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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 min 57 sec ago

Links 2/7/2018: Linux Mint Everywhere, OpenShot 2.4.2 Released

Monday 2nd of July 2018 12:32:12 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox 61 for Android Fixes Recurring Crash on Samsung Galaxy S8 with Android 8

        Mozilla released the Firefox 61 web browser this week for desktops, including Windows, Linux, and Mac computers, but also for Android devices to bring better browsing for those who are always on the go.

        Firefox 61 for Android isn’t a major release, but a small maintenance update that brings a couple of performance improvements like faster scrolling by implementing a new functionality that treats touch event listeners as passive by default, and better page rendering times by improving the Quantum CSS component.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • nChain’s Key Generating Software Is Not Open Source

      nChain, the Jimmy Nguyen and Craig Wright blockchain scaling company that focuses entirely on Bitcoin Cash, is not open source. This, despite creating key generating software that is crucial for security.

      nChain’s SDK, dubbed “Nakasendo” has a Github repository that is completely devoid of source code. There is a file that says “source code” but inside curious users will only find the same license and readme file available separately on the Nakasendo repository.

      While it is not unusual for developers to open a near empty repository in order to act as a holding page for when the real work begins, it is the license already included that disqualifies nChain from being open source.

    • GitHub Developers Are Giving Microsoft a Chance [Ed: Which ones? The one Conde Nast spoke to for this Microsoft puff piece? Many delete GitHub already.]
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Three Things Exciting Clear Linux Developers With GCC 8

      While Intel’s Clear Linux platform has already been making use of GCC 8.1 since shortly after its release in early May, one of their developers has now published a blog post highlighting three performance and security features enjoyed and that helps benefit their performance-oriented Linux distribution.

      Victor Rodriguez Bahena of Intel wrote a blog post this week outlining three GCC 8 compiler improvements he finds important. Those features include improvements to interprocedural optimizations, Intel Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET), and changes to loop nest optimization flags. The first and last items benefit the GCC performance of generated binaries while CET helps with security.

  • Public Services/Government
    • US Senator Recommends Open-Source WireGuard To NIST For Government VPN

      One of the additions we have been looking forward to seeing in the mainline Linux kernel in 2018 is WireGuard. WireGuard is the open-source, performance-minded, and secure VPN tunnel. WireGuard is designed to be run within the Linux kernel but has also been ported to other platforms.

      WireGuard hasn’t yet made it into the mainline Linux kernel, but it’s looking like it still stands good chances of doing so in 2018. Curious about the state, I asked WireGuard’s lead developer Jason Donenfeld this week. He informed me that he is in the process of preparing the patch(es) for review and that it won’t hopefully be much longer before that happens. Of course, following the review process is when it could be integrated into the mainline Linux kernel at the next available merge window (he gave no explicit indication, but if it’s to happen this year, that would mean Linux 4.19 or Linux 5.0).

  • Programming/Development
    • Deep Learning with Open Source Python Software

      Let’s clear up one potential source of confusion at the outset. What’s the difference between Machine Learning and Deep Learning? The two terms mean different things.

      In essence, Machine Learning is the practice of using algorithms to parse data, learn insights from that data, and then make a determination or prediction. The machine is ‘trained’ using huge amounts of data.

      Deep Learning is a subset of Machine Learning that uses multi-layers artificial neural networks to deliver state-of-the-art accuracy in tasks such as object detection, speech recognition, language translation and others. Think of Machine Learning as cutting-edge, and Deep Learning as the cutting-edge of the cutting-edge.

    • Rediscovering blindness products

      While in the early 2000s, cell phones were still mainly made accessible by specialized software, for example Talks or MobileSpeak for the Nokia S60 platform, or special devices such as the PAC Mate were created to bring mainstream operating systems onto special hardware with a screen reader added, the advance of iPhone and Android devices in the late 2000s brought a revolution for blind and visually impaired people. For the first time, accessibility was being built into the platform, and no special software or hardware was needed to operate these devices.

      [...]

      All good, or what? Well, I thought so, for a long time, too. I even sold some blindness-related products such as my first generation Victor Reader Stream by Humanware because I thought my iPhone and iPad could now fulfill all my needs. And for the most part, they do, but at a cost.

      And that cost is not, in most cases, technical in nature, but rather has to do with the sheer fact that the device I am running the app on is a mainstream device. Many of these problems are, in one form or another, also applicable to people who aren’t blind, but might impact them less than they do me.

      [...]

      One other problem that keeps me always on the edge when using mainstream devices are screen reader inconsistencies and inaccessible apps or websites. Any update to an app can break accessibility, any update to the OS can break certain screen reader behavior, or web content I might need or have to consume at a particular moment can prove to be inaccessible, requiring me to either fiddle around with screen reader tricks to kick it into obedience, or simply not being able to get something done at all. Yes, despite all web accessibility efforts, this is still more often the case in 2018 than any of us could want.

Leftovers
  • 6 Things You Learn Trying To Meet A ‘Sugar Daddy’ Online
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Magazine: Finland’s state pension agency stops investing in tobacco industry

      Some 4,000 people die due to tobacco-related illnesses in Finland every year. In 2016, Parliament ratified the Tobacco Act with the aim of ending the use of tobacco and other nicotine products in Finland by 2030.

    • Finnish government caves in, postpones care reform [sic]
    • The Dark Side of the Orgasmic Meditation Company

      Workers exhausted by the long hours were told they should OM more, that orgasm is an endless energy resource. Some former staffers say frequent OM sessions left them in a constant state of emotional and physical rawness that, combined with a lack of sleep, blurred their ability to think.

    • The Military Drinking-Water Crisis the White House Tried to Hide

      But military personnel and veterans are particularly at risk, because PFAS compounds are in firefighting foams, which have been used in training exercises at military bases across America since the 1970s. Those foams have leached into the groundwater at the military facilities, and often the drinking water supply. Nearly three million Americans get their drinking water from Department of Defense systems.

    • Seeing the same doctor over time ‘lowers death rates’

      The benefits applied to visits to GPs and specialists and were seen across different cultures and health systems.

    • To save money, my insurance company forced me to try drugs that didn’t work

      Recently, I discovered why I hadn’t been prescribed the Botox treatment earlier: step therapy — a policy that forces patients to try cheaper and sometimes less effective drugs before insurers will pay for more expensive treatments.

    • There might be poop in the water you’re swimming in so please don’t swallow it, CDC says

      A team of researchers analyzed 140 outbreaks that made nearly 5,000 people sick, and even killed two swimmers between 2000 and 2014. Public parks and beaches accounted for roughly two-thirds of the outbreaks, according to the CDC’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. And the majority of those outbreaks occurred over the summer months — right when the water is most inviting.

    • Australia wins landmark World Trade Organisation ruling on tobacco plain packaging laws

      In its ruling, the WTO panel said Australia’s “plain packaging” law contributed to improving public health by reducing use of and exposure to tobacco products, and rejected claims that alternative measures would be equally effective.

      The ruling, which is expected to be appealed, also rejected the complainants’ argument that Australia’s law unjustifiably infringed tobacco trademarks and violated intellectual property [sic] rights.

      [...]

      Some countries were now discussing a tobacco “endgame”, with less than 5 per cent of the population smoking, she said, adding: “Plain packaging is part of this path”.

  • Security
    • LTE wireless connections used by billions aren’t as secure as we thought

      The attacks work because of weaknesses built into the LTE standard itself. The most crucial weakness is a form of encryption that doesn’t protect the integrity of the data. The lack of data authentication makes it possible for an attacker to surreptitiously manipulate the IP addresses within an encrypted packet. Dubbed aLTEr, the researchers’ attack causes mobile devices to use a malicious domain name system server that, in turn, redirects the user to a malicious server masquerading as Hotmail. The other two weaknesses involve the way LTE maps users across a cellular network and leaks sensitive information about the data passing between base stations and end users.

    • LTE (4G) Flaw Allows Attackers To Redirect Browsers And Spy On You

      The Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard for mobile communication, also known as 4G was designed to overcome security flaws of its predecessor standards and is used by millions of people across the globe.

      However, researchers have now uncovered weaknesses in LTE that allows attackers to hijack browsing session which redirects users to malicious websites and spy on their online activity to find out which sites they visit through their LTE device.

    • UK researcher says one line of code caused Ticketmaster breach

      Well-known British security researcher Kevin Beaumont says the breach of the British operations of American multinational ticket sales and distribution company Ticketmaster, that has led to the possible leak of tens of thousands of credit card details, was caused by the incorrect placement of a single line of code.

      As iTWire reported, Ticketmaster UK blamed third-party supplier Inbenta Technologies for the incident. Inbenta, in turn, said that the breach had been caused by Ticketmaster directly applying a customised piece of JavaScript without notifying its (Inbenta’s) team.

    • Plant Your Flag, Mark Your Territory

      Some examples of how being a modern-day Luddite can backfire are well-documented, such as when scammers create online accounts in someone’s name at the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service or the Social Security Administration.

      Other examples may be far less obvious. Consider the case of a consumer who receives their home telephone service as part of a bundle through their broadband Internet service provider (ISP). Failing to set up a corresponding online account to manage one’s telecommunications services can provide a powerful gateway for fraudsters.

    • Former Equifax Manager Allegedly Took Advantage of Data Breach Crisis with Insider Trading Scheme

      Federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced charges Thursday against a former software development manager who allegedly took advantage of the chaos in order to run an insider trading scheme. The defendant is Sudhakar Reddy Bonthu, 44.

    • Former Equifax manager is charged with insider trading for selling shares before data breach was disclosed

      Sudhakar Reddy Bonthu allegedly made more than US$75,000 after betting that his company’s shares would fall when the breach was revealed

    • Cryptocurrencies Have Limits

      The Economic Limits Of Bitcoin And The Blockchain by Eric Budish is an important analysis of the economics of two kinds of “51% attack” on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, such as those becoming endemic on Bitcoin Gold and other alt-coins:

    • New macOS Cyberattack Focuses on Cryptocurrency Investors

      Digital criminals who are using a piece of macOS-based malware called OSX.Dummy seem to be targeting a group of cryptocurrency investors who use Discord as well as those who use Slack. OSX.Dummy isn’t a particularly sophisticated piece of software, but it does seem to allow arbitrary code execution on machines that it can get embedded into.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • A Yazidi mother’s torment in Iraq, four years after the genocide

      The invaders committed unimaginable atrocities, including mass executions, which the UN has classed as genocide. So far, however, no one has been held accountable.

    • ‘I know the Yazidis are going through hell’: ISIS survivors in Canada plead for help for family left behind

      In a statement to The Current, the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the government has “provided a new home to over 1,300 women and their families who endured the brutality of [ISIS], 85% of whom are Yazidi.” It also noted that the government has “increased funding for settlement services in every province and territory across Canada, totalling more than $1 billion.”

    • CNN reporter shouts at Trump: ‘Will you stop calling the press the enemy of the people?’

      Trump was met with criticism following his remarks for his frequent targeting of the press and comments he has made calling reporters the “enemy of the people.”

    • Shooting in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro on Sunday: police [iophk: "I know someone who still lives in that neihborhood; the press and politicians go to great lengths to avoid identifying the source of the problems"]

      A string of shootings took place in the neighbourhood during the second half of 2017, resulting in three deaths and a number of injuries. The violence was linked to gang-related organised crime.

    • Finnish man suspected of preparing terrorist acts released in London

      A warrant for his further detention was granted to counter-terrorism detectives on 12 June. The warrant expired on Sunday, 17 June.

      The Met has yet to disclose further details of the incident.

    • Islamic Relief: Charity, Extremism & Terror

      A new Middle East Forum report uncovers the extremism and terror connections of the largest Islamic charity in the western world: Islamic Relief.

      Despite receiving over $80 million from Western taxpayers over the last ten years — including over $700,000 from the U.S. government — Islamic Relief is an prominent Islamist institution, closely tied to Muslim Brotherhood networks, with branches in over 20 countries.

      Our report examines Islamic Relief’s extremist links. We look at its key branches, its links to dangerous Islamist movements, its connections to the terrorist group Hamas, its officials’ extremism and its promotion of extremist preachers who incite hatred against both moderate Muslims and non-Muslims.

    • Inflation nightclub shooting investigation stagnates one year on

      Fairfax Media can reveal that the couple have not been spoken to by anyone from the Armed Crime Squad or the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission since they provided statements immediately after the shooting at Inflation nightclub on July 8 last year.

      The delay has allegedly exacerbated the trauma of Zita Sukys, 38, and Dale Ewins, 36, who was accused by senior police of pointing a fake gun at members of the critical incident response team but has still not been charged with any offence.

    • US ends 70 years of military presence in South Korean capital

      The United States formally ended seven decades of military presence in South Korea’s capital on Friday with a ceremony to mark the opening of a new headquarters farther from North Korean artillery range.

      The command’s move to Camp Humphreys, about 70 kilometres south of Seoul, comes amid a fledgling detente on the Korean Peninsula, though the relocation was planned long before that. Most troops have already transferred to the new location, and the US says the remaining ones will move by the end of this year.

      The US military had been headquartered in Seoul’s central Yongsan neighbourhood since American troops first arrived at the end of World War II. The Yongsan Garrison was a symbol of the US-South Korea alliance but its occupation of prime real estate was also a long-running source of friction.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Not up to US to decide on Assange asylum, Ecuador says

      It’s not up to Washington to decide the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Ecuador’s top diplomat said Friday, following the visit of US Vice President Mike Pence.

      Pence “raised the issue” of the Australian anti-secrecy activist — holed up at Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012 — when he met with Lenin Moreno on Thursday, an official with the US vice president’s office confirmed.

      “Ecuador and the United Kingdom, and of course Mr Assange as a person who is currently staying, on asylum, at our embassy” will decide the next steps, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told reporters.

    • US Democratic senators demand eviction of Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy

      Ten Democratic Party senators have issued a reprehensible call for the Trump administration to demand that the Ecuadorian government renege on the political asylum it provided WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange six years ago and evict him from its London embassy. He would then be detained by British police, while US agencies filed extradition warrants.

      The letter of the senators was addressed to Vice President Mike Pence, ahead of his visit to Ecuador today and top-level talks with the small country’s president, Lenín Moreno. The signatories are a roll-call of leading congressional Democrats: Robert Menendez, Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, Edward J. Markey, Michael Bennet, Christopher Coons, Joe Manchin, Jeanne Shaheen, Diane Feinstein and Mark Warner.

    • In swipe at Clinton, Sessions cited material hacked by WikiLeaks. Was that okay?
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Barents Sea seems to have crossed a climate tipping point

      The challenge with tipping points is that they’re often easiest to identify in retrospect. We have some indications that our climate has experienced them in the past, but reconstructing how quickly a system tipped over or the forces that drove the change can be difficult. Now, a team of Norwegian scientists is suggesting it has watched the climate reach a tipping point: the loss of Arctic sea ice has flipped the Barents Sea from acting as a buffer between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans to something closer to an arm of the Atlantic.

    • What happened last time it was as warm as it’s going to get later this century?

      And yet, the climate won’t stop changing in 2100. Even if we succeed in limiting warming this century to 2ºC, we’ll have CO2 at around 500 parts per million. That’s a level not seen on this planet since the Middle Miocene, 16 million years ago, when our ancestors were apes. Temperatures then were about 5 to 8ºC warmer not 2º, and sea levels were some 40 meters (130 feet) or more higher, not the 1.5 feet (half a meter) anticipated at the end of this century by the 2013 IPCC report.

    • How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country [iophk: "astroturfing != grass roots"]

      In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government.

    • Trump rescinds Obama policy protecting oceans

      President Trump is repealing a controversial executive order drafted by former President Obama that was meant to protect the Great Lakes and the oceans bordering the United States.

    • Senate blocks bid to stop Obama water rule

      The Senate voted Thursday to block a measure by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would have repealed former President Obama’s landmark water pollution rule.

      The amendment would have prohibited funding in a major spending bill from being used by the Army Corps of Engineers to enforce the Clean Water Rule, also known as Waters of the United States.

    • Mining set to begin in land Trump removed from national monument

      Glacier Lake Resources Inc., a copper and silver mining firm based in Vancouver, announced its acquisition of the Colt Mesa deposit last week in a press release, saying that the area “recently became open for staking and exploration after a 21 year period moratorium.”

    • GMO grass is creeping across Oregon

      The grass arrived here uninvited, after crossing the Snake River from old seed fields in Idaho. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which vets most new genetically engineered products, had not approved the plant’s release. But in 2010, landowners discovered it growing in great mats throughout the irrigation system that stretches like a spider web across Malheur County.

      [...]

      No one believes the bentgrass can be fully eradicated, either. And as long as it’s around, some fear it could contaminate non-GMO crops and invade natural areas. “It just scares the bejeezus out of me,” says Erstrom, a retired Bureau of Land Management natural resource specialist who chairs the Malheur County Weed Advisory Board.

    • Death on foot: America’s love of SUVs is killing pedestrians

      Almost 6,000 pedestrians died on or along U.S. roads in 2016 alone — nearly as many Americans as have died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002. Data analyses by the Free Press/USA TODAY and others show that SUVs are the constant in the increase and account for a steadily growing proportion of deaths.

    • Our natural world is disappearing before our eyes. We have to save it

      We forget even our own histories. We fail to recall, for example, that the 1945 Dower report envisaged wilder national parks than we now possess, and that the conservation white paper the government issued in 1947 called for the kind of large-scale protection that is considered edgy and innovative today. Remembering is a radical act.

    • Sunshine is making Deepwater Horizon oil stick around

      In the days and weeks after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, sunlight hit the oil slicks on the surface of the water. That triggered chemical reactions that added oxygen to oil molecules that once were just chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms. These oxygenated hydrocarbons are still sticking around eight years later with little evidence of degradation, researchers report May 29 in Environmental Science and Technology.

    • Nordic Wildflower Day celebrates natural diversity

      Sunday, 17 June is designated as Nordic Wildflower Day, and hundreds if not thousands of Finns will take to nature to observe and learn about the small gems dotting our surroundings.

      The day has been celebrated since 1988, when Denmark started the tradition. The theme plant for this year’s special day is the arctic starflower (Trientalis europaea).

    • Solar Power Employs Twice As Many As Coal In US

      According to a report produced by the National Association of State Energy Officials and the Energy Futures Initiative, there are more than twice as many solar power jobs in the US as coal industry jobs. “Solar energy firms employed, in whole or in part, 350,000 individuals in 2017, with more than 250,000 of those employees spending the majority of their time on solar. Coal-fired generation employment held steady at 92,000 jobs.”

    • Mumbai bans plastic: A list of items you can and can’t use

      The Maharashtra government had on March 23 issued a notification imposing a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of all plastic materials, including one-time use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items.

    • Starting today, get ready to pay a fine for carrying plastic in Maharashtra

      Come Monday — day three of the plastic ban — the BMC will start fining citizens too for using plastic. While the ban on dozens of daily-use plastic items, such as carry bags, PET bottles less than 500ml, takeaway containers from restaurants, among others, came into effect on Saturday, the civic body’s special squad in-charge of implementing the ban only penalised retailers over the weekend.

    • No More Delhi Trees To Be Cut Till July 4, Says High Court

      A controversial project that requires the cutting of 17,000 trees in Delhi to make way for government officers’ houses and a commercial complex was put on hold by the High Court today. “Has the tree-cutting been approved by the green tribunal,” the court questioned as it put off the project till July 4, the next hearing.

  • Finance
    • Moonlit Photographs of Detroit’s Resilience
    • Democracy Against Capitalism: Competing Stories About Wages

      Ellen Meiksins Wood’s book Democracy against Capitalism, tells a story of capitalism at odds with the story economists tell. At the root of this is her view that we make a big mistake when we separate politics from economics. Here’s an example, summarized from three prior posts, one at Empthywheel, and this one and this one at Naked Capitalism. The original posts give more detailed discussions.

    • Bullshit jobs and the yoke of managerial feudalism

      One thing it shows is that the whole “lean and mean” ideal is applied much more to productive workers than to office cubicles. It’s not at all uncommon for the same executives who pride themselves on downsizing and speed-ups on the shop floor, or in delivery and so forth, to use the money saved at least in part to fill their offices with feudal retinues of basically useless flunkies.

    • Mapped – hard Brexit guru Singham’s ‘unparalleled’ access to government

      Today news has broken that Singham, who also heads a trade unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs, has stood down from the “committee of experts” advising the Department for International trade. Singham, who has been described as the “hard Brexit Svengali”, has emerged as one of the most influential voices in Brexiter circles.

    • A Voltaire for our age; what can the Enlightenment teach Brexit Britain?

      Voltaire was impressed when he arrived in London and saw a multitude of religious groups co-existing peacefully (though not in equality). He sees diversity as a key ingredient for a harmonious and free society; ‘If there was in England but one religion, despotism would have to be feared. If there were two, they’d cut each other’s throat. But there are thirty and they live together peacefully.’

    • “Serious flaw” in management of Brexit donor Arron Banks’s charity

      Banks, who claims to have spent more than £8m on the campaign to leave the European Union, has become of the most controversial characters in British politics, with questions raised over everything from the size of his fortune to the extent of his links with Russia.

      Love Saves the Day was set up in 2015. The charity’s website reported charitable work worth hundreds of thousands of pounds taking place around the world, including in Lesotho and Belize.

    • Of Brexit, the fracking lobby and the revolving door

      In January I wrote about how the fracking industry could take advantage of a dirty Brexit. But it goes further than direct lobbying and trying to hijack the Brexit narrative. Companies are also enlisting the help of PR agencies who are hiring former ministerial and even prime-ministerial advisors to lobby for them.

      The UK’s PR and lobbying industry is the second biggest in the world, worth £7.5 billion according to Spinwatch. PR agencies will work to shape the public agenda in their clients’ interest, including some of the world’s most environmentally destructive companies.

      According to the most recent Public Affairs and Lobbying Register, fracking firm Cuadrilla hires Hanover communications consultancy, whose Chief Executive is John Major’s former press secretary Charles Lewington, to help promote its work. This relationship goes back until at least 2013.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Facebook labelled ‘evasive’ by MPs investigating company
    • Facebook reveals data-sharing partnerships, ties to Chinese firms in 700-page document dump

      Facebook revealed to Congress late Friday that it shared user data with 52 hardware and software-making companies, including some Chinese firms.

      The new acknowledgement came as a part of a more than 700-page document dump to the House Energy and Commerce Committee late Friday evening. The committee released the information publicly on Saturday.

    • Turkey election: Does Kurdish leader jailed as ‘terrorist’ hold the key?

      Turkish President Erdoğan has tried mightily to consolidate power, imprisoning foes as “terrorists” in authoritarian fashion. But the democratic impulse in the country is still strong.

    • Hank Aaron on whether he would visit White House: ‘There’s nobody there I want to see’

      Hall of Fame outfielder Hank Aaron said Friday that he supports athletes who use their platform to speak about social and political issues, adding that he would not visit the White House today if he were part of a championship-winning team.

      “There’s nobody there I want to see,” Aaron said at a ceremony for the “Hank Aaron Champion for Justice Awards” in Atlanta, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    • Supreme Court vacancy exposes bankruptcy of the Democratic Party

      Trump’s shaping of the Supreme Court following the resignation of Anthony Kennedy will mark another stage in the consolidation of power by far-right, fascistic forces over the institutions of the American state.

    • The Unsubtle Art of Non-Verbal Communication

      Human beings can communicate by gesture and facial expression as well as by verbal language. In the following video, at 39 seconds in BBC presenter Jo Coburn is not communicating to the viewer – the director has switched back to her before she expects. She is however working very hard on communicating non-verbally to somebody, presumably the director, with quite an extreme facial gesture.

      My question to you is this – what do you think she is trying to communicate with that facial gesture, and why? It is not a rhetorical question, your answers are welcome. You need to watch the whole video for context – it’s less than a minute.

    • Maxine Waters responds to death threats: ‘You better shoot straight’

      Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has addressed a series of recent death threats she said she has received, telling would-be threateners to “shoot straight” during an immigration rally on Saturday.

      “I know that there are those who are talking about censuring me, talking about kicking me out of Congress, talking about shooting me, talking about hanging me,” Waters told the crowd in Los Angeles.

      “All I have to say is this, if you shoot me you better shoot straight, there’s nothing like a wounded animal,” she added to cheers.

    • Abolishing ICE becomes Dem litmus test

      Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shock victory in a Democratic primary is underscoring calls to eliminate Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • ‘Replace censorship with ratings’ – PFM president [NSTTV]
    • Patreon Is Suspending Adult Content Creators Because of Its Payment Partners

      Sex workers, porn producers and anyone working in the erotic labor trade have always faced discrimination from payment processors and banks—many institutions refuse to give accounts to people working in the sex trade. Patreon set itself up as an alternative home for creators of all kinds to make money doing what they love, but in the last year or so, even they have experienced pushback from payment processors on what is and isn’t allowed.

      Patreon’s guidelines for adult content state that “all public content on your page be appropriate for all audiences,” and “content with mature themes must be marked as a patron-only post.” For several of these reports, Patreon warned that “implied nudity” was the reason for the suspension, where it appeared in public areas or publicly-visible patron tiers and banners.

    • “Inventor of email” appeals ruling that tossed his libel suit against Techdirt

      Lawyers representing the Massachusetts man who for years has made a highly-controversial claim that he invented email have filed their appeal in an ongoing lawsuit brought against the tech news site, Techdirt.

      The appeal to the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals comes more than a year after a federal judge dismissed the libel lawsuit brought by Shiva Ayyadurai, an entrepreneur who is now also running as a longshot candidate for the United States Senate.

    • Sex-Worker Advocates Sue Over Internet ‘Censorship’ Law

      The lawsuit asks for a preliminary injunction, which, if granted, would mean that SESTA-FOSTA cannot be used as grounds for a lawsuit or criminal charge until Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States is decided.

    • Iran bans public screenings of FIFA World Cup

      The Islamic republic is thought to be the only country in the world that refuses to allow fans to gather in open public spaces for the World Cup, possibly due to opposition to the idea of men and women watching together.

    • Google Downranks 65,000 Pirate Sites in Search Results

      With the aim to protect the interests of copyright holders, Google is making ‘pirate’ sites more difficult for its users to find. This week the search engine revealed more information about the scope of this effort. Thus far, Google has downranked 65,000 sites, a measure that led to a 90% reduction in referrals from search results.

    • Moderate Islam Falters in the Face of Silicon Valley Censorship

      In 2017, Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) was targeted by “a coordinated reporting and flagging campaign” that led to Facebook’s restricting their posts. EXMNA opposes radical Islam and offers a home to apostates facing abuse and persecution. Nothing it posts on social media is remotely hateful.

      In fact, censorship of anti-Islamist voices by Silicon Valley is now an almost weekly occurrence. Just last month, Canadian intelligence expert and prominent anti-Islamist researcher Tom Quiggin lost access to his Gmail and YouTube accounts after Google decided that a trailer for a podcast merely mentioning the issue of extremism warranted a suspension.

    • Southern Poverty Law Center Settles Lawsuit After Falsely Labeling ‘Extremist’ Organization

      Nawaz, a former British politician who has railed against Islamic extremism and the false use of the Koran to incite violence around the globe, and Quilliam were incorrectly characterized and listed in the SPLC’s “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”

    • SPLC apologizes, pays up, for ‘hate’ labeling

      SPLC had accused Nawaz of “savaging Islam,” in a diatribe similar to its attack on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali- and Muslim-born critic of the religion.

    • Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc. Admits It Was Wrong, Apologizes to Quilliam and Maajid Nawaz for Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists, and Agrees to Pay $3.375 Million Settlement

      The Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc. has apologized to Quilliam and its founder Maajid Nawaz for wrongly naming them in its controversial Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. In a public statement, the SPLC’s president, Richard Cohen, explained that “Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism.” Watch Mr. Cohen’s complete statement at https://www.splcenter.org/20161025/journalists-manual-field-guide-anti-muslim-extremists.

    • Student-run Lindenwood University magazine to lose funding, students claim censorship

      Lindenwood University administrators on Friday informed staffers at The Legacy, the student-run magazine, that the university would cease publication. The move sparked accusations of censorship from the students who work at the magazine.

      The news editor of The Legacy, Madeline Raineri, said the decision was made because university officials found some coverage of issues and topics inappropriate.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • How government will collect the new social media tax

      Our reporters have been told to wait for the official statement, however, a source from one of the telecoms has confirmed that the statement is authentic.

      In the statement, the telecoms say that effective 1st July 2018 when the new financial year starts, access to over the top services i.e Social media will be blocked, and to access them, Ugandans would have to pay.

    • Social Media Day: 5 dangerous habits you must quit
    • The NSA is deleting hundreds of millions of phone call and text records it wasn’t supposed to have

      The National Security Agency (NSA) on Friday announced it has been deleting hundreds of millions of records of phone calls and text messages dating back to 2015.

      Due to “technical irregularities” in its data, the agency said, it possessed certain records it had no authority to receive. As of May 23, the NSA began deleting all of this type of records that were collected after 2015 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), just to be safe.

    • NSA deletes hundreds of millions of call records over privacy violations

      The deletions began on May 23rd. It’s not certain when the purge ends, but this is all metadata, not the content of the calls and messages themselves. A spokesperson also told the NYT that it didn’t include location data, as the Freedom Act doesn’t allow gathering that information under this collection system. The companies involved have “addressed” the cause of the problem for data going forward, the NSA said.

    • NSA — Continually Violating FISA Since 2004

      Which means the NSA’s streak of violating FISA just got extended several more years. It has been violating FISA, in one way or another, for 14 years.

    • NSA deletion of call records raising questions

      The National Security Agency is deleting more than 685 million call records the government obtained since 2015 from telecommunication companies in connection with investigations, raising questions about the viability of the program.

      The NSA’s bulk collection of call records was initially curtailed by Congress after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing extensive government surveillance. The law, enacted in June 2015, said that going forward, the data would be retained by telecommunications companies, not the NSA, but that the intelligence agency could query the massive database.

      Now the NSA is deleting all the information it collected from the queries.

    • My Quest to Get My Data Back From Facebook, OkCupid and More

      Reporter Nate Lanxon explores what Europe’s far-reaching data regulation means for ordinary consumers.

    • Manipulative Social Media Practices

      The Norwegian Consumer Council just published an excellent report on the deceptive practices tech companies use to trick people into giving up their privacy.

    • Swann home security camera sends video to wrong user

      Swann is owned by the Infinova Group, a US-based security camera specialist with offices across the globe.

    • ‘I downloaded all my Facebook data and it was a nightmare’

      I’m 28, and I’ve spent most of my life online. I got a Hotmail account at 10, my first phone at 11, and a Facebook account at 16. I must have given so much personal information away (let alone all the embarrassing drunk photos I posted online while at uni) that it’s easier to live in denial and not think about it.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Culture is not an excuse for oppressing women

      If sexual violence can be rationalised as inevitable, just imagine the other forms of domination over women that are accepted or seen as unavoidable consequences of culture. Let me be clear: sexual violence is not cultural, it is criminal.

    • Muslim businessman blames anti-Semitic easyJet flight rant on smoking cannabis during Ramadan
    • Algeria has abandoned more than 13,000 people in the Sahara

      Algeria provides no figures for its involuntary expulsions. But the number of people crossing on foot to Niger has been increasing since the International Organization for Migration (IOM) started counting in May 2017, when 135 people were dropped, to as high as 2,888 in April 2018. In all, according to the IOM, a total of 11,276 men, women and children survived the march.

    • For those who fight sex-trafficking, dark rituals compound the problem

      In March, an attempt was made to tackle this problem by fighting fire with fire. Ewuare II, the oba (king) of the Benin region of Nigeria (not to be confused with the country of Benin) conducted a kind of counter-ceremony. It was announced that the monarch had cursed all those involved in trafficking and released all those who had been bound by voodoo rituals.

      Almost everybody who works to combat trafficking has welcomed the news, but many feel it is only the first step on a long battle to stop a social scourge.

    • As Saudi ban on women drivers ends, activists who made it happen are in jail or exile

      Since May 15, Saudi authorities have arrested more than a dozen prominent Saudi women activists and their male supporters, and imposed travel bans on others. Those arrested include some of the women who first defied the Saudi driving ban in 1990.

    • Netherlands approves ban on face veils in public spaces
    • Our research on abortion laws shows they are not based on facts and can even harm women

      Our study compared the safety of more than 50,000 abortions provided in ASCs and office-based settings throughout the U.S. We found that abortion is safe in both ASCs and office-based settings and that there is no significant difference in the safety of abortions in the two settings. The similarities in safety also applied to women in different stages of pregnancy.

      We found that few women who had abortions in either type of facility had a complication within six weeks of the abortion (about 3 percent). Even fewer women (only 0.3 percent) had a more serious complication (for example, something requiring an overnight hospital stay).

    • Blaming Men For The Crime Of One Man

      This is the correct view, the evidence-based view — the one that, sadly, does not enable what feminism to often is these days: a path to shaming of men as a group and unearned power over them by those pushing this view of men as toxic and criminal by nature.

    • Silence Is Not Spiritual: The Evangelical #MeToo Movement
    • Want to Reduce the Number of People in Prison? Stop Sentencing So Many People to Prison

      In recent years, California has made a number of important policy advances, on the budgetary front and in other areas. But as a new video from Brave New Films highlights, drawing in part on the Budget Center’s analysis, California still spends more than $20 billion a year on incarceration and responding to crime, when you include state and county dollars. These are dollars that could be going to any number of priorities, from boosting access to affordable housing and childcare to enhancing the kinds of services and supports that help prevent people from getting tangled up in the criminal-justice system in the first place.

    • Couple beaten up night-long, woman’s head shaved for ‘illicit affair’ in Assam

      “The woman’s head was shaved by other women of the village. Their clothes were torn and they were tortured through the night. The villagers informed the police only during early hours in the morning,” he added.

    • Why Women Don’t Code

      Saying controversial things that might get me fired is nothing new for me. I’ve been doing it most of my adult life and usually my comments have generated a big yawn. I experienced a notable exception in a 1991 case that received national attention, when I was fired from Stanford University for “violating campus drug policy” as a means of challenging the assumptions of the war on drugs. My attitude in all of these cases has been that I need to speak up and give my honest opinion on controversial issues. Most often nothing comes of it, but if I can be punished for expressing such ideas, then it is even more important to speak up and try to make the injustice plain.

    • Immigrant toddlers ordered to appear in court alone

      Leaders at three legal services organizations and a private firm confirmed that children are being served with notices to appear in court. They are not entitled to an attorney but rather are given a list of legal services organizations that might help them.

    • Attorneys Say Immigrant Toddlers Are Facing Deportation Proceedings Without Their Parents
    • We’re Going to Abolish ICE

      Beltway insiders will be quick to note that the voters aren’t there yet, and of course that’s true. But examining the incredible momentum this idea has gained in a short amount of time, one thing seems clear to me: We’re going to abolish ICE.

    • Justice Minister calls for child marriage ban in Finland
    • America’s Terrorism Problem Doesn’t End with Prison—It Might Just Begin There

      These fears are common throughout Europe, where prison radicalization, whether involving the radicalization of inmates convicted of non-terrorism related offenses or the often-connected phenomenon of proselytism by those incarcerated for their involvement in terrorism, is a major policy issue.

    • South Carolina Sought an Exemption to Allow a Foster-Care Agency to Discriminate Against Non-Christians

      Governor Henry McMaster personally intervened with the Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of Miracle Hill Ministries.

    • Escape from Jesus Land: On Recognizing Evangelical Abuse and Finding the Strength to Reject the Faith of Our Fathers

      I think it’s important for liberal Americans who do not come from a patriarchal religious background to hear our stories and to sit with that shock. Why? Because I remain convinced that if American civil society and the American press fail to come to grips with just how radically theocratic the Christian Right is, any kind of post-Trump soft landing scenario in which American democracy recovers a healthy degree of functionality is highly unlikely.

    • A Girl’s Killing Shakes Germany’s Migration Debate
    • The Right Abandoned Civility a Long Time Ago

      So why is it always the left that’s being told to pipe down?

    • The Enlightenment’s Cynical Critics

      The idea that some kinds of people should either not hold slaves or—more importantly—be held as slaves has ancient roots. The idea of ‘freedom for some, slavery for others’ is evident in most ancient and medieval prohibitions of slavery. These are clearly not intended as universal condemnations; they are rooted in the kind of tribalism that truly did give birth to modern racism. From the Bible to the Koran to William the Conqueror, pre-Enlightenment proclamations on the morality of slavery fell largely into four categories: prohibitions against holding some kinds of people as slaves (no Israelites, no Muslims, no Christians, etc), exhortations to treat one’s slaves kindly, a ban on the slave trade (without freedom for current slaves), or the abolition of debt slavery. No one thought to say, “No human being should own another human being as property.”

    • A Complaint. [iophk: “also in the US if you do not have an advocate present you will go untreated or mistreated even with insurance; they have enough money to pay the C-levels, they ought to pay staff instead; in the 1990s a friend got at job as a security guard at a hospital because they mistreated people so badly that they or their relatives would come back shooting

      I’d been in intense pain since Thursday, to the point where I’d had difficulty standing up to get to the bathroom.

    • Populist wave, ‘crisis overload’ weaken global voices for human rights

      But even though ordinary citizens in a number of countries report a sense of “humanitarian crisis overload,” and traditional champions of human rights such as the United States are ignoring many abuses, courageous individual human rights defenders are still working at the local level around the world.

    • 20-yr-old Rajasthan girl axed to death by father for eloping with younger boy: Cops

      However, the woman’s father was not happy with the decision and decided to kill her, the SHO said.

    • Sudan overturns death sentence for teen who killed her husband after he raped her

      Her legal team told CNN on Tuesday that Hussein, now 19, has been given a five-year jail term for killing the 35-year-old man. The court ordered her family to pay 337,000 Sudanese pounds ($18,700) in “blood money” to the man’s family.

      Her lawyers say they plan to appeal both the jail term and the payment.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • California man arrested for threatening to kill FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s family over net neutrality

      A 33-year-old resident of Norwalk, California was arrested today for sending threatening emails to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai last year, according to the US Department of Justice. The threats, sent by an individual named Makara Man, were made primarily in the second of three messages sent to Pai’s official FCC email accounts in late December, just days after the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality protections.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Julia Reda discusses the current Proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market

        Here at the Kluwer Copyright Blog we are thrilled to have had the opportunity to ask Julia Reda MEP a few questions on the controversial Proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM Directive).

        But first, some background. The original proposal was submitted in November 2016 by the Commission. The ordinary legislative procedure places the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on equal footing, meaning that a separate process for assessing the proposal takes place within each institution.

PTAB Agrees With Patent Examiners on Rejections of Applications Based on Alice/Section 101, But Watch Out for the Spin

Sunday 1st of July 2018 05:01:00 PM

Summary: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is still encouraging patent examiners to reject patent applications on abstract ideas; the patent microcosm, however, tells a different story

THE APPEAL boards at the EPO are seriously bruised. Battistelli nearly killed them, almost literally. In the US, however, the appeal boards are doing a great job and Iancu, the new Director, fails to find pretext for their elimination (even if he wants to, thanks to Oil States).

“So far this month,” wrote a person who keeps track, “for PTAB opinions addressing 101 questions, the PTAB has reversed 7 of 39 examiner rejections.”

“It’s just about the lowest possible form of ‘case’; it’s not even a case.”We used to write about these earlier this year; those aren’t even inter partes reviews (IPRs) but interventions at earlier stages of USPTO patent examination, way waaaaaay before a court like the Federal Circuit gets a chance to apply Alice as per SCOTUS.

A recent article by Mark St. Amour does not wish to paint a positive picture; being from the patent microcosm, he now picks PTAB-examiner cases and not even court cases; looking to the lowest possible level for favourable outcomes? Here is what he wrote:

Ruling on the appeal, the PTAB sided with the Examiner, stating that “given the appropriate selection of rotation speed and material for the inner surface of the container, tumbling would be inherent.” The PTAB disregarded Applicant’s Reply Brief arguments as not being responsive to arguments made in the Answer.

Applicant sought rehearing on the basis of improperly applied inherency doctrine. The PTAB denied rehearing stating that the obvious rejection did not rely on the inherency doctrine and refused to consider Applicant’s arguments regarding the divider walls.

Applicant then turned to the Federal Circuit to appeal the PTAB determination. The Federal Circuit sided with Applicant, and remanded the case to the PTAB to consider the inherency arguments. To support the decision, the Federal Circuit first pointed out the shifting arguments made by the Examiner. Specially, the Examiner cited different Figures throughout her various arguments, and the PTAB failed to identify which Figure was relied upon for upholding the Examiner’s rejection. Further, the Federal Circuit noted the tension between the Examiner and the PTAB rejecting the claims because they were allegedly inherent in the prior art and the PTAB’s assertion that the rejection did not rely on the inherency doctrine. Finally, the Federal Circuit pointed out the Examiner first made an argument regarding structural identity in her Answer to the Appeal Brief, and that Applicant’s unconsidered arguments regarding the dividers in the Reply were in response to such arguments and should have been considered.

And this is what they celebrate? It’s far from high profile and there’s barely even caselaw or anything to cite here. It’s just about the lowest possible form of ‘case’; it’s not even a case.

So OK… we understand that the patent microcosm is very nervous about PTAB, but it’s no excuse for such slant; going back to the statistics at the top, we still see PTAB affirming Section 101 rejections more than 80% of the time. The following (sole)reply to it says: “At a minimum, I hope this signals a shift toward consistent and predictable decision-making from #PTAB judges on #PatentSubjectMatter The swings from decision-to-decision have made outcomes difficult to predict, and essentially rendered opinions worthless for guiding examination”

“…we still see PTAB affirming Section 101 rejections more than 80% of the time.”What is he talking about? PTAB affirming examiners’ rejections more than 80% of the time is hardly good news for them. The only “consistent and predictable” thing here is that abstract patent get invalidated, sometimes before they even reach the court and before an IPR gets filed.

But OK… we get it. Never let facts get in the way of “good” spin. Meanwhile, the PTAB-bashing from Watchtroll resumes (the usual tradition, albeit it lost a lot of momentum after Oil States). Michelle Armond and Forrest McClellen still try hard to squash PTAB, even if the facts aren’t on their side. The headline sounds like a joke, much like watchtroll itself.

Anthony Kennedy’s Retirement From SCOTUS Means That the Patent Microcosm Has Selective Recollection

Sunday 1st of July 2018 04:15:28 PM


Reference: Wikipedia

Summary: The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has been responsible for much of the actual reform in terms of patent scope, patent litigation venue and so on; patent maximalists, livid in the face of these changes, bring up Bilski and anything they can throw at the wall, hoping that something will miraculously stick

THE effort to derail Alice (a 2014 SCOTUS decision) isn’t stopping, having just entered its fifth year.

Dennis Crouch says that patent maximalists’ front groups (AIPLA, IPO, and NYIPLA) want software patents back. What a shocking surprise! Not!

This speaks of “35 U.S.C. § 101—Inventions Patentable” and then Crouch adds:

Here, the term “claimed invention” does not mean what might suggest — an invention that has been claimed in a patent or patent application. Rather, the term “claimed invention” is narrowly defined as “the subject matter defined by a claim in a patent or an application for a patent.” 35 U.S.C. 100(j). In other words, the “claimed invention” is what is claimed to be the invention.

Of course, the next step will be much more difficult for proponents of the legislation – getting Congress to act.

Congress does not need to act and it’s not for Congress to decide on anyway. A month ago Crouch kept sort of ‘bullying’ for Congress to get involved, even when it wasn’t asked to (misqoting or misinterpreting a Federal Circuit judge, who did not even mention Congress).

“Congress does not need to act and it’s not for Congress to decide on anyway.”IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, did the same thing by stating: “The New York IP Law Association just released a statement in support of @IPO / @aipla proposal on re-writing of statute around patent eligible subject matter. Big sign of consensus in IP community on 101…”

By “IP community” IAM means patent maximalists. So the lawsuits ‘business’ agrees with lobby/front groups of the litigation giants, boosted by the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM. Great! So they all agree on that. How is that even newsworthy? It’s like saying that Japanese people agree on sushi.

“So the lawsuits ‘business’ agrees with lobby/front groups of the litigation giants, boosted by the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM.”But anyway, that’s just the tip of a bigger iceberg because there’s now a glimmer of hope among those people that Anthony Kennedy’s retirement will have consequences for patents. But will it? Some of the most vocal patent maximalists recall an old case, the Bilski case (Bilski v Kappos) from nearly a decade ago. One response to this said: “Kennedy made up for his bilski concerns in Alice, so careful what you wish for. You’ll not like his replacement, but Gorsuch & Roberts will” (naming the people who dissented on Oil States).

Well, the patent microcosm’s tears could fill up a bucket of 10 million milliliters (or patents). They just can’t stand SCOTUS and hope to reboot the whole court. As for Kennedy, he was hardly a patent-hostile person; they just sort of quote-mine him to make it sound like he opposes Alice (based on an unrelated decision from almost half a decade earlier!).

“They just can’t stand SCOTUS and hope to reboot the whole court.”Dennis Crouch and his chums then mentioned Kennedy’s record on patents, which is a lot more extensive than the Bilski case but they’re starting with Bilski v Kappos (probably by intention). It will certainly be interesting to see who gets nominated and appointed, but to suggest that Kennedy opposed Alice based on views expressed in an entirely different decision (of a different nature) is spin at best or lying at worst. But they’d cling onto anything…

Misattributed Inventions Cemented Using Patents and Frivolous Litigation

Sunday 1st of July 2018 03:30:13 PM

Summary: What happens when notorious charlatans falsely claim to have invented things and then sue large companies or, contrariwise, large companies claim credit for the work of public sector research, ultimately patenting that work

A few days ago the press made it known that Shiva Ayyadurai, who falsely claims to have invented E-mail (right after the real inventor of E-mail died), continues to SLAPP people who say the truth. I should know because he threatened me too (threatening legal letters) and he’s one of those people who would conflate trademarks with patents to rewrite history.

“Sadly, a long time ago the patent system departed from this original purpose (short-term monopoly in exchange for publication rather than secrecy)…”We are not against patents; we believe that they help manage attributions w.r.t. contributions to science and they help document useful ideas (the good patents anyway, not the many bogus ones). Sadly, a long time ago the patent system departed from this original purpose (short-term monopoly in exchange for publication rather than secrecy) and now we have another charlatan — a worse one than Ayyadurai — suing all sorts of people and firms (even more than Ayyadurai does). Raniere (a charlatan and troll) we last wrote about just a few months ago and Joe Mullin, who joined the EFF earlier this year, wrote about the patent of Raniere, calling it “Stupid Patent of the Month” [1, 2]. TechDirt, which is the main target of Ayyadurai’s SLAPP campaign, published a copy of the EFF’s article:

In April, Mexican federal police arrested Keith Raniere, taking him from the $10,000-per-week villa where he was staying and extraditing him to New York. According to the NY Daily News, Raniere, leader of self-help group NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”), is now being held without bail while he awaits trial on sex-trafficking charges. Through NXIVM, he preached “empowerment,” but critics say the group was a cult, and engaged in extreme behavior, including branding some women with an iron.

This was not the first controversial program Raniere was involved in. In 1992, Raniere ran a multilevel marketing program called “Consumer Buyline,” which was described as an “illegal pyramid,” by the Arkansas Attorney General’s office. More recently, he has collected more than two dozen patents from the U.S. Patent Office, and has more applications pending—including this one, which is for a method of determining “whether a Luciferian can be rehabilitated.”

So Raniere is basically a fraud, his patent is a joke, and even though he’s suing a company we strongly dislike we hope that he loses badly and goes bankrupt (eventually). These people are just very major parasites and the only way to stop their bad behaviour is cause them to go bankrupt or go to a mental asylum.

“So Raniere is basically a fraud, his patent is a joke, and even though he’s suing a company we strongly dislike we hope that he loses badly and goes bankrupt (eventually).”Asymmetric numeral system (ANS) is an example of a large company doing the opposite thing, namely claiming credit for the work of low-profile researchers. This was
revisited recently [1, 2] in light of Google’s persistence and insistence. As Google is the "devil" in Watchtroll (for various misguided reasons) they too caught up with this story. This is what they wrote:

Last June, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published U.S. Patent Application No. 20170164007, titled Mixed Boolean-Token ANS Coefficient Coding. Originally filed by Google with the USPTO in December 2016, the patent application claims a method for decoding an encoded bitstream using a computing device, the bitstream including frames having blocks of pixels, which involves the use of an entropy decoder state machine including a Boolean asymmetric numeral system (ANS) decoder and a symbol ANS decoder. The claimed invention is intended to improve the transmission of digital video streams with the use of the entropy decoder to reduce the amount of data involved in the transmission of digital streams.

This time we agree with Watchtroll (that what Google does it absolutely not OK and should be widely condemned); it’s not often that we agree with Watchtroll. Usually it’s just a load of nonsense, spin and yesterday Watchtroll was trying to sells services.

Techrights has a long tradition calling out charlatans and liars. All they ever do is threaten their critics because the risk of being publicly exposed as frauds is high and rather costly.

‘Printed Electronics World’ is an Example of Bogus News Sites Which Are Actually Marketing Fronts for Patents

Sunday 1st of July 2018 02:03:33 AM

“Fake news” or just opportunistic spam?

Summary: Revisiting the problem which is the “public relations” industry or patent law firms dominating news feeds about patents and warping people’s understanding of all the underlying concepts

THE EPO scandals have been mostly ignored by the media and there are reasons for that. In the US, like in Europe, patent news sources got dominated by few publishers that merely repost shameless self-promotion of patent law firms. This is a problem. It’s an agenda-setting, perception-warping exercise. They merely promote patents and conflate these with “innovation”, “assets” etc. That’s marketing pitch and it’s not being fact-checked.

“Patent Analytics Software Aistemos Secures £3M in Series A Funding,” said this headline a few days ago. We’ve been seeing headlines of this kind for quite some time and many so-called ‘news’ sites about patents have placements for companies, so-called ‘news’ about hirings (it’s actually marketing), and sponsored ‘articles’ with phone numbers and E-mail addresses in them (to attract business).

“Is everything just “public relations” now?”This isn’t journalism. Not even remotely. But IDTechEx went even further and created a whole site that’s posing as a news site. Printed Electronics World posts pure spam from Bryony Core. There was a press release with an almost identical headline on the very same day. This isn’t “article” or “journalism”, it’s more like entryism for salesmanship (entering news feeds to front for a company). It says at the top “Hosted by IDTechEx” (to sell products for IDTechEx). It looks/seems to be a corporate site disguised as a news site — the very type of thing we object to because it puts patent ‘businesses’ at the driving seat of “the news”.

This is a real problem; it is not a new problem, but people should certainly be talking about it. Where does one go for objective news about patents? Are the economics associated with reporting to blame? Is everything just “public relations” now? It only gets worse over time. I’ve been following patent news for a decade and a half and nowadays only about 20% of news is actual journalism. The rest is composed directly or indirectly by law firms and companies that promote their patents.

Unified Patents Under Attack From Patent Maximalists and Patent Trolls for Caring About Quality of Patents

Sunday 1st of July 2018 01:10:34 AM


Reference: Wikipedia

Summary: Unified Patents, which petitions/files inter partes reviews (IPRs) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), upsets the very people to whom low-quality patents — and extortion with such patents — are a business model

AS observers of the US patent system we typically keep track of pertinent patents that we believe pertain to software. Dallas (Texas), where many patent trolls go, recently had new patents listed in “Dallas Innovates”/”Dallas Invents”. This site is about USPTO-granted patents, not about innovation or invention. Quite a few of the named patents seem to be on abstract ideas, not some machinery or chemistry or whatever. Courts around Dallas might actually tolerate such patents, but not the Federal Circuit (or SCOTUS, if it ever comes to that).

“Truth be told, Unified Patents does a fine job. If it profits from it, so be it.”A few days later we saw “PatentDallas” ranting about Unified Patents, linking to this blog post from Mr. Gross, who habitually writes for Texan patent trolls like Dominion Harbor — a troll whose patents get targeted by Unified Patents.

Truth be told, Unified Patents does a fine job. If it profits from it, so be it. It actually offers bounties for prior art and utilises Alice to invalidate software patents which are prolifically used, typically by trolls.

Unified Patents has just published some figures of interest, highlighting a rather high proportion of lawsuits coming from trolls:

Patent litigation in the first half of 2018 is 15 percent lower than in the first half of 2017. However, the proportion of NPE-related filings remains high, as seen in the figures below.

For the first time in this report, we have included litigation data for small and medium sized entities or “SMEs” (Figures 10 and 11). Almost 50% of all litigation against SMEs in High Tech was initiated by Patent Assertion Entities (i.e. entities who purchase patents for the primary purpose of monetization). This is especially troubling since SMEs lack the resources to challenge bad NPE assertions and are often forced to settle rather than risk a protracted and expensive litigation. Part of Unified’s mission is to end invalid PAE assertions against SMEs by 2020.

As we said last weekend, the number of US patent lawsuits "Was More Than 50% Higher Half a Decade Ago" and it’s a sign of progress, but the aim should be to reduce troll lawsuits specifically. Not all patent lawsuits are without merit.

“Not all patent lawsuits are without merit.”Days later, citing Unified Patents, patent extremist Richard Lloyd wrote about patent trolls (which he calls “NPEs” because these trolls pay his salary) and the general demise of patent litigation in the US (not behind a paywall, for a change, which means he wants extra exposure). To quote:

US patent litigation continued its slide in the first half of 2018 with 1,660 new suits filed, a 15% drop from the first six months of 2017.

The data, which was released late yesterday by Unified Patents, suggests that infringement cases are in long-term decline from their most recent high in 2015. That is a reflection of the much tougher legal climate that patent owners now face in bringing cases in the US as their IP runs the possible gauntlet of challenges over patent eligible subject matter in district court and inter partes review (IPR) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

[...]

While they remain very active in the high-tech space, accounting for the vast majority of new cases filed in that sector, Unified’s numbers do reflect the much-reduced threat that companies now face from NPEs. While there are some signs that conditions in the US are improving for patent owners, it doesn’t appear that we’re going to see a return anytime soon to the sky-high litigation rates of just a few years ago.

And that’s a good thing. Unified Patents contributed to fear among trolls (that their patents might be challenged and invalidated if asserted inside or outside the court). Remember that this firm makes money out of elimination of bad patents — certainly something we need more of (less patent maximalism, more patent reason). They have just advertised this upcoming competition. Can they make a generation of people whose goal is to reduce the overall number of patents rather than inflate and dilute?

Team UPC’s Radicals, Firms Like Bristows LLP, Have Decided That It’s Time to Change Constitutions to Accommodate Clearly Unconstitutional Unitary Patent (UPC)

Saturday 30th of June 2018 10:53:16 AM

“YOUR CONSTITUTION IS WRONG!!”


People who disagree with Team UPC are “idiots” and Constitutions which deny UPC need to be amended (“require a constitutional amendment,” according to Bristows LLP)

Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) gets another new barrier in line; there are now approximately half a dozen very major obstacles, which almost guarantee that the UPC(A) will need to be scrapped and efforts restart from scratch (if at all)

THE staff of the EPO is partying this weekend. We probably won’t comment on the EPO until Monday, which is the first working day for António Campinos (presumably with a 5-year term/position and possible extensions to that).

“The UPC didn’t need any additional barriers in order for it to be dead in the water.”For a change, let’s talk about the Unified Patent Court (UPC). It is pretty much stuck and we often say it is dead, and not just because of Germany and EPO corruption but also Brexit and various other aspects, including Constitutional ones. There’s lots of legalese associated with it, but to put it in terms anyone can understand, imagine being sued by a patent troll from the United States in a court that does not speak your language. Would that be a fair trial? Would that be enforceable? It’s a rather alien notion of justice. But that’s UPC…

The UPC didn’t need any additional barriers in order for it to be dead in the water. But if there are any new ones, bring them on! So the “Hungarian Constutional Court rules that UPC Agreement cannot be ratified,” said this headline from patent maximalists yesterday. From the post (short and sweet, no obvious spin):

On 29th June, 2018 the decision of the Hungarian Constitutional Court was published on the Court’s website following the Hungarian Government’s motion for the interpretation of the Hungarian Constitution (Basic Act) in relation to the ratification of the UPC Agreement.

Today the Constitutional Court ruled that the UPC Agreement as an international agreement made in the framework of enhanced cooperation deprives the Hungarian courts from having competence for judicial review on a group of domestic legal disputes of individuals. As such right for judicial review is exclusively reserved for Hungarian courts under Article 24 (2) of the Basic Act, the UPC Agreement cannot be ratified based on the current wording of the constitution.

So there we go. Other sites brought up Bulgaria and Romania. But Hungary is a lot more critical, based on various criteria including the number of European Patents. As proper journalism is basically dead/dying (for various reasons), UPC news is not covered by the mainstream if at all, except by patent maximalists; most of the discussion about it is in social control media, with perhaps hundreds of bits of input. So we’ve seen lots of these and picked a subset of what’s relevant or what was seen by more people. Our intention is to show readers the crooked mindset of Team UPC and even some voices of reason within it (telling the more radical among them to quit spreading misinformation).

“Our intention is to show readers the crooked mindset of Team UPC and even some voices of reason within it (telling the more radical among them to quit spreading misinformation).”Let’s start by examining coverage from the Team UPC-dominated Kluwer Patent Blog. An anonymous member of the blog now covers — and of course spins — the latest major setback for the dying UPCA ratification effort. Remember that comments which dissent against UPC are blocked or suppressed; they implemented such a policy some months ago. Last we checked there were no comments on this blog post, so their narrative/framing cannot be challenged. How convenient.

Patrick Wingrove, who is based in London and writes for the UPC-boosting Managing IP (seems like some staff may have left or isn’t active there anymore), also wrote about it. Managing IP, in writing about UPC, no longer calls it “Progress Report” because there’s no progress. It’s a dead, lame duck. “Managing IP rounds up developments related to the Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent in June,” the summary says. No developments to report really; we’ve been following that closely and the main ‘development’ was relay of two infamous lies. Wingrove sounds a bit like Bristows, starting with:

Romania and Bulgaria got closer to ratifying the UPC Agreement this month, but Hungary’s Constitutional Court ruled the UPC Agreement cannot be ratified.

Romania and Bulgaria aren’t relevant to any of it; only Bristows kept obsessing over it.

An idiotic Twitter account whose sole purpose (and name, “UPC BVerfG out yet?”) is designed to pressure for dismissal of the constitutional complaint in Germany said that “another EU MS constitutional court had something to say…”

“Romania and Bulgaria aren’t relevant to any of it; only Bristows kept obsessing over it.”Something to say? It did more than say something. But anyway, what can be expected from an account with such a name? Team UPC’s Thomas Adam (“UPCtracker”) wrote and quoted the patent maximalists, whereupon FFII’s Benjamin Henrion mentioned one of very many aspects that render UPC moot and illegal: “The court was also not asked about other aspects of the UPC, like automated translations.”

There are even worse things than these. The UPC is absolutely crazy! To think that it ever got close to fruition makes one wonder about Europe’s (mal)functioning democracy. UPC is just a wishlist of the litigation industry, patent trolls, and the most aggressive monopolists that aren’t even based in Europe!

Alex Robinson, who calls UPC opponents (like Henrion and us) "idiots" or "trolls", then reared his head to say: “This is very interesting ["interesting" as in "I am angry about it!"] – if I’ve understood that summary correctly, it’s difficult to see how *any* unified patent court system, in any form, could be compatible with the Hungarian Constitution. [] Does the pending Stjerna case in Germany contain similar arguments? Are there similar provisions in the German Basic Law? [] So if UPCA excluded national law as a source of law for UPC proceedings, this could be resolved? That would presumably create its own uncertainties though, eg in determining questions such as entitlement which are not explicitly dealt with by the EPC, by the UPCA or by EU law…”

“The UPC is absolutely crazy! To think that it ever got close to fruition makes one wonder about Europe’s (mal)functioning democracy.”The same sort of complaint/argument could probably be brought up (reused) by Henrion in Belgium and elsewhere. It’s just a matter of budget because costs are prohibitive and we lack financial incentive to take this to courts. Henrion joked: “Or rewrite the UPC to make integrate it with the CJEU. But I bet we will see patent maximalists calling for a change of the HU constitution.”

He was right. Henrion was absolutely right about that, as the patent maximalists (notably Bristows) did just that. Well, we should definitely use the term “patent maximalists” a lot more, maybe “patent extremists” too (albeit it’s less polite). Robinson finds both terms offensive; he said: “I love this bogus pejorative “patent maximalists” that gets thrown around by certain bloggers [alluding to us]. As far as I can work out, it means “anyone who doesn’t think all patents, on anything, anywhere in the world, are intrinsically a bad thing”.”

That’s not at all what we consider to be patent maximalists; Robinson got it all wrong. As for him, we regard him to be “Team UPC” — a whole ‘nother level of patent zealotry (almost on par with Bristows’). These are people who not only lie routinely but also advocate breaking nationals laws, violating constitutions etc.

“The same sort of complaint/argument could probably be brought up (reused) by Henrion in Belgium and elsewhere.”Robinson was then told by Henrion: “Let’s ask the Hungarian court about non legally binding automated translations. Plus all the other points raised by Stjerna. I don’t think the court has only looked at the points raised by the government.”

Henrion keeps talking back to them — something that I stopped bothering with last year (because it’s like talking to a wall; they’re not listening, they’re not accepting facts). Robinson said: “Let’s wait for a translation of the decision! It’s certainly going to be interesting to see if any of the points considered by the court under Hungarian law map onto the details of the Stjerna complaint under German law.”

As if merely having a translation of the decision will change the decision itself; they’re just looking for ways to nitpick, spin and take it out of context, that’s all…

Bristows, however, has already done just that, even before an English (or Spanish) translation became available. Bristows’ Manuel Rey-Alvite wrote: “Oddly, if I understood right (!), it would’ve been worse (thinking Brexit) if the Court had said that HU could ratify using their sovereignty transfer clause for EU treaties. That would have simplified HU ratification but muddied up the rest.”

What on Earth is he talking about???

“As if merely having a translation of the decision will change the decision itself; they’re just looking for ways to nitpick, spin and take it out of context, that’s all…”These people are nuts! Bristows is patently delusional!! Edward Nodder from Bristows now pretends that they can get around the courts; all they need to do — wink wink! — is rewrite the Constitution! Just for the UPC. Just wow!!!

Wow!

Not too surprisingly, even some people of Team UPC mock this post from Bristows. “A rather optimistic take on things,” Thomas Adam wrote. “They should be disbarred,” I remarked, having witnessed and documented their lies and fabrications over the past 3 years or so. People actually pay them for legal advice? Here’s another remark on this post from Bristows: “You say ‘Constitutional amendments are not as rare in Hungary’ and UPC was rejected coz of lack of ‘judicial review’. But is it ever possible to amend Constitution in order to remove judicial review, when JR is definitional of Constitution? Where I sd send u a Public Law textbook…” (prior to that this very same person said “Hungarian Constitutional Court rules that UPC Agreement cannot be ratified”)

“There is a similarity here between Team Battistelli and Team UPC, which seems to believe that it is above the law and whatever sick ends (litigation profits) always justify the means.”This defeats the very purpose of a Constitution. If one can just change it to adapt to anything that’s against it, then what it the essence or purpose of such a Constitution in the first place? There’s a lot of literature about this topic, even TV shows. Again… wow!

There is a similarity here between Team Battistelli and Team UPC, which seems to believe that it is above the law and whatever sick ends (litigation profits) always justify the means.

Most countries did not even check constitutionality, but there too the UPC is totally not Constitutional. In fact, we thought about filing a Constitutional complaint in the UK, but with Brexit it’s already dead here, so ratification was merely a “PR show” on “World IP Day”.

UPC Blog by Amar (Team UPC) said: “It does not seem that Hungary will be ratifying the Unified Patent Court Agreement anytime soon…”

There’s lots more on this, but people even inside Team UPC are depressed about it. Kingsley Egbuonu (also Team UPC) is in ‘damage control’ mode. To quote: “So it’s Hungary’s turn to throw a spanner in the UPC works! Would be interesting to read/understand the court’s reasoning. Yes, not good news (in terms of image/morale) but no panic because, obviously, the UPCA’s fate is in the hands of the German Constitutional Court.”

“Most countries did not even check constitutionality, but there too the UPC is totally not Constitutional.”“No panic,” he said, just like an Iraqi communications minister.

Recalling the key fact that the referendum in Ireland got called off, UPC observer (among other things) Dr. Luke McDonagh said: “That Ireland will have to pass a constitutional referendum/amendment to ratify the Unified Patent Court is another reminder of the influence of public law on private law”

“Ireland need not bother,” I told him, “because the UPCA (on UPC abomination — an open door to patent trolls in Europe) is already in its death throes.”

Links 30/6/2018: Linux 4.16 EoL, Gentoo Crack, Linux Mint Release

Saturday 30th of June 2018 08:16:35 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Microsoft Abuses
    • The 17 years since the Microsoft antitrust case taught us that regulation can spur innovation

      Seventeen years ago today (June 28), the world’s richest man breathed a sigh of relief.

      Bill Gates and Microsoft, the company he dropped out of Harvard to found 25 years prior, were embroiled in a multiyear lawsuit with the US government over antitrust claims. The justice department argued that Windows’s dominance of the computer operating system market let Microsoft unfairly favor its other products, like Internet Explorer.

      (If that sounds familiar, similar allegations were made against Google, which was slapped with a $2.7 billion fine from the European Union last year for using its search tool to favor its Google Shopping results over competitors’.)

      In June of 2000, a judge in the US district court for the District of Columbia ruled that Microsoft should be broken up into two separate units—one for Microsoft’s operating system and another for its software products. In June of 2001, an appeals court disagreed.

    • Microsoft quietly cuts off Win7 support for older Intel computers

      If you have a Pentium III, for example, you may no longer be able to install Win7 Monthly Rollups or Security-only patches, in spite of Microsoft’s promise to support you until January 2020. It’s all about SSE2 and some retroactively fudged documentation. Will anybody notice?

    • Tracy Rosenberg on ICE’s Corporate Collaborators, Patty Lovera on the Undercovered Farm Bill

      This week on CounterSpin: “As a company, Microsoft is dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border,” the global tech company declared in a statement. “Family unification has been a fundamental tenet of American policy and law since the end of World War II.” The same Microsoft bragged a few months ago about ICE’s use of its Azure cloud computing services to “accelerate facial recognition and identification” of immigrants, though the post has since been altered to omit the phrase “we’re proud to support this work with our mission-critical cloud.”

  • Google
    • Google invests $22 M in Linux-based mobile operating system KaiOS

      Google has invested $22 million in Linux-based mobile operating system KaiOS. As part of its Next Billion Users initiative, Google will bring some of its core products — Search, Maps, YouTube, Google Assistant — to ‘smart feature phones’ that run on KaiOS. These apps will be developed specifically for the KaiOS platform, which is entirely web-based and uses open standards such as HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS.

    • KaiOS now 2nd most popular mobile OS after Android in india as iOS drops to third

      DeviceAtlas collects web traffic from hundreds of thousands of websites. In it’s most recent Q1 2018 report the company found that Android is by far the most popular, and it continues to gain market share from iOS in some areas like Malaysia. There are few surprises here, as Sailfish OS remains the only viable smartphone OS alternative to the Apple and Google offerings.

      One interesting tidbit in the results are for Feature Phone traffic. The devices are still popular around the world, with Jio, Nokia and others pumping out millions of devices to the market each year. An example of such a device is the nostalgic remake of the Nokia 8110 “Matrix phone”, which runs KaiOS. India is the largest source of traffic for these four devices, making for a whopping 88 percent of all feature phone traffic collected in the survey.

    • Google invests $22M in feature phone operating system KaiOS

      Google is turning startup investor to further its goal of putting Google services like search, maps, and its voice assistant front and center for the next billion internet users in emerging markets. It has invested $22 million into KaiOS, the company that has built an eponymous operating system for feature phones that packs a range of native apps and other smartphone-like services. As part of the investment, KaiOS will be working on integrating Google services like search, maps, YouTube and its voice assistant into more KaiOS devices, after initially announcing Google apps for KaiOS-powered Nokia phones earlier this year.

    • 18 Chromebooks get Linux app support

      If you thought Chrome OS was just a boring glorified web browser turned OS, then your impressions are woefully outdated. Next to still unofficial, or even unconfirmed, platforms like Google Fuchsia or Microsoft Andromeda, Chrome OS is shaping up to be one of the most exciting operating systems of late. That is, if you owned a Google Pixelbook or one of the more recent, more powerful, more expensive recent Chromebooks. Worry not because Google has just recently flipped the switch that will give even the cheaper and older ones some powerful features, namely Linux app support.

    • Looks Like 18 More Chrombooks Are Getting Support for Linux Apps Soon

      It would appear the Google plans to extend support for Linux apps to a whole lot of Chromebooks soon with an upcoming release of its Linux-based Chrome OS operating system.

      Google announced a few months ago that it will enable support for running containerized Linux apps on the Chrome OS Chromebook operating system, and that its Google Pixelbook would be the first to offer them to users. A few weeks later, we learned that Samsung’s Chromebook Plus is also getting support for Linux apps.

    • Chromebooks with Linux app support will soon be able to install Debian packages

      Recent code updates indicate forthcoming support for no-fuss Debian .deb package installation on Chrome OS devices that support Linux apps. The forthcoming feature will bring a new flow for installing Linux applications through .deb packages. A string of commits shows that support isn’t simply being turned on, but that all the finicky elements like interacting with the terminal, checking dependencies, and authentication will be hidden from the user.

    • Google aims lower than Android Go with new $22m investment

      KaiOS is one of the fastest growing mobile platforms right now, bringing smart functionality to feature-phones in emerging markets. Google has evidently been paying attention, because the Mountain View firm has made a $22-million investment in the company.

    • LTE-enabled Samsung Chromebook on the way, suggest new commits

      Only days after launching the second version of the Chromebook Plus (V2), Samsung seems to be working on one more variant of the Chromebook. In fact, the South Korean giant is now venturing into the always-connected Chromebook market. XDA Developers have unearthed a Coreboot code commit which shows the introduction of a new SKU of Nautilus (which, if you’re not aware is the codename for the Chromebook Plus V2). The commit clearly shows configuration changes that mention LTE support.

    • Google Updates: More Linux Chromebooks, World Cup tags and ‘Better Together’

      Another 18 Chromebooks will be able to run Linux apps soon. The plan to roll out the windowed apps, further making them a viable alternative to Windows, now takes in Chrome OS machines from Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Dell joining the frey.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Kernel 4.16 Reaches End of Life, Users Are Urged to Upgrade to Linux 4.17

      Just two months after the end of life of the Linux 4.15 kernel series, renowned Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the end of life of Linux kernel 4.16.

      Back on April 2018, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the eighteenth point release to the Linux 4.15 kernel series to inform the Linux community that this is the last update that would be released for the branch, urging users to update to the Linux 4.16 kernel series, which appears to have followed the same road.

      Earlier this week, the developer released Linux 4.16.18 as the eighteenth and also the last maintenance update in the series, notifying users that Linux kernel 4.16 is now EOL (End of Life) and won’t receive further updates. Greg Kroah-Hartman urged users to move to a more recent Linux branch, namely the Linux 4.17 kernel series.

    • Linux kernel 4.16 reaches end of life

      Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced that the Linux 4.16 kernel has reached end of life.

      As reported by Softpedia News, Linux 4.16.18 has been released – and it is the last maintenance update in the series.

      Kroah-Hartman has told users to therefore upgrade to the Linux 4.17 kernel series.

      “This is the LAST 4.16.y kernel release. This branch is now end-of-life. Please move to the 4.17.y kernel now,” he stated in his announcement.

    • Stupid RCU Tricks: Changes to -rcu Workflow
    • Linux Security Summit North America 2018: Schedule Published
    • Linux Foundation
    • Graphics Stack
      • Mesa 18.2 Git Lands RadeonSI OpenGL 4.4 Compatibility Profile Support

        It was just four days ago that Valve Linux GPU driver developer Timothy Arceri was thinking it could take a while before having OpenGL 4.4 compatibility profile support for RadeonSI, but tonight that milestone is checked off the list.

        Yesterday were RadeonSI GL 4.4 compatibility profile patches posted by Arceri after he made a breakthrough in achieving support for this OpenGL revision under the compatibility mode that allows GL’s deprecated functionality to be utilized.

      • Nouveau NIR Support Nears The Mesa Merging Milestone

        It has been a while since last having anything to report on the Nouveau Gallium3D driver’s effort to support the NIR intermediate representation as part of their effort to re-use existing code-paths for helping to bring-up SPIR-V compute support for this open-source NVIDIA Linux driver and ultimately working towards Vulkan support. But the latest version of these Nouveau NIR patches are now available and almost ready to be mainlined.

      • mesa 18.1.3

        Mesa 18.1.3 is now available. This is a bug fix point release in the 18.1 series.

      • Mesa 18.1.3 Released With The Latest Load Of Fixes

        For those planning to enjoy some Linux games this weekend while using the RadeonSI / RADV / Intel / Nouveau drivers, Mesa 18.1.3 is now out as the newest stable point release.

        Mesa 18.1.3 leads with several (rather random) fixes to the RADV Vulkan driver, Meson build system updates, Autotools build system updates, fixes within the common NIR and GLSL compiler code paths, just a few Intel driver fixes, and other updates.

      • Linux Driver Indicates AMD Vega 20 Graphics Could Support PCIe 4.0

        The PCI-Express 3.0 interface has been around for quite some time now. Strangely enough, the eight-year-old standard has been holding up strong. Not even the current graphics cards on the market come close to saturating a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Nevertheless, the next-generation of graphics cards could possibly change that–or at least that’s what AMD might be trying to tell us.

      • AMD Linux Driver reveals Vega 20 GPUs Support PCI-Express 4.0

        All eyes are set on the release of AMD’s new 7nm Vega 20 GPUs and now we have a solid proof that AMD engineers are working on the AMD Linux Driver. The driver has given us physical proofs that it has been updated with PCI-Express 4.0. The high speed interface was imminent and long longed for, and this driver has confirmed that AMD is going to give what was expected from them.

      • AMD Vega 20 To Get PCIe 4.0 Support on Server Graphics Cards – PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 5.0 Roadmap Reveals Consumer Platform Adoption Still Far Away

        Talks about AMD using the latest PCIe standard for their next-generation Vega 20 GPUs don’t seem so far-fetched. The latest details from Videocardz show that the upcoming Vega 20 parts for servers and HPC (Deep Learning / Datacenter) market are going to adopt new standards.

    • Benchmarks
      • EXT4 LUKS dm-crypt, eCryptfs, Fscrypt Encryption Benchmarks For A USB 3.0 HDD

        A few weeks back I posted benchmarks of EXT4 fscrypt vs. eCryptfs vs. LUKS dm-crypt benchmarks for showing the EXT4 file-system performance encryption performance for these kernel-based approaches. That testing was done with a SATA 3.0 SSD while in this article is a look at the performance in another popular choice: if using a USB 3.0 external enclosure with a hard drive.

      • A Look At Some Of The Clear Linux Performance Changes For June 2018

        Given Clear Linux is a “rolling release” Linux distribution with new releases often being put out multiple times per day, and a lot of the emphasis by Intel on their open-source Linux distribution being performance, I decided it would be fun to start providing a monthly look at how their performance has been evolving.

        Clear Linux continues offering among the highest performing out-of-the-box/stock Linux distribution experience on x86_64 hardware. With their relentless performance tuning, I was curious to see how much of a performance impact was made just over the course of the past month.

      • A Ton Of Wine vs. Windows 10 vs. Linux Direct3D/OpenGL Performance Data

        Last week I posted a number of Wine vs. Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux benchmarks focusing mostly on the CPU/system performance for various cross-platform applications/programs. For those interested in the graphics/gaming performance, here are a number of Direct3D and OpenGL benchmarks.

        Today is just a look at the plethora of raw data collected when running a number of graphics benchmarks that natively support Linux and Windows, including tests of the Windows binaries on Wine under Ubuntu Linux. In the Wine/Windows tests for many of these runs are also Direct3D 9 / Direct3D 11 renderer options tested too while obviously under Linux is just the OpenGL runs. The tests used today do not have Vulkan support.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Easily building and testing KDE applications into a separate prefix

        When developing your projects you will often need to install them somewhere safe. On my system I have a prefix full build of all Qt, KDE software, but this doesn’t work when we just want to work on an application or want to test a build in someone else’s system.

        Installing to /usr doesn’t feel right, /usr/local isn’t that much helpful either, so what I usually do is to create a sub-directory in /opt (e.g. /opt/discover, /opt/kalgebra), then it was a matter of having the session point at the right place. This is why I submitted a small change in ECM that generates a prefix.sh that sets the right environment variables.
        This was merged a while ago, so it should be part of any distribution by now.

      • Krita 4.1 Open-Source Digital Painting App Lets Users Save and Load Sessions

        The Krita Foundation announced the release of Krita 4.1, the first major update of the open-source and cross-platform application since the release of the Krita 4.0 series earlier this year.

        Highlights of the Krita 4.1 release include the ability to save and load sessions that can include a set of images and views, support for creating multi-monitor workspace layouts, improved workflow when working with animation frames, and better animation timeline display.

        Krita 4.1 also enables handling of larger animation files by buffering rendered frames to the local disk drive, replaces the old reference images docker with an all-new reference images tool, adds a mixing option to the color picker tool, and improves the performance of brush masks through vectorization.

      • Free Painting Software Krita 4.1.0 Released With New Reference Images Tool, Option To Save And Load Sessions, More

        Krita, the free and open source raster / vector graphics editor, was updated to version 4.1. The new release includes major new features like a new reference images tool, option to save and load sessions, multi-monitor workspace layouts, among others.

      • 正式发布Qt 5.11
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Nautilus Tagged Entry Redux

        Since my last post, the tagged entry became a subclass of GtkSearchEntry, as was the case with GdTaggedEntry (yay GTK+ 4) and the tags became GtkWidgets (instead of GtkBins). It didn’t take much effort to move from GtkBin to GtkWidget – only implementing size_allocate(), measure() and snapshot(), which are really trivial when working with actual widgets as children. That, and tweaking the appearance some more, as the move broke the styling a tad. Some perhaps questionable methods of dealing with that were employed, but nothing too nefarious.

      • Trying out GTK+ 4

        I was asked today if there is already a Flatpak runtime that includes GTK+ 3.94. A very natural question. GTK+ 4 and flatpak are both cool, so of course you want to try them together.

      • NetworkManager 1.12 Released With Many Linux Networking Goodies

        NetworkManager 1.12 is now available as the latest stable release of this widely-used Linux network management software.

      • NetworkManager 1.12, ready to serve your networking needs

        A brand new version of NetworkManager, a standard Linux network management daemon, is likely to reach your favourite Linux distribution soon. As usual, the new version is 100% compatible with the older releases and most users can update their systems without spending much time caring about technicalities.

      • Hyperlinks in GNOME terminal

        Over the years I’ve learned about many of the advantages of using a modern terminal and shell. I’m talking about using bash with GNOME terminal on a modern GNU/Linux distribution.

        I particularly like switching between the terminal and GUI applications. It’s now even better.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • 4MLinux: More Than Just Another Lightweight Distro

        4MLinux is a very intriguing distribution that’s really hard to classify; Jack takes a closer look in this distro review.
        Used with permission

        I don’t want to get up on yet another “Here’s another lightweight Linux distribution to revive your aging hardware” soapbox. So many distributions make that promise, and most of them do an outstanding job of fulfilling their mission statement. Also, many of those distributions are fairly similar: They offer a small footprint, work with 32-bit systems, and install a minimal amount of software dedicated to the task of helping you get your work done as best a lightweight operating system can do.

        But then there’s 4MLinux. This particular take on the lightweight Linux distribution is a different beast altogether. First and foremost, 4MLinux doesn’t include a package manager. That’s right, the only way you can install packages on this distribution is to do so from source (unless you install the limited number of packages from within the Extensions menu (more on that in a bit). That, of course, can lead to a dependency nightmare. But if you really give it some thought, that could be a serious plus, especially if you’re looking for a distribution that could be considered an ideal desktop for end users with specific use cases. If those users only need to work with a web browser, 4MLinux allows that while preventing users from installing other applications.

      • Xfce dock & global menu – Nice and elegant

        While the setup was far from trivial, I am rather pleased with the look & feel I’ve achieved. The choice of the dock is less important, so go with what you like – most won’t let you launch more than a single instance of an application, btw. Both Docky and Plank were stable and behaved pretty well, and they are a good choice for our Mac-ified desktop.

        On the global menu side, it was much trickier, with broken packages, missing dependencies, complex compilations, and whatnot. In the end, I had it all running, albeit with some odd glitches here and there. Not perfect, but quite reasonable. Very similar to Mutiny, I have to say, if not quite as straightforward to set up. And I do understand why this is not a default set in Xfce desktops, but it would be nice to have that. Xfce has grown a lot in the past few years, and it need not lurk in the corner shyly. It can proudly wear its laurels. There. Pretty looks and functionality. All covered. I hope you enjoyed this.

    • Gentoo Family
      • GitHub Repositories of Gentoo Linux Hacked!

        Hackers gained access to the GitHub repositories and tampered the source code of Gentoo by introducing a malicious script to delete all of your files.

      • Gentoo’s GitHub mirror compromised
      • Gentoo GitHub mirror hacked and considered compromised

        Linux distribution Gentoo has had its GitHub mirror broken into and taken over, with GitHub pages changed and ebuilds replaced.

        In an alert, Gentoo said the attacker gained control of the Github Gentoo organisation at June 28, 20:20 UTC.

      • Gentoo Was Compromised On GitHub

        Unknown individuals were able to gain access to the Gentoo repositories on GitHub, including the modification of said repositories.

        While we don’t normally cover all these individual security incidents, a Gentoo representative has asked we relay it here. Their public announcement warns, “All Gentoo code hosted on github should for the moment be considered compromised.”

      • File-Wiping Malware Placed Inside Gentoo Linux Code After GitHub Account Hack

        An unknown hacker has temporarily taken control over the GitHub account of the Gentoo Linux organization and embedded malicious code inside the operating system’s distributions that would delete user files.

        Thankfully, the malicious code fails to trigger properly and users’ files remain safe.

        How the hacker gained access to Gentoo’s GitHub account still remains a mystery, but since announcing the hack late last night, the Gentoo team says it regained control over their account, albeit their profile remained offline at the time of this article’s publication.

      • Gentoo Linux Github Organization hacked and repo code compromised

        A hacker managed to take control of the Github account for Gentoo Linux, going as far as inserting malicious code into the distros. The malware was designed to delete user data.

        Although the situation is now under control, an investigation is underway to determine what happened. Anyone who has downloaded a Gentoo distro or other files recently, is warned to “refrain from using code from the Gentoo Github Organization” for the time being.

      • Linux distro hacked on GitHub, “all code considered compromised”

        Data breaches are always bad news, and this one is peculiarly bad.

        Gentoo, a popular distribution of Linux, has had its GitHub repository hacked.

        Hacked, as in “totally pwned”, taken over, and modified; so far, no one seems to be sure quite how or why.

      • Gentoo Linux Distro Hacked: All Code On GitHub Compromised

        Gentoo Linux holds the reputation of being a “build it yourself” distribution; it needs you to download the source code from the web and compile it on your own. Making this experience scary, some unknown notorious actors have hacked Gentoo Linux GitHub repository and infected it with malware.

      • Gentoo Linux Reports Hack of GitHub Mirror Site

        Gentoo Linux reported on June 28 that its GitHub repository was breached, with attackers planting malicious code in the open-source Linux project’s account.

        The malware that was found on the Gentoo Linux GitHub project site was designed to specifically remove all of the files on a victim’s system.

      • Kristian Fiskerstrand: My comments on the Gentoo Github hack

        Gentoo has mainly had a presence on GitHub in order to facilitate pull requests from external contributors and proxied maintainers, actually, using GitHub for anything critical goes against the Gentoo Social Contract

        The primary method of synchronizing the Gentoo Ebuild Repository is using rsync, and github was never part of the mirroring infrastructure for rsync. Furthermore; for Portage users, gemato is used to verify the MetaManifests and in turn the ebuilds using OpenPGP (aka GPG aka PGP) signatures by default.

      • Hackers took over the Gentoo Linux GitHub repository

        Popular Linux distribution Gentoo has been “totally pwned” according to researchers at Sophos, and none of the current code can be trusted. The team immediately posted an update and noted that none of the real code has been compromised. However, they have pulled the GitHub repository until they can upload a fresh copy of the unadulterated code.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Fourth GSoC Report

        As announced in the last report, i started looking into SSO solutions and evaluated and tested them. At the begining my focus was on SAML integration, but i soon realized that OAuth2 would be more important.

        I started with installing Lemonldap-NG. LL-NG is a WebSSO solution writting in perl that uses ModPerl or FastCGI for delivering Webcontent. There is a Debian package in stable, so the installation was no problem at all. The configuration was a bit harder, as LL-NG has a complex architecture with different vhosts. But after some fiddling i managed to connect the installation to our test LDAP instance and was able to authenticate against the LL-NG portal. Then i started to research how to integrate an OAuth2 client. For the tests i had on the one hand a gitlab installation that i tried to connect to the OAuth2 providers using the omniauth-oauth2-generic strategy. To have a bit more fine grained control over the OAuth2 client configuration i also used the python requests-oauthlib module and modified the web app example from their documentation to my needs. After some fiddling and a bit of back and forth on the lemonldap-ng mailinglist i managed both test clients to authenticate against LL-NG.

      • Automation & Risk

        Linaro created the LAVA (Linaro Automated Validation Architecture) project in 2010 to automate testing of software using real hardware. Over the seven years of automation in Linaro so far, LAVA has also spread into other labs across the world. Millions of test jobs have been run, across over one hundred different types of devices, ARM, x86 and emulated. Varied primary boot methods have been used alone or in combination, including U-Boot, UEFI, Fastboot, IoT, PXE. The Linaro lab itself has supported over 150 devices, covering more than 40 different device types. Major developments within LAVA include MultiNode and VLAN support. As a result of this data, the LAVA team have identified a series of automated testing failures which can be traced to decisions made during hardware design or firmware development. The hardest part of the development of LAVA has always been integrating new device types, arising from issues with hardware design and firmware implementations. There are a range of issues with automating new hardware and the experience of the LAVA lab and software teams has highlighted areas where decisions at the hardware design stage have delayed deployment of automation or made the task of triage of automation failures much harder than necessary.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Mir 0.32.0 release: Despite persistent rumors Mir is not dead: We’ve now tagged and released Mir 0.32.0

            Last year Canonical withdrew entirely from Unity8 and dramatically reduced its investment in Mir. Both projects continued with UBports (and for a while Yunit) working on Unity8 and Canonical continuing with Mir but focusing its efforts on IoT which had previously had to compete for attention with phone and desktop.

          • Mir 0.32 Released With Much-Improved Wayland Support

            Canonical’s Alan Griffiths has just announced the release of the huge Mir 0.32 update.

          • 21 Things to do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 [Must for beginners]
          • Is implementing and managing Linux applications becoming a snap?

            Quick to install, safe to run, easy to update, and dramatically easier to maintain and support, snaps represent a big step forward in Linux software development and distribution. Starting with Ubuntu and now available for Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo Linux, and openSUSE, snaps offer a number of significant advantages over traditional application packaging.

          • Comment: New business models on IoT hardware, by software

            Cometh the hour, cometh the age of the Linux developer. It’s no secret that some of the brightest minds in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) honed their skills on Linux.

            The nature of open source is such that it allows developers to innovate at a greater pace than any closed ecosystem would allow, minimising constraints and fostering a space ripe for collaboration. And yet, while a productive environment for individuals, businesses as a whole are yet to capitalise on such a rich and diverse user base that currently stands in the tens of millions.

          • Fingbox Network Security Appliance Adopts Canonical’s Ubuntu Core Linux & Snaps

            If you’re in the market for a network security appliance running a Linux-based operating system, you should know that Fing’s Fingbox adopted Canonical’s Ubuntu Core embedded operating system for IoT devices and its Snappy technologies for seamless software updates.

            Fingbox is a plug’n play network security appliance and mobile application for Android and iOS that promises to help you protect your smart home from a wide range of online attacks. To achieve this goal, Fingbox uses the Ubuntu Core operating system, a slimed-down variant of the world’s most popular Linux-based operating system used by millions of computer users worldwide.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Linux Mint 19 Has Been Released [And It’s Awesome]

              Linux Mint 19 has just been released. The new release comes with fresh new look and features. You can either upgrade to it or download and install it afresh.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Cinnamon released!

              Linux Mint 19 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” MATE released!

              Linux Mint 19 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Xfce released!

              Linux Mint 19 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” released

              Linux Mint 19 “Tara” has been released in Cinnamon and MATE editions.

            • Linux Mint 19 Officially Released With Cinnamon, MATE & Xfce Editions

              The Linux Mint crew has delivered on their goal of shipping Linux Mint 19 “Tara” in June.

              Linux Mint 19 is the latest major release of the desktop-focused, easy-to-use Linux distribution. Linux Mint 19 is based off Ubuntu 18.04 LTS rather than the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS base used by the Linux Mint 18.x series.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Officially Released, It’s Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

              The Linux Mint project announced today the official and general availability of the Linux Mint 19 “Tara” operating system as Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce editions.

              Based on Canonical’s Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series, the Linux Mint 19 “Tara” operating system is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit hardware architectures, comes with the Cinnamon 3.8, MATE 1.20, and Xfce 4.12 desktop environments, and it’s supported for five years until April 2023.

              “Linux Mint 19 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use,” said Clement Lefebvre in today’s announcement. “This new version of Linux Mint contains many improvements.”

            • Pinguy OS 18.04 Mini LTS – Final
            • Ubuntu-friendly signage system supports Intel’s OPS spec

              Ibase has launched an Ubuntu-ready “IOPS-602” digital signage player with a 7th Gen U-series CPU, up to 32GB RAM, M.2 storage and wireless options, and support for Intel’s Open Pluggable Specification.

              Ibase unveiled an IOPS-602 signage player that runs Windows 10 or Ubuntu Linux on Intel’s 6th or 7th Gen. Core QC/DC processors, with a default to dual-core, 7th Gen “Kaby Lake” U-series processors with 15W TDPs. The standard SKU is a Core i7-7600U (2.8GHz/3.9GHz) with 8GB RAM and 128GB of M.2 storage.

            • Fan-less quad-core computer dedicated to Linux Mint

              Other Mint variants, or other Linux variants, or even Windows 10, FreeBSD or a hypervisor like ESXi can be installed, but “Linux Mint Cinnamon is considered by many as the most user-friendly desktop-oriented Linux distribution. MBM2 ships with clean Linux Mint Cinnamon so the buyer can start using Linux in minutes,” said Compulab.

            • MintBox Mini 2 PC: Industrial Chic Meets Linux Mint 19

              Linux Mint has announced a new version of its popular mini desktop PC, the MintBox Mini. The MintBox Mini 2 is the 4th generation of the MintBox product line and comes with latest Linux Mint 19 release pre-installed.

            • Linux Mint 19 Released, Available to Download Now
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • ASIFA-Hollywood Continues Commitment to Open-Source Animation Technology

    The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood announced its continued commitment to open-source animation technology earlier in June with a special development sponsorship to Synfig, a 2D vector graphics animation program. The amount awarded was $2,000. This grant will help keep their new developer employed full-time, working on bug-fixes and improving stability of the free and open source software.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: FLIR Systems

    FLIR Systems is enabling the acceleration of being able to test thermal sensors on autonomous vehicles with the release of its open-source thermal dataset, which features more than 10,000 annotated thermal images of day and nighttime scenarios.

    The company has over a decade of experience within the automotive industry. More than 500,000 FLIR thermal sensors are installed in driver warning systems from various automakers including General Motors, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, according to the company.

    This dataset will enable developers to evaluate thermal sensors on next-generation algorithms. By combining this data with visible light cameras, LiDAR, and RADAR, developers will be able to build a more comprehensive and redundant system for identifying objects on the road.

  • Keeping Ethereum’s Promise: CryptoKitties Is Embracing Open-Source

    Announced this week, CryptoKitties debuted a number of new initiatives that will further decentralize its popular ethereum app, which while largely passing under the radar, show the startup is making strides to give users rights. It’s been the subject of criticism for the beloved game, which raised $12 million in March with the expectation it would loosen controls on its code in line with the larger crypto ethos.

    Among a slew of updates, CryptoKitties is open-sourcing its API and smart contracts for gameplay in the KittyVerse – a virtual world of experiences including catfights, racing and accessories – through a developer toolkit. Plus, it’s updated its user agreements to be more lenient and introduced a players’ rights contract called the Nifty License.

  • CryptoKitties Goes Open Source

    One of the most popular ethereum-based dApp projects, CryptoKitties, has announced several changes and new initiatives to further decentralize the premium virtual feline offering, reports CoinDesk.

    [...]

    In addition, it has also raised questions about whether the project really operates in a truly decentralized manner. For instance, it is possible for Kitty Core, the owner of the CryptoKitties project, to edit the underlying algorithm and mutate a popular or high-worth digital kitten despite objections from the kitten’s owner. Essentially, the project runs in a centralized manner, with the project owner(s) having the utmost power.

  • Web Browsers
    • Brave Introduces Beta of Private Tabs with Tor for Enhanced Privacy while Browsing

      Today we’re releasing our latest desktop browser Brave 0.23 which features Private Tabs with Tor, a technology for defending against network surveillance. This new functionality, currently in beta, integrates Tor into the browser and gives users a new browsing mode that helps protect their privacy not only on device but over the network. Private Tabs with Tor help protect Brave users from ISPs (Internet Service Providers), guest Wi-Fi providers, and visited sites that may be watching their Internet connection or even tracking and collecting IP addresses, a device’s Internet identifier.

      Private Tabs with Tor are easily accessible from the File menu by clicking New Private Tab with Tor. The integration of Tor into the Brave browser makes enhanced privacy protection conveniently accessible to any Brave user directly within the browser. At any point in time, a user can have one or more regular tabs, session tabs, private tabs, and Private Tabs with Tor open.

    • Brave Browser Goes Beyond Private Browsing With Tor-powered Tabs

      The ad blocking browser Brave is presently counted as one of the top net surfing browsers of 2018, primarily for its steady privacy and secure browsing experience. It is now advancing towards perfecting private browsing

      An update (Brave 0.23) launched on Thursday for its desktop clients has integrated Private tabs with Tor to defend users from leaving digital footprints on the internet.

    • Mozilla
      • Some More Very Satisfying Graphs

        The power of cleaning up old code: removing 150kb from the average “main” ping sent multiple times per day by each and every Firefox Nightly user.

      • Ad-blocker-blockers hit a new low. What’s the solution?

        It may be the wrong day to slam the local newspapers, but this was what greeted me trying to click through to a linked newspaper article this morning on Firefox Android. The link I was sent was from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, but this appears to be throughout the entire network of the P-E’s owners, the Southern California News Group (which includes the Orange County Register, San Bernardino Sun and Los Angeles Daily News):

      • This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 11

        This week, we’re making great strides in adding new features and making a wide range of improvements and our new contributors are also helping us fix bugs.

      • Python unit tests now running with Python 3 at Mozilla
  • Databases
    • PostgreSQL 11 Beta 2 Released!

      The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces that the second beta release of PostgreSQL 11 is now available for download. This release contains previews of all features that will be available in the final release of PostgreSQL 11 (though some details of the release could change before then) as well as bug fixes that were reported during the first beta.

      In the spirit of the open source PostgreSQL community, we strongly encourage you to test the new features of PostgreSQL 11 in your database systems to help us eliminate any bugs or other issues that may exist. While we do not advise for you to run PostgreSQL 11 Beta 2 in your production environments, we encourage you to find ways to run your typical application workloads against this beta release.

    • PostgreSQL 11 Beta 2 Released With VACUUM & XML Fixes

      One month has passed since PostgreSQL 11 Beta 1 while today the second beta has succeeded it.

      PostgreSQL 11 is prepping many new features including various performance improvements, better partitioning, parallelism enhancements, SQL stored procedure handling, initial JIT compilation for some code using LLVM, various performance optimizations, and much more.

  • ‘Office’ Suites
    • LyX – A Powerful Open Source Document Processor for Linux

      LyX is a GUI document processor with a focus on writing and it allows you to create virtually any type of document based on structure. In short, it is more of a WYSIWYM app than WYSIWYG app. Meaning that what you see in the editor is an approximation of what the finished document will look like.

      Its initial release was 23 years ago and given that it is still an active project, it is easy to see how LyX has managed to stay relevant to this day.

      It features a well-thought-out layout with toolbars and functionality icons for document creation and editing and quick navigation across the app window.

    • Best Microsoft Office alternatives in 2018
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
  • BSD
    • Rewards of Up to $500,000 Offered for FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Linux Zero-Days

      Exploit broker Zerodium is offering rewards of up to $500,000 for zero-days in UNIX-based operating systems like OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, but also for Linux distros such as Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, and Tails.

      The offer, first advertised via Twitter earlier this week, is available as part of the company’s latest zero-day acquisition drive. Zerodium is known for buying zero-days and selling them to government agencies and law enforcement.

      The company runs a regular zero-day acquisition program through its website, but it often holds special drives with more substantial rewards when it needs zero-days of a specific category.

    • LLVM Gets ARMv8.4 Enablement, GCC Gets Cortex-A76 Support

      It’s been another busy week in compiler land for ARM.

      First up, the GCC compiler now officially supports the Cortex-A76. The A76 is the new Cortex processor announced back in May for yielding much better performance and efficiency, especially for AI and machine learning.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • An insider’s look at drafting the GPLv3 license

      Last year, I missed the opportunity to write about the 10th anniversary of GPLv3, the third version of the GNU General Public License. GPLv3 was officially released by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) on June 29, 2007—better known in technology history as the date Apple launched the iPhone. Now, one year later, I feel some retrospection on GPLv3 is due. For me, much of what is interesting about GPLv3 goes back somewhat further than 11 years, to the public drafting process in which I was an active participant.

      In 2005, following nearly a decade of enthusiastic self-immersion in free software, yet having had little open source legal experience to speak of, I was hired by Eben Moglen to join the Software Freedom Law Center as counsel. SFLC was then outside counsel to the FSF, and my role was conceived as focusing on the incipient public phase of the GPLv3 drafting process. This opportunity rescued me from a previous career turn that I had found rather dissatisfying. Free and open source software (FOSS) legal matters would come to be my new specialty, one that I found fascinating, gratifying, and intellectually rewarding. My work at SFLC, and particularly the trial by fire that was my work on GPLv3, served as my on-the-job training.

      GPLv3 must be understood as the product of an earlier era of FOSS, the contours of which may be difficult for some to imagine today. By the beginning of the public drafting process in 2006, Linux and open source were no longer practically synonymous, as they might have been for casual observers several years earlier, but the connection was much closer than it is now.

    • Compiler fuzzing, part 1

      Much has been written about fuzzing compilers already, but there is not a lot that I could find about fuzzing compilers using more modern fuzzing techniques where coverage information is fed back into the fuzzer to find more bugs.

    • GCC Picks Up Meaningful Bash Completion Support To Help With Compiler Options

      One of the advantages of the LLVM Clang compiler has been better integration with Bash completion support, but now the GCC compiler supports a –completion argument for feeding into the Bash completion script with better matching of supported options/values when typing into a supported terminal.

  • Programming/Development
    • RcppArmadillo 0.8.600.0.0

      A new RcppArmadillo release 0.8.600.0.0, based on the new Armadillo release 8.600.0 from this week, just arrived on CRAN.

      It follows our (and Conrad’s) bi-monthly release schedule. We have made interim and release candidate versions available via the GitHub repo (and as usual thoroughly tested them) but this is the real release cycle. A matching Debian release will be prepared in due course.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Novartis v. Teva: Patent rivalries meet again, this time on a non-negligible injunction.

      On June 7, 2018, the Paris Court of First Instance (Judge Marie Courboulay) issued a preliminary injunction against Teva’s generic version of Novartis’ anti-hypertensive drug Exforge (valsartan/amlodipine) on the basis of Novartis’ European Patent EP 2 322 174. The dispute was subject to parallel proceedings in several EU countries. In fact, an injunction was issued by the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf on 14 December 2017, but an injunction was refused by the courts in Spain and Switzerland. Teva decided after these earlier rulings not to proceed with the planned commercialization of the generic version in Austria and Finland.

    • Supporters of a Famed Houston Surgeon Have Alleged Inaccuracies in Our Investigation. Here’s Our Response [Ed: Investigative journalism is much harder work than just repetition and blind praises]

      During the past month, nearly 50 physicians, researchers, patients and community leaders have authored letters criticizing an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and ProPublica that revealed allegations of serious research violations and ethical breaches by famed Houston heart surgeon O.H. “Bud” Frazier.

      Several of the letters supporting Frazier were published in the Houston Chronicle’s opinion pages; others have been shared directly with reporters or compiled on a website that was launched following publication of the article.

      Many of the writers lavished praise on Frazier, who helped pioneer mechanical heart pumps and is working to develop an artificial heart. Indeed, the news organizations’ reporting described in detail Frazier’s contributions to his field and included supportive comments from a fellow surgeon and a former patient.

    • New Jersey to Suspend Prominent Psychologist for Failing…

      A prominent New Jersey psychologist is facing the suspension of his license after state officials concluded that he failed to keep details of mental health diagnoses and treatments confidential when he sued his patients over unpaid bills.

      The state Board of Psychological Examiners this week upheld a decision by an administrative law judge that the psychologist, Barry Helfmann, “did not take reasonable measures to protect the confidentiality of his patients’ protected health information,” Lisa Coryell, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office, said in an email.

      The administrative law judge recommended that Helfmann pay a fine and a share of the investigative costs. The board went further, ordering that Helfmann’s license be suspended for two years, Coryell wrote. During the first year, he will not be able to practice; during the second, he can practice, but only under supervision. Helfmann also will have to pay a $10,000 civil penalty, take an ethics course and reimburse the state for some of its investigative costs. The suspension is scheduled to begin in September.

    • Status of U.S. Biosimilar Approvals and Pending Applications*

      The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act (colloquially called “Obamacare,” Public Law 111-148) (see “House Passes Health Care Reform Bill — Biosimilar Regulatory Pathway Makes Cut, Pay-for-Delay Ban Does Not”). It gave the U.S. for the first time a pathway for FDA approval of alternatives to biologic drugs (termed “biosimilars” because the complexity of these molecules precludes the atom-for-atom identity of small molecule generic drugs), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 262(k), as well as provisions for resolving patent disputes between innovator biologic drug companies (termed “reference product sponsors” in the Act) and biosimilar applicants (codified at 42 U.S.C. § 262(l)).

    • Guest Post by Prof. Contreras: Rambus Redux? – Standards, Patents and Non-Disclosure in the Pharmaceutical Sector (Momenta v. Amphastar)

      During the dozen years demarcated by the FTC’s 1996 consent decree with Dell Computer (121 FTC 616 (1996)) and the DC Circuit’s 2008 decision in Rambus, Inc. v. FTC (522 F.3d 456 (D.C. Cir. 2008)), the U.S. saw a spate of cases in which participants in voluntary standards-development organizations (SDOs) were alleged to have violated an SDO’s rules by failing to disclose patents essential to the SDO’s standards. In addition to Dell and Rambus, highly-publicized deception cases such as Broadcom v. Qualcomm (548 F.3d 1004 (Fed. Cir. 2008)) explored what SDO policies actually required of their participants and what penalties could be imposed for their breach, whether under contract, equity, patent or antitrust law. These questions, and the large sums at stake, generated a cottage industry of legal and economics scholarship around the law and lore of standardization. But by the early 2010s, the information and communications technology (ICT) sector seems to have learned the lessons of Dell, Rambus and Qualcomm: SDOs improved the clarity of their internal processes, SDO participants adopted a policy of “disclose, disclose, disclose” (on the theory that it can never hurt to disclose too many patents), and the cases turned to other pressing questions like the meaning of SDO commitments to license patents on terms that are “fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory” (FRAND), which continues to bedevil courts today. I was thus intrigued to see a case that harkens back to the heyday of the old SDO deception cases in a pair of recent decisions in Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (D. Mass., No. 11-cv-11681, Feb. 7, 2018 and No. 16-10112-NMG, Mar, 19, 2018). Surprisingly, this non-ICT case may give courts an unexpected opportunity to revisit the DC Circuit’s controversial decision in Rambus v. FTC, which found no antitrust liability for an allegedly deceptive failure to disclose patents to an SDO.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms

      Vice President Mike Pence discussed the situation surrounding WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange during a meeting Thursday with Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno in Quito, a White House official said afterwards — heeding calls from Democrats wary of Mr. Assange staying shielded more than six years since seeking refuge inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

      “The vice president raised the issue of Mr. Assange. It was a constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward,” a White House official said in a statement issued following Thursday’s meeting with Mr. Moreno, The Washington Examiner first reported.

    • UK Pressures US on Assange
  • Finance
    • Amazon buying online pharmacy with nationwide reach; drug store stocks dive

      The Boston-based startup PillPack primarily caters to customers who take multiple medications. PillPack streamlines delivery of prescription and over-the-counter medications by pre-sorting them into handy dose packets sent directly to customers’ doors nationwide in monthly supplies. The company boasts that it works with doctors and insurance companies to manage refills and cost coverage on customer’s behalf. To do so, it holds pharmacy licenses in all 50 states, developed proprietary pharmaceutical software, and is an in-network pharmacy with most pharmacy benefit managers, including Medicare Part D plans—features that were likely eye-catchers for Amazon.

    • Can Netflix please investors and still avoid the techlash?

      There are plenty of reasons to doubt. The company has amassed $8.5bn of debt. Reed Hastings, its chief executive, has said it will continue borrowing billions “for many years”; free cashflow is expected to remain negative for some time. That strategy will pay off if Netflix can raise prices while continuing to add subscribers—26m in the 12 months to March 31st. But competition is becoming more intense. And in countries without “net neutrality” protections, owners of wireless or broadband infrastructure that also control content-makers may use their distribution clout to favour their own material.

    • Indian rupee hits all-time low against US dollar

      The rupee, Asia’s worst performing currency according to Bloomberg News, fell to 69.10 against the greenback.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Democratic Elite Scrambles to Respond to Ocasio-Cortez

      Conventional wisdom said that powerful Congressman Joseph Crowley couldn’t be beat. But his 20-year career in the House of Representatives will end in January, with the socialist organizer who beat him in the Democratic primary in the deep-blue district of the Bronx and Queens poised to become Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

      In a symbolic twist of fate, the stunning defeat of Crowley came a day before the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party voted on what to do about “superdelegates,” those unelected Democratic Party elite who’ve had an undemocratic and automatic vote in presidential nominations since 1984 to prevent just such a candidate as Ocasio-Cortez from stirring up people to challenge the interests of the party’s establishment.

      Crowley’s defeat shows how grass-roots movements can prevail against corporate power and its pile of cash. The Crowley campaign spent upward of $3 million in the Democratic Party primary. The Ocasio-Cortez campaign spent one-tenth of that. He wielded the money. She inspired the people.

      As the 28-year-old Ocasio-Cortez was quick to say after her Tuesday night victory, her triumph belongs to everyone who wants social, economic and racial justice. She ran on a platform in harmony with her activism as a member of Democratic Socialists of America and an organizer for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.

      Conventional wisdom said superdelegates—who exerted undemocratic power over the selection of the party’s presidential nominee in 2016—couldn’t be stopped from once again putting the establishment’s thumbs on the scale.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Twitter to fight spams, trolls, hate speech

      “Inauthentic accounts, spam, and malicious automation disrupt everyones experience on Twitter, and we will never be done with our efforts to identify and prevent attempts to manipulate conversations on our platform,” Twitter India said in its blogpost.

    • EFF Launches Lawsuit To Stop FOSTA/SESTA

      This was predicted long before FOSTA/SESTA became law, but there were going to be constitutional challenges to the law — and it appears that EFF has filed the first such lawsuit, representing the Internet Archive, Human Rights Watch, the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Eric Koszyk, and Alex Andrews seeking to have the law declared unconstitutional and getting an injunction against it being enforced.

    • The Supreme Court Applies the First Amendment to Some, but Not to Others

      The Constitution protects the fundamental freedoms of speech and association. It protects all speakers equally. Until it doesn’t — as the Supreme Court made clear on the last day of the term, in its highly anticipated decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The case pitted the First Amendment claims of anti-union public-sector employees against the interests of pro-union employees and employers. And instead of reaching a careful balance, the court sided entirely with the rights of some over the rights of others.

      For nearly half a century, the court had embraced a compromise that balanced the First Amendment rights of employees who oppose a union, on the one hand, and employees who support that union on the other. In Janus, a 5-4 majority composed of the court’s conservative justices chose to protect only the speech of employees who oppose unions. It protected, in short, only the speech it liked.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facial Recognition Company Says It Won’t Sell To Law Enforcement, Knowing It’ll Be Abused

      We just recently wrote about employees at Amazon speaking out inside the company to complain about the company selling its face recognition tools (called: “Rekognition”) to law enforcement. That resulted in the CEO of a maker of facial recognition software, Brian Brackeen, to publicly state that his company, Kairos, will not sell to law enforcement.

    • NSA Extends Its Streak Of Surveillance Violations To Fourteen Years With Its Latest Announcement

      Thanks, Marcy Wheeler, for clearing that up. This is just a continuance of the NSA’s inability to run its programs in a technically-capable manner, much less with an eye on the Constitution. Muted applause for taking this oversight before the few members who give a shit start asking questions, but why aren’t we (and by “we,” I mean the people who could actually do something about it) expecting more from an well-funded agency with vast technical knowledge? Sure, an apology is better than a plausible denial, but it’s been 14 years of failure after failure. Where’s the improvement? Or is national security just one of those things that’s too important to be done properly? We just need to have it done, no matter how many violations occur in the process? I fear that’s how most of the NSA’s oversight actually feels: the ends justify the badly-broken means.

    • The NSA Is Using Secrecy to Avoid a Courtroom Reckoning on Its Global Surveillance Dragnet

      President Trump holds the keys to some of the most powerful spying programs in the world — surveillance that gives the government warrantless access to a sea of digital data moving around the planet.

      Emails, web browsing activities, and chats that you thought were private instead end up under the government’s digital microscope, and the National Security Agency saves those of interest in searchable databases for years to come. That includes countless communications of Americans and foreigners alike.

      No president should wield these powers, and certainly not one who has called for expanded spying on minorities and hacking the emails of his political rival. That’s why, well before President Trump took office, the ACLU filed a challenge to expansive and unlawful surveillance on behalf of our client, the Wikimedia Foundation.

    • Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Use Design to Trick You Into Handing Over Your Data, New Report Warns

      A study from the Norwegian Consumer Council dug into the underhanded tactics used by Microsoft, Facebook, and Google to collect user data. The study comes in the wake of the European Union’s newly-enacted GDPR laws designed to protect users from predatory data collection and Facebook’s own controversy involving the sharing of users’ personal data.

    • Congress Grills Cambridge Analytica Alum on New Firm’s Data Use

      In addition to their questions about Kogan and Cambridge Analytica, the lawmakers are asking Oczkowski to share details about whether Data Propria obtained any data about Facebook users through third-party apps or from Facebook directly; whether it’s received data from any data brokers, and if so, which ones; whether it’s using that data for political consulting; and whether the company is giving consumers notice about how it uses and shares their information. The committee asks for answers by July 19. Oczkowski didn’t respond to WIRED’s request for comment.

    • California Unanimously Passes Historic Privacy Bill

      The so-called California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (AB 375) was introduced late last week by state assemblymember Ed Chau and state senator Robert Hertzberg, in a rush to defeat a stricter privacy-focused ballot initiative that had garnered more than 600,000 signatures from Californians. The group behind that initiative, Californians for Consumer Privacy, said it would withdraw it if the bill passed. The deadline to withdraw was Thursday, forcing the state legislature to fast-track the bill through the State Senate and Assembly and get it to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk by the end of the day. The law takes effect in 2020, but in some ways, Thursday’s vote is only the beginning, as business interest groups work to tinker with the legislation’s details before then.

    • California just passed one of the toughest data privacy laws in the country

      The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 is set to dramatically change how businesses handle data in the most populous state. Companies that store personal information — from major players like Google and Facebook, down to small businesses — will be required to disclose the types of data they collect, as well as allow consumers to opt out of having their data sold. The bill, which passed both chambers unanimously, was signed later in the day by Gov. Jerry Brown.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • I Went in Search of Abandoned African-American Cemeteries

      It’s impossible to see from the street, so you would never know it’s there.

      To get to St. George Cemetery, especially its oldest section, you have to make your way past branches and thorns, across the weathered hills and over downed trees. Eventually, dozens of scattered headstones, some of them knocked over, come into view. And there, sitting upright, is the gravestone of William Chapman, an African-American veteran of the Civil War who died March 21, 1904.

      [...]

      African-American cemeteries across the country have largely been neglected, their powerful histories obscured by weeds, debris and, as much as anything, the passage of time. Few people know their locations. Fewer still know the stories of the people buried there.

    • Blair and Brown Governments Gory with Torture

      Even I was taken aback by the sheer scale of British active involvement in extraordinary rendition revealed by yesterday’s report of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. Dominic Grieve and the committee deserve congratulations for their honesty, integrity and above all persistence. It is plain from the report that 10 Downing Street did everything possible to handicap the work of the committee. Most crucially they were allowed only to interview extremely senior civil servants and not allowed to interview those actively engaged in the torture and rendition programme.

      Theresa May specifically and deliberately ruled out the Committee from questioning any official who might be placed at risk of criminal proceedings – see para 11 of the report. The determination of the government to protect those who were complicit in torture tells us much more about their future intentions than any fake apology.

    • In Brownsville, Converting Pain and Anger Into Action

      More than 1,000 people march in Brownsville to the protest the Trump administration’s brutal border policies.

      BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – Over a thousand people marched to a federal courthouse in Brownsville, Texas on Thursday, after a rally organized by the ACLU, its Texas affiliate, and other partner organizations to protest the Trump administration’s policy of criminally prosecuting anyone who crosses the border without authorization. Demonstrators from across Texas converged on the courthouse early Thursday afternoon, yelling “shut it down” and demanding access to hearings being held inside. Brownsville lies directly along the U.S.-Mexico border, and in recent months the courthouse has been the site of hearings for immigrants whose children were forcibly taken away from them by Border Patrol agents.

      Under the blazing 90-degree South Texas sun, rally attendees listened as immigrant rights advocates and grassroots volunteers described the human cost of the Trump administration’s policies, urging sustained resistance and civil disobedience to counter them. At one point a group of young children sat on stage, wrapped in space blankets similar to those that immigrant children have been photographed sleeping under in nearby detention facilities, as speakers read accounts of families being separated by immigration authorities.

      “Somebody asked me this morning why we were here today, and I told them there were two big reasons,” said Lupita Sanchez of Proyecto Juan Diego, a Brownsville-based community empowerment group. “We wanted to show support to all these families being separated, and second, we want to catch political attention. We want to let them know that we’re here, and that each and every one of you are potential voters. Remember this in November when you go out and vote!”

    • Judge Rejects CIA’s Absurd Secrecy Claim on Botched Yemen Raid

      In a win for government transparency about its lethal actions overseas, a federal judge has told the CIA that it can’t refuse to “confirm or deny” whether it knows anything about a military operation when the agency’s director was present at the White House dinner where the action was approved.

      The judge rejected the Trump administration’s extreme secrecy claim in a ruling Wednesday in our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records on the January 2017 raid in Yemen that killed as many as 25 Yemeni civilians and one Navy SEAL.

      Days after President Trump took office, he approved the dead-of-night raid in al Ghayil, Yemen. Although he called the raid “successful,” the strike had actually gone awry. Soon after, the ACLU filed a FOIA request demanding to know who in the government planned and approved the raid, what the legal basis for it was, and who the U.S. government killed.

    • Pennsylvania Cops Abusing A Bad Law To Arrest People For Saying Angry Things To Them

      If you ever need a bad law abused, just look for a police officer. The police like to steer clear of knowledge whenever possible because it helps them out when legal liability is on the line. Qualified immunity rewards cops who work hard to make sure they don’t know the laws they’re enforcing. But when it comes to laws officers can use to punish those who fail to show them the respect they think they’re owed, officers know those inside and out.

      Legislators have made things worse by passing “Blue Lives Matter” laws that grant extra legal protections to a class of Americans no one but cops think is a class routinely subject to oppression or bias. While a “Blue Lives Matter” law makes it easier to intimidate the general public, it’s not a necessity. Officers have used bad laws — like criminal defamation — to hassle and silence critics.

    • Thrown Chairs, Resignations, And An Envelope Full Of Cash Follow Exposure Of 2-Man PD’s Acquisition Of $1 Million In Military Equipment

      A lot has happened in the small community of Thetford since we last covered the two-person police department’s acquisition of $1 million in military gear through the 1033 program. It’s not all MRAPs and weapons, though. Apparently Police Chief Bob Kenny was grabbing anything that wasn’t nailed down, including a tractor, two Humvees, ATVs, a forklift, and any other supplies the federal government was agreeable to parting with.

      The PD ran out of room to park/store everything, so it began dumping equipment “off-site:” on the private property of agreeable landowners. Things began to unravel when the town supervisor started wondering why the police chief had decided to turn the town into an episode of “Hoarders.”

      The Genesee County Sheriff’s Department was called in to perform an audit but soon found it couldn’t do anything because there was apparently no paper trail. That appears to have been a case of the Thetford PD playing keepaway with documents, because the Sheriff’s Department decided to step things up in late April.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • AT&T Begins Testing Its Power In The Wake Of Merger Mania & The Death Of Net Neutrality

      So as we’ve long noted, the death of net neutrality and the latest round of M&A mania isn’t going to result in an immediate internet apocalypse. ISPs are nervous about looming court challenges which, thanks to all manner of ridiculous behavior at the FCC, have a good chance of succeeding. They also know that unless they can get a phony, pre-emptive law on the books, the next FCC or future, less-cash-compromised Congress could just come in and restore the rules. As such, they’re going to be testing their newfound freedoms very slowly, much like the boiling frog metaphor (you are the frog in this equation).

      Case in point: on the heels of the company’s $86 billion merger with Time Warner, AT&T introduced a new $15 per month streaming video service dubbed “AT&T Watch.” Watch is a bare-bones skinny bundle that competes with services like Philo, a $16 per month offering from several major broadcasters. But AT&T’s ownership of the pipes this content flows over gives the telecom giant a very notable advantage.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trump, WTO, and International Patent Rights

      With reference to my earlier post on international patent rights as a chip in international trade negotiations, consider recent discussion of Trump stepping back from the World Trade Organization (WTO) – the administrator of TRIPS and GATT.

    • Scoop: Trump’s private threat to upend global trade

      President Trump has repeatedly told top White House officials he wants to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization, a move that would throw global trade into wild disarray, people involved in the talks tell Axios.

    • Motorola Granted Patent for Flexible OLED Display with Heating Hinge
    • United Kingdom: Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd v Zodiac Seats UK Ltd, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, [2013] UKSC 46, 03 July 2013

      The Supreme Court held that where judgment is given in an English court that a patent (English or European) is valid and infringed, and the patent is subsequently retrospectively revoked or amended (whether in England or at the EPO), the defendant is entitled to rely on the revocation or amendment on the enquiry as to damages.

    • Lack of Integrity? Rebutting the Myth that U.S. Commercial Sports Leagues Have an Intellectual Property Right to Sports Gambling Proceeds

      On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) violated the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and thus the U.S. government may not use PASPA to prevent states from legalizing commercial sports gambling. In anticipation of this ruling, four U.S. states have already passed new laws to legalize and regulate sports gambling. Meanwhile, fifteen states currently have sports gambling bills that are pending before their state legislatures.

    • Does Intellectual Property Need Human Rights?

      The impassioned contest over the nature, scope, and implications of the intellectual property and human rights interface has important consequences for the way nations understand and comply with their obligations in each field. It significantly affects the methods and substance of international assistance offered to developing countries by international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the extensive network of private experts deployed to facilitate competing outcomes in domestic legislation. The result has been a highly politicized environment for intellectual property norm-setting at all levels of global, regional, and national governance, resulting in a persistent state of norm conflict that weighs heavily on the already complex relations among domestic and international actors involved with intellectual property policymaking.

    • Trademarks
      • Federal Circuit Vacates TTAB’s Findings That ZERO Is Not Generic And Acquired Distinctiveness

        Royal Crown Co. v. Coca-Cola Co., No. 2016-2375, 2018 U(Fed. Cir. June 20, 2018) (Before Newman, O’Malley, and Taranto, J.) (Opinion for the court, O’Malley, J.)

        The USPTO approved The Coca-Cola Company’s combination marks including the term ZERO, to be used on a variety of beverages, without requiring a disclaimer of the term ZERO. The Royal Crown Company, Inc. and Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. filed oppositions to the “ZERO” marks. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board dismissed the oppositions, holding that ZERO was not generic for the relevant goods and had acquired distinctiveness. Royal Crown appealed. The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded for further proceedings.

      • UK government responds to Trade Mark Directive consultation

        The response document noted that there was disagreement on how to interpret some terms and over licensing provisions

        The UK government published its response to a technical consultation on the implementation of the EU Trade Mark Directive today.

      • France.com Inc. v OHIM: trade protection extended to the concept and sound of ‘France’ [Ed: Remember that head of OHIM or EUIPO is French and close to corrupt Battistelli]

        It was less than a year ago that the US-based company France.com Inc. lost its registered rights in France to the domain name and trade mark ‘France.com’ in favour of the rights held by the Republic of France (hereand here). This week, the American company lost another legal battle, this time before the CJEU, as the court upheld the opposition to the EU registration of the mark filed by the French Republic (here). The Court found that the [now] EUIPO application for the trade mark ‘France.com’ is phonetically too similar and “conceptually identical” to an earlier mark held by the French government featuring the Eiffel tower with the word ‘france’ (see below).

    • Copyrights
      • Twitter Retweet function caused moral rights infringement in Japan

        On April 25 2018, the Japan Intellectual Property High Court gave a decision that made Twitter users uneasy.

        In this case, a photographer who has the copyright of a photo demanded Twitter, Inc. and Twitter Japan disclose the information on the user who had posted the photo on Twitter without permission from the photographer as well as the information on the users who had retweeted that Tweet using the Twitter Retweet function.

        For the user who tweeted the photo, the court ruled that Tweet represents copyright infringement and ordered Twitter, Inc. to disclose the user information (i.e. email address) to the photographer. On the other hand, for the users who retweeted the copyright infringing Tweet, the court denied copyright infringement. The above is the same result as the lower-court ruling. However, the IP High Court judges ruled that Retweet represents moral rights infringement and made an order for disclosure of the user information.

        [...]

        In order to prevent innocent users from getting involved in such copyright disputes, I expect Twitter to review the process of the Retweet function on the contents.

        By the way, the court rejected the photographer’s claim against Twitter Japan, considering the luck of authority to disclose such user information.

      • WIPO Marrakesh Treaty On Copyright Exceptions For Blind Readers Clears US Senate

        The World Intellectual Property Organization Marrakesh Treaty on copyright exceptions enabling international access to published works by blind and print-disabled readers was ratified this week by the United States Senate, putting it one step closer to final ratification in the country.

        The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print-Disabled was agreed in 2013.

        On 28 June, the full US Senate ratified treaty and passed implementing legislation to amend Title 17 accordingly, the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559).

        The implementing legislation now goes to the US House of Representatives, and then on to the President, according to the bill summary. The US will then have to prepare and deposit its instrument of ratification to WIPO.

      • From Importation to Digital Exhaustion: A Canadian Copyright Perspective

        The doctrine of exhaustion is complex. The issue remains largely overlooked in Canada, and policy makers have until now failed to assess the impact of intellectual property on importation and its repercussions on the Canadian market and consumers.

      • EU Copyright Proposal That Would Destroy Internet Memes Being Protested With Internet Memes

        The EU is no stranger to bad laws, but its desire to “protect” copyright holders from the Wild West Internet™ is one of its worst. A proposed change — known as Article 13 — would force social media platforms and other service providers to preemptively block copyrighted content during uploads unless permission has been specifically granted by the rightsholder.

      • The Crucial Next Few Days In the EU’s Copyright Filter and Link Tax Battle

        As we reported last week, JURI, the key European Parliamentary committee working on copyright reform, voted on June 20th to support compulsory copyright filters for media platforms (Article 13), and to create a new requirement on websites to obtain a license before linking to news stories (Article 11).

        That vote marked the last chance for the democratically-elected members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to submit fixes to the directive — under the usual procedures. But this is not an ordinary regulation, and there still remains a couple of unusual procedures that would let them throw out these disastrous two articles.

        The first of these happens next week. Generally, the text agreed by the JURI committee would immediately become the basis of a “Trilogue” negotiation between the Parliament, the European Commission (the EU’s executive) and the European Council (representatives of its member states). What comes out of that negotiation becomes EU law — and with the JURI vote, all three groups have agreed to include copyright filters and link taxes in the final directive.

      • We Hardly Knew Ye: PUBG Drops Lawsuit Against Epic Over Fortnite Similarities

        About a month ago we learned that PUBG Corp., the company behind the game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, had sued Epic Games, makers of Fortnite, earlier this year in South Korea. This whole dust up between the two game developers has been monumentally frustrating, specifically due to the folks at PUBG being confused as to whether video games get any IP protection (they do!) and, then, whether fairly generic game modes and game genres are afforded copyright protection (they’re not!).

        The problem for PUBG in all of this is that its game mode of a battle royale pitting a hundred players against each other is simply not something that fits into copyright law’s protection. As we’ve explained, there is an idea/expression dichotomy in many country’s copyright laws, in which the specific expression is afforded copyright but mere ideas are not. For example, the art assets for PUBG absolutely are copyrightable, while the concept of a battle royale is not. Due to that, PUBG’s lawsuit was always going to face a steep uphill climb to come out in its favor.

      • The time I interviewed Harlan Ellison about his lawsuit against a fan who posted his stories to Usenet

        In 2001 I wrote an article for The Industry Standard about the Harlan Ellison’s one man war against people uploading his short stories to Usenet. I interviewed him on the phone for the piece and the first thing he told me was, “I can’t talk to you. I’m very busy. I’ve got a deadline.” He then launched into a 30-minute rant about everything wrong with the world (example: “You just look around and say, ‘Mother of God, the gene pool is just polluted and we really ought to turn it over to the cockroaches if we can’t do any better than this!’”) Here’s the article.

      • Meet the people who went to the US Copyright Office to demand your right to repair, remix and preserve!

        It’s a strange-but-true feature of American life. Blame Congress. When they enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, they included Section 1201, a rule that bans people from tampering with copyright controls on their devices. That means that manufacturers can use copyright controls to stop you from doing legitimate things, like taking your phone to an independent service depot; or modifying your computer so that you can save videos to use in remixes or to preserve old games. If doing these legal things requires that you first disable or remove a copyright control system, they can become illegal, even when you’re using your own property in the privacy of your own home.

        But every three years, the American people may go before the Copyright Office and ask for the right to do otherwise legal things with their own property, while lawyers from multinational corporations argue that this should not happen.

      • This Year’s ‘Anti-Piracy Award’ Goes to Spanish Police

        The Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance has announced the winner of the first “Anti-Piracy Award.” At this year’s Europol Intellectual Property Crime conference the honors went to the anti-piracy division of the Spanish Police, which has been instrumental in bringing down several “illegal streaming” operations.

      • The continuing saga of Buck Rogers and the Copyright Trolls
      • Shambolic JURI Committee vote on Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive – Good, Bad and Ugly

        The adoption of the JURI Report on 20 June was accompanied by a mandate to Rapporteur MEP Axel Voss to start trilogue negotiations on the draft Directive with the Council and Commission. This is subject to approval by the European Parliament in Plenary on 4 July, but is now likely to be challenged by a number of MEPs seeking to repeal the mandate. If that happens, the whole Parliament will have the opportunity to further amend the Report.

        We ask that you vigorously lobby your MEPs ahead of the vote in Plenary to halt the commencement of trilogue negotiations at this stage as there is so much wanting from this legislation as well as some dangerous provisions.

      • Act now to stop the EU’s plan to censor the web

        Send your representatives an email, tweet, or phone call before June 20 and tell them you need copyright laws that protect an Internet where you can share news and culture with your friends and family, where you can expect to be treated fairly, and where your rights as EU citizens are protected. Tell them to delete Article 13.

Union Syndicale Fédérale: Apparently ILO Considered Kicking Out the EPO for Repeatedly Refusing and Failing to Obey the Law

Friday 29th of June 2018 07:57:17 PM

USF (Union Syndicale Fédérale) also alludes to suspected corruption at the EPO, citing the latest from German media

Summary: Pan-European unions-syndicating entities (not just USF) keep expressing extremely big concerns about the affairs of the EPO, where Battistelli not only attacks the unions but also breaks the law without any consequences for these actions

THE STAFF UNION of the EPO (SUEPO) has just highlighted this “Press communication from USF (Union Syndicale Fédérale),” which wrote a great deal about union-busting assaults from Battistelli for a number of years (it has already been in touch with Campinos and it repeatedly berated the yellow union that helps Battistelli and Bergot with their union-busting and defamation campaign against SUEPO). The new post (dated yesterday) reads like a press release, so we’ve decided to reproduce it with some highlights. It’s titled “EPO’s acts were not only flawed but seriously flawed” and in yellow below are important bits:

AT ITS 126th SESSION THE ILOAT SETS ASIDE THE DISCIPLINARY MEASURES WHICH EPO PRESIDENT BATTISTELLI INFLICTED ON THREE UNION REPRESENTATIVES

Union Syndicale Fédérale is relieved and delighted about the results of the 126th Session of the ILOAT. A number of EPO colleagues, arbitrarily downgraded or even dismissed won their cases again. Instead of damages, ILOAT ordered reinstatement in the dismissal cases, an indication that the EPO’s acts were not only flawed but seriously flawed.

As the outgoing President of the EPO, Mr. Battistelli, praises his brilliant contribution to the EPO’s alleged success over the last eight years, the 126th ILOAT session results are a further powerful indicator of Mr. Battistelli’s disastrous, not sustainable management of the EPO.

The 126th ILOAT session coincides with serious doubts expressed by a number of external actors of the Intellectual Property world on the sustainability of Mr Battistelli´s policy, especially on excessive production targets that put a threat on the required high level of quality of the patents granted. The petition signed by 900 EPO examiners on the same issue was quoted.

This week’s German “Wirtschaftswoche”, a leading magazine for economics, comes with a harsh criticism of Mr Battistelli’s policies, the general lack of search for consensus, the use of public funds outside public scrutiny, his autocratic style.

Over the last few years, the ILO Governing Board’s requests to Mr Battistelli seem to have been flatly ignored. The ILO Governing Board also launched a consultation process amongst the more than 60 member organisations which rely on the ILOAT as an internal jurisdiction, aiming at creating a procedure allowing the termination of the cooperation with organisations which do not anymore meet the initial commitment. In other words, an organisation that does not behave anymore as an international public service organisation will have to seek other jurisdiction. Such an initiative is unheard of in the ILOAT’s 90 years of service. Such a termination imposed by the ILO would trigger an institutional crisis of the international organisation concerned, dramatic for both staff and organisation.

In the light of the ILOAT 126th session’s results and all other abundantly available evidence, it is not exaggerated to claim that Mr Battistelli leaves the EPO to his successor as a uniquely messy construction site, whatever the production figures. A thorough analysis will have to be run jointly by the new President of the EPO and the EPO staff representatives, to take stock on the damage done as a first step.

USF wishes to warmly congratulate all claimants who obtained a decision at the historical 126th session of the ILOAT and also the supporting branches of SUEPO. Under extreme adverse conditions, solidarity and the impressive resilience of the claimants and union officials allowed to re-establish a minimum level of rule of law fundamentals.

Complaints allowed: Judgments 4052, 4047, 4043, 4042, 4051

Firms like Control Risks participated in likely illegal activities on the payroll of an institution that likely engages in corruption. But Control Risks is used to working with military and private companies, not international institutions that are placed above the law. What a catastrophe. What an utter mess. It’s slowly killing people. Anyone who participates in Team Battistelli is complicit and time will tell where things will go.

WirtschaftsWoche Authors Articles About Corruption of the European Patent Office

Friday 29th of June 2018 07:22:22 PM


Saint-Germain-en-Laye: Battistelli, Lamy (Battistelli’s ‘handler’ in France) and Raimund Lutz conducting EPO affairs

Summary: The profound corruption in the European Patent Office (involving billions of euros) receives some media attention, but it may be too late to do something about it because a former banker from a disgraced bank, a friend of Battistelli who hereon enjoys diplomatic immunity (passed from Battistelli at the EPO), will be difficult to interrogate about Battistelli’s affairs

AS we noted exactly a week ago (last Friday), the EPO is being belatedly subjected to scrutiny, for corruption like Battistelli’s passage of EPO funds to his other employer and gambling with billions in cash reserves, just like Lamy (his other boss, the one in Saint-Germain-en-Laye).

Here is SUEPO’s English translation [PDF] not of the main feature, which is behind a paywall, but of the short and partial item, which reads as follows:

AUDIT OFFICE Sharp criticism of the financial conduct of the European Patent Office

EXCLUSIVE

by Petra Sorge
24 June 2018


Main building of the European Patent Office in Munich.
Picture: imago

As from July, a fund will be administering the assets of the European Patent Office, in the amount of 2.3 billion Euro. The Federal Audit Office and financial are sharply critical of the change.

The Federal Audit Office and financial experts are heavily critical of the planned changes to the assets administration of the European Patent Office (EPO). As from July, plans are for a fund to manage the Patent Office assets, in the amount of 2.3 billion Euro. The fund, under the name “EPO Treasury Investment Fund”, EPOTIF for short, is also said to be intending to purchase risky bonds, among them asset-backed securities and credit default swaps, which in large part became worthless during the financial crisis, and drove banks to the brink of disaster. This derives from records and reports which WirtschaftsWoche has been able to examine.

According to WirtschaftsWoche, the Federal Audit Office has found fault with the fact that the guidelines for the fund contain “no requirements for the creditworthiness of the contracting parties, issuers, or products”, that there are “no provisions for avoiding cluster risks”, and that the risk consideration is based on only one model, “with correspondingly high risk of loss”. The Administrative Council of the EPO still need to give their agreement to the planned changes by the end of June.

Former constitutional judge and patent examiner Siegfried Bross calls the 2.3 billion Euro EPO fund a “shadow budget”. This is “violating the fundamental democratic principle according to which public budgetary arrangements must be subject to Parliamentary supervision”, Bross told WirtschaftsWoche. This “financial behaviour” is not covered by the European Patent Convention, the foundation instrument of the EPO, and is therefore “impermissible” Munich patent attorney Thorsten Bausch of the firm of Hoffmann Eitle considers the new investment strategy “fundamentally a scandal”. He fears that the Office is alienating its resources from their purpose. The money belongs to patent applicants, and the EPO has no right simply to gamble it on the stock market”, he says.

EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE The sinister gamble

PREMIUM

The European Patent Office has accumulated 2.3 billion Euro – and now wants to join the speculators.
The Federal Audit Office is sounding the alarm.

Battistelli’s ‘mentor’ has done this before, as we covered in the following articles one month ago:

Battistelli’s ‘vassal’ (successor of choice) is former banker, António Campinos, whose bank also made many headlines for financial melt-down and serious abuses (in the “P” of “P.I.G.S.”). Campinos does not want people to know about this part of his career (omitted from his CV).

Insults, Lies and Propaganda on Battistelli’s Last Day at the European Patent Office

Friday 29th of June 2018 06:53:05 PM

This too might find use somewhere

Summary: Another new ‘booklet’ of lies (“Social Report 2017″) has just been released, lying about the legacy of Battistelli on his very last day at the Office

TODAY was Battistelli’s last day at the Office (the European Patent Office). António Campinos commences his job next week and we keep seeing his name in this month’s news, more so over the past week in relation to two potential OHIM or EU-IPO ‘scandals’. One of these was recalled some hours ago by IP Kat, remarking on the bizarre case of who ‘owns’ France.com. Remember that the head of OHIM or EU-IPO is French and he is close to Battistelli, whose history with trademarks in France gives room for concern.

“…a much bigger scandal can be attributed to Battistelli, whose financial scandals are now in Austrian media.”To quote IP Kat, “the US-based company France.com Inc. lost its registered rights in France to the domain name and trade mark ‘France.com’ in favour of the rights held by the Republic of France (hereand here).” This eventually reached CJEU.

Either way, a much bigger scandal can be attributed to Battistelli, whose financial scandals are now in Austrian media. This was pointed out by SUEPO (we wrote many articles about that last month and broughtit up a few days ago).

The articles of relevance:

We’ll say more about that in our next post.

Meanwhile in Germany Dr. Thorsten Bausch, who also wrote about these financial issues, posted a provocative photo/drawing to “mark the occasion” and the only other blog post in Kluwer Patent Blog came from Brian Cordery (Bristows) for Craig Lumb.

And speaking of Team UPC (Bristows), the Liars Lawyers Monthly has just published some more lies about the “forthcoming Unified Patent Court (UPC) system…”

It’s not forthcoming, it’s dead. Even more so after the latest ILO rulings, which embolden the complainants and reinforce the constitutional complaint’s claims. But Geoff Hussey, Nick South and Varuni Paranavitane from CIPA (Team UPC) will promote those famous lies.

They work for “AA Thornton [but] write on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys,” it says. They start from the flawed assumption that UPC is coming soon and then proceed to the lie that the UK can participate (in something which does not exist, never mind compatibility issues).

“Remember that the head of OHIM or EU-IPO is French and he is close to Battistelli, whose history with trademarks in France gives room for concern.”Lies like these we have, over time, become rather accustomed to; we also became accustomed to IP Kat (Bristows/CIPA Kat) not touching EPO scandals even with a bargepole. It’s intentional. Here’s their weekly summary, published earlier today with not a single mention of the EPO. As if there was nothing to report or at least comment on… still not a word from any of the contributors there regarding ILO or ILO-AT. They have totally abandoned EPO staff, they use Bristows as their de facto headquarters, and nowadays push more or less the same agenda as Battistelli. Christian Kirsch of Heise has just published an article (in German, as usual) on this matter. But IP Kat cannot? IAM cannot? Managing IP cannot? They’d rather ignore Battistelli’s abuses. They say they cover “IP”; they’re highly selective it seems… (Heise isn’t even about patents!)

Speaking of Battistelli (which we’d rather not, but it’s his last day), he has just come up with some rather insulting lies, which are the verbal equivalent of spitting on staff, or adding insult to moral injury. The EPO has just wasted money on another ‘booklet’ of lies. Not commenting on the outcome from ILO-AT, the EPO has instead released this garbage around midday (warning: epo.org link). Maybe they’re just googlebombing with lies about “social” aspects at the Office, hoping to distract applicants (for jobs and patents) from all those ‘pesky’ news reports about the social climate. Not only for 8 years did this happen. It’s a longterm issue which greatly exacerbated under Battistelli and not even on his very last day at work will Battistelli (and the crooks he brought with him) stop lying to enrage staff and mislead the whole world. “The EPO has published its Social Report 2017,” the EPO said, “which provides a comprehensive overview of staff and working conditions at the Office.”

Don’t expect staff to agree with any of the contents; some are literally converting these 'booklets' into coarse toilet wipes.

“The EPO has just wasted money on another ‘booklet’ of lies.”One last Battistelli photo op/self-promotion (before this parasite leaves the EPO) comes from or about South Africa (warning: epo.org link). This is definitely the last and if he is to be put on trial some time soon (his immunity runs out any moment now), then maybe his next one will be next to policemen and lawyers (or at the back of a police car, just like Nicolas Sarkozy). Now that he does photo ops with a South African official remember where they (South Africans) stand on software patents. They’re very apprehensive when it comes to patents. “Under the MoU,” says the Battistelli puff piece, “the EPO will support the CIPC in establishing substantive search and examination of patent applications in line with South Africa’s new National IP Policy. ”

But Battistelli has eliminated “substantive search and examination of patent applications”; instead they have “Early Certainty” and other such buzzwords for rushed examination that likely results in a grant (it takes a lot more work to reject as that requires authoring detailed grounds for rejection, which in turn takes a lot of research, not just typing).

Other than “Early Certainty” there’s also PACE, which also speeds up examination beyond what’s reasonable and truly harms small companies. The EPO has just pushed more of that #IPforSMEs nonesense (this is a routinely-repeated lie and it will likely carry on under Campinos). “Battistelli’s policy at the EPO greatly harmed SMEs,” I told them. “Reusing this hashtag ad infinitum won’t change the facts…”

“…Battistelli has eliminated “substantive search and examination of patent applications”; instead they have “Early Certainty” and other such buzzwords for rushed examination that likely results in a grant (it takes a lot more work to reject as that requires authoring detailed grounds for rejection, which in turn takes a lot of research, not just typing).”They later (today) added: “Well thought out filing strategies enable companies to speed up the granting process as well as to postpone decisions where needed.”

But either way the examination isn’t done properly due to lack of time. Slow or fast, the workload is far too high to maintain any reasonable level of quality.

Do not overlook the critical fact that the EPO is still not commenting on ILO. Nothing. Neither the Office nor the Organisation has said anything. Suppression of information has long been part of the modus operandi. In fact, Techrights is still blocked and we don’t expect Campinos to end this crude act of censorship.

I could never figure out why the “European Patent Office” (account name) Twitter account is “EPOorg” (username) because the Office and the Org(anisation) are very different things. Deliberately conflating? Or insinuating that the Office (i.e. a one-man team/monarchy) took over the whole Org (its boss), grossly violating the EPC?

“Do not overlook the critical fact that the EPO is still not commenting on ILO. Nothing.”It often seems, as Bausch said quite recently, that one man runs the entire thing, even the supposedly ‘independent’ courts. A few hours ago the EPO wrote: “The annual “Boards of Appeal and key decisions” conference provides a unique opportunity for patent practitioners to gain an insight into the case law of the Boards of Appeal.”

Well, the Boards of Appeal repeatedly complain (even as recently as 2 months ago) that they lack resources, are overworked, and are being intimidated by Battistelli (who made an 'example' of their colleague).

But life goes on at the EPO. The Official Journal for June 2018 (warning: epo.org link) has been released and announced. Having quickly browsed though it, there’s not much of interest in it. This time, for a change, it’s not a load of promotion for Battistelli's other employer (like in April).

Three Days Later Still Not a Single Word From the EPO About Union Busting Gone Awry and Court Orders to Reinstate/Promote Staff Representatives

Friday 29th of June 2018 08:24:03 AM

Summary: It doesn’t look so likely that the fight against SUEPO is over or that resolutions will be implemented by the Office, even by António Campinos, who starts his job at the Office on Monday (July 2nd)

WE CANNOT say it surprises us that EPO management says nothing about those ILO-AT judgments, which everyone now speaks about… except the EPO. They only speak about ILO when it suits the management.

More importantly, however, where are the assurances to staff that law would be obeyed? Yesterday the EPO wrote about judges and courts, but not about ILO; it was pure hogwash about the very same Boards of Appeal whose independence and judicial potency are under attack by the Office. Timely opportunism? Maybe. Subtle? Yes. Intentional? Who knows…

“Yesterday the EPO wrote about judges and courts, but not about ILO; it was pure hogwash about the very same Boards of Appeal whose independence and judicial potency are under attack by the Office.”The EPO found a new thing with which to distract. It’s just a construction site still, but we’re supposed to think that there’s a meaningful milestone (the real milestone to be found there is Battistelli’s departure, but he attempts to ‘dress it up’ as a tangible achievement like a building). That ceremony at that building wasn’t about its opening. It’ll take a very long time before the building is safe to enter and construction is not even finished yet (like alone furnishing and other critical aspects). The ceremony wasn’t about the EPO or about that building; it was all about Battistelli. The EPO’s tweets too were all about Battistelli, not anybody else in that odd room (which still looked like work in progress, far from being ready for guests). Battistelli was talking about staff in terms and words that can make one throw up. The media now speaks about the building with the term “inaugurates” in the headline. The article is in English and the word “inaugurates” is simply a misfit; the work isn’t even finished yet. It’s a mirage. It’s all about Battistelli trying to attribute the building to himself. There were protests there, but these barely received media coverage. We wrote about the protests twice yesterday [1, 2] and now there are some more details, affirming that SUEPO was behind it (SUEPO also organises a party to celebrate liberation of the Office, i.e. Battistelli’s exit). To quote:

Suepo Munich organised a demonstration today to celebrate the latest decisions of AT-ILO. Ion Brumme, Malika Weaver and Elisabeth Hardon were present.

In Suepo’s words:

“The ILOAT ordered the reinstatement of Ion Brumme ‘to the position he held immediately before his dismissal’ and the restoration of Malika Weaver ‘with retroactive effect to the grade and step she would have held but for the imposition of the disciplinary sanction’, as well as payment of interest on the resulting remuneration arrear, payment of moral damages and payment of costs. Elizabeth Hardon’s case has been remitted by the ILOAT to the EPO ‘to enable a Disciplinary Committee, differently constituted, to consider the matter under Article 102 of the Service Regulations and for the President to make a fresh decision. She is entitled to moral damages and payment of costs.

The decisions of the ILOAT are a slap in the face of Mr. Battistelli and clearly demonstrate his incompetence to manage an international organization.”

It then links to the following comment, raising legitimate worries that António Campinos — working under the ‘invisible hand’ (or thumb) of Battistelli — will perpetuate the union-busting campaign (just as Battistelli perpetuated fear in the Boards of Appeal by denying Judge Corcoran a return to his job, in essence making him a judge no more). We encourage people who want to know what Campinos does at EU-IPO to check out this article from last night. EU-IPO isn’t free of controversies these days (we gave another example from the news yesterday).

The above remark/post points out the following new comment:

With only a few hours before ILO-AT decision concerning SUEPO members, I’d like to voice a prediction.

ILO-AT will just remit the case on a small technicality for the EPO to reconsider.

Why? Simply because that is simply the best option for EPO’s management. It allows them to play cat and mouse for another couple of years, effectively keeping SUEPO busy. It passes the bucket to the next president, with a blank check to do nothing for a few years. It deprives the affected persons of any recourse, because the legal process would still be running.

For Battistelli and his clicque, it is much better than a negative decision. Their objective is to keep the staff at the brink of despair, but without having them understand that they face a brick wall. If they realised that the cannot win at ILO-AT, ever, they would seek other means. Keeping the process running keeps the proverbal carrot hanging in front of their noses

Yes, this is quite probable. Remember that the same management is in place, bar Battistelli (who is still lurking in the shadows). There’s also the Investigative Unit, as “Naked Emperor” noted yesterday:

The recent ILO decisions also show which use the President made of the distasteful activities of his willful helpers in the Investigative Unit.

The EPO spoke about privacy of staff and stakeholders recently (piggybacking GDPR to spread lies) and the next comment is interesting in relation to this:

Despite what appears to have been a victory for another SUEPO staffer in ILO judgement no. 4502, we are all still in the dark regarding the precise nature of the electronic “monitoring” that the EPO has been conducting. This is because the complainant’s request for production of documents explaining how the EPO came about certain information was side-stepped by the ILO.

In case 4502, it is stated that the alleged misconduct of the complainant (who was by then a former EPO employee, and was instead employed by SUEPO) “consisted in the unauthorised publication on the Internet, at least throughout 2014 and under the use of various pseudonyms, of information and opinions about the work of the EPO, including non-public information and defamatory and insulting opinions”. It is also stated that “acting under various pseudonyms and using his blog, other Internet sites and Twitter the complainant had (a) published or caused the publication of information and opinions dealing with the work of the EPO without permission from the President …; (b) disclosed in an unauthorised manner non-public information about and belonging to the EPO … ; (c) published opinions of insulting, defamatory and/or libellous content against various EPO staff members and management, but also against the management of other international and public organisations; …”.

These allegations raise a very important question, namely: if the complainant no longer worked for the EPO (and so, presumably, did not use any computers owned by the EPO to conduct the alleged misconduct), how is it that the EPO was able to identify the complainant as the author of the various pseudonymous posts?

Personally, I find it impossible to believe that the EPO could have come about that information without somehow gaining access to the blog sites and/or the complainant’s computer. But why would either a blog site or the complainant voluntarily allow this? And should someone alert the authorities in Germany of the possible commission of (hacking) offences relating to the manner in which the EPO came into the possession of key data?

Finally, what does this mean for the data security of those posting opinions here that are (at least in my view) justifiably critical of the current EPO management?

Abuses against the rights of workers are set to carry on, so the fight is far from over. Battistelli’s departure is merely the beginning of a potential salvation, but the reputation of the EPO still suffers, the profile of the EPO as an employer changed a lot, and large-scale layoffs are still expected. We recently saw a comment about the EPO giving up on job applicants whose applications were successful. It’s as though there was a sudden hiring freeze. Who gave these instructions and why were applicants required to prepare for interviews etc. for jobs that don’t exist? We saw that same thing in UPC; people were shown job openings and invited to job interviews… for jobs that never existed and probably will never exist.

“We saw that same thing in UPC; people were shown job openings and invited to job interviews… for jobs that never existed and probably will never exist.”It is worth remembering that the fate of at least one staff representative from the Netherlands is still unknown. It may take until next year (if not longer) for ILO-AT to get through to his case and by that stage his workplace (below, with credit to SUEPO’s Web site) might already be demolished, just like Corcoran’s colleagues had been moved to Haar, where he no longer had a desk, computer etc. What a cruel workplace this is.

Battistelli’s departure (today is his last day) will allow us to publish some previously-suppressed things.

Links 29/6/2018: Python 3.7.0, Google as Linux Foundation Platinum Member

Friday 29th of June 2018 06:41:56 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Get Mojave’s Dynamic Wallpaper in Windows and Linux Right Now (While Mac Users Wait Until Fall)

      Mojave, the new version of macOS coming out this fall, features a desert wallpaper that subtly changes throughout the day, reflecting the sunrise and sunset where you live.

      Windows and Linux users can have this feature right now, even though macOS users have to wait until the fall. Life isn’t fair.

    • Linux on a 20th century laptop

      Starting with a 20th century computer that struggled to run Windows95.

      [...]

      After reformatting the hard drive and adding 128MB of swap space to the drive I was ready to install the OS to the hard drive. To do this I simply used the dsl-hdinstall tool which exists within the ISO. The first time round I went for the more lightweight LILO bootloader but in every instance on booting from the hard drive I would get the error “storing in het besturingssysteem” (as it is a dutch hard drive and laptop) meaning there is a problem with the operating system. However after following the same progress again inside the virtual machine but choosing GRUB instead of LILO as the bootloader it worked beautifully,

    • Linux apps on Chrome OS coming to 18 more Chromebooks

      Eighteen more Chromebooks are getting support for Linux apps on Chrome OS, with laptops based in Intel’s Apollo Lake architecture now able to run the applications, via XDA Developers.

    • Google brings Linux apps to 18 more Chromebooks [Ed: complete with the usual bias of Microsoft sites]

      The firm now supports Apollo Lake-based Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Dell including the Acer Chromebook 15, Asus Chromebook Flip 2313SA and Dell Chromebook 11 5190.

    • Google Announces Renewed Support for Linux Software Running on Chromebooks

      A few months back, Google announced that they were enabling some support for container-based Linux applications running on Chromebooks. While it’s possible to install an open-source GNU/Linux distro on top of Chrome OS, Google’s announcement seemed to indicate that users would be able to run these programs out of the box without installing a second operating system.

      Google’s own Pixelbook and Samsung’s Chromebook Plus were said to be early adopters of this technology. News then broke that Acer’s Chromebook 13 and Spin 13 would also be among the first units to ship with Linux application support. HP’s X2 will apparently be the first detachable unit that can run apps in this way.

    • Skylake, Apollo Lake Chromebooks Add Linux Apps Via Crostini

      Being that the Core chips of the Skylake flavor are probably the most available “power” Chromebooks at the moment, I was beginning to think developers were having an issue getting Crostini up and running. Whatever the reason, it looks like devices like the Samsung Pro, HP Chromebook 13 G1, Acer 14 for Work and others may soon see the addition of Linux apps in Chrome OS.

    • 18 more Chromebooks can now run Linux apps (ever model with an Intel Apollo Lake chip)

      There are a growing number of Chromebooks that can now run Linux applications thanks to Google’s Project Crostini. And when I say growing number, I mean that this week Google added support for 18 Chromebooks.

    • 18 more Chromebooks, running Apollo Lake chips, get Linux app support

      Chromebooks are slowly becoming more versatile as they gain Android app support and more offline functionality. Linux apps have also come to a select few devices, but it seems like Google is ready to open the floodgates.

      According to XDA-Developers, Linux app support was switched on for all Chromebooks running Intel Apollo Lake processors. There are at least 18 Apollo Lake devices, according to the outlet.

    • Why I’m Glad I Escaped The Wintel Monopoly All Those Years Ago
  • Server
    • Containers: Debunking the myths

      Linux-based containers themselves are nothing new, but the community driven by Docker has recently become hugely popular across a large cross-section of technology users

    • Linux Powers ALL TOP500 Supercomputers In The World | US Beats China For #1

      Just recently we told you about the IBM Summit supercomputer that is developed for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US. The computing beast is being called the most powerful supercomputer yet, beating China’s Sunway.

      Summit has tasted another bread of success as the TOP500 List of the world’s fastest supercomputers renews for the year 2018. It’s not surprising to see Summit ( with its Linpack score of 122.3 petaflops) taking the throne away from Sunway TaihuLight (Linpack score: 93 petaflops). But China still has the largest number of supercomputers on the list.

    • Linux Finally Stands Alone on the TOP500 Supercomputer List [Ed: Finally? No. That happened in past years.]

      The new TOP500 list, which shows the 500 most powerful computer units in the entire world, shows some form of the Linux kernel powering every single machine that packs that kind of processing ability. Linux has already been the force behind most of the world’s most powerful computers for years, so this isn’t a surprising fact.

      What’s more surprising is how long it’s taken to get to this point since the kernel was only finally able to shove all other operating systems off the list back in November.

    • Why Kubernetes Is the New Application Server

      Have you ever wondered why you are deploying your multi-platform applications using containers? Is it just a matter of “following the hype”? In this article, I’m going to ask some provocative questions to make my case for Why Kubernetes is the new application server.

    • As Cloud Computing Providers Post Record Profits, One Company Wants to Make Them Obsolete

      Another blockchain-based startup, called AXEL, is similarly trying to wrest a portion of the cloud from large stakeholders—this time, cloud storage. By letting users set up their own remote storage devices, rather than paying an exorbitant monthly fee for access to a terabyte of storage space, AXEL users simply can buy a cheap terabyte drive, plug it in to their desktop at home and link it to their AXEL account—at that point, they have an entirely private connection to that HDD that allows full cloud access without even the possibility of outside interference or surveillance by the service provider. And if you want another five terabyte of cloud storage? It’s as easy as buying five more terabytes of storage and hooking them up to the network. Since you own the drives, moving a file onto a linked drive takes zero upload time—it’s in your cloud-linked folders, after all, and thus has nowhere else it needs to go.

    • How Important Is Open Source for DevOps, Really?

      Depending on your perspective, you might believe that DevOps and open source go hand in hand. Or you may think that, quite to the contrary, the two have little to do with each other. There are good arguments to be made for both interpretations.

    • Blockchain evolution: A quick guide and why open source is at the heart of it

      It isn’t uncommon, when working on a new version of an open source project, to suffix it with “-ng”, for “next generation.” Fortunately, in their rapid evolution blockchains have so far avoided this naming pitfall. But in this evolutionary open source ecosystem, changes have been abundant, and good ideas have been picked up, remixed, and evolved between many different projects in a typical open source fashion.

      In this article, I will look at the different generations of blockchains and what ideas have emerged to address the problems the ecosystem has encountered. Of course, any attempt at classifying an ecosystem will have limits—and objectors—but it should provide a rough guide to the jungle of blockchain projects.

    • Open Source Developers Improve Networking, Storage and More in Kubernetes Update

      The open source Kubernetes container orchestration project this week shipped its second release of the year, with improvements to networking, storage and more.

      Kubernetes, under direction of The Linux Foundation, focuses on automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications.

      Kubernetes 1.11, announced yesterday (June 27), includes several new features, with project backers especially highlighting two features that have graduated to general availability: IPVS-based In-Cluster Load Balancing and CoreDNS as a cluster DNS add-on option. The release team said these result in increased scalability and flexibility.

    • Kubernetes 1.11 Released for Improved Container Orchestration

      Kubernetes, a rising star in the open source ecosystem for containers, has improved its orchestration capabilities on a number of fronts in its latest release, version 1.11

      This is its second release of the year, adding improvements to networking, storage and more.

  • Kernel Space
    • 4.18 Merge window, part 2

      By the time that Linus Torvalds released 4.18-rc1 and closed the merge window for this development cycle, 11,594 non-merge changesets had found their way into the mainline kernel repository. Nearly 4,500 of those were pulled after last week’s summary was written. Thus, in terms of commit traffic, 4.18 looks to be quite similar to its predecessors. As usual, the entry of significant new features has slowed toward the end of the merge window, but there are still some important changes on the list.

    • TCP small queues and WiFi aggregation — a war story

      This article describes our findings that connected TCP small queues (TSQ) with the behavior of advanced WiFi protocols and, in the process, solved a throughput regression. The resulting patch is already in the mainline tree, so before continuing, please make sure your kernel is updated. Beyond the fix, it is delightful to travel through history to see how we discovered the problem, how it was tackled, and how it was patched.

      The academic life is full of rewards; one of ours was the moment in which three USB/WiFi 802.11ab/g/n dongles arrived. We bought dongles with an Atheros chipset because both the software driver and the firmware are available and modifiable. We were using the ath9k_htc kernel module with the default configuration. We compiled the latest (at the time) available kernel (4.13.8), and then we started the access point to create an 802.11n network to build the core of our future testbed for vehicular communications.

    • ARM Updates Energy Aware Scheduling For The Linux Kernel

      ARM Linux developer Quentin Perret has sent out the latest set of kernel patches for implementing Energy Aware Scheduling (EAS).

      This Energy Aware Scheduling is a simplified version of what is currently being used by the Android AOSP kernel and is already being used in today’s Android smartphones using big.LITTLE SoCs.

    • Reiser4 Ported To The Linux 4.17 Kernel

      For those still holding out hope for the Reiser4 file-system, it’s now been ported to work with the Linux 4.17 kernel.

      The patch was updated yesterday to allow the Reiser4 file-system code to work with the Linux 4.17 kernel, which was released about three weeks ago. There are no other known functionality changes/additions with this Reiser4 code beyond the compatibility with this latest stable kernel release.

    • Linux Foundation
    • Graphics Stack
      • Mesa 18.1.3 Is Coming This Week With Many RADV Fixes

        For those sticking to the Mesa stable releases, Mesa 18.1.3 is expected to be out by this weekend and features a few dozen changes.

        Mesa 18.1.3 at this point has just over three dozen patches. With those patches the RADV Vulkan driver stands out as having quite a number of fixes in this release. Besides RADV fixes there are also a number of Meson build system updates, some core GLSL and NIR fixes, and then just the assortment of other small changes/fixes.

      • AV1: next generation video – The Constrained Directional Enhancement Filter

        AV1 is a new general-purpose video codec developed by the Alliance for Open Media. The alliance began development of the new codec using Google’s VPX codecs, Cisco’s Thor codec, and Mozilla’s/Xiph.Org’s Daala codec as a starting point. AV1 leapfrogs the performance of VP9 and HEVC, making it a next-next-generation codec . The AV1 format is and will always be royalty-free with a permissive FOSS license.

      • DXVK 0.61 Released With Performance Improvements

        DXVK 0.61 is out today as the newest version of this Direct3D 11 over Vulkan translation layer to help with running Windows D3D11 games on Wine.

        While DXVK has already been quite performant in comparison to the Wine’s D3D11-to-OpenGL translation layer, with DXVK 0.61 there are even more performance enhancements. DXVK 0.61 sports small performance improvements for AMD GPUs, “significant” performance improvements for some NVIDIA GPUs, better GPU utilization in some games, and reduced performance overhead of the DXVK Heads-Up Display.

      • DXVK for Vulkan-based D3D11 in Wine version 0.61 is out with improved performance

        For those of you chugging back that Wine, you might want to update DXVK, as the Vulkan-based D3D11 compatibility layer for Wine has a fresh update.

    • Benchmarks
      • Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux With OpenGL/Vulkan On GTX 1060/1080 Ti & RX 580/Vega 64

        Here are our latest benchmark numbers for looking at the performance of Windows 10 vs. Linux for OpenGL/Vulkan graphics driver performance for both NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon hardware using the latest drivers as of June 2018 for OpenGL and Vulkan.

        [...]

        The Java graphics performance with using OpenGL was substantially faster on Linux.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Those top Konsole Contributors

        Of personal interest to me is that in 2002 I contributed to Konsole for FreeBSD compatibility, and in 2009 for OpenSolaris compatibility, but nothing else in the history of the project. And Konsole spent a year licensed as Artistic, rather than the GPL2-or-later, in 1999.

      • The KDE e.V. Community Report for 2017 is now available

        KDE’s yearly report gives a comprehensive overview of all that has happened during 2017. It covers the progress we have made with KDE’s Plasma desktop environment; Plasma Mobile (KDE’s graphical environment for mobile devices); and applications the community creates to stimulate your productivity, creativity, education, and fun.

        The report also looks at KDE’s activities during 2017, giving details on the results from community sprints, conferences, and external events the KDE community has participated in worldwide. It also covers what is probably the most important community milestone of 2017: defining and agreeing on what are the most important global goals, goals that will direct the efforts of KDE community members for years to come.

      • The Awful Dilemma

        I like fixing bugs… It makes people happy who have their bugs fixed, it makes Krita better, and it can be done in relatively small time laps. And it gives one a sense of having been usefully productive to go to the weekly bug summary, and see oneself in the top-five of bug resolvers. Not that I’m there right now, though I was last week, because sometimes one has to dig deeper.

        These weeks I’m working on refactoring Krita’s resource systems. Resource in graphics app parlance are things like brushes, gradients, patterns — mostly small files that are stored somewhere on disk and that are loaded on start up. This code dates back to 2000 or so and was originally designed for a world where people would have a few dozen of each resource installed, and where brushes and patterns wouldn’t be bigger than 64 x 64 pixels.

      • KDE Plasma 5.12.6 LTS Point Release Brings Better Support for Snap, Flatpak Apps

        The KDE Project released the sixth point release of the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.12 desktop environment to address various issues in an attempt to increase the overall stability and reliability of the desktop.

        KDE Plasma 5.12.6 LTS comes almost two months after the KDE Plasma 5.12.5 LTS point release to add no less than 113 fixes across several components, including Plasma Desktop, Plasma Workspace, Plasma Discover, System Settings, Plasma NetworkManager (plasma-nm), plasma-integration, Milou, KWin, KSysGuard, Info Center, KDE Hotkeys, and Plasma Add-ons.

      • KDE’s 2017 Community Report Is Now Available

        KDE e.V. has published their annual report for 2017 to cover the software advancements made for this open-source desktop environment, highlight their financial health, etc.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Nautilus File Operations 2.0

        Following (and during) my latest blog post I was in the middle of my final exams session. While that has concluded eventually and I managed to pass everything just fine, that meant less time hacking and toying around with nautilus’ operations I’ve been working on.

        More work was put in the aforementioned move operations until it was a finished product that would set the tone for the following operations as well.

        With the move test out of the way, following operations could (more or less, with some needing extra nitpicking) be approached in a similar manner, which we tried to do, also giving them a nice sense of modularity.

      • Going to GUADEC: talking about the state of GLib and metered data handling in downloads
      • Summer with Maps

        It´s been a while since I wrote a blog post last time… and even though we´ve had summer weather here (more or less) since quite some while, it seems appropriate with a little “start of summer” summer post. Since last time time I´ve amended a pretty long-standing issue we´ve had when running under a Wayland compositor (at least with the Mutter compositor, as used by gnome-shell) that makes the revealer widgets we´ve had for showing notifications not working in this case, as the map view is using the Clutter scene graph library and overlaying GTK+ widgets on that is not working under Wayland. Since Clutter is deprecated and this issue won´t be fixed and re-writing the map view library using some other backend (also making it working under the upcoming GTK+ 4) is a rather big undertaking, I´ve went ahead with a few workarounds to get rid of the overlayed widgets.

      • Is Adwaita Icon Theme Finally Getting a Revamp?

        The Adwaita icon theme is the default icon theme of the GNOME desktop and …Well, it is what it is.

        Adwaita is not generally considered to be the best icon theme for Linux but it’s perfectly palatable and coherent.

        But is a dramatic modern makeover on the way?

      • GNOME Will No Longer Crash If Attaching A Monitor While The System Is Suspended

        On GNOME 3.26~3.28, if attaching a monitor to the system while suspended — such as when setting up for a presentation with a laptop and projector/monitor — when resuming the system, GNOME Shell would likely crash. That rather glaring bug has now been fixed in the newest Mutter code.

        Bug #786929 that dates back nearly one year is now resolved. The issue comes down to “Attaching a monitor to laptop while in suspend and then waking up laptop will reliably crash gnome-shell.”

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Peppermint 9 Offers Some Cool New Options

        Peppermint 9, released June 22, accomplishes something most other Linux distros don’t: It melds the best components from other desktop environments and integrates them into a solid operating system.

        Peppermint OS is a lightweight 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.

        Peppermint is a good alternative to the Linux Mint Xfce release with a sprinkling of Cinnamon to spice up the desktop a bit more. Peppermint also uses Ice — a cloud and Web application management tool — which makes the operating system refreshingly different.

    • New Releases
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 software goes software-defined

        EARLIER this week, SUSE announced Linux Enterprise version 15, a jump from version 12 (both 13 and 14 are held to be unlucky to superstitious types in Western and Chinese societies).

        The new released is based on version 4.12 of the Linux kernel and is suitable for a wider range of chipsets than its predecessor, including ARM devices — increasingly found powering internet of things (IoT) devices. This follows on from March when SUSE put out a port of its Linux Enterprise Suite (SLES) for the typically tiny devices.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian and free software personal misc news
      • My free software activities, June 2018
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Fing snaps up 30,000 customers with a secure, future-proof IoT device

            Fing, a company known for its network security app, considered all these questions and more when developing their consumer-facing security toolkit hardware; Fingbox. One of Fing’s main priorities from the outset was to be able to future-proof so their device so that their customers could benefit from latest feature updates and seamless security patches. From their own perspective, Fing also wanted to ensure that they could build a sustainable business from Fingbox that wasn’t reliant on shipping new hardware and opened up a new revenue stream throughout its lifecycle. To address all these requirements, Fing adopted Ubuntu Core, snaps and Canonical’s IoT app store to facilitate their product.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E16 – Sixteen Cows – Ubuntu Podcast

            It’s Season 11 Episode 16 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • MintBox Mini 2 now available for purchase with Linux Mint 19 ‘Tara’ pre-installed

              Back in March, we reported on the Mintbox Mini 2 — a diminutive Linux Mint desktop PC manufactured by a company called “Compulab.” Of course, it can run other distributions too, such as Ubuntu and Fedora. Heck, it can even run Windows 10 if you want/need. This is the second generation of Mintbox Mini with the big difference being a switch from AMD to Intel. The fanless device is not a powerhouse, but it should run the Linux distribution like a champ. Quite frankly, it is very beautiful too — the fins look cool as hell.

              Barring any last-minute issues, the release of Linux Mint 19 “Tara” is imminent — it should be made available any day now. As a result, starting today, you can finally order the MintBox Mini 2. Apparently, Compulab was waiting for Tara’s release to get closer before taking orders. In addition to the standard model, there is also a “Pro” variant.

            • Monthly News – June 2018

              A huge thank you to all of you who helped us find bugs during the BETA. You sent us so much feedback we had to literally stop reading just so we could focus on processing and fixing what you pointed out. We’ve never received so many reports so fast before. Although we couldn’t possibly answer everyone or fix everything, it helped us fix a lot and improve the quality of Mint 19 significantly since it’s BETA release.

              Many thanks also to our sponsors and to all the people who sent us donations. You help us so we can work on Linux Mint. You’ve been empowering us and supporting us since the start of this project. This is the result of your efforts as well. We hope you’ll enjoy this new release.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Now Available to Download as Cinnamon, MATE & Xfce Editions

              The Linux Mint 19 “Tara” operating system is now available to download ahead of the official release later this week as Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce editions for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.

              Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre announced today that work on the forthcoming Linux Mint 19 “Tara” operating system is now over and that the team prepares for the official release later this week. However, the final ISO images for all three editions of Linux Mint 19 are already available to download on the official servers.

              So if you want to get a head start and install Linux Mint 19 “Tara” on your personal computer, you can download the Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon, Linux Mint 19 MATE, or Linux Mint 19 Xfce editions right now. These images should be the same as the final release, but the official unveiling usually takes longer for all download mirror to sync.

            • Linux Mint 19 stable to be announced soon, here’s how to get it early

              The stable release of Linux Mint 19 will be announced “at the end of the week” according to Clem Lefebvre who runs the project. The new update, dubbed ‘Tara’, has been in testing for much of June but as of the end of the week it’ll be production ready and will receive updates until 2023.

            • Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 3 ‘Cindy’ Beta coming next month

              Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution, right? Yes and no. While the “normal” version of the operating system is, in fact, based on Canonical’s distro, there is yet another version. Called Linux Mint Debian Edition, or LMDE, it is based on Debian — as the name implies.

              Today, we learn some interesting news. The Beta of the next version of the operating system, LMDE 3 — code-named “Cindy” — should be released next month, in July.

            • MintBox Mini 2 Computers Are Ready to Ship Worldwide with Linux Mint 19 “Tara”

              Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre announced today that the MintBox Mini 2 and MintBox Mini 2 Pro computers are now ready for shipment worldwide and comes pre-loaded with the soon-to-be-released Linux Mint 19 “Tara” operating system.

              Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre announced today that the MintBox Mini 2 and MintBox Mini 2 Pro computers are now ready for shipment worldwide and comes pre-loaded with the soon-to-be-released Linux Mint 19 “Tara” operating system.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • ERPNext: An Open Source ERP Solution for SMEs

    Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) refers to the system/software that a business uses to manage its projects, inventory, financials, sales, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and HR (Human Resources).

    While there are a lot of ERP software systems available, finding a free and open source ERP software solution for small and medium enterprises can be tough. Fear not, we have found a good one – ERPNext.

  • GIPE: Open source tech is here to stay

    Open source technology is here to stay, according to Martin Yagi, IP manager of First Light Fusion, speaking at the Global IP Exchange in London.

    Speaking in a presentation on maintaining IP integrity whilst participating in open source, Yagi said that applications for technologies featuring open source increased by 60 percent alone from 2016 to 2017.

    He highlighted that in terms of industry, there had been a 16 percent in hardware products and 69 percent increase infrastructure applications featuring open source technology.

    Despite a bright future for open source technology, Yagi warned there are some dire consequences for those who don’t comply with regulations relating to open source.

  • What Is Open Source? Why Open Source Software Are Popular?

    Nobody has ever accused me of being a romantic, but I have been overturned by the generosity of these geeks around the world who have contributed their skills for free, free of charge and for nothing to a huge library of freely accessible software. A Google search for “open source accounting software” produces 31 million hits and although two thirds of them will be freeloaders trying to sell you some 10 million free accounting packages cannot be a bad thing, though two thirds of those hits will be technical “Freeware”, rather than real open source, we still have a very large number to play.

  • Facebook Watson & Open Cellular Rotundu Get Coreboot Support

    Two interesting mainboards are now supported by mainline Coreboot Git.

    First up is support for the Facebook Watson. I haven’t been able to find much about the Watson, but appears to be one of their Open Compute Project boards. Watson is Broadwell-based and its firmware support package is derived from the Intel Camelback Mountain.

  • Events
    • Video: How to Manage Requirements, Expectations, and Project Delivery (Without Sucking)

      One thing I see clients reach for the Pepto about over and over again is how to manage work effectively. They often struggle to (a) gather and communicate requirements (and not a Christmas list), (b) understand these needs and set expectations, and (c) manage how this work is actually delivered. When this isn’t smooth, it is a royal pain in the behind.

    • How to plan projects in the open, without the stress

      I see the same conundrum over and over again with my clients: how to plan and manage work in a way that keeps people on their toes—but doesn’t make them want to rip their hair out. (Trust me, you think I have this little hair for some generic reason?)

    • Montreal’s Debian & Stuff June Edition

      This is me inviting you to the next Montreal Debian & Stuff. This one will take place at Koumbit’s offices in Montreal on June 30th from 10:00 to 17:00 EST.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox hooks up with HaveIBeenPwned for account pwnage probe

        Firefox has started testing an easier way for users to check whether they’re using an online service that has been hacked, through integration with Troy Hunt’s HaveIBeenPwned database.

        The hookup will work like this: part of a user’s email address is hashed, and this hash is used to check if the address appears in HaveIBeenPwned’s database of 5.1 billion email addresses linked to compromised internet accounts.

        The “Firefox Monitor” test will start with 250,000 users, mostly in the US, according to Mozilla’s announcement this week.

      • Firefox Nightly: Protecting Your Privacy in Firefox Pre-Release

        As a matter of principle, we’ve built Firefox to work without collecting information about the people who use it and their browsing habits. Operating in this way is the right thing to do, but it makes it hard to infer what Firefox users do and want so that we can make improvements to the browser and its features. We need this information to compete effectively, but we have to do it in a way that respects our users’ privacy. That is why experimentation in our pre-release channels like Nightly, Beta and Developer Edition is so critical.

      • Widmer Brothers and Firefox Collaborate on Open Source IPA

        Firefox is one of the world’s most successful open source software projects. This means we make the code that runs Firefox available for anyone to modify and use so long as it adheres to our licence policy. Developers and anyone else who understands code can play with Firefox code, for free.

        This approach to creation is not something that started with the internet. So long as humans have been making things there have been gearheads, chefs, quilters, crafters, brewers and all other kinds of people rebuilding, remixing, crafting and tinkering.

      • Mozilla Firefox 62 Web Browser Enters Development with New Privacy Features

        Now that Firefox 61 is out, Mozilla kicked off development on the next release of its popular open-source and free web browser, Firefox 62, which is now available for public beta testing.

        Firefox 62 promises to enhance the overall privacy of users by implementing a few new options starting with a “Clear Site Data and Cookie” button in the identity pop-up found next to the address bar. Mozilla says that this would make it easier for users to delete local browsing data for visited sites, including history, cookies, etc.

      • happy bmo push day!
  • Databases
    • A MongoDB Secret Weapon: Aggregation Pipeline

      MongoDB is best known for creating a document database that Web and mobile developers love to use. But developers and analysts alike may be interested in a little-known MongoDB feature called the aggregation pipeline. What’s more, the aggregation pipeline just got easier to use with MongoDB 4.0.

      The aggregation pipeline presents a powerful abstraction for working with and analyzing data stored in the MongoDB database. According to MongoDB CTO and co-founder Eliot Horowitz, the composability of the aggregation pipeline is one of the keys to its power.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
    • Quantum open source fund launched

      A ‘no-strings’ grant program targeting developers of quantum computing software has been launched with the aim of filling the gaps in the nascent field.

      The Unitary Fund – its name taken from the physics concept of unitarity – is offering US$2000 grants to projects developing open source quantum software for near term, hybrid quantum-classical programming.

      Any project that “will benefit humanity that leverages near-term quantum computing” qualifies to apply for the fund.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • To stop another Ebola outbreak, science went open source (How science beat Ebola)

      I sat still watching a stranger die. She was just 27; her breathing became erratic, nearing a standstill, her head flopped over to look at me, her eyes glazed over and her stare became distant. She died alone, at an isolation unit known as Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Sierra Leone. I could not reach out to hold her hand. With no hope, no vaccine, no effective treatment, no cure, I was overwhelmed, beaten and felt desperately hopeless, spending my time helping people to die more comfortably.

      That was three years ago. Working as a medical doctor during the West African Ebola virus epidemic of 2013–2016, it was my first encounter with this virus. Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses in the world – a haemorrhagic fever known for its bloody symptoms and mortality rate of up to 90 per cent. That outbreak was the most widespread in history the history of the virus, with 28,000 known cases and more than 11,000 deaths.

    • Open Source at Coaxial Arts

      On June 19, 2018, Coaxial Arts was the venue for a program of noise, experimental music and sound. The snug downtown Los Angeles location filled up with a congenial crowd of the knowledgeable and the curious for a concert presented by the wulf titled Open Source: Anderson, Hutson, Shiroishi, Smith. An impressive array of cables, synthesizers, mixing boards, computers and radios was spread over several tables, including a large reel-to-reel tape loop. Casey Anderson, William Hutson, Stephanie Cheng Smith and Patrick Shiroishi were on hand to bring it all to life.

  • Programming/Development
    • Python 3.7.0

      Python 3.7.0 is the newest major release of the Python language, and it contains many new features and optimizations.

    • Python 3.7 Released With C API For Thread-Local Storage, Data Classes, Context Variables

      Python 3.7 is now available as the latest major release to Python 3 with new features, performance optimizations, and other enhancements.

    • Python 3.7.0 Released, Timesys Announces New Threat Resistance Security Technology (TRST) Product Protection, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 13 Now Available and More

      Python 3.7.0 has been released. This is a major release of the Python language, containing many new features, including new syntax features, backwards-incompatible syntax changes, new library modules, significant improvements to the standard library and much more. See the release highlights for all the updates, and go here to download.

    • Python 3.6.6

      Python 3.6.6 is the sixth and current maintenance release of Python 3.6. The Python 3.6 series contains many new features and optimizations.

    • Python 3.7.0 and 3.6.6

      The latest feature release of Python, 3.7.0, has been announced, along with the latest maintenance release for Python 3.6, 3.6.6.

    • Mentoring and diversity for Python

      A two-part session at the 2018 Python Language Summit tackled the core developer diversity problem from two different angles. Victor Stinner outlined some work he has been doing to mentor new developers on their path toward joining the core development ranks; he has also been trying to document that path. Mariatta Wijaya gave a very personal talk that described the diversity problem while also providing some concrete action items that the project and individuals could take to help make Python more welcoming to minorities.

    • Getting along in the Python community

      In a session with a title that used a common misquote of Rodney King (“can’t we all just get along?”), several Python developers wanted to discuss an incident that had recently occurred on the python-dev mailing list. A rude posting to the list led to a thread that got somewhat out of control. Some short tempers among the members of the Python developer community likely escalated things unnecessarily. The incident in question was brought up as something of an object lesson; people should take some time to simmer down before firing off that quick, but perhaps needlessly confrontational, reply.

      The post by Ivan Pozdeev was never directly cited in the discussion (though a response in the thread by Steven D’Aprano was put up as a slide). As Guido van Rossum put it, the original poster was “being a jerk”. Pozdeev complained about the tkinter module in the standard library being broken for his use case. Beyond that, he claimed that almost no one uses it and that “no-one gives a damn”. He suggested that it should be removed from the standard library since it could not be maintained.

    • PEP 572 and decision-making in Python

      The “PEP 572 mess” was the topic of a 2018 Python Language Summit session led by benevolent dictator for life (BDFL) Guido van Rossum. PEP 572 seeks to add assignment expressions (or “inline assignments”) to the language, but it has seen a prolonged discussion over multiple huge threads on the python-dev mailing list—even after multiple rounds on python-ideas. Those threads were often contentious and were clearly voluminous to the point where many probably just tuned them out. At the summit, Van Rossum gave an overview of the feature proposal, which he seems inclined toward accepting, but he also wanted to discuss how to avoid this kind of thread explosion in the future.

    • GalecinoCar: A Java-based self-driving vehicle

      We are your typical geeks… always looking for a new hobby project to keep our skills sharp, pass time, and hopefully one day create a project that will make us rich. OK, the last part hasn’t happened yet, but someday… The rest of it has been just having fun working on some interesting projects together. Usually at night after our kids are in bed, we meet in one of our garages and just code.

      A while ago, we heard about Donkey Car, a self-driving robotic car and thought, “Wow. That’s cool. Wonder if we can do that?” We were even more fired up when we discovered that the Donkey Car project is Python-based, and we are over on the Java side. So, enter GalecinoCar, our Java and Groovy port of the Python-based Donkey Car project. (Mad props to the Donkey Car community, BTW!)

    • Stack vs Heap. What’s the difference and why should I care?

      I’m four months into the curriculum at Holberton School and we’ve solved multiple problems using the malloc, realloc, calloc and free functions in the C programming language. What better way to build a solid foundation of how memory gets allocated then to write a technical post on the stack versus the heap?

      [...]

      The stack is a segment of memory where data like your local variables and function calls get added and/or removed in a last-in-first-out (LIFO) manner. When you compile a program, the compiler enters through the main function and a stack frame is created on the stack. A frame, also known as an activation record is the collection of all data on the stack associated with one subprogram call. The main function and all the local variables are stored in an initial frame.

Leftovers
  • Tooting

    As I’m just getting started, I’m exploring this whole space a bit. I picked the instance to join (mastodon.technology) based on the fact that KDE lives there. As mastodon is federated, I can still interact with users of other instances.

  • A Twitter Leak Scuttled An NBA Draft Day Trade This Year

    It’s probably well known at this point that major professional sports leagues have a strange relationship with Twitter. On the one hand, many leagues use the social media site quite well when it comes to sharing highlights and getting their brands out there in front of people. Major League Baseball is particularly good at this, although the NBA is not terribly far behind. On the other hand, these leagues have been known to adopt quite restrictive policies when it comes to who can share what on Twitter. This is especially the case on league draft days. For instance, the NFL insists that its broadcast partners, such as ESPN and the NFL Network, not allow their journalists to tweet out draft picks on draft day before they are announced on television. The league obviously wants as many eyeballs tuned into the drama on television as it can muster and has theorized that making TV the first place to get draft picks announced will help with that.

    For anyone that follows sports on Twitter, this is obviously a very, very stupid theory. Many sports journalists are not working for ESPN and NFL Network, and they quite happily inform followers of draft picks before they are announced based on their sources. This is how journalism works.

  • Science
    • eLife Trialing Radical New Approach To Peer Review

      eLife, an online publisher of research in the life and biomedical sciences, is trialing a radical new approach to peer review to increase editorial transparency and promote more efficient access to innovative new research.

      According to the eLife website, “Having free and open access to the outcomes of research helps make achievements more visible, accessible and usable – ultimately accelerating discoveries and their applications.”

  • Hardware
    • Apple Engineers Its Own Downfall With the Macbook Pro Keyboard

      A titan of tech and industrial innovation has been laid low by a mere speck of dust. Last week, Apple quietly announced that they were extending the warranty on their flagship laptop’s keyboard to four years. As it turns out, the initial run of these keyboards, described by Jony Ive as thin, precise, and “sturdy,” has been magnificently prone to failure.

    • Apple’s Terrible Keyboards and Why Repairability Matters

      Apple is fixing busted MacBook keyboards for free, which is going to cost them money. This all could have been avoided if the keyboard were easy to repair or replace.

      As laptops become thinner repairability is compromised. Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro are prime examples, and the keyboard issues show why this is a problem.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Opioid Makers, Blamed for Overdose Epidemic, Cut Back on Marketing Payments to Doctors

      The past two years have been a time of reckoning for pharmaceutical manufacturers over their role in promoting opioid drugs that have fed a national epidemic.

      Lawsuits and media reports have accused Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, of aggressively marketing the powerful narcotic even after it knew the drug was being misused. Prosecutors have charged the founder of Insys Therapeutics and several of the company’s sales representatives and executives for their roles in an alleged conspiracy to bribe doctors to use its fentanyl spray for unapproved uses. State and local governments have sued a host of drugmakers, alleging they deceptively marketed opioids and seeking to recoup what it costs to treat people addicted to the drugs.

      But as public attention increases, the marketing tide may finally be retreating, a new ProPublica analysis shows. Pharmaceutical company payments to physicians related to opioid drugs decreased significantly in 2016 from the year before.

      In 2016, drug makers spent $15.8 million to pay doctors for speaking, consulting, meals and travel related to opioid drugs. That was down 33 percent from $23.7 million in 2015 and is 21 percent less than the $19.9 million in spent in 2014. Companies are required to report the payments publicly under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, a part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

      ProPublica analyzed these payments in conjunction with our update of Dollars for Docs, an online tool that allows users to view and compare promotional payments to doctors from drug and medical device companies. Today, we updated the tool to add payments to doctors for 2016. It now includes more than $9 billion in payments since 2013 to more than 900,000 doctors.

    • U.S. Senate Committee Proposes $50 Million to Prevent Mothers Dying in Childbirth

      Tackling an issue that Congress has largely ignored for decades, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to request $50 million in new funding for programs aimed at reducing the comparatively high U.S. rate of women who die in pregnancy or childbirth.

      More than three-quarters of the proposed funding — $38 million — would go to the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau to expand life-saving, evidence-based programs at hospitals and increase access to the Healthy Start program for new mothers and babies. The remaining $12 million would go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to enhance data collection and research as well as support state boards that count and review maternal deaths.

      “I’m kind of blown away,” said Charles Johnson, a maternal health advocate whose wife Kira died from a hemorrhage after giving birth in 2016. Maternal mortality, he added, has come to be seen as “not a black issue, not a white issue, not a liberal issue, not a conservative issue, not even just a woman’s health issue, but what it truly is, which is a human rights issue — that’s the big shift.”

    • Australian Tobacco Plain Packaging Upheld In Decision At WTO

      A World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel has ruled that Australia’s law requiring tobacco products be sold in plain packages in the interest of public health does not violate the country’s obligations at the global trade body. In Australia and increasingly in other countries, tobacco must be sold with no trademarks or marketing visible other than name. The landmark dispute was seen by some as at the nexus of economic and health interests for the WTO.

      [...]

      The large decision document shows the extensive analysis and effort on all sides in this years-long case. It details the arguments of the parties at every stage, and breaks down the meaning and definitions of all related concepts, such as the impact of the measures, and the possibility of achieving results using alternatives to the measures (such as taxation or new marketing campaigns).

      The decision also includes a full section (beginning with 7.3, p. 588) of thorough analysis on the TRIPS Agreement, addressing issues such as articles of the agreement, the meaning of trademark, registration of trademark, and obstacle to registration in TRIPS, and issues of distinctiveness, and reaches conclusions on whether there is violation.

  • Security
    • Toward a fully reproducible Debian

      It’s been a little over one year since we last covered Debian’s reproducible builds project. The effort has not stopped in the interim; progress continues to be made, the message has sharpened up, and word is spreading. Chris Lamb, speaking about this at FLOSS UK in a talk called “You may think you’re not a target: a tale of three developers”, hinted that the end may be starting to come into sight.

      The three developers of the title are part of the sharpened message, each being an example of the problem that reproducible builds aim to solve. Alice, a system administrator who contributes to a Linux distribution, is building her binaries on servers that, unknown to her, have been compromised; her binaries are trojan horses, carrying malicious content into systems that run them. Bob, a privacy-oriented developer, makes a privacy-preserving browser, but is being blackmailed into secretly including vulnerabilities in the binaries he provides. Carol is a free-software user whose laptop is being attacked by an evil maid called Eve, the third developer of the title; each time Carol shares free software with her friends, it is pre-compromised by Eve. All of these attacks hurt free-software users and the reputation of free software as a whole.

    • Fingerprinting: A new security for open source software

      Open Source Software (OSS) has changed the way software works. It’s found in almost everything, with almost all new apps and modern systems incorporating some open source components. The vast majority, 78 per cent, of companies run open source software, and two-thirds create software for customers built on open source; but like many things that come free, there are always rules to follow.

      The problem? Some members of the developer community can also be very casual about copying files, code snippets, images, binaries or entire modules without respecting their open source licences. Even if the developers are strict about reporting licences for their main components, chances are they’re using code that was already casually copied and enhanced.

    • How can a text editor plug-in enable privilege escalation? [Ed: Shock and surprise that installing rogue or bad software ("plug-in") can cause issues? It's not insulated.]

      Extensible Unix and Linux text editors that allow for the use of third-party plug-ins give users a useful way to add functionality, but the text editor plug-ins can also be exploited by local attackers to take control of a victim’s machine through privilege escalation.

      Dor Azouri, a security researcher at SafeBreach, examined how text editor plug-ins for leading text editors, including Emacs, Vim, Sublime, gedit and pico/nano, could be exploited by attackers for privilege escalation — and crafted proof of concept exploits for all of them except pico/nano.

    • Github Gentoo organization hacked

      Today 28 June at approximately 20:20 UTC unknown individuals have gained control of the Github Gentoo organization, and modified the content of repositories as well as pages there. We are still working to determine the exact extent and to regain control of the organization and its repositories. All Gentoo code hosted on github should for the moment be considered compromised.

    • Gentoo GitHub mirror hacked and considered compromised

      Linux distribution Gentoo has had its GitHub mirror broken into and taken over, with GitHub pages changed and ebuilds replaced.

      In an alert, Gentoo said the attacker gained control of the Github Gentoo organisation at June 28, 20:20 UTC.

      “All Gentoo code hosted on github should for the moment be considered compromised,” the alert said.

    • Et tu, Gentoo? Horrible gits meddle with Linux distro’s GitHub code

      If you have fetched anything from Gentoo’s GitHub-hosted repositories today, dump those files – because hackers have meddled with the open-source project’s data.

      The Linux distro’s officials sounded the alarm on Thursday, revealing someone managed to break into its GitHub organization account to modify software and webpages.

      Basically, if you downloaded and installed materials from Gentoo via GitHub, you might be compromised by bringing in malicious code. And until the all clear is given, you should avoid fetching anything from the project’s ‘hub org account.

      “Today, 28 June, at approximately 20:20 UTC unknown individuals have gained control of the Github Gentoo organization, and modified the content of repositories as well as pages there,” Gentoo dev Alec Warner said in a bulletin.

    • Gentoo Linux GitHub organisation hacked, content modified

      The GitHub organisation of the Gentoo Linux distribution has been compromised and the project behind Gentoo is warning users not to use code from this source.

      In a statement, the Gentoo leadership said some unknown individuals had gained control of the GitHub Gentoo organisation on 28 June at 20.20 UTC and modified the content and pages.

      Gentoo is a Linux distribution meant for advanced users. The source is compiled locally depending on user preferences and is often optimised for specific hardware.

    • Protecting Software Updates

      I’m pleased to say that Debian has already implemented many of the technical recommendations we describe, including leading the way on reproducible builds. But as individual developers we might also be targeted, as lamby points out, and it’s worth thinking about how you’d defend your users from such a situation.

    • FastBooking breach sees hackers steal customer data from ‘hundreds’ of hotels
    • Identity theft warning after major data breach at Ticketmaster

      The Guardian understands that a number of Ticketmaster customers have already had fraudulent transactions debited from their accounts, with the fraudsters spending people’s cash on money transfer service Xendpay, Uber gift cards and Netflix, among other items.

      Ticketmaster said customers who bought concert, theatre and sporting event tickets between February and 23 June 2018 may have been affected by the incident, which involved malicious software being used to steal people’s names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, payment details and Ticketmaster login details.

    • Ticketmaster’s data breach – what to do next

      Strictly speaking, it wasn’t Ticketmaster that was the target, but one of its suppliers. The company said malicious software had infected a customer support product hosted by Ibenta Technologies, which runs on Ticketmaster’s websites. Ibenta is an external third party supplier to the ticketing giant, offering products such as chatbots, knowledge management and case management such as queries that come in over email or social media.

    • ‘Monitor your accounts’: Ticketmaster customers in suspected data breach
    • Ticketmaster Discloses Breach That Impacts Nearly 5 Percent of Its Customers

      The company said the breach occurred at Ibenta Technologies, a third-party supplier hosting a Ticketmaster customer support product. According to Ibenta’s website, the company provides an AI chat-based support agent able to reply to customer questions when live staff are unavailable.

      An attempt to reach an Ibenta spokesperson by phone was unsuccessful.

    • Security updates for Thursday
  • Defence/Aggression
  • Finance
    • Why You’re Being Kept In A Constant State Of Impotent Rage

      Amazon can deliver goods same-day at little cost only because they ride their warehouse workers like animals. We can summon an affordable Uber ride like magic because the drivers get paid shit and work themselves to exhaustion. We’re all very aware of this. We’ll see a news story about those companies’ work conditions (on a website that got paid ad revenue to run it) and maybe share it on social media (generating ad revenue for Twitter/Reddit/etc.) and feel like we’ve done our part to fight back … but we sure as hell won’t stop using those companies.

      [...]

      This is a system that runs on anxiety even more than it runs on fossil fuels, and the same media that connects us profits by making us all feel like we’re under siege.

    • Kroger will use autonomous vehicles to deliver groceries this fall

      Now Nuro is announcing its first commercial partnership: with Kroger, one of the nation’s leading grocery chains. Starting this fall, Kroger plans to start delivering groceries to customers using Nuro’s autonomous vehicles.

    • Amazon Makes $1 Billion Splash in Health Care, Buying PillPack

      Most immediately, the move represents a formidable challenge to pharmacy chains including Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and CVS Health Corp., the two largest drugstore chains in the U.S. Walgreens shares sank 8.5 percent at 10:49 a.m. in New York, while CVS shares shed 8.9 percent.

    • The Economist’s Premature Obituary for the Sanders Movement

      Earlier this month, the US politics opinion column of the Economist (6/7/18), pseudonymously written by “Lexington,” was accompanied by a cartoon depicting Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.–Vermont) with a comically oversized hook nose. Perhaps cartoonist KAL was unaware of the connotations of the hook nose in antisemitic caricatures of Jews over the years, though this seems unlikely.

      The nasally enhanced Sanders was shown riding a train, directing it leftwards on its track. The track, however, is circular, suggesting that Sanders’ brand of left politics will go nowhere. The article itself is just as heavy-handed as the cartoon.

      [...]

      Yet the Economist thinks that this leftward shift is but a passing fancy that peaked in 2016, because outside of universal healthcare, “none of Mr Sanders’s other big ideas—including free college and massive public works—is getting much play.”

      Of course, leftist policy proposals like Medicare for All, free college or jobs guarantees are consistently attacked by corporate media, the Democratic establishment and Beltway donors as politically unrealistic or too expensive, favoring more “serious” Democratic proposals that don’t upset powerful financial or corporate interests. The Economist is one of the biggest culprits of this approach, and has in the past referred to Sanders’ policies as “utopian schemes,” “divisive” and “not merely unaffordable, but bad.” It has written off Sanders’ jobs guarantee proposal as “flawed,” and continues to decry his healthcare plan with the same old gripe—how are we going to pay for it?—a question that isn’t raised when Republicans pass out trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy and fight endless wars abroad.

    • The Tax Act Actually Promotes Off-Shore Tax Tricks [Ed: Lesser-known fact is that patents are, to large companies, also a tax evasion trick, in essence robbing the public]

      The Tax Act on its face will do nothing to reverse this trend, because it eliminated the tax on dividend repatriations, the last barrier to profit-shifting. However, Tax Act supporters point out two provisions designed to counter the incentive to shift: the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI) and the Foreign Derived Intangible Income (FDII) provisions.

      Under GILTI, U.S. parents of foreign subsidiary corporations are taxed on GILTI, which is defined as their profits in excess of a 10 percent return on tangible investments offshore. This provision is designed to limit profit-shifting incentives, especially for multinationals like Apple, Google, and Amazon that derive their profits from U.S.-developed intangibles and have low levels of tangible investments offshore.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • WaPo’s Civility Fetish Delegitimizes Opposition to Trump

      The Washington Post ran three articles between Sunday, June 24, and Monday, June 25, calling for “civility” and criticizing those who interfered with the dining experiences of Trump administration officials. In the highest-profile case, workers at the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, decided not to serve White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders over the government she represents’ discrimination against transgender people and its policy of separating children from their parents at the US/Mexico border.

      [...]

      Opposition to what’s called incivility is opposition to resisting the extreme injustices of the present moment. A Post editorial (6/24/18) highlighted this point: The editors say they are against much of the Trump government’s actions and rhetoric, but “we nonetheless would argue that Ms. Huckabee, and Ms. Nielsen and Mr. Miller, too, should be allowed to eat dinner in peace”—referring to Stephen Miller, one of the architects of the policy of ripping apart families.

      The editorial worried about the work/life balance of Trump staffers: “Never-at-rest social media have blurred the line between work hours and private time. Cellphone cameras make it ever easier to intrude and broadcast.” Those who run the Trump administration, the paper suggests, deserve to be able to clock out after a hard day of sending migrant children to internment camps.

      The civility fetish, to borrow a phrase from Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson (Citations Needed, 6/13/18), narrows the horizons of resistance—for example, the academic Steven Salaita was fired for opposing Israel’s massive 2014 assault on Gaza with “uncivil” tweets. By suggesting that it’s going too far to mildly inconvenience people who propagate transphobia and carry out what the UN describes as an “unlawful,” “serious violation” of the rights of children, the Post is delegitimizing efforts to stop such measures.

    • Meet the Government Employees Spending Taxpayer Dollars At Trump Hotels — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

      Shortly before President Donald Trump took office, his lawyer promised Trump would forgo any profits his hotels made from foreign governments. There was no similar pledge for money earned from federal government employees, state officials or anybody else who might be seeking to curry favor.

      In this episode of Trump, Inc. we’re going deep on Trump’s hotel rooms and the people who are paying to stay in them, including federal government workers.

      ProPublica has just released an interactive detailing at least $16.1 million spent at Trump Organization-managed and branded properties from his campaign, Republican organizations and government agencies since Trump announced his candidacy. The vast majority of the money — at least $13.5 million — was spent by Trump’s presidential campaign.

    • These Trump Staffers — Including an ex-NRA Lobbyist — Left Their Financial Disclosure Forms Blank

      Before accepting a position at the U.S. Department of the Interior last October, Benjamin Cassidy championed gun rights for nearly seven years as a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, collecting a peak annual salary of $288,333 for his work on Capitol Hill.

      The public wouldn’t know that by looking at Cassidy’s government financial disclosure report. The form, which he filed soon after taking a job as senior deputy director of the office of intergovernmental and external affairs, doesn’t list his old job at the NRA — or any past job, for that matter. Cassidy’s form was nearly blank, save for his name, title and some bank holdings and investments. In the space allotted to show his income, it incorrectly stated “None.”

    • Soaring Cost of Clues Leaves Thomas Friedman Apparently Unable to Buy One

      The reason that highly skilled workers are benefiting at the expense of less-educated workers is because we have made patent and copyright protection longer and stronger. It is more than a little bizarre that ostensibly educated people have such a hard time understanding this.

      We have these protections to provide incentives for people to innovate and do creative work. That is explicit policy. Then we are worried that people who innovate and do creative work are getting too much money at the expense of everyone else. Hmmm, any ideas here?

      Remember, without patents and copyrights, Bill Gates would still be working for a living.

    • How Mitch McConnell Made Donald Trump

      There is an unusual space in the basement of the University of Louisville library, in the large anteroom to the official archives for Sen. Mitch McConnell. The space is called the Civic Education Gallery, but it is, essentially, a kind of shrine to the political career of McConnell, not unlike the exhibits on Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron you’d find at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      The mere fact of the shrine is curious enough, given that it memorializes a politician who shows no sign of leaving the stage any time soon. What’s most unusual, though, is what it chooses to highlight. There are a few artifacts from McConnell’s youth — his baseball glove, his honorary fraternity paddle — but most of the exhibits are devoted to the elections he won, starting with high school and on up through Jefferson County executive and the Senate.

      When I visited the room while researching my 2014 biography on McConnell, I was struck by what was missing: exhibits on actual governing accomplishments from the Senate majority leader’s four decades in elected office. That absence confirmed my thesis that McConnell, far more even than other politicians, was motivated by the game of politics — winning elections and rising in the leadership ranks, achieving power for power’s sake — more than by any lasting policy goals.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • EFF Sues to Invalidate FOSTA, an Unconstitutional Internet Censorship Law

      We are asking a court to declare the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (“FOSTA”) unconstitutional and prevent it from being enforced. The law was written so poorly that it actually criminalizes a substantial amount of protected speech and, according to experts, actually hinders efforts to prosecute sex traffickers and aid victims.

      In our lawsuit, two human rights organizations, an individual advocate for sex workers, a certified non-sexual massage therapist, and the Internet Archive, are challenging the law as an unconstitutional violation of the First and Fifth Amendments. Although the law was passed by Congress for the worthy purpose of fighting sex trafficking, its broad language makes criminal of those who advocate for and provide resources to adult, consensual sex workers and actually hinders efforts to prosecute sex traffickers and aid victims.

      EFF strongly opposed FOSTA throughout the legislative process. During the months-long Congressional debate on the law we expressed our concern that the law violated free speech rights and would do heavy damage to online freedoms. The law that was ultimately passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump was actually the most egregiously bad of those Congress had been considering.

    • New Lawsuit Challenges FOSTA – The Federal Law Sparking Website Shutdowns

      Fears of Criminal Charges Muzzle Online Speech about Sex Work and Force Community Forums Offline

      San Francisco – Two human rights organizations, a digital library, an activist for sex workers, and a certified massage therapist have filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to block enforcement of FOSTA, the new federal law that silences online speech by forcing speakers to self-censor and requiring platforms to censor their users. The plaintiffs are represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Davis, Wright Tremaine LLP, Walters Law Group, and Daphne Keller.

      In Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States, the plaintiffs argue that FOSTA is unconstitutional, muzzling online speech that protects and advocates for sex workers and forces well-established, general interest community forums offline for fear of criminal charges and heavy civil liability for things their users might share.

      FOSTA, or the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, was passed by Congress in March. But instead of focusing on the perpetrators of sex trafficking, FOSTA goes after online speakers, imposing harsh penalties for any website that might “facilitate” prostitution or “contribute to sex trafficking.” The vague language and multiple layers of ambiguity are driving constitutionally protected speech off the Internet at a rapid pace.

      For example, plaintiff the Woodhull Freedom Foundation works to support the health, safety, and protection of sex workers, among other things. Woodhull wanted to publish information on its website to help sex workers understand what FOSTA meant to them. But instead, worried about liability under FOSTA, Woodhull was forced to censor its own speech and the speech of others who wanted to contribute to their blog. Woodhull is also concerned about the impact of FOSTA on its upcoming annual summit, scheduled for next month.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Saudi woman reporter leaves country after being probed for ‘indecent clothes’

      The conservative petro-state has some of the world’s toughest restrictions on women, who are required to wear body-shrouding abaya robes in public.

    • Glynn County, Georgia’s Crooked Public Defender

      Rather than trying to get his clients out of jail, this public defender extorts money from them.

      As the public defender for Glynn County, Georgia, Reid Zeh is entrusted with advocating for the most vulnerable members of his community when they come up against the criminal justice system. Rather than do his job, however, Zeh routinely ignores his clients or worse — extorts them to enrich himself.

      That’s what happened when Robert Cox and his 75-year-old mother, Barbara Hamilton, came to Zeh for legal assistance after Cox was charged with a misdemeanor. Instead of looking out for his client’s interests, Zeh took advantage of the family by charging them $2,500 for public defense services that should have been free-of-charge.

      Zeh is paid a flat fee by Glynn County to represent people who can’t otherwise afford legal representation in their criminal cases. Hamilton and her son didn’t know that Zeh could not legally or ethically require payment for his public defense services. Nor did they know that the county was already paying Zeh to provide these services.

      Pushing Cox and his family to pay fees they didn’t need to was effectively the last time Zeh took an interest in Cox’s cases. In the last two years, Cox spent over 170 days in jail because he could not afford bail on various misdemeanor charges such as trespassing and misdemeanor theft and not once did Zeh visit him or help him request a bail amount he could afford. Zeh only met with Cox to process a guilty plea, but he was a ghost during Cox’s long periods of pretrial incarceration and first appearance in court.

      That’s why this week we’re seeking permission from the court to add Cox and Hamilton to our lawsuit against Zeh for his role in perpetuating Glynn County’s wealth-based incarceration system and for failing to provide legal assistance to his clients who cannot afford a private attorney.

    • Killing a Journalist in Kashmir

      Large crowds gathered in Kreeri village in Kashmir last Monday to honor the life and journalistic work of Shujaat Bukhari, the slain editor of the Rising Kashmir. Bukhari, who lived under constant threat, was gunned down as he was leaving his office last Thursday. Three heavily armed assassins on motorcycles-opened fire on him with dozens of rounds, killing the fifty-year old family man, along with two of his security guards. He was on his way home to break his Ramzan fast with his family.

      Bukhari, who had already been kidnapped once and escaped, was murdered soon after he took up the case of a young man, Kaiser Bhat, who was tragically run over and killed by security forces, during one of many recent street protests in Indian-Administered Kashmir. Last tuesday, local and regional newspapers in Kashmir left large blank spaces where editorials would typically appear to honor the highly revered editor and journalist.

      I spoke at length with writer and noted author Vijay Prashad about the life and times of Shujaat Bukhari. Prashad was a colleague of Bukhari–who was for many years the bureau chief of the Hindu newspaper where Prashad’s work also appears

    • Journalist Barrett Brown Kickstarting Project To Engage In The Same Activities That Landed Him A Bullshit Conviction

      It’s not entirely clear what motivations lie behind Barrett Brown’s Kickstarter project, but you have to imagine it has to partially be an extended middle finger to the DOJ.

      Journalist Barrett Brown was tried and convicted on a handful of charges related to the act of journalism. He ended up with a 63-month sentence and a $890,000 restitution order — some of which was tied to this activity.

    • Reality Winner Takes Plea Deal, Will Serve Five Years For Letting The Public Know About Russian Election Interference

      After being held in jail for over a year because the DOJ managed to talk a judge into viewing Reality Winner — leaker of single document pertaining to Russian interference in the US elections — as a national security threat in need of constant containment, Winner has agreed to plea deal.

    • Kennedy’s Legacy: A Moderating Force and a Concern for Equal Dignity

      Kennedy’s swing vote allowed the Supreme Court to stay within the mainstream.

      Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement on Wednesday after more than 30 years on the Supreme Court, was a Republican appointee who over time became the swing vote on many of the court’s most controversial decisions. Especially after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired in 2006, as Kennedy went, so went constitutional law. Sometimes he swung right, other times left. But whichever way he went, more often than not, his was the deciding vote. We’ve called it the Roberts Court, after Chief Justice John Roberts, but it’s been the Kennedy Court in all but name.

      Kennedy was a conservative. One study identified him as the 10th most conservative justice to serve in the last century. But he was open to considering arguments on the other side, and not infrequently ruled in favor of liberty for the marginalized. For example, Kennedy wrote all the court’s major cases recognizing the rights of gay men and lesbians, many in 5-4 decisions. In Romer v. Evans, the court struck down a Colorado referendum barring protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In Lawrence v. Texas, Kennedy wrote for the court as it struck down a law making same-sex “sodomy” a crime. And perhaps most importantly, he wrote Windsor v. United States and Obergefell v. Hodges, both 5-4 decisions extending constitutional protection to the marriage of same-sex couples. In these and other decisions, he saw in anti-LGBT measures a direct affront to the equal dignity of all persons.

    • The Supreme Court’s Term Just Ended. Here’s How Civil Liberties and Rights Fared.

      The Supreme Court’s 2017 term saw a decisive conservative shift on the bench in large part to Justice Kennedy’s swing vote.

      On Wednesday afternoon, the Supreme Court’s 2017 term came to an end along with the tenure of one of the nation’s most consequential jurists — Anthony M. Kennedy. The 2017 term saw a decisive conservative shift on the bench, in large part because Justice Kennedy, often a swing vote, joined the conservatives in all 14 of the Court’s 5-4 decisions. The court decided a range of historic cases that significantly expanded as well as contracted our fundamental freedoms. Of the 72 cases heard by the justices, the American Civil Liberties Union was involved in 17, directly arguing four.

      Here are five of the most significant decisions, along with the role we played, the outcomes, and what it means for Americans’ civil liberties and civil rights.

    • ICE Rigged Its Vetting Tool To Make Sure It Can Always Keep Immigrants Locked Up

      As the rhetoric has amped up around immigration enforcement, so have the tactics. ICE was never anyone’s idea of a good time, but its actions have become much more aggressive, thanks to this administration’s steady stream of anti-immigrant sentiment. While not supporting the criminal activity engaged in by its informants, ICE is performing warrantless raids, deporting critics, and claiming helping undocumented children is a criminal offense.

      Now, it’s getting its software to pitch in. Reuters reports ICE is detaining more people than ever, keeping them imprisoned while their court cases — which may take years to adjudicate — are pending. Up until recently, ICE would make a determination on the risk level of detainees, allowing some to post bond and stay with their families while their court cases played out.

      That’s no longer the case. The system ICE uses to make this determination — detain/release — is still being used. But the info fed into it no longer matters. Thanks to Trump’s orders, there’s no determination being made. The software is a facade that spits out a single answer, no matter what info its given.

    • Papers Insist ‘We Need’ Secret Gang Databases—Just Like We ‘Needed’ Stop & Frisk

      When President Donald Trump rails against alleged immigrant gang members as “animals,” as he did last month, he’s reducing complex (and highly political) issues—like the presence of MS-13 in the United States—to a fearsome cartoon of snarling packs of subhuman marauders. Vintage Trump, right? But local media, nowadays lionized as a check on Trump, resort to the same strategy, playing fast and loose with the inflammatory term “gang” and deferring and time and time again to questionable police tactics.

      As FAIR’s Adam Johnson wrote two years ago (“Media Convict Scores of ‘Gang Members’ on NYPD’s Say-So—No Trials Necessary,” 5/2/16), local dailies in New York City were instrumental in convicting alleged gang members in the court of public opinion before anyone had ever even seen a judge. Most other local media outlets took the same approach, never bothering to ask if the scores of people arrested and perp-walked by police as violent gang members could actually be innocent, or unfairly swept up by a police department (in)famous for its dragnet approach to public safety.

    • How Sessions Is Making an Overstretched Deportation System Even Less Fair

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions is restricting a critical tool allowing immigration judges to pause deportation proceedings.

      Let’s say you came to this country as a 3-year-old with your parents and overstayed your visa. You felt American. You graduated from high school and college, and you fell in love with a U.S. citizen and got married. But upon applying for legal status, through your spouse, you got stopped by immigration authorities, arrested, and told you’d be deported.

      In the past, a mechanism called “administrative closure” could have helped. Until about a month ago, it would have allowed an immigration judge in one arm of this country’s sprawling immigration apparatus to pause the deportation process in order to allow another arm of the government to process the petition for legal permanent residency. This crucial tool has for decades helped judges to ensure fairness and efficiency in deportation cases, allowing them to temporarily take certain cases off the docket.

      But now Attorney General Jeff Sessions is restricting this critical power. On May 17, he issued a decision that severely limits administrative closure. Now, instead of having the discretion to close cases whenever it makes sense in light of relevant circumstances, judges are restricted to granting administrative closure only in narrow situations that largely apply to a small and dwindling universe of immigrants from select countries — a small fraction of the total number of cases currently administratively closed.

      Advocates, lawyers, and many immigration judges agree that curtailing administrative closure will have an enormously negative impact on immigrants in removal proceedings — something Sessions knew well when he chose unilaterally to end the practice in nearly all cases.

    • House Dumps Trump’s Immigration Bill, Deep-Sixing A Sizable Increase In Border Surveillance

      Despite the President demanding — via Twitter — that House Republicans pass the “strong but fair” immigration bill, the House Republicans did not, in fact, pass the muscley but attractive immigration bill. The bill would have diverted $25 billion to Donald’s Folly and steeply decreased the number of immigrants the nation is willing to extend citizenship to. It may have done a little good by providing another route to citizenship for children brought into the US by illegal immigrants, but that would have been undone by the removal of time limits for the detention of accompanied children.

      So, it was a hearty blend of bad and worse. There were compromises made to push the few centrists onto the “aye” side but what was offered wasn’t enough to sway the middle ground and wasn’t harsh enough to satisfy the anti-immigration hardliners. The bill will be back again eventually, but there’s no telling what will be added or subtracted before the next push to the president’s desk begins.

      However, there is a silver lining — at least for those concerned about the ability of the border to swallow everyone’s rights. As the EFF noted, the House’s rejection of this bill meant no increase in border-related surveillance, snooping, and data harvesting.

    • Abuse of childhood

      The blog post is in homage to any abuse victims and more directly to parents and children being separated by policies formed by a Government whose chief is supposed to be ‘The leader of the free world’. I sat on the blog post for almost a week even though I got it proof-read by two women, Miss S and Miss K to see if there is or was anything wrongful about the post. Both the women gave me their blessings as it’s something to be shared.

      I am writing this blog post writing from my house in a safe environment, having chai (tea), listening to some of my favorite songs, far from trauma some children are going through.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • AT&T Nearly Triples a Fee On Your Bill to Extract Hundreds of Millions From Customers

      You probably don’t notice the small “Administrative fee” on your cell phone bill. AT&T is banking on that. Literally. By quietly tripling that small fee, the carrier is set to rake in hundreds of millions.

      AT&T just spent $85 billion to acquire Time-Warner. Anyone who’s ever had to shell out a ton of cash at once knows the first thing you want to do when your savings take that big of a hit is to start looking for ways to tighten your belt. One way AT&T can start making a bit of money back is apparently to slide into your bill and tweak a fee that you probably weren’t going to notice anyway.

    • Effort To Save Net Neutrality Via Congressional Review Act Appears Stuck In Neutral

      Efforts to reverse the FCC’s historically unpopular attack on net neutrality using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) appear stuck in neutral.

      The CRA lets Congress reverse a regulatory action with a simply majority vote in the Senate and the House (which is how the GOP successfully killed FCC privacy protections last year). And while the Senate voted 52 to 47 back in May to reverse the FCC’s attack on net neutrality, companion efforts to set up a similar vote in the House don’t appear to be gaining much traction as the clock continues to tick. A discharge petition needs 218 votes to even see floor time, and another 218 votes to pass the measure.

    • Bill to save net neutrality is 46 votes short in US House

      A discharge petition needs 218 signatures to force a House vote on the same net neutrality bill, and 218 votes would also be enough to pass the measure. So far, the petition has signatures from 172 representatives, all Democrats. That number hasn’t changed in two weeks.

      “We’re 46 [signatures] away from being able to force a vote on the resolution to restore the Open Internet Order,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tweeted yesterday.

    • Another 10 Years Later

      The evolutionary path of any technology can often take strange and unanticipated turns and twists. At some points simplicity and minimalism can be replaced by complexity and ornamentation, while at other times a dramatic cut-through exposes the core concepts of the technology and removes layers of superfluous additions. The evolution of the Internet appears to be no exception and contains these same forms of unanticipated turns and twists. In thinking about the technology of the Internet over the last ten years, it appears that it’s been a very mixed story about what’s changed and what’s stayed the same.

      A lot of the Internet today looks much the same as the Internet of a decade ago. Much of the Internet’s infrastructure has stubbornly resisted various efforts to engender change. We are still in the middle of the process to transition the Internet to IPv6, which was the case a decade ago. We are still trying to improve the resilience of the Internet to various attack vectors, which was the case a decade ago. We are still grappling with various efforts to provide defined quality of service in the network, which was the case a decade ago. It seems that the rapid pace of technical change in the 1990’s and early 2000’s has simply run out of momentum and it seems that the dominant activity on the Internet over the past decade was consolidation rather than continued technical evolution. Perhaps this increased resistance to change is because as the size of the network increases, its inertial mass also increases. We used to quote Metcalf’s Law to each other, reciting the mantra that the value of a network increases in proportion to the square of the number of users. A related observation appears to be that a network’s inherent resistance to change, or inertial mass, is also directly related to the square of the number of users as well. Perhaps as a general observation, all large loosely coupled distributed systems are strongly resistant to efforts to orchestrate a coordinated change. At best, these systems respond to various forms of market pressures, but as the Internet’s overall system is so large and so diverse these market pressures manifest themselves in different ways in different parts of this network. Individual actors operate under no centrally orchestrated set of instructions or constraints. Where change occurs, it is because some sufficiently large body of individual actors see opportunity in undertaking the change or perceive unacceptable risk in not changing. The result for the Internet appears to be that some changes are very challenging, while others look like natural and inevitable progressive steps.

    • Internet is losing its memory: Cerf

      Archivists have for decades fought publicly for open document formats to hedge against proprietary and vendor risks – especially when classified material usually can only be made public after 30 to 50 years, sometimes longer.

    • Competition, Civil Liberties, and the Internet Giants

      The power of the Internet historically arose from its edges: innovation, growth, and freedom came from its users and their contributions, rather than from some centrally controlled core of overseers. But today, for an increasing number of users, there is a powerful center to the net—and a potentially uncompetitive and unrepresentative center at that.

      Too many widely relied-upon functions are now controlled by a few giant companies.

      The whole Internet itself is still vast and complex, enabling billions of users to communicate regardless of their physical location. Billions of websites, apps, and nearly costless communications channels remain open to all. Yet too many widely relied-upon functions are now controlled by a few giant companies. Worse, unlike previous technology cycles, the dominance of these companies has proven to be sticky. It’s still easy and cheap to put up a website, build an app, or organize a group of people online—but a few large corporations dominate the key resources needed to do those things. That, in turn, gives those companies extraordinary power over speech, privacy, and innovation.

  • DRM
    • Team Xecutor ‘Piracy’ Code Has DRM, Can Brick Your Nintendo Switch

      Hacking group Team Xecuter released a jail-breaking solution for Nintendo Switch earlier this month, opening the door to homebrew and piracy alike. However, according to a UK-based security researcher, the code contains DRM which can lock your Switch with a random password if there’s an attempt to crack it for unauthorized distribution.

    • Kodi Embraces DRM to Invite Content Publishers

      In the present day and age, it’s nearly impossible for a media distribution platform to be recognized by major content publishers without implementing DRM. This is one of the reasons why the popular Kodi media player has added “digital rights management” support in its most recent version. Several addons are already making use of this new feature, by bringing Netflix and Amazon to Kodi, for example.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Actavis UK Limited v Eli Lilly, Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Civil Division, [2015] EWCA Civ 666, 30 June 2015

      Following its denial of Actavis’ claim for declarations of non-infringement in respect of Eli Lilly’s European Patent, the Court of Appeal ruled on a number of procedural matters arising from that judgment.

    • Germany: Bohrhilfe für Zahnimplantat, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 38/16, 11 January 2018

      According to the FCJ, when it comes to the question of whether a particular solution was obvious to the skilled person, it is irrelevant whether a different solution was more obvious. In the present case, it was decisive that two options were available for the skilled person, both of which were suitable for the purpose defined in the prior art.

    • Spain: Xiaomi, Commercial Court of Barcelona, Ruling no. 46/2018, 20 February 2018

      In injunction proceedings decided in just a few hours (likely a record in Spanish patent litigation) in the context of the 2018 Mobile World Congress, Barcelona Commercial Court no. 4 granted a preliminary injunction.

    • Huawei chairman calls for SEP rates to come down under 5G in pledge not to ‘blackmail’ industry

      Addressing a Mobile World Congress event held in Shanghai yesterday, Huawei Chairman Eric Xu called for lower royalty rates and a transparent framework to be the cornerstones of a 5G licensing paradigm. The Chinese company plans to launch a 5G smartphone in less than one year’s time, Xu said. But the IP market is still waiting to see more concrete licence proposals from a company that’s unique in combining huge contributions to 5G standards with a leading global device business. Xu, current chairman under the rotating system employed by Huawei, devoted a portion of his remarks on the 5G future…

    • Meet the people who went to the US Copyright Office to demand your right to repair, remix and preserve!

      Every three years, the US Copyright Office undertakes an odd ritual: they allow members of the public to come before their officials and ask for the right to use their own property in ways that have nothing to do with copyright law.

      It’s a strange-but-true feature of American life. Blame Congress. When they enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, they included Section 1201, a rule that bans people from tampering with copyright controls on their devices. That means that manufacturers can use copyright controls to stop you from doing legitimate things, like taking your phone to an independent service depot; or modifying your computer so that you can save videos to use in remixes or to preserve old games. If doing these legal things requires that you first disable or remove a copyright control system, they can become illegal, even when you’re using your own property in the privacy of your own home.

      But every three years, the American people may go before the Copyright Office and ask for the right to do otherwise legal things with their own property, while lawyers from multinational corporations argue that this should not happen.

    • Indigenous Knowledge Databases: Is It Something To Be Concerned About?

      Almost all information today ends up in a database. It is organised and made readily accessible. While it sounds positive, for indigenous communities, it can be crucial. Databases of their knowledge, culture and genetic resources, if misused, can undermine generations of community effort and maybe even their sustainability. A panel of indigenous peoples’ representatives presented their concerns about databases this week to governments attending a World Intellectual Property Organization meeting on genetic resources.

    • Disclosure, Sanctions – Still To Be Overcome In WIPO Genetic Resources Negotiations

      Efforts to draft new language to bridge gaps in this week’s negotiations on a potential treaty protecting genetic resources at the World Intellectual Property Organization were praised by a number of participants. However, what is now presented as a “package” proposition, focusing the instrument on patents, left some developing countries with the feeling that the concessions they made on the patent-only focus are not being met with a similar efforts by others, in particular on a proposed disclosure requirement for patent applicants.

    • Germany: Borrelioseassay, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 11/15, 17 January 2017
    • Consumers bring motion to bar Qualcomm from enforcing a potential U.S. import ban against certain iPhones

      Yesterday, Judge Lucy H. Koh had the pleasure to terminate the long-running Apple v. Samsung dispute by granting an order of dismissal based on a settlement. Some of the time she’d otherwise have spent on the adjudication of post-trial motions can now be dedicated to this extremely interesting and important motion for a preliminary anti-enforcement injunction.

      There’s a precedent in the Northern District of California. By that I don’t even mean my favorite antisuit injunction process in recent months (Samsung’s anti-enforcement injunction against a couple of Chinese standard-essential patent (SEP) injunctions obtained by Huawei. I mean something much older, and I blogged about it at the time and hailed it as a “landmark decision”: about five years ago, Judge Ronald Whyte (whom Judge Koh succeeded when he became a senior judge), enjoined two WiFi (IEEE 802.11) SEP holders named LSI and Agere from enforcing a potential ITC exclusion order against RealTek Semiconductor.

    • A timeline of Apple v Samsung and why the smartphone wars aren’t over yet [Ed: the patent trolls' lobby, IAM, wants the patent wars to carry on and on]

      Apple v Samsung, the sprawling patent battle that was arguably the central conflict of the smartphone wars, came to an end yesterday as the pair announced that they had reached a settlement. As this blog has pointed, out in many ways the victor in all of this is Samsung which has been undeterred in its growth to become the world’s largest smartphone maker and has been able to remain an active part of the US market, despite Apple’s attempts to win an injunction against the company. Although the terms of the settlement were confidential Apple’s hand was presumably helped…

    • Trademarks
      • CJEU’s Puma v EUIPO ruling makes life easier for brand owners

        A ruling that the EUIPO should have taken its past decisions into account and told Puma why it chose to discount those decisions will help practitioners and brand owners, but it also raises the stakes in EUIPO proceedings

        The EUIPO must examine previous decisions when considering a brand’s older reputation, the CJEU ruled today.

      • GW Pharmaceuticals Wins FDA Approval of First CBD Drug

        Additionally, while the USPTO has categorically declined to grant trademarks based on the cannabis plant itself (and derivatives thereof), as well as cannabis goods and services that contribute to federally illegal activity (often referred to as those that “touch the plant”), rescheduling cannabis-based pharmaceuticals like Epidiolex may help eliminate any hurdles faced in obtaining federal trademark protection for such pharmaceuticals.

    • Copyrights
      • The Monkey Selfie Case Continues, But The Dancing Baby One Does Not

        Thankfully this is not a post about the Monkey Selfie case, which should have ended by now but has not. Instead it’s about Lenz v. Universal, the Dancing Baby case, which shouldn’t have come to an end yet, but has. This week the EFF announced that the case has been settled.

      • Appeals Court Says You Can Copyright A Collection Of Facts… If You Leave Out A Few

        The 9th Circuit is at it again with copyright. For whatever reason, when the 9th Circuit gets a copyright case, it frequently seems to mess everything up about it. This latest case — Experian v. Nationwide Marketing Services — is no exception. One of the most famous, and most important, copyright cases to hit the Supreme Court was the Feist case. We’ve mentioned it many times before. The short summary is that a phone book publisher had inserted a few “fake” names and numbers into its book to try to catch copycats. It found one, and sued for copyright infringement. The Supreme Court rejected it, noting that copyright does not apply to facts, and clearly rejecting any notion that mere “sweat of the brow” in collecting facts gives you a copyright.

        This was good. But… there was one part of the ruling that still left open the potential for mischief, and appeals courts have been making mischief in that loophole ever since. Here’s the issue: 17 USC 103 allows for copyright in “compilations,” though it notes this copyright “only extends to” the creative input in making the compilation, and not the underlying works (whether they are covered by copyright or not). The common sense explanation of this is that if, say, you’re putting together (with the proper licenses) a “best of…” CD (let’s say “Best of the 70′s”), then you can have a copyright on that compilation. Not in the underlying songs, which you’ve licensed properly, but in the creativity in choosing the 7, 12, 15 or whatever number of songs, and the order you’ve placed them in. That requires some creativity, and it may be enough to get a fairly narrow copyright.

        In Feist, the question was whether or not putting together all the phone numbers and names was covered by that compilation setup, and the Supreme Court said no. A mere collection of facts has no creative element and thus can’t be considered a compilation for the purpose of establishing a new copyright. That’s good. But the opinion bent over backwards to suggest that lots of other compilations of data might have the requisite creativity. And… far too many courts have taken the Supreme Court up on that proposition, potentially eviscerating the valuable promises of Feist.

      • YouTube’s Head of Music: We’re Not Discussing the Value Gap

        Article 13, the proposed EU legislation that aims to restrict safe harbors for online platforms, was crafted to end the so-called “Value Gap” on YouTube. However, according to YouTube’s global head of music, it’s something that simply not on the agenda. “I do know, from every single senior executive, that we’re not discussing the value gap,” Lyor Cohen says.

      • ‘We’re Being Sued, Ordered to Pay Copyright Troll’s Legal Bills’ – Web Activist

        A Norwegian court has ordered to shut down a website run by local internet activists, providing free access to court rulings. The owners of the website are now preparing to challenge what they call an unfair verdict in the court of appeals.

      • “Dancing Baby” lawsuit finally settles, baby is now a middle-school student

        Universal Music Publishing Group has finally settled its copyright lawsuit filed against Stephanie Lenz, the woman who posted a short video of her son dancing to a Prince song in 2007.

Eight Years of Battistelli

Friday 29th of June 2018 02:16:15 AM

The latest EPO FLIER (No. 39), published by staff from the EPO (source: www.epostaff4rights.org), is reproduced here in order to give our readers direct access to it.

Reputation and patent quality after eight years of Battistelli: ruined

On 27 and 28 June 2018, the Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Office (EPO) will hold its 156th meeting in Rijswijk (near The Hague). The delegations will celebrate the inauguration of the ‘New Main’, one of the most impressive office buildings in the Netherlands. On 25 and 26 June 2014, almost exactly four years ago, the AC held its 140th meeting at the same location. At that time, the Delegations convened to celebrate the laying of the first stone for the ‘New Main’ building, and to consider the renewal of the appointment of Mr Battistelli as the president, for the period from July 2015 to June 2018.

First cracks in Battistelli’s building

In June 2014, we informed the delegations through an open letter1 that “the climate in the EPO … is such that staff members no longer dare to voice dissent, as chances are that the President – using his own yardstick – will interpret it as misconduct or as not being in the interest of the Office.

What had happened to the former model international civil service organisation? One year earlier, in June 2013, the Council had approved new strike rules, which – as a Dutch Appeals Court later ruled – violate the staff’s basic rights2. In March 2014, the AC had passed a reform allowing the president to define the rules for electing the staff committees and to impede the committees’ proper working. Most staff consider also these provisions illegal – several internal appeals are pending. On 4 March 2014, more than 750 Munich staff members had gathered for a General Assembly and mandated their staff union committee to inform the Administrative Council as follows:

The staff has lost trust in Mr Battistelli and is concerned not only about its own future, but also about the negative repercussions on the functioning of the European patent system as a whole. It has become clear that the proper performance of the tasks of the individual staff members, and therefore of the European Patent Office, is incompatible with the continuing presidency of Mr Battistelli.3

About that time, four law firms from different European countries sent a letter4 to the members of the AC on behalf of the EPO’s largest staff union. The letter reminded the delegations of the deleterious social climate within the organisation, governance deficits and their prerogatives.

Our June 2014 open letter1 warned: “Not only ‘New Main’ will be a landmark in the history of the EPO. Your decision on the presidency of the Office for the period after expiry of Mr Battistelli’s term will be remembered. … As you are writing history, please make sure it will be remembered as a moment of inspired leadership, allowing the Office to return to being a place where motivated staff enjoys contributing to the success of Europe.

The Council endorsed the prolongation of President Battistelli’s term.

The following four years of his presidency were characterised by Battistelli’s acts of institutional harassment and revenge5,6 against staff representatives, and ongoing legal harassment, stretching over 3½ years, of a Board of Appeal (DG3) judge, Patrick Corcoran. The institutional harassment of the DG3 member, through President Benoît Battistelli and VP4 Želiko Topić, extended even to national courts and continued after they had learned that the (falsely) accused was innocent7!

False incentives: examiners, open the floodgates!

According to Battistelli, there were good reasons for changing the previous successful career system: “Except an exceptional professional conscience and personal motivation, nothing incents them to work harder or to work less.” … “By opening this technical career … we will provide incentives until the very last day of their professional life.8

In 2014, before the introduction of the new system, we warned the delegations that the “intended change in labour law is at the same time an implicit change in the (effect of) patent law.9 We argued that an “entirely performance-based career system puts managers and employees under pressure to increase production. With the rule of law being absent, and in a working environment being dominated by fear and intimidation, not only ill-motivated managers but also weak and intimidated ones are tempted to put their subordinate employees under pressure to fulfill even the most unrealistic targets. And in the presence of threats, many of them will fulfill these expectations, while lowering the search and examination standards.“ EPO examiners “will no longer be able to support the priorities of the EU by delivering high quality patents, as maintaining the required professional standards seems to be against the political will of the EPO’s president, and apparently of most of the member states”, we concluded.10,11

When being confronted with strong criticism from several delegations, the president defended his proposal, successfully, with the following words:

We are not here trying to build a reform which is compatible with each of your nation’s, with each of your state’s law. We are trying to build something which is useful for the Office, for the Organisation. So, if in some cases, it is not compatible with the German law, or the UK law, or the French law, this is not the issue. The issue is: is it useful for the Organisation?”8

European patent flood

On a 2015 demo flyer, the Munich staff union asked “How many patents does Europe need?12

In the meantime, answers to this question, and to the president‘s leading question as to whether his reform is “useful for the Organisation” have been given by different actors:

When staff representatives informed the member states’ delegations in 2017 that the steep increase in production had been accompanied by a decline in service quality, VP1 and VP2 claimed in an internal announcement to staff that their representatives had “publicly attacked … the quality of the products delivered by EPO staff, without any evidence but unfounded allegations,” and thereby shown “a total lack of respect for the colleagues …13. A few months later, even some of the delegations expressed concerns about a drop in patent quality14.

An independent 2016 patent survey15, conducted by the well-respected German legal magazine JUVE, revealed that less than half of the survey’s participants were happy with the quality of the European patent examination process, and only one in 25 considered the president’s efficiency strategy useful. The survey did not only show that a quality erosion had taken place, but also an alarming level of mistrust in Battistelli (zero percent confidence rating), with the majority of respondents calling for his resignation. Also other critical outside observers have noticed a significant drop in the quality of the services delivered by the EPO16,17.

In a 2018 petition18 to the Administrative Council, more than 900 EPO examiners claimed that they were being prevented by instructions from their managers from carrying out a complete search and thorough patent examination19,20:

We are far too often put in front of the dilemma of either working according to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and respecting the Examiner’s Guidelines, or issuing “products” as our hierarchy demands.’

According to a recent survey, WIPR readers said they believe that the quality of the European patent is endangered21. One reader said that arbitrarily and annually increasing production targets “can only reduce quality”, another claimed that the “current management only seems to care about statistics” rather than the quality of granted patents.

In a recent open letter22,23, four German law firms, who together file about 9,500 European patent applications per year, wrote:

The incentive systems and internal directives appear to be increasingly directed towards rewarding or even requesting rapid “termination” of proceedings and a correspondingly higher productivity. This has resulted in penalization of detailed and thorough assessment of cases. … Patents that have been examined less thoroughly tend to have an erroneous scope of protection”, they said, which “distorts and hinders economic competition within the EPC Member States.” They suggested urgently setting up “new incentive systems for examining European patents so that the high-quality of searches and examinations for which the European Patent Office used to be known will be guaranteed again.

Typically an EPO spokesperson avoided addressing the criticism and instead said24 that surveys and annual quality reports25 showed that “the high-quality levels for which the office is known” was continuing to increase even further.

‘“The EPO takes feedback from all its users seriously and should the authors of the letter have concerns over quality levels then we would encourage them to provide evidence, rather than unsubstantiated claims,” noted the spokesperson.’25

Construction sites

‘New Main’ is far from being finished, but Battistelli insisted on being the president who inaugurates it. Regardless of how much he celebrates ‘New Main’, he leaves behind him a much bigger construction site.

Despite glossy brochures full of self-aggrandisement26, it is clear now that Mr Battistelli’s self-obsessed and destructive management style has been detrimental to patent applicants, third parties and the economy – and unhealthy for staff. His breakneck experiment with patent examination is failing6. L’organisation est tombée en panne!

Battistelli’s failure leaves a herculean task for his successor, who must rapidly restore a healthy social climate and repair the European patent system.

We wish Mr Campinos good luck for mastering this challenge.

________

1 Open letter: A shiny new building cannot gloss over serious governance deficits (22 June 2014)

2 While the Dutch Supreme Court (Hoge Raad) later ruled that the Organisation enjoys immunity from jurisdiction, it did not reverse the decision of the Appeals Court on substance

3 Resolution of Munich staff who gathered on 4 March 2014 in a SUEPO General Assembly (see EPO FLIER No. 4)

4 Re: Social conflict at the European Patent Office (letter from Bourdon & Forestier on behalf of SUEPO, 20.06.2014)

5 See EPO FLIER No. 37Battistelli’s record: legal harassment and retaliation (12.06.2018), CA/20/16 and CA/21/15

6 The tarnished legacy of an EPO president (Kluwer patent blog, 21.06.2018)

7 Thorsten Bausch, Landgericht München: Patrick Corcoran is Innocent and Acquitted of all Charges (20.06.2018)

8 President Battistelli, defending his career reform proposal during the Budget and Finance Committee meeting on 20 November 2014

9 EPO FLIER No. 13 – The spirit of the regulations (08.12.2014)

10 European Patent Office: examiners fear they won’t “be able to ensure appropriate quality standards” (Florian Mueller, FOSS Patents, 08.12.2014)

11 Dugie Standeford, EPO Supervisory Body To Face Fears Over Patent Quality, Judicial Independence (IP Watch, 10.12.2014)

12 European Patent Office staff asks a good question: How many patents does Europe need? (19.02.2015)

13 Kieren McCarthy, Effort to fire EPO president beaten back – again (The Register, 20.03.2017)

14 European Patent Office’s document churning snatches Germany’s attention: ‘We are concerned about quality(Kieren McCarthy, The Register, 12.10.2017)

15 JUVE Rechtsmarkt, 2016 Patent Survey, Clear orders (German, English translation)

16 K. McCarthy, Now German companies are beating the drum over poor patent quality (The Register, 17.10.2017)

17 Thorsten Bausch,The EPO’s Vision (III) – Quality (Kluwer patent blog, 05.03.2018)

18 Petition from EPO examiners, (CSC letter to the AC, 09.03.2018)

19 Kieren McCarthy, Patent quality has fallen, confirm Euro examiners (The Register, 15.03.2018)

20 Patent quality endangered by EPO management, claim examiners (WIPR, 16.03.2018)

21 EPO patent quality is endangered, claim readers (WIPR, 26.03.2018)

22 Open letter from German patent law firms: Quality of Examination Proceedings at the EPO (07.06.2018)

23 Leading German patent law firms criticize European Patent Office (Kluwer patent blog, 14.06.2018)

24 German law firms raise concerns over EPO patent quality (WIPR, 15.06.2018)

25 EPO Quality Reports 2016 and 2017

26 Eg Modernising the EPO for excellence and sustainability – Achievements 2010 to 2018 (EPO brochure, 2018)

President Benoît Battistelli is Finished, But the Huge Mess He Has Created is Not

Thursday 28th of June 2018 05:59:04 PM

Summary: Benoît Battistelli is leaving the EPO after another ruinous and disastrous week in which he lost all of his cases against staff representatives (more than 2 years after his union-busting crusade resulted in sackings and culminated in a climate of unprecedented terror inside the Office)

IT’S OVER. He’s done breaking things. Will the EPO survive this breakage? Time will tell.

Benoît Battistelli has just published (warning: epo.org link) his “Farewell Message” and it was promoted in Twitter almost immediately.

“Justice can be notoriously slow, as many EPO insiders are abundantly aware, and laws are selectively applied, typically to protect those in positions of power.”Many serious abuses under his belt. Many people think (or hope) he might get arrested in the future, just like Nicolas Sarkozy. Justice can be notoriously slow, as many EPO insiders are abundantly aware, and laws are selectively applied, typically to protect those in positions of power.

The EPO refuses to talk about justice. Still not a word about ILO/ILO-AT. Still publishing yet more Battistelli photo ops in a construction site which was a failed project (massive losses). They have also just retweeted nighttime pictures from an angle that hides how crude and unfinished this project really is.

“The EPO refuses to talk about justice. Still not a word about ILO/ILO-AT.”Battistelli’s blog post is the same old nonsense which requires a bag within reach (in case of vomiting). It remains to be seen whether António Campinos will carry on with the same stained (full of lies) blog.

We’re still trying to find more coverage about yesterday’s protest.There are tweets in Dutch [1, 2, 3, 4] about the protest at the EPO but barely any press coverage (i.e. the usual). There’s the photo shown above (no faces). SUEPO now links to an article about it — the sole one we saw (so far). One more article about ILO-AT has just been published by WIPR, two days after the historic rulings. To quote some bits:

The International Labour Organization’s Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) reversed the downgrading of one staff member of the European Patent Office (EPO) and reinstated another in decisions handed down earlier this week.

In case 4042, the ILOAT ordered the reinstatement of Malika Weaver, who had challenged the EPO’s decision to downgrade her for misconduct.

[...]

The SUEPO Munich committee chairman was accused of having actively incited Weaver to unduly pressure C and of forwarding the confidential letter to the Munich committee.

While the disciplinary committee found there was insufficient evidence of Brumme’s active involvement in the exercise of undue pressure, it did find that he had disclosed confidential information.

The committee recommended downgrading, but Battistelli dismissed him.

Earlier this week, the ILOAT set aside the EPO’s decision and ordered the organisation to reinstate Brumme. He was awarded moral damages of €30,000 and costs of €8,000.

In case 4047, another complainant challenged the EPO’s decision to dismiss her for serious misconduct.

The ILOAT found that the disciplinary committee and president hadn’t correctly applied the appropriate standard of proof and remitted the case to be “considered afresh”.

The tribunal backed the EPO in another case, dismissing a complaint against relegation in case 4050.

Out of 75 Judgments, 17 concerned the EPO. Of those 17, the ILOAT ruled against the complainants in 10 cases.

Don’t forget Judge Corcoran, whose case demonstrates that the EPO still refuses to obey ILO and implement resolutions. Will Campinos give any jobs back, reinstating fired workers? Time will tell. The EPO has just said: “This year’s conference will update participants on the reform of the structure of the Boards of Appeal and of the Boards’ Rules of Procedure.”

“But worry not, as a former banker who is loyal to Battistelli (since many years ago) Campinos won’t dare investigate.”“They totally lost their independence when Battistelli repeatedly did illegal things,” I told them. “He should be put on trial.”

But the EPO’s PR people, even after Battistelli says “farewell” (technically his last day is tomorrow), are still bossed by Team Battistelli and they push the same toxic agenda, suppressing particular facts while pushing lies. Their account also retweets UPC pushers from CIPA today. What does the future hold? Campinos is indebted to Battistelli, so it doesn’t look bright. Maybe Battistelli will still be around in Munich next week, sharing alcoholic drinks like very expensive wines at the pub he built for himself (and now Campinos). It’s alleged that he misused money dedicated for the building in the Netherlands to secretly build that 'penthouse' of his. But worry not, as a former banker who is loyal to Battistelli (since many years ago) Campinos won’t dare investigate. Besides, he benefits from this ‘inheritance’.

iPEL (Innovative Patents, Ethical Licensing) is Just Another Patent Trolls’ Scam/Ploy Disguised as ‘Ethical’

Thursday 28th of June 2018 09:52:32 AM

iPEL, PFE and the “ethical” or “SME” slant — similar tricks, same timing


Keep saying “ethical” and maybe some gullible people will eventually believe it

Summary: Two PR stunts, one in Europe and another in the US, try to paint notorious patent trolls (nowadays subjected to a hostile litigation terrain) as “good for small businesses”; but nothing could be further from the truth because small businesses suffer from trolls the most

THE PATENT TROLLS are down for the count, but it’s not a knockout just yet. They keep coming up with all sorts of tricks and workarounds. They also try to better disguise themselves using shells and proxies (Intellectual Ventures, for instance, has many thousands of these). Some of these trolls can no longer drag their victims to Texas. Yesterday Docket Navigator took note of TC Heartland in the courts, potentially helping the defendant dodge litigation in patent trolls-centric districts. In Princeton Digital Image Corporation v Ubisoft Entertainment SA, according to the Docket Report, “[t]he magistrate judge recommended denying defendant’s motion to dismiss or transfer for improper venue and rejected defendant’s argument that it did not waive its objection to venue because the objection was not available until the court dismissed another defendant.”

“It turns out that, having fed the world’s largest troll (Intellectual Ventures), this Korean company is now feeding some of Canada’s very worst patent trolls.”So no luck this time. But it’s too early to tell the eventuality. Meanwhile, Jacob Schindler from IAM (the trolls’ lobby) spoke of MagnaChip Semiconductor. It turns out that, having fed the world’s largest troll (Intellectual Ventures), this Korean company is now feeding some of Canada’s very worst patent trolls. IAM seems happy about it, as one might expect. IAM is funded by these trolls. Literally. WiLAN, which we last mentioned earlier this year (several times in fact) is the latest recipient for “trolling mode” (what IAM euphemistically calls “monetisation mode”). To quote:

WiLAN announced yesterday that it has acquired a patent portfolio totaling over 85 assets from Seoul-based MagnaChip Semiconductor. The transaction is part of WiLAN’s partnership programme. The deal marks the latest in a steady stream of acquisitions by the Canadian licensing company, and a comeback NPE deal for the Korea firm, which sold patents to Intellectual Ventures in 2009. The USPTO records a transaction from MagnaChip to Carthage Silicon Innovations LLC four days ago. The full assignment documents aren’t yet available, but there are nine listed US assets so far

This troll is Canadian and the so-called inventors Korean. Does that help dodge decisions such as TC Heartland? Is there a precedent for that?

“The trolls know that their public image is deservedly bad, so they’ve initiated some PR campaigns rather than change their behaviour.”Either way, there are some patent trolls which Watchtroll is helping to paint as "ethical" this week, accompanying the highly misleading press release. We already responded to that, but Josh Landau (CCIA) did further research and rebutted as follows some time yesterday:

Non-practicing entities (NPEs) are generally companies with only one asset—their patents. So why would an NPE give away licenses to the only things it can generate value from? If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it might be.

Act Now For A Free Patent License!

iPEL (Innovative Patents, Ethical Licensing) is a new NPE, formed by self-described “patent monetizer” Brian Yates (formerly of IP Prognosis and hundreds of shell companies—more on that below) and Rasheed McWilliams (a litigator). It’s offering licenses to its portfolio until the end of the year, and those licenses are free to companies with less than $5 million in annual revenue.

Free stuff isn’t always good, and the details of the licenses suggest why they might not be all that good for the licensees.

Well, read on; like a true “CCIA agent” — for lack of a better term — Landau comes at the right time/moment and sheds light on this kind of scam/sham, which resembles Patent Factory Europe (PFE), also announced in Europe about a week ago (in ‘partnership’ with IAM). The notion of “ethical” trolls is about as sane as “ethical” oil spills. Don’t fall for it. The trolls know that their public image is deservedly bad, so they’ve initiated some PR campaigns rather than change their behaviour.

US Patent Number 10,000,000 May be a Bogus One, as Per Alice/Section 101

Thursday 28th of June 2018 09:11:09 AM

It basically processes some signals using a computer algorithm

Summary: US patent number 10,000,000 would likely be invalidated if challenged by an inter partes review (IPR), but it’s being blindly celebrated by the patent microcosm regardless

THE quality of patents at the EPO sure is declining, but what about the US? Well, in the US a lot of patents continue to be granted, but courts reject the lion’s share of these (which are asserted in courts or behind closed doors, instigating potential IPRs).

“People online have long obsessed over US patent number 10,000,000, even before it was named (or even its issuance date known).”Remember the hype about US patent number 10 million? That USPTO-granted patent is likely bogus too, as per the SCOTUS-inspired Section 101/Alice. We sure think so, but the Federal Circuit and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) have not looked at it yet. SCOTUS itself will be busy looking into Helsinn v Teva (mostly a prior art case) — a subject still covered by Kevin E. Noonan (Patent Docs) and other patent maximalists. “The court in Helsinn v Teva appears will rule on the issue of whether the confidential sale or license of a not-yet-patented technology or process qualifies as prior art under the AIA,” Managing IP wrote yesterday.

People online have long obsessed over US patent number 10,000,000, even before it was named (or even its issuance date known). More of this dumb obsession over the mere number of patents rather than their quality/value hasn’t quite stopped yet; there’s still more of that (see [1-3] at the bottom — all from this week).

“Scroll down a bit and nothing will be found except diagrams which correspond to data flow (like pseudo-code), explicitly with a computer/processor named.”Some people (a)(be)mused themselves by asking what would happen if a PTAB IPR rendered it invalid, making a sort of void at that historic point in the series of granted patents. We’ve already mentioned a couple of times that the patent may be abstract. Someone has just said: “The 10M patent issued for a “Coherent LADAR Using Intra-Pixel Detection” last week. It wasn’t deemed to be “abstract”? Weird. It seems like all examiners these days are smoking cigs at a French cafe contemplating existence. Just kidding. Pretty cool!”

So let’s look at it. The USPTO made a special URL for it: https://10millionpatents.uspto.gov/docs/patent10million.pdf

“We understand that this may upset patent maximalists and the person to whom this patent was assigned, but it reads “Section 101″ all over it.”Scroll down a bit and nothing will be found except diagrams which correspond to data flow (like pseudo-code), explicitly with a computer/processor named. So what’s the invention here really? Surely not the methods of acquisition of signals.

We understand that this may upset patent maximalists and the person to whom this patent was assigned, but it reads “Section 101″ all over it.

Suffice to say, patent maximalists would rather obsess over cases which better suit their agenda. Yesterday, for instance, Kluwer Patent Blog covered this (a case from last week):

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board correctly determined that claims 1-8 of a patent for a method for drilling holes for dental implants, held by Sirona Dental Systems GmbH, were unpatentable as obvious in light of prior art, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled. Further, the petitioners, Institut Straumann AG and Dental Wings Inc., failed to demonstrate that claims 9-10 of the challenged patent were unpatentable, as the Board correctly found. However, the Board erred when it denied Sirona’s contingent motion to amend the claims of its patent, and that ruling of the Board was vacated, and the dispute remanded with instructions to the Board to reconsider in light of recent precedent (Sirona Dental Systems GmbH v. Institut Straumann AG, June 19, 2018, Moore, K.).

This case, which was judged (or ruling authored) by Moore, is the exception, not the norm. For a more realistic view of what happens at PTAB see the insanely angry Mr. Gross, who just keeps bashing PTAB every hour of the day. Yesterday he called “MALICE”, said he “[a]lmost fell out of my chair”, used words like “trashes” and went all caps with “THIS IS COMPLETELY FALSE; ENFISH SAYS “RELEVANT” NOT “MANDATORY”…”

“Goodbye software patents. Goodbye US patent number 10,000,000 as well? We might never know unless someone files an IPR or the patent goes to court.”He called “nonsense” and moaned the loss of another patent from big bully IBM. Basically, almost everything perishes at the altar of PTAB and patent maximalists who are connected to patent trolls can’t stand it. There was only one exception to this (“reversal today of §101 rejection at PTAB”).

The sidekick of Gross brought up the much older Bilski case and said: “In Bilski, J Kennedy worried about the risk that he might “create uncertainty as to the patentability of software, advanced diagnostic medicine techniques, and inventions based on linear programming, data compression, and the manipulation of digital signals.””

Why worry? It’s a good thing. Goodbye software patents. Goodbye US patent number 10,000,000 as well? We might never know unless someone files an IPR or the patent goes to court.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Celebrating American ingenuity to the 7th power

    From mainframe computers to mobile devices, from vaccines to cures, American ingenuity underwritten by the U.S. patent system has compounded over time to make our lives longer, more productive and more fulfilling.

  2. From 1 to 10,000,000 – A History of Patents
  3. The USPTO passed up a “golden opportunity” with its Raytheon 10 millionth patent award, expert claims

    The USPTO missed out on a significant chance to have a major impact with its choice for the 10 millionth patent, according to Matt Troyer, director of patent analytics at IP services provider Anaqua. “The news definitely made some noise,” he told IAM, “but this was a missed, one-of-a-kind opportunity to pay tribute to the acceleration of technology, celebrate 228 years of US innovation and pave the way for the next generation of inventors.” Last Tuesday the office issued patent number 10 million to Raytheon’s Joseph Marron for a method of getting real-time readings from LADAR.

Apple Loses Its Patent War Against Android and by Extension Against Linux

Thursday 28th of June 2018 08:08:58 AM

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve Jobs

Summary: The long battle that Steve Jobs embarked on nearly a decade ago (with his infamous term, going “thermonuclear”) reaches its end and Apple is nowhere near to what the now-deceased Jobs actually wanted because Android dominates the market and these lawsuits are profitable to nobody except law firms

BACK in 2010 we wrote a lot about Apple, particularly about its war on Android, which had begun with a ‘soft’ (vulnerable) target, HTC. Our interest in this case and subsequent cases (e.g. against Samsung) has since then dwindled, but we kept abreast of the more major developments.

“From a legal perspective this case isn’t as interesting as other cases, but the sums (so-called ‘damages’) are higher, so patent extremists were quick to boost it.”Apple and Samsung finally settle, but we weren’t sure if we should bother writing about this because it’s covered very widely already. Like everything “Apple”, when it comes to patents literally all the major papers cover it (while ignoring much more important patent news). That’s not exactly fine, but this is the world we live in and if some headline says “Apple”, then people are more likely to click on it (than a headline that says “§ 101″ or something equally vague to most people).

But really, how can we just ignore such news? The patent maximalists’ sites, e.g. Michael Loney’s, have begun covering it. “Apple and Samsung apparently just settled their patent dispute,” Mark Lemley wrote yesterday and soon thereafter came a lot of media coverage. Sites about patents wrote about it, albeit we can expect a lot more from them in days to come. From a legal perspective this case isn’t as interesting as other cases, but the sums (so-called ‘damages’) are higher, so patent extremists were quick to boost it. They wrote about it last night.

“Just remember that Apple started this dispute and was the bully all along.”So did technology news sites, Android sites, Apple sites, Android-centric news sites like this, corporate media and its “tech” branches (like CBS/CNET). They don’t say anything particularly special or insightful. In fact, the said truce is pretty secretive, so there’s not much that can be said with certainty. A blog post from someone who followed these battles closely for 8 years (Florian Müller) says/concludes with this: “Normally, those companies strike license deals, and when they wind up in court, they typically settle reasonably early. Somehow, it took them a lot longer in this case. And now either one of them has a dispute going that looks like it could become the next long-running one: Apple with Qualcomm, and Samsung with Huawei.”

“Only the lawyers gained from these cases (there was a string of them).”Just remember that Apple started this dispute and was the bully all along. Judge Koh made herself a name out of it. The media loves any case that says “Apple” on it. Müller added that “Judge Koh was quick and presumably overjoyous to grant the DISMISSAL sought by Apple and Samsung post-mediation: ORDER OF DISMISSAL. Signed by Judge Lucy H. Koh on 6/27/18.”

Koh has since then done other commendable things in her court.

For those wishing to read more details, try this article from Bloomberg:

The biggest patent battle of the modern technology world has finally come to an end after seven years.

Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. told a judge Wednesday they’d resolved the first filed but last remaining of the legal disputes that once spanned four continents. The string of lawsuits started in 2011 after Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder who died that year, threatened to go “thermonuclear” on rivals that used the Android operating system. The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the accord.

Only the lawyers gained from these cases (there was a string of them). Why did Samsung and Apple bother? Apple started this! It was an awful and now-notorious strategy of Steve Jobs, who even used words like “thermonuclear”. The supposed brilliance of this ‘genius’ was bad judgment and arrogance. The courts proved it.

‘Party Poopers’: Protests Greet Battistelli’s Premature Inauguration of an Unfinished Building That Caused Massive Losses

Thursday 28th of June 2018 04:31:49 AM

Are protests allowed already? Did they not need to vote for Battistelli’s ‘permission’?

Summary: The EPO has just made the farce which was the ceremony (inaugurating a totally unfinished building) seem like another kind of Battistelli ‘festival’; not a word was said about protests outside the building

MANAGEMENT of the EPO has said nothing about the latest scandal (ILO-AT overturning Battistelli’s union-busting ‘judgments’) and instead went into full distraction mode with nearly 30 tweets in one day, most of them about the construction site Battistelli went to. As expected, for Battistelli had 'seeded' some money in Dutch publishers/PR, there were some blurbs in Dutch media, e.g. [1, 2, 3], but the party poopers were mentioned also (“Protest at the inauguration ceremony of the new building in Rijswijk”). And upcoming still is SUEPO’s party celebrating the exit of Battistelli.

It’s just an EPO construction site (project way behind schedule and excessively over budget), but nevertheless here’s the EPO puff piece (warning: epo.org link) with Battistelli photos and quotes all over it, as usual. Eyes on 2020! “With landscaping work to take place after the dismantling of the old tower,” they say, “the overall renewal of the site is expected to be completed in 2020.”

So they celebrate a couple of years too early, no? With what looks like insulation material in the background, they did some photo ops inside the building as well. It’s actually more funny than outrageous, especially the poor preparation. What was the budget for this? A secret? They post lots of ‘supporting tweets’ as though it’s a “live event” people all around the world tune in to watch. It’s a construction site and it actually still looks like it. The EPO’s PR people are mostly quoting Battistelli, their ‘king Battistelli’ (the PR people are like his jesters, adoring every word that comes out of his mouth). Here are some examples [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] with laughable things he says, such as: “Quality is our absolute priority.”

Here’s another one about “high quality”.

What’s of “high quality”? The patents? The building? Or neither?

He just keeps repeating the lies — the very hallmark of the Battistelli era. Christoph Ernst was there as well and was quoted [1, 2, 3] like a “second fiddle” of the person whom he was supposed to boss. What a coward he is!

Architect Diederik Dam is also mentioned [1, 2, 3] before the closing words [1, 2, 3]. Mind that last one, showing the building in the dark (no kidding!) to hide the cranes and the total lack of finish.

What a disaster of a thing! Yet nobody present wants to insult the naked emperor by saying so.

The EPO has not said anything about the protest or about ILO. This too is a hallmark of Battistelli’s regime: information lockdown/lockout.

Last but not least they say: “His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands @koninklijkhuis has signed the golden book of the EPO. This marks the official opening of the new EPO building in the Netherlands.”

He and Battistelli had argued over whose name goes in there just like a couple of spoiled brats. It should be noted that the ceremony was held in a construction site, yet nobody wore a helmet. Well, safety was never first at the EPO; it was always “Battistelli First”.

Links 27/6/2018: ​Supercomputers All GNU/Linux, Kubernetes 1.11, Plasma 5.13.2

Thursday 28th of June 2018 03:57:28 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Expandable, Apollo Lake based MintBox Mini 2 starts at $299

    The Linux Mint project has released the rugged MintBox Mini 2 mini-PC based on the Apollo Lake powered Compulab Fitlet2, with options including PoE, HDD, and CAN. The system ships with the new Linux Mint 19 “Tara” distro.

    In March, Compulab and the Linux Mint project announced a MintBox Mini 2 (MBM2) replacement for the earlier, AMD A10 based MintBox Mini Pro mini-PC. Built around the Celeron J3455 based Fitlet2 mini-PC, the MBM2 is now available starting at $299. Since the March announcement, Compulab has revealed some new features, including new FACET expansion cards for 2.5-inch HDDs, PoE, CANbus, and more.

  • MintBox Mini 2 With Linux Mint 19 Ready To Ship

    Announced back in March was the MintBox Mini 2 as a collaboration project by CompuLab and Linux Mint. That tiny Linux PC is now available for order given the imminent release of Linux Mint 19 “Tara”.

  • Amazon adds cloudy Linux desktops to encourage developers to code for EC2

    Amazon Web Services has added a Linux option to its “WorkSpaces” desktop-as-a-service and pitched the offering as a fine way to develop apps for its own EC2 infrastructure-as-a-service.

    The new desktops run Amazon Linux 2 and includes Firefox, the Evolution email and calendar app, Pidgin for chat and Libre Office for getting stuff done. It’s all based on the MATE desktop environment.

  • Linux app support is coming to at least 18 more Chromebooks

    Google announced Linux app support in Chrome OS back at I/O, but the Pixelbook was the only supported device at first. Devices from Samsung and Acer have gained support since then, but Google’s latest code addition to Chrome OS points to a raft of Chromebooks getting Linux support very soon.

    Chromium developers have just added support for Linux apps on all Apollo Lake-based Chromebooks. Intel’s Apollo Lake processors include Celeron, Atom, and Pentium parts. According to XDA, there are at least 18 Chromebooks with these CPUs, most of which are focused on education. They include the Lenovo Thinkpad 11e, Acer Chromebook 11, Dell Chromebook 11, and more. They’ll all have Linux app support when the updated Chrome OS rolls out.

  • 18 Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, Lenovo, & Dell receive Linux app support

    Eighteen Chromebooks based on Intel Apollo Lake architecture, which includes many from brands such as Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and Dell, get Linux app support in one fell swoop.

    In a change that landed Wednesday morning, the developers switched on Linux app support for all Apollo Lake Chromebooks under the baseboards Reef and Coral. See below for a list of Chromebooks under these baseboards.

  • Skylake, Apollo Lake Chromebooks Add Linux Apps Via Crostini

    On just about a daily basis, I check the Samsung Chromebook Pro to see if “Crostini” has finally been enabled to bring me the new evolution of Linux app support. Sadly, I have been disappointed at every attempt. For good reason, the Kaby Lake generation of processors from Intel has been at the center of the Crostini project if for no other reason than the Pixelbook.

    Being that the Core chips of the Skylake flavor are probably the most available “power” Chromebooks at the moment, I was beginning to think developers were having an issue getting Crostini up and running. Whatever the reason, it looks like devices like the Samsung Pro, HP Chromebook 13 G1, Acer 14 for Work and others may soon see the addition of Linux apps in Chrome OS.

  • Amazon Launches WorkSpaces Desktop for Linux 2

    Amazon Linux WorkSpaces Desktop is now available on Amazon Linux 2.

    Amazon has launched WorkSpaces on its own Linux server operating system that runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

    The Amazon Linux WorkSpaces Desktop is based on the MATE desktop environment where it uses traditional metaphors for Linux and Unix-like operating systems (OS).

  • Desktop/Microsoft
    • Microsoft Women Suing Over Bias Denied Class-Action Status

      U.S. District Judge James L. Robart issued a sealed order Monday denying class certification, without elaborating. The Seattle judge said the ruling won’t be made be public until both sides tell him what needs to be redacted, or kept private.

      The denial deals a near-death blow to the lawsuit filed by three women on behalf of a proposed class of more than 8,630 high-level technical specialists.

    • Judge deals blow to women suing Microsoft over gender discrimination

      In a class certification motion unsealed in March, three Microsoft employees—Katherine Moussouris, Holly Muenchow, and Dana Piermarini—laid out their evidence that Microsoft’s corporate culture is systematically hostile to female employees.

    • Tech Employees Revolting Over Government Contracts Reminds Us That Government Needs Tech More than Tech Needs Government

      While we were still in the middle of the heat storm over Donald Trump’s decision to enact a zero tolerance border policy that resulted in children being separated from their parents at the border in far greater numbers than previous administrations, there was some interesting background coverage about the employees and customers of big tech companies like Microsoft receiving backlash for contracting with ICE. While much of that backlash came from outside those companies, there was plenty coming from within as well. Microsoft in particular saw throngs of employees outraged that the technology they had helped to develop was now being turned on the innocent children of migrants and asylum-seekers.

  • Server
    • ​Supercomputers: All Linux, all the time

      Once more, if you want to run the fastest possible computer, the June 2018 TOP500 supercomputing ranking shows that Linux is the best of all operating systems. Every last one is running Linux.

      Linux has dominated supercomputing for years. But, Linux only took over supercomputing lock, stock, and barrel in November 2017. That was the first time all of the TOP500 machines were running Linux. Before that IBM AIX, a Unix variant, was hanging on for dear life low on the list.

    • 13 must-read books to take your DevOps skills to the next level

      As many of you know, continuous learning is a critical part of DevOps. That’s why we put together this list. These are only 13 books from a vast array of resources out there, sourced from the Open Source DevOps team. What books are you reading to fine tune your DevOps practice and skills? Tell us in the comments.

    • Playing nice with a host of tech-pushers pushed OpenStack close to edge

      If one thing stood out at OpenStack’s Vancouver summit in May, it’s that the open-source project isn’t just about data centre-based cloud computing any more.

      When Rackspace and NASA founded OpenStack eight years back, they wanted it to drive more efficient computing in the data centre by delivering cloud computing resources on standard hardware.

      Since then, OpenStack has become commonplace for homegrown, on-premises cloud infrastructure. 72 per cent of the respondents to the OpenStack Foundation’s October 2017 survey used it that way, and that’s up from 62 per cent in 2015.

      Today, the OpenStack Foundation sees hardware architectures diversifying beyond commodity x86 platforms into GPUs, FPGAs and Arm-based systems. It also sees approaches to software becoming more complex as containers, microservices and serverless computing take hold, and it sees computing happening increasingly at the edge, outside the data centre.

    • ​Kubernetes keeps improving

      Why so many releases, so quickly? To make it better as fast as possible. In Kubernetes 1.11, the latest version of Kubernetes goes a long way toward addressing fundamental networking and storage requirements.

    • Kubernetes 1.11 Improves Cloud-Native Application Deployment Options

      The Kubernetes 1.11 release is set to become generally available on June 27, providing users of the container orchestration system with networking, configuration and operations improvements.

      Among the highlights of Kubernetes 1.11 is the CoreDNS domain name service reaching general availability. The IPVS load balancing feature has now also reached general availability status in Kubernetes 1.11, enabling scalability improvements. Plus, Custom Resource Definition gets a boost with new versioning capabilities that aim to ease operations. Finally, Kubernetes nodes, known as “kubelets” in 1.11, now benefit from a new dynamic configuration capability.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Cooking with Linux (without a Net): Too Many Virtual Machines, i3 and ArcoLinux Redux

      On this week’s “Cooking with Linux (without a Net)” show, Marcel learns, in as much as he can learn anything, that you can try to do too many things at once—especially when those things really don’t all want to happen at the same time. Before I continue, let me point out that this is a recording of a live show that takes place every Tuesday at 12 noon, Eastern time. We cover lots of different ways to virtualize including VirtualBox, command-line kvm, the dangers of not getting permission, AQemu, GNOME boxes, virt-manager, Xen and lots more. We also give ArcoLinux another shot and in that process, bite off a desktop environment that Marcel knows nothing about, i3.

    • Episode 30 | This Week in Linux

      On this episode of This Week in Linux, we take a look at some Distro News with Peppermint 9, Devuan 2.0, GeckoLinux which is based on openSUSE Leap 15 and then we take a closer look at Linux Mint 19 which should release soon.

      New version of KDE Plasma with 5.13 and PulseAudio 12.0 have been announced. Later in the show we take a look at Ubuntu Report’s first look at the desktop metrics and a project to run WINE applications inside of Flatpaks.

  • Kernel Space
    • linux-4.17-ck1, MuQSS version 0.172 for linux-4.17

      Announcing a new -ck release, 4.17-ck1 with the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler, version 0.172. These are patches designed to improve system responsiveness and interactivity with specific emphasis on the desktop, but configurable for any workload.

    • Linux 4.17-ck1 Kernel Patches Released With Newest MuQSS Scheduler

      Independent Linux kernel hacker Con Kolivas has published his latest kernel patch-set, Linux 4.17-ck1, which most notably includes the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler.

      The Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler (MuQSS) scheduler is his successor to his previously-developed BFS scheduler. MuQSS aims to deliver better system responsiveness and interactivity primarily for the Linux desktop. MuQSS continues to be developed out-of-tree with Kolivas having no ambitions to get his patches mainlined in the Linux kernel.

    • Portable Services with systemd v239

      systemd v239 contains a great number of new features. One of them is first class support for Portable Services. In this blog story I’d like to shed some light on what they are and why they might be interesting for your application.

    • Making Use Of Systemd Portable Services

      With last week’s release of systemd 239 one of the key new features is the introduction of Portable Services. Systemd Portable Services is a new concept that is akin to Linux containers while at this stage is considered still a preview/experimental feature.

      Systemd lead developer Lennart Poettering has written a new blog post providing an extensive look at utilizing systemd Portable Services.The Portable Services build upon existing systemd technology like the RootDirectory and RootImage features to allow for resource bundling and isolation/sandboxing.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Mercedes-Benz Vans adopts Automotive Grade Linux open platform

        Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to use the Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) open onboard operating system in its upcoming commercial vehicles. This will first be seen in prototype projects later this year.

      • In open source push, Tencent joins Linux Foundation as platinum member

        Chinese internet giant Tencent has become a platinum member of the Linux Foundation.

        The move will place Tencent Mobile Internet Group general manager Liu Xin on the Linux Foundation’s board of directors. Additionally, the company plans to contribute an open source microservices project called TARS and a name service project dubbed Tseer to the foundation. It will also contribute Angel, its open source AI project, to the foundation’s deep learning division.

      • Tencent joins Linux Foundation as Platinum member

        The Linux Foundation welcomed China’s Tencent as its latest Platinum member. Tencent’s Liu Xin will join The Linux Foundation BoD. In addition to a seat on the board, as a Platinum member, Tencent will be able to take advantage of the foundation’s expertise in areas such as open source governance, legal and compliance, events, marketing and more. As a Platinum member, Tencent will be able to offer further support and resources to a wide variety of open source projects and their communities.

      • Why we believe in an open cloud

        Open clouds matter more now than ever. While most companies today use a single public cloud provider in addition to their on-premises environment, research shows that most companies will likely adopt multiple public and private clouds in the coming years. In fact, according to a 2018 Rightscale study, 81-percent of enterprises with 1,000 or more employees have a multi-cloud strategy, and if you consider SaaS, most organizations are doing multi-cloud already.

      • Google Becomes a Platinum Member of The Linux Foundation

        Demonstrating its commitment to open source software, we are thrilled to announce that Google is now a Platinum Member of The Linux Foundation. Google has been an active and committed contributor to the open source community for many years, releasing and contributing to more than 10,000 open source projects to date. Some of The Linux Foundation communities Google supports include Cloud Foundry, Node.js Foundation, Open API Initiative and Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which it helped found with its Kubernetes contribution.

        To better understand why open cloud matters more now than ever at Google check out their blog.

      • ​Google doubles down on Linux and open source

        With this jump in status, Google gets a seat on the Foundation’s board of directors. This position will be filled by Sarah Novotny, the head of open source strategy for Google Cloud Platform. Novotny is a self-confessed geek. She has a long history of bridging the gap between the business world and the tech world. Before coming to Google, where she also heads the Kubernetes community, she was head of developer relations at NGNIX and program chair for the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCon).

      • CIP: Keeping the Lights On with Linux

        Modern civil infrastructure is all around us — in power plants, radar systems, traffic lights, dams, weather systems, and so on. Many of these infrastructure projects exist for decades, if not longer, so security and longevity are paramount.

        And, many of these systems are powered by Linux, which offers technology providers more control over these issues. However, if every provider is building their own solution, this can lead to fragmentation and duplication of effort. Thus, the primary goal of Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) is to create an open source base layer for industrial use-cases in these systems, such as embedded controllers and gateway devices.

        “We have a very conservative culture in this area because once we create a system, it has to be supported for more than ten years; in some cases for over 60 years. That’s why this project was created, because every player in this industry had the same issue of being able to use Linux for a long time,” says Yoshitake Kobayashi is Technical Steering Committee Chair of CIP.

      • Take Our Survey on Open Source Programs [Ed: It’s like the Linux Foundation now works with Microsoft (GitHub) as preferred partner]

        Please take eight minutes to complete this survey. The results will be shared publicly on The New Stack, and The Linux Foundation’s GitHub page.

      • Linux Professionals Hard to Find, Say Hiring Managers

        It’s a very good time to be a Linux professional. Linux is back on top as the most in-demand open source skill and hiring these professionals has become a higher priority for 83% of hiring managers this year compared to 76% in 2017, according to the newly released 2018 Open Source Jobs Report.

      • Tencent is now a platinum member of the Linux Foundation

        Chinese tech and entertainment giant Tencent has become a platinum member of the Linux Foundation.

        Announced via a post on the latter’s website, this apparently a sign of the firm’s commitment to open source projects,. As part of this deal, Liu Xin, GM of Tencent’s Mobile Internet Group, will be joining the organisation’s board of directors.

      • Vapor IO, Packet, and the Linux Foundation Collaborate on “Open Glossary of Edge Computing”

        Vapor IO, the leading provider of edge computing infrastructure and colocation, along with Packet, the leading bare metal cloud for developers, have published the first Open Glossary of Edge Computing, and are collaborating with The Linux Foundation to create an open source project around it. Similar to Wikipedia, the Open Glossary of Edge Computing is a freely-licensed glossary, written collaboratively by the people who use it. Edge computing will play a substantial role in shaping the next-generation internet, and shared definitions will reduce confusion and accelerate innovation. By combining many viewpoints in a transparent process, the Open Glossary of Edge Computing project seeks to capture the fast-changing lexicon of edge computing, presenting it in a form usable by journalists, analysts, vendors and practitioners.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Allwinner Releases New User-Space OpenGL Mali Binary Blobs

        Last year Allwinner began making OpenGL user-space binaries more readily available for Linux systems in cooperation with Free Electrons (now Bootlin), A new set of OpenGL binaries has now been released that includes Wayland support.

      • AOMedia AV1 Codec v1.0.0 Appears Ready For Release

        The AV1 1.0.0 royalty-free video codec now appears to be firmed up and ready for its official debut.

        Back in March the AOMedia organization made up of many of the leading ISVs and IHVs announced the public release of AV1 that ended up being a draft release albeit miscommunicated in the process by their PR folks.

      • V3D & VC4 Should Have Lower CPU Overhead, More Fixes

        Eric Anholt continues leading the charge on open-source Broadcom VideoCore graphics driver support for Linux.

        Anholt has published another update to his VideoCore driver work, which these days is mostly centered around the “V3D” stack for VideoCore V and newer with the VC4 driver used by the Raspberry Pi now in great shape.

      • More Icelake Work Queued Along With Other Graphics Driver Enhancements For Linux 4.19

        Intel began submitting graphics/DRM driver updates two weeks ago to begin targeting the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window while on Monday was their second batch of changes to hit DRM-Next.

      • X server pointer acceleration analysis – part 5

        In this post I’ll describe the X server pointer acceleration for trackpoints. You will need to read Observations on trackpoint input data first to make sense of this post.

        As described in that linked post, trackpoint input data varies wildly. Combined with the options we have in the server to configure everything makes this post a bit pointless as almost every single behaviour can be changed.

    • Benchmarks
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Plasma 5.13.2

        Today KDE releases a Bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.13.2. Plasma 5.13 was released in June with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

      • Clear Linux Working On AVX2-Optimized Qt Toolkit

        One of the latest package optimizations being worked on within Intel’s performance-oriented Clear Linux camp is a faster Qt5 tool-kit.

        Thiago Macieira who works for Intel and is also an upstream Qt developer is working on a change to begin supporting AVX2-optimized Qt builds within the company’s high performance Linux OS. At least this AVX2 support would help out Qt3D but likely many other areas too given the performance benefits we have seen out of Advanced Vector Extensions in many other codebases.

      • KaOS Linux Gets the KDE Plasma 5.13 Desktop Treatment, Latest Updates

        The KaOS development team released a new version of the their independent GNU/Linux distribution built around the KDE Plasma desktop environment to bring the latest software updates and technologies.

        KaOS 2018.6 comes about two months after the KaOS 2018.04 release that celebrated the distro’s 10th anniversary. Highlights of this release include the latest KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment with the first point release, version 5.13.1, along with the KDE Applications 18.04.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.47.0 software suites, all build with Qt 5.11.1.

      • Krita 4.1.0 Released

        Three months after the release of Krita 4.0, we’re releasing Krita 4.1!

      • Krita 4.1 Released With Support For Multi-Monitor Workspace Layouts

        Krita 4.1 is now the latest stable version of this open-source digital painting program.

      • Optimizing Circular Gaussian Mask, Krita:GSoC

        Previous implementation was based on a slow scalar model, calculating each mask value per coordinate. I implement a new vectorized code using Vc library to allow a robust SIMD usage, calculating the mask values in parallel. Not all operations are implemented on Vc data types, especially erf had to be implemented for Vc data types. The new implementation shows to be up to 10 times faster (on my system) on mask generation. Given that the mask generation requires the most computing on brush stroke generation, this speed improvement holds up even in the full brush stroke benchmarks. Given the way it is implemented the code can become faster as future SIMD registers grows on future CPUs.

      • What’s in a Qt 3D Studio Scene?

        Now that Qt 3D Studio 2.0 has been released, let’s look at what some of the new features enable. In particular, we will visit the so-called in-scene debug and profile views, as these handy, built-in (both to the viewer launched from the editor and, if the developer decides so, to applications) views allow answering questions like What happens between loading a scene and issuing OpenGL draw commands?, Is this 3D scene too heavy?, How much graphics resources does this scene use?, or Is there any chance this scene will perform on this or that embedded hardware?

      • This Week in KDE, Part 4 : Bug Fixes!
      • From nothing to Top 20 Contributors of Konsole in less than a Month

        The title seems to be a bit bragging but it’s actually the opposite, KDE is a team of volunteers that work for free on their spare time to create awesomeness, and there’s not a single person being paid by the KDE e.V to work on KDE. Of course there are companies that hire developers to work for kde related software, but those are third parties and unrelated to how KDE software is developed as a whole, for instance I work as a developer in a Fintech that has *nothing* to do related do KDE.

      • GSoC’18 – Phase 2(Week 1 and 2)

        I also improved the text tool, which now supports the default activity font-family with bold, italic, adjustable font sizes and a variety of colors.

      • KDAB at Meet Qt in Paris

        Thanks for joining us for this year’s edition of Meet Qt that took place in Paris on the 19th June.

        The focus this year was medical and automotive and the event was again very successful despite the train strikes.

      • KDAB at Italian C++, Milan

        KDAB was sponsor of this annual C++ event run by the C++ Community for the C++ Community in Italy, which was founded some five years ago and is growing fast.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Abierto el registro para GUADEC 2018 en Almería
      • GTK+ 3.94

        Today, we released GTK+ 3.94.0. Again, it has been a while since the last release, so it is worth summarizing whats new in this release. There is really too much here to cover it all, so this post will only highlight the most important changes.

      • GTK+ 3.94 Released As The Next Step Towards GTK4

        As the next step towards GTK4, GTK+ 3.94 is available today as the newest development release for this open-source toolkit.

      • On the way to [Shotwell] 0.30

        There is now a nightly flatpak for Shotwell available. You can use this flatpakref for installation. To protect your database, it will work on its own private database. If you really want to work with your current data, I have described a way to make it access your normal Shotwell database in this comment on issue 6. The upcoming unstable flatpak as well as any potentially stable flatpaks on flathub will have the access enabled by default, though.

      • GNOME’s Shotwell 0.30 Is Organizing Flatpak Support, Theme Changes, Facial Recognition

        Those working on GNOME’s Shotwell image/photo manager and organizer are baking a number of improvements and new features for the next release.

        Next on deck for Shotwell is v0.30. With Shotwell 0.30 there is more work on properly supporting Flatpak for distributing the app and sandboxing. There has been some out-of-tree work on supporting Shotwell in Ubuntu’s Snap form, but currently it isn’t mainlined and not even building correctly.

      • A few thoughts on GNOME usability

        I recently learned that GNOME developers have proposed moving the application menu off the “top black bar” and into the application window. The proposal is on the GNOME Wiki at App Menu Migration.

        The wiki has a few mockups of how the menus would appear. The top-level application menu would be presented as a “hamburger” icon, and any secondary menus would appear as a “three dots” icon.

        I have to say that I think this would improve usability. My previous usability testing shows that users prefer menus that are obviously part of the application (think “menu bar”). The application menu in the black top bar doesn’t stand out as part of the application experience.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • AV Linux Audio/Video Creation OS Now Offers Better Support for AMD Radeon GPUs

        The developers of the AV Linux free and open-source GNU/Linux operating system targeted at audio and video creation released a new version to celebrate his 50th anniversary and also add various improvements to the OS.

        AV Linux 2018.6.25 is the latest version of the GNU/Linux distribution, shipping with various performance improvements for systems with recent AMD Radeon graphics cards and UEFI machines. UEFI support was introduced back in April 2018 with the AV Linux 2018.4.12 release, but it also brought slow booting, which were addressed in this release.

        “I personally have no UEFI (or AMD) computers to test with and only could use VirtualBox for UEFI testing and thanks to bug reports from a few users and several fixes provided by our forum member ‘korakios’ I think many of the issues for actual hardware UEFI machines have now been addressed,” said the developer in the release notes.

      • Tails 3.8 is out

        This release fixes many security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible.

      • Alpine Linux 3.8.0 Released

        We are pleased to announce the release of Alpine Linux 3.8.0, the first in the v3.8 stable series.

      • Alpine Linux 3.8 Released With ARM64 Raspberry Pi Support, Netboot On All Architectures

        Alpine Linux 3.8.0 was released today as the newest installment of this lightweight, security-oriented Linux distribution that is especially popular for containers/Docker use.

        Alpine Linux 3.8 continues its use of musl libc and BusyBox, among other changes that make it more unique than many other Linux distributions out there. With Alpine Linux 3.8 they are using the Linux 4.14 LTS kernel, PHP 7.2, Node.js 8.11, Golang 1.10, and many other key package updates.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • Suse Linux Enterprise 15 Bridges Traditional, Software-Defined Systems

        The company also released enhancements to Suse Manager 3.2, an open source IT infrastructure management solution for Linux, with improvements focused on lowering costs, improving DevOps efficiency, and easily managing large, complex deployments across IoT, cloud and container infrastructures.

        Suse Manager helps users meet management challenges created by technology advancements such as software-defined infrastructure, cloud computing and containers, according to the company.

    • Slackware Family
      • New set of Live ISOs

        The new liveslak version 1.2.0 has a couple of updates, most related to changes in package lists and work to keep the XFCE ISO below 700 MB, but there is one update that I should mention. I have added – but have not yet tested myself – the possibility to create a configuration file “/liveslak/slackware_os.cfg” and in that file, define some of the variables you would otherwise have to set through boot commandline parameters. Those variables are:

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Introducing debos, a versatile images generator

        In Debian and derivative systems, there are many ways to build images. The simplest tool of choice is often debootstrap. It works by downloading the .deb files from a mirror and unpacking them into a directory which can eventually be chrooted into.

        More often than not, we want to make some customization on this image, install some extra packages, run a script, add some files, etc

        debos is a tool to make this kind of trivial tasks easier. debos works using recipe files in YAML listing the actions you want to perform in your image sequentially and finally, choosing the output formats.

      • Debos: A New Way To Spin Up Debian OS Images

        Collabora has announced their latest project as Debos, a new way for building Debian operating system images.

        Debos aims to offer more features than Debootstrap while being easy to setup and rely upon YAML-based configuration files. Debos also supports dealing with OSTree, running arbitrary commands during the Debian image generation process, etc.

      • Debian Perl Sprint 2018

        Three members of the Debian Perl team met in Hamburg between May 16 and May 20 2018 as part of the Mini-DebConf Hamburg to continue perl development work for Buster and to work on QA tasks across our 3500+ packages.

      • debian cryptsetup sprint report

        The Cryptsetup team – consisting of Guilhem and Jonas – met on June 15 to 17 in order to work on the Debian cryptsetup packages. We ended up working three days (and nights) on the packages, refactored the whole initramfs integration, the SysVinit init scripts and the package build process and discussed numerous potential improvements as well as new features. The whole sprint was great fun and we enjoyed a lot sitting next to each other, being able to discuss design questions and implementation details in person instead of using clunky internet communication means. Besides, we had very nice and interesting chats, contacted other Debian folks from the Frankfurt area and met with jfs on Friday evening.

      • Derivatives
        • Eclipse Photon Now Available, Mercedes-Benz Vans Using Automotive Grade Linux, Enso Open-Source Project for Machine Learning, Tails 3.8 Released and More

          Tails, the amnesic incognito live system, has released version 3.8. This new version fixes several security holes that affect Tails 3.7.1, so users are urged to update as soon as possible. New features include updated Enigmail 2.0.7 and a fix for importing OpenPGP keys from email attachments. See the release notes for more details and download links.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • How to install ownCloud on Ubuntu 18.04

            Of late, nextCloud has been given the majority of the spotlight for on-premises cloud servers. However, I want to take a moment to walk you through the installation of the server that started it all. ownCloud is an equally capable cloud server that can meet and exceed your company needs. But installing this platform on the latest release of Ubuntu is a bit different than previous incarnations. So, let’s see what happens when we undertake the process of installing the latest version of ownCloud onto the latest version of Ubuntu Server. The process isn’t terribly challenging, at least not when you know what dependencies to install.

          • Embracing Snaps: an Interview with Canonical and Slack

            A “snap” application package is a self-contained piece of software, and although it originally was designed to be hosted on Ubuntu, the package will work across a range of other Linux distributions. This isn’t your traditional APT or YUM manager hosting DEB and RPM (or other) package formats.

            Again, the appeal to snap packages is that they are self-contained (that is, containerized). They are designed to auto-update and are safe to run. A snap package is bundled with its dependencies, which is what allows it to run on all other major Linux distribution without any modification. It also doesn’t have any dependency to any package manager or application store. But, don’t misunderstand this—a package manager or application store still can host one or more snap packages; however, the snap package is not dependent to that manager.

            Snapcraft is the official tool for software developers to package their software programs in a Snap format.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is now certified for Intel NUC

            Ubuntu 16.04 LTS has announced that it is is now certified on selected Intel NUC Mini PCs and boards. This partnership between Canonical and Intel is designed to “help guide device manufacturer’s and their developers to a smoother path to the development and deployment of IoT devices.” Applicable to a range of use cases from digital signage to home entertainment, the Intel NUC certified with Ubuntu helps remove the friction often experienced in bringing IoT devices to market.

          • Making Use Of Ubuntu Graphical Snaps With Mir-Kiosk

            Delivering graphical applications that can be deployed on Ubuntu Core for IoT use-cases can be achieved in a secure and reliable manner using the Mir-Kiosk component to act as a Wayland server. Canonical’s lead Mir developer, Alan Griffiths, has published a guide about creating these graphical snaps.

          • How To Use macOS Mojave’s Dynamic Wallpaper on Linux

            The next release of macOS comes with a “dynamic desktop” background that subtly changes throughout the day — and in this post we show you how you can use it on the Linux desktop.

            In our list of macOS Mojave features already available on Linux we mentioned that time-triggered wallpapers are not new to Linux. They’ve been available for a long, long time.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Seven Lessons of Open Source Governance

    At the FOSS Backstage conference two weeks ago I talked about the spectrum of open source governance models. Watch the video for all the details.

  • Here is Why Reliance Jio is All Gung-Ho about Open Source Technologies

    We all know about Reliance Jio and the changes it brought in the Indian telecom sector. One cannot deny and stop talking about Mukesh Ambani’s outlook, but have you ever wondered what makes the Jio so agile? Well, there are no marks for guessing it right.

    If this still doesn’t ring bells in your head, then remember Akash Ambani speaking at Reliance’s India Digital Open Summit earlier this year? The junior Ambani asserted that Jio is committed to using open source technologies to improve the consumer experience.

  • Hortonworks’ Shaun Bierweiler: Open Source Enables Control of Costs, Risks in Tech Development

    Shaun Bierweiler, vice president of Hortonworks‘ (Nasdaq: HDP) U.S. public sector business, has said an open approach will help control costs and time spent on technology development operations in the big data space, ExecutiveBiz reported Thursday.

    He said in an interview published June 19 the open source model will also enable developers to identify defects in software earlier and address them more quickly than they could when using proprietary alternatives.

    Bierweiler also noted the need to check the source of the code in free and open source software as well as the development process it went through before integrating such components into an organization’s network.

  • Open Source Directory Services

    As the identity management market continues to build up speed with 24 billion dollars of growth expected by the end of 2022 (Market Research Future: Identity and Access Management Market Research Report – Global Forecast 2022), open source availability has been a frequent concern. IT admins are surveying the options and rightfully asking, “Are there any modern open source directory services available to use?” To answer this question, let’s take a look at the scene together.

  • Indico Launches Enso Open Source Project for Machine Learning

    Enso is compatible with Python 3.4+.

  • Let’s stick together: the case for open source in adtech

    Those of you of a certain age may remember the pivotal scene in Gladiator when Russell Crowe’s Maximus Decimus Meridius leads the Barbarian into the Coliseum to fight to the death and tells them “whatever comes out of these gates we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together”.

    [...]

    Open source software (OSS) is fast becoming the modus operandi for industry disruptors, as well as established companies. We have seen organisations from P&G to Twitter adopting it, and in a race against Google, Amazon recently embraced open-source software to get its voice-based Alexa digital assistant into cars.

  • Events
    • Last Chance to Speak at Open Source Summit and ELC + OpenIoT Summit Europe – Submit by July 1

      Submit a proposal to speak at Open Source Summit Europe & ELC + OpenIoT Summit Europe, taking place October 22-24, 2018, in Edinburgh, UK, and share your knowledge and expertise with 2,000+ open source technologists and community leaders. Proposals are being accepted through 11:59pm PDT, Sunday, July 1.

    • The Perl Conference 2018 Session Videos Are Now Online

      Taking place last week in Salt Lake City was The Perl Conference 2018, the annual conference devoted to this popular programming language. There were around 300 Perl developers in attendance and a host of presentations by key Perl developers like Larry Wall.

      If this is your first time hearing about The Perl Conference, you can learn more about the event via their conference site.

    • Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Open Source at OSCON

      OSCON (Open Source Convention) has been the focal point of the open source movement. The inception of OSCON came from an event focused on Perl and grew to cover the other scripting languages. It has since evolved into the destination for all things free and open. The event has also provided a platform for the launch of major initiatives such as Kubernetes 1.0 and OpenStack—both announced at OSCON.

      This is a special year for OSCON, as the event will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary. OSCON will take place in Portland, Oregon, with training and tutorials happening July 16-17, and the conference happening July 18-19.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla Improves Web Browser Security With Firefox 61 Update

        Mozilla announced the release of Firefox 61 on June 26, providing users of the open-source web browser with new features and patches for 18 security vulnerabilities.

        The Firefox 61 milestone comes just over a month since Firefox 60 was released on May 9 and is the fourth major update of Mozilla’s flagship browser thus far in 2018. Among the new features in Firefox 61 are improved performance capabilities that continue to build on the speed gains that the Firefox 57 Quantum release boasted in November 2017. In addition, tab management gets a boost in Firefox 61, enabling power users to manage browser tabs more effectively.

      • Cracking the Code — how Mozilla is helping university students contribute to Open Source

        After a year of research, Mozilla’s Open Source Student Network (OSSN), is launching a pilot program to tackle the challenges around how Open Source projects effectively support university students as they work towards their first code contribution.

        Despite an abundance of evidence that the most valuable contributions to a project often come from people under the age of 30, Open Source projects often struggle to onboard and maintain university students as new code contributors.

        Students who have expressed interest in contributing often feel intimidated, that they don’t have the appropriate skills or aren’t able to find a project, to begin with.

      • Firefox 62.0 Beta Brings CSS Variable Fonts, “Clear Site Data & Cookies” Option

        Following yesterday’s release of Firefox 61, Mozilla pumped Firefox 62 into the beta channel.

        Firefox 62 adds a “Clear Site Data & Cookies” button to the popup next to the address bar for making it easy to delete a site’s local data for the current web-site. Firefox 62.0 beta also adds a button to the hamburger menu for toggling tracking protection, more customization options for the new tab page sections, and now supports CSS Variable Fonts.

      • Firefox 61 Makes Switching Tabs Faster on Linux

        A new version of the venerable Mozilla Firefox web browser has been released.

        Firefox 61 is a modest update. Performance improvements and bug fixes make up the bulk of the changes on offer, along with a set of tweaks to the user experience and interface.

      • Firefox 61 Released for Windows, Mac, and Linux

        Mozilla will release Firefox 61 later today. The new browser version includes new features, bugfixes, security fixes, and modifications to the Firefox UI.

      • L10N Report: June Edition
      • Chris H-C: When, Exactly, does a Firefox User Update, Anyway?

        There’s a brand new Firefox version coming. There always is, since we adopted the Rapid Release scheme way back in 2011 for Firefox 5. Every 6-8 weeks we instantly update every Firefox user in the wild with the latest security and performance…

      • If you can’t do it in a day, you can’t do it

        I was talking with Mark Reid about some of the problems with Coding in a GUI.

      • Workshop experience at Smashing Conf

        I hope you found something interesting out of this post. It’s not my tipical programming related post. I’m very grateful to SmashingConf for having lined up such great speakers and very practical workshops and for Mozilla to support my learning.

  • Healthcare
    • Next-gen interoperability: AI, blockchain, FHIR and open source analytics

      Interoperability is the ultimate goal of healthcare information systems. Software and cloud-based services need to be able to talk to one another, to exchange clinical and administrative data to enable complete access to a patient’s record and help clinicians deliver the best possible care.

      But health IT vendors and healthcare provider organizations still have a long way to go when it comes to attaining interoperability. In the years ahead, though, progress will be made and there will be various next-generation tactics and techniques that help advance this goal.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Is FreeBSD faster than Linux?

      FreeBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like OS that powers desktops, servers, and embedded platforms. Unlike Linux, which refers to the kernel combined with GNU to form GNU/Linux, the Operating System, FreeBSD is a complete OS with its own kernel and a focus on stability and speed, among other features.

      It is not true that FreeBSD is used on only servers and there are a variety of valid reasons why users argue that it does a better job in general than Linux so you might just give it a try. Both are stable and provide an efficient working environment.

      However, the general consensus is that nearly all applications run faster on Linux than FreeBSD, but FreeBSD’s TCP/IP stack has way less latency (faster response time) than Linux. This is reportedly the reason why Netflix streams its shows on FreeBSD and even pay some of its engineers to contribute to its kernel codebase.

    • TrueOS Doesn’t Want to Be ‘BSD for Desktop’ Anymore

      Popular BSD distribution TrueOS wants to shed its ‘desktop BSD’ image in order to become a core operating system.

    • FreeBSD 11.2 Ready For Release With Spectre Mitigation, Various Enhancements

      FreeBSD 11.2 is ready to set sail as the first significant FreeBSD update since last July’s 11.1 release.

      FreeBSD 11.2-RELEASE is now available. Those wanting it right now can find it via FTP with the 11.2-RELEASE images being spun, assuming no last minute issues occur prior to the FreeBSD team officially announcing this release.

    • Workarounds To Get AMD Zen/Ryzen CPUs Running Solid On FreeBSD

      While the Linux support for AMD Ryzen/EPYC processors has been solid on Linux now largely the past number of months with just some exceptions like Raven Ridge display issues, the FreeBSD support has been a bit more choppy.

      The number of AMD Zen + FreeBSD issues has gone down in recent months when using the latest FreeBSD code, but some have still talked of stability issues that can creep up over time.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU dbm Version 1.16

      Version 1.16 has been released.

      This version improves free space management and fixes a long-standing bug discovered recently due to introduction of strict database consistency checks.

    • GnuCash 3.2

      GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

    • FSF Blogs: GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 18 new GNU releases!
  • Public Services/Government
    • Cities and companies combine for open source

      An international alliance of market leaders from across the smart city, smart energy and IoT network sectors have announced plans to develop an open source, multi-transport wireless networking technology and data model with the aim of eliminating dependency on proprietary solutions.

      Smart Internet of Things (IoT) projects for managing streetlights, parking, traffic, waste collection, power grids, metering and other applications are introduced continuously by cities or utilities around the world.

      But according to the newly formed uCIFI Alliance, despite this proliferation of projects, network owners face a hurdle to either integrate multiple proprietary systems and APIs or deal with a dependence on single-source suppliers for network hardware or software layers.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • European Union Public License v. 1.2 added to license list

      The European Union Public License v. 1.2 (EUPL-1.2) joins list of free licenses.

      We recently added the EUPL-1.2 to our list of Various Licenses and Comments About Them. This list helps users to understand whether a particular license is a free software license, and whether it is compatible with the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). Like the previous version of the EUPL (EUPL-1.1), the EUPL-1.2 is included in the section for free licenses that are GNU GPL-incompatible, but with an important caveat. While the EUPL-1.2′s copyleft by itself is incompatible with the GNU GPL, the license provides a few mechanisms for re-licensing which enable combination with GNU GPL-licensed works.

  • Programming/Development
    • Why GitLab Is Moving From Azure to Google Cloud Platform

      To old timers in the open source game, it might come as a surprise that a company like GitLab that’s proud of it’s open source roots would be using Azure to begin with. After all, wasn’t distrust of Microsoft’s ownership of GitHub the reason behind the mass exodus to GitLab earlier this month? While a “new” and more open source friendly Microsoft was undoubtedly one of the reasons why GitLab would even consider the move to Redmond’s cloud — the motivating factor was money.

    • postmarketOS is #movingtogitlab

      After learning that Microsoft will buy GitHub at the end of 2018, for a lot of people trust in GitHub was shattered like the glass of @opendata26′s Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. But independent of that, GitHub has always had a vendor lock-in with the user’s issues and pull requests hidden behind a rate limited API instead of a proper export feature. And even if you managed to export it through that API, you can not host your own GitHub instance and modify it as you like because there is not even a partially open source version of it.

      We want to be in control of our own data. While we can’t maintain a self-hosted solution at this point, at least we want to be able to create a public backup of all our > 1500 issues and pull requests once a week. After some discussion we ended up with gitlab.com as alternative, because its API allows to create a whole backups at once and we can import them into our own instance if we want to do that in the future. The workflow is similar to GitHub, so we expect a rather smooth transition compared to using something entirely different.

    • Planning Data Science is hard: EDA

      I’ve run into this problem a bunch of times when trying to set OKRs for major analyses. It’s nearly impossible to scope a project if I haven’t already done some exploratory analysis. I didn’t have this problem when I was doing engineering work. If I had a rough idea of what pieces I needed to stitch together, I could at least come up with an order-of-magnitude estimate of how long a project would take to complete. Not so with Data Science: I have a hard time differentiating between analyses that are going to take two weeks and analyses that are going to take two quarters.

    • You can’t do data science in a GUI

      I came across You can’t do data science in a GUI by Hadley Wickham a little while ago. He hits on a lot of the same problems I mentioned in Don’t make me code in your text box.

    • This Week in Rust 240
    • 4 ways Flutter makes mobile app development delightful

      I’m going to let you in on a secret: For years I hated mobile development. I wanted to like it—mobile was the future! It was cool! It was low-power! It was a way to connect with users whose first exposure to computers did not come from traditional desktop platforms! And yet… development was a slow, frustrating experience for me. Instead, I sequestered myself over in the entirely problem-free area of web development and mourned the disappearance of the HTML blink tag (kidding).

      Then, I discovered Flutter, an open source mobile app SDK developed by Google that enables developers to use the same codebase to create mobile apps for iOS and Android.

    • Pusher: treat developers ‘as customers’

      Pusher is a developer tools company that makes communication and collaboration APIs for web and mobile applications.

      The company’s core product is called Channels, developers use it to create features such as in-app notifications, activity streams, chat, real-time dashboards and multi-user collaborative apps.

    • How I finally learned what a “monad” is

      I wrote Clojure, a functional programming language where monads are (implicitly) everywhere, for 3+ years. I learned Haskell for 6+ months, enough time to put together some trivial programs. I knew Common Lisp and Scheme, Python and Ruby. I watched videos and read tutorials and books. I even worked through most of SICP in Shen.

      Despite all of this, I still could not understand what a monad was or why it would be useful. What finally made me understand monads was the frustration that came from writing the same code over and over again in Elm.

Leftovers
  • Historical inventory of collaborative editors

    As with any such list, it must start with an honorable mention to the mother of all demos during which Doug Engelbart presented what is basically an exhaustive list of all possible software written since 1968. This includes not only a collaborative editor, but graphics, programming and math editor.

  • Hardware
    • Apple aims to appease customers with free MacBook keyboard repairs

      Apple has admitted that its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptop keyboards made since 2015 are susceptible to becoming stuck or breaking, and is promising to repair them for free.

      Following a litany of user complaints across support forums, specialist media, class action lawsuits and 31,000-strong online petitions, Apple said it had determined that a “small percentage of the keyboards” were affected by the issues.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • WIPO Genetic Resources Expert Group Ponders Disclosure Requirement, Databases

      On the eve of this week’s meeting of a World Intellectual Property Organization committee on genetic resources, an expert group met behind closed doors to discuss some of the more difficult issues. The report of the expert group to the full committee on 25 June confirmed differences but also common views and avenues to be explored, and has been carried into the week.

    • Why college football player’s death should terrify parents

      Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski, who committed suicide in January, had early stages of CTE at age 21.

    • US Raises Economic Concerns About Proposals At WIPO On Patents And Genetic Resources

      Normally known for sanguine views of rules to strengthen intellectual property rights globally, the United States government this week submitted a paper at the World Intellectual Property Organization putting forward private sector economic concerns about proposals to strengthen international rules for patenting of genetic resources aimed largely at helping developing countries.

      [...]

      At issue are proposals by developing countries – which tend to have significant genetic resources – trying after decades to finally rein in what they see as ongoing biopiracy – the misappropriation of their genetic materials – by northern companies and others who use the materials in patented products without disclosing the origin of the genetic materials. An example of a biopiracy case surfaced this month involving genetic material of the açai berry from Brazil being used in research in California.

      The aim of the proposals is generally to ensure prior informed consent of the communities and countries where the genetic materials occur, in part so that they may be sure to have access to, and get some benefits from, any product – such as a pharmaceutical or biotech innovation – that is ultimately put on the market.

      The main concern of the US paper is the “uncertainty” new measures might inject into the system, deterring or chilling private sector innovation.

  • Security
    • WiFi’s tougher WPA3 security is ready

      WiFi security is finally getting an upgrade after 14 years. The Wi-Fi Alliance has officially launched WPA3, the next-generation standard that promises to tackle many of the vulnerabilities that have persisted in wireless networking. Most notably, it brings individualized data encryption that should protect your data against eavesdropping from within the WiFi network. You’ll also get tougher password-based sign-ins through Simultaneous Authentication of Equals, a key establishment protocol that reduces the chances of someone guessing your password — even if it’s lousy.

    • Next-Generation WPA3 WiFi Security Standard Launches

      The Wi-Fi Alliance officially announced the launch of the WiFi Certified WPA3 wireless security technology late on June 25, providing next-generation WiFi security capabilities.

    • TLBleed Can Leak Cryptographic Keys from CPUs Snooping on TLBs [Ed: A 'master key'-type of back door, and there's no patch for it]

      A new side-channel vulnerability affecting Intel processors, known as TLBleed, can leak information by snooping on Translation Look-aside Buffers (TLBs), writes VUsec security researcher Ben Gras.

    • What Metrics Should Enterprises Focus On to Improve Cybersecurity?
    • TLBleed is latest Intel CPU flaw to surface: But don’t expect it to be fixed
    • Researchers warn of new Hyper-Threading-based Intel CPU vulnerability [Ed: Intel isn't "refusing" the latest flaw but is unable to patch it. Intel needs to recall and replace billions of chips. Needs class action to compel the executives (CEO has just left) to do it.]
    • How can a hardcoded password vulnerability affect Cisco PCP?
    • What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

      Set forth by the National Institute of Standards and Technology under the United States Commerce Department, the Cybersecurity Framework is a set of guidelines for private sector companies to follow to be better prepared in identifying, detecting, and responding to cyber-attacks. It also includes guidelines on how to prevent and recover from an attack.

    • Cambridge Dictionary urged to change ‘negative’ definition of ‘hacker’

      Campaigners are demanding The Cambridge Dictionary change its definition of hackers, claiming the world’s oldest publishing house is allowing a "negative" stereotype of the title.

    • Rising concerns over hackers [sic] using satellites to target US

      Thrip used malware to infect computers linked to the satellites in an attempt to seize control of them — efforts that suggest the group’s motivations could extend beyond spying and include “disruption,” according to Symantec.

    • The Next Generation of Wi-Fi Security Will Save You From Yourself

      It’ll take time before you can enjoy the full benefits of WPA3; the Wi-Fi Alliance, a trade group that oversees the standard, is releasing full details today but doesn’t expect broad implementation until late 2019 at the earliest. In the course that WPA3 charts for Wi-Fi, though, security experts see critical, long-overdue improvements to a technology you use more than almost any other.

    • Intel says new TLBleed flaw unrelated to Spectre or Meltdown

      In a statement on Tuesday, an Intel spokesperson said the company had been notified of research from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, which outlined a potential side-channel analysis vulnerability.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Efail: HTML Mails have no Security Concept and are to blame

      I recently wrote down my thoughts about why I think deprecated cryptographic standards are to blame for the Efail vulnerability in OpenPGP and S/MIME. However I promised that I’ll also cover the other huge part that made a bug like Efail possible: HTML mails.

      Just a quick recap of the major idea of Efail: It’s a combination of ways to manipulate encrypted messages and use active content in mails to exfiltrate the encrypted content. Though while the part about manipulated encrypted messages certainly deserves attention, the easiest of the Efail scenarios – the so-called direct exfiltration attack – doesn’t need any weak cryptography at all.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #165
    • two security holes and a new library

      For the past week and a half, I’ve been working on embargoed security holes. The embargo is over, and git-annex 6.20180626 has been released, fixing those holes. I’m also announcing a new Haskell library, http-client-restricted, which could be used to avoid similar problems in other programs.

      Working in secret under a security embargo is mostly new to me, and I mostly don’t like it, but it seems to have been the right call in this case. The first security hole I found in git-annex turned out to have a wider impact, affecting code in git-annex plugins (aka external special remotes) that uses HTTP. And quite likely beyond git-annex to unrelated programs, but I’ll let their developers talk about that. So quite a lot of people were involved in this behind the scenes.

    • What Is WPA3, and When Will I Get It On My Wi-Fi?

      The Wi-Fi Alliance just announced WPA3, a Wi-Fi security standard that will replace WPA2. In a few years, when the laundry folding robots and smart fridges are forgotten, WPA3 will be everywhere making it harder for people to hack your Wi-Fi.

      As of today, the Wi-Fi Alliance has started to certify new products that support WPA3, and a bunch of manufacturers are already on board. Qualcomm has started making chips for phones and tablets, Cisco announced upcoming support that might even include updating existing devices to support it, and virtually every other company has announced their support.

    • Firefox Will Soon Tell You When You’ve Been Pwned

      An upcoming Firefox feature will alert you when your information leaks, and 1Password users have access to a similar feature right now.

      Have I Been Pwned is a site by Troy Hunt, a security expert, where you can enter your email address and find out if any of your accounts are compromised. The problem: you have to actively go to the site in order to use it, meaning it’s only really effective if you check back regularly.

    • TLBleed Vulnerability Affects Intel Processors Following Meltdown
    • New Details Leak on Security Flaw That Led OpenBSD to Disable Hyper-Threading

      Last week, the head of OpenBSD development, Theo de Raadt, told the press that the OS project he leads would no longer enable Hyper-Threading on Intel processors because of security issues. A full paper is due to be released in August at the Black Hat security conference. All de Raadt has said is that the issue is related to simultaneous multi-threading and that it impacted Intel CPUs.

    • TLBleed attack can extract signing keys, but exploit is difficult

      An interesting, new side-channel attack abuses the Hyper-Threading feature of Intel chips and can extract signing keys with near-perfect accuracy. But both the researchers and Intel downplayed the danger of the exploit.

      Ben Gras, Kaveh Razavi, Herbert Bos and Cristiano Giuffrida, researchers at Vrije Universiteit’s systems and network security group in Amsterdam, said their attack, called TLBleed, takes advantage of the translation lookaside buffer cache of Intel chips. If exploited, TLBleed can allow an attacker to extract the secret 256-bit key used to sign programs, with a success rate of 99.8% on Intel Skylake and Coffee Lake processors and 98.2% accuracy on Broadwell Xeon chips.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Trump’s Spaced-Out Space Force

      At a recent meeting of the newly-revived National Space Council, President Donald Trump announced the Space Policy Directive: National Space Traffic Management (STM) Policy and ordered the Department of Defense to establish a Space Force as a sixth branch of the US military.

      Creating a “separate but equal” Space Corps would need Congressional authorization, however, which could abort Trump’s lift off.

      Members of Trump’s own cabinet, including the secretary of defense, are opposed to creating a new military branch, meaning the president’s plans could be left on the launching pad.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Senate Democrats Urge Pence to Discuss Assange With Ecuador

      Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday urged Vice President Mike Pence to press Ecuador’s government over asylum it grants to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and nine other Democratic senators said in a letter to Pence that they were extremely concerned over Ecuador’s protection of Assange at its embassy in London.

      Pence was beginning his stop in Ecuador on Wednesday as part of a three-nation tour of Latin America, where he will meet with President Lenin Moreno to discuss trade and the crisis in Venezuela.

    • Top human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson on censorship, WikiLeaks & Brazil’s Lula (E628)

      In this episode, we talk to one of the world’s greatest human rights lawyers, Geoffrey Robertson, about speaking out against legal-aid cuts as well as censorship, General Pinochet and defending the likes of WikiLeaks, Brazil’s Lula, and the IRA.

  • Finance
    • For WaPo, Subsidizing Bus Fare Is a Lot Like Giving the Rich $5 Trillion

      According to the Washington Post (6/17/18), Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the frontrunner in Mexico’s July 1 election, “bears more than a passing political resemblance” to US President Donald Trump.

      Indeed, they are practically the same person: In the late 1970s, AMLO—as López Obrador is sometimes called—was “taking on Mexico’s state-run oil company, Pemex, setting up protest camps outside its offices to force it to pay compensation to indigenous communities and campesinos whose lands it had polluted.”

      Around the same time, in 1975, Donald Trump was busy settling a lawsuit with the US Justice Department that accused the company he owned with his father of refusing to rent or negotiate rentals “because of race and color,” “requir[ing] different rental terms and conditions because of race” and “misrepresent[ing] to blacks that apartments were not available.”

    • A Slartibartfast Brexit
    • Largest US nail manufacturer ‘on the brink of extinction’ because of the steel tariffs

      The Mid-Continent Nail plant in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, laid off 60 of its 500 workers last week because of increased steel costs. The company blames the 25% tariff on imported steel. Orders for nails plunged 50% after the company raised its prices to deal with higher steel costs.

      The company is in danger of shutting production by Labor Day unless the Commerce Department grants it an exclusion from paying the tariffs, company spokesman James Glassman told CNN’s Poppy Harlow.

    • The Belgian Government unveils its plan for the Brussels International Business Court (BIBC)

      In October 2017, in the wake of Brexit, Belgium was one of the first European jurisdictions to announce its intention to set up a specialised English-speaking court with jurisdiction over international commercial disputes, the Brussels International Business Court (“BIBC”).

      The stated aim of this new court is to position Brussels as a new hub for international commercial disputes, in line with its international status as de facto capital of the EU and seat of many international companies and institutions (NATO, World Customs Organisation, Benelux, etc.). As discussed in previous posts on this blog, similar projects are ongoing in several jurisdictions throughout the EU, including France, the Netherlands and Germany.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Huawei named as top corporate sponsor for MPs’ paid travel

      The institute analysed the period from July 2010 to May 2018 using MPs’ and senators’ declaration of interests to discover the largest sponsors of trips that consisted of just flights, or of flights and accommodation (the “vast majority”).

    • UK election watchdog calls for ‘urgent’ regulation for digital political ads

      Online political campaigning is largely unregulated which has lead to the spread of misinformation and the illegitimate use of personal data as seen in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

    • ‘AT&T Only Buys Time Warner Once in a Lifetime’

      When News Corp wanted an FCC waiver to allow it to take over another TV station owner here in New York years ago, the story was that a merged company would be stronger, and even serve news market diversity by keeping alive News Corp’s daily paper, the New York Post. The merger’s actual effect was better reflected in a bus ad I saw some time later, advertising, “Ricki Lake: Now on 2 Stations.”

      The thing is, most people don’t take corporations’ promises about the benefits of mergers at face value. Perhaps especially in media, concerns about the concentration of power in a few hands are keen and, one would think, almost automatic.

      But US District Court Richard Leon is not most people. Leon has just ruled that the merger of AT&T and Time Warner may proceed, rejecting antitrust concerns presented by the Department of Justice and, indeed, Leon says the giant telcomm carrier and the giant media company can merge with no conditions whatsoever.

    • I Helped Design The Election Simulation ‘Parlor Game’ Rebekah Mercer Got, And It’s Not What You Think

      How was your Monday? Mine was odd. Have you ever seen a news story where you know the reports are getting things wrong? This is like that, but on steroids. In fact, this was a story in which not only were the basic points wrong, but the wrongness started to go viral.

      Jane Mayer, the New Yorker’s famed reporter, published a short piece talking about how Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of billionaire Robert Mercer, who helped fund Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica and helped get Donald Trump elected President, had “played” a new parlor game, called “Machine Learning President,” in which characters could role play the election…

    • Did Sen. Warner and Comey ‘Collude’ on Russia-gate?

      An explosive report by investigative journalist John Solomon on the opinion page of Monday’s edition of The Hill sheds a bright light on how Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and then-FBI Director James Comey collaborated to prevent WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from discussing “technical evidence ruling out certain parties [read Russia]” in the controversial leak of Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 election.

      A deal that was being discussed last year between Assange and U.S. government officials would have given Assange “limited immunity” to allow him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been exiled for six years. In exchange, Assange would agree to limit through redactions “some classified CIA information he might release in the future,” according to Solomon, who cited “interviews and a trove of internal DOJ documents turned over to Senate investigators.” Solomon even provided a copy of the draft immunity deal with Assange.

    • Why Venezuela Reporting Is So Bad

      MacLeod notes that US government funding to the Venezuelan opposition spiked just before the 2002 coup, and then increased again afterwards. What would happen to a foreign government that conceded (as the US State Department’s Office of the Inspector General did regarding Venezuela) that it funded and trained groups involved with violently ousting the US government?

      MacLeod shows that, in bold defiance of the facts, the US media usually treated US involvement in the coup as a conspiracy theory, on those rare occasions when US involvement was discussed at all. Only 10 percent of the articles MacLeod sampled in US media even mentioned potential US involvement in the coup. Thirty-nine percent did in UK media, but, according to MacLeod, “only the Guardian presented US involvement as a strong possibility.”

    • Paying the President

      Since Watergate, presidents have actively sought to avoid conflicts between their public responsibilities and their private interests. Almost all presidents starting with Jimmy Carter have sold their companies or moved assets into blind trusts.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Watch the John Oliver segment that got Oliver’s name banned in China

      China has begun censoring mentions of HBO comedian John Oliver on social media and restricting access to the HBO website. The crackdown began late last week after Oliver ran a scathing 20-minute segment on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, mocking Chinese president Xi Jinping.

    • Woman founder of South Korea’s largest porn site arrested

      Distributing pornography is illegal in South Korea, although many such videos are widely consumed on servers based in foreign countries, or secretly shared on file-sharing sites.

    • Venezuelan gov blocks access to Tor to censor the news

      Why would they do this? Well, it’s pretty simple – news. The censorship in the country has been subject to intensive tightening recently following continuing protests over the government, austerity, and poverty and the likes of CNN are not part of the government’s plan.

      Criticism of the open [I]nternet has been an issue in the country for some time.

    • Venezuela is blocking access to the Tor network

      Venezuela has blocked all access to the Tor network, according to an Access Now report citing activists within the country. Coming just months after a new round of web blocks within the country, the latest block includes both direct connections to the network and connections over bridge relays, which had escaped many previous Tor blocks.

    • Venezuela’s largest ISP blocks Tor

      Venezuelans have been relying on tools like Tor to access news sources, including local outlets like El Nacional and international ones like CNN en Español, after the government banned them in the country. Unfortunately, they’re going to have to work a little bit harder to circumvent government censorship — according to a report by human rights non-profit group Access Now, the largest ISP in the country, which just happened to be owned by the government, has blocked the software. Previously, people could simply change their DNS to access censored information online, but using Tor or VPN has become a necessity to get around the most recent bans.

    • Australian Parliament Sends Ethics Committee After A Citizen For Mocking Gov’t Official On Twitter

      It’s 2018 and governments we assume to be enlightened guardians of civil liberties are still doing authoritarian things like turning journalists over to “ethics” committees for illegal tweets. Unbelievably, the Queensland (AU) Parliament restricts use of footage of its assemblies, forbidding anyone from using recordings for “satire, ridicule, or commercial sponsorship.” Certainly we can see some reasons to potentially restrict promotional use of government footage for commercial sponsorship, but is anything more worthy of satire and ridicule than politicians? I submit to you that there is not. And this move by the Parliament is only going to encourage further satire and ridicule.

      [...]

      You idiots. Embedding the mocking tweet wouldn’t make ABC complicit in the forbidden act of mocking Parliament with its own recordings. The republication of the tweet would clearly fall under the “fair and accurate report” protection. ABC’s assertion isn’t just inaccurate, it’s cowardly. If anything was to come of ABC’s republication, it would only increase the amount of scorn aimed at MP Bleijie, Parliament’s ethics committee, and the asinine restrictions Parliament places on the publication of footage. It would not harm ABC in the least and yet here we are watching a journalistic agency become an unofficial partner in the government’s outreach overreach program.

    • China Censors John Oliver Because President Xi Looks A Bit Like Winnie The Pooh

      Whatever you do, don’t point out that some people think China’s President Xi Jinping vaguely resembles Winnie the Pooh.

      HBO Comedian John Oliver recently learned this the hard way when Chinese users of popular social networking website Weibo found they weren’t able to mention Oliver by name without receiving an error message stating such comments violated “rules and regulations.” After that, censorship monitor GreatFire.org indicated that HBO’s website was blocked entirely for the lion’s share of the country since last weekend.

      The cause of China’s efforts to remove Oliver from the internet? This recent twenty minute segment took a semi-deep dive into China’s political leadership, noting their abolition of term limits, ongoing censorhip, the routine murder and/or imprisonment of political dissidents, the country’s rather terrifying implementation of “citizen scores,” and oh — the fact that some people think that Chinese President Xi has a semi-decent resemblance to a rotund, honey-adoring cartoon…

    • UN Report Sets Forth Strong Recommendations for Companies to Protect Free Expression

      “YouTube keeps deleting evidence of Syrian chemical weapon attacks”

      “Azerbaijani faces terrorist propaganda charge in Georgia for anti-Armenian Facebook post”

      “Medium Just Took Down A Post It Says Doxed ICE Employees”

      These are just a sampling of recent headlines relating to the regulation of user-generated online content, an increasingly controversial subject that has civil society and Silicon Valley at loggerheads. Through Onlinecensorship.org and various other projects—including this year’s censorship edition of our annual Who Has Your Back? report—we’ve highlighted the challenges and pitfalls that companies face as they seek to moderate content on their platforms. Over the past year, we’ve seen this issue come into the spotlight through advocacy initiatives like the Santa Clara Principles, media such as the documentary The Cleaners, and now, featured in the latest report by Professor David Kaye, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

    • Swedish court considers new blocking injunction against The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites

      The Swedish Patents and Market Court (the specialist IP court in this country since 2016) has been recently requested to issue an injunction against Swedish internet access provider Telia to block access to torrent sites The Pirate Bay, Dreamfilm, Nyafilmer, Fmovies, and several other related proxies and mirror sites.

      Not completely unfamiliar to readers, The Pirate Bay and several of the sites at issue give access to works protected by copyright through links to Torrent sites (eg, The Pirate Bay) or allow users to upload and make available those works, without the rightholders’ consent.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Lobbyists Descend On California To Shape A Rushed New Privacy Law

      Last year, the GOP and Trump administration used the Congressional Review Act to dismantle FCC consumer broadband privacy protections before they could take effect last March. While AT&T and Comcast whined incessantly about the rules, the FCC’s guidelines were relatively modest; they required that ISPs and mobile carriers be transparent about what data is being collected and sold, and get express consumer opt-in consent before ISPs can share more private financial or location data. Such rules could have gone a long way in protecting consumers in the wake of the recent Securus and Locationsmart location data scandals.

      Following the ISP-funded attack on FCC authority and consumer protections, states have begun exploring their own privacy protections (mirroring what we’re also seeing on the net neutrality front). For example, California last year considered passing a state-level copy of the FCC’s gutted privacy rules. But those efforts hit a political brick wall thanks to the collective lobbying muscle of Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Google and Facebook, which killed that effort by lying repeatedly about what the proposal actually did, including claims the proposal would “aid extremism.”

      While Verizon and Facebook both pretended to back away from those attacks once their efforts gained press exposure, the effort continue all the same.

    • Investigation Shows AT&T Really Likes Being In The Surveillance Business

      The Intercept has dug up more details on AT&T’s groundbreaking efforts in worldwide surveillance. Last year, it identified a 550-foot, windowless tower in lower Manhattan as an AT&T hub where the NSA taps into phone calls, faxes, and internet communications.

      According to The Intercept’s investigation, there are eight of these datacenters/hubs scattered around the United States. And the NSA is utilizing these to grab data and communications from all over the world. Like the one in Manhattan, the other AT&T/NSA structures are structurally hardened, largely devoid of windows, and bristling with communications equipment… not all of it belonging to AT&T.

    • The ISPs sharing your DNS query data

      This means that downstream customers’ data is sent away to 3rd party sources, who often charge to have researchers access the data.

      So what ISP’s are doing this? How can we find that out?

    • Facebook accidentally sends dev reports to software testers

      Apparently, three per cent of apps using Facebook Analytics have had their weekly summary sent to app testers rather than the apps’ makers. Such testers are normally third-parties contracted by developers to carry out testing, so in theory, they could pass that data on to rival developers if they so wished or were incentivised to do so.

      The testers were only allowed to see the weekly summary and couldn’t click on through to historical app analytics, which at least mean that they wouldn’t be able to get the full picture of an app’s overall performance.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ICE Modified Its ‘Risk Assessment’ Software So It Automatically Recommends Detention

      According to a new investigative report from Reuters, however, last year ICE changed the risk assessment software so that it always recommends detention for apprehended immigrants to conform to Trump’s “zero tolerance” stance on illegal immigration. This change led to an almost immediate increase in the detention of immigrants with little to no criminal history, who would’ve normally been released on bond until their court date. In 2017, ICE booked more than 43,000 immigrants into its detention centers—more than three times the number of detainees in the year prior.

    • America Doesn’t Need More Border Patrol Agents

      Senators advance a DHS budget that adds more Border Patrol agents who’ve been tearing children away from their parents.

      Agonized screams of immigrant children begging for their forcibly separated parents are now our most direct experience of horrors perpetrated by the Trump-Sessions-Nielsen family separations policy. Amidst the kids’ unforgettably sad, piercing cries on the recording, something else stands out: a Border Patrol agent’s Spanish commentary. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” he jokes. “What’s missing is a conductor.”

      Agents are also verbally abusive. Parents are“called filthy and stinky and … mocked for crying,” according to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who visited detained mothers. “One woman said ‘I want to be with my children’ and the Border Patrol agent said: ‘You will never see your children again. Families don’t exist here. You won’t have a family anymore.’”

      A lawsuit filed this week by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid argues that some Border Patrol agents “sadistically tease and taunt parents and children with the prospect of separation, and do so using words and tones indicating that Defendants’ employees and agents enjoy the pain and suffering that the very idea of separation causes to parents and children.” While many agents strive to live up to their motto, Honor First, that is an aspiration badly corroded by family separations.

    • The Supreme Court Ignores the Reality of President Trump’s Discriminatory Muslim Ban

      The 5-4 decision today was devastating, but the fight against the Muslim ban will continue beyond the courts.

      The Supreme Court today rejected the challenge to President Trump’s Muslim Ban. In its 5-to-4 decision, the court failed to make good on principles at the heart of our constitutional system — including the absolute prohibition on official disfavor of a particular religion. The fight against the ban will continue, but the court’s decision is devastating. History will not be kind to the court’s approval of an unfounded and blatantly anti-Muslim order.

      By now the story of this shameful policy is familiar. During his campaign, Trump issued a statement calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — which remained on his website until well into his term in office. That was hardly a stray comment. Rather, over and over, both before and after the election, Trump expressed his animus for Islam and Muslims and tied that animus to his proposed immigration ban.

      Just one week into office, Trump attempted to make good on the campaign promise, issuing a sweeping ban on over a hundred million Muslims without even consulting the government’s national security experts. Courts rejected that first version as well as the order the administration crafted to replace it. Finally, those temporary measures were replaced by the current proclamation, which likewise bans over 150 million people — approximately 95 percent of them Muslim. As Justice Sotomayor explained in her dissenting opinion, Trump’s consistent messages and actions paint a “harrowing picture, from which a reasonable observer would readily conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by hostility and animus toward the Muslim faith.”

    • The Supreme Court Cares About Religious Animus — Except When It Doesn’t

      Just weeks ago, the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of religious neutrality. If only it applied that standard today.

      In a pair of religious freedom rulings this month, the Supreme Court took dramatically different approaches to a basic constitutional question: When does anti-religious hostility by government officials violate the religious liberty guarantees of the First Amendment?

      The wildly divergent results in those two high-profile cases — Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and Trump v. Hawaii, the Muslim ban case — send troubling mixed messages, which threaten to undermine religious freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

      In a deeply divided 5-4 decision handed down on Tuesday, the court upheld President Trump’s Muslim ban, allowing the federal government to target Muslims worldwide based on unfounded fears and bare religious animus. In the face of Trump’s repeated, unambiguous statements condemning Islam and Muslims, the Supreme Court essentially gave the president a free pass to vilify an entire faith and enshrine that bigotry into national immigration policy.

    • Trump’s catch-and-detain policy snares many who have long called U.S. home

      To conform to Trump’s policies, Reuters has learned, ICE modified a tool officers have been using since 2013 when deciding whether an immigrant should be detained or released on bond. The computer-based Risk Classification Assessment uses statistics to determine an immigrant’s flight risk and danger to society.

      Previously, the tool automatically recommended either “detain” or “release.” Last year, ICE spokesman Bourke said, the agency removed the “release” recommendation, but he noted that ICE personnel can override it.

    • Supreme Court’s Decision to Uphold Trump’s Travel Ban is a Disappointment

      We are deeply disappointed by today’s Supreme Court 5-4 ruling which provides a legal basis for the Trump Administration to prohibit individuals from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela from entering the United States. We agree with the four dissenting Justices that the majority ignored key facts that overwhelmingly showed that this is a religious ban that “masquerades behind a facade of national-security con­cerns.”

      At issue is the Trump Administration’s third Executive Order on immigration, which differed from the original January 2017 and March 2017 orders by the removal of Iraq and Sudan, and the addition of three non-muslim majority countries. Five Justices held that the President has broad discretion to protect national security, and irrespective of Trump’s personal beliefs or statements, his action was justified because he consulted with other agencies and officials on whether people from certain countries posed security risks.

    • ‘Media Coverage of This Case Has Been Sloppy When Present at All’

      Listeners know that Washington, DC, police mass-arrested more than 200 people, including journalists, during protests at Donald Trump’s inauguration, in which a few windows were broken and a limousine set on fire. Federal prosecutors have surprised some by vigorously pursuing felony riot charges against some of the so-called “J20 protesters,” resulting in decades of prison time, even those they acknowledge engaged in no damage or violence but were simply present, and in some cases reporting.

      Perhaps the only hopeful part of what seems a clear effort to criminalize dissent is that the wheels seem to be coming off it. Joining us now to bring us up-to-date is Sam Menefee-Libey, an organizer and member of the Dead City Legal Posse, a community group that’s come together to support J20 protesters. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC.

    • We’ve Found $16.1 Million in Political and Taxpayer Spending at Trump Properties

      Since Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president in late 2015, at least $16.1 million has poured into Trump Organization-managed and branded hotels, golf courses and restaurants from his campaign, Republican organizations, and government agencies. Because Trump’s business empire is overseen by a trust of which he is the sole beneficiary, he profits from these hotel stays, banquet hall rentals and meals.

      To arrive at the total, we compiled campaign finance reports from the Federal Election Commission; state government spending gleaned from dozens of state websites and portals; and federal agency expenditure records obtained by the Washington-based transparency organization Property of the People. For this project, Property of the People filed Freedom of Information Act requests with 15 federal agencies and sued four of them to obtain records. (The organization is also attempting to procure comparable records for the Obama era.)

    • Three City Sticker Tickets on the Same Car in 90 Minutes?

      In less than 90 minutes on an October afternoon in 2014, Chicago police officers slapped three $200 tickets on a South Side woman’s 1999 Ford Expedition because she didn’t have a city vehicle sticker.

      On at least three separate occasions in the past three years, a 27-year-old man from the Austin neighborhood received multiple tickets on the same day because his car didn’t have a city sticker.

      And one spring afternoon last year, city records show, authorities gave a West Side couple a sticker ticket when their car was parked near a recreation center in the Fuller Park neighborhood, then again later that day outside their home in Austin.

    • Supreme Court Agrees To Take Petition Asking Whether Eighth Amendment Protections Apply To Asset Forfeiture

      The Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that may alter how states run their asset forfeiture programs. As it stands now, there’s nothing unifying forfeiture policies across the nation and, under Jeff Sessions, the DOJ has reopened the federal forfeiture pressure valve, allowing state agencies to bypass recently-passed reforms.

      But there’s still something at the federal level that possibly affects state-level forfeitures. The question for the Supreme Court is whether or not a Constitutional protection overrides state laws. The case centers on the seizure of an Indiana resident’s Land Rover after a drug bust. Tyson Timbs had purchased the $42,000 vehicle with funds from his father’s life insurance. So, the vehicle was legally obtained with funds not even remotely linked to Timbs’ drug dealing.

      The state took it because Timbs used it to transport drugs on one of the controlled buys cops performed. It processed it as a civil asset forfeiture (rather than a criminal asset forfeiture) to get around the fact the fines and sentence didn’t justify the criminal seizure of a $42,000 vehicle. A drug sale of $225 netted Timbs a year of house arrest and $1200 in legal fees. Then the state decided to take his car because why not.

      That’s what Timbs is challenging. The Eighth Amendment contains an Excessive Fines Clause. Timbs is hoping to have the court find the seizure of a $42,000 vehicle over $225 worth of drugs a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Considering the state levies a maximum $10,000 fine for the offense Timbs was charged with, a $40,000 seizure would appear to be excessive. But Timbs only batted .500 in Indiana courts.

    • Federal judge orders reunification of parents and children, end to most family separations at border

      A federal judge in California late Tuesday ordered a halt to most family separations at the US border and the reunification of all families that have been separated in the first major rebuke to the Trump administration during ongoing furor over family separations at the border.
      The court order specifically requires federal officials to stop detaining parents apart from their minor children, absent a determination the parent is unfit or the parent declines reunification; reunify all parents with their minor children who are under the age of 5 within 14 days and reunify all parents with their minor children age 5 and older within 30 days.
      The order also mandates that officials provide parents contact with their children by phone within 10 days, if the parent is not already in contact with his or her child.

    • Illinois Prosecutor Brings Felony Eavesdropping Charges Against 13-Year-Old Who Recorded His Conversation With School Administrators

      One of Illinois’ most-abused laws continues to be abused. For years, cops used the state’s eavesdropping laws to arrest citizens who attempted to record them. This practice finally stopped when three consecutive courts — including a federal appeals court — ruled the law was unconstitutional when applied to target citizens recording public servants.

      This may have led to the end of bullshit arrests from cops who didn’t like being observed while they worked, but it’s still being used by government officials to punish people they don’t like. Illinois Policy reports a 13-year-old student is facing felony charges for recording a meeting between him and two school administrators.

    • About the Immigrant Children Shelter Map

      ProPublica found and mapped 97 facilities holding immigrant children, including shelters and foster care centers. As of June 26, 2,047 children remain separated from the parents who crossed the border with them. In addition to these children, these shelters were already home to an additional 8,886 children who crossed the border unaccompanied by older relatives before the “zero tolerance” policy was announced.

      The facilities include Casa Padre, a shelter based in a large former Walmart building in Brownsville, Texas, that is housing 1,450 children; a newly constructed tent city near the border in Tornillo, Texas, where temperatures are currently reaching a high of 104 degrees; rural Tudor-style cottages in upstate New York, and a shelter in a former YWCA in downtown Portland, Oregon. There are shelters in the centers of major cities like Houston, Phoenix, Tucson and El Paso. Others are in residential areas. Chances are good that there is one near you. Plug in your ZIP code and check here.

    • Here’s What It’s Like to Work at a Shelter for Immigrant Kids

      The employees were in the ninth hour of another 12-hour shift Saturday afternoon at a converted Walmart now housing immigrant boys when a teenage resident took off.

      Staff members at the Casa Padre shelter had been trying for weeks to connect the 15-year-old with family. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere. As a soccer game began, staffers watched as the boy dashed from the dirt field, clambered over the chain-link fence, jumped into a lake next to the building, then disappeared from view.

    • The Immigrant Children’s Shelters Near You

      Under President Trump’s new “zero tolerance” immigration policy 2,047 children remain separated from their parents, as of June 26.

    • The Supreme Court Failed Us

      The Supreme Court is on the wrong side of Trump’s travel ban.

      Tuesday is a dark day for American jurisprudence and the values we hold dear as a nation. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Under the false guise of protecting national security, the justices sanctioned a policy that targets people because of their religion.

      The ruling is an example of what happens when the government bases a policy on prejudice and bigotry and the court fails to stop it.

      As children, Americans are taught that the role of the Supreme Court is to check the power of the president and Congress. It is supposed to defend the Constitution and stay above politics and bitter partisanship. This duty is especially important at a time when an autocratic president is attacking our basic norms and institutions.

      Sadly, in issuing this decision, the court abdicated that responsibility. The five justices ruling in the majority performed a routine of judicial acrobatics to construct a legal argument sanctioning religious discrimination.

      During his campaign, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslimsentering the United States.” He made good on that promise during his first days in office with an executive order that banned people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. He then adjusted the list of nations subject to his ban as several courts repudiated his order as unconstitutional. The current ban — applying to five Muslim-majority nations and North Korea and Venezuela — is no less the result of anti-religious animus than the previous bans.

    • Antwon Rose Jr. Is Another Unarmed Young Black Man Who Should Be Alive Today

      The East Pittsburgh Police Department was negligent in hiring the officer who shot Rose in the back three times.

      Antwon Rose Jr. was a Black 17-year-old honors student at Woodland Hills High School near Pittsburgh. He died last week because an East Pittsburgh police officer shot him three times from behind. Rose’s story is at once terrifying and all too familiar, in a nation where hundreds of people of color die from police violence every year and where even 10-year old Black children are so afraid of police that their first reaction is to run even if they have done nothing wrong.

      On the day he died, Rose was one of two passengers in a “jitney”— a sort of unofficial taxi — in East Pittsburgh, a suburb just outside of Pittsburgh. An East Pittsburgh police officer pulled over the car because it matched the description of a car that drove away from the scene of a shooting 13 minutes earlier.

      According to an official police statement, the officer ordered the driver out and directed him to the ground. A cell phone video taken by a bystander shows what happened next. As a second police cruiser parked behind the first cruiser, Rose and the other passenger got out of the right-hand side of the jitney and started running away from the officers. While the other passenger was eventually charged with a crime, the district attorney has stated, “Antwon Rose didn’t do anything in North Braddock other than be in that vehicle.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • California’s Quest For Tough Net Neutrality Not Dead Yet

      Last week, AT&T won another major victory for itself by scuttling California’s attempt to pass tough new net neutrality rules. The proposed law, pushed by State Senator Scott Wiener, was heralded by the EFF as a good state-level proposal that eliminated a lot of the loopholes in the FCC’s now-discarded 2015 rules. But AT&T and Comcast lobbyists convinced California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago to introduce a series of last-minute secretive Tuesday night amendments gutting numerous, essential components of the bill. Those amendments were then quickly rushed through a vote without any debate.

    • Facebook abandons its Project Aquila flying internet plan

      On Tuesday the company said it would instead partner with firms such as Airbus to continue its efforts to connect more people to the [I]nternet.

    • Oldest domains in the .com, .net, and .org TLDs

      Using the DDN NIC domain summaries, it shouldn’t be too difficult to extract a list of domains, perform whois queries to get registration dates, and sort the results. Let’s find out.

    • Privacy Progress and Protections for California

      People in California are in midst of an important discussion around improving privacy protections. This comes in the wake of Cambridge Analytica and the European GDPR going into effect – but it’s a discussion that has been a long time in the making. We are excited to see the potential for progress.

      Californians are considering two competing approaches; a narrow ballot initiative on privacy and a broader privacy bill, the California Consumer Privacy Act or CalCPA, currently moving quickly through the legislature. Today, Mozilla is weighing in to endorse the broader bill. While we are also supportive of the ballot initiative, we believe the bill is the better option for Californians.

  • DRM
    • DRM, the World Cup, and what happens when a red team plays a green team

      Less than a year later, the World Cup has demonstrated how DRM thwarts accessibility: the Saudi-Russia match featured green jerseys on red jerseys — which, for millions of people, is just “grey jerseys versus grey jerseys.”

    • Disabilities vs DRM: the World Cup Edition

      When the Russian and Saudi teams squared off in a World Cup match on June 14, many fans were treated to an enthralling football match; but for a minority of fans with a visual disability, the match was more confusing than exciting.

      You see, the Russian team wears red jerseys and the Saudi team wears green jerseys, and red/green color-blindness (“achromatic vision”) is the most common form of color-blindness, a hereditary condition that affects millions. For these people, the Saudi-Russia match was the red/green team versus the red/green team in a fight to the finish.

      The good news is that color-blindness is no match for digital video analysis. Simple apps like DanKam can shift the colors in any video on your device, replacing the colors you can’t see with the colors you can. For people with color-blindness, it’s a profound and moving experience.

      The bad news is that technologies designed to prevent you from making unauthorized uses of videos can’t discriminate between uses that break the law (like copyright infringement) and ones that accomplish socially beneficial and legitimate ends like compensating for color-blindness.

      Less than a year ago, the World Wide Web Consortium published its controversial “Encrypted Media Extensions” (EME) for video, which indiscriminately block any unauthorized alterations to videos, including color-shifting. During the long and often acrimonious fight over EME, EFF proposed a covenant for W3C members that would make them promise not to pursue legal action against people who bypassed EME to adapt videos for people with disabilities, a proposal that was rejected by the major rightsholder and technology companies, who said that they and they alone should be the arbiters of how people with disabilities could use their products.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • [Older] EU Commission proposes softening of SPC law to assist EU-based manufacturers

      The European Commission has proposed a “targeted adjustment” to intellectual property law with a view to reducing the restrictions on EU-based manufacturers of pharmaceuticals seeking to compete in global markets.

      The Commission’s proposal would create an ‘export manufacturing waiver’ to supplementary protection certificates.

      A ‘Supplementary Protection Certificate’ (SPC) is a form of intellectual property right that extends patent protection in respect of pharmaceutical or plant protection products in qualifying circumstances. An SPC extends the term of its ‘basic patent’ by up to five years, the exact term of any particular SPC being determined by reference to the time taken for the grant of first marketing authorisation in the European Economic Area. SPC law is a complex mix of patent law, which derives from international treaty and national laws, and EU regulatory law.

      [...]

      Another is that patent infringement is an area of law that remains a matter of national law, not EU law – indeed, the proposed Unitary patent regime would not alter this.

    • A closer look at Pfizer v Orifarm, SPCs and the specific mechanism

      The CJEU set several precedents for the specific mechanism’s scope over supplementary protection certificates, in a decision IP attorneys say cements the connection between SPCs and basic patents

      IP lawyers say the connection between SPCs and basic patents has been strengthened by the CJEU last week confirming the scope of the specific mechanism regarding parallel importation of supplementary protection certificate-protected products.

    • Car giants and China’s IP leaders among notable gainers in latest IPO US patent ranking

      The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) released its annual ranking yesterday of the 300 companies that received the most US patents in 2017. There was no change at number one as IBM held onto its customary position at the top of the pile, with Big Blue receiving 8,996 grants last year – up by 10.8% year-on-year. In fact, the top five overall has a very familiar look to it.

    • Celebrating American ingenuity to the 7th power [Ed: More of this dumb obsession over the mere number of patents rather than their quality/value]

      From mainframe computers to mobile devices, from vaccines to cures, American ingenuity underwritten by the U.S. patent system has compounded over time to make our lives longer, more productive and more fulfilling.

    • From 1 to 10,000,000 – A History of Patents
    • The USPTO passed up a “golden opportunity” with its Raytheon 10 millionth patent award, expert claims

      The USPTO missed out on a significant chance to have a major impact with its choice for the 10 millionth patent, according to Matt Troyer, director of patent analytics at IP services provider Anaqua. “The news definitely made some noise,” he told IAM, “but this was a missed, one-of-a-kind opportunity to pay tribute to the acceleration of technology, celebrate 228 years of US innovation and pave the way for the next generation of inventors.” Last Tuesday the office issued patent number 10 million to Raytheon’s Joseph Marron for a method of getting real-time readings from LADAR.

    • Trademarks
      • Former France.com domain owner loses sign battle at General Court [Ed: EUIPO is run by a Frenchman, António Campinos]

        A man who claimed his domain name was “illegally seized” by the French government has also had his France.com sign rejected by the EUIPO after the French government opposed it. Can he defend his other EUIPO-registered marks?

      • Voodoo brewery unveils new can for “H2P” IPA

        Pennsylvania-based brewery Voodoo released a new design for its Pitt-themed IPA “H2P” after a legal dispute with Pitt caused the brewery to change the beer’s popular original can design that included the letters “H2P” in Pitt script and an image of the Cathedral of Learning.

        The new cans still feature Pitt’s trademark blue and gold color scheme, but that’s where any allusions to Pitt end. The cans now read “NON-TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT ALMA MATER IPA” with no other Pitt-related images.

      • Voodoo Brewery Changes Beer Name By Dipping It In Snark In Response To Pitt Trademark C&D

        Snark is a wholly underrated tool for dealing with trademark bullies. While we’ve seen it employed in the past, the victim of trademark bullying turning the tables on the bully with humor is something that still is far too rare. One brewery recently showed exactly how this is done.

        Voodoo Brewery has been selling its H2P IPA since 2014, with a can label that nods towards the University of Pittsburgh, where the brother of the brewery’s founder went to school. It was only in late 2017 that the school sent out a cease and desist letter, claiming trademark infringement.

    • Copyrights
      • ‘Free’ Game Making $300 Million Per Month? But I Thought You Can’t Make Money On Free…

        For most of the first decade of the millennium, we would post over and over again about content business models and how “free” content makes a ton of sense as a component of a business model. And yet, people in the legacy entertainment industry would laugh and laugh, and talk about how “you can’t make money on free.” You even had folks who claimed that if you gave away anything for free it proved you had “no fucking clue” about how to run a business. My favorite may have been Doug Morris, who was boss of Universal Music and then Sony Music, insisting that there was no way anyone in the recording business could make money on “free.”

        These days, that’s all looking pretty silly, but just to drive home the point: the insanely popular free video game Fortnite made $318 million last month. Not last year. Last month. And it’s free. Of course, as we’ve always said, the whole point of free is not that free is the business model, but that free is a part of the business model. And that’s exactly how Fortnight works.

      • Stephanie Lenz and Universal Music Publishing Group Settle ‘Dancing Baby’ Case

        Stephanie Lenz and Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) today announced they have amicably resolved Lenz v. Universal, the widely followed litigation sometimes referred to as the “Dancing Baby” case. Lenz filed her complaint in 2007, after UMPG requested the removal of a video in which Lenz’s then-toddler aged son dances to music playing in the background.

        David Kokakis, UMPG’s Chief Counsel, said, “UMPG takes great pride in protecting the rights of our songwriters. Inherent in that objective is our desire to take a thoughtful approach to enforcement matters. The Lenz case helped us to develop a fair and tempered process for evaluation of potential takedowns.”

      • After More Than a Decade of Litigation, the Dancing Baby Has Done His Part to Strengthen Fair Use for Everyone

        Litigation can always take twists and turns, but when EFF filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group in 2007 on behalf of Stephanie Lenz, few would have anticipated it would be ten years until the case was finally resolved. But today, at last, it is. Along the way, Lenz v. Universal contributed to strengthening fair use law, bringing nationwide attention to the issues of copyright and fair use in new digital movie-making and sharing technologies.

        It all started when Lenz posted a YouTube video of her then-toddler-aged son dancing while Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” played in the background, and Universal used copyright claims to get the link disabled. We brought the case hoping to get some clarity from the courts on a simple but important issue: can a rightsholder use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to take down an obvious fair use, without consequence?

      • Kim Dotcom Files Complaint With Human Rights Tribunal Over “Lost Data”

        Kim Dotcom has revealed that a judgment requiring authorities to hand over information to him hasn’t been complied with due to apparent IT system issues. According to the Megaupload founder, data generated before December 2013 is no longer available to be handed over. In response, Dotcom’s lawyers have filed an urgent submission with the Human Rights Tribunal demanding immediate action.

      • Roku Claims Success in ‘War’ Against Piracy

        After Mexican courts put a ban on Roku sales in the country, the popular media player ramped up its anti-piracy efforts. According to new data released by Roku today, this response has paid off. Globally, approximately 99.5% of all “streaming hours” come from channels with no links to ‘pirate organizations.’

      • No more memes? The EU’s latest threat to the net

        This threat to the net comes from the EU’s new copyright directive, which was passed narrowly by its Legal Affairs Committee, with 13 votes in favour and 11 against in a secret ballot. (A great deal of EU law-making occurs in secret.) The law is intended to crack down on the streaming of pirated films and music. But the actual scope is so large that it covers all and any copyrightable material.

      • Take action! Tell US Congress not to pass the CLASSICS Act

        Creative Commons founder and former Free Software Foundation (FSF) board member Lawrence Lessig recently explained the ugly consequences of the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act, which was passed by the US House earlier this year and is now before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of the omnibus Music Modernization Act. Lessig has a long history in the realm of copyright law — he was the lead counsel on an unsuccessful challenge to the previous extension of US copyright law, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.

        The CLASSICS Act aims to fence in another arena in which users enjoy published works, Lessig writes, creating “a new digital performance right — basically the right to control copies of recordings on any digital platform (ever hear of the Internet?) — for musical recordings made before 1972″ (hence the “cute” acronym, CLASSICS). The bill would grant such recordings a new “protection” through 2067, which actually means being copyright restricted for up to 144 years, compared to 95 years for print works from the same period.

      • CBS will stream its NFL games on smartphones starting this season

        CBS has extended its streaming deal with the NFL to 2022 and expanded the terms to include access on mobile devices through its CBS All Access subscription service. Now, users who pay for All Access, which starts at $5.99 a month, or have an existing cable login supported by CBS will have access to NFL season games plus the Super Bowl on iOS and Android via the CBS app. The games will also be available on the web via CBS.com and a number of set-top boxes, smart TVs, and game consoles.

      • FIFA Fails to Remove Pirate Streaming Sites From Google Search

        Google recently received a takedown notice, sent on behalf of FIFA, asking the search engine to remove several allegedly infringing sites. FIFA hoped to limit the availability of pirated World Cup streams but Google decided not to take any action. In part, perhaps, because not all reported sites were offering pirated content.

More in Tux Machines

Software: Latte Dock, Emacs, Ick, REAPER

  • Latte Dock 0.8 Released with Widget Separators, Setup Sharing, More
    A new version of Latte Dock, an icon-based task bar for the KDE desktop, is available to download. Latte Dock 0.8 is the first stable release of the app switching software in almost a year and is the third stable release overall.
  • 3 Emacs modes for taking notes
    No matter what line of work you're in, it's inevitable you have to take a few notes. Often, more than a few. If you're like many people in this day and age, you take your notes digitally. Open source enthusiasts have a variety of options for jotting down their ideas, thoughts, and research in electronic format. You might use a web-based tool. You might go for a desktop application. Or, you might turn to the command line. If you use Emacs, that wonderful operating system disguised as a text editor, there are modes that can help you take notes more efficiently. Let's look at three of them.
  • Ick version 0.53 released: CI engine
    I have just made a new release of ick, my CI system. The new version number is 0.53, and a summary of the changes is below. The source code is pushed to my git server (git.liw.fi), and Debian packages to my APT repository (code.liw.fi/debian). See https://ick.liw.fi/download/ for instructions.
  • REAPER 5.93 Brings New Linux-Native Builds
    Since 2016 we have been looking forward to the REAPER digital audio workstation software for Linux while with this week's v5.93 release, the experimental Linux-native builds are now officially available.
  • Digital Audio Workstation REAPER Adds Experimental Native Linux Builds
    REAPER, a popular music production tool, added experimental native Linux builds to its download page with the latest 5.93 release. Initially released in 2005, REAPER (Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording) is a powerful digital audio workstation (DAW) and MIDI sequencer, available for Windows, macOS and Linux. Cockos, the company that develops REAPER, was founded by Justin Frankel of Winamp and Gnutella peer-to-peer network fame. The application uses a proprietary license and you can evaluate it for free for 60 days without having to provide any personal details or register. After the free trial ends, you can continue to use it but a nag screen will show up for a few seconds when the application starts. A license costs $225 for commercial use, or $60 for a discounted license (details here).

today's howtos

Red Hat News

At Rest Encryption

There are many steps you can take to harden a computer, and a common recommendation you'll see in hardening guides is to enable disk encryption. Disk encryption also often is referred to as "at rest encryption", especially in security compliance guides, and many compliance regimes, such as PCI, mandate the use of at rest encryption. This term refers to the fact that data is encrypted "at rest" or when the disk is unmounted and not in use. At rest encryption can be an important part of system-hardening, yet many administrators who enable it, whether on workstations or servers, may end up with a false sense of security if they don't understand not only what disk encryption protects you from, but also, and more important, what it doesn't. Read more