Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

News Feeds

Is your open source security software less secure?

LXer - 1 hour 27 min ago
"Your secure software is open source; doesn't that make it less secure?"This is a recurring question that we get at Benetech about Martus, our free, strongly encrypted tool for secure collection and management of sensitive information built and provided by the Benetech Human Rights Program. It's an important question for us and for all of our peers developing secure software in today's post-Snowden environment of fear and worry about surveillance. We strongly believe not only that open source is compatible with digital security, but that it's also essential for it.read more

Distribution Release: Webconverger 30.0

DistroWatch - 1 hour 28 min ago
Kai Hendry has announced the availability of Webconverger 30.0, a major new update of the specialist Linux distribution made for web kiosks. This is the project's first release that is based on Debian GNU/Linux 8.0. From the release announcement: "Webconverger 30 release. As announced on Twitter earlier this....

Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux's Anaconda Installer to be Ported to Python 3

LXer - 3 hours 21 min ago
It was recently brought to our attention that the text-mode and graphical installer used in the well-known Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora Linux operating systems will be soon ported to the Python 3 programming language.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Benoît Battistelli and Four EPO Suicides

Techrights - 3 hours 44 min ago

Summary: German press article from April 2015 (with translations)

WHILE the EPO hires spies to attack journalists (not just staff), this one article (see these translations [PDF]) frames Battistelli as a peacemaker, which is wrong:

Truce at the Tax Haven of the European Patent Office

The autocratic President, Battistelli, is not a popular person. One union is even holding him responsible for suicides. Now discussions are under way.

kön. MUNICH, 24 April. Benoît Battistelli represents the French School par excellence. His autocratic management style is entirely in the tradition of the cradle of France’s elite, the Paris Institute of Political Science and School of Management for Executive State Service (ENA), where he embraced hierarchical and authoritarian thinking, with little dialogue and a lot of top-down delegation. A style like that does not always sit well, and even less so in an international organization such as the European Patent Office (EPO), with headquarters in Munich and The Hague, and with 38 European countries as members.

Battistelli, a 64-year-old Frenchman, being in office since 2010, has been dubbed the “Sun King” within the Office. The title fits: The EPO enjoys extra-territorial status with immunity, and is therefore not subject to national legislation. “Monsieur le Président” even has diplomatic status. But this authoritarian approach runs into trouble if it threatens to bring in reforms that erode privileges at the EPO, founded in 1973. The 7000 or so staff, from 30 countries, earn an average of 120,000 Euro a year, among them some 4300 highly qualified engineers, for a 40-hour working week and up to three months of holidays, a tax rate of 6 percent, and the EPO paying for medical care and children’s education.

Battistelli is out to exert more control. As of this month, he is demanding a doctor’s certificate in the event of illness and inability to work after three days, something which otherwise goes without saying in Germany. Illness numbers and time off are noticeably high. Since the start of the year, new criteria apply for assessing the performance of the staff. In this context, trouble has been brewing for more thanyear between the union SUEPO and the President, who does not recognize them as discussion partners. This has resulted in an attack on Battistelli, accusing him of joint responsibility in the suicide of staff members, among other reasons due to mobbing tactics. The aim is to drive the President from office, accompanied by strikes and demonstrations.

Last Wednesday, the reasonable approach won through. Battistelli, the Chairman of the Administrative Council Jesper Kongstad, and the two unions SUEPO and the somewhat more moderate FFPE, which represents the staff at The Hague, sat down at the same table. They talked for three hours, which is regarded as a great success. It is seen as the first step towards a “social dialogue”. According to the EPO, the ultimate aim of the Round Table is to lead to the formal recognition of the unions. The next meeting between the opposing parties is scheduled for 28 May. The SUEPO views it as positive that it has come to an “open exchange”. More is going to need to happen than simply the recognition of the unions, however; they are demanding to be integrated into the reform process.

The President has come to this understanding, with some pressure from the Administrative Council. Word has it that the Council has recognized the necessity of peace talks, and in the process has encountered an amazingly forthcoming Battistelli. It has become clear to him too that at the beginning of April a line was crossed. An article about the crisis at the EPO appeared in the French newspaper “Le Monde”. Four cases of suicide of Office employees were analyzed in almost minute detail, which occurred in three years and are said to have been attributable to depression. In March, a German employee in Munich took his own life. The SUEPO was quoted in the article as saying that they held Battistelli responsible for the circumstances, and that he was abusing the principle enshrined in the Statutes of judicial immunity. The President stated in the same article that he was “shocked” at the attempts to exploit the tragic incidents as an instrument, and to lay the suicides at his door.

The SUEPO already took up arms about the situation at the EPO last year. Reforms in personnel management and working conditions were said to have been introduced without having been examined by an independent body with regard to compatibility with fundamental rights and generally accepted principles of law. Staff can only lodge complaints about rights by way of an arbitration tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, not via national labour courts. The lack of transparency in management was criticized. Divergent opinions have been suppressed. “In structural terms, the President appears in all matters as accuser, examiner, judge, and final arbiter” is how the SUEPO describes the autocratic management style. In November 2014 Battistelli threw the union out of the EPO premises, and in February he threatened strikers with disciplinary measures.

All the more startling, then, the change just a few weeks later: In “Le Monde” “Monsieur Le Président”, whose contract was extended last year by three years, until 2018, was perfectly open about his salary of 250,000 Euro, which up to now has been one of the most closely guarded secrets. The newspaper report appears to have unleashed a shockwave. The case of France Télécom may have sounded warning bells with the President and the Administrative Council. In 2010, CEO Didier Lombard stood down after a series of suicides by several dozen employees shook the concern. And the fact also sank in that the reforms can be moved ahead in co-operation with the unions, and not at war with them. Battistelli took office with the task of putting into effect plans for renewal of the authority which had already run into difficulties. Unrest or even escalation under public gaze in an institution which acts discreetly such as the EPO could affect the success record of the President. He has in fact already scored a number of successes, and has strengthened the EPO in relation to the competing patent organizations in the United States and in Asia during his time in office. In 2014 there were 274,000 patent applications, while only 64,600 patents were actually granted, which is an indicator of the high demands involved. The more careful the examinations and screening procedures, the fewer the number of patents which can be challenged.

With a budget of 2 billion Euros, the Office finances itself from the expensive patent earnings, from which money is also distributed among the 38 Member States. Each of these has one vote, regardless of their significance, whether it be Albania or Germany, from which the most applications come. This congenital defect has contributed to the evolution of the autocratic structures. The President has always been able to bring small states into the balance, just as the controversial and power- obsessed Sepp Blatter is prone to do, President of the largest sports organization in the world, the World Football Association Fifa. The big difference with regard to Blatter is that Battistelli is able to learn – and he’s perceptive.

If Battistelli wants to make things right, he should resign, ensure the removal of his cronies (especially that gangster Željko Topić), and bring back people who were illegally fired/suspended, including regulatory staff. Restoring order and justice at the EPO would be a long process; it hasn’t even begun.

05/17 Solus Beta-2

DW Latest Releases - 4 hours 32 min ago

05/17 Netrunner 16

DW Latest Releases - 4 hours 32 min ago

05/17 Parsix 7.5

DW Latest Releases - 4 hours 32 min ago
Syndicate content

More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu Touch to Get Improved Desktop Mode with Next Update

Canonical is preparing a major new update for Ubuntu Touch, but it will take a while until it's going to be ready. From the looks of it, the devs are preparing some interesting improvements and updates. Read more

Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 Will Reach End of Life on June 14 to Make Room for Parsix 8.0

The Parsix Project has recently announced that their Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 (Nestor) distribution will reach the end of its life support in the coming weeks, urging users to upgrade to Parsix GNU/Linux 7.5 (Rinaldo) as soon as possible. Read more

Leftovers: Software

  • 3 Open Source Python Shells
    Python is a high-level, general-purpose, structured, powerful, open source programming language that is used for a wide variety of programming tasks. It features a fully dynamic type system and automatic memory management, similar to that of Scheme, Ruby, Perl, and Tcl, avoiding many of the complexities and overheads of compiled languages. The language was created by Guido van Rossum in 1991, and continues to grow in popularity.
  • Google Chrome 44 (Dev) Brings Interesting New Features
  • CodeWeavers CrossOver 14.1.3 has been released
    I am delighted to announce that CodeWeavers has just released CrossOver 14.1.3 for both Mac OS X and Linux. CrossOver 14.1.3 has important bug fixes for both Mac and Linux users.

today's leftovers

  • Consumers Continue to Buy Chromebooks as Secondary PCs, Enterprise Still Uninterested
  • Video: LXD containers vs. KVM
    Since I'm such a big container fan (been using them on Linux since 2005) and I recently blogged about Docker, LXC, and OpenVZ... how could I pass up posting this? Some Canonical guys gave a presentation at the recent OpenStack Summit on "LXD vs. KVM". What is LXD? It is basically a management service for LXC that supposedly adds a lot of the features LXC was missing... and is much easier to use. For a couple of years now Canonical has shown an interest in LXC and has supposedly be doing a lot of development work around them. I wonder what specifically? They almost seem like the only company who is interested in LXC.. or at least they are putting forth a publicly noticeable effort around them.
  • Ubuntu's LXD vs. KVM For The Linux Cloud
    LXD is usable with Ubuntu 15.04 albeit not many have yet fully experimented with this new technology from Canonical given its early state. The LXD Linux container hypervisor allows for rapid provisioning, very fast performance, a REST API, and other functionality. If you're wishing to learn more about LXD, this week at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver was a talk about LXD vs. KVM for Linux hypervisors.
  • Cloud Driving HP's Server Business Forward
    HP announced is second quarter fiscal 2015 earnings on May 21, with company executives enthusiastic about the company's upcoming split, and continued prospects in the cloud.
  • The Latest Linux Kernel Git Code Fixes The EXT4 RAID0 Corruption Problem
    An EXT4 file-system corruption problem was uncovered with Linux 4.0 that turned out to be an MD RAID0 issue with the Linux kernel in the latest stable series. This RAID corruption issue has now been fixed in the latest kernel Git code.
  • Interview with Mary Winkler
    LOVE the blending tools. I’m used to those of Paint Tool SAI, and finding a program whose brushes are far more customizable and can do more is digital art heaven. Especially an open source one!
  • Reminder: Evolving KDE survey milestone on May 31st
    Evolution is a powerful concept and tool. When harnessed properly, humans have been able to tailor and adapt crops and domesticate animals. We’ve been able to grow the Dutch unnecessarily tall and create beautiful and consequence-free theme parks as shown in the Jurassic Park documentary series on the BBC. However, when not monitored closely or left to nature’s own devices, the result is the terrifying land based sharks that have caused such recent devastation across most of Australia.
  • GNOME Shell It is!!
    It’s been a while since my last post, I was busy with my university exams and didn’t get much time to work on my GSoC project. But during whatever time I got I tried to get myself familiar with GNOME Shell coding style and get a hang of the way it works, since GNOME Shell is the main module I will be working with in this project. But things weren’t as simple as I initially thought them to be. It has been a struggle trying to find out some structured documentation for GNOME Shell code-base mainly the JavaScript part.
  • Attention Fedora 22 prerelease users
  • Fedora 21 chrooted on an aarch64 Nexus 9
    A while back I bought a Nexus 9, mainly because it has a weird processor that emulates a 64 bit ARM (aarch64). Google seem to have abandoned this platform entirely, just 6 months after I got it, so fuck you too Google. Anyway …
  • Meet SparkyLinux, a Debian-based Linux distribution
    SparkyLinux features customized lightweight desktops (like E19, LXDE and Openbox), multimedia plugins, selected sets of apps and own custom tools to ease different tasks.
  • Is Canonical going to have an IPO?
  • Mozilla shifts gears: $25 phones out, Android apps in
  • Linksys NSLU2 adventures into the NetBSD land passed through JTAG highlands - part 1
  • GCC 6 Gets Support For The IBM z13 Mainframe Server
    The latest GNU Compiler Collection code now has proper optimization targeting/tuning support for the IBM z13.
  • News for open source virtual reality, popular Linux game distros, and more