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies and the legislation protecting these technologies. The report looks at how the use of DRM can impact on users’ security, privacy and right of access, while also exploring how DRM stifles innovation and competition. Furthermore, the report looks into the phenomena of obsolescence and vendor lock-in facilitated by DRM.

    • Hill-Climbing Our Way to Defeating DRM

      Computer science has long grappled with the problem of unknowable terrain: how do you route a packet from A to E when B, C, and D are nodes that keep coming up and going down as they get flooded by traffic from other sources? How do you shard a database when uncontrollable third parties are shoving records into it all the time? What’s the best way to sort some data when spammers are always coming up with new tactics for re-sorting it in ways that suit them, but not you or your users?

      One way to address the problem is the very useful notion of “hill-climbing.” Hill-climbing is modeled on a metaphor of a many-legged insect, like an ant. The ant has forward-facing eyes and can’t look up to scout the terrain and spot the high ground, but it can still ascend towards a peak by checking to see which foot is highest and taking a step in that direction. Once it’s situated in that new place, it can repeat the process, climbing stepwise toward the highest peak that is available to it (of course, that might not be the highest peak on the terrain, so sometimes we ask our metaphorical ant to descend and try a different direction, to see if it gets somewhere higher).

    • No Netflix on my Smart TV

      When I went to the Conrad store in Altona, I saw that new Sony Smart TVs come with a Netflix button on the remote.
      Since I oppose DRM, I would never buy such a thing. I would only buy a Smart TV that Respects My Freedom, but such a thing does not exist.

    • W3C sells out the Web with EME – 1 year later

      Digital Restrictions Management exists all over the world in all sorts of technologies. In addition to media files, like music and film, we can find DRM on the Web and enshrined in Web standards. As a Web standard, its use is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), making it not only easier, but expected for all media files on the Web to be locked down with DRM.

      It’s been a year since the the W3C voted to bring Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) into Web standards. They claimed to want to “lead the Web to its full potential,” but in a secret vote, members of the W3C, with the blessing of Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, agreed to put “the copyright industry in control” of media access. The enshrinement of EME as an official recommendation is not how we envision the “full potential” of the Web at the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

      EME is an approach to DRM specifically for the Web. EME encrypts media files, requiring a license/key exchange managed by (almost always) proprietary software controlled by rights holders. While EME proponents claimed they were doing away with proprietary plugins like Adobe Flash, all they did was drive the proprietary software down even deeper. Instead of plugins, users now have to install proprietary Content Decryption Modules specific to various companies — including Adobe.

    • What is the relationship between FSF and FSFE?

      Ever since I started blogging about my role in FSFE as Fellowship representative, I’ve been receiving communications and queries from various people, both in public and in private, about the relationship between FSF and FSFE. I’ve written this post to try and document my own experiences of the issue, maybe some people will find this helpful. These comments have also been shared on the LibrePlanet mailing list for discussion (subscribe here)

      Being the elected Fellowship representative means I am both a member of FSFE e.V. and also possess a mandate to look out for the interests of the community of volunteers and donors (they are not members of FSFE e.V). In both capacities, I feel uncomfortable about the current situation due to the confusion it creates in the community and the risk that volunteers or donors may be confused.

      The FSF has a well known name associated with a distinctive philosophy. Whether people agree with that philosophy or not, they usually know what FSF believes in. That is the power of a brand.

      When people see the name FSFE, they often believe it is a subsidiary or group working within the FSF. The way that brands work, people associate the philosophy with the name, just as somebody buying a Ferrari in Berlin expects it to do the same things that a Ferrari does in Boston.

      To give an example, when I refer to “our president” in any conversation, people not knowledgeable about the politics believe I am referring to RMS. More specifically, if I say to somebody “would you like me to see if our president can speak at your event?”, some people think it is a reference to RMS. In fact, FSFE was set up as a completely independent organization with distinct membership and management and therefore a different president. When I try to explain this to people, they sometimes lose interest and the conversation can go cold very quickly.

  • Licensing/Legal
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Epic Clock Clocks The Unix Epoch

        Admit it: when you first heard of the concept of the Unix Epoch, you sat down with a calculator to see when exactly 2³¹-1 seconds would be from midnight UTC on January 1, 1970. Personally, I did that math right around the time my company hired contractors to put “Y2K Suspect” stickers on every piece of equipment that looked like it might have a computer in it, so the fact that the big day would come sometime in 2038 was both comforting and terrifying.

        [Forklift] is similarly entranced by the idea of the Unix Epoch and built a clock to display it, at least for the next 20 years or so. Accommodating the eventual maximum value of 2,147,483,647, plus the more practical ISO-8601 format, required a few more digits than the usual clock – sixteen to be exact. The blue seven-segment displays make an impression in the sleek wooden case, about which there is sadly no detail in the build log. But the internals are well documented, and include a GPS module and an RTC. The clock parses the NMEA time string from the satellites and syncs the RTC. There’s a brief video below of the clock in action.

  • Programming/Development
    • 3 top Python libraries for data science

      Python’s many attractions—such as efficiency, code readability, and speed—have made it the go-to programming language for data science enthusiasts. Python is usually the preferred choice for data scientists and machine learning experts who want to escalate the functionalities of their applications. (For example, Andrey Bulezyuk used the Python programming language to create an amazing machine learning application.)

      Because of its extensive usage, Python has a huge number of libraries that make it easier for data scientists to complete complicated tasks without many coding hassles. Here are the top 3 Python libraries for data science; check them out if you want to kickstart your career in the field.

    • This Week in Rust 252

      Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned?

  • Standards/Consortia
    • PortableCL 1.2 Still Coming While POCL 1.3 Will Further Improve Open-Source OpenCL

      It’s been a number of months since last having any major news to report on POCL, the “PortableCL” project providing a portable OpenCL/compute implementation that can run on CPUs, select GPUs, and other accelerators.

      POCL 1.1 from March remains the current stable release while POCL 1.2 has been in the release candidate stage. The POCL 1.2 release candidates began last month with a few highlights like LLVM 7.0 support, device-side printf support, and HWLOC 2.0 library support.

Leftovers
  • Hardware
    • Ampere eMAG for Hyperscale Cloud Computing Now Available, LLVM 7.0.0 Released, AsparaDB RDS for MariaDB TX Announced, New Xbash Malware Discovered and Kong 1.0 Launched

      Ampere, in partnership with Lenovo, announced availability of the Ampere eMAG for hyperscale cloud computing. The first-generation Armv8-A 64-bit processors provide “high-performance compute, high memory capacity, and rich I/O to address cloud workloads including big data, web tier and in-memory databases”. Pricing is 32 cores at up to 3.3GHz Turbo for $850 or 16 cores at up to 3.3GHz Turbo for $550.

    • Ampere eMAG Processors Delivering 32 ARMv8-A Cores At Up To 3.3GHz
    • Why the Future of Data Storage is (Still) Magnetic Tape

      It should come as no surprise that recent advances in big-data analytics and artificial intelligence have created strong incentives for enterprises to amass information about every measurable aspect of their businesses. And financial regulations now require organizations to keep records for much longer periods than they had to in the past. So companies and institutions of all stripes are holding onto more and more.

      Studies show [PDF] that the amount of data being recorded is increasing at 30 to 40 percent per year. At the same time, the capacity of modern hard drives, which are used to store most of this, is increasing at less than half that rate. Fortunately, much of this information doesn’t need to be accessed instantly. And for such things, magnetic tape is the perfect solution.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • How We Compared Clinical Trial and Cancer Incidence Data

      An in-depth look at newly approved cancer drugs, who participates in their clinical trials and who is affected by those cancers.

      [...]

      In 2012, as part of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, Congress asked the FDA to report clinical trial participation by demographic subgroup. In 2013, the agency found minorities were often underrepresented, noting that, for many of the drugs under consideration, “there were too few African American or Black patients in the trials to enable meaningful subset analysis.”

      For every new drug approved starting in 2015, the FDA published a “Drug Trials Snapshot,” which includes the demographic breakdown for the clinical trial participants by sex, race, and age subgroups. ProPublica has compiled this data for all FDA-approved drugs from January 2015 to mid-August 2018 into a single dataset. Download this dataset at ProPublica’s Data Store.

      Snapshots included clinical trials run in the United States and internationally, but did not begin until 2017 to report what percentage of trials were conducted in the U.S. Though Asians appear to be well-represented in most trials, many of these trials were likely based outside of the United States. Analysis of 2017 data shows that, for drugs with at least 70 percent of trials conducted within the U.S., Asians make up only 1.7 percent of participants. Furthermore, the “Asian” category does not say if participants are of East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, or Pacific Islander descent.

      Reports did not include a Hispanic ethnicity category until 2017, and do not distinguish between white and non-white Hispanics, or between Hispanics of European or Latin American descent.

    • A Cancer Patient’s Guide to Clinical Trials

      Clinical trials are a crucial step in getting new treatments to market. Before a drug can be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and released widely, manufacturers are required to carry out studies in humans to document that it is effective and to discover any side effects.

      Fewer than 5 percent of adult cancer patients enroll in clinical trials. ProPublica has found that the vast majority of participants in these studies are white, even when minorities have a similar or higher risk of getting the cancer that the drug treats.

      Most trials are run at academic medical centers and conducted by researchers there. Patients outside those centers often aren’t aware that clinical trials are an option, or they may wonder what joining a study entails. For patients who might consider a clinical trial, here are answers to some common questions.

    • Denied ‘life-extending opportunities’: Black patients are being left out of clinical trials amid wave of new cancer therapies

      It’s a promising new drug for multiple myeloma, one of the most savage blood cancers. Called Ninlaro, it can be taken as a pill, sparing patients painful injections or cumbersome IV treatments. In a video sponsored by the manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., one patient even hailed Ninlaro as “my savior.”

      The Food and Drug Administration approved it in 2015 after patients in a clinical trial gained an average of six months without their cancer spreading. That trial, though, had a major shortcoming: its racial composition. One out of five people diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the U.S. is black, and African-Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to be diagnosed with the cancer.

      Yet of the 722 participants in the trial, only 13 — or 1.8 percent — were black.

      The scarcity of black patients in Ninlaro’s testing left unanswered the vital question of whether the drug would work equally well for them. “Meaningful differences may exist” in how multiple myeloma affects black patients, what symptoms they experience, and how they respond to medications, FDA scientists wrote in a 2017 journal article.

  • Security
    • Linux and Open Source FAQs: Common Myths and Misconceptions Addressed

      LinuxSecurity debunks some common myths and misconceptions regarding open source and Linux by answering a few Linux-related frequently asked questions.

      Open source and Linux are becoming increasingly well-known and well-respected because of the myriad benefits they offer. Seventy-eight percent of businesses of all sizes across all industries are now choosing open source software over alternative proprietary solutions according to ZDNet (https://zd.net/2GCrTrk). Facebook, Twitter and Google are are among the many companies currently using, sponsoring and contributing to open source projects. Although Linux and open source are widely recognized for the advantages they provide, there are still many myths and misconceptions that surround these terms. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Linux and open source:

      Question: What are the advantages of the open source development model? How can using and contributing to open source software benefit my business?

      Answer: Open source offers an array of inherent advantages which include increased security, superior product quality, lower costs and greater freedom and flexibility compared to other models. It also is accompanied by strong community values and high standards, which encourage the highest levels of creativity and innovation in engineering.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #177
    • Microsoft: Like the Borg, we want to absorb all the world’s biz computers [Ed: Microsoft wants to spy on and control every single thing. It (kick)started PRISM, so it was never serious about real security.]

      The technology allows Redmond to scan and monitor enrolled devices, and push out security patches, operating system upgrades, and software updates to the kit as necessary. It will also use machine-learning code and analytics to, in its own words, “manage the global MMD device population.”

    • Unit 42 Researchers Discover Xbash – Malware Which Destroys Linux and Windows Based Databases [Ed: See below; so basically it targets already-screwed systems...]

      Xbash mainly spreads by targeting any unpatched vulnerabilities and weak password

    • Windows, Linux Servers Beware: New Malware Encrypts Files Even After Ransom Is Paid

      Ransomware skyrocketed from obscurity to infamy in no time flat. Headline-grabbing campaigns like WannaCry, Petya and NotPetya preceded a substantial increase in the number of small attacks using similar techniques to extort unwary internet users. Now, researchers at Palo Alto Networks have revealed new malware that carries on NotPetya’s legacy while combining various types of threats into a single package.

      The researchers, dubbed Unit 42, named this new malware Xbash. It’s said to combines a bot net, ransomware and cryptocurrency mining software in a single worm and targets servers running Linux or Windows. The researchers blame an entity called the Iron Group for Xbash’s creation, which has been linked to other ransomware attacks. The malware is thought to have first seen use in May 2018.

    • Xbash Malware Deletes Databases on Linux, Mines for Coins on Windows
    • CCTV Cameras Are Susceptible To Hacks; Hackers Can Modify Video Footage

      A vulnerability has been discovered in video surveillance camera software that could allow hackers to view, delete or modify video footage.

      A research paper published by Tenable, a security firm, has revealed a vulnerability named Peekaboo in the video surveillance systems of NUUO. By exploiting the software flaw, hackers can acquire the admin privileges and can monitor, tamper and disable the footage.

    • Tenable Research Discovers “Peekaboo” Zero-Day Vulnerability in Global Video Surveillance Software

      Tenable®, Inc., the Cyber Exposure company, today announced that its research team has discovered a zero-day vulnerability which would allow cybercriminals to view and tamper with video surveillance recordings via a remote code execution vulnerability in NUUO software — one of the leading global video surveillance solution providers. The vulnerability, dubbed Peekaboo by Tenable Research, would allow cybercriminals to remotely view video surveillance feeds and tamper with recordings using administrator privileges. For example, they could replace the live feed with a static image of the surveilled area, allowing criminals to enter the premises undetected by the cameras.

    • 5 ways DevSecOps changes security

      There’s been an ongoing kerfuffle over whether we need to expand DevOps to explicitly bring in security. After all, the thinking goes, DevOps has always been something of a shorthand for a broad set of new practices, using new tools (often open source) and built on more collaborative cultures. Why not DevBizOps for better aligning with business needs? Or DevChatOps to emphasize better and faster communications?

      However, as John Willis wrote earlier this year on his coming around to the DevSecOps terminology, “Hopefully, someday we will have a world where we no longer have to use the word DevSecOps and security will be an inherent part of all service delivery discussions. Until that day, and at this point, my general conclusion is that it’s just three new characters. More importantly, the name really differentiates the problem statement in a world where we as an industry are not doing a great job on information security.”

    • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, August 2018
    • Linux 3.16~4.18.8 Affected By Another Potential Local Privilege Escalation Bug
    • Encryption bill endorsed by govt party room

      Barely one week of parliamentary sitting days after the date for comment ended, the Federal Government’s party room has endorsed the contentious encryption bill and it could be introduced into the House of Representatives as early as Thursday.

    • The IT Security Mistakes that Led to the Equifax Breach

      The Equifax data breach that exposed the sensitive personal information of more than 145 million consumers was one of the worst data breaches of recent years, both for the amount of information exposed and the ease with which hackers moved about the company’s systems.

      The breach was publicly disclosed on Sept. 7, 2017, and details on the breach slowly trickled out for months afterwards. Now a year later, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a 40-page report outlining what happened. The retrospective look at the breach provides insights into how the breach occurred and what types of controls and technologies might have helped prevent it.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Congressional Research Service Reports Now Officially Publicly Available

      For many, many years we’ve been writing about the ridiculousness of the Congressional Research Service’s reports being kept secret. If you don’t know, CRS is a sort of in-house think tank for Congress, that does, careful, thoughtful, non-partisan research on a variety of topics (sometimes tasked by members of Congress, sometimes of its own volition). The reports are usually quite thorough and free of political nonsense. Since the reports are created by the federal government, they are technically in the public domain, but many in Congress (including many who work at CRS itself) have long resisted requests to make those works public. Instead, we were left with relying on members of Congress themselves to occasionally (and selectively) share reports with the public, rather than giving everyone access to the reports.

      Every year or so, there were efforts made to make all of that research available to the public, and it kept getting rejected. Two years ago, two members of Congress agreed to share all of the reports they had access to with a private site put together by some activists and think tanks, creating EveryCRSReport.com, which was a useful step forward. At the very least, we’ve now had two years to show that, when these reports are made public, the world does not collapse (many people within CRS feared that making the reports public would lead to more political pressure).

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Congress Passes Measure to Protect Board that Monitors Nuclear Safety

      The Energy Department had taken steps to curtail the reach and authority of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. New Mexico’s senators are fighting back.

      [...]

      The Energy Department has said the May order is simply intended to clarify roles and responsibilities and to decrease costs, and is a necessary update to a manual relied on to guide the relationship between the department and the safety board since 2001. Officials said these actions were taken as part as President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order to trim regulations.

      But while the for-profit contractors that run the Energy Department’s nuclear sites were consulted on the changes, the board said they were given no formal input on them. Board members also have said the order would inhibit their ability to do key parts of their job, potentially violating the statute under which the board was created.

      The board said it had no comment on the move by Congress to stall the changes.

      In a joint statement, Heinrich and Udall said the provisions they had added to the appropriations bill demonstrated “that Congress shares the widespread concerns about DOE’s information sharing order,” adding that, in their view, the order should be halted.

      “We will continue to work to make sure that the DNFSB has the resources, support, and independence necessary to carry out the complex and extremely serious work that the board does,” they said.

  • Finance
    • US business groups lay out priorities to ensure their support for NAFTA

      Leaders of three of the nation’s most powerful business groups detailed six priorities they say need to be fulfilled to earn their support for an update of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to get through Congress.

    • Apple repays €14B in “illegal aid” to Ireland, so EU drops court case

      European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said Tuesday that the European Commission will finally close its legal investigation into Apple’s failure to pay back taxes to Ireland after the company paid €14 billion.

    • Apple pays over the €14.3bn due to Ireland – but the minister again denies that it’s owed

      APPLE HAS NOW paid the €14.3 billion in back taxes and interest that was due to Ireland following the landmark EU ruling in 2016.

      The EU Commission ruled in 2016 that Ireland gave multinational tech giant Apple illegal state aid worth up to €13 billion over a decade.

      The Department of Finance is appealing the decision because it denies that there was any sweetheart deal in place.

      Despite the appeal, Ireland is obliged to collect the funds and hold them in escrow until the appeal process is concluded.

    • Why Brexit is both exciting and not exciting at all

      Brexit is exciting to a follower of politics: every day it seems there is something new, and one can often swing from thinking there will be a deal or no deal, or even from thinking there will be Brexit or no Brexit.

      Brexit is a news event well suited to social media and rolling news.

      But from a “law and policy” perspective, following the ball rather than the political players, there is less excitement, more a sense of inevitability.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • ‘The Rule Is Designed to Deter People From Reporting’

      Headlines can do a lot of work. Take the August 29 New York Times news story, for example, headed “New US Sexual Misconduct Rules Bolster Rights of Accused and Protect Colleges.” Readers are tipped, you might say, that previous to proposed rules by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, those accused of rape, sexual assault or harassment on college campuses had weak or inadequate rights, and that colleges faced some sort of danger or vulnerability, presumably to being unfairly portrayed as places where such acts occur.

      What’s missing between the prevalent presentation of new rules on sexual assault in schools as a common-sense move towards fairness, and the fact that no sexual assault survivors’ representatives were on the guestlist when Betsy DeVos announced the new rules? Maybe what’s in between is real life?

      We’re joined now by Alyssa Peterson; she’s policy and advocacy coordinator with the group Know Your IX, a survivor- and youth-led project that aims to empower students to end sexual and dating violence in their schools. She joins us now by phone from Connecticut.

    • Donald Trump Is Actively Obstructing Justice

      Nixon faced impeachment for “interfering or endeavoring to interfere with the conduct of investigations.” That is what Trump is now doing.

    • Michael Moore: ‘We may not get to 2020′

      Michael Moore warns that the country might not survive as a democracy by 2020 if Democrats don’t make big gains in the midterm elections.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • How Regulating Platforms’ Content Moderation Means Regulating Speech – Even Yours.

      You have a Facebook page, on which you’ve posted some sort of status update. Maybe an update from your vacation. Maybe a political idea. Maybe a picture of your kids. And someone comes along and adds a really awful comment on your post. Maybe they insult you. Maybe they insult your politics. Maybe they insult your kids.

      Would you want to be legally obligated to keep their ugly comments on your post? Of course not. You’d probably be keen to delete them, and why shouldn’t you be able to?

      Meanwhile, what if it was the other way around: what if someone had actually posted a great comment, maybe with travel tips, support for your political views, or compliments on how cute your kids are. Would you ever want to be legally obligated to delete these comments? Of course not. If you like these comments, why shouldn’t you be able to keep sharing them with readers?

    • Some Schools Need a Lesson on Students’ Free Speech Rights

      An alarming number of schools improperly discipline students for their speech — especially students of color.

      School is back in session, and that means school administrators may be back to surveilling students on social media and unjustly disciplining them for what they say on it.

      We’ve seen both of these troubling trends before. And in today’s era of inspiring student activism, they may become all the more prevalent. Moreover, experience shows that discipline for student expression is not always applied evenhandedly, and can be invoked to silence youth of color and other marginalized students.

      Fortunately, the First Amendment protects student speech. While public schools can regulate student speech that substantially disrupts the functioning of the school, as the Supreme Court held in the landmark 1969 case Tinker v. Des Moines, students do not lose their First Amendment rights simply by virtue of walking into school. Nor do they give up their right to speak out outside of school simply by virtue of being a student. To the contrary, outside of school, students enjoy essentially the same rights to protest and speak out as anyone else.

      In the last five years, more than 100 public school districts and universities have hired companies to monitor the social media of their students. At least one district asked a surveillance company for alerts on any post mentioning “protest” or “walkout.” Another surveillance company offered to help public schools monitor “behavioral information” about specific individuals, including keeping tabs on their conversations with others.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • State Legislator Says 11-Year-Old Tased By Cop Deserved It And Her Parents Probably Suck

      This is even worse than the police union’s take on the incident, which referred to the completely expected backlash as “kneejerk.” But, hey, I guess deciding to tase an 11-year-old in the back — one who reportedly was all of 4’11” and 90 pounds — couldn’t possibly be portrayed as a kneejerk reaction by a law enforcement officer. When force isn’t truly needed, we can be sure some cops will deploy it anyway.

      But Rep. John Becker’s take is the hottest take of all. Anyone tased by a cop — even an 11-year-old — is a person who brought that crackling, barbed punishment down on themselves. There’s no reason to question the wisdom or necessity of the Taser deployment. Rather, we should question ourselves. And perhaps society. But mostly ourselves.

      [...]

      “If I were to do the research…” Would this be research beyond the television watching that’s given Becker such keen insight into officer-involved shootings? Who knows? Becker’s certainly not going to do the research. He’s just going to stick by his electro-guns and blame victims of cop violence for being raised badly or otherwise being harmed by the disintegration of the nuclear family unit — the 2.5 children born to married heterosexuals who have managed to weather an escalating divorce rate, porn, video games, movies, television, the internet, social media, Satanism, multiple pagan-based holidays, postal rate hikes, alternate sexual orientations, public school indoctrination, Daylight Savings Time, mandatory vaccinations, HAARP projects (known and unknown), President Obama, Brown v. Board of Education, morning-after pills, weird Twitter, the removal of prayer from schools, the Simpsons, artistic expression in general, and whatever else has reduced the American way of life to a hideous nightmare where punk kids manage to live their whole lives without being deservedly tased by blameless, saintly police officers.

      Becker is an idiot, but let’s pretend the research he didn’t do actually says what he thinks it will say. Even if a majority of kids tased/killed by cops are raised by single and/or inattentive parents, that doesn’t justify force deployments that far exceed the danger presented by the developing situation. This 11-year-old was tased in the back by an officer who was taller, weighed more, and had the ability to summon any number of additional officers if it appeared this preteen was going to, I don’t know, grow a foot, add 100 pounds of weight, and produce an arsenal of weapons before the officer got the mild shoplifting situation under control.

    • ACLU accuses Facebook of allowing employers to exclude women from seeing jobs ads

      “Sex segregated job advertising has historically been used to shut women out of well-paying jobs and economic opportunities,” Galen Sherwin, an attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, said in a statement. “We can’t let gender-based ad targeting online give new life to a form of discrimination that should have been eradicated long ago.”

    • Facebook Accused Of Allowing Gender Discriminating Job Ads

      A group of female Facebook users has filed a gender discrimination complaint against Facebook and nine other companies for allowing gender biased job ads on the platform.

      The ACLU along with law firm Outten & Golden LLP and the Communications Workers of America have filed a class action suit filed on behalf of three female workers with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    • Facebook Is Letting Job Advertisers Target Only Men

      Hundreds of thousands of Americans drive for Uber. And the company is looking for many more. It runs ads on Facebook that say, for example: “Driving toward something? Make extra money when it works for you and get there faster.” Another touts: “Earn $1,100 in Nashville for your first 200 Trips. Limited time guarantee! Terms apply.”

      There’s just one catch: Many of those ads are not visible to women.

      A ProPublica review of Facebook ads found that many purchased by Drive with Uber, the company’s recruiting arm, targeted only men in more than a dozen cities across the U.S. Our survey of 91 Uber ads found just one targeting only women; three did not target a specific sex.

      They were all gathered as a part of our Facebook Political Ad Collector project, in which readers sign up to send us the ads they see in their News Feeds.

      [...]

      Targeting by sex is just one way Facebook and other tech companies let advertisers focus on certain users — and exclude others. Based on rich data provided by users and deduced from their web activity, that powerful targeting is key to Facebook’s massive popularity with advertisers and it accounts for much of its revenue. It lets advertisers spend only on those they want to reach.

    • In Guatemala, a Tireless Search for Parents Separated From Their Children

      Working with the ACLU, human rights defenders look for missing parents in villages and remote regions of the country.

      When Lesly Tayes, a Guatemala City-based tax lawyer, first saw images of children locked in cages inside immigration detention facilities near the southern U.S. border, she was stunned. “It made me very upset and sad,” she said. “Later I learned that Guatemala had the highest number of separated families and I felt even worse. I wanted to help.” Within weeks, she’d have her chance.

      Earlier this summer, the ACLU sued the Trump administration over its policy of separating parents from their children if they crossed the border between points of entry. A federal court issued a preliminary injunction in late June against this policy, ordering that the separated families be reunified within 30 days. But it quickly became clear that the administration didn’t have a plan to meet that deadline, particularly for the more than 400 cases in which the parent had already been deported back to their country of origin. In one court filing, lawyers for the Justice Department suggested that the ACLU should take on the responsibility of finding those missing parents.

      Because the government wasn’t willing to carry out the search itself, the ACLU, along with a small group of other organizations, has set out to do just that.

      One of those organizations is Justice in Motion, a Brooklyn-based non-profit founded to provide legal support for migrant workers. Tayes is a member of Justice in Motion’s “defender network,” a loosely affiliated group of lawyers and activists in Guatemala and Honduras formed in 2008 to gather evidence of migrant worker abuses. After the court ruling in June, the ACLU and Justice in Motion asked Tayes and her colleagues to take on the daunting task of tracking down a large number of the missing parents in the two countries.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Google Fiber’s ‘Failure’ Succeeded In Shining A Light On Pathetic Broadband Competition

      We’ve mentioned several times how Google Fiber’s promise to revolutionize the broadband sector never really materialized. There’s a long list of reasons for that, from incumbent ISPs suing to stop Google’s access to utility poles, to Alphabet executives suddenly getting bored with the high cost and slow pace of deploying fiber and battling entrenched monopolies.

      As it stands, Google Fiber’s expansions are largely on pause as company executives figure out how much money they’re willing to spend, what the wireless future looks like, and whether Alphabet really wants to participate. That said, while Google Fiber’s actual footprint pales in comparison to the hype, the service was a success in that it generated a quality, nationwide conversation about the sorry state of U.S. broadband competition, and spurred some otherwise apathetic incumbent ISPs to actually up their game, as countless cities nationwide decried the terrible state of existing service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Gilead’s Truvada SPC revoked by English High Court

      The English High Court has ruled that Gilead’s SPC for an antiretroviral product does not comply with Article 3(a)

      Gilead’s supplementary protection (SPC) certificate for antiretroviral product Truvada has been revoked by the English High Court today.

    • Analysis: Move To Contain Global Challenge By Ascending China At Play In Escalating Trade War Between Washington And Beijing

      In the last three decades, political leaders in both Beijing and Washington have periodically miscalculated over the trade portfolio but eventually, tensions were ironed-out and two-way trade flows advanced. Many nervous executives and political leaders around the world hope that cooler heads prevail, again.

      When the Chinese leadership cracked down demonstrators on Tiananmen Square in June 1989, Washington put Beijing’s bid to re-join the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) – succeeded by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 – on ice until early 1991 before they picked up again.

      Similarly, when the administration of President Bill Clinton in May 1994 de-linked the renewal of China’s Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) status from its human rights record Beijing misread the move and tried to bluff its way into joining the WTO by putting an end of 1994 ultimatum. However, China’s chief trade negotiator, Long Yongtu, was sent back to his capital empty-handed. But during the heated exchanges in Geneva, top western diplomats recall, he put them on notice that when China one day became number one in world trade it would write the rules “in this house.”

    • Trademarks
      • BMW Opposes Marvel’s Trademark of Ghost-Spider

        Ghost-Spider is the new name for Spider-Gwen, the parallel dimension version of Gwen Stacy who, in that world, goes by the name of Spider-Woman. Lots of names for one person. The latest may raise the eyebrows of a certain car manufacturer. But why?

      • For Some Reason, BMW Is Asking For More Time To Oppose The Latest Gwen Stacey Character Trademark

        If you feel like you’re about to get a silly trademark story, your spidey-sense is working. We’ll keep this short and sweet, but this whole thing centers around Gwen Stacy, otherwise known as Spider-Woman. But because this is Marvel we’re talking about, there is also something of an alternate universe version of Gwen Stacy, in which she went by the name Spider-Gwen, but has more recently had that character rebooted as Ghost-Spider.

        [...]

        Two different brands under two different makes of car does not customer confusion make. If that really is the story here, it would be much better if the folks at BMW didn’t waste everyone’s time, because that’s the kind of opposition that will get tossed immediately.

        Meanwhile, maybe the folks at Marvel can dream up a few more alternate realities, including one where trademark law wasn’t so completely busted.

    • Copyrights
      • Compromise Music Modernization Act Will Bring Old Sound Recordings into The Public Domain, Tiptoe Towards Orphan Works Solution

        Earlier this year we wrote about the significant concerns we had with the CLASSICS Act, that sought to create a brand new performance right for pre-1972 sound recordings, requiring various internet platforms to pay for that additional right to stream such music. As we’ve discussed for years, pre-1972 sound recordings are kind of a mess in the copyright world. That’s because they weren’t covered by federal copyright law — but rather a mess of state laws (some statutes, some common law). Historically, none of that included a performance right, but some courts have recently interpreted one to exist (while others have said it doesn’t). On top of that, some of those state laws mean that certain works will remain covered by copyright for many decades after they would have gone into the public domain under federal copyright law.

        Many people have advocated for “full federalization” of those pre-1972 works, taking them away from those state copyright laws, and putting them on an even playing field with all other copyright-covered works. There is an argument against this, which is that doing so also creates brand new rights for works that are decades old, which clearly goes against the purpose and intent of copyright law (incentivizing the creation of new works for the public), but given what a mess having two (very different) systems entailed, it seemed like full federalization was the most sensible way forward.

      • Evolving concepts of work and sustainability of copyright: the curious case of curated fireworks displays
      • Music Group Celebrates Millions of ‘Pointless’ Piracy Takedown Notices

        The Association of Independent Music has teamed up with anti-piracy outfit MUSO to help its members remove infringing links from the Internet. The early results are promising, with five million takedown requests in a few months. However, on close inspection, it appears that they’re all excited about nothing.

        [...]

        Not only are most of the reported links missing from Google’s search results, they don’t always link to anything infringing on the pirate sites either.

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Review: Bodhi Linux 5.0.0

Sometimes when reviewing an operating system it is difficult to separate the question "Is this a good distribution?" from "Is this a good distribution for me?" Bodhi is one of those projects where the answers to these questions are quite different, mostly over matters of style rather than functionality. On a personal level, I don't think I would ever be inclined to use Bodhi myself because I don't like the Moksha/Enlightenment style of desktop. It does a lot of little things differently (not badly, just differently) from other open source desktops and its style is not one I ever seem to find comfortable. This, combined with the streamlined, web-based AppCenter and unusual settings panel, makes Bodhi a distribution which always feels a bit alien to me. Let's put aside my personal style preferences though and try to look at the distribution objectively. Bodhi is trying to provide a lightweight, visually attractive distribution with a wide range of hardware support. It manages to do all of these things and do them well. The distribution is paying special attention to lower-end hardware, including 32-bit systems, and maintains a remarkably small memory footprint given the amount of functionality and eye candy included. Most lightweight distributions sacrifice quite a bit visually in order to provide the lightest interface possible, but Bodhi does a nice job of balancing low resource requirements with an attractive desktop environment. Bodhi is pleasantly easy to install, thanks to the Ubiquity installer, has a minimal collection of software (in the main edition) that allows us to craft our own experience and, for people who need more applications out of the box, there is the AppPack edition. All of this is to say that, for me personally, I spent more time that I would have liked this week searching through settings, trying to get used to how Moksha's panel works, tracking down less popular applications and re-learning when to use right-click versus left-click on the desktop. But, objectively, I would be hard pressed to name another distribution that more elegantly offers a lightweight desktop with visual effects, or that offers such easy access to both legacy and modern hardware support. In short, I think Bodhi Linux is a good distribution for those who want to get the most performance out of their operating system without sacrificing hardware support or the appearance of the interface. There are a few little glitches here and there, but sothing show-stopping and, overall, Bodhi is a well put together distribution. Read more

Android Leftovers

5 ways to play old-school games on a Raspberry Pi

They don't make 'em like they used to, do they? Video games, I mean. Sure, there's a bit more grunt in the gear now. Princess Zelda used to be 16 pixels in each direction; there's now enough graphics power for every hair on her head. Today's processors could beat up 1988's processors in a cage-fight deathmatch without breaking a sweat. But you know what's missing? The fun. You've got a squillion and one buttons to learn just to get past the tutorial mission. There's probably a storyline, too. You shouldn't need a backstory to kill bad guys. All you need is jump and shoot. So, it's little wonder that one of the most enduring popular uses for a Raspberry Pi is to relive the 8- and 16-bit golden age of gaming in the '80s and early '90s. But where to start? Read more