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KDE Plasma 5.13 Looks Like an Awesome Update

OMG! Ubuntu! - Monday 21st of May 2018 12:46:41 AM

We roundup the key KDE Plasma 5.13 features and changes, plus provide details on how to upgrade to Plasma 5.13 in Kubuntu and KDE Neon when the update is released on June 12, 2018.

This post, KDE Plasma 5.13 Looks Like an Awesome Update, was written by Joey Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Kubuntu Drops 32-bit Install Images

OMG! Ubuntu! - Sunday 20th of May 2018 03:10:14 PM

If you were planning to grab a Kubuntu 18.10 32-bit download this October you will want to look away now. Kubuntu has confirmed plans to join the rest of the Ubuntu flavour family and drop 32-bit installer images going forward. This means there will be no 32-bit Kubuntu 18.10 disc image available to download later this year. The […]

This post, Kubuntu Drops 32-bit Install Images, was written by Joey Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Links 20/5/2018: KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3, FreeBSD 11.2 Beta 2

Techrights - Sunday 20th of May 2018 12:22:38 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Linux fragmentation – The Sum of All Egos

    If Tom Clancy had been a technophile of the software kind, he’d have used this title instead of the familiar one for one of his iconic blockbuster thrillers. The thing is, Linux accounts for a tiny percentage of the overall desktop market share. The perennial 1% has been around roughly since 2005, and even if the actual share is higher than that, it’s still a small and largely insignificant fraction. And yet, there are hundreds of Linux distributions populating this narrow, crowded arena. Why? Well, ego, of course.

    One might say: open source. Ah, well, the open-source nature of Linux has been the chief excuse to the colorful abundance of replication and duplication of the Linux desktop world, while at the same time serving as the main catalyst to the expansion of Linux in the commercial space, which makes for a dubious cause. I believe the reason is different. Let me tell you what it is.

  • Desktop
    • ‘Crush Them’: An Oral History of the Lawsuit That Upended Silicon Valley

      The then-23-year-old giant, which ruled the personal computer market with a despotic zeal, stood accused of using monopoly power to bully collaborators and squelch competitors. Its most famous victim was Netscape, the pioneering web browser, but everyone from Apple to American Airlines felt threatened by late-’90s Microsoft. The company was big enough to be crowned America’s most valuable firm, bold enough to compare attacks on its domain to Pearl Harbor, and, eventually, bad enough to be portrayed as a (semifictionalized) cadre of hypercapitalist murderers in a major motion picture. The “don’t be evil” optics that colored the rise of today’s tech giants (and have recently lost their efficacy) were a direct response to Microsoft’s tyrannical rule.

  • Kernel Space
    • Steam Controller Kernel Driver Is Landing In The Linux 4.18 Kernel

      The Linux 4.18 kernel will feature the initial Steam Controller kernel driver that works without having to use the Steam client or using third-party user-space applications like the SC-Controller application.

      A few months back we reported on a kernel driver being worked on for the Steam Controller by an independent user/developer outside of the gates of Valve. In part through reverse-engineering, Rodrigo Rivas Costa has been working on this native Steam Controller Linux kernel driver that works for both USB cable and wireless modes of the Steam Controller and is a proper HID driver.

    • Graphics Stack
      • AMD Zen CPU Microcode Added To Linux-Firmware Tree, Bulldozer Updated

        When the Linux Firmware tree was updated on Friday with the newest AMDGPU firmware files for the graphics processors, the Family 17h “Zen” CPU microcode files also made their debut.

      • Learn How To Make Use Of Vulkan’s New Debug Extension – VK_EXT_debug_utils
      • ARM Mali 400/450 “Lima” DRM Driver Steps Closer To Mainline

        When it comes to open-source ARM Mali graphics driver efforts there has been the Panfrost driver targeting the Mali T700 series that has occupied much of the limelight recently, but there has been a separate effort still working on open-source driver support for the older 400/450 series.

        Qiang Yu who works for AMD during the daytime has for the past number of months been working in his spare time on reviving open-source ARM Mali 400 series support. Qiang’s efforts are based upon the original “Lima” driver initiative that was started years earlier by Luc Verhaegen.

      • AMD Rolls Out New Firmware For A Number Of GPUs

        AMD has landed a number of updated firmware images into the linux-firmware tree for their recent generations of hardware.

        There is updated Radeon GPU firmware for Raven Ridge, Fiji, Tonga, Stoney, Topaz, Carrizo, Vega 10, Polaris 10, Polaris 11, and Polaris 12 GPU families. More or less, the newer AMD GPUs now have updated firmware available.

      • RADV Gets Support For 32-bit GPU Pointers For User SGPRs, Benefiting Performance

        Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s Linux graphics driver team has been working on support for 32-bit GPU pointers for user SGPRs as his latest performance enhancement for this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver.

        Months after AMD’s Marek Olšák was working on 32-bit pointers for RadeonSI to free up some scalar general purpose registers (SGPRs), Pitoiset has been pursuing similar support for the RADV Vulkan driver.

      • Raven Ridge With The Ryzen 5 2400G On Mesa 18.2 + Linux 4.17 Is Finally Stable

        Depending upon the motherboard and other factors, the Raven Ridge Linux support has been a bit of a mess since its February launch. Fortunately, with time various Linux driver fixes have landed for improving the stability and performance of these APUs with Zen CPU cores and Vega graphics. During my recent testing of the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, it was completely stable and running fine with the newest open-source driver code but the Ryzen 3 2200G was still a stability nightmare.

      • Mesa 18.1 is out with the shader cache on for Intel

        Open source drivers on Linux have advanced rather quickly and now we have another fresh release out with Mesa 18.1 which was released yesterday.

        One of the major new features, is that the shader cache for Intel is now turned on by default, which should hopefully result in smoother performance for those of you gaming with an Intel GPU. Vulkan 1.1 support for the AMD RADV and Intel ANV drivers, plus various performance improvements and bug fixes.

  • Applications
    • SMTube review – Your train to Youtube

      It’s a no brainer. On the desktop, you go online, and you open a tab and you load Youtube, and then you play clips. But then, on mobile devices, you have dedicated applications, which usually offer a somewhat more efficient media experience. So, on the desktop, it’s the browser way or the … SMTube way?

      SMTube is a cross-platform Youtube player, which allows you to search and play videos from the popular media platform, with some additional search tweaks and filters, and extra download options, all this from the desktop, without having to keep a browser tab open. It’s a convenient tool to use, and with the recent rewrite, it actually works, and it works fairly well. I decided to test to see what gives.

      [...]

      SMTube looks like a nice tool. It is not strictly necessary or needed, but it does allow you to have Youtube open and playing, even if you’re not currently using your browser, i.e. you can use it like any other media player. This is nice, plus you get a clean and intuitive interface, decent search and filter options, and it’s easy to change settings and configure additional players. You also have the option to download clips.

      I don’t know where SMTube stands when it comes to Google, Youtube, but ordinary users will surely appreciate the extra flexibility they get with a media player rather than just a browser tab. Of course, you’re not signed in, you don’t get recommendations, comments or playlists, and such, so I guess there are benefits to going directly to Youtube. But if you’re only after what Youtube can play without any socializing, SMTube is an excellent choice. It’s had a rough ride, it never quite fully worked for me in my various distro reviews, but this new version is stable, robust and works well. At the very least, it’s worth testing. Choo choo.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • FRAMED Collection, a noir-styled spy adventure where you rearrange comic tiles is now out

        It’s actually a compilation of FRAMED and FRAMED 2, games that have been widely praised and previously only available on mobile platforms. It has you moving around slices of an animated comic book, to put the noir-styled spy adventure story together. It actually sounds hilarious, as it’s not a basic “this one has to go here” type of game, as it changes what happens based on where you put the tiles creating some amusing sounding failures:

      • Paradox’s grand strategy titles will be getting more content soon

        At their annual convention, Paradox Interactive have announced new expansions for their current grand strategy titles. There’s a little bit of everything for fans of these games.

      • Stellaris: Distant Stars story DLC pack releases May 22nd, new trailer is out

        The latest and probably one of the most exciting story DLC packs for Stellaris, Distant Stars, is now set to release May 22nd.

        In short, there’s going to be a lot more to find when you go exploring. One of the problems I repeatedly talked about with Stellaris (even though I do love it) was that it just didn’t have enough content. This pack seems like it will fix that problem and then some. They say there’s around 50% more anomalies to discover, they’ve also improved some of the originals. There’s three new leviathans, new types of stars and something about discovering a constellation outside our own galaxy.

      • Myst 25th Anniversary Collection will not being seeing a Linux release for now

        It seems the plans to team up with Codeweavers to bring Myst 25th Anniversary Collection [Kickstarter] to Linux didn’t work out.

      • A Linux beta build of Solstice Chronicles: MIA may come soon

        The developer behind the great looking top-down shooter Solstice Chronicles: MIA [Official Site] has said that they may soon have a Linux beta build.

      • What are you playing on Linux this weekend and what do you think about it?

        It’s a weekend, the sun is shining in a rare event for where I live, so naturally I will be spending my time playing Linux games. What will you be playing this weekend?

        Personally, I’m going to be jumping back into Rocket League. Between the intense gameplay and sweet music, it’s certainly in my top 10 most played Linux games. As much as I love the game, I’m simply terrible at it. Anyone who’s watched some of our livestreams will attest to that fact, but even so I soldier on and keep playing. It truly says something about a game, to keep pulling you back in even when you know you’re probably go to have loss after loss.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Plasma 5.12.5, Applications 18.04.1 and Frameworks 5.46.0 by KDE now available in Chakra

        On your next system upgrade you will receive all the latest versions of KDE’s Plasma, Applications and Frameworks, in addition to several other package updates. For more details and the full changelogs on KDE’s software releases, you can read the official announcements:

        Plasma 5.12.5
        Applications 18.04.1
        Frameworks 5.46.0

        Other noteworthy package updates include wine 3.8, skypeforlinux 8.20.0.9 and pypy 6.0.0.

      • Doxyqml 0.4.0

        After almost two years, here comes a new version of Doxyqml, the QML filter for Doxygen. This new version adds a new command-line option: –namespace to wrap the generated C++ in a namespace, and makes the parser more robust. Nothing ground-breaking, but some nice changes nevertheless.

        What’s interesting with this project is that I don’t use it these days, but it still receives contributions from time to time. This puts me in the unusual position (for me) where most of my contributions to the project are reviewing code, cleaning things, a bit of infrastructure (I just added code coverage checks: 88%, not too bad) and release management.

        Surprisingly, I like doing this, I am happy to see this little tool remains useful enough that others keep it alive.

      • KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3 released

        KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3 released

        We today provide a stabilization and bugfix release with version 5.2.2 and 5.2.3. 5.2.2 was tagged 6 weeks ago, but we never managed to release it because we did not have the patience to fix the Windows installers in time due to a broken CI. Windows installers are provided for 5.2.3 again. We’ll only provide source tarballs for 5.2.2 and we encourage everyone to just skip this release and use 5.2.3 which contains a few more bug fixes.

        This is a bugfix-only release, which introduces no new features and as such is a safe and recommended update for everyone currently using KDevelop 5.2.1.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 19

        This week we announced a beta of the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.13 release, and so far the internet seems pretty excited about it.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Nautilus Ability To Launch Binaries Or Scripts To Be Reverted, Might Be Implemented Differently

        It looks like the decision to remove the ability to run binaries and scripts from Nautilus file manager will be reverted. The change comes after some use cases appeared that the developers agreed they need to support, “especially for enterprise and content creators”.

        One such use case that was mentioned as a reason for reverting this is a small “if then that” script for building HTML and PDF files, which uses Zenity to display a dialog, as well as notifications to display the progress.

        I find the use case being used as an example a bit weird because that’s certainly not something common, like a self-extracting game script for instance.

      • Stickers in Riot

        The matrix.org protocol is flexible so this is a good example of how to add new features to the clients that uses matrix without the need to change the protocol.

        This is not a core feature because you can send images, but I think this is great and add a simple way to show reactions for the users, so as I was reading I thought that we can add this to Fractal, so I started to read how we can add support for this.

      • Talking at GPN 2018 in Karlsruhe, Germany

        Similar to last year I managed to attend the Gulasch Programmier-Nacht (GPN) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Not only did I attend, I also managed to squeeze in a talk about PrivacyScore. We got the prime time slot on the opening day along with all the other relevant talks, including the Eurovision Song Contest, so we were not overly surprised that the audience had a hard time deciding where to go and eventually decided to attend talks which were not recorded. Our talk was recorded and is available here.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up RoboLinux Raptor

        RoboLinux is a unique distro that focuses on incorporating Windows versions XP through 10 within a fully functional Linux operating system. You might never need the Stealth VM features that let you easily install and run Microsoft Windows within most any Linux distro. Still, RoboLinux is a topnotch general purpose Linux computing platform that comes with a choice of leading desktop environments. RoboLinux creates a cloned Drive C from a Windows partition and installs your favorite Windows version with all of your costly Windows software running in a virtual machine.

    • AsteroidOS
    • Gentoo Family
      • A short history of Gentoo copyright

        As part of the recent effort into forming a new copyright policy for Gentoo, a research into the historical status has been conducted. We’ve tried to establish all the key events regarding the topic, as well as the reasoning behind the existing policy. I would like to shortly note the history based on the evidence discovered by Robin H. Johnson, Ulrich Müller and myself.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Free software log (April 2018)

        This is rather late since I got distracted by various other things including, ironically, releasing a bunch of software. This is for April, so doesn’t include the releases from this month.

        The main release I worked on was remctl 3.14, which fixed a security bug introduced in 3.12 with the sudo configuration option. This has since been replaced by 3.15, which has more thorough maintainer testing infrastructure to hopefully prevent this from happening again.

      • MiniDebCamp Hamburg – Friday 18/5, Saturday 19/5

        Friday and Saturday have been very productive days, I love events where there is time to hack!

        I had more chats about contributors.d.o with Ganneff and Formorer, and if all goes according to plan, soon salsa will start streaming commit information to contributors and populate information about different teams: not only about normal packaging repos, but also about websites, tools, native packages, etc.

      • Progress report from the Movim packaging sprint at MiniDebconf

        Nik wishes you to know that the Movim packaging sprint (sponsored by the DPL, thank you!) is handled under the umbrella of the Debian Edu sprint (similarily sponsored) since this package is handled by the Teckids Debian Task Force, personnel from Teckids e.V.

        After arriving, I’ve started collecting knowledge first. I reviewed upstream’s composer.json file and Wiki page about dependencies and, after it quickly became apparent that we need much more information (e.g. which versions are in sid, what the package names are, and, most importantly, recursive dependencies), a Wiki page of our own grew. Then I made a hunt for information about how to package stuff that uses PHP Composer upstream, and found the, ahem, wonderfully abundant, structured, plentiful and clear documentation from the Debian PHP/PEAR Packaging team. (Some time and reverse-engineering later I figured out that we just ignore composer and read its control file in pkg-php-tools converting dependency information to Debian package relationships. Much time later I also figured out it mangles package names in a specific way and had to rename one of the packages I created in the meantime… thankfully before having uploaded it.) Quickly, the Wiki page grew listing the package names we’re supposed to use. I created a package which I could use as template for all others later.

      • Help the Debian kernel team to help you

        I gave the first talk this morning at Mini-DebConf Hamburg, titled “Help the kernel team to help you”. I briefly described several ways that Debian users and developers can make it easier (or harder) for us to deal with their requests. The slides are up in on my talks page, and video should be available soon.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • UbuCon Europe 2018: Analysing a dream [English|Spanish]

            The idea of organising the Ubucon in Xixon, Asturies was set two years ago, while participating in the European Ubucon in Essen (germany). The Paris Ubucon took place and in those days we uderstood that there was a group enough of people with the capacities and the will to hold an European Congress for Ubuntu lovers. We had learnt a lot from German and French colleagues thanks to their respective amazing organizations and, at the same time, our handicap was the lack of s consolidated group in Spain.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • What’s New in Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS

              Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS has been released and announced by Ubuntu MATE project. As part of official ubuntu flavor, this release features the latest MATE Desktop 1.20.1 as default desktop environment. Also introduces numerous improvements and new features, including better support for HiDPI displays, new desktop layouts, as well as support for indicators in all layouts by default.

              Familiar is new default layout of desktop Ubuntu MATE 18.04. it based on the traditional layout with the menu-bar (Applications, Places, System) replaced by Brisk Menu. Use MATE tweak if you want try out the various desktop layouts.

              Brisk Menu applications menu is now enabled by default in Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS, which ships with the Head-Up Display (HUD) feature of the Unity 7 desktop environmentand .MATE Tweak, which now lets you toggle the HiDPI mode more easily and a revamped Ubuntu MATE Welcome screen that now includes browser selection support and system telemetry if you want to help the Ubuntu MATE team improve future releases.

              Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS also received several improvements. Among these, we can mention the Caja file manager, which can now encrypt your most precious files, advenced bulk rename, hash checking and advanced ACl properties. Marco window manager, which got hardware acceleration. MATE Dock Applet, which now features icon scrolling and matching

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • 19-year-old Developer at the Forefront of TRON (TRX) Opensource Wallet DApp
  • 19-years-old German developer Spearheads TRON (TRX) Opensource Wallet DApp

    No doubt that Tron community is preparing for mainnet launch, with different ideas coming in from all roads. As part of its readiness, Tron has unveiled its Opensource Wallet DApp developed by 19-year old German developer, Marius Gill, who has been programming since 13 years old.

    The DApp is an outcome of Project Genesis, which was launched in March 2018 purposely to encourage TRON’s community engagement in bringing in new things into Tron ecosystem. The project provides a bonus pool of 2 billion dollars for active members around the world have lent their hands in implementing ideas for the community.

  • Events
    • Collabora and GStreamer spring in Sweden

      Earlier this month, a few of us from Collabora, Olivier Crête, Nicolas Dufresne, George Kiagiadakis and I attended the GStreamer Spring Hackfest in Lund, Sweden. Hosted by Axis Communications (who uses GStreamer in their surveillance cameras for many years now), it was a great opportunity for the GStreamer community to touch base and work on open bugs and pet projects.

      [...]

      As for myself, I mainly worked on (or rather started to work on) split-field interlacing support in GStreamer, adding relevant formats and modes in the GStreamer video library. In addition, as a Meson developer (Nirbheek Chauhan) was present, I took the opportunity to discuss with him the last bit of porting build system of Geoclue to Meson, a side project I’ve been working on. It helped me get it done faster but also helped Nirbheek find some issues in Meson and fix them!

      All in all, my first GStreamer hackfest was an awesome experience (even though I was not feeling well). It was also very nice to hangout and socialize with old and new friends in the GStreamer community after a long time. Many thanks again to Axis for hosting us in their offices! See you at the GStreamer Conference this fall!

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Reality Redrawn Opens At The Tech

        The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose was filled on Thursday with visitors experiencing new takes on the issue of fake news by artists using mixed reality, card games and even scratch and sniff cards. These installations were the results of Mozilla’ Reality Redrawn challenge. We launched the competition last December to make the power of misinformation and its potential impacts visible and visceral. Winners were announced in February.

      • Tangerine UI problems

        I’ve been a big fan of Tangerine for a while, it’s a bank that doesn’t charge fees and does what I need to do. They used to have a great app and website and then it all went a bit wrong.

        It’s now a HTML app for Desktop and mobile. This isn’t the fault of the tools used, but there’s some terrible choices in the app across both.

        [...]

        The overall feel of the app is that its full of spinners, far too cluttered and just to confusing. Hey not everything I’ve built is perfect, but even I can spot some real problems with this app. I pretty sure Tangerine can do better than this.

        And yes, I’m writing this while drinking a beer I recently bought, as shown on my transaction page.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GCC 9 Drops Support For Older ARM Microarchitecture Versions

      Next year’s GCC 9 compiler release will be eliminating support for older ARM versions.

      Fortunately, ARMv7 and newer is still in great shape given they are still common and even ARMv6 support is also still supported by the GNU Compiler Collection. But as of Friday they dropped support for ARMv3 and older followed by dropping ARMv5 and ARMv5E.

      The dropping of ARMv3 and older even includes finally eliminating the support for ARM2. The ARM2 target in GCC is finally no more.

      This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise though with pre-ARMv4T support being deprecated since GCC 6 and the ARMv5 support being deprecated since GCC 7 last year.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Congratulations to Tesla on Their First Public Step Toward GPL Compliance

      Conservancy rarely talks publicly about specifics in its ongoing GNU General Public License (GPL) enforcement and compliance activity, in accordance with our Principles of Community Oriented GPL Enforcement. We usually keep our compliance matters confidential — not for our own sake — but for the sake of violators who request discretion to fix their mistakes without fear of public reprisal. As occurred a few years ago with Samsung, we’re thrilled when a GPL violator decides to talk about their violation and works to correct it publicly. This gives us the opportunity to shine light on the real-world work of GPL and copyleft compliance.

      We’re thus glad that, this week, Tesla has acted publicly regarding its current GPL violations and has announced that they’ve taken their first steps toward compliance. While Tesla acknowledges that they still have more work to do, their recent actions show progress toward compliance and a commitment to getting all the way there.

    • Tesla releases some of its software to comply with open source licences

      Tesla is a software-heavy company and it has been using a lot of open source software to build its operating system and features, such as Linux Kernel, Buildroot, Busybox, QT, and more.

      Some of the copyright holders have been complaining that Tesla hasn’t been complying with their licenses.

    • The Software Freedom Conservancy on Tesla’s GPL compliance

      The Software Freedom Conservancy has put out a blog posting on the history and current status of Tesla’s GPL compliance issues.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • Announcing git-cinnabar 0.5.0 beta 3

      Git-cinnabar is a git remote helper to interact with mercurial repositories. It allows to clone, pull and push from/to mercurial remote repositories, using git.

    • RcppGSL 0.3.5

      A maintenance update of RcppGSL just brought version 0.3.5 to CRAN, a mere twelve days after the RcppGSL 0.3.4. release. Just like yesterday’s upload of inline 0.3.15 it was prompted by a CRAN request to update the per-package manual page; see the inline post for details.

    • Sony Is Working On AMD Ryzen LLVM Compiler Improvements – Possibly For The PlayStation 5

      One of Sony’s compiler experts has taken to working on some tuning for the AMD Ryzen “znver1″ microarchitecture support within the LLVM compiler stack. This begs the question why Sony is working on Ryzen improvements if not for a future product.

Leftovers
  • Longer talk at MSST2018

    The most important lesson I’ve learned is that this is fundamentally an economic problem; we know how to do it but we don’t want to pay enough to have it done.

    How far into the future should we be looking?

    What do the economics of storing data for that long look like?

    How long should the media last?

    How reliable do the media need to be?

  • Google Drops “Don’t Be Evil” Motto From Its Code Of Conduct

    In 2015, when Google reorganized itself under Alphabet, the new parent company drafted a new motto for itself — “Do the right thing.” However, Google’s own unofficial motto remained “Don’t be evil.” The company kept it as a part of the corporate code of conduct since 2000.

    In the latest development, Gizmodo has uncovered that Google has dropped the “Don’t be evil” phrase from its Code of Conduct. As per the findings, the updated version of the web page, which was first archived by the Wayback Machine, has a significant change.

  • Google Removes ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Clause From Its Code of Conduct

    Google’s unofficial motto has long been the simple phrase “don’t be evil.” But that’s over, according to the code of conduct that Google distributes to its employees. The phrase was removed sometime in late April or early May, archives hosted by the Wayback Machine show.

    “Don’t be evil” has been part of the company’s corporate code of conduct since 2000. When Google was reorganized under a new parent company, Alphabet, in 2015, Alphabet assumed a slightly adjusted version of the motto, “do the right thing.” However, Google retained its original “don’t be evil” language until the past several weeks. The phrase has been deeply incorporated into Google’s company culture—so much so that a version of the phrase has served as the wifi password on the shuttles that Google uses to ferry its employees to its Mountain View headquarters, sources told Gizmodo.

  • Science
    • How heavy use of social media is linked to mental illness

      According to a survey in 2017 by the Royal Society for Public Health, Britons aged 14-24 believe that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter have detrimental effects on their wellbeing. On average, they reported that these social networks gave them extra scope for self-expression and community-building. But they also said that the platforms exacerbated anxiety and depression, deprived them of sleep, exposed them to bullying and created worries about their body image and “FOMO” (“fear of missing out”). Academic studies have found that these problems tend to be particularly severe among frequent users.

    • Humans Are Dumb At Figuring Out How Smart Animals Are

      The court declined to hear the case, but one judge did say that some highly intelligent animals probably should be treated more like people and less like property.

  • Hardware
    • Popular YouTuber Says Apple Won’t Fix His iMac Pro Damaged While Disassembled

      The damage resulted when they dropped the display while attempting to reattach it to the aluminum chassis. Towards the end of the video, Sebastian also says the iMac Pro requires a new logic board and power supply unit, suggesting there may have been a short circuit that caused damage to internal components as well.

  • Security
    • Purism’s New Purekey OpenPGP Security Token, Windows 10 Now Includes OpenSSH, Vim 8.1 Released and More

      Purism, maker of the security-focused Librem laptops, announced yesterday it has partnered with Nitrokey to create Purekey, “Purism’s own OpenPGP security token designed to integrate with its hardware and software. Purekey embodies Purism’s mission to make security and cryptography accessible where its customers hold the keys to their own security.” You can purchase a Purekey by itself or as an add-on with a laptop order. According to Purism’s CSO Kyle Rankin, “By keeping your encryption keys on a Purekey instead of on a hard drive, your keys never leave the tamper-proof hardware. This not only makes your keys more secure from attackers, it makes using your keys on multiple devices more convenient.”

    • Encrypted Email and Security Nihilism

      Earlier this week, a group of German researchers published an alarm about newly discovered problems with encrypted email that is creating major controversy in the internet security community. This research — published in a snappy-titled report called EFail — is a valuable and important work highlighting the challenges with email security.

      Unfortunately, many of the responses to this report have been close to the line of “security nihilism:” Throwing your hands in the air and saying that because certain important security measures aren’t perfect, we should abandon them altogether. This is harsh and potentially damaging to the best efforts we currently have to protect email and risks leading people astray when it comes to securing their communications. In fact, there are important things that people can do to protect their email. This post examines the controversy, what people should do to secure their email, and how we might do better in the future.

      Email is a widespread communications tool and people generally expect it to be private. But from a security standpoint, the baseline assumption is that email is “like a postcard:” Anything you write in an email can be read by your email provider (e.g., Google, if you use Gmail) and also by the email provider of the person you send mail to. If those providers (or any of their system administrators or lawyers) want to read your mail, or are hacked, or bribed, or coerced by law enforcement into sharing access, the content of your email is easily accessible to them.

    • Most dangerous new cyber security threats [iophk: "Windows TCO, yet neither Microsoft nor Windows get a mention"]
  • Defence/Aggression
    • No monopoly on David Kelly’s death: Miles Goslett responds to David Aaronovitch’s criticism

      As Oborne has demonstrated, Aaronovitch misrepresented my book and portrayed me as an unhinged conspiracy theorist. In fact, the book is intended to be a careful analysis of the Hutton Inquiry into Kelly’s death and the ramifications of that process. Its aim is to show how Tony Blair’s desperate government rode roughshod over the long-established method of inquiry into this event – a coroner’s inquest – and installed its own, less rigorous investigation. As a result key witnesses were excluded, evidence was concealed and loose ends allowed to remain untied. I believe, though I accept I may be wrong, that Aaronovitch began his review with a firmly closed mind. Let me explain why I have arrived at this interpretation.

    • The Donald, Vlad, and the Bibi

      As a general rule, it is pointless to rank world leaders or lesser political figures by measures that track their vileness or how much harm they inflict upon the world.

      Sometimes, though, it can be enlightening to do precisely that – provided it is understood that what is being compared are not so much the character traits of deplorable individuals, but the political lines they advance in the circumstances they confront.

      One such time is now – as Donald Trump is doing his best to launch a “stupid war” against Iran. That expression was candidate Barack Obama’s in 2008; he used it to describe the war George W. Bush and Dick Cheney launched against Iraq.

      Since at least 1945, the United States has only fought stupid wars. Some have been stupider than others, but, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, Democrats and Republicans have supported them all. If Trump does get an Iran War going, count on bipartisan support for it too, though, for sheer stupidity, it would rival and perhaps even exceed the Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon war against Vietnam.

    • Trump: Making America Dread Again

      Trump’s flagrant disregard for the safety of the American people has been punctuated by the proposed elimination of the budget reserved for containing an Ebola epidemic. Earlier this year, Trump pushed through Congress an additional $84 billion for the bloated, unauditable military budget—more than the Pentagon had requested.

      Callous Donald is determined to enable and even abet companies that are spewing dangerous toxics into our air, water, and food-growing areas. Many of these companies have contributed to his campaign. This serial failed gambling czar’s coldblooded personality is anti-law. President Trump and his agency chiefs are violating federal statutory mandates to protect the health and safety of Americans.

    • Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: Civil Disobedience Against Vietnam War Led Me to Leak Pentagon Papers

      Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was a high-level defense analyst in 1971 when he leaked a top-secret report on U.S. involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times and other publications that came to be known as the Pentagon Papers and played a key role in ending the Vietnam War. We speak with Ellsberg about the recent 50th anniversary of one of the most famous acts of civil disobedience in the United States. On May 17, 1968, Catholic priests and activists broke into a draft board office in Catonsville, Maryland, and stole 378 draft cards and burned them in the parking lot as a protest against the Vietnam War. They became known as the Catonsville Nine. Ellsberg discusses the role nonviolent direct action can play in social movements. Ellsberg says that the ending of the war in Vietnam “relied on a lot of people doing unusual things.”

    • Google, drone murder and the military-intelligence-censorship complex

      The publication of this week’s open letter by leading academics protesting Google’s role in the military’s drone assassination program exposes the close partnership between the major technology giants and the US military/intelligence complex.

      The letter, now signed by nearly 1,000 academics, declares that “Google has moved into military work without subjecting itself to public debate or deliberation, either domestically or internationally.” It adds, “While Google regularly decides the future of technology without democratic public engagement, its entry into military technologies casts the problems of private control of information infrastructure into high relief.”

      In March, Google admitted to helping the Pentagon develop artificial intelligence software to identify objects in video recordings captured by drones, within the framework of a program called Project Maven. While Google claims that the technology is not being used to kill people, the letter’s authors note that the system can be easily modified to identify human beings for assassination.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Revealed: Julian Assange’s embassy guest list in the summer of the Clinton email leak which includes RT reporters, hackers and Michael Moore [Ed: And now Daily Fail participates in selectively associating Wikileaks with crime, Russia etc.]
    • Ecuador Removes Extra Security At Embassy Where Julian Assange Lives

      Ecuador’s president has ordered the removal of extra security at the country’s London embassy — where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been since 2012.

    • Price of Coming Forward: Joshua Schulte’s Past Whistleblowing Comes Back to Haunt Him

      On Tuesday, the New York Times and Washington Post publicly identified the U.S. government’s prime and only suspect in the leaks of CIA documents to the transparency organization WikiLeaks. Joshua Schulte, a former CIA software engineer, has been suspected of being the WikiLeaks source since last year, when authorities raided his Manhattan apartment just one week after the first batch of the documents, known collectively as “Vault 7,” were released last March.

      Vault 7 has been a sore spot in the U.S. intelligence community since it broke, largely because it was the “largest ever publication of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents,” one that detailed the CIA’s global and covert hacking program as well as its arsenal of hacking tools and exploits.

      As MintPress reported at the time, one of the agency’s capabilities revealed by Vault 7 was the CIA’s ability to leave the “fingerprints” of foreign governments on hacks the CIA itself had conducted. The revelation of this capacity cast immediate doubt on the evidence that the Russian government had hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

      In addition, the leak represented an unparalleled embarrassment for the agency, particularly after the high-profile leaks of NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden and the measures taken by the government to prevent a repeat occurrence. The sensitive nature of the case is a likely reason as to why Schulte continues to be in government crosshairs despite the lack of evidence against him.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Clean air, water on voters’ agenda, but not Congress’

      All of which provides a backdrop to the truly bizarre spectacle that took place in a hearing held by the House Science Committee this week. In a hearing meant to focus on technological solutions to climate change (like the hugely popular wind and solar), Republican members of the committee decided to once again raise questions about whether humans were influencing the warming climate, with one Congressman suggesting that the warming-driven rise in our oceans might instead be caused by rocks falling into the seas.

    • Republican Rep. Mo Brooks Blames Coastal Erosion for Rising Seas

      Bridenstine’s new comments came a day after Alabama Republican Congressmember Mo Brooks suggested during a House Science committee hearing that coastal erosion—and not greenhouse gas emissions—is to blame for rising sea levels. Rep. Brooks made the comments as he questioned Philip Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center.

    • ‘Somebody’s Cheating’: 8 Years After Ban, Scientists Urge World Leaders to Find Mysterious Source Behind Skyrocketing CFC Levels

      Despite having been banned, emissions of a chemical found to create holes in the ozone layer have skyrocketed in recent years, according to a new study—leading scientists to wonder whether the pollutant is being secretly manufactured somewhere on Earth.

      Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that CFC-11 emissions have gone up 25 percent since 2012, although the international community agreed to end production of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by 2010 as part of the Montreal Protocol in 1987.

      “Somebody’s cheating,” Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, told the Washington Post of the new research. “There’s some slight possibility there’s an unintentional release, but…they make it clear there’s strong evidence this is actually being produced.”

    • Most Americans say climate change affects their local community, including two-thirds living near coast

      Roughly six-in-ten Americans (59%) say climate change is currently affecting their local community either a great deal or some, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

      Some 31% of Americans say the effects of climate change are affecting them personally, while 28% say climate change is affecting their local community but its effects are not impacting them in a personal way.

      As is the case on many climate change questions, perceptions of whether and how much climate change is affecting local communities are closely tied with political party affiliation. About three-quarters of Democrats (76%) say climate change is affecting their local community at least some, while roughly a third of Republicans say this (35%).

    • Oh, POLITICO, Please Don’t Publish Garbage — Reality Check For Electric Vehicle Hit Job

      I’ve read many wonderful pieces of work from POLITICO. The outfit has a great crew of political reporters who sometimes break huge and important stories. The op-eds and in-depth political analyses can be superb. From time to time, POLITICO has been the top source I’ve relied on for US political coverage … and funny cartoons.

      That said, I think I’ve read only one piece on the website about electric vehicles … and it was absolute garbage. Actually, garbage is just something useless that needs to be thrown in the trash can, whereas this was worse. This piece, reaching people fairly new to the concept of electric vehicles, misled readers on a critical point or two. Furthermore, think about who the audience reading the article might be — politically involved people with a left leaning. These are people who might one day (if not today) be in a position to make policy, and they are people who might have particular concern (or at least political concern) to push and vote for environmentally friendly policies. Convincing them that electric cars are not greener than gasoline cars is a disservice to society.

  • Finance
    • Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, other firms

      Details of Amazon’s contract with the Postal Service are secret, making it difficult for financial experts to assess claims about the relationship. Amazon has said that publicly releasing the contract, which contains detailed information on the company’s delivery systems, would give competitors an unfair advantage.

    • Trump reportedly wants to punish Amazon by trying to double Postal Service rates

      The Postal Service, though it’s lost money for the last 11 years, reported a 11.8 percent year-over-year increase in revenue to $19.5 billion last year, some of which is likely attributable to Amazon’s increased spending in the area. The nature of Amazon and the Postal Service’s deal remains secret.

    • PayPal in talks to buy Swedish small-business platform iZettle for $2.2 billion
    • PayPal to Buy iZettle for $2.2 Billion to Compete With Square

      The deal is the biggest ever for San Jose, California-based PayPal and will help it compete with Square Inc., which made a name for itself by helping small businesses and food-truck vendors conduct credit card and mobile transactions. Founded in 2010 by Jacob de Geer and Magnus Nilsson, iZettle also started out with a mobile-phone gadget for accepting credit card payments. It has since expanded into software and financing services to support small businesses.

    • Lighthizer says NAFTA countries are ‘nowhere’ near reaching a deal

      U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that after nine months the United States, Mexico and Canada are still far from completing an update of the 24-year-old NAFTA deal with a slew of sticking points looming over the talks.

    • Where next for migrant Roma communities post-Brexit?

      The number of migrant Roma living in the UK is not known. Estimates by the Council of Europe put the figure at 225,000 Roma, which amounts to 0.36% of the entire population. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, however, claims that the real figure is between 500,000 and 1,000,000, excluding indigenous Gypsies and Irish Travellers. In the wake of Brexit this group faces an uncertain future.

      A recent report of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) on ‘Roma communities and Brexit’ has highlighted what it called “a triple whammy of risks: uncertainty over their future legal status, rising concerns about hate crime, and a potential loss of EU funding for integration and support services”.

      The report’s findings do not come as a surprise. They reveal long-standing concerns of human rights activists, NGOs and public policy think tanks over both the UK response to the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, on one hand, and the consequences of the Brexit vote, on the other.

    • Why I am not a Liberal and how we need to fight bin Trump and Brexit

      In the year 2000, when post-1989 globalisation was at the zenith of its self-confidence, four of us got together in North London to plan how to respond to what we experienced as a growing problem with the way the world is governed. We felt the need for a serious space to question the suffocating future being offered us, with the socialist left defeated everywhere except Brazil. Along with Paul Hilder, Susan Richards, David Hayes and others, I initiated openDemocracy.

      Perhaps because he confuses my commitment to openness with liberalism, Jan Zielonka, Oxford professor of European politics, has just tagged me as a Liberal; in openDemocracy, in his contribution to a vitally important debate over how to frustrate the hard right. The exchange began in March, when the historian of Liberalism, Edmund Fawcett, called for liberals like himself and leftists to unite in the face of danger. I then responded and welcomed Fawcett’s positive challenge. How to confront the grim international setting matters far more than my personal politics. And new and surprising allies, such as the ex-Director of the CIA, have emerged. I want to take the opportunity to explore the significance of this, especially for the United States as Trump shreds the Iran nuclear agreement.

      But first, I want to be clear about the direction I’m coming from to explain why Zielonka gets me completly wrong. While liberal in my personal views I have never been a ‘Liberal’ politically. I am an advocate and organiser of political openness, which is quite different. The way politics is conducted remains closed, indeed it invents new forms of closure. The brilliant Transformation section of openDemocracy now focuses on this with a coverage that is both granular and general. As its editor Mike Edwards recently argued, an open approach, “runs counter to the realities of modern politics, media and knowledge production, but the other options are much, much worse: a slide into authoritarianism, enforced artificial unity, or permanent division”.

    • Gender Justice at the Heart of the Poor People’s Campaign

      The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, will begin six weeks of actions on May 13 in more than 30 state capitals. Each week will have a different theme, with the first week dedicated to raising up “Children, Women, and People with Disabilities in Poverty.”

      In a recent interview, Rev. Liz Theoharis explained that when she and fellow campaign co-chair Rev. William Barber II first began developing this initiative, they mapped out the poorest communities in the United States. “Our research revealed that the states with the highest overall poverty rates also had the worst voter suppression and the highest number of women and children in need,” she said.

      The campaign teamed up with the Institute for Policy Studies to conduct an extensive audit of key indicators since Dr. Martin Luther King and other leaders launched the original Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. The report, organized around the themes of poverty, systemic racism, militarism, and ecological destruction, integrates issues related to gender justice throughout. Here are five charts which show that while poverty affects all demographic groups in the United States, women (especially women of color) and transgender individuals are particularly hard hit.

    • Yes, neoliberalism is a thing. Don’t let economists tell you otherwise

      Well, this one at least is half-true. Like literally every concept that has ever mattered, the concept of ‘neoliberalism’ is messy, it’s deeply contested, it has evolved over time and it differs in theory and practice. From the start, there has been debate within the neoliberal movement itself about how it should define itself and what its programme should be. And, yes, it’s often used lazily on the left as a generic term for anything vaguely establishment. None of this means that it is Not A Thing. This is something sociologists and historians instinctively understand, but which many economists seem to have trouble with. Having said this, it is possible to define some generally accepted core features of neoliberalism. Essentially, it privileges markets as the best way to organise the economy and society, but unlike classical liberalism, it sees a strong role for the state in creating and maintaining these markets. Outside of this role, the state should do as little as possible, and above all it must not interfere with the ‘natural’ operation of the market. But it has always been part of the neoliberal project to take over the state and transform it for its own ends, rather than to dismantle or disable it. Of course, there’s clearly a tension between neoliberals’ professed ideals of freedom and their need for a strong state to push through policies that often don’t have democratic consent. We see this in the actions of the Bretton Woods institutions in the era of ‘structural adjustment’, or the Troika’s behaviour towards Greece during the Eurozone crisis. We see it most starkly in Pinochet’s Chile, the original neoliberal experiment. This perhaps helps to explain the fact that neoliberalism is sometimes equated with libertarianism and the ‘small state’, while others reject this characterisation. I’ll say it again: none of this means that neoliberalism doesn’t exist.

    • C.F.P.B. Payday Loan Rule Likely Spared Wrath of Congressional Review Act

      There was rare good news for regulatory safeguards this week: The window closed for Congress to pass legislation repealing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule on payday loans, according to advocates of the initiative.

      Stop the Debt Trap, a coalition of labor unions and non-profits, said Wednesday evening that the “legislative clock has expired” on efforts to annul the rule under the Congressional Review Act.

      “Consumer and civil rights advocates are urging the consumer bureau to keep intact the rule, which is set to go into effect summer 2019, and to fulfill the bureau’s responsibility to enforce the law,” the organization said in a statement.

      [...]

      While Congress appeared on Wednesday to officially spare the payday rule, hours earlier, there was an ominous development in Washington for consumer safeguards. In a party-line vote, the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 to approve Andrew Smith as head of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

      Smith has previously served as a lawyer for some of the most recognizable corporations accused of malfeasance, as noted Monday by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • England is restless, change is coming

      My purpose today is to make a big argument about the state of politics in England. Namely, without radical devolution we are not going to achieve social justice.

      I’m pleased to be speaking here at IPPR as recently you produced an important report describing the emergence of Englishness as a political force.

      You were correct to begin a conversation about England. There is a restlessness here. A mounting dissatisfaction which ‘Little Englander’ politics has attempted to colonise. I am going to set out why their narrow message fundamentally misunderstands what is happening.

    • The McCain Cult

      So much time spent on this trifle of a story. Someone named Kelly Sadler, a “special assistant” and “communications aide” to the president stated in a White House meeting May 10 that Sen. John McCain’s opposition to the appointment of Gina Haspel as CIA director was irrelevant.

      “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” she said, according to a leak—presumably by a White House colleague wanting to embarrass her. And so the liberal media—assiduously avoiding coverage of the unprecedented teachers’ strikes in this country, or the Afghan situation as the U.S.-trained army deteriorates and the Taliban expands, or the situation in Iraq as the anti-U.S. Sadrists take power, or the opening of that record-breaking bridge from mainland Russia to Crimea—dwells on this issue of a Trump aide making a “joke” about McCain’s likely immanent death.

    • Iraq elections final results: Sadr’s bloc wins parliamentary poll

      A political bloc led by Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr has won the country’s parliamentary election, the electoral commission said, ahead of internationally favoured Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s bloc.

      Al-Sadr himself cannot become prime minister as he did not run in the election, but his bloc’s victory puts him in a position to have a strong say in negotiations.

      His electoral list captured 54 parliamentary seats, according to the results released on Saturday.

      The Fatah bloc led by Hadi al-Amiri, who has close ties with Iran, came in second with 47 seats.

    • Trump Jr. met with Gulf adviser who offered help to win election: report
    • Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election

      The Trump Tower meeting and follow-ups are the first indication that countries beyond Russia may have offered help to the Trump campaign.

    • Tory MPs prepare for snap autumn election as Theresa May hit by Brexit deadlock

      Conservative MPs are preparing for another snap general election as they fear the Brexit deadlock will become insurmountable for the prime minister.

      Some have spoken to their local party associations asking to be readopted as prospective parliamentary candidates in readiness for an autumn election.

      The back-bench MPs acted after meeting Theresa May last week for a private Brexit briefing as she tried to stop a row over Britain’s future customs relationship with the European Union tearing the party apart.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • The Curious Takedown Notices of ‘Tongues of Glass’ Poet Shaun Shane

      The poet going by the name Shaun Shane has come to the forefront again, half a decade after his one-line poem triggered a takedown controversy. In a series of DMCA notices sent to Google, the poet posits that people are using black hat SEO to get to him. Targeted sites include BoingBoing and Techdirt, but also entirely unrelated ones, including the homepage of the company ‘Shaun Shane Bricklaying.’

    • UK government plans new legislation to tame internet’s ‘wild west’

      The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Office are jointly working on a white paper that is expected to be published in the autumn.

    • Gruesome Jihadi Content Still Flourishes on Facebook and Google+
    • ‘Blocking Pirate Sites Through Court is Uncertain, Slow and Expensive’

      Fairplay Canada sees its own site blocking proposal as the best option to counter infringing websites. In a reply response to the CRTC, the coalition argues that the ‘alternative’ judicial option is uncertain, costly, and will take a lot of time. The response further criticizes misleading and false comments from the public, while adding more support for its blocking plans.

    • Students take on press censorship, get national coverage

      A study of press freedom at Christian universities conducted by Taylor University students has garnered national coverage.

      Religion News Service, the Washington Examiner, the Student Press Law Center and several other religion and college media news sites have run stories in the last two weeks about the study, which was released on May 1 by the newly formed Student Press Coalition. Taylor students created the SPC in order to publicize their study’s results and make clear they weren’t representing the university.

    • Music streaming service Spotify initiates censorship against R. Kelly and XXXTentacion

      On May 10, global music streaming platform Spotify began a regime of censorship against artists it accuses of “Hateful Conduct.” The same day, singers Robert “R.” Kelly and Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy (known as XXXTentacion) became its first targets.

      Under the new policy, Spotify will censor music that “incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status[!], or disability.” Moreover, the announcement goes on, “When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”

      [...]

      Works by the 20-year-old Onfroy (XXXTentacion), who presently faces charges for battery against a pregnant woman, were given the same treatment, including removal from the Spotify playlist “Rap Caviar,” which has nearly 10 million followers.

      Prior to these acts of censorship, a witch-hunt atmosphere had been whipped up around these two singers in the press and on social media. In the case of Kelly, the group of Hollywood figures known as the “Time’s Up movement” threw their weight behind an existing campaign to “Mute R. Kelly.” The manifesto at muterkelly.org makes clear its disdain for democratic rights:

    • Germany’s Attempt to Fix Facebook Is Backfiring

      The new year was just a day old when Alice Weidel, the 38-year-old co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, and Beatrix von Storch, her deputy, came under investigation for inciting hatred on Twitter. Both women had attacked the police in Cologne for tweeting a New Year’s greeting in Arabic: “What the hell is wrong with this country?” von Storch asked in a racially incendiary tweet, accusing the police of supporting what she called “barbaric, gang-raping Muslim hordes of men.” Weidel echoed that sentiment, accusing the police of supporting “knife-stabbing migrant mobs.”

    • Govt to take censorship issue to parliament, says minister

      Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Saturday that the censorship issue would be taken to parliament instead of the information minister tendering her resignation in protest.

      Addressing an Iftar dinner she hosted for journalists, she said the government was aware of the problems being faced by some publications and “I have personally been under pressure to resign on the issue. But I thought for how long the ministers would keep stepping down on such issues instead of taking them head-on”.

    • Minister regrets not doing away with media censorship completely

      Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has said she regrets that her ministry could not do as much as it wished to eliminate the culture of censorship on the media.

      Speaking at an Iftar dinner, hosted by her ministry for the Lahore media, she said that in her short period as the minister she tried her best that the media could be facilitated to the maximum to bring clarity regarding the government affairs.

      She said that she is aware of the concerns and complaints of the media fraternity regarding censorship and sabotage of certain media outlets. She said the government tried its best to do whatever it could to curtail such activities. But, still there was a lot of room for improvement in that regard, she added. The minister pledged that if the PML-N would come to power against after 2018 elections, it would give special attention to the issue.

    • Warframe Moderator’s Authoritarian Censorship Spawns Community Backlash

      Digital Extremes could be looking at some steep community unrest if things don’t get resolved quickly regarding a North American chat moderator for Warframe who has taken the reigns of authority and utilized it to abuse censorship within the community.

    • Prime Minister’s Spokesperson Denounces Church For Censoring Nonconformist Priest

      The Prime Minister’s spokesperson has denounced as “outrageous” an ultimatum by the Church to outspoken priest Mark Montebello that he will be defrocked if he continues speaking out in the media.

      “The Church censors one of its most progressive thinkers,” Kurt Farrugia tweeted. “I had the privilege to work with Fr Mark as deputy editor of It-Torċa…it seems freedom of speech in Malta is a privilege only afforded to conservatives. Outrageous.”

    • Erdoğan ends UK state visit by calling jailed journalists ‘terrorists’

      Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has ended his three-day state visit to the UK by insisting that all the journalists locked in Turkish jails were terrorist criminals, ignoring a warning from Theresa May not to lose sight of democratic values as he sought to defend his country from “the extraordinary pressures of a failed coup and Kurdish terrorism”.

      At a press conference in Downing Street alongside May, Erdoğan made no reference to May’s remarks about human rights, but instead urged her to do more to extradite Turkish exiles from the Gulenist or Kurdish movements, saying that if she did not act act against terrorists, it would come back to bite her.

    • Turkish President Visits UK To Remind Everyone He Still Wants To Punish Critical Speech

      I’m not sure why any nation with at least a passing respect for civil liberties would continue treating Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a world leader worth discussing ideas with. Erdogan rolled into the United States with his entourage of thugs and thought he could have critics beaten and unfriendly journalists tossed from press conferences. He continually petitions other countries to punish their own citizens for insulting him.

      Back at home, Erdogan is jailing journalists by the hundreds, claiming they’re terrorists. A failed coup set off the latest wave of censorial thuggery, with Erdogan bolstering his terrorist claims by pointing to criminal acts like… robbing ATMs. A massive backlog of “insulting the president” cases sit in the country’s court system — a system that’s certainly aware it’s not supposed to act as a check against executive power.

      And yet, world leaders continue to act as though Erdogan is an equal, rather than an overachieving street thug with an amazingly fragile ego. UK Prime Minister Theresa May, hoping to strike a trade deal with Turkey, invited Erdogan to not only discuss a possible deal, but speak publicly.

    • Valve Warns Anime Developers To Censor Sexualized Content On Steam Or They Will Be Removed
    • Steve Stoute Says If R. Kelly & XXXTentacion Music’s Banned, Then Why Don’t People Say ‘We’re F**king No Playing Michael Jackson’
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Revealed: Storyful uses tool to monitor what reporters watch

      Software developed by a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to help journalists verify content on social media is also being used to monitor the videos and images viewed by reporters who use the tool.

    • The growing threat to privacy from big data forensics and false positives

      It turned out that the ambulance crew who had taken him to the hospital that day were later called to where the murder in question took place. Somehow, the ambulance team carried with them the DNA of the accused man, and left it on the body of the victim. Even though the quantity of genetic material involved was minuscule, today’s DNA amplification techniques are such that it is possible to extract long enough genetic sequences from these kind of situations to allow them to be matched with DNA database entries. Ironically, the very sensitivity of DNA forensic techniques means that cases of innocent people being accused of crimes are likely to become more common. The problem is that we shed and leave our DNA on everything we touch, even where we stand, and so it is possible for it to be picked up and transferred somewhere else – even on to a murder victim.

    • Website leaked real-time location of most US cell phones to almost anyone

      LocationSmart, as the service is known, identifies the locations of phones connected to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon, often to an accuracy of a few hundred yards, reporter Brian Krebs said. While the firm claims it provides the location lookup service only for legitimate and authorized purposes, Krebs reported that a demo tool on the LocationSmart website could be used by just about anyone to surreptitiously track the real-time whereabouts of just about anyone else.

    • Cambridge Analytica files for bankruptcy amidst “siege” of negative attention

      The Friday court document also notes that the attorney preparing the filing was paid for by Emerdata, a new data analytics firm founded by many of the same people who were formerly involved in Cambridge Analytica. Emerdata, like Cambridge Analytica, is largely funded by the Mercer family, who are well-known Republican donors and Trump supporters. Rebekah Mercer was named as a director to Emerdata in March 2018. What exactly Emerdata does or how it will operate going forward remains a bit of a mystery.

    • GDPR Hysteria

      In another week the GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation will become enforceable and it appears that unlike any other law to date this particular one has the interesting side effect of causing mass hysteria in the otherwise rational tech sector.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Labor undecided on support for increased airport ID checks

      The government made its proposal known on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying the measure was being advanced because there were “dangerous times” facing the country, according to an ABC report. A sum of $294 million has been set aside to increase security at Australian airports and put in new measures in regional centres.

      Turnbull and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton announced legislation to give the police the power to carry out random identity checks at airports without any cause.

    • TSA Thuggos Turn Into The “Security” Version Of Vindictive Uber Drivers, Secretly Rating You

      This turn of events we’re left with — citizens as docile sheep in the face of our civil liberties being violated — ultimately doesn’t go in a good direction, let’s just say, and it probably won’t end well down the road.

    • $10K Isn’t What It Used To Be — Nor Are Constitutional Rights: Time To Revisit Banking Reporting Requirements

      And Holcombe makes the point that $10K in 1970 dollars would be $65K in today’s.

    • US Immigration Officials Pull Plug on High-Tech ‘Extreme Vetting’

      According to reports, ICE has dropped the requirement to use machine learning or other automated predictive decision-making technologies in its proposals to contractors vying for government business. Instead, ICE will emphasize human oversight of the vetting process.

    • New York workers could get right to ignore bosses emails and phone calls

      That’s if a “right to disconnect” bill sponsored by New York City councilman Rafael Espinal passes. It sets a $250 fine for employers who require staff to answer calls and emails after hours. Espinal’s bill was inspired by a similar law that went into effect last year in France.

    • An Agricultural Movement for People-to-People Reparations Puts Itself on the Map

      On a small plot of land on the outskirts of Chicago, a farm collectively owned by gender-non-conforming immigrants will cultivate produce and a younger generation of food justice activists. That’s the vision that Viviana Moreno, Nadia Sol Ireri Unzueta Carrasco and Jazmín Martinez, organizers and farmers based in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, are working to turn into reality.

      Catatumbo Collective, as the three call themselves, told Rural America In These Times in an email: “We’re approaching a worker-owned farm through an intersectional and holistic lens that understands that our community’s issues can be addressed in part by sustainable farming and food justice educational programs.”

      Viviana, Ireri and Jazmín have known each other from years of organizing against deportations in Chicago and working in Little Village’s Semillas de Justicia community garden.

      Of Venezuelan and Mexican heritage, the three incorporate their families’ experiences—with land stewardship and NAFTA-driven migration—and the history of campesinos’ and Indigenous peoples’ land struggles into their approach.

    • Socialists and Progressives Just Trounced the Democratic Establishment

      If members of the Democratic Party establishment weren’t already worried, after Tuesday night, they should be. In primaries across the country, at least eight candidates running on explicitly progressive platforms won out, including open socialists and political newcomers who took out longtime incumbents.

      These victories are proof that the recent successes of left challengers are no fluke. Rather, the wins show that voters who are tired of the type of milquetoast, means-tested policies pushed by centrist Democrats are willing to embrace candidates running on bold, redistributive policies. And far from being too far left to win, these candidates have the political winds at their backs.

    • Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees

      According to the National Catholic Reporter, Honduran human rights leader and Jesuit priest Fr. Ismael Moreno Coto, who was a friend of slain environmental activist Berta Caceres, plans to meet with members of the US Congress this week in order to “offer a number of suggestions on how the U.S. government can play a constructive role in promoting human rights in Honduras.” He is currently on a 9-city tour of the United States to raise awareness about the state of contemporary Honduran society and the historically negative role that the US has played there, especially in its support and funding of right-wing governments and the Honduran military.

      The Trump administration’s recent decision to suspend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 57, 000 Hondurans who came to the United States after Hurricane Mitch devastated the country in 1998 may have also inspired his visit. Trump’s refusal to renew TPS will affect a total of 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians. The vast majority are perfectly law-abiding members of US society who have now, at the stroke of a pen, been criminalized. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Father Ismael may appeal to American government officials to fight against sending vulnerable people to one of the most dangerous countries in the Western Hemisphere.

    • Time to quell the Lords’ anti-democratic riot

      The constitutional crisis that nobody on the left wants to talk about.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • The decline of Snapchat and the secret joy of internet ghost towns

      When websites become useless, they become a reminder of what was lost when the [I]nternet gained purpose, function, and profit. We are all still searching for an online space where we can yell our secrets and be unseen and disappear. These opportunities now often exist only in dying online spaces, the last place where no one is looking.

    • ISPs and Ajit Pai are really sad about Senate’s vote for net neutrality

      USTelecom claimed to speak on behalf of Internet users, saying that “Consumers want permanent, comprehensive online protections, not half measures or election year posturing from our representatives in Congress.”

    • ‘Uphill Battle,’ But Net Neutrality Defenders Say Victory in House Possible

      Celebrating the ‘historic win’ in the Senate on Wednesday for only the briefest of moments, advocates for the open Internet who have worked relentlessly to reverse an effort by the telecommunications industry and Trump’s FCC to kill net neutrality protections have immediately turned their attention to the U.S. House of Representatives where they say victory is possible if the American people keep up the pressure.

      “The people saying we can’t win on net neutrality in the House are the same people who, just 5 months ago, were saying we could never do it in the Senate,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Thursday. “Ignore them. Just keep fighting.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Webinar on Defend Trade Secrets Act
    • Copyrights
      • Police Forces Around Europe Hit Pirate IPTV Operation

        More than 150 law enforcement officers in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Spain have coordinated to dismantle a large pirate IPTV operation. TV channel sources, which were spread among companies, commercial premises and even private homes, were targeted in dozens of locations. The investigation focused on 49 suspects, five of whom were arrested and taken into custody.

      • Congress wants to extend the copyright on some sound recordings to 144 years

        Hatch merged the bill with the CLASSICS act, which creates a new federal copyright rule for pre-1972 sound recordings; in some cases, this will create a 144 year copyright term for these older recordings. What’s more, it gives an unassailable advantage to the biggest streaming companies like Spotify and Pandora, whose existing music publisher agreements lock in a much lower royalty rate than the statute provides for, something no new competitor will be able to use.

      • Congress’ Latest Move to Extend Copyright Protection Is Misguided

        Twenty years later, the fight for term extension has begun anew. Buried in an otherwise harmless act, passed by the House and now being considered in the Senate, this new bill purports to create 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. These recordings would now have a new right, protected until 2067, which, for some, means a total term of protection of 144 years. The beneficiaries of this monopoly need do nothing to get the benefit of this gift. They don’t have to make the work available. Nor do they have to register their claims in advance.

Aurélien Pétiaud’s ILO Case (EPO Appeal) an Early Sign That ILO Protects Abusers and Power, Not Workers

Techrights - Sunday 20th of May 2018 03:24:08 AM

[Correction: “Alain Prunier” (as named below by Märpel) is actually a mistake. It is in fact Aurélien Pétiaud in the text below.]

Summary: A famous EPO ‘disciplinary’ case is recalled; it’s another one of those EPO-leaning rulings from AT-ILO, which not only praises Battistelli amid very serious abuses but also lies on his behalf, leaving workers with no real access to justice but a mere illusion thereof

The dismissal of SUEPO secretary Laurent Prunier a couple of years ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] was the subject of much debate regarding EPO scandals. It happened at the Dutch ‘branch’, not the German one. He was probably Battistelli’s last casualty (among many) that was a staff representative and he was fired in defiance of ‘orders’ from the Administrative Council. This served to reaffirm the view that Battistelli was ‘in charge’ of his ‘supposed’ regulator.

“Well, thankfully, owing to EPO scandals, we nowadays know that ILO too is dysfunctional.”It turns out that there’s another Prunier (see correction above), Alain Prunier Aurélien Pétiaud, whose case [PDF] Märpel has just dug out, remarking on oneself in the form of a third person (like Merpel) that “Märpel may only wonder at what the “L” in “ILO” stands for. It used to stand for “labour”.”

Here’s the key part:

The events concerning Mr Alain Prunier Aurélien Pétiaud are known from all the EPO. They took place in 2014. At the time, Mr. Prunierr Pétiaud found it necessary to protest the way the appeal committee was run under President Battistelli’s orders. It was run as a purely rubber-stamping affair and since the members chosen by staff were in minority, cases were lost. Mr. Prunierr Pétiaud protested and took a courageous decision: on each case he took the time to write a minority opinion (see judgment point 16), thereby documenting the malfunctioning of the committee.

President Battistelli was not amused and simply increased the workload to a point where there was no time to write these opinions and still attend the sessions. Mr. Prunierr Pétiaud refused and publicly explained why he took that decision, in agreement with SUEPO. To all EPO staff, it was clear that this was a political message and not a refusal to carry out his duties.

But AT-ILO found differently.

Well, thankfully, owing to EPO scandals, we nowadays know that ILO too is dysfunctional. In many ways and aspects. As noted earlier this month, the ILO nowadays lies on behalf of Battistelli and the EPO. It makes one wonder if ILO defends labour from abuses of power or simply defends powerful people from ‘pesky’ workers who challenge abuse of power.

LOT Network is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Techrights - Sunday 20th of May 2018 02:47:53 AM

Summary: Another reminder that the “LOT” is a whole lot more than it claims to be and in effect a reinforcer of the status quo

THE idea that we need to fight patent injustice by hoarding more patents was always a laughable one. The IBM-led OIN, for example, had us believing that it would somehow tackle the issue by making patents “defensive” (that can never be; it’s just not how patents actually work).

There’s an old saying along the lines of, to understand what an organisation stands for just check who’s running it. At the EPO it would be Battistelli and at the USPTO Iancu, part of the patent microcosm.

“There’s an old saying along the lines of, to understand what an orgnisation stands for just check who’s running it.”The LOT Network charm offensive and puff pieces aren’t over yet. We’re seeing Susan Decker’s Bloomberg piece licensed and reposted even more than a week later; we responded to it a couple of times before and 3 days ago we saw Wayne Williams in Beta News issuing another belated LOT Network puff piece in which he said:

Ken Seddon is the CEO of the non-profit patent protection network LOT. The organization’s members include Google, Red Hat, Lenovo, Pega and other big players, as well as dozens of startups in areas such as transportation, blockchain, and software.

Startups are disproportionately impacted by patent trolls and we chatted with Ken about how a smart, assertive IP strategy can help protect their businesses.

“Startups”-themes nonsense is the typical thing we also hear from Battistelli’s EPO. It’s pure marketing, trying to quell dissent from those who suffer the most. LOT Network is led by Google, which has a massive number of patents; all the key members are large companies, not SMEs (the term typically favoured in Europe).

“LOT Network is no solution to software patenting; it merely perpetuates all the same problems.”Ken Seddon the famous scientist (with an OBE) died earlier this year. The above Seddon, however, “drafted over 300 patent applications while at Motorola and Intel, and managed all US patent prosecution at Intel,” according to his official biography (later today we’ll remark about Intel’s patent policy). He is also connected to IPO and AIPLA, two front groups of patent maximalists. They — like Intel — promote software patents. That tells us what LOT Network really boils down to. LOT Network is no solution to software patenting; it merely perpetuates all the same problems.

‘Nokification’ in Hong Kong and China (PRC)

Techrights - Sunday 20th of May 2018 01:59:32 AM


Picture by Or Cohen

Summary: Chinese firms that are struggling resort to patent litigation, in effect repeating the same misguided trajectories which became so notorious in Western nations because they act as a form of taxation, discouraging actual innovation

LAST week we wrote about how Coolpad had resorted to litigation using patents. Months prior we took note of this strategy, which basically revolved around the idea of leveraging patents rather than products. IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, says about Coolpad that “its patent portfolio is largely unproven” (not to mention small compared to that of companies it takes on ). To quote:

Earlier this year, Coolpad filed a number of Chinese patent infringement complaints against Xiaomi. IAM reported these stories largely based on local media accounts. But last week Coolpad sought to ramp up the pressure by ensuring that the story, and key details about the accused Xiaomi products, reached the global financial press in the run-up to Xiaomi’s potential $10 billion Hong Kong IPO. On 10th May, one week after Xiaomi announced its flotation plans, Coolpad held a press conference in Hong Kong to update the media on its dispute with Xiaomi.

If Coolpad is attempting to build a business on top of litigation, then it won’t go very far. The company is already in the red and it seems to be struggling, unlike Xiaomi.

“If Coolpad is attempting to build a business on top of litigation, then it won’t go very far. The company is already in the red and it seems to be struggling, unlike Xiaomi.”There are similar companies in the West. After Microsoft entryism, for example, Nokia is like a patent troll using or merely exploiting standards bodies as Trojan horses. No doubt Nokia used to make stuff. Now it’s mostly “licensing” (the brand, patents etc.) and IAM quotes Soininen of Nokia as saying: “The reason for me to put the results of my R&D into a standard is because I have a patent and I know that I can get a fair and reasonable return on it…”

That’s just misuse of those “FRAND” euphemisms, “fair” and “reasonable” (more like SEP). IAM later wrote this article about these “fair” and “reasonable” patents:

An exclusive new study commissioned by IAM has revealed that Nokia’s merger with Alcatel-Lucent means it is now one of the leading players in the Internet of Things (IoT) domain. However, Samsung has the dominant position in the field, with second-place Qualcomm a long way behind. Last year, IP analytics platform Relecura produced research examining the IoT landscape from a patent perspective. Using an IAM-commissioned updated report and additional data from IP platform ktMINE, we inspect the current state of the IoT sector.

A lot of these ‘IoT’ patents (not all) are reducible to software and would thus be invalid in Western courts. Not so in China, which officially permits software patents. But according to Jacob Schindler from IAM, those relying on the possibility of dragging Chinese companies into US courts and in for a surprise:

There are a host of challenges when it comes to trying to assert US patents against a Chinese legal entity. A recent court filing by Dutch telecom KPN, which is suing Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus in the District of Delaware, underlines what looks to be a new normal: it may be two years before a defendant domiciled in China can even be served process.

There is only one way to serve process to an entity in China: the Hague Service Convention’s Article 5 procedure. That means going through a national central authority, which in the case of China is the Ministry of Justice. China formally objects to the service of process by private individuals as well as service of process by mail – so there is no getting around the central government.

[...]

KPN launched 11 patent assertions in January 2017, including the one against Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus. Another of those cases targetted Shenzhen-based TCL. But importantly, TCL has US subsidiaries which KPN was able to name in that complaint.

The TCL case proceeded fairly quickly. On 22nd March 2018, Judge Stark knocked out the sole patent-in-suit, US 6,212,662 (“Method and devices for the transmission of data with transmission error checking”), on Section 101 grounds. The ‘662 patent is also the only patent asserted against Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus. KPN has appealed to the circuit court.

Notice the use of Section 101 — a subject we shall tackle separately later today. Much/many of these lawsuits are fool’s errand; many of today’s granted patents are dubious at best.

CIPU is Amplifying Misleading Propaganda From the Chamber of Commerce

Techrights - Saturday 19th of May 2018 06:25:07 PM

Summary: Another lobbying event is set up to alarm lawmakers and officials, telling them that the US dropped from first to twelfth using some dodgy yardstick which favours patent extremists

THE USPTO is improving patent quality as per rulings from higher up (the courts) and instructions from the management. This should really be celebrated, but this may mean many layoffs among patent lawyers, who became accustomed to an abundance of patents and lawsuits. As we shall show in later posts, Watchtroll still rants quite a lot and yesterday it resorted to citing the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU), a lobby group of patent maximalists. This, in turn, props up those infamous lies (rebutted here before) from the Chamber of Commerce.

“The US did not drop at all; they measure the wrong thing to intentionally influence the outcome in favour of the patent microcosm, conflating innovation with the number of patents…”It’s just another one of those lobbying events. To quote: “The event was the first Washington gathering in recent history to re-introduce the idea of what innovation policy is, and how it impacts intellectual property (IP) rights. A group of almost 100 key innovation and IP influencers from government, business, and academia met to strategize on reversing the decline in innovative output that has recently seen the US drop to 12th place in patent rankings from the sixth edition of the International IP Index published by the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

The US did not drop at all; they measure the wrong thing to intentionally influence the outcome in favour of the patent microcosm, conflating innovation with the number of patents and similar things (the headline speaks of “US innovation policy” but actually measures it in terms of patents or “IP”). They trash-talk their own country with the sole intention of changing the law to harm that country.

This is tiring old nonsense. Quite a few scholars already debunked it, but one scholar, Dennis Crouch, is still happy to promote it at the behest of patent maximalists and days ago he was still reprinting USPTO press releases to fill up space. He posted this ‘shopping list’ of patent lawyers:

Individuals Listed by Firm:

Alston & Bird LLP — Chris Lightner — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Charley F. Brown — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Jason T. Fletcher — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Michele A. Kliem — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Galit Levitin — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Scott D. Marty — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Sandra Sciascia-Zirger — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — D. Brian Shortell — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Sommer S. Zimmerman — Altanta , GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — Wendy Ann Choi — Atlanta, GA
Ballard Spahr LLP — John Chionchio — Philadelphia, PA
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP — David Atkinson — Denver, CO
Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt, LLP — Jason B. Scher — Melville, NY
Cozen O’Connor — Kyle Vos Strache — Philadelphia, PA
CreatiVenture Law, LLC — Dennis JM Donahue III — St. Louis, MO
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP — Jonathan Tolstedt — Seattle, WA
Dentons US LLP — Roman Tsibulevskiy — Washington, DC
DLA Piper LLP — Tim Lohse — East Palo Alto, CA
DLA Piper LLP — Jeff Clark, MD — Boston, MA
Duane Morris — Joaquin Hernandez — Boca Raton, FL
Edam Law PLLC — Edmar M. Amaya, LL.M. — Miami, FL
Eversheds Sutherland LLP — Josh Aronson — Atlanta, GA
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP — Dan Schwartz — Chicago, IL
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP — Kathryn Warner — Denver, CO
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP — Steven Wiemer — Denver, CO
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP — Ryan Duebner — Denver, CO
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP — Bob O’Loughlin — Denver, CO
Fleit, Gibbons, Gutman, Bongini & Bianco, PL — Gary S. Winer — Coral Gables, FL
Foley & Lardner — Joseph F. Janas — Chicago, IL
Foley & Lardner — Roger Rozanski — Chicago, IL
Foley & Lardner — Charles Carter — Milwaukee, WI
Foley & Lardner — John Lazarus — Milwaukee, WI
Foley & Lardner — Lisamarie Collins — Milwaukee, WI
Holland & Hart — Jennifer Junkin — Salt Lake City, UT
Holland & Hart — Dick Schulze — Reno, NV
Holzer Patel Drennan — Rachel Carnaggio — Denver, CO
Husch Blackwell — Marriam Lin — St. Louis, MO
Interdigital Holdings, Inc. — John B. Gillick, Jr. — Wilmington, DE
Interdigital Holdings, Inc. — Damian C. Hamme — Wilmington, DE
IP Services — John Tolomei — Palatine, IL
Jin and Vidhani Consultancy LLP — Dr. Dinesh Vidhani — Tallahassee, FL
Jin and Vidhani Consultancy LLP — Dr. Yonghao Jin — Tallahassee, FL
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP — Stephen Dew — Altanta , GA
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP — Brett Mellor — Denver, CO
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP — Torrey Spink — Denver, CO
Law Office of Nora M. Tocups — Nora M. Tocups — Decatur, GA
Lewis Rice — Kirk A. Damman — St. Louis, MO
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Ben Kimes — Palo Alto, CA
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Sam Noel — Centerville, UT
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Steven Tam — Palo Alto, CA
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Cicero Brabham — Roseland, NJ
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Joseph Jones — Roseland, NJ
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Jonathan Wolfsberger — Palo Alto, CA
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Kevin Grange — Palo Alto, CA
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Kevin O. Grange — Centerville, UT
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Sam Noel — Centerville, UT
Lowenstein Sandler LLP — Cicero Brabham — Roseland, NJ
MBCB Attorneys — Jonathan Yates — Bloomington, IN
McDonald Hopkins LLC — Mark C. Guinto — Cleveland, OH
McDonell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff — Emily Miao — Chicago, IL
Medtronic — Tiffany Parcher — Boulder, CO
Mohr IP Law — Devin Miller — Salt Lake City, UT
Neal Gerber Eisenberg — Michael Harlin — Chicago, IL
Patterson + Sheridan LLP — Matthew Seeley — Houston, TX
Perkins Coie LLP — Kevin John Patariu — San Diego, CA
Pham IP Group — Frank Pham — Houston, TX
Poly-Med, Inc — Mary Anthony Merchant, JD, PhD — Atlanta, GA
Quarles & Brady — Justin DeAngelis — Chicago, IL
Quarles & Brady — Erin Fox — Chicago, IL
Rabicoff Law — Kenneth Matuszewski — Chicago, IL
Rosenbaum IP — Ben Rotman — Northbrook, IL
Schwegman Lundberg Woessner — Michael R. Mischnick — Minneapolis, MN
Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP — Thomas Wiseman — Washington, DC
Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP — Greg Kirsch — Altanta , GA
Southeaster IP Consulting LLP — John R. Sweet — Altanta , GA
Stinson Leonard Street, LLP — Judy Carlson — Kansas City, MO
Stinson Leonard Street, LLP — David Kim — Kansas City, MO
The Richards Law Firm LLC — William B. Richards — New Albany, OH
Thomas Hostermeyer — Richard T. Timmer — Atlanta, GA
Tom F. Pruitt PLLC, Retired — Tom Pruitt — Nacogdoches, TX
Vedder Price — Sudip Mitra — Chicago, IL
Vitaley, Vickrey, Niro & Gasey LLP — Oliver Yang — Chicago, IL
WilmerHale — Ben Fernandez — Denver, CO
Womble Bond Dickinson LLP — Dan Ovanezian — Palo Alto, CA
Womble Bond Dickinson LLP — Bill Jacobs — Palo Alto, CA

What have the above individuals actually done? They “reported 50 or more hours of patent pro bono service to a regional patent pro bono program.” They basically aided patent maximalism under the guise of “pro bono” (free). Their volunteer work can end up causing lawsuits and there may be real victims. Look at the comments; it’s only 4 comments from the same person — rants about Alice that are totally tosh. This is just what we have come to expect from patent maximalists.

Patent Law Firms That Profit From Software Patent Applications and Lawsuits Still ‘Pull a Berkheimer’ to Attract Business in Vain

Techrights - Saturday 19th of May 2018 12:08:05 PM

These patents and lawsuits would still be a waste of time and money

Summary: The Alice-inspired (Supreme Court) 35 U.S.C. § 101 remains unchanged, but the patent microcosm endlessly mentions a months-old decision from a lower court (than the Supreme Court) to ‘sell’ the impression that everything is changing and software patents have just found their ‘teeth’ again

“The Berkheimer Memorandum,” wrote Marks & Clerk’s Julian Asquith and Tobias Eriksson in their headline just a little while ago, is “Good news for software patents in the US” (perpetuating the old hype, such as "Berkheimer Effect" and ‘pulling a Berkheimer’). The USPTO offered a consultation after Berkheimer and there are still months to go. Quoting Marks & Clerk:

The Berkheimer memorandum, issued by the USPTO on 19 April 2018, is good news for applicants of US software-related patents.

In summary, an examiner at the USPTO is now obliged to factually prove that any “additional features” of a claim are well-understood, routine, and conventional in order to support an “abstract idea” rejection. Hence, if a claim is novel and inventive, it should now be easier to show that it is also patent eligible (i.e. that it relates to patentable subject-matter).

It is widely acknowledged that the patenting of software-related inventions became more difficult in the US following the decision in 2014 of the US Supreme Court in decision known as “Alice” (Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International).

That in no way changes Alice, only burden of proof associated with it. In that regard, not much will happen.

“That in no way changes Alice, only burden of proof associated with it. In that regard, not much will happen.”On May 1st Robert Curylo wrote about “Loopholes In The USPTO’s Berkheimer Memo”. To quote: “Rejections of patent claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101 are often criticized when examiners take an “I know when I see it” approach rather than applying any objective standards for assessing patent eligibility. However, in an April 19, 2018, memorandum, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office imposes new limitations on rejecting patent claims as ineligible for being directed to abstract ideas without significantly more.”

But there are still loopholes there, albeit the paywall puts them out of view. Several days ago in IAM’s sponsored ads/’analyses’ (Baker Donelson in this case) the lawyers were ‘pulling a Berkheimer’ (even months later). As they put it:

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently provided additional guidance to its examiners on the issue of subject-matter eligibility, which could make it easier for applicants to overcome rejections under 35 USC Section 101. The memorandum, issued on April 19 2018, addresses the limited question of whether an additional claim element (or combination of additional claim elements) represents well-understood, routine and conventional activity.

But again, Alice itself isn’t being sidelined; so the law remains more or less the same (if that memorandum leads to any material changes to guidelines at the end).

What we see above are “sales pitches” rather than honest analysis/advice.

A Year After TC Heartland the Patent Microcosm is Trying to ‘Dilute’ This Supreme Court’s Decision or Work Around It

Techrights - Saturday 19th of May 2018 11:38:24 AM

Microsoft and IBM would certainly want a patent litigation resurgence and so would their lawyers


Downtown Dallas, Texas

Summary: IAM, Patent Docs, Managing IP and Patently-O want more litigation (especially somewhere like the Eastern District of Texas), so in an effort to twist TC Heartland they latch onto ZTE and BigCommerce cases

THE TC Heartland decision — an historic and important Supreme Court decision — has had a profound effect on enforcement of patents granted by the USPTO; it became a lot harder to reach plaintiff-friendly courts. This meant that, overall, it became even harder to enforce questionable patents, such as software patents.

“Bearing in mind the limitation in terms of diversity of sources/views (IAM, Patent Docs, Managing IP and Patently-O are all cornerstones of patent maximalism), we still decided to cover it here.”The past week has been relatively quiet on the patent front and it can be seen as a positive thing because the patent microcosm is coming to grips with the demise of patent maximalism. Patents that are on abstract ideas, for example, lost their teeth. Notably software patents, which we shall remark on later this weekend.

Of relevance to TC Heartland, more so on its one-year anniversary, were a couple of new cases. These received coverage from sites of patent maximalists (unfortunately the mainstream media does not cover patent news unless it can name-drop “Apple” or something like that… which helps ‘sell’ the story). Bearing in mind the limitation in terms of diversity of sources/views (IAM, Patent Docs, Managing IP and Patently-O are all cornerstones of patent maximalism), we still decided to cover it here. We wish to highlight what they are doing; they’re slanting it in their favour.

The one-year anniversary was noted by IAM just before the weekend. Its main proponent of software patents and patent trolls decided to spin it as “East Texas adjusts” (whatever that means, the numbers speak for themselves). To quote the summary outside the stubborn paywall: “As if prompted by the looming first birthday of the TC Heartland decision, in the last ten days the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has issued a flurry of opinions filling in many of the gaps left unanswered by the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on patent venue. Those recent decisions have largely placed further bounds on patent owners in determining where they can bring a suit. At the start of this week the court issued its decision in In re: ZTE ruling that the burden of proof with regards to venue lies with the patent owner, not the defendant.”

This is what we shall cover here, unfortunately based on sites like IAM (the patent microcosm dominates coverage on this subject).

As last noted a couple of days ago in Patently-O, patent law actively discriminates against foreign firms. As they aren’t primarily based in the US there’s this assumption that they can be dragged into just about any court, even the more/most notorious ones. This isn’t really fair. They paid the same application/maintenance fees as US (domestic) firms.

After TC Heartland, moreover, there’s still this discussion about where a company can sue another company using patents (they prefer dragging the accused to notorious, plaintiff-friendly courts, notably the Eastern District of Texas). Several days ago Andrew Williams (Patent Docs) wrote about In re ZTE:

The Federal Circuit next analyzed the question of which party bears the burden. Interestingly, the Court could not find a case in which the issue had been addressed in its 37-year history. However, prior to the formation of the Federal Circuit, the regional circuits handled challenges to venue in patent cases by placing the burden on Plaintiffs. Even though this precedent might not have been binding on the Court, it was persuasive. Moreover, the Court noted that the restrictive nature of the patent-specific venue statute (as opposed to the more general venue statute of § 1391) supports placing the burden on the Plaintiff. Correspondingly, the Court held that “as a matter of Federal Circuit law, that upon motion by the Defendant challenging venue in a patent case, the Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing proper venue.”

This was highlighted not only by Williams but also Kevin E. Noonan, who 70 minutes later wrote about In re BigCommerce, Inc. “This is a considerable restriction on the already limited venue options open to plaintiffs, which limited proper venue to states where the defendant resides (its state of incorporation),” Noonan opined. From his post:

This is a considerable restriction on the already limited venue options open to plaintiffs, which limited proper venue to states where the defendant resides (its state of incorporation) or “where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.”

The case arose in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, where respondents Diem LLC and Express Mobile Inc. individually filed patent infringement suits against BigCommerce. BigCommerce filed a motion to dismiss for improper venue in the Diem case, and a motion to transfer in the Express Mobile case; each of these motions was denied by the District Court. As noted in the Federal Circuit’s Order, “[i]t is undisputed that BigCommerce has no place of business in the Eastern District of Texas” (rather, its registered office and headquarters is in Austin, which is in the Western District of Texas). Nevertheless, the Diem court ruled that “a domestic corporation resides in the state of its incorporation and if that state contains more than one judicial district, the corporate defendant resides in each such judicial district for venue purposes” and the Express Mobile court found nothing in plaintiff’s argument that distinguished this reasoning.

[...]

The Court’s Order also reviewed and rejected three arguments from respondents. The first was that the use of “resides” in earlier Supreme Court cases (including Stonite) is in tension with later Supreme Court cases (including Fourco). The Federal Circuit rejected this argument almost out of hand, saying that the Court did not address the issue in Fourco at the judicial district level of granularity, “and set a necessary but not necessarily sufficient condition for corporate residence for venue under § 1400(b)” (emphasis in order). The second argument, that modern business circumstances counseled a “more flexib[le]” approach was “a non-starter,” the panel stating that “‘[t]he requirement of venue is specific and unambiguous; it is not one of those vague principles which, in the interest of some overriding policy, is to be given a ‘liberal’ construction,” quoting Olberding v. Ill. Cent. R.R. Co., 346 U.S. 338, 340 (1953), as cited in Schnell v. Peter Eckrich & Sons, Inc., 365 U.S. 260, 264 (1961), and saying that “[s]uch policy-based arguments are best directed to Congress.” Finally, the order addresses the question generally regarding how venue should be properly decided in multi-judicial district states. First, the proper district for venue would be the district in which the defendant has a principal place of business (if there is such a place in the state), citing Galveston, H. & S.A. Ry. Co. v. Gonzales, 151 U.S. 496, 504 (1894). And the Court noted that a “principal place of business” is not the same as “a regular and established place of business” as required by other aspects of the statute, the order citing Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 93 (2010). In the absence of a “principal place of business” in a state in which a defendant is incorporated, the “default’ should be the judicial district in which the corporation has its registered office or agent, calling this a “universally recognized foundational requirement of corporate formation.”

Managing IP‘s Michael Loney wrote about BigCommerce as follows, in conjunction with that other (aforementioned) case:

The plaintiff bears the burden of proving venue in patent cases and venue is only proper for a corporation registered in a multiple district-state in the district where it has its principal place of business, the Federal Circuit ruled in ZTE and BigCommerce

The Federal Circuit has granted two petitions for writ of mandamus that shed light on patent venue post-TC Heartland.

At Patently-O, BigCommerce was mentioned by Dennis Crouch, who said:

The same panel that recently decided In re ZTE (Fed. Cir. May 14, 2018) (Judges Reyna, Linn, and Hughes) have now also decided another improper venue mandamus action: In re BigCommerce, Inc. (Fed. Cir. May 15, 2018).

BigCommerce focuses on the issue of proper venue in multi-district states. The potential confusion comes from the Supreme Court’s central holding in TC Heartland that “a domestic corporation ‘resides’ only in its State of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statute.” BigCommerce is a Texas Company, but its HQ is in Austin (E.D.Texas) and argues that the Supreme Court’s statement was incomplete. Now, on mandamus, the Federal Circuit has sided with BigCommerce — holding that the rule is more nuanced for multi-venue states.

[...]

The Federal Circuit’s decision here has to be correct, and the only difficulty is the loose Supreme Court wording in TC Heartland.

This is the job of lawyers; they try to twist the law or to cherry-pick decisions, (mis)interpreting them to mean whatever the client (i.e. money) wants. In this case, the Supreme Court’s wordings are being ‘artistically’ (to put it politely) interpreted to make life harder for defendants.

Microsoft Attacks the Vulnerable Using Software Patents in Order to Maintain Fear and Give the Perception of Microsoft ‘Safety’

Techrights - Saturday 19th of May 2018 10:36:40 AM

While Microsoft sells ‘protection’ from itself and its patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17]

Summary: The latest patent lawsuits from Microsoft and its patent trolls (which it financially backs); these are aimed at feeble and vulnerable rivals of Microsoft

THE whole ‘new’ Microsoft delusion clearly fails to impress/charm actual GNU/Linux geeks. They aren’t buying any of it (example from today [1, 2]). Microsoft’s patent attacks on GNU/Linux are being brought up as well. Based on US patent office records, in addition to Microsoft boosting sites, the gold rush for patents carries on and Microsoft has been busy attacking rivals using patents. Yes, this is the ‘new’ Microsoft — same as the ‘old’ Microsoft. It’s using patents on GUIs — a subject we shall cover later this weekend in relation to Apple — to go after competitors. A guest post by Sarah Burstein, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, was published some days ago to remark about the underlying patents:

Microsoft accused Corel of infringing five utility patents and four design patents. The four design patents all claimed designs for particular elements of the Microsoft Office graphical user interface (GUI).

[...]

Corel initially denied infringing these design patents but, early last year, it amended its answer to admit infringement and dismiss most of its defenses, stating that, “to properly develop and prove out those defenses will simply cost more than the damages could rationally be in this case.” By the time of trial, the only remaining issues were damages, whether Corel had pre-suit notice of three of the design patents, and willfulness.

In its Rule 50 motions, Corel argued that Microsoft was not entitled to recover its “total profits” under 35 U.S.C. § 289 because Corel had not applied the patented designs to any articles of manufacture.

We recently wrote quite a few articles about it. It’s almost only one site that has been covering that (Law 360); somehow all the “tech” press doesn’t seem to mind. Last weekend we argued that maybe that just doesn’t fit the “Microsoft loves Linux” narrative they constantly foist if not impose on readers. Notice how, in order to win cases more easily, Microsoft targets relatively poor and weak companies, especially at times of trouble, e.g. TomTom; the last thing Microsoft wants is a lengthy legal battle that sees Microsoft’s patents invalidated.

“…the last thing Microsoft wants is a lengthy legal battle that sees Microsoft’s patents invalidated.”Meanwhile — while Microsoft sues rivals like Corel using lousy patents — the patent trolls of Microsoft also attack Microsoft's rivals, who struggle in court because some software patent survived back in January. In Finjan, Inc. v SonicWall, Inc. (according to Docket Navigator):

The court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s [Finjan] willful infringement claims for failing to sufficiently allege egregious conduct through defendant’s licensing negotiations.

Remember that Finjan is financially backed by Microsoft and it has gone after pretty much all of Microsoft’s competitors in the security space. Of course it doesn’t go after Microsoft; the same goes for Nokia, whose latest words and actions we shall cover separately later this weekend.

Links 19/5/2018: Mesa 18.0.4 and Vim 8.1

Techrights - Saturday 19th of May 2018 05:24:29 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Is systemd on Linux Evil – For The Record

    Is systemd on Linux Evil? How does it compare to alternatives like runit? I discuss some considerations with systemd and below are the links I reference in the video.

  • Desktop
    • A beginner’s guide to Linux

      The key difference is that Linux is open source. In the most simple terms, it just means that no one single person or corporation controls the code. Instead, the operating system is maintained by a dedicated group of developers from around the world. Anyone who is interested can contribute to the code and help check for errors. Linux is more than an operating system; it is a community.

    • Why Linux apps on Chromebooks are a really big deal (really!)

      It may have gotten lost in the shuffle of all the Android P news at Google’s I/O conference last week, but fear not, dear friends: Chrome OS has definitely not been forgotten.

      Google’s been making steady progress in advancing its Chromebook operating system over the past several months, particularly around its efforts to further align Android and Chrome OS and turn Chromebooks into all-purpose productivity machines and Android tablet replacements. Practically every week, in fact, there’s some new and noteworthy feature being added into the platform (something we’ve talked about a great deal in my weekly newsletter as of late).

      And though it wasn’t in the keynote, a massive new development did sneak its way into Chrome OS during I/O: the quietly announced ability for Chromebooks to run Linux apps as if they were native applications, without the need for any complex and security-defeating configurations. Linux app support is on its way to the Pixelbook to start — currently in that device’s developer channel and likely becoming available much more broadly before long.

    • System76’s Oryx Pro Laptop Targets AI Developers

      System76’s latest laptop Oryx Pro is a beast in terms of configuration and it focuses on AI and Machine Learning developers. Read about the specifications and pricing

    • Linux Apps On Chromebooks – Unleaded Hangouts

      Linux Apps On Chromebooks. Does this present a compelling reason to buy a Chromebook or instead, is this too little too late for Google? We discuss.

  • Server
    • Blockchain Consolidation Phase Is Imminent, Hyperledger Chief Says

      Brian Behlendorf, a driving force behind the Apache web server and longtime supporter of open source software, now spends his time developing blockchain technology for the enterprise.

      As the executive director of the Hyperledger project, an open source blockchain initiative hosted by the Linux Foundation, Mr. Behlendorf is working to create enterprise-ready distributed ledger technologies and develop a community of corporate blockchain developers that will outlast a fevered investment climate.

      Blockchain is still nascent in the enterprise, but the conversation has evolved beyond basic technology questions to more involved discussions about scale, interoperability and governance, Mr. Behlendorf said.

    • 6 key data strategy considerations for your cloud-native transformation

      Many organizations are making the move to cloud-native platforms as their strategy for digital transformation. cloud-native allows companies to deliver fast-responding, user-friendly applications with greater agility. However, the architecture of the data in support of cloud-native transformation is often ignored in the hope that it will take care of itself. With data becoming the information currency of every organization, how do you avoid the data mistakes commonly made during this cloud transformation journey? What data questions should you ask when building cloud-native applications? How can you gain valuable insight from your data?

      The ensuing presentation includes six key considerations companies must have when they make this transition to cloud-native.

    • Making Kubernetes Easier with Cloud Foundry Platform

      Kubernetes is one of the biggest technology disruptors to hit the IT industry in a long time — maybe since Amazon EC2, now more than a decade old. It has helped turn containers from a convenient packaging method into the building blocks of modern application architectures, and has shifted the discussion in many circles from cloud computing to cloud-native computing.

      If that seems like a form of technological hair-splitting, it isn’t. Cloud-native technologies and architectures are the means by which more traditional businesses — like insurance, financial services or even heavy machinery — can transition from simply consuming cloud resources into operating like the cloud providers themselves. This is shifting the way they run their businesses, making them more agile, distributed and ready to tackle via software, whatever their businesses demand. As with most new technologies, however, it’s important to look at Kubernetes with some perspective.

    • Virtualized lab demonstration using a tweaked Labtainers running in a container

      Labtainers is quite interesting as it allows isolating a lab in several containers running in their own dedicated virtual network, which helps distributing a lab without needing to install anything locally.

      My tweak allows to run what I called the “master” container which contains the labtainers scripts, instead of having to install labtainers on a Linux host. This should help installation and distribution of labtainers, as well as deploying it on cloud platforms, some day soon. In the meantime Labtainer containers of the labs run with privileges so it’s advised to be careful, and running the whole of these containers in a VM may be safer. Maybe Labtainers will evolve in the future to integrate a containerization of its scripts. My patches are pending, but the upstream authors are currently focused on some other priorities.

  • Kernel Space
    • A Remote KMS Linux Backend Is Being Worked On That Could Work With VNC

      Thomas Hellstrom of VMware who has worked on Mesa going back to the Tungsten Graphics days is developing a remote KMS back-end that could be transmitted over VNC or similar protocols.

      In essence this kernel mode-setting (KMS) kernel back-end would allow the display to be transmitted remotely over VNC or similar remote desktop sharing technologies. The current intention is on open-source VNC server support.

    • Graphics Stack
      • mesa 18.0.4

        Mesa 18.0.4 is now available.

        In this release we have:

        r600 driver gets a fix for constant buffer boounds, which fixes rendering bugs
        in Trine and Witcher 1.

        Several fixes for RADV driver: fixes around alpha channel in Pre-Vega, fix in
        multisample image copies, and fixes around multilayer images in compute path.

        For the case of ANV/i965 drivers, also a couple of fixes, all of them around
        ISP. On top, there are a couple of fixes relative to code emission around 16-bit
        integers, and a a fix for a leak in blorp for Gen4 and Gen5.

        Speaking of leaks, there are also fixes for winsys/radeon/amdgpu and
        pipe-loader.gets a couple of patches to fix a couple of leaks.

        SPIR-V part gets a patch to apply OriginUpperLeft to FragCoord.

        Mesa core gets a couple of patches to fix error handling in
        get_framebuffer_parameteriv, and to add missing support for
        glFogiv(GL_FOG_DISTANCE_MODE_NV).

      • Mesa 18.0.4 Released With A Handful Of Bug Fixes

        Mesa 18.1 might be out this weekend but for those riding the Mesa 18.0 stable release series for now, Mesa 18.0.4 is the latest point release.

      • AMD Will Continue Maintaining Multiple Compute Stacks For Linux

        With the great shape that ROCm has been getting into recently for open-source Radeon GPU compute support on Linux including advancing OpenCL support, one might have rightfully assumed that was going to be their centralized compute stack moving forward. It turns out that their PAL-based compute stack will continue to be maintained too.

      • VC5 Gallium3D Driver Becomes V3D, Enabled By Default In Mesa

        What was developed as the VC5 Gallium3D driver is now renamed to V3D and enabled by default in new Mesa 18.2 builds.

        The Broadcom Video Core V driver that was already part of Mesa was renamed to V3D to match the name of the V3D DRM kernel driver. The VC5 to V3D renaming occurred since this driver is already supporting a VideoCore VC6 device, so the VC5 naming was no longer deemed appropriate.

      • VMware 13.3 X.Org Driver Brings DRI3 With Latest Mesa, X.Org Server 1.20 Support

        Usually X.Org DDX driver releases aren’t too notable these days with most of the open-source Linux graphics innovations happening elsewhere in the stack, but for those using the VMware graphics virtualization support available through their different virtualization products, the xf86-video-vmware update out today is on the heavier side.

      • Open-Source NVIDIA Volta GV100 Support Queued For Linux 4.18

        Initial open-source driver support for the NVIDIA GV100 “Volta” GPUs will be introduced with the upcoming Linux 4.18 kernel cycle.

        Earlier this month I wrote about the initial open-source GV100 Volta patches coming out for the Nouveau Direct Rendering Manager while now that work has been queued into the DRM-Next tree ahead of the Linux 4.18 merge window opening in June.

      • The Open-Source ARM Mali “Panfrost” Driver Now Supports Textures & More

        The in-development Panfrost reverse-engineered, open-source driver for supporting ARM Mali T700 series graphics is now much more capable thanks to work carried out on their “half-way” Gallium3D driver in recent weeks.

        Alyssa Rosenzweig has provided an update on the Panfrost driver progress and their very early stage Gallium3D driver. Their recent code is quite a bit of progress considering where they were one month ago with just being able to render a cube.

      • CUDA 9.2 Released With GEMM Improvements

        We knew it was coming while today NVIDIA has rolled out the CUDA 9.2 stable release update.

        The CUDA 9.2 release includes speed-ups for launching CUDA kernels as well as faster performance for GEMM computational performance for half-precision and small N matrices. CUDA 9.2 also fixes a number of issues, including incorrect results with some GEMM calls on V100 Tensor Core GPUs and other BLAS problems.

      • Mesa 18.1 Released With Intel Shader Cache Default, OpenGL 3.1 ARB_compatibility

        First time Mesa release manager Dylan Baker has managed to release Mesa 18.1 on time as the Q2’2018 quarterly update to this OpenGL/Vulkan driver stack.

        While it feels like Mesa 18.0 was just recently released, it’s already been a month and a half, which had arrived significantly late due to release delays. Fortunately, Mesa 18.1 is now available and hopefully allowing for a normal Mesa 18.2 release cycle for next quarter.

        Mesa 18.1 ships with the Intel OpenGL shader cache now being enabled by default, OpenGL 3.1 with ARB_compatibility context support for the prominent Gallium3D drivers, ARB_bindless_texture support for Nouveau NVC0 that is important for some newer Linux game ports like Dawn of War 3, EXT_semaphore support for RadeonSI, various other new OpenGL and Vulkan extensions being supported by Radeon and Intel, and other enhancements. See our Mesa 18.1 feature overview for a more thorough look at all of the changes that made it into this release.

    • Benchmarks
      • A Closer Look At The GCC 8 Compiler Performance On Intel Skylake

        In continuing with our recent benchmarks of the brand new GCC 8.1 compiler, here are more tests while using an Intel Skylake CPU and testing with -O2, -O3, and -O3 -march=native optimization levels while comparing the resulting binary performance of GCC 8.1 and GCC 7.3.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Plasma 5.13 Beta

        Thursday, 17 May 2018. Today KDE unveils a beta release of Plasma 5.13.0.

        Members of the Plasma team have been working hard to continue making Plasma a lightweight and responsive desktop which loads and runs quickly, but remains full-featured with a polished look and feel. We have spent the last four months optimising startup and minimising memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance and less memory consumption. Basic features like panel popups were optimised to make sure they run smoothly even on the lowest-end hardware. Our design teams have not rested either, producing beautiful new integrated lock and login screen graphics.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Enters Beta with New Lock & Login Screens, Browser Integration
      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Beta Released With A Compelling Number Of Improvements
      • Greeting

        Hello all! This is my first time writing about my work progress in a blog, so some things are still awnkward for me. And it is also my first time participating in GSoC and there are many things new to me. I’m cooperating with KDE organisation or rather with one of their projects, named Krita.

      • Calamares 3.2.0 released

        The Calamares team is happy to announce the availability of Calamares 3.2.0, the first iteration of the new features-and-functionality series of Calamares 3.2.x releases. This is the new series of Calamares releases following on from the stable 3.1 series.

        Calamares is a distribution-independent system installer, with an advanced partitioning feature for both manual and automated partitioning operations. Calamares is designed to be customizable by distribution maintainers without need for cumbersome patching, thanks to third party branding and external modules support.

      • Calamares 3.2 Linux Installer Framework Released

        Version 3.2 of the Calamares universal Linux distribution installer framework is now available as their latest big feature release that has been in development the past number of months.

        Calamares 3.2 features new localization capabilities, improved logging, enhanced GeoIP detection, improved KDE Plasma integration, optional user-tracking, upgraded KPMCore usage, and various module improvements.

      • Qt 5.11.0 RC2 out

        We have released Qt 5.11.0 RC2 today. Delta to RC(1) release can be found as an attachment. We are still targeting to release Qt 5.11.0 Tue 22nd May as planned

      • Qt 5.11 RC2 Released With The Final Expected Next Week

        The Qt Company is hoping to be able to release the Qt 5.11 tool-kit in just a few days.

        Developers working on Qt 5.11 are striving still to release this half-year tool-kit update ahead of schedule on Tuesday, 22 May, rather than the following week as originally was planned.

      • Get Started with Qt 3D Studio 2.0 beta 1

        Now that the beta 1 release of Qt 3D Studio 2.0 is out, let’s go through the steps involved in trying it out for real.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • virtual-keyboard: Add new virtual keyboard protocol
      • Purism Is Proposing A Virtual Keyboard Protocol For Wayland

        Purism’s Dorota Czaplejewicz has been active within the Wayland community recently as they work on their Librem 5 phone Wayland compositor and Phosh shell for this software stack and iMX8 hardware they hope to begin shipping next year.

        On behalf of Purism, Dorota’s latest Wayland work is proposing a new virtual keyboard protocol for Wayland. This allows for the emulation of keyboards by applications and complements the existing input-method protocol. The new virtual-keyboard protocol is based upon the Wayland keyboard specification but with support for seat bindings and dropping serials.

      • Introducing Calls

        Arguably the most critical functionality in a phone is the ability to make and receive calls through the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), that is normal cellular calls using phone numbers. While at Purism we are eager to implement communication systems that enable much greater privacy and security than one can expect from PSTN calls, the PSTN is still the most ubiquitous network and for the time being we can’t very well go around selling a phone that isn’t able to make PSTN calls.⁰

        My task has been to develop a dialer and call handler for PSTN calls. Like all of our work on the Librem 5, this is intended to make use of existing code wherever possible and also target the GNOME platform which our PureOS defaults to. There is currently no GNOME PSTN dialer so we intend to contribute our program to the GNOME project.

      • Purism Introduces Its Telepathy-Using GTK3-Based Phone Dialer Plans

        Purism has formally introduced “Calls”, its GTK3-based PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) phone dialing application that it hopes will be accepted into the upstream GNOME project. Purism plans to develop this phone dialer using GNOME’s Telepathy framework but for now is using a simple oFono back-end.

        Calls is the new program Purism is developing to make and receive conventional telephone calls for supporting their default GNOME-based software stack being developed for the Purism 5 smartphone.

        While Telepathy is controversial among even GNOME developers, they are pursuing this framework for their phone call application as it will also support SIP calls and other features provided by the GNOME framework.

      • Boxes now supports RDP connections

        Boxes has been the go-to option for easy virtual machine setups in GNOME for quite some time, but some people don’t know that our beloved application can also act as a remote viewer.

        The “Enter URL” option in the new machine assistant is how you get a new remote machine added to your collection. It supports addresses of Spice and VNC servers and oVirt and Libvirt brokers. You can also paste the URL of an operating system image (iso, img, qcow, etc…) and Boxes will download and boot it for you.

      • Dual Monitor: Fix Mouse Getting Stuck On Second Monitor In Gnome Shell With Ubuntu Dock Or Dash To Dock

        On my dual monitor setup, if I made any application fullscreen on the primary monitor (left-hand side screen – monitor “1″ in the image above), the mouse cursor would get stuck on the secondary monitor (right-hand side screen) and I could only move it back to the primary monitor if I moved between monitors through the top part of the screen.

      • Dash to Panel Update Adds Intellihide, New Configuration Options

        Dash to Panel merges the GNOME Dash (aka Dock) and top bar into a unified, single panel that you can place on any edge of the screen:

        In the latest update, Dash to Panel v14, the task bar picks up a bunch of welcome improvements, including support for “intellihide” (aka auto-hide).

        This option (off by default) makes the panel slide out of view when an application window is maximised and/or touching it, and gracefully restored when there’s space for it.

        Although hidden you can access the panel at any time just by moving your mouse to the screen edge it’s hiding under.

  • Distributions
    • Red Hat Family
      • Using Ansible Galaxy Roles in Ansible Playbook Bundles

        The Open Service Broker API standard aims to standardize how services (cloud, third-party, on-premise, legacy, etc) are delivered to applications running on cloud platforms like OpenShift. This allows applications to consume services the exact same way no matter on which cloud platform they are deployed. The service broker pluggable architecture enables admins to add third-party brokers to the platform in order to make third-party and cloud services available to the application developers directly from the OpenShift service catalog. As an example AWS Service Broker created jointly by Amazon and Red Hat, Azure Service Broker created by Microsoft and Helm Service Broker created by Google to allow consumption of AWS services, Azure services and Helm charts on Kubernetes and OpenShift. Furthermore, admins can create their own brokers in order to make custom services like provisioning an Oracle database on their internal Oracle RAC available to the developers through the service catalog.

      • Government, enterprise interest in Red Hat and open source sky rocketing

        A popular quote from Mohandas Gandhi graces most of the Red Hat Canada offices across the country: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

        It’s been said that making money from something that’s given away for free is next to impossible, but Red Hat and its Canadian business has turned that assumption on its head and remains dedicated to the open source community.

      • Red Hat’s CloudForms to slum it by wrangling boring old VMs

        Red Hat’s decided virtual servers ought not to be a standalone silo for much longer, so has created a “Virtualization Suite” that combines Red Hat Virtualization with the CloudForms tool it offers to manage OpenStack and cloud-native applications.

        CloudForms has been around for a while and offers administrators one app with which to manage and automate hybrid infrastructure. But Red Hat’s Virtualization (RHV) tools have remained their own little island.

      • Red Hat’s AI Strategy

        “The impact of AI will be visible in the software industry much sooner than the analog world, deeply affecting open source in general, as well as Red Hat, its ecosystem, and its userbase. This shift provides a huge opportunity for Red Hat to offer unique value to our customers. In this session, we’ll provide Red Hat’s general perspective on AI and how we are helping our customers benefit from AI.”

      • Microsoft and Red Hat Announce a Managed OpenShift Offering on Azure
      • OpenShift Common Briefing: OpenShift on OpenStack with Ramon Acedo Rodriguez (Red Hat)

        In this briefing, Red Hat’s Ramon Acedo Rodriguez presents the strategy, vision and current state of affairs for containers within Red Hat OpenStack Platform. In this session you will learn what role containers play in OpenStack, what we as Red Hat are focusing on, what we already have brought to our customers and what you can be expecting in the future in infrastructure as well as tenant layers.

      • News Bits: QNAP, Veritas, Dell EMC, ClearSky Data, Cohesity, Quest, Red Hat, NVIDIA, & More
      • Emergent, LLC Exclusively Awarded Small Business DoD Enterprise Software Initiative Contract To Provide Red Hat Solutions
      • Red Hat Summit: An Eventful Tour from Enterprise Integration to Serverless
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 18.10 Features: New Theme, Android Integration, Better Power Consumption

            As you can imagine, Ubuntu 18.10 will come with a lot of new features and improvements, some of which Canonical planned for a long time but didn’t manage to implement them in the recently released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system due to its long-term support status and the focus on stability and reliability.

            So, like any other 9-month supported release, Ubuntu 18.10 will be a testbed for Canonical to try new things. Some of these include the ability to unlock your Ubuntu desktop with a fingerprint reader, integration with the KDE Connect Android app by default through GS Connect, a new installer, and a new system theme.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Aims To Lower Power Use, Default To New Desktop Theme
          • Creating the world’s first robotic tennis ball collector with Ubuntu

            Why else did the Tennibot team turn to Ubuntu originally? “We needed something that was both light and compatible with libraries and existing software. Given the geographical spread of where the Tennibot would end up, our final choice needed to have remote upgrading capability too. And of course, both for ourselves plus our users who are not tech savvy, it needed to be solidly tested and stable” said Lincoln Wang, CTO at Tennibot.

            Haitham Eletrabi, CEO of Tennibot adds, “The compatibility with software like ROS and OpenCV makes the implementation and testing of Tennibot’s algorithms an easy task. The support from the Ubuntu community also simplifies debugging the device’s software. In addition, Ubuntu is so versatile with different sensors and components that it really makes it the more superior option for us.”

          • Desktop plans for 18.10

            Bionic is out the door and we’ve started the Cosmic cycle so I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about our plans for this cycle, the sorts of features we want to work on and what you can expect from 18.10 when it arrives in October.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E11 – Station Eleven – Ubuntu Podcast

            This week we reconstruct a bathroom and join the wireless gaming revolution. We discuss the Steam Link app for Android and iOS, the accessible Microsoft Xbox controller, Linux applications coming to ChromeOS and round up the community news.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 will bring power improvements, new default theme, and more

            With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS out the door, the folks at Canonical are starting to talk about plans for the next version of the popular GNU/Linux distribution. Actually, the next two.

            Ubuntu 18.04.1 is expected to roll out in July, bringing bug fixes and a few new features including easier access to Thunderbolt settings and support for unlocking a PC with your fingerprint.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Kubuntu Devs to Focus More on Supporting ARM Laptops & Raspberry Pi Than 32-Bit

              Earlier this month, the Kubuntu developers have confirmed to us that they won’t support new 32-bit installations with the upcoming Kubuntu 18.10 release, and now they made it official.

              Developer Valorie Zimmerman posted a message on the Kubuntu-devel mailing list a couple of days ago to officially announce that Kubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) is the last Kubuntu release to offer 32-bit ISO images, as starting with Kubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) they won’t be supporting new 32-bit installations.

              As already widely reported, the removal of the 32-bit install media revolution has begun amongst official Ubuntu flavors. The first to take the big step was Ubuntu MATE, followed closely by Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Studio, and Ubuntu Kylin. After an official proposal from developer Bryan Quigley, Xubuntu and Kubuntu followed too.

            • Hands-On with First Lubuntu 18.10 Build Featuring the LXQt Desktop by Default

              The Lubuntu development team promised to finally switch from LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) to the more modern and actively maintained LXQt (Lightweight Qt Desktop Environment), and the switch is now official.

              Lubuntu developer Simon Quigley approached us earlier today to inform that the latest Lubuntu 18.10 daily build is quite usable as he and his team did a lot of work in the past week to accommodate the LXQt desktop environment by default instead of the LXDE desktop environment.

              The main difference between LXDE and LXQt is that the former is written with the GTK+ 2 technologies, which will eventually be phased out in favor of the more advanced GTK+ 3, and the latter is built using the Qt framework. However, it doesn’t look like there are any plans for LXDE to move to GTK+ 3.

            • Lubuntu 18.10 Officially Switching From LXDE To LXQt

              After working on Lubuntu-Next for a while in transitioning from the GTK-based LXDE desktop environment to the modern and maintained LXQt desktop environment that is powered by Qt5, the Lubuntu 18.10 will be the release that officially moves over to the LXQt desktop and pushes out LXDE.

              Walter Lapchynski of the Lubuntu project has confirmed that for the Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” cycle they are switching to LXQt for good.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Choosing the right open source tool for movie project management

    One thing artists, engineers, and hackers share in common is their antipathy for management. So, when the time comes when we actually need project management, it comes as a painful growing experience.

    For the Lunatics! animated open movie project, we started by using basic tools popular with open source software projects, like a version control system (Subversion), a wiki (MediaWiki), and a bug-tracker and online browser for the source code (Trac). This is viable for a team of a half-dozen people and an unhurried schedule on a volunteer project. But it quickly becomes unmanageable for larger teams and tighter schedules.

  • Addressing the Complexity of Big Data with Open Source

    Simple software is a thing of the past. Think about it: No program out there is created in a vacuum. Every program uses libraries, has run-time dependencies, interacts with operational environments, and reacts to human inputs. Free and opensource software, as a creative free-market approach to software development, provides more than one solution for every challenge. There are multiple compilers, operating systems, statistics packages (known today as machine learning), test frameworks, orchestration solutions, and so on. Each project moves at its own speed, releasing new features and adding new attributes. Imagine for a second that there is a need to combinea few of these complicated projects into a meta-complex system. It sounds quite sophisticated, doesn’t it?

  • Review: Icinga enterprise-grade, open-source network monitoring that scales

    Continuing our quest for robust, enterprise-grade open source network monitoring, we tested Icinga Core 2 (version 2.8.1) and the stand-alone Icinga Web 2 interface. Created in 2009 as a fork of the Nagios network monitoring tool, Icinga has come a long way.

    We found Icinga to be a powerful monitoring tool with many great features. The Core install is straightforward and basic monitoring is easy with either pre-configured templates or plugins. However, we discovered that the Web install is a bit more complicated and could stand to be streamlined.

  • DigitalBits Foundation Networks Blockchain Companies In Open Source Consortium

    The DigitalBits Foundation is an open source project that provides development resources, infrastructure, events and education via a global transaction network and protocol. Loyalty program operators are able to tokenize their respective loyalty points as digital assets on this decentralized network and users can trade these various digital assets on-chain. DigitalBits latest addition is a partnership with Cogeco Peer 1, a global provider of business-to-business products and services.

    The Foundation’s vision is to see the DigitalBits blockchain help solve portability, security and liquidity issues with certain digital assets, such as Loyalty and Rewards programs, and help generate additional value for consumers, businesses and certain charitable organizations.

    Al Burgio, the founder and CEO, talked with Block Tribune about the organization.

  • How Will U.S. Tensions With China Affect Open Source Networking?

    There’s been a lot of drama in 2018 concerning the Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE and their ability to do business in the United States. The fate of these companies seems inextricably tied to larger geo-political events.

    ZTE has been banned for seven years from buying components from U.S. companies for its products. And members of the U.S. Congress have attacked Huawei’s ability to do business in the country, claiming the vendor’s equipment poses a national security risk.

  • SD Times Open Source Project of the Week: Bazel

    The project is led by a core group of contributors and Googlers, and managed by the community. The group of core contributors is self-managing and added by two supporting votes from other core contributors.

    According to Google, some parts of Bazel will never make it into open source because it integrates with Google-specific technology or the company plans to get rid of those features in the future.

    The Angular team has announced plans to migrate its build scripts with Bazel to get faster and more reliable incremental builds. As of Angular 6, Angular itself is now built with Bazel, according to Stephen Fluin, developer advocate for Angular. “Bazel is the build system that Google and the Angular team use to keep incremental builds under 2 seconds,” the team wrote in a post.

    Bazel is already being used by companies such as Asana, Ascend.io, Databricks, Dropbox, Etsy, Google, Huawei, LingoChamp, Pinterest and Uber. Open-source projects using Bazel include Angular, Deepmind Lab, GRPC, gVisor, Kubernetes, Sonnet, TensorFlow and Trunk.

  • Events
    • Welcome Our New Google Summer of Code Students

      KDE Student Programs is happy to present our 2018 Google Summer of Code students to the KDE Community.

      Welcome Abhijeet Sharma, Aman Kumar Gupta, Amit Sagtani, Andrey Cygankov, Andrey Kamakin, Anmol Gautam, Caio Jordão de Lima Carvalho, Chinmoy Ranjan Pradhan, Csaba Kertesz, Demetrio Carrara, Dileep Sankhla, Ferencz Kovács, Furkan Tokac, Gun Park, Iván Yossi Santa María González, Kavinda Pitiduwa Gamage, Mahesh S Nair, Tarek Talaat, Thanh Trung Dinh, Yihang Zhou, and Yingjie Liu!

    • PyCon US 2018 Wrapup

      I attended PyCon US in Cleveland over the last week. Here’s a quick summary of the conference.

      Aside from my usual “you should go to PyCon” admonition, I’d like to suggest writing a summary like this every time you visit a conference. It’s a nice way to share what you found valuable with others, and also to evaluate the utility of attending the conference.

      I barely write a lick of Python anymore, so I mostly attend PyCon for the people and for the ideas. ome themes are common to PyCon: data science, machine learning, education, and core language. Of course, there’s always a smattering of other topics, too.

      During the poster session, I saw a poster on the Python Developers Survey 2017 from JetBrains. One statistic that surprised me: 50% of respondents use Python primarily for data analysis.

    • LinuxFest NorthWest 2018 Recap

      Nineteen years in, LinuxFest Northwest is the original community LinuxFest and is easily the lowest-stress event on my calendar. While Bellingham, Washington may seem like an odd place to host a conference, it is actually the natural end of the line for tech workers who migrate up the West coast from Silicon Valley in search of an affordable place to live and work where you can kayak after work. This lifestyle draw has created quite the tech scene in the Bellingham area and its proximity to the Canadian border makes LFNW an attractive destination for Vancouver, B.C. community members. Some attendees traveled from as far away as Germany and Taiwan, making this an international event despite its remote location. If you have never been to an LFNW, I encourage you to consider attending the 20th anniversary one in 2019!

    • Fractal hackfest in Strasbourg

      Apart from the technical side of things, I also tried to act as a city guide and hope my guests liked the places I took them. I for sure had lots of fun hanging out with all those people!

    • FOSS-North 2018 – OSS community at its finest

      On April 22nd and 23rd, we attended a growing OSS event called FOSS North in Gothenburg – Sweden. According to foss-north.se, “FOSS-North is a free / open source conference covering both software and hardware from the technical perspective. Hosted in Gothenburg between Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm with an international airport, we provide a meeting place for the Nordic foss communities and will bring together great speakers with a great audience.” and that alone sounds like a lot of fun for us nerds!

      [...]

      FOSS-North hosted a bevy of different speeches during the 2-day period with 25 speakers, 2 of them from Jolla! We held our speech about the history of Jolla and the Sailfish community, continued by a piece of our roadmap for Sailfish X, Sailfish 3, and what is planned for the future. We ended the talk by a rather long Q&A from the audience. You can watch the whole talk below, and also access our slides that we used during the talk here.

    • Mastering CI/CD at OpenDev

      After launching in 2017, the OpenDev Conference is now an annual event. At the inaugural event last September, the conference focus was on edge computing. This year’s event, taking place May 22-23, will be focused on Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) and will be co-located with the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver.

    • Join us in Hamburg for the Hamburg Mini-DebConf!

      Thanks to Debian, I have the chance to be able to attend the Hamburg Mini-DebConf, taking place in Hamburg from May 16th to May 20th. We are hosted by Dock Europe in the amazing Viktoria Kaserne building.

    • MiniDebConf Hamburg – Thursday

      I missed my flight on Wednesday, and for a moment I thought I would have to cancel my attendance, but luckily I was able to buy a ticket for Thursday for a good price.

      I arrived at the venue just in time for a “stand-up” meeting, where people introduced themselves and shared what are they working on / planning to work on. That gave me a great feeling, having an idea of what other people are doing, and gave me motivation to work on my projects.

      The venue seems to be some kind of cooperative, with office space for different associations, there is also a small guest house (where I am sleeping), and a “kantina”. The building seems very pretty, but is going through some renovations, so the scaffolding does not let you see it much. It also has a big outdoors area, which is always welcomed.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • [Mozilla] SQL Style Guide
      • Mozilla Firefox 60.0.1 Released with Many Improvements, Disables WebVR on macOS

        Mozilla released on Wednesday the first point release to the Firefox 60.0 web browser, version 60.0.1, which brings several improvements and fixes some annoyances reported by users lately.

        One of the annoyances that Mozilla resolved in the Firefox 60.0.1 release, which started rolling out to Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms, is the displaying of “Sponsored content” on the New Tab page. Mozilla says that it will now immediately disappear when the user disables the “Sponsored Stories” option in Preferences.

        With the Firefox 60.0.1 release, the web browser now avoids overly long cycle collector pauses with certain add-ons, improves momentum scrolling on non-zoomable pages for touchscreen devices, and restores language translations of the Preferences panels when using a language pack.

  • CMS
    • Goodbye Octopress, hello Pelican

      I’ve spent some time during this DebCamp to migrate to Pelican, which is written in Python, packaged in Debian, and its dependencies are quite straighforward to install. I had to install (and write) a few plugins to make the migration easier, and port my custom Octopress Bootstrap theme to Pelican.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • FreeBSD on the System76 Galago Pro

      Hey all, It’s been a while since I last posted but I thought I would hammer something out here. My most recent purchase was a System76 Galago Pro. I thought, afer playing with POP! OS a bit, is there any reason I couldn’t get BSD on this thing. Turns out the answer is no, no there isnt and it works pretty decently.

      To get some accounting stuff out of the way I tested this all on FreeBSD Head and 11.1, and all of it is valid as of May 10, 2018. Head is a fast moving target so some of this is only bound to improve.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Is GIMP’s 2.10 Release Catching up with Photoshop?

      Of the many notable new features, GIMP 2.10 has ported most of its image processing capabilities to GEGL, a data flow based image processing framework that is free software (its source code is in GNOME git).

      GEGL provides floating point processing and non-destructive image processing capabilities, “allowing high bit depth processing, multi-threaded and hardware accelerated pixel processing, and more”.

      GIMP’s lack of multi-core processing has historically caused performance issues, which is a true deterrent in the graphics processing world.

      Moreover, the program can now utilise parallel processing, which is a big deal for various reasons, namely, more efficient processor usage through use of multiple cores.

    • Code & Supply is here for Pittsburgh’s ‘awesome’ software community

      The 2016 Abstractions conference drew software professionals from all over the world — many of them big names in the field, such as Larry Wall, who invented the Perl programming language; Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of GNU; and Raffi Krikorian, formerly of Twitter and Uber — which was one of Reese’s goals when he first started hosting Code & Supply’s meetups.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Open Source Calculator Teaches us about Quality Documentation

        Graphing calculators are one of those funny markets that never seem to change. Standardized testing has created a primordial stew of regulatory capture in which ancient technology thrives at modern retail prices while changing little. The NumWorks calculator certainly isn’t the first competitor to challenge the Texas Instruments dynasty with a more modern interface (and a design from this decade), but behind it’s subtle color pops and elegant lines lies the real gem; a fantastically well documented piece of open source hardware. The last time we wrote about the NumWorks, it was to demonstrate a pretty wild hack that embedded an entire Pi Zero but it’s worth drawing attention to the calculator itself.

  • Programming/Development
    • Git Has A New Wire Protocol Yielding Much Greater Performance

      The Git Protocol Version 2 was announced today by Google as a major update to the distributed revision control system’s wire protocol. Git protocol version 2 is much more efficient and yields significant performance benefits.

      The new Git wire protocol offers server-side filtering for references, easy extensibility for new features, and simplified client handling of the HTTP transport.

    • Introducing Git protocol version 2

      Today we announce Git protocol version 2, a major update of Git’s wire protocol (how clones, fetches and pushes are communicated between clients and servers). This update removes one of the most inefficient parts of the Git protocol and fixes an extensibility bottleneck, unblocking the path to more wire protocol improvements in the future.

      The protocol version 2 spec can be found here.

      [...]

      We recently rolled out support for protocol version 2 at Google and have seen a performance improvement of 3x for no-op fetches of a single branch on repositories containing 500k references. Protocol v2 has also enabled a reduction of 8x of the overhead bytes (non-packfile) sent from googlesource.com servers. A majority of this improvement is due to filtering references advertised by the server to the refs the client has expressed interest in.

    • Push Notifications Considered Harmful
Leftovers
  • fridge 0.1

    Imagine something really cool, like a fridge connected to a powerwall, powered entirely by solar panels. What could be cooler than that?

    How about a fridge powered entirely by solar panels without the powerwall? Zero battery use, and yet it still preserves your food.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • The Patent Paradox In Brazil And Its Implications For Access To Medicines

      The patent system was allegedly designed to allow recovery of the investment in research and development (R&D) of a new product, through the selling of the product under exclusivity for a period of time. Several studies have related high prices of medicines to the monopoly situation established by the patent system and other monopoly rights (such as data exclusivity). It is known that the existence of a patent can lead to high prices due to the market condition in which one producer can operate with exclusivity. In the absence of competition, a producer can charge virtually any price for its product. Competition, therefore, can promote significant price reduction and increase access.

    • Patent Backlogs Fuel Efforts To Extend Pharma Patent Terms In Thailand And Brazil, AIDS Activists Say [Ed: Some people needlessly die due to particular kinds of patents]

      It takes five to eight years for a patent to be examined in Thailand because of the Department of Intellectual Property’s (DIP’s) “innovative step examination” procedure, said Chalermsak Kittitrakul, coordinator for access to medicines campaigns at AIDS Access Foundation. When a patent application is submitted to the DIP, the agency makes a formal notification to the public. Patent protection begins from the filing date and extends for up to 20 years. If the application is not opposed, or is opposed but later accepted, the applicant has the option of waiting five years to submit a request to start the examination process, he said.

      A study carried out with the support of the DIP and the Thai Food and Drug Administration found that the large patent examination backlog is attributable both to the innovative step examination and to the multinational pharmaceutical industry, said Chalermsak. Since patent protection begins when an application is filed, multinational drug companies will often send threatening legal notices to generic companies seeking to produce a similar drug even if it’s not yet clear that the patent will be granted, he said. Companies also take advantage of the gap in the patent examination process, he said: The study, on evergreening patents on medicines carried out be an academic team covering patents and patent applications in 2000-2010, showed that most innovative step examination requests for drug patents are submitted to the DIP in the fourth and fifth year.

    • News of 25-year patent term is premature, but expect big pharma changes in China in the near future

      Headlines were generated earlier this week, following a report that China has introduced 25-year patent terms for some innovative drugs. However, it turns out not to be true, with a number of sources confirming that no such changes have yet been implemented. Nevertheless, with a conditional patent term extension for pharmaceuticals products having been proposed by Chinese state institutions – which are also considering other reforms of pharmaceutical IP rights – life sciences innovators ought to keep a close eye on developments in the country. The reports began with a Nikkei Asian Review article on the 16th May…

  • Security
    • Security updates for Friday
    • Summer of Code: Bug found!

      I totally forgot to talk about EFAIL in my last blog posts. It was a little shock when I woke up on Monday, the first day of the coding phase, only to read sentences like “Are you okay?” or “Is the GSoC project in danger?”
      I’m sure you all have read about the EFAIL attack somewhere in the media, so I’m not going into too much detail here (the EFF already did a great job *cough cough*). The E-Fail website describes the attack as follows:
      “In a nutshell, EFAIL abuses active content of HTML emails, for example externally loaded images or styles, to exfiltrate plaintext through requested URLs.”

    • Red Hat admin? Get off Twitter and patch this DHCP client bug
    • What You Need to Know About Cryptocurrency ‘Malware’ Found on Ubuntu’s Snap Store
    • Security and privacy: Do you know what’s lurking on your system?

      The first was the kernel. I ended up hand-crafting a kernel, removing anything I thought was unlikely we’d need, then restarting several times when I discovered that the system wouldn’t boot because the things I thought I understood were more … esoteric than I’d realised. I’m not a kernel developer, and this was a salutary lesson in how skilled those folks are. At least, at the time I was doing it, there were less code and fewer options than there are today. On the other hand, I was having to hack back to a required state, and now there are more cut-down kernels and systems to start with than there were back then.

      The other piece I left for last was pruning the installed operating system applications and associated utilities. Again, there are cut-down options that are easier to use now than then, but I also had some odd requirements—I believe that we needed Java, for instance, which has, or had …. well let’s say a lot of dependencies. Most modern Linux distributions start off by installing lots of pieces so you can get started quickly without having to worry about trying to work out dependencies for every piece of external software you want to run.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • An Iranian Viewpoint on the Battle for Syria

      This policy has continued to the present. In the summer of 2012, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency outlined their strategy in a secret document : “THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR).”The U.S. looked favorably on what the document predicts will be the creation of the “Islamic State”: “THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME…”.

      Then, in a leaked audio conversation with Syrian opposition figures in September, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S., rather than seriously fight Islamic State in Syria, was ready to use the growing strength of the jihadists to pressure Assad to resign, just as outlined in the DIA document.

      “We know that this was growing, we were watching, we saw that Daesh [a derisive name for Islamic State] was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened,” Kerry said. “We thought however we could probably manage that Assad might then negotiate, but instead of negotiating he got Putin to support him.”

      Russia began its military intervention in late September 2015 without the United States, with the Kremlin’s motives made abundantly clear by Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials. But such clear explanations are rarely reported clearly by Western corporate media, which instead peddles the line from officials and think tanks that Russia is trying to recover lost imperial glory in the Middle East.

      [...]

      The true “state sponsor of terrorism” is not Iran; it is the West and their allies. Since Iran has been fighting ISIS and other extremists in Syria, it is appropriate that the first feature length movie depicting that battle against terrorism and ISIS comes from Iran.

      Hundreds of Iranians have given their lives alongside their Syrian and Iraqi comrades. “Damascus Time” is not the product of Hollywood fantasy; it’s the product of actual human drama and conflict occurring in the Middle East today. “Damascus Time” is fictional but based on a real conflict with actual blood, atrocities, tragedies and martyrs.

    • Blaming the Victims of Israel’s Gaza Massacre

      Monday’s casualties included 1,861 wounded, bringing total injuries inflicted by Israel to 6,938 people, including 3,615 with live fire. Israel is using bullets designed to expand inside the body, causing maximum, often permanent damage: “The injuries sustained by patients will leave most with serious, long-term physical disabilities,” says Médecins Sans Frontières (Ha’aretz, 4/22/18).

    • Gaza & the US Press

      The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza says Israeli soldiers killed at least 60 Palestinians and wounded as many as 2,700 in an eight-hour period pm May 14. Palestinians protesting both the horrific living conditions in Gaza and their inability—despite international law—to leave it, to return to the homes from which they were expelled, along with hundreds of thousands of people, in the 1940s. At the same time—and for many US TV viewers, on a sickening split-screen—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, celebrating the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, declared it a “great day for peace.”

      Media could hardly avoid revealing the disjunction, even as many worked hard to tell you you weren’t seeing what you thought you were seeing—that the overwhelmingly unarmed people were a violent mob, that the snipers picking them off from a distance were defending their lives.

    • US Not Sitting Idly By on Eve of Venezuelan Election

      Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is the frontrunner in the presidential elections that will take place on Sunday. If past pronouncements and practice by the United States are any indication, every effort will be made to oust an avowed socialist from the the U.S. “backyard.”

      This week, the leftist president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, tweeted: “Before the elections they (U.S. and allies) will carry out violent actions supported by the media and after the elections they will try a military invasion with Armed Forces from neighboring countries.”

      U.S. antipathy towards the Venezuelan government started with the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998, followed by a brief and unsuccessful U.S.-backed coup in 2002. Chávez made the magnanimous, but politically imprudent, gesture of pardoning the golpistas, who are still trying to achieve by extra-parliamentary means what they have been unable to realize democratically. After Chávez died in 2013, the Venezuelans elected Maduro to carry on what has become known as the Bolivarian Revolution.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Finance
    • The Surprising Popularity of ‘Far Left’ Policies

      “The Far Left Is Winning the Democratic Civil War” was the headline over a Washington Post report (5/16/18) on the results of recent primary elections.

      So what counts as “far left” to the Washington Post, the newspaper owned by the world’s richest human?

      [...]

      Scott Wallace in Pennsylvania was described as “the grandson of Henry Wallace, who was Franklin Roosevelt’s vice president for a term, and then ran against Harry Truman, who FDR dumped him for, from the far left in 1948.” Aside from Scott Wallace’s self-description as a “proud progressive” and his promise to “make America sane again,” genealogy was all the Post presented to tie him to the “far left.”

      There were also some candidates who were implicitly placed in the “far left” by the fact that they successfully challenged “Democratic moderates,” thus “causing a new bout of heartburn among party strategists.” For example, Pennsylvania congressional candidate Susan Wild was worrisome because she defeated John Morganelli who “opposes abortion rights and ‘sanctuary cities,’” and whom she criticized for “for speaking positively about Trump and tweeting that he was open to taking a job in the administration during the transition.” You know, like “moderates” do.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The United States’ New ‘Religious Freedom’ Appointee Is a Religious Bigot

      Tony Perkins does not believe the Constitution protects the religious freedom of Muslims or liberal Christians.

      The newest addition to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Tony Perkins, does not believe in religious freedom.

      Perkins, who was appointed to the post by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), will now serve on a commission that supposedly serves as a watchdog “dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad,” even though he has repeatedly demonstrated that he does not believe in the equal protection of Muslims and others.

      The commission has a long history of politicization, along with anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT bias. Perkins’ inclusion will only continue to undermine its credibility.

      While he claims to support religious freedom, Perkins believes that the Constitution does not protect the rights of Muslims.

    • Federal judge skeptical of lawsuit brought by 3 Democrats against Trump campaign

      A federal judge on Thursday cast doubt on a civil lawsuit brought against the Trump campaign and Roger Stone by three Democrats who claim that election-year WikiLeaks releases destroyed their reputations.

      The hearing put Trump campaign lawyers in the position of arguing in court that there was no collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians — a drama that played out on the one-year anniversary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation into exactly that matter.

    • Trump campaign decries lawsuit claiming Russian link to hacked emails

      A lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign on Thursday rejected as “wild speculation” allegations by three Americans that it conspired with Russians to disseminate their private information from hacked emails to deter them from supporting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

    • “Trump, Inc.” Live: From “The Art of the Deal” to the Dossier

      A few days ago, we held a live taping of the “Trump, Inc.” podcast at The Greene Space in New York City. Tony Schwartz, the co-author with Donald Trump of “The Art of The Deal,” talked with Ilya Marritz from WNYC and Jesse Eisinger from ProPublica about what Schwartz does and does not recognize in President Trump now.

    • How a Typical Government Leak Turned Into a Three-Way War Between Comey, McCabe and Trump

      That conclusion is inescapable if you closely examine the sworn testimony of two erstwhile FBI allies, James Comey and Andrew McCabe, about the leaking episode that led to McCabe’s firing in March. After all, two diametrically opposed accounts can’t both be correct.

      President Donald Trump has seized upon the situation — laid bare in a report from the Justice Department’s inspector general — to assail both men, long among his favored targets for reasons having nothing to do with their veracity. “He LIED! LIED! LIED!” Trump wrote, in a veritable presidential tweet-gasm, hours after the McCabe report’s release. “McCabe was totally controlled by Comey – McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!”

      This is much more than a venomous 21st century personal duel — tweet versus tweet at 10 paces. The credibility of Comey and McCabe is crucial, giving Trump every incentive to tar them. The former has offered withering accounts of his interactions with the president. And given what the two men observed both before and after Trump sacked Comey, both could be called on for key testimony in a potential obstruction of justice charge against the president.

    • Making Excuses for Russiagate

      The best evidence that Russia-gate is sinking beneath the waves is the way those pushing the pseudo-scandal are now busily covering their tracks. The Guardian complains that “as the inquiry has expanded and dominated the news agenda over the last year, the real issues of people’s lives are in danger of being drowned out by obsessive cable television coverage of the Russia investigation” – as if the Guardian’s own coverage hasn’t been every bit as obsessive as anything CNN has come up with.

      The Washington Post, second to none when it comes to painting Putin as a real-life Lord Voldemort, now says that Special counsel Robert Mueller “faces a particular challenge maintaining the confidence of the citizenry” as his investigation enters its second year – although it’s sticking to its guns that the problem is not the inquiry itself, but “the regular attacks he faces from President Trump, who has decried the probe as a ‘witch hunt.’”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • New Malaysian Prime Minister Who Promised To Kill ‘Fake News’ Law Decides It Might Be Useful Now That He’s In Power

      The “fake news” law erected in Malaysia was put in place to do one thing: allow the government to increase its control of journalists. Top-level corruption needed to be buried, and a “fake news” law seemed like a handy way to do it. The law made one thing clear: the government alone would decide what news was fake. The most likely target appeared to be reporting about the mysterious appearance of $700 million in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank account.

      The law claimed its first victim shortly after being enacted. A Danish citizen visiting Malaysia was arrested and charged after he posted a YouTube video allegedly misrepresenting the time it took for emergency services to respond to the shooting of a Hamas engineering expert. The man will now spend a month in jail after being unable to pay the $2,500 fine handed down by the court.

      It once looked like the law might be headed for a swift derailment. Mahathir Mohamad promised he would abolish the law entirely if elected Prime Minister. The BBC reports only part of the previous sentence has come to pass.

    • My innocent joke about lingerie and an insidious culture of censorship: Leading academic says trouble caused by a one-liner he cracked in a lift left him reeling

      Maybe, in a crowded lift packed with people whom I didn’t know, I was feeling a little claustrophobic. Maybe I’m too fond of old jokes.

      But when a voice from the front of the elevator called out: ‘What floors would you like, people at the back?’ I retorted: ‘Ladies’ lingerie!’

    • First they came for Josh Blackman: why censorship isn’t the answer

      Having been thinking, reading, speaking, and writing about “hate speech” over the last four decades, I had come to believe that I had nothing new to say, and that all arguments on all sides of the topic had been thoroughly aired.

      That view began to change several years ago, as I started to see increasing activism on campus and beyond in sup­port of various equal rights causes. Having been a student activ­ist myself, I have been thrilled by the recent resurgence of student engagement. I have been disheartened, how­ever, by the fact that too many students and others have called for censoring speakers who don’t share their views, apparently believing that freedom of speech would undermine the social justice causes they champion.

    • Desire for censorship? It’s more likely than you think

      On the heels of World Press Freedom Day – a day designed to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind leaders of their duty to uphold and respect the right to freedom of expression – I’m reminded I shouldn’t have to point that fact out.

      Isn’t it 2018? Aren’t we all preaching for acceptance of diversity, as well as diverse thoughts and points of view?

      Not according to some, and that was on full display in the community last week.

      A group of individuals were angry a particular letter had been published in our Letters to the Editor section for it expressing an opinion they disagreed with. Rather than contact us directly and speak with us about the rationale behind why the letter was published, they decided to use social media to slam the Lacombe Globe as if we endorsed the letter or were using it as a “publicity stunt.”

    • Texas A&M Sued for Social Media Censorship

      In what could emerge as an interesting First Amendment test case, Texas A&M University was sued in federal court for allegedly censoring user comments on its official Facebook page. The lawsuit was filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to defending civil liberties online, on behalf of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The plaintiffs believe government-owned social media sites should be a forum for public discourse. Since 2016 PETA has been waging a campaign against alleged animal abuse at Texas A&M’s muscular dystrophy dog laboratory, and claims that the university’s social media team has been suppressing user comments about the lab.

    • The Philip Cross Affair

      The operation runs like clockwork, seven days a week, every waking hour, without significant variation. If Philip Cross genuinely is an individual, there is no denying he is morbidly obsessed. I am no psychiatrist, but to my entirely inexpert eyes this looks like the behaviour of a deranged psychotic with no regular social activities outside the home, no job (or an incredibly tolerant boss), living his life through a screen. I run what is arguably the most widely read single person political blog in the UK, and I do not spend nearly as much time on the internet as “Philip Cross”. My “timecard” would show where I watch football on Saturdays, go drinking on Fridays, go to the supermarket and for a walk or out with the family on Sundays, and generally relax much more and read books in the evenings. Cross does not have the patterns of activity of a normal and properly rounded human being.

      [...]

      There is no doubt that Kamm, leader wirter of Murdoch’s Times, is close the the “Philip Cross” operation. Many people believe that Kamm and Cross are the same person, or that Kamm is part of a multiple persona. Six times I have personally had hostile edits to my Wikipedia page by “Philip Cross” made in precise conjunction with attacks on me by Kamm, either on Twitter, in a Times editorial or in Prospect magazine. Altogether “Philip Cross” has made 275 edits to my Wikipedia page. These include calling my wife a stripper, deleting my photo, removing my reply to attacks made on me by Kamm and Harding among others, and deleting my refusal of all honours while a British diplomat.

      Neil Clark and Peter Oborne are among many others who have suffered attacks on them by Philip Cross on Wikipedia simultaneously with attacks by Kamm on other media. Clark is taking Kamm to court for stalking – and “Philip Cross” has deleted all reference to that fact from Kamm’s Wikipedia page.

      What is plain is that Kamm and Cross have extremely similar political views, and that the dividing line of those they attack and those they defend is based squarely on the principles of the Euston Manifesto. This may be obscure, but is in fact an important Blairite declaration of support for Israel and for neo-con wars of intervention, and was linked to the foundation of the Henry Jackson Society. Who do we find editing the Wikipedia entry for the Euston Manifesto? “Philip Cross”.

      What is particularly interesting is that “Philip Cross”‘s views happen to be precisely the same political views as those of Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales has been on twitter the last three days being actively rude and unpleasant to anybody questioning the activities of Philip Cross. His commitment to Cross’s freedom to operate on Wikipedia would be rather more impressive if the Cross operation were not promoting Wales’ own opinions. Jimmy Wales has actively spoken against Jeremy Corbyn, supports the bombing of Syria, supports Israel, is so much of a Blairite he married Blair’s secretary, and sits on the board of Guardian Media Group Ltd alongside Katherine Viner.

    • UK Gov’t To Allow Citizens To Head To Nearest Newsstand To Buy Porn… Licenses

      The UK government’s continuing efforts to save the country’s children from the evils of internet porn are increasingly ridiculous. Filtering efforts applied by ISPs have managed to seal off access to plenty of non-porn sites while still remaining insanely easy to circumvent. The government — with a straight face — suggested there was nothing not normal about internet customers turning over personal information to ISPs in exchange for the permission to view porn. It’s as if building a database of the nation’s porn aficionados was the government’s original intent.

      Since nothing about this was working about the way the porn filter’s architects (one of whom was arrested on child porn charges) imagined, the UK government decided the same non-functioning tech could be put to work filtering out “terrorist content.” Bad ideas have repeatedly been supplanted by worse ones, and now it appears UK citizens may be able to opt out of ISP porn-related data harvesting by [squints at press report] buying a porn license from their local newsjobber.

    • As Childish Gambino shows, pop music can be powerfully political – despite censorship

      It is a violently subversive darkly comic take on police brutality, white supremacy, and US machismo – and Childish Gambino’s music video, This is America, has been released to critical acclaim, 133,000,000 YouTube hits (and counting), and minimal backlash.

      It may seem incongruous, then, that in 1988, Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman proposed that the media industry would not oppose state or private power in any fundamental way. Herman and Chomsky highlighted five causal factors that led them to this conclusion: concentrated corporate ownership; the prevalence of advertising money; the reliance on official information sources; the disproportionate ability of powerful organisations to issue flak against dissenters, and a pervasive axiom that the Western economic system is a panacea.

    • Rice Bunny: Censorship And #MeToo In China

      As you might know, translating from a language like Mandarin to English is not as simple as say, French to English, especially when it comes to names. Ben, for example, took a Mandarin class and the teacher gave him the name “Jiang Pin Sun” because it sounds kind of like “Ben Johnson.”

      This idea, of phonetic translation, brings us to… Rice Bunny. If you translate the English words “rice” and “bunny” into Chinese, you get something that kind of sounds like “me too.” And if you’ve been an adult on the internet recently, you’re pretty familiar with what “Me Too” means.

      In China, though, the hashtag #metoo is censored; posts containing it are deleted and wiped out forever by government censors. So activists and supporters, who are constantly trying to keep the movement alive, have started using the words for rice and bunny, or the emoji of a a rice bowl and a rabbit.

    • There Is No Magic Bullet For Moderating A Social Media Platform

      Obviously, many of the examples we chose were designed to be challenging (many based on real situations). But the process was useful and instructive. With each question there were four potential actions that the “trust & safety” team could take and on every single example at least one person chose each option. In other words, even when there was a pretty strong agreement on the course of action to take, there was still at least some disagreement.

      Now, imagine (1) having to do that at scale, with hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of pieces of “flagged” content showing up, (2) having to do it when you’re not someone who is so interested in content moderation that you spent an entire day at a content moderation summit, and (3) having to do it quickly where there are trade-offs and consequences to each choice — including possible legal liability — and no matter which option you make, someone (or perhaps lots of someones) are going to get very upset.

    • Fight Hate Speech with More Speech, Not Censorship: ACLU’s Nadine Strossen

      Few issues are as controversial as the right to free speech, especially when it’s pitted against people’s desire not to feel attacked or hated simply because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.

      Over the past 20 or 30 years, speech codes have proliferated in the workplace and at colleges and universities. By a narrow margin, says Gallup, today’s college students say promoting an inclusive campus environment is more important than protecting First Amendment rights of free speech. Yet large majorities also say they want a campus in which all speech is allowed and that their own campus stifles free expression.

      Nadine Strossen, who served as the president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from 1991 to 2008, is the author of the new book Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship, which lays out a compelling argument against policies that try to restrict what individuals are allowed to say. Attempts to legally prevent and criminalize hate speech, Strossen writes, typically end up being used against the very people and groups they are intended to protect. What’s more, she says, the alleged harms caused by ugly speech are routinely overstated.

    • Legislating Censorship in California

      People have a right to hear all sides of controversial issues and to decide for themselves what they want to believe. They should be free to buy books and attend conferences that address controversial topics. Adults should be permitted to seek voluntary, faith-based counseling services that they believe are in their best interest.

      [...]

      Specifically, California Assembly Bill 2943 would make “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual,” connected with the sale of goods or services, unlawful as a type of consumer fraud. The bill defines “sexual orientation change efforts” as “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” Of course, the bill does not prohibit those psychotherapies that the government believes are intended to affirm rather than change gender expressions or romantic feelings.

    • Civil liberties group unveils Repeal mural, calls out ‘chilling effect’ of censorship

      A new Repeal the 8th mural, commissioned by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, was unveiled in Dublin today, as the council said censoring art is “highly questionable” legally. The mural by street artist Giant Sigh, at Bang Bang café in Phibsboro, calls for a Yes vote and is of a figure combining Lavery’s Cathleen Ní Houlihan, familiar from the old pound note, with Rosie the Riveter, the second World War symbol of working women, complete with a Repeal tattoo on her arm.

    • ‘Chilling’ artistic censorship in abortion campaign criticised

      The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has criticised what it has described as censorship in the artistic community surrounding the debate on the Eighth Amendment.

      It said it was concerned at the “chilling effect” of decisions to remove Maser’s Repeal the 8th mural at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin, and to drop a discussion on a new book on the repeal campaign from Dublin’s International Literature Festival.

      The council, which is advocating a Yes vote in the referendum, also cited difficulties encountered by Grace Dyas and Emma Fraser in presenting a touring theatre piece Not At Home, which incorporates testimonies from Irish women and is designed to be accessible to all sides.

    • Here’s How Twitter Is Trying to Stop Bullying and Abuse on Its Service
    • Steam Game Developers That Do Not Censor Sexual Content Will Be Removed: Valve
    • Valve seem to be tightening their rules on games with sexual content
    • [Updated] HuniePop and Other Adult Games Facing Removal From Steam Store
    • Valve’s Inconsistent Rules On Sexy Steam Games Continue To Baffle Devs
    • Mature Visual Novels are at Risk of Being Taken Down from Steam
    • NCOSE Takes Credit For Steam Censoring And Removing Ecchi Games, Visual Novels
    • Sen. Ted Cruz: Social Media Censorship “Real and Present Danger”
    • Iran Tightens Internet Censorship by Requiring Government Agencies to Use State-Approved Search Engines
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Real-time Location Data Of Nearly All US Smartphone Users Exposed

      A cell phone tracking service called LocationSmart has been reportedly leaking real-time location data on millions of mobile phone customers across North America.

      Exploiting a bug in its website, anyone could track the location of US cell phone users without obtaining their consent. This bug was spotted by Robert Xiao, a Carnegie Mellon University researcher, in a free trial feature of the website.

    • AT&T Customers Can’t Accelerate NSA Docs Hearing

      A California federal judge summarily refused Wednesday to accelerate a hearing considering access to classified materials sought by AT&T customers pursuing a putative class action over records collected by the National Security Agency.

      U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White did little more than sign his name to the NSA’s proposed order refusing to move the hearing up from July 6 to June 8 as the customers wanted, to counteract delays granted the government and address arguments on their standing to sue.

    • Evolving Chrome’s security indicators

      Previously, we posted a proposal to mark all HTTP pages as definitively “not secure” and remove secure indicators for HTTPS pages. HTTPS usage on the web has taken off as we’ve evolved Chrome security indicators. Later this year, we’ll be taking several more steps along this path.

    • Google Chrome To Drop ‘Secure’ Indicator From HTTPS Pages

      Google announced on Thursday in an official blog post that the ‘Secure’ indicator on websites will be removed from September onwards. The move is followed by the gradual shift of web towards adopting HTTPS as the default safety protocol.

    • As the Web moves toward HTTPS by default, Chrome will remove “secure” indicator

      The background to this change is the Web’s gradual migration to the use of HTTPS rather than HTTP. With an ever-growing fraction of the Web being served over secure HTTPS—something now easy to do at zero cost thanks to the Let’s Encrypt initiative—Google is anticipating a world where HTTPS is the default. In this world, only the occasional unsafe site should have its URL highlighted, not the boring and humdrum secure site.

    • Judge Allows Fourth Amendment Challenge Of Warrantless Device Searches At The Border To Continue

      A federal judge has allowed the ACLU, EFF, and the several plaintiffs they represent to continue their Fourth Amendment lawsuit against DHS, ICE, and CBP. The plaintiffs are challenging the Constitutionality of border device searches — something that has skyrocketed in recent years. As it stands now, these agencies believe nothing stronger than reasonable suspicion is needed to perform highly-intrusive searches. In many cases, not even suspicion is needed, thanks to the “border search” exception to the Fourth Amendment courts have carved out for the government.

      Policies for agencies performing border device searches are pretty much identical. All allow searches and seizures of devices without individualized suspicion. This warrantless, suspicionless search may also result in the device being confiscated for weeks or months while a forensic search is undertaken — again, supposedly without violating travelers’ rights. CBP’s policy was altered this year, requiring forensic searches and the mirroring of devices to at least reach the level of reasonable suspicion. Better than ICE’s policy, but still nothing approaching a warrant.

      The government sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, claiming the plaintiffs had no standing to assert violations, much less seek injunctive relief on the theory they would likely be subjected to intrusive device searches the next time they traveled.

    • Apple co-founder: ‘We’ve lost our privacy’

      He also applauded the European Union for its efforts to reclaim back taxes from major companies. The EU has ordered Apple to pay Ireland $15 billion after regulators determined that the country had granted it illegal tax breaks. Apple is appealing the ruling.

    • Steve Wozniak tells us: ‘We’ve lost our privacy and it’s been abused’

      He also hinted it is worth considering whether monopolists like Facebook, Amazon, and Apple should be split up.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Slovakia police criticised over treatment of murdered journalist’s colleague

      “The actions of the National Crime Agency are hostile and seem to point to an investigation of reporters and not the murder of Ján Kuciak,” the OCCRP said in a statement. “We have seen this same behaviour by police in captured states and autocratic regimes. It does not belong in Europe.”

      During the alleged interrogation, it is claimed an attempt was made to download information from her phone using specialist equipment. Holcová was allegedly threatened with a €1,650 (£1,440) fine unless she agreed to cooperate. When the download attempt failed, officers are said to have produced a prosecutor’s order which allowed them to seize it.

    • Haspel Could Be Subject to Arrest Abroad Under Universal Jurisdiction

      Francis Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He is the author of many books on International Law and an outspoken critic of US policy in the Middle East. Boyle’s books include Foundations of World Order and the sequel, Destroying World Order. In the following interview with Pacifica Radio host Dennis J Bernstein, Boyle warns that, among other things, given her background as key implementer of the US torture program, Gina Haspel is vulnerable to be arrested for war crimes and crimes against humanity if she travels abroad.

      [...]

      We have a 600-page executive summary of the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee’s report on the extent of torture and extraordinary disappearances by the CIA. This is an official US government document. She was not personally named in there, but she was a high-level official who was personally involved. She certainly supervised the operation in Thailand. Under international law, there is a command responsibility. She is denying that she herself physically tortured anyone, but she supervised others doing the torturing. Under international criminal law, she is accountable for the criminal behavior she oversaw.

    • Oakland: The New Gold Standard in Community Control of Police Surveillance

      There is a new gold standard in the movement to require transparency and community engagement before local police departments are permitted to acquire or use surveillance technology. Oakland’s Surveillance and Community Safety ordinance builds upon the momentum of several cities and counties that have enacted laws to protect their residents from the unchecked proliferation of surveillance technology with the power to invade privacy and chill free speech.

      Santa Clara County in Northern California passed the first ordinance of this type in 2016, putting into public view a range of surveillance equipment already in county law enforcement possession and requiring use policies, annual impact reports, and approval at a public hearing before agencies could acquire or use surveillance equipment. Since then, cities across the country, including Seattle, WA; Berkeley, CA; and Davis, CA; have expanded on this model. In addition to reports on the potential risks to civil liberties and privacy, required reporting includes an assessment of whether the surveillance technology’s use would impact or has resulted in a disparate impact on a particular segment of their community.

      Oakland’s Surveillance and Community Safety ordinance raises the floor on what should be expected as additional cities and towns look to embrace these critical protections. For example, Oakland’s ordinance more clearly applies the definition of surveillance technology to include software used for surveillance-based analysis. Also, Oakland’s ordinance sets a new bar in disclosure by expressly prohibiting city agencies from entering into non-disclosure agreements (NDA) or any surveillance-related contract that conflicts with the ordinance.

    • DOJ Still Wants To Lock People Up For Protesting The Government, Or Even Just Talking About It

      The government is still trying to land a conviction from its mass arrest of participants in last year’s Inauguration Day protests in Washington, DC. So far, it has nothing to show for its efforts but a far-too-casual disregard for civil liberties.

      The prosecutions began with the government’s breathtaking demand for the personal info of all 1 million+ visitors to the Disrupt J20 website. From there, things did not improve. The government’s prosecutors accused protest participants of “hiding behind the First Amendment” while attempting to strip away First Amendment protections. One of those charged by the government with rioting was journalist Alexi Wood, who had filmed the protests and had the footage to show he wasn’t a participant in violent or destructive acts.

      The government compounded its unconstitutional behavior in court when its lawyer (Jennifer Kerkhoff) tried to downplay the significance of a foundational part of our justice system — that the accusers must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” the accused committed a crime.

    • Call Them by Their Names

      The presumption of innocence is supposed to protect those accused of a crime, in law and in the press. In corporate media, that rule also seems to apply to white people who report people of color to the police for doing innocuous things. As FAIR found, their identities are far more closely protected than those of people falsely targeted for “suspicious” behavior.

      In the past few weeks, major news media have been flooded with coverage of incidents of alleged racial profiling and implicit bias—from golfers reported to police for playing “too slowly,” to picnickers fingered for using the wrong type of grill at a park. This coverage was prompted by viral videos and other social media posts released by the accused or by concerned bystanders, in real time or soon after these events occurred. The characters in these stories had one thing in common: The callers and officers involved were white; the alleged offenders, black or brown.

    • ICE Drops Extreme Vetting Software Plan After Discovering No One Could Possibly Deliver What It Wants

      It appears the concept of “extreme vetting” at our borders has been backburnered. The Washington Post is reporting ICE has scrapped plans to acquire software capable of strip-mining immigrants’ social media accounts and converting this info into a RATE MY DANGEROUSNESS number. However, it does not appear the concept is being done away with entirely.

    • ICE just abandoned its dream of ‘extreme vetting’ software that could predict whether a foreign visitor would become a terrorist

      Federal immigration officials have abandoned their pursuit of a controversial machine-learning technology that was a pillar of the Trump administration’s “extreme vetting” of foreign visitors, dealing a reality check to the goal of using artificial intelligence to predict human behavior.

      Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told tech-industry contractors last summer they wanted a system for their “Extreme Vetting Initiative” that could automatically mine Facebook, Twitter and the broader Internet to determine whether a visitor might commit criminal or terrorist acts or was a “positively contributing member of society.”

    • ‘The Idea of Storytelling Is Just Essential’

      After campus police at Colorado State University pulled two Native American teens off a college tour when a woman told 911 that they were “definitely not” supposed to be there, the school’s president spoke directly to concern about “white supremacists” and their attempt to “frighten and isolate people.” While, if headlines are meant to tell the tale, the New York Times’ “Native American Brothers Pulled From Campus Tour After Nervous Parent Calls Police” fell rather short. Euphemism aside, listeners likely heard about the incident, spotlighted like others, via social media.

      Did you know, though, that fully a third of the senior Interior Department officials reassigned in Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recent reshuffle are Native American, even though Native Americans make up less than 10 percent of the department’s workforce? Sources say it’s part of Zinke’s barely veiled plan to remove obstructions to extractive industry. That news, reported by Alice Ollstein at Talking Points Memo—and that’s about it—is also a story about indigenous people and their life in 2018 America. Isolated snapshots of outrageous harms are a meager substitute for genuine coverage of a complex community. There are plenty of things that won’t be captured on cellphone cameras.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • RIPE76 Presentation Archive
    • All California Kids Deserve Internet Access—Including Youth in Detention and Foster Care

      A 2014 report by the National Institute of Justice, part of the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, highlighted the counterproductive nature of punitive policies in the juvenile justice system. They simply don’t work. It would be more effective to provide incarcerated youth with educational opportunities so they don’t fall behind their peers, ensuring they have a fair shot at integrating back into society. California has an opportunity to accomplish exactly this by providing the state’s juvenile offenders with access to quality education resources though the Internet.

      Juvenile facilities and state-run foster care programs across California don’t have to provide youth with Internet access for educational purposes. Assemblymember Mike Gipson introduced a bill, A.B. 2448, that aims to fix this problem. The bill ensures that juvenile detention facilities provide youth with access to Internet and computer technology for educational purposes. It also encourages those facilities to provide Internet access for youth to remain in contact with family members. Additionally, youth in foster homes will be given access to the Internet for age-appropriate enrichment and social activities.

    • Here’s the Name of Every Senator Who Voted Against Net Neutrality—and When to Vote Them Out
    • The ‘Race To 5G’ Is Largely Just Marketing Nonsense

      By now you’ve probably been informed that the next-generation of wireless broadband technology is going to revolutionize everything. Much like they did with 3G and 4G, wireless carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have repeatedly hyped the fifth-generation (5G) wireless standard, insisting that the technology will somehow usher forth a “societal transformation” that’s going to have a magical, cascading impact on every sector in technology, from the internet of (broken) things to the smart cities and self-driving car technologies of tomorrow.

    • The Path to Victory on Net Neutrality in the House of Representatives and How You Can Help

      The United States Senate has voted to overturn the FCC and restore net neutrality protections, the fate of that measure currently rests in the House of Representatives. While many will think that the uphill battle there makes it a lost cause, that is simply not true. Together, we have the power to win in the House of Representatives.

      Now that the Senate has officially voted 52-47 to reverse the FCC’s so-called “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” under an expedited procedure known as the Congressional Review Act (CRA). It is now pending a vote in the House of Representatives. And while many will incorrectly assume since House Republican leadership has expressed their opposition to ever voting on net neutrality, nothing will come of it, the wishes of the leadership are frankly irrelevant.

      What actually matters is whether 218 members of the House of Representatives from either party want to vote to protect net neutrality through a process called a “discharge petition.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Robot inventors are on the rise. But are they welcomed by the patent system?

      This article is brought to you based on the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

      Author: Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, World Economic Forum LLC & Yoon Chae, Prior Fellow, World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution; Intellectual Property Associate, Baker McKenzie.

    • Warburg Pincus sells ipan to Castik Capital

      Warburg Pincus has sold intellectual property management service ipan Group to Castik Capital.

      Since its acquisition by Warburg Pincus in 2014, ipan has more than tripled its revenues.

      Earlier this year, ipan further expanded its product offering by launching ip-x-change, a new open platform for IP related Software and Services.

    • Magistrate Disclosure of Daughter’s Summer Associate Employment

      I thought this was interesting. Magistrate’s daughter will be a summer associate at the patentee’s firm, and so she disclosed it to the parties and invited their views on whether they thought the case should be reassigned. It is Pacific Coast Building Products, Inc. v. Certainteed Gypsum, available here.

      When I was clerking for the CAFC a few years ago, as clerks we avoided cases where we had any entanglement as an internal procedure, but I thought this was interesting because obviously the patentee’s firm knew it was going to hire the daughter, and the magistrate thought it wasn’t a conflict, but wanted the facts out there.

    • UK publishes Trade Secrets Regulations 2018

      The main change from the draft is the introduction of a new third regulation that seeks to set out the relationship between trade secrets and the existing law of confidential information

      The UK government published the Trade Secrets Regulations 2018 today after the legislation was laid before parliament.

    • Trademarks
      • Big Barber Chain Bullies Owner Of Single Barbershop Over Using The Name ‘Tommy’

        There are a couple of things to note here. Tommy Gun’s applied for its trademark in Canada in 2009. Luong opened his shop under its current name in 2003. At that time he also registered his business with the local government, something that Tommy Gun’s is insisting he change as well. Tommy Gun’s own LinkedIN page suggests that the chain was founded in 2009, meaning that Luong was using the name in commerce first. If anything, it seems that Luong should have been the one to have fired off a C&D rather than the other way around.

      • CJEU rules innovative products alone do not make marks distinctive

        Triggerballs’ failed attempt to register a 3D mark for its massage ball follows a growing trend of reluctance for EU courts to grant trade mark rights in shapes

        The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on May 16 that a trade mark does not have distinctive character because the product it covers is innovative.

      • China to become biggest foreign trade mark filer – CompuMark report

        China is set to overtake the US as the biggest foreign trade mark filer by 2020, according to a CompuMark study published today.

      • Food Fight Over: New Jersey Turnpike Authority Gets Told To Pound Sand By PTAB Over Florida Pizza Company’s Logo

        You may recall that way back in early 2015, we discussed the absurd story of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority suing Jersey Boardwalk Pizza for trademark infringement. At issue was that the pizza joint’s owners, both from New Jersey, had crafted a clever logo that mimicked the logo for the Garden State Parkway, except it altered all the words to be the parlor’s name and the food it served. It was a clear homage. Nobody denied it. That didn’t change the fact, however, that the NJ Turnpike Authority is both not in the business of selling pizza, nor is it in the business of being in Florida. As such, there was zero potential for customer confusion, and the court dismissed the case.

        You would have thought that would be the end of this story. But, no, the NJTPA decided to go the trademark office and try to have the pizza parlor’s trademark invalidated.

      • Pizza fight may be lost after feds deliver burn to N.J. in trademark case

        New Jersey has lost a significant battle against the owners of a small Florida-based pizza franchise whose owners modeled their advertising logo after the state’s Garden State Parkway sign.
        logos-border.jpgJersey Boardwalk Pizza has been using the logo on the left to advertise its business. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority argues its too similar to the Parkway logo. File photo

        Three administrative judges with the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled Monday that Jersey Boardwalk Pizza can continue to use its logo, which the New Jersey Turnpike Authority argued was confusingly similar to the Parkway logo.

    • Copyrights
      • How The Record Labels Screwed Up The Music Industry, And The Tech Industry Saved Them

        If you’ve been following how much the record labels stumbled around the internet for the past couple of decades, then you know the basics here. But time has a way of erasing some of the nuances of history, and I find it incredible to watch the RIAA and the record labels these days walking around proudly acting as if they were the ones who “saved” the music industry by embracing streaming services that now make up the bulk of the recording industry’s revenues. Indeed, as we’ve pointed out for years, the recording industry has a very long history of overvaluing the music and undervaluing the services that people want. They’ve spent so long insisting that the music is the sole source of the value of what they produce, that they always downplay (or entirely erase) the rest of the equation: getting the music to fans in a manner that is convenient, reasonable, and non-burdensome. Instead, they always focus on killing the golden goose — insisting that any successful music tech service pay them more and more until they’re squeezed dry.

        Over at Motherboard, Ernie Smith, has a good history of how the recording industry screwed up streaming in the early days (unfortunately he does what most people do and refers to what’s really the “recording industry” as the “music industry” — and also simplifies the history to be just one round of mistakes, rather than many, many mistakes leaving a graveyard of dead tech companies in its wake — but the overall article is still excellent). It’s a very instructive piece in detailing exactly how the record label bosses were so focused on making sure that they had control and limits, that they didn’t care at all about providing a service that people actually wanted. Much of it focuses on the two idiotic music label-approved streaming services that the industry tried to launch MusicNet and PressPlay (which we dubbed MusicNot and PressPause way back in 2001). Smith details how both services were built entirely focused on “how do we protect our revenue stream” rather than “how do we serve the customer.”

      • De Gaulle’s manuscripts: ‘public archives’ and ‘public domain’ – same difference in France?

        Last month, the Conseil d’Etat, the highest administrative court in France, declared that the 313 manuscripts and telegrams written by Charles de Gaulle between 11 December 1940 and 11 December 1942 were official public archives belonging to the state of France (see herein French). As a result, the manuscripts written by the former French President and leader of the Resistance during the Second World War will soon be made available to the public as opposed to becoming part of a private collection. For many historians and public domain enthusiasts, the decision reads as a win. The dispute was not one of copyright but rather of heritage law, leaving the status of these archives in relation to the (copyright) public domain in need of further clarification. Indeed, war-time copyright material is eligible for a special type of protection in France… Read on for more on this.

Système Battistelli (ENArque) at the EPO is Inspired by Système Lamy in Saint-Germain-en Laye

Techrights - Friday 18th of May 2018 07:45:20 PM

Party political infighting and intrigues in Saint-Germain-en Laye…

Summary: Has the political culture of Battistelli’s hometown in France contaminated the governance of the EPO?

THIS is a guest post based on informed individuals. We never thought that writing about patents would lead us to covering politics in France, but the topics are inherently connected because Battistelli’s EPO appointment is believed to be largely political (a French President) and his successor, Campinos, was aided by politicians like Battistelli himself. Politics are inevitable in this context. It’s all intertwined. Below is a new analysis from readers who prefer to remain anonymous.

A recent post on Techrights refers to a split in the right wing party in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and it is speculated that this may have something to do with Battistelli.

Independent research into this has confirmed that there has indeed been a lot of factional infighting within the right-wing UMP camp in Saint-Germain-en-Laye over the last decade or so.

This internal party political squabbling seems for the most part to have been the result of personal rivalries and/or local political “turf wars” and it does not appear to have any direct links to Battistelli. Of course it is possible that he may have had some involvement in the background but nothing about this has appeared in published press reports.

The information about the political culture of Saint-Germain-en-Laye which has been uncovered so far is however very interesting because it suggests that the governance of the EPO under Battistelli has become contaminated by the type of political practices prevalent in his home town.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a municipality in the administrative department of “Les Yvelines” located to the west of the French capital, Paris.

In the political domain Les Yvelines has always been a traditional stronghold of the right-wing UMP (now rebranded as “Les Républicains”).

But the strong majority which the UMP enjoys in this region doesn’t mean that everything is harmonious within the party camp.

On the contrary, as noted by Arnaud Péricard in 2008, the solidity of the UMP vote in the region has tended to whet the appetite for inter-party rivalry and squabbles.

See Election 2008 [PDF] material, along with Battistelli’s public profile on the right.

Arnaud Péricard the current Mayor of Saint-Germain-en-Laye is the son of the local political “boss” Michel Péricard who held the position of Mayor from 1977 until his death in 1999. Péricard Senior, who was also a parliamentary deputy for the region, was a controversial and divisive figure and opinions about him in his home town are strongly polarised. His admirers speak of him as a “visionary” while his critics denounce him as a “dictator”. [PDF]

Péricard’s wife, Catherine, was also politically active and was an elected municipal councillor for many years.

Their son Arnaud who pursued law studies in the USA decided to return to Saint-Germain-en-Laye and get involved in local politics following his father’s death.

According to well-informed local sources Catherine Péricard did not get along with her husband’s political successor, Emmanuel Lamy, and she seems to have had difficulty in coming to terms with her family’s loss of political power and prestige following the death of Péricard Senior.

When local elections were due in 2008 she encouraged her son Arnaud to form a “dissident” UMP list and to challenge Lamy’s supremacy.

This one-horse-town political dog-fight was widely reported in the French press at the time and Le Figaro published a detailed article about it under the title “Saint-Germain-en-Laye: La querelle des héritiers” (“Saint-Germain-en-Laye: the quarrel of the heirs”).

At around this this time Péricard Junior got into trouble with the UMP and was suspended for a year as reported on the blog of the Saint-Germain Socialist Party.

It seems that this dispute had something to with the unauthorised use of the UMP party logo on Péricard Junior’s election literature.

The attempt of the “young pretender” to dislodge Lamy and assume what he considered to be his rightful inheritance as Mayor of Saint-Germain-en-Laye was unsuccessful.

Lamy was reelected with a comfortable majority and Battistelli who was on his majority list was appointed as Deputy Mayor in charge of culture.

A couple of years later in September 2011 the French current affairs weekly l’Express published a very comprehensive and uncompromising cover page report on Lamy’s regime at Saint-Germain-en-Laye under the title “Le système Lamy” (see image at the top and some pages at the bottom; PDF copies can be found in [1, 2]).

See “Arnaud Péricard est suspendu de l’UMP pour un an !” (Translation: L’Express puts the spotlight on “the Lamy system” in Saint-Germain-en-Laye).

The in-depth report which described Lamy as “the ENArque who doesn’t like politics” included detailed accounts of a number of local scandals which were in the news at that time such as alleged mismanagement at the local hospital and a controversy surrounding the financing of waste management services using high-risk speculative derivative instruments based on “toxic loans” [1, 2].

Despite the whiff of scandal and allegations of irregularities surrounding the “système Lamy”, Lamy and Péricard Junior managed to patch up their differences by the end of 2013 and they agreed to run on a joint ticket for the 2014 local elections.

See Election 2014 [PDF] coverage and Battistelli’s public profile at the time.

However, in the run-up to the 2014 elections another split emerged in the UMP ranks. This time the leading “dissident” was one of Lamy’s Deputy Mayors, Ms Anne Gommier, who defected to the rival UMP splinter group “Agir pour Saint-Germain”.

“The challenger, who has also been Deputy Mayor in charge of human resources for the municipal majority since 2008, rejects the suggestion that her candidature is motivated by political manoeuvring. She refers to Emmanuel Lamy’s methods of operation and management. “The disconnect [with the locals] is unacceptable. There is a problem of [lack of] transparency and consultation,” she explains. “The citizens are poorly informed but, in addition to this, they are not being listened to.” (See “Municipales: une dissidente en lice à Saint-Germain-en-Laye”)

Gommier’s challenge to the “Lamy machine” was unsuccessful and Lamy once again managed to secure reelection in 2014.

As usual Battistelli was on the majority list but this time round he was only appointed as a delegated councillor for cultural affairs and it was Péricard Junior who got the plum position of Deputy Mayor in charge of culture as a reward for his return to the Lamy fold.

Lamy continued to hold the office of Mayor until his sudden and unexpected death at the age of 69 in May 2017.

The local press reported in moving terms about the winged departure of “the soul of Saint-Germain”.

During his long “reign” as Mayor from 1999 to 2017 Lamy was a controversial and divisive figure very much in the mould of his predecessor and political mentor Péricard Senior.

Ms Gommier’s 2014 comments on the style of politics under the “système Lamy” at Saint-Germain-en-Laye – in particular the lack of transparency and consultation and the disconnect with ordinary citizens – are likely to have an all too familiar ring for observers of the “système Battistelli” at the EPO.

In the end one is left with the distinct impression that during the last eight years of Battistelli’s “reign of terror” at the EPO the governance of this important European inter-governmental institution has been strongly influenced – if not seriously contaminated – by the political culture developed and cultivated by the latter-day Sun-King’s mentors Michel Péricard and Emmanuel Lamy in his home town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

Plasma 5.13 Beta

KDE Dot News - Friday 18th of May 2018 02:39:45 PM
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KDE Plasma 5.13 Beta

Thursday, 17 May 2018. Today KDE unveils a beta release of Plasma 5.13.0.

Members of the Plasma team have been working hard to continue making Plasma a lightweight and responsive desktop which loads and runs quickly, but remains full-featured with a polished look and feel. We have spent the last four months optimising startup and minimising memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance and less memory consumption. Basic features like panel popups were optimised to make sure they run smoothly even on the lowest-end hardware. Our design teams have not rested either, producing beautiful new integrated lock and login screen graphics.


New in Plasma 5.13


Plasma Browser Integration

Plasma Browser Integration is a suite of new features which make Firefox and Chrome, and Chromium-based browsers work with your desktop. Downloads are now displayed in the Plasma notification popup just as when transferring files with Dolphin. The Media Controls Plasmoid can mute and skip videos and music playing from within the browser. You can send a link to your phone with KDE Connect. Browser tabs can be opened directly using KRunner via the Alt-Space keyboard shortcut. To enable Plasma Browser Integration, add the relevant plugin from the addon store of your favourite browser.




   



Plasma Browser Integration for Downloads and Media Controls


System Settings Redesigns

Our settings pages are being redesigned. The KDE Visual Design Group has reviewed many of the tools in System Settings and we are now implementing those redesigns. KDE's Kirigami framework gives the pages a slick new look. We started off with the theming tools, comprising the icons, desktop themes, and cursor themes pages. The splash screen page can now download new splashscreens from the KDE Store. The fonts page can now display previews for the sub-pixel anti-aliasing settings.











Redesigned System Settings Pages


New Look for Lock and Login Screens

Our login and lock screens have a fresh new design, displaying the wallpaper of the current Plasma release by default. The lock screen now incorporates a slick fade-to-blur transition to show the controls, allowing it to be easily used like a screensaver.








Lock and Login Screen new Look







Improved Blur Effect in the Dash Menu

Graphics Compositor

Our compositor KWin gained much-improved effects for blur and desktop switching. Wayland work continued, with the return of window rules, the use of high priority EGL Contexts, and initial support for screencasts and desktop sharing.







Discover's Lists with Ratings, Themed Icons, and Sorting Options

Discover

Discover, our software and addon installer, has more features and sports improvements to the look and feel.

Using our Kirigami UI framework we improved the appearance of lists and category pages, which now use toolbars instead of big banner images. Lists can now be sorted, and use the new Kirigami Cards widget. Star ratings are shown on lists and app pages. App icons use your local icon theme better match your desktop settings. All AppStream metadata is now shown on the application page, including all URL types. And for users of Arch Linux, the Pacman log is now displayed after software updates.

Work has continued on bundled app formats. Snap support now allows user control of app permissions, and it's possible to install Snaps that use classic mode. And the 'snap://' URL format is now supported. Flatpak support gains the ability to choose the preferred repository to install from when more than one is set up.


Much More

Other changes include:

  • A tech preview of GTK global menu integration.
  • Redesigned Media Player Widget.
  • Plasma Calendar plugin for astronomical events, currently showing: lunar phases & astronomical seasons (equinox, solstices).
  • xdg-desktop-portal-kde, used to give desktop integration for Flatpak and Snap applications, gained support for screenshot and screencast portals.
  • The Digital Clock widget allows copying the current date and time to the clipboard.
  • The notification popup has a button to clear the history.
  • More KRunner plugins to provide easy access to Konsole profiles and the character picker.
  • The Mouse System Settings page has been rewritten for libinput support on X and Wayland.
  • Plasma Vault has a new CryFS backend, commands to remotely close open vaults with KDE Connect, offline vaults, a more polished interface and better error reporting.
  • A new dialog pops up when you first plug in an external monitor so you can easily configure how it should be positioned.
  • Plasma gained the ability to fall back to a software rendering if OpenGL drivers unexpectedly fail.




  


  



GEdit with Title Bar Menu. Redesigned Media Player Widget. Connect an External Monitor Dialog.



Live Images

The easiest way to try it out is with a live image booted off a USB disk. Docker images also provide a quick and easy way to test Plasma.

Download live images with Plasma 5
Download Docker images with Plasma 5

Package Downloads

Distributions have created, or are in the process of creating, packages listed on our wiki page.

Package download wiki page

Source Downloads

You can install Plasma 5 directly from source.

Community instructions to compile it
Source Info Page

Feedback

You can give us feedback and get updates on Facebook
or Twitter
or Google+.

Discuss Plasma 5 on the KDE Forums Plasma 5 board.

You can provide feedback direct to the developers via the #Plasma IRC channel, Plasma-devel mailing list or report issues via bugzilla. If you like what the team is doing, please let them know!

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Welcome Our New Google Summer of Code Students

KDE Dot News - Friday 18th of May 2018 12:00:00 AM

KDE Student Programs is happy to present our 2018 Google Summer of Code students to the KDE Community.

Welcome Abhijeet Sharma, Aman Kumar Gupta, Amit Sagtani, Andrey Cygankov, Andrey Kamakin, Anmol Gautam, Caio Jordão de Lima Carvalho, Chinmoy Ranjan Pradhan, Csaba Kertesz, Demetrio Carrara, Dileep Sankhla, Ferencz Kovács, Furkan Tokac, Gun Park, Iván Yossi Santa María González, Kavinda Pitiduwa Gamage, Mahesh S Nair, Tarek Talaat, Thanh Trung Dinh, Yihang Zhou, and Yingjie Liu!


KDE Google Summer of Code mentors at Akademy 2017. Photo by Bhushan Shah.


Students will work on
improving KStars for Android.

This year digiKam, KDE's professional photo management application, has three students: Tarek Talaat will be working on supporting Twitter and One Drive services in digiKam export, Thanh Trung Dinh on Web Services tools authentication with OAuth2, and Yingjie Liu on adding the possibility to manually sort the digiKam icon view.

Plasma, KDE's graphical desktop environment, will also be mentoring three students. Abhijeet Sharma will be working on fwupd integration with Discover (KDE's graphical software manager), Furkan Tokac will improve handling for touchpads and mice with Libinput, and Gun Park will port keyboard input modules to Qt Quick and expand scope to cover input method configuration for System Settings.

Another project with three students is Krita, KDE's popular graphic editor and painting application. Andrey Kamakin will improve multithreading in Krita's Tile Manager; Iván Yossi Santa María González (ivanyossi) will optimize Krita Soft, Gaussian and Stamp brushes mask generation to use AVX with Vc Library; and Yihang Zhou (Michael Zhou) is creating a Swatches Docker for Krita.

GCompris, the suite of educational programs and games for young learners, takes two students: Aman Kumar Gupta will port all GTK+ piano activities and get it one step closer to version 1.0, and Amit Sagtani will work on creating bitmap drawing and animation activities while preparing Gcompris for version 1.0.

Labplot, KDE's application for scientific data plotting and analysis, also mentors two students. Andrey Cygankov will add support for import data from web-service in LabPlot, and Ferencz Kovács will be working on plotting of live MQTT data.


Falkon, a new member of the KDE family,
will also get some GSoC love.

Okular, KDE's PDF and document viewer, gets another two students: Chinmoy Ranjan Pradhan will be working on verifying signatures of PDF files, while Dileep Sankhla will implement the FreeText annotation with FreeTextTypeWriter behavior.

For Falkon, a community developed web browser and a new member of the KDE family, Anmol Gautam will be working on JavaScript/QML extension support, and Caio Jordão de Lima Carvalho will finish LVM support and implement RAID support in KDE Partition Manager and Calamares (an advanced system installer).

Csaba Kertesz (kecsap) will aim to improve the desktop and the Android version of KStars, KDE's planetarium program, while Kavinda Pitiduwa Gamage will work on KGpg, KDE's graphical key management application, to make it better.

Mahesh S. Nair will expand Peruse Creator, adding more features to KDE's easy-to-use comic book reader. Finally, Demetrio Carrara will be working on the WikitoLearn production-ready Progressive Webapp (PWA).

Traditionally, Google Summer of Code starts with an introduction period where students get to know their mentors, after which they start coding. The coding period for 2018 has began on May 14, and will last until August 6. We wish all our students a productive, successful, and fun summer!

In Australia the Productivity Commission Decides/Guides Patent Law

Techrights - Thursday 17th of May 2018 10:09:52 PM

Facts- or evidence-based policy

Summary: IP Australia, the patent office of Australia, considers abolishing “innovation patents” but has not done so yet (pending consultation)

THE “IP5″ (three east Asian patent offices along with the EPO and USPTO) accounts for the lion’s share of patents, at least based on how WIPO adds up the numbers. But that does not mean that we can simply ignore other (much smaller and/or less significant) patent offices.

“Their CMS suffers not only many downtimes but glitches or human errors as well.”A few weeks ago we wrote about Shelston IP's latest lobbying/push to change Australia’s patent policy in favour of software patents (same in New Zealand, which we last mentioned last month). A couple of days ago Kluwer Patent Blog wrote about the legal status as follows:

In its response to public submissions with respect to abolishing innovation patents, IP Australia reaffirmed its support for this course of action and noted that “[n]o significant new evidence on the value of the innovation patent system was presented by the submissions that had not already been considered by the Productivity Commission and the Government in reaching that decision“.

IP Australia was also of the view that the amendments in the exposure draft struck the right balance to phase out the innovation patent system without affecting existing rights. The amendments in the exposure draft allowed for innovation patents that would have a priority date prior to the commencement of the amendments.

However, the Government appears to want to consider the matter further. IP Australia’s policy release states that it has “decided to undertake further industry consultation targeted at better understanding the needs of SMEs before the phase out of the innovation patent occurs“.

John Collins and Sumer Dayal posted this update/duplicate the following day, but it has been deleted since. Their CMS suffers not only many downtimes but glitches or human errors as well. Sometimes the site goes offline for as much as a day. They basically say that “a mechanism to phase out the innovation patent system and repeal certain data requirements relating to pharmaceutical patents with an extended term” was included but omitted. “Innovation patents appear to have survived the guillotine this time around,” they conclude. We expect it to vanish some time soon (maybe not this year) and the impact on software patenting was discussed here last year (see below).

Previously (last year) on so-called “innovation patents”:

Fishy Things Noticed Ahead of the Passage of a Lot of EPO Budget (Applicants’ Money) to Battistelli’s Other (and Simultaneous) Employer

Techrights - Thursday 17th of May 2018 09:35:35 PM

PR firms hired from the United States as well

Summary: Observations and odd facts regarding the affairs of the council in St Germain; it certainly looks like Battistelli as deputy mayor and the mayor (Arnaud Péricard) are attempting to hide something

THIS summer at the EPO will see the departure (at least on paper) of Battistelli and arrival of the “mini me”, Mr. Campinos. That does not mean that Battistelli can be let off the hook; to allow such a system to remain unaccountable may be recipe for perpetuation of all the same problems under different presidency (same leadership but slightly different faces). This is why we’re closely watching what media is possibly paid not to mention/cover. Battistelli’s diplomatic immunity expires in about 40 days. He knows it.

“Battistelli’s diplomatic immunity expires in about 40 days. He knows it.”The EPO has once again hired Shepard Fox Communications. Whether it merely increases the contract around the time of the “inventor award” (as it worked with them last year as well) we don’t know; we never managed to see the contract/s (leakers are strongly encouraged as the EPO should not sign such things secretly). Last year we asked, "Is the EPO Pushing Prepared 'Articles' (Ghostwriting)?"

It certainly seems so still.

“Just for information,” one reader told us today. “The posting on Tech Rights links to an EPO press release and says: “This press release does not name a PR firm, for a change.” But if you look carefully at the press release web page (see also the PDF version) it names the author as Peter Gorman of Shepard Fox Communications and even gives a contact phone number in the US:

Contact Information
Peter Gorman
Shepard Fox Communications
+1 617-669-4329

This is different from the name we saw last year. The PDF version of the document also says (in the metadata) that the author is “Peter Gorman via PRWeb.com”. So we know that the EPO is once again contracting people in the US for a European event. How much does that cost and how is this beneficial to Europe? FTI Consulting too is an American company. The EPO paid it a fortune (well over a million euros in just one year) to manipulate European media, with additional budget to mess around with Dutch and German publishers.

“So we know that the EPO is once against contracting people in the US for a European event.”The “inventor award” is a symptom of a much broader problem, not just the passage of EPO money to the media but also rewards to frauds and charlatans, as we noted several hours ago. Is Battistelli the latest person to net a ‘fat’ reward, ‘laundered’ through “inventor award” contacts? Many EPO insiders certainly feel that way.

“He will be held accountable the sooner or the later,” told us one reader. “He has also enemies in is own political party. I even believe this is the reason why the right wing party is split in St Germain. I had heard rumours, but even there people are afraid to talk: there was a “unexplained” casualty in St Germain about 10 years ago.”

“Is Battistelli the latest person to net a ‘fat’ reward, ‘laundered’ through “inventor award” contacts? Many EPO insiders certainly feel that way.”We’ll probably get to that too at one stage. It took about 10 years for Battistelli’s political patron (who it rumoured to have given Battistelli the job at the EPO) to face the music. Justice can be very slow. Especially when it comes to well-connected people in positions of power (or even immunity).

“I have detected something suspicious,” the reader continued. “According to the agenda available in Internet, the next session of the town council is to be held on 21st. June. According to the video recording the next session is planned on 23rd May. Are they trying to hide something?”

We’ve asked around. “Good question,” told us another reader. “The last council meeting was held on 11 April 2018,” this reader noted. “At the very end of the video recording — at around 1:26:20 — the mayor (Arnaud Péricard) reminds the councillors that the next meeting is scheduled for 23 May and that it will be an “important session”.

“However, the online agenda lists the next meeting on 28 June. If they are trying to hide something then all they have to do is to declare the meeting to be a “closed session”.

“It took about 10 years for Battistelli’s political patron (who it rumoured to have given Battistelli the job at the EPO) to face the music.”“The following statement can be found on the council’s webpage: Dans certains cas, le Maire peut donner la parole une fois que la séance est close. Les interventions du public et leurs réponses par les élus ne sont pas inscrites dans le compte-rendu du Conseil municipal.

[Translation: In some cases, the Mayor may give the floor once the meeting is closed. Public interventions and their responses by elected officials are not recorded in the minutes of City Council.]

“Maybe if it has been declared a closed session in advance, it doesn’t appear on the online agenda. Either this is an accidental slip-up or it’s a deliberate attempt to hide something. It definitely seems fishy but it’s impossible to know for sure what is going on without inside information.”

Stay tuned as we have plenty more coming regarding the “inventor award” and politicians at the council are paying attention (whether or not “big” publishers write about it).

Links 18/5/2018: AsteroidOS 1.0 Released, More Snyk/Black Duck FUD

Techrights - Thursday 17th of May 2018 08:30:18 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Raptor Launching Talos II Lite POWER9 Computer System At A Lower Cost

      For those that have been interested in the Talos II POWER-based system that is fully open-source down to the firmware but have been put off by its cost, Raptor Computer Systems today announced the Talos II Lite that is a slightly cut-down version of the Talos II Workstation.

      The Talos II Lite is still a very competent beast of a system and features a single POWER9 CPU socket, EATX chassis, 500W ATX power supply, and is sold as a barebones package. The Talos II Lite motherboard supports up to the 22-core POWER9 CPU, eight DDR4 ECC RAM slots, one PCI Express 4.0 x16 slot, one PCI Express 4.0 x8 slot, dual Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 port.

    • A little Talos of your very own

      Overall, that $3300 really does translate into greatly improved expandability in addition to the beefier power supplies, and thus it was never really an option for my needs personally. Maybe my mini:Quad analogy wasn’t so off base. But if you want to join the POWER9 revolution on a budget and give Chipzilla the finger, as all right-thinking nerds should, you’ve now got an option that only requires passing a kidneystone of just half the size or less. It ships starting in July.

  • Server
    • Containers and microservices and serverless, oh my!

      A new round of buzzword-heavy technologies are becoming relevant to—or at least discussed among—developers, operations professionals, and the tech staff who lead them. Need to come up to speed on the changing cloud and container trends and technologies? If you feel out of the loop, this tech-transfer explainer should provide enlightenment.

      Once upon a time, virtual machines changed how we thought about servers. Then, the cloud changed how we thought about IT. Now, containers have started a new transformation. The latest entry is “serverless”—though I should point out immediately that the term serverless is a misnomer. Future cloud-native applications will consist of both microservices and functions, often wrapped as Linux containers.

      VMs and the cloud enabled DevOps, the practice of developers and IT operations staff collaborating to optimize technology processes. Cloud technologies’ dynamic compute and storage resources made it easier to provision resources. The idea behind DevOps is that developers no longer need to worry about infrastructure because that’s taken care of in the background by programs such as Ansible, Chef, and Puppet.

      Then along came containers. Containers use far fewer resources than VMs by using shared operating systems. Containers are also easier to spin up and down when circumstances require it.

    • How a competitive cycling team applies DevOps and agile methods
    • Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 Gains New SDN, High-Performance Features
    • Scaling AMQ 7 Brokers with AMQ Interconnect

      Red Hat JBoss AMQ Interconnect provides flexible routing of messages between AMQP-enabled endpoints, including clients, brokers, and standalone services. With a single connection to a network of AMQ Interconnect routers, a client can exchange messages with any other endpoint connected to the network.

      AMQ Interconnect can create various topologies to manage a high volume of traffic or define an elastic network in front of AMQ 7 brokers. This article shows a sample AMQ Interconnect topology for scaling AMQ 7 brokers easily.

      AMQ Interconnect does not use master-slave clusters for high availability. It is typically deployed in topologies of multiple routers with redundant network paths, which it uses to provide reliable connectivity. AMQ Interconnect can distribute messaging workloads across the network and achieve new levels of scale with very low latency.

      The router accepts AMQP protocol–based connections from clients and creates AMQP connections to brokers or AMQP services. The router classifies incoming AMQP messages and routes the messages between message producers and message consumers.

      A messaging client can make a single AMQP connection into a messaging bus built with routers, and over that connection it can exchange messages with one or more message brokers connected to any router in the network. At the same time, the client can exchange messages directly with other endpoints without involving a broker at all.s

    • Advisory: Red Hat DHCP Client Command Injection Trouble
  • Kernel Space
    • Is it time to remove ZONE_DMA?

      The DMA zone (ZONE_DMA) is a memory-management holdover from the distant past. Once upon a time, many devices (those on the ISA bus in particular) could only use 24 bits for DMA addresses, and were thus limited to the bottom 16MB of memory. Such devices are hard to find on contemporary computers. Luis Rodriguez scheduled the last memory-management-track session of the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit to discuss whether the time has come to remove ZONE_DMA altogether.

    • Zone-lock and mmap_sem scalability

      The memory-management subsystem is a central point that handles all of the system’s memory, so it is naturally subject to scalability problems as systems grow larger. Two sessions during the memory-management track of the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit looked at specific contention points: the zone locks and the mmap_sem semaphore.

    • Hotplugging and poisoning

      Memory hotplugging is one of the least-loved areas of the memory-management subsystem; there are many use cases for it, but nobody has taken ownership of it. A similar situation exists for hardware page poisoning, a somewhat neglected mechanism for dealing with memory errors. At the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management summit, Michal Hocko and Mike Kravetz dedicated a pair of brief memory-management track sessions to problems that have been encountered in these subsystems, one of which seems more likely to get the attention it needs than the other.

    • Reworking page-table traversal

      A system’s page tables are organized into a tree that is as many as five levels deep. In many ways those levels are all similar, but the kernel treats them all as being different, with the result that page-table manipulations include a fair amount of repetitive code. During the memory-management track of the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit, Kirill Shutemov proposed reworking how page tables are maintained. The idea was popular, but the implementation is likely to be tricky.

    • get_user_pages() continued

      At a plenary session held relatively early during the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit, the developers discussed a number of problems with the kernel’s get_user_pages() interface. During the waning hours of LSFMM, a tired (but dedicated) set of developers convened again in the memory-management track to continue the discussion and try to push it toward a real solution.

      Jan Kara and Dan Williams scheduled the session to try to settle on a way to deal with the issues associated with get_user_pages() — in particular, the fact that code that has pinned pages in this way can modify those pages in ways that will surprise other users, such as filesystems. During the first session, Jérôme Glisse had suggested using the MMU notifier mechanism as a way to solve these problems. Rather than pin pages with get_user_pages(), kernel code could leave the pages unpinned and respond to notifications when the status of those pages changes. Kara said he had thought about the idea, and it seemed to make some sense.

    • XFS parent pointers

      At the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Allison Henderson led a session to discuss an XFS feature she has been working on: parent pointers. These would be pointers stored in extended attributes (xattrs) that would allow various tools to reconstruct the path for a file from its inode. In XFS repair scenarios, that path will help with reconstruction as well as provide users with better information about where the problems lie.

    • Shared memory mappings for devices

      In a short filesystem-only discussion at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Jérôme Glisse wanted to talk about some (more) changes to support GPUs, FPGAs, and RDMA devices. In other talks at LSFMM, he discussed changes to struct page in support of these kinds of devices, but here he was looking to discuss other changes to support mapping a device’s memory into multiple processes. It should be noted that I had a hard time following the discussion in this session, so there may be significant gaps in what follows.

    • A new API for mounting filesystems

      The mount() system call suffers from a number of different shortcomings that has led some to consider a different API. At last year’s Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), that someone was Miklos Szeredi, who led a session to discuss his ideas for a new filesystem mounting API. Since then, David Howells has been working with Szeredi and VFS maintainer Al Viro on this API; at the 2018 LSFMM, he presented that work.

      He began by noting some of the downsides of the current mounting API. For one thing, you can pass a data page to the mount() call, but it is limited to a single page; if too many options are needed, or simply options with too many long parameters, they won’t fit. The error messages and information on what went wrong could be better. There are also filesystems that have a bug where an invalid option will fail the mount() call but leave the superblock in an inconsistent state due to earlier options having been applied. Several in the audience were quick to note that both ext4 and XFS had fixed the latter bug along the way, though there may still be filesystems that have that behavior.

    • Controlling block-I/O latency

      Chris Mason and Josef Bacik led a brief discussion on the block-I/O controller for control groups (cgroups) in the filesystem track at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit. Mostly they were just aiming to get feedback on the approach they have taken. They are trying to address the needs of their employer, Facebook, with regard to the latency of I/O operations.

      Mason said that the goal is to strictly control the latency of block I/O operations, but that the filesystems themselves have priority inversions that make that difficult. For Btrfs and XFS, they have patches to tag the I/O requests, which mostly deals with the problem. They have changes for ext4 as well, but those are not quite working yet.

    • A mapping layer for filesystems

      In a plenary session on the second day of the Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Dave Chinner described his ideas for a virtual block address-space layer. It would allow “space accounting to be shared and managed at various layers in the storage stack”. One of the targets for this work is for filesystems on thin-provisioned devices, where the filesystem is larger than the storage devices holding it (and administrators are expected to add storage as needed); in current systems, running out of space causes huge problems for filesystems and users because the filesystem cannot communicate that error in a usable fashion.

      His talk is not about block devices, he said; it is about a layer that provides a managed logical-block address (LBA) space. It will allow user space to make fallocate() calls that truly reserve the space requested. Currently, a filesystem will tell a caller that the space was reserved even though the underlying block device may not actually have that space (or won’t when user space goes to use it), as in a thin-provisioned scenario. He also said that he would not be talking about his ideas for a snapshottable subvolume for XFS that was the subject of his talk at linux.conf.au 2018.

    • Fantastic kernel patches and where to find them

      I’ve griped before about kernel development being scattered and spread about. A quick grep of MAINTAINERS shows over 200 git trees and even more mailing lists. Today’s discussion is a partial enumeration of some common mailing lists, git trees and patchwork instances. You can certainly find some of this in the MAINTAINERS file.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Sprint Joins ORAN Alliance and Linux Foundation Networking Fund

        Sprint is becoming a member of the ORAN Alliance, formerly known as the xRAN Forum, and it is also joining the LF Networking Fund (LNF).

        The two moves signal the operator’s commitment to the open source world. It’s making these inroads prior to its planned merger with T-Mobile. The two companies announced earlier last month that they will merge. The deal, if approved, will close in early 2019.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Vulkan 1.1.75 Released With Many Issues Resolved

        It’s been almost one month since the Vulkan 1.1.74 debut but now that’s been succeeded by Vulkan 1.1.75.

        The Khronos Group has put out Vulkan 1.1.75 this morning as the newest revision to this graphics/compute API. The Vulkan 1.1.75 update doesn’t introduce any new extensions, but there are a wide number of issues resolved — as usual, mostly document clarifications about intended behavior and some fixes.

    • Benchmarks
      • AMD Ryzen 5 2600 / Ryzen 7 2700 Benchmarks On Linux, 9-Way Ubuntu CPU Comparison

        Last month we delivered launch-day Linux benchmarks of the Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X for these new “Zen+” processors while recently we received the non-X Ryzen 5 2600 and Ryzen 7 2700 processors for Linux testing as well. In this article are benchmarks of these new AMD Ryzen processors as well as other Intel/AMD CPUs for delivering a fresh nine-way Linux distribution comparison using the very latest software components.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • LabPlot Support for live data

        Coming close to the next release of LabPlot, the last new feature in this release that we want to introduce is the support for live data. This feature developed by Fábián Kristóf during “Google Summer of Code 2017” program. In this context, the support for live data refers to the data that is frequently changing and the ability of the application to visualize this changing data.

        Prior to the upcoming release, the only supported workflow in LabPlot was to import the data from an external file into LabPlot’s data containers and to do the visualization. On data changes, the user needed to re-import again. With LabPlot 2.5 we introduced the “Live Data Source” object that is “connected” to the actual data source and that takes care of re-reading the changed data according to the specified options.

      • News about Elisa

        Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Gnome Shell Dash To Panel v14 Brings Intellihide, Configurable Window Previews Size

        The Gnome Shell Dash to Panel extension combines the Dash with the top Gnome panel. The result is a single panel that provides an icon taskbar, the tray, system menu, and date / time indicator. This is similar to the KDE Plasma and Windows 7 (and newer) taskbar. The extension supports Gnome Shell 3.18 and newer.

      • Working on GNOME To Do this Summer

        I am Rohit Kaushik (kaushik on IRC) from Delhi, India. I am currently pursuing B.E Computer Science at BITS Pilani, Goa. I am interested in Software Engineering, Machine Learning and Research. I usually spend my free time playing badminton, cricket or listening to music.
        Last year, I worked on implementing Todoist for GNOME To Do and this time again I will be working on GNOME To Do, improving the two plugins that I wrote earlier and implementing newer features. I am grateful to GNOME and my mentor feaneron for giving me this opportunity.

      • Banquets and Barbecues

        One of the biggest problems with Fractal at the moment is that 1-1 messaging is pretty terrible. Since the rooms in the sidebar are sorted by most recent activity, high-traffic public rooms (such as GNOME IRC channels) tend to drown out rooms with less traffic, such as 1-1s and small groups. This is problematic because the signal-to-noise ratio in 1-1 chats and small groups tends to be much higher than in high-traffic public rooms. This leaves the user constantly searching for the rooms they care about, while the rooms they don’t care about are always at the top.

      • Performance hackfest
  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Linspire Server 2018 Released, Based On Ubuntu 16.04 With Xfce Desktop

        Back in January was the news of Linspire (formerly known as “Lindows”) making a comeback and this week marks the release of Linspire Server 2018.

        Linspire/Lindows had previously been focused on just a desktop offering, but PC/OpenSystems acquired the Linspire rights a few months back and now they are spinning up new products. The newly-announced Linspire Server 2018 is based on Ubuntu Server 16.04 and is available for free with a self-support license while the company is also selling commercial support for interested users.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • openSUSE.Asia Summit 2018 Taiwan: Call for proposals is open

        openSUSE.Asia Committee calls for proposals of talks for openSUSE.Asia Summit 2018 held at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology on August 11 and 12. We might have community day on 10th August before the summit.

        openSUSE.Asia Summit is one of the great events for openSUSE community (i.e., both contributors, and users) in Asia. Those who usually communicate online can get together from all over the world, talk face to face, and have fun. Members of the community will share their most recent knowledge, experiences, and learn FLOSS technologies surrounding openSUSE.

    • Slackware Family
      • HandBrake 1.1.0 – now also in a patent-friendly package

        A new release of HandBrake, the video transcoder/ripper. The version 1.1.0 (released last month) comes with a load of enhancements, bug fixes and new features. Read the announcement to get all the details.

        And its GTK+-3 based GUI still compiles on Slackware 14.2. The devs must have done something right. Thank you! Still, it is sad that I can not compile the HandBrake GUI on Slackware 14.1 – or older – due to the GTK+-3 requirement (how I wish that the Qt based GUI was still an option). You could still build the CLI-only variant I suppose. But it might also be a good idea to upgrade to Slackware 14.2 if you thought of running the graphical HandBrake program…

    • Red Hat Family
      • Enhanced OpenShift JBoss AMQ container image for production

        As a Solution Architect at Red Hat, I had the opportunity to run an « JBoss AMQ on OpenShift workshop » some weeks ago at a customer site. Working with AMQ for years outside OpenShift and having just played with the containerized version, I was astonished that some features were already there but not documented while some others were simply missing.

        This post is a walk-through some enhancements I’ve made to Red Hat JBoss AMQ container image in order to meet my customer requirements. It goes through some topics like: adding a monitoring layer to AMQ, making configuration management across environments easier and explaining source-2-image process and use-cases for AMQ. By the way, if you’re interested on monitoring topic on Red Hat integration solutions, I recommend having a look at Bruno Meseguer excellent blog post that was an inspiration for reproducing on AMQ what was done on Fuse.

      • Red Hat brings cloud-native capabilities to software partner ecosystem

        Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, has introduced Kubernetes Operators to the Red Hat OpenShift ecosystem, providing a simplified path for software partners to ultimately deliver tested and validated Kubernetes applications on the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform.

      • Red Hat’s AI Strategy

        Daniel Riek leads the AI Center of Excellence in the CTO Office at Red Hat, which is tasked with advancing the adoption of AI across Red Hat’s products, services and communities. Before that, Daniel has managed engineering groups, worked on Container Strategy and has led RHEL Product Management.

      • Fedora
    • Debian Family
      • Video Channel Updates

        I’ll still keep uploading to YouTube, but ultimately I’d like to make my self-hosted site the primary source for my content. Not sure if I’ll stay with MediaDrop, but it does tick a lot of boxes, and if its easy enough to extend, I’ll probably stick with it. MediaDrop might also be a good platform for viewing the Debian meetings videos like the DebConf videos.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Coreboot 4.8 Released With 17 New Motherboards Supported

    While many Coreboot users just habitually ride the latest Git code, for those sticking to official stable releases, Coreboot 4.8 was released today.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • The Rust compiler is getting faster

        As changes are made to the Rust compiler, a suite of benchmarks measuring compile time is run regularly on the development version. The data is viewable at http://perf.rust-lang.org. The default view is graphical, showing data from the past month.

      • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 38
      • Scaling Firefox Development Workflows

        One of the central themes of my time at Mozilla has been my pursuit of making it easier to contribute to and hack on Firefox.

        I vividly remember my first day at Mozilla in 2011 when I went to build Firefox for the first time. I thought the entire experience – from obtaining the source code, installing build dependencies, building, running tests, submitting patches for review, etc was quite… lacking. When I asked others if they thought this was an issue, many rightfully identified problems (like the build system being slow). But there was a significant population who seemed to be naive and/or apathetic to the breadth of the user experience shortcomings. This is totally understandable: the scope of the problem is immense and various people don’t have the perspective, are blinded/biased by personal experience, and/or don’t have the product design or UX experience necessary to comprehend the problem.

      • Release of python-zstandard 0.9

        Zstandard is a highly tunable and therefore flexible compression algorithm with support for modern features such as multi-threaded compression and dictionaries. Its performance is remarkable and if you use it as a drop-in replacement for zlib, bzip2, or other common algorithms, you’ll frequently see more than a doubling in performance.

      • Revisiting Using Docker

        When Docker was taking off like wildfire in 2013, I was caught up in the excitement like everyone else. I remember knowing of the existence of LXC and container technologies in Linux at the time. But Docker seemed to be the first open source tool to actually make that technology usable (a terrific example of how user experience matters).

        At Mozilla, Docker was adopted all around me and by me for various utilities. Taskcluster – Mozilla’s task execution framework geared for running complex CI systems – adopted Docker as a mechanism to run processes in self-contained images. Various groups in Mozilla adopted Docker for running services in production. I adopted Docker for integration testing of complex systems.

      • Extensions in Firefox 61

        Firefox 60 is now in the Release channel, which means that Firefox 61 has moved from Nightly to the Beta channel. As usual, Mozilla engineers and volunteer contributors have been hard at work, landing a number of new and improved WebExtensions API in this Beta release.

        Before getting to the details, though, I’d like to note that the Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge has come to an end. The contest was a huge success and the judges (myself included) were overwhelmed with both the creativity and quality of the entrants. A huge thank you to everyone who submitted an extension to the contest and congratulations to the winners.

      • Enigmail 2.0.4 available – better protection against Efail

        Enigmail now discovers if GnuPG prints a warning message about missing MDC (Modification Detection Code) for old algorithms like CAST5 and treats it like a hard failure. Such a message will no longer be displayed.

  • Databases
    • Built-in Sharding for PostgreSQL

      Built-in sharding is something that many people have wanted to see in PostgreSQL for a long time. It would be a gross exaggeration to say that PostgreSQL 11 (due to be released this fall) is capable of real sharding, but it seems pretty clear that the momentum is building. The capabilities already added are independently useful, but I believe that some time in the next few years we’re going to reach a tipping point. Indeed, I think in a certain sense we already have. Just a few years ago, there was serious debate about whether PostgreSQL would ever have built-in sharding. Today, the question is about exactly which features are still needed.

      If you haven’t followed progress in this area closely, I highly recommend that you read the Built-in Sharding page which my colleague Bruce Momjian wrote up for the PostgreSQL wiki in December of 2016 as well as the very interesting slides which Etsuro Fujita, Kyotaro Horiguchi, Masahiko Sawada, and Amit Langote presented at PGCONF.ASIA 2016. (Note that the atomic commit feature mentioned in that presentation did not make it into PostgreSQL 11.)

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • TDF announces LibreOffice 5.4.7

      The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 5.4.7, the last minor release of the LibreOffice 5.4 family, currently targeted at mainstream users and enterprises.

      TDF suggests deploying LibreOffice in production environments with the backing of certified developers, migrators and trainers (an updated list is available at https://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/professional-support/). This is extremely important for the growth of the LibreOffice ecosystem.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Tarballs, the ultimate container image format

      The tarball format is plain and simple, it’s the one we know and love, and it’s been there “forever” as its name suggests. The tarball that guix pack produces can be readily extracted on another machine, one that doesn’t run Guix, and you’re done. The problem though, is that you’ll need to either unpack the tarball in the root file system or to play tricks with the unshare command, as we saw in the previous post. Why can’t we just extract such a tarball in our home directory and directly run ./opt/gnu/bin/guile for instance?

    • Using GnuCash as a Freelancer to Track Finances and Prepare Taxes

      I don’t own a credit card (by choice), so keeping a close eye on my finances is really important, but I think whether or not you have a credit card, it’s a good idea to track all of your financial transactions.
      It’s really the only way you’ll know what’s coming in and what’s going out. This is a great habit to do even if you don’t have any problems keeping a positive balance – and I would say it’s essential to do if you struggle with debt.
      Luckily I have no debt but I’ve seen a number of people turn around their whole financial situations just by starting to keep a ledger of all of their transactions.

    • Who controls glibc?

      The removal of an old joke from the GNU C Library manual might not seem like the sort of topic that would inspire a heated debate. At times, though, a small action can serve as an inadvertent proxy for a more significant question, one which is relevant to both the developers and the users of the project. In this case, that question would be: how is the project governed and who makes decisions about which patches are applied?

      Toward the end of April, Raymond Nicholson posted a patch to the glibc manual removing a joke that he didn’t think was useful to readers. The joke played on the documentation for abort() to make a statement about US government policy on providing information about abortions. As Nicholson noted: “The joke does not provide any useful information about the abort() function so removing it will not hinder use of glibc”. On April 30, Zack Weinberg applied the patch to the glibc repository.

      Richard Stallman, who added the joke sometime in the 1990s, asked that it not be removed. The resulting discussion touched on a number of issues. Carlos O’Donell, who has been trying hard to resolve the issue with some degree of consensus, suggested that the joke could hurt people who have had bad experiences associated with abortion. He proposed a couple of possible alternatives, including avoiding jokes entirely or discussing such issues in a different forum. Stallman, however, replied that “a GNU manual, like a course in history, is not meant to be a ‘safe space’”. He suggested the possibility of adding a trigger warning about functions that create child processes, since childbirth is “far more traumatic than having an abortion”.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Licenses for data

      The amount of available data is growing larger these days, to the point that some data sets are far larger than any one company or organization can create and maintain. So companies and others want to share data in ways that are similar to how they share code. Some of those companies are members of the Linux Foundation (LF), which is part of why that organization got involved in the process of creating licenses for this data. LF VP of Strategic Programs Mike Dolan came to the 2018 Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW) to describe how the Community Data License Agreement (CDLA) came about.

      The kinds of data affected are for applications like machine learning, blockchains, AI, and open geolocation, he said. Governments, companies, and other organizations want to share their data and the model they want to follow is the one they have learned from open-source software. So the idea behind the CDLA is to share data openly using what has been learned about licensing from decades of sharing source code.

  • Programming/Development
    • LLVM 5.0.2 Released With Spectre Variant Two Mitigation

      For those that haven’t yet upgraded to LLVM 6.0 stable, the long overdue LLVM 5.0.2 is now available.

      LLVM 5.0.2 was due out at the end of March while now at the middle of May this point release has materialized. What makes this new LLVM 5.0 stable update important is that it contains the compiler-side Retpoline support for Spectre Variant Two mitigation. This was already found in LLVM 6.0 and then back-ported to LLVM 5.0 and now available in this latest point release.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • US birth rates drop to lowest since 1987

      Births in the US have dropped to their lowest rate in 30 years, marking a cultural shift as women delay motherhood, experts say.

      Some 3.85 million babies were born in the US in 2017, the fewest since 1987, as births among women in their teens and 20s decreased.

      Both the birth rate – the number of births per thousand – and fertility – a lifetime average forecast – fell.

      Declining birth rates are common as countries become more developed.

      The US fertility rate is lower than the UK’s but the US still has a higher fertility rate than many other countries.

      While births decreased among younger women in the US last year, it rose in women aged between 40 and 44.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Critical Linux Flaw Opens the Door to Full Root Access
    • It has been a bad week for encrypted messaging and it’s only Wednesday

      Also on Monday, a different team of researchers disclosed a vulnerability in the desktop version of the Signal messenger. It allowed attackers to send messages containing malicious HTML and JavaScript that would be executed by the app. Signal developers published a security update on Friday, a few hours after the researchers privately notified them of the vulnerability. On Monday, Signal developers issued a new patch after discovering over the weekend that the first one didn’t fully fix the bug. (The incompleteness of the patch was independently and more-or-less simultaneously found by the researchers.)

    • Purism and Nitrokey Partner to Build Purekey for Purism’s Librem Laptops

      Purism, the social purpose corporation which designs and produces security focused hardware and software, has announced today that they are partnering with Nitrokey, maker of Free Software and Open Hardware USB OpenPGP security tokens and Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) to create Purekey, Purism’s own OpenPGP security token designed to integrate with its hardware and software. Purekey embodies Purism’s mission to make security and cryptography accessible where its customers hold the keys to their own security and follows on the heels of their announcement of a partnership with cryptography pioneer and GnuPG maintainer Werner Koch.

    • Purism Expands Its Linux Hardware Portfolio To Include A USB-Based GPG SmartCard

      If Purism didn’t have their hands full enough already working to further free Linux laptops and their very ambitious project to get their own Linux smartphone software/hardware shipping next year, they have now expanded their portfolio with the Purekey.

    • Purism Partners with Nitrokey to Reinforce the Security of Their Linux Laptops

      Purism, the maker of Linux-powered laptops, announced today that it partners with Nitrokey, a maker of Free Software and Open Hardware USB OpenPGP security tokens and Hardware Security Modules (HSMs), to create a OpenPGP-based security token called Purekey.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • The Rebuilding of Syria

      During visits to Syria in 2016 and 2018, the devastation from years of war was tragically evident. Block after block in central Homs had the bombed out look of post-Second World War Berlin. The Old City and historic Souq of Aleppo was in ruins. Passing the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus, we observed a shell-pocked landscape of ruined and burned out buildings and farms that stretched for miles. In the Palestinian Yarmouk Camp/neighborhood and the southern Damascus suburbs the fighting is still going on between government forces and elements of Daesh (ISIS) and al-Nusra. The result will be comparable devastation after the successful conclusion of combat operations.

      On the other hand, Damascus, modern Aleppo, Hama, Dera’a and the coastal cities of Latakia and Tartus — despite being targeted by rebel mortars and rockets which caused many civilian casualties — have remained largely intact, even as the fighting has taken a steep toll on the exurban neighborhoods and rural towns nearby.

      Less well known is the heavy damage to Syria’s industrial infrastructure, particularly in Aleppo. After 2011 anti-government forces occupied the extensive industrial zone outside the city and proceeded to systematically loot the modern factories. Tens of millions of dollars’ worth of industrial equipment from textile, plastics, chemical and pharmaceutical firms were sold off or simply stolen and shipped across the nearby border to Turkey. What could not be transported easily was destroyed.

    • ‘The Everyday Process of Ethnic Cleansing’

      Diana Buttu is a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and former Palestinian negotiator. On Monday, she and hundreds of other protesters were roughed up and brutalized by a phalanx of heavily armed Israeli security forces as they tried to raise the Palestinian Flag in front of the new Jerusalem-based US Embassy .

      Buttu was outraged as she noted “from video footage we can see that people were shot in the back. Others were shot for carrying tires or for simply walking into these areas. These were individuals who posed no threat whatsoever. Even if they were attempting to cross the border, you don’t use live fire to kill people who are crossing a border.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Ecuador’s former president defends spy operation to protect Julian Assange

      The former president of Ecuador Rafael Correa has defended a multi-million dollar spy operation to protect Julian Assange in the country’s London embassy after an investigation by the Guardian revealed that his government had employed an international security company and undercover agents during much of the Australian’s six-year stay.

    • The UK’s Russia Inquiry Had A Date To Interview Julian Assange. Then The Foreign Office Called.

      The UK inquiry looking into Russia and the Cambridge Analytica scandal had agreed a provisional date for a public interview session with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, before abandoning the plan after a call from the Foreign Office, BuzzFeed News has learned.

      Foreign Office officials called the Digital Culture, Media and Sport committee after learning of the plan to interview Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in a high-profile public forum, according to a well-placed source.

      The closely watched DCMS inquiry, chaired by Conservative MP Damian Collins, was originally set up to look at fake news back in January 2017. But the MPs on the committee have been going down different paths, holding headline-grabbing public sessions with everyone from fake news academics to Brexit whistleblowers to representatives from the US tech giants.

    • Sarah Harrison: “It’s not the journalist’s role to decide what the public can see”

      Sarah Harrison: What was unique about WikiLeaks, was the anonymous dropbox. Because Julian (Assange) came from a technical background and he was able to build – at a time when nobody else could – this technology where a whistleblower could simply submit to the website in an anonymous fashion. Obviously, journalists have been working with sources for many years. But the technology hadn’t been brought to that problem. That was the crux of what made the WikiLeaks organisation different was the technology.

      I was comparing it to that in a vivid image that people can picture of, being able to bring the baby (the documents) to the website which could then ensure that it got to the world and the press and it could survive. It’s one of the achievements of WikiLeaks that that is now a normal thing for many newsrooms to have a dropbox like this, which I think is an excellent development in journalism.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Pew Research Finds Broad Bi-Partisan Support For Solar Power In US

      he latest Pew poll finds an astonishing difference in opinion between Republicans and Democrats about climate change and protecting the environment. Overall, two thirds of Americans say the government is not doing enough to reduce the effects of global climate change. 19% say the government is doing “about the right amount” with another 13% saying “too much” is being done.

      But the findings between Republicans and Democrats reveal a sharp divide between the two groups. Almost 90% of Democrats believe the federal government is not doing enough to protect key aspects of the environment such as air and water quality but few Republicans agree.

      Specifically, 89% of Democrats say the federal government isn’t doing enough to protect air quality. Only 26% of Republicans say the same thing. On the subject of water quality, 91% of Democrats say the federal government isn’t doing enough compared with 39% of Republicans.

  • Finance
    • Infrastructure built our middle class and now we must build it yet again

      It is hard to imagine our country without our iconic pieces of American transportation infrastructure.

    • 5 Unexpected Ways The 1990s Were Different From Today
    • Federal Watchdog Launches Investigation of Age Bias at IBM

      The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has launched a nationwide probe of age bias at IBM in the wake of a ProPublica investigation showing the company has flouted or outflanked laws intended to protect older workers from discrimination.

      More than five years after IBM stopped providing legally required disclosures to older workers being laid off, the EEOC’s New York district office has begun consolidating individuals’ complaints from across the country and asking the company to explain practices recounted in the ProPublica story, according to ex-employees who’ve spoken with investigators and people familiar with the agency’s actions.

      “Whenever you see the EEOC pulling cases and sending them to investigations, you know they’re taking things seriously,” said the agency’s former general counsel, David Lopez. “I suspect IBM’s treatment of its later-career workers and older applicants is going to get a thorough vetting.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • NYT Edit Board Are Last Humans on Earth Who Believe US Neutral in Israel/Palestine Conflict

      The fact that the United States favors Israel in its decades-long “conflict” with the Palestinians is not a subjective or abstract question; it’s a well-established empirical fact. The US gives over $3 billion a year in military aid to Israel (more than the US spends on aid for the last seven countries it’s bombed combined), and defends it from sanction almost uniformly at the UN Security Council. Israel’s support from the US Congress borders on sycophantic. The US, on the other hand, gives no military aid to Palestine, and opposes resolutions that even acknowledge Palestine exists—much less support its resistance to Israeli occupation. The US gives some aid to the Israeli-approved and corrupt Palestinian Authority, but this largely serves to buy off the docile and unpopular PA.

      [...]

      It’s difficult to imagine any of the seemingly knowledgeable and healthy adults at the Times editorial board actually thinking the US has been “neutral” in its dealings with Israel and Palestine. Perhaps not 100 percent lockstep. Perhaps sometimes pushing back against the most right-wing elements in Israel. But “neutral”? It flies in the face of decades of evidence to the contrary.

      This isn’t the first time the New York Times has played the part of a kindergartener finding out Santa Claus isn’t real. As FAIR noted last December (12/30/17), Times reporter Mark Landler used the specter of Trump to totally whitewash America’s aggressive and violent past, in a manner that crosses from jingoistic to outright goofy…

    • Morning mail: European council president condemns ‘capricious’ Trump

      The threat posed by Donald Trump’s administration has been likened to that of China and Russia by the European council president, Donald Tusk, as he condemned the US’s withdrawal from the Iran deal and the rising threat of a transatlantic trade war. Tusk offered a withering commentary on the chaotic US administration, saying: “We are witnessing today a new phenomenon: the capricious assertiveness of the American administration. Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, some could even think, ‘With friends like that, who needs enemies?’”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Dismal state of academic freedom in Turkey described by HRW

      Turkey’s universities are experiencing a period of self-censorship and a lack of academic freedom as hundreds of academic staff face prosecution and thousands more have lost their jobs, international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report it published on Monday.

    • Facebook Releases First-Ever Community Standards Enforcement Report

      For the first time, Facebook has published detailed information about how it enforces its own community standards. On Tuesday, the company announced the release of its Community Standards Enforcement Preliminary Report, covering enforcement efforts between October 2017 and March 2018 in six areas: graphic violence, adult nudity and sexual activity, terrorist propaganda, hate speech, spam, and fake accounts.

      Facebook follows YouTube in releasing content enforcement numbers; last month, the video-sharing platform put out its first transparency report on community guidelines enforcement, showing the total number of videos taken down, the percentage of videos removed after being flagged by automated tools, and other details.

    • Leading Israeli Playwright Faces ‘Censorship’ At Home

      Joshua Sobol claims that his latest play, ‘The Last Act,’ was the subject of a political witch hunt. Joshua Sobol is one of Israel’s leading playwrights, having also achieved worldwide notoriety with his 1984 offering “Ghetto,” a poignant look…

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Publishers need to stop using insecure HTTP

      Academic publishers play a major role in the dissemination of scholarly information. As a society, we need to be able to rely on these publishers to provide information securely, accurately, and with content integrity. We also want to ensure that our personal information (e.g., a site password) is secure, and scholarly publishers have a responsibility to the community to protect our data.

      I’ve been surprised how often scholarly publishers’ pages are published as HTTP, which (unlike HTTPS) doesn’t encrypt data in transit. Implementing HTTPS has become much easier with initiatives such as Let’s Encrypt and Certbot (but I recognize legacy systems can make it more difficult).

    • Mark Zuckerberg to appear before European parliament

      The Facebook founder’s decision to meet MEPs will be seen as a snub to the UK parliament. British MPs have asked him to appear to explain the company’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal where the personal data of tens of millions of people was used without their permission.

    • Zuckerberg Agrees to EU Parliament Grilling Over Data Scandal
    • EFF Asks FBI, DOJ To Turn Over Details On Thousands Of Locked Phones The FBI Seems Uninterested In Cracking

      The FBI’s growing number of uncracked phones remains a mystery. The agency claims it has nearly 8,000 phones in its possession which it can’t get into, despite multiple vendors offering services that can allegedly crack any iPhone and countless Android devices.

      The push for mandated backdoors and/or weakened encryption continues, with successive FBI heads (James Comey, Chris Wray) declaring public safety is being threatened by the agency’s locked phone stockpile. This push seems doubly insincere given a recent Inspector General’s report, which revealed agency officials slow-walked the search for a third-party solution to unlock a phone belonging to the San Bernardino shooter.

      Legislators have taken notice of the FBI’s disingenuous push for a legislative mandate. Back in April, a group of lawmakers sent a letter to the FBI asking what it was actually doing to access the contents of its growing collection of locked phones and why it insisted there were no other options when it was apparent vendors were offering phone-cracking solutions.

    • EFF to New York Appellate Court: No Warrantless Searches of Devices at the Border

      In a month of court victories for travelers’ digital privacy, EFF continues its legal fight for Fourth Amendment rights at the border. We filed an amicus brief yesterday, along with the ACLU and NYCLU, urging a New York State appellate court to rule that border agents need a probable cause warrant to search the electronic devices of people at international airports and other border crossings.

      We asked the court to rule that the extremely strong and unprecedented privacy interests we have in the massive amount of highly sensitive information stored and accessible on electronic devices is protected under the Constitution. This is our eighth amicus brief in a case where border agents have conducted warrantless searches of travelers’ phones or laptops at the border. For too long, federal agents have treated the border as a Constitution-free zone, searching travelers without individualized suspicion that they have committed a crime. This must stop.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Company used by police, prisons to find any mobile device breached (again)

      Since the application is Web based and the website allows “Anywhere, anytime access to all system controls” for the Securus call system, the usernames and passwords could conceivably be used to gain access to not just device location data but prisoner phone records and other sensitive data. A previous breach at Securus reported by The Intercept exposed data on 70 million recorded prisoner phone calls, including calls between prisoners and their attorneys.

    • Congressional Members Decide It’s Time To Make Assaulting A Police Officer A Federal Hate Crime

      It’s apparently time for a legislative update to The War on Cops. Apropos of nothing, legislators from both sides of Congress have flung some more “cops are more equal than others” legislation into the ring. Senators Orrin Hatch and Heidi Heitkamp have joined their House counterparts in attempting to make any crime against a police officers a hate crime.

    • AT&T Mobility Fired Me for Being Pregnant

      Demerit-based attendance policies discriminate against pregnant women.

      When I found out I was pregnant in the fall of 2014, I was so grateful to have a job with AT&T Mobility. My husband and I both worked as sales representatives at the company’s store in Elkhart, Ind. Our jobs provided us a stable, comfortable life that we looked forward to sharing with our son. We made $14 an hour, plus commission, and AT&T Mobility provided generous benefits that included paid maternity leave. We both loved our jobs and looked forward to fulfilling sales careers with the company.

      But that hope evaporated as my pregnancy progressed. I had severe nausea that wasn’t just “morning sickness.” I felt sick nearly all the time and had trouble sleeping. In my second and third trimesters, things got even worse, and I developed cholestasis, a disabling liver condition characterized by intense itching all over the body. These difficulties meant that I occasionally was late for my shift, or needed to stay home, and that I had to visit my doctor more often.

      These symptoms were scary and stressful on their own. I never dreamed that they also would cost me my job.

    • ACLU Client Makes History As First Air Force JAG Corps Officer to Wear Hijab

      ACLU applauds Air Force for respecting religious freedom.

      When Lt. Maysaa Ouza began her first assignment as an officer in the Air Force’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps earlier this month, it was a historic moment. Lt. Ouza, a recent law school graduate, became the first Air Force JAG Corps officer authorized to wear hijab. Before she enlisted, the Air Force granted her a religious accommodation allowing her to wear hijab during basic and officer training and in her role as chief of legal advice at Scott Air Force Base. The groundbreaking development was a long time in the making.

      Lt. Ouza always knew that she wanted to serve her country. As the daughter of immigrants, she was called to give back by defending the very freedoms and liberties that have afforded her and her family so many opportunities.

      When Lt. Ouza was in law school and began investigating her options for military service, however, there was one potential obstacle: her hijab. For Lt. Ouza, the practice of covering her hair and neck by wearing hijab reflects a core tenet of her Muslim faith. She believes that being forced to remove the head covering is humiliating and no different than being compelled to strip in front of others.

    • Home Office grants visa to student in U-turn after ‘distressing’ visit

      In an unexpected U-turn, the Home Office has granted a visa to a woman it had previously classified as an immigration offender, just 24 hours after video footage of a distressing dawn raid on her home was published by the Guardian.

      Zixuan Qu, 29, who submitted an application to extend her student visa over four years ago, has been granted leave to remain in the UK for a further five years.

      For the past four years, the Home Office has been sitting on her application, and has held her passport, preventing her from going back to China to visit her grandparents, who brought her up. She was forced to cancel her wedding because she was unable to register the marriage without a passport.

    • Brown v. Board Made It to 64. But How Much Longer Will It Survive?

      It’s been 64 years this week since Brown v. Board Of Education began charting a new course for public schools and race in America. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court struck down the dishonest doctrine of “separate but equal” and exposed the white supremacy that lay beneath it.

      Yet, the celebration this year is muted by a fresh sense of uncertainty. The sanctity of the landmark decision that helped ensure Black children’s full and equal access to participation in American society is increasingly under attack in the courts, in government, and in the private sphere.

    • Congress Wants More Protections for Cops While Ignoring Police Reform

      An “empty gesture” — that is the term that Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Democrat from New York, used to describe H.R. 5698, the Protect and Serve Act of 2018, which creates a new federal crime for targeting law enforcement officers.

      “There is no profession more widely protected under federal and state law than working in law enforcement,” Nadler continued as the U.S. House Judiciary Committee considered the bill last week on the eve of Police Week. Protect and Serve, he said, is a “one-sided approach that presents the strong risk of creating a perception of bias against community-based policing concerns.”

      So how did this bill pass the U.S. House of Representatives this week by a vote of 382 to 35? And how did it pass with the support of some of its critics in Congress?

    • A Tale of Two Tortures

      It was with some disbelief that I read of two torture-related stories emerging around the same time last week. The first was about the legal victory of Abdul Hakim Belhaj, Libyan dissident, kidnap victim of MI6 and the CIA, and torture victim of Colonel Gaddafi. UK governmental apologies were finally made and reparation paid. For once justice was seen to be done and the use of torture condemned.

      Meanwhile, across the pond last week the reverse side of the same coin was on full disgusting display. Our American chums are in the process of attempting to appoint an alleged notorious torturer as the head of the CIA.

      While nominee Gina Haspel had soft-ball questions lobbed at her by a tame pack of senators at her confirmation hearing, retired CIA senior analyst, former presidential briefer, and now justice activist, Ray McGovern, stood up and said what the Senators knew, but would not say: namely that she supervised — directly, on site — the waterboarding of Al Nashiri, who had been kidnapped and brought to the first secret CIA prison abroad (in Thailand) for “interrogation.” McGovern was dragged out by four burly police, thrown to the ground, and injured when additional police piled on. Here is a link to the video of this assault.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Senate Approves First Step In Uphill Effort To Restore Net Neutrality

      As noted previously, net neutrality advocates managed to convince Congress to try and use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reverse the FCC’s misleadingly-named “Restoring Internet Freedom Order.”

      That order, approved by a 3-2 FCC vote last December, not only kills net neutrality (as of June 11), but eliminates much of the FCC’s authority to police monopoly ISPs. Since many still don’t seem to understand this, it’s worth reiterating that the attack on net neutrality is just one part of a much broader plan to severely hamstring FTC, FCC, and state oversight of giant broadband monopolies that face little to no organic market competition.

      Today’s hearing before the Senate included all of the favorite hits culled from a decade of net neutrality debates, including ISP-loyal lawmakers like John Thune repeating the entirely false claim that net neutrality rules somehow devastated sector investment (SEC filings, earnings reports, and countless CEO statements disprove this). Claims that U.S. net neutrality rules were “heavy handed government regulation of the internet” were also frequently repeated (that’s also not true, and the U.S. rules are arguably modest by international standards).

    • ‘Most Americans Say They Want Protections for the Open Internet’

      All social justice fights intersect in some way. But net neutrality is the definition of a keystone issue: The policy protects the space in which to discuss and debate and organize all the other fights, the means to talk around the legacy media gatekeepers—the ones who tell you that killing people in other countries to force them to change their elected leadership is reasonable, but providing healthcare for everyone is outrageous.

      In a sort of slow-motion trainwreck, the Trump FCC—led by former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai—moved to dismantle net neutrality protections only recently won. Millions of people voiced their strong opposition, but were overruled—while Pai and his agency produced a truly bizarre video of him doing a smug victory dance to show off to a bunch of industry lobbyists.

    • Update on Fight for Net Neutrality in U.S. – Senate votes to save net neutrality, now it’s up to the House

      We’re pleased this resolution passed – it’s a huge step, but the battle to protect net neutrality and reinstate the 2015 rules isn’t over. The next step is for the motion to go to the House of Representatives for a vote before the order is supposed to go into effect on June 11. Unfortunately, the rules in the House will make passage much harder than in the Senate; at this point, it’s not clear when, or if, there will be a vote there.

      We will continue to fight for net neutrality in every way possible as we try to protect against erosion into a discriminatory internet, with ultimately a far worse experience for any users and businesses who don’t pay more for special treatment.

    • This Is Ajit Pai, Nemesis of Net Neutrality
    • Senate Votes to Save Net Neutrality, but Hurdles Remain

      Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) crossed the aisle to defend net neutrality in what was otherwise a party-line vote. The final tally was 52–47. Collins had announced her support for the proposal in January, but Murkowski and Kennedy didn’t announce their positions in advance of the vote.

    • Net neutrality advocates gain symbolic win as Senate votes to save Obama rules

      But resolution requires passage in House and Trump’s signature – an unlikely outcome before FCC’s repeal goes into effect in June

    • Senate votes to reinstate net neutrality — but it has a long way to go

      In order for net neutrality to actually be reinstated, two more things have to happen. First, the House has to use the CRA to overturn the policy as well. That’s even harder. Instead of 30 signatures, net neutrality supporters have to collect signatures from a full majority of House members. Even if they get every single Democrat on board — and they don’t have that yet — they’d still need the support of 22 Republicans. And finally, if that happened and they all voted to reverse the policy, it’d still have to get signed by President Trump, who is not a fan of the policy.

    • The Senate Voted to Stand Up for Net Neutrality, Now Tell the House to Do the Same

      The Senate has voted to restore the 2015 Open Internet Order and reject the FCC’s attempt to gut net neutrality. This is a great first step, but now the fight moves to the House of Representatives.

      The final Senate vote was 52 to 47 in favor. That puts a bare majority of the Senate in step with the 86% of Americans who oppose the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality protections.

      Net neutrality means that the company that controls your access to the Internet should not also control what you see and how quickly you see it once you’re there. We pay our ISPs plenty of money for Internet access, they shouldn’t have the ability to block or throttle any application or website we choose to use or visit. And they shouldn’t get to charge extra to deliver some content faster while slowing down others or get to prioritize their own content over that of competitors.

    • As Intermediary Liability Is Under Attack, Stanford Releases Updated Tool To Document The State Of Play Globally

      We’ve spent many years talking about the issue of intermediary liability on the internet. While the term is one that nearly everyone agrees sounds boring as anything, it’s incredibly important in protecting your rights to express yourself online. The key issue is who is liable for speech that is posted online. The common sense reaction should be that “the speaker” is responsible for any speech they make online. However, for reasons I still don’t full comprehend, many, many, many people would prefer that the site hosting the speech should be liable. In many cases, this might not seem to matter. But it can actually matter quite a bit for absolutely everyone. While most speech is perfectly legal, there remain some exceptions (including copyright, defamation, true threats and more).

      And while some people think that those exceptions are narrow enough that pinning liability on websites shouldn’t be a big deal, that’s not true in practice. Because if you say that the website (the intermediary or platform) is liable for the speech, then merely making an accusation of illegality in the speech has a high likelihood of censorship of protected speech. That’s because most platforms will take down speech that is reported in an attempt to avoid potentially crippling legal liability. Indeed, in many cases, platforms are then pressured (either by law or threat of laws or legal action) to pre-filter or moderate certain content just to avoid even the possibility of legal liability.

    • Comcast Found To Be Charging $90 Installation Fees At Homes Where Comcast Is Already In Use

      Any review of our ongoing coverage of Comcast will leave you with the impression that the mega-company is almost perfectly terrible at customer service, seems only interested in growing as large as possible as quickly as possible while tamping down anything resembling the potential for competition in its market, and has done everything in its power to kill net neutrality on top of it all. While many might believe that Comcast is getting killed by the same cord-cutting epoch causing so many others in the entertainment space to reach for the Tums, we recently noted that the cable company is actually still raking in money hand over fist. This is done, at least in part, by the company’s subtle strategy of simply upping what they charge customers for internet services.

    • Charter Uses Net Neutrality Repeal To Claim States Can’t Hold It Accountable For Shoddy Service, Failed Promises

      While people remain exclusively fixated on the telecom industry’s attacks on net neutrality, the reality is companies like Comcast, Charter, AT&T and Verizon are busy trying to eliminate nearly all federal and state oversight of their businesses. And while deregulation has its uses in healthy markets as part of an effort to protect innovation, you may have noticed that the telecom market isn’t particularly healthy. As such, the end result of eliminating most meaningful regulatory oversight without organic market pressure in place is only likely to make existing problems worse.

      This battle is getting particularly heated on the state level. After the Trump administration dismantled net neutrality and consumer privacy protections, states began flexing their muscle and attempting to pass their own privacy and net neutrality rules. ISP lobbyists, in turn, tried to head those efforts off at the pass by lobbying the FCC to include (legally untested) language in its net neutrality repeal “pre-empting” states from being able to protect broadband consumers in the wake of federal apathy.

      And in the wake of the net neutrality repeal, companies like Charter (Spectrum) are trying to claim that states have no legal authority to hold them accountable for failed promises, slow speeds, or much of anything else.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Lenovo, the Chinese giant that plays by the rules … and loses

      The war of words between the US and China over trade has many subtexts, but treatment of intellectual property (IP) is a major factor. Donald Trump believes that the world’s second-largest economy gains an unfair advantage over its main rival due to an overly aggressive and sometimes underhand approach to IP – the patents and copyrights that underpin big tech, manufacturing and creative breakthroughs.

      So what happens when China plays the game fairly and buys American IP to gain a foothold in the world’s biggest economy? In the case of Lenovo, one of China’s biggest tech firms, doing so has been no guarantee of success. The Beijing-based company has bought three respected US tech businesses since 2005: IBM’s PC arm and low-cost server unit, and Motorola smartphones. None of them has worked out.

    • Sex, Death, and Intellectual Property

      This paper makes two main contributions. First, it shows that IP often provides an effective tool for managing personal and social boundaries and as a result reinforces autonomy, community, and kinship among the diverse group of individuals who become rights holders. Individuals are using the old tools of IP to tackle a new and different set of socioeconomic challenges. Second, as a normative matter, it argues that IP provides some important practical and conceptual advantages over other legal responses to sexual privacy and family mourning. IP delegates context-sensitive boundary-management decisions to individuals, families, and communities—as opposed to more top-down criminal or regulatory solutions—and can be transferred within communities and across generations—as opposed to more individualized tort and contract solutions. Although undeniably a break from traditional theory, IP can be a useful means of legally responding to emergent cultural vulnerabilities.

    • Trademarks
      • Dr Dre loses trademark battle with gynaecologist Dr Drai

        Rapper and music mogul Dr Dre has lost a dispute over his name, after he tried to prevent gynaecologist Draion M Burch from trademarking the name Dr Drai.

        As well as practising gynaecological and obstetric medicine, Burch is the author of books including 20 Things You May Not Know About the Vagina, and is a public speaker on women’s health issues.

        Dre, real name Andre Young, argued the public would be confused at the similarity of the names; Burch argued there would be no such confusion “because Dr Dre is not a medical doctor nor is he qualified to provide any type of medical services or sell products specifically in the medical or healthcare industry”.

    • Copyrights
      • Copyright Once Again Hiding Important Cultural Artifacts

        And lest you think this is a small problem, I’ll point again to the research of Paul Heald, who has documented the giant hole in our culture created by lengthy copyright terms. Public domain works published prior to 1923 are available. Works in the last few years tends to remain available. Works from the many, many, many decades in between?

      • Music Modernization Act gathers momentum in Senate

        On May 15, singers and songwriters including Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, Darlene Love and Josh Kear urged the judiciary committee to support the copyright reform. Senators demonstrated their support by incorporating their favourite lyrics into their comments.

        [...]

        Every time I see that image again, I am dismayed about what it says about our culture, and how little supporters of our existing copyright system seem to care about what copyright is doing to our culture. Supporters of the existing system regularly exclaim how they are the ones who support culture and creators with their views on extensive copyright protections, yet they run away and hide when people point out things like this, where copyright gets in the way of culture, locks it up and (unfortunately) sometimes throws away the key completely.

      • Sweden Cancels Agreement With Elsevier Over Open Access

        A collection of Swedish universities and research institutions will not renew its current contract with Elsevier that expires at the end of June, Times Higher Education reports today (May 16). The move comes not long after academic institutions in other countries have let publishers’ subscriptions lapse when fee negotiations come to an impasse.

      • Internet Association Blasts MPAA’s ‘Crony Politics’

        The Internet Association, an industry group that consists of several large technology companies, has lashed out against the MPAA. In a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, they accuse Hollywood’s main lobbying group of using the Facebook scandal for “rent seeking” and “crony politics” to further its own interests.

      • Roku Displays FBI Anti-Piracy Warning to Legitimate YouTube & Netflix Users

        Legitimate users of the Roku platform were greeted by an ominous message over the past few hours when accessing official channels including YouTube and Netflix. An FBI warning, which advised that “unauthorized copying is punishable under federal law”, noted that the channels had been removed due to repeated claims of copyright infringement.

Today’s EPO Financially Rewards Abuses and Violations of the Law

Techrights - Thursday 17th of May 2018 04:45:39 PM

“This just confirms that EPO employees have no rights, and management is not held accountable for its behaviour. And the Admin council, who could/should hold management accountable, is silent.”Anonymous

Summary: Battistelli shredded the European Patent Convention (EPC) to pieces and he is being rewarded for it, perpetuating a pattern of abuses (and much worse) being rewarded by the European Patent Organisation

BACK in March we wrote about the President of the EPO receiving a massive bonus for destroying the institution, reducing it to intellectual rubble which repels talent and literally rewards frauds or charlatans.

Should it be surprising at all that Battistelli is being rewarded? Even amid scandals like shipping of EPO money to his other employer? Will he be held accountable belatedly like Nicolas Sarkozy? He’s nearly 70 — probably a lot older than any of the wines in his collection.

Considering the latest spin from Team UPC and the upcoming keynote speech at an IAM event, Battistelli does have its share of supporters; they’re patent extremists and people whom he pays (from the EPO’s budget). He is to them what Donald Trump is to many of his supporters; the lies and the abuses don’t seem to matter to them as long as he serves some of their agenda, e.g. UPC and an abundance of low-quality patent grants. Notice how almost no law firm speaks out against him (except sometimes, albeit under conditions of anonymity). To give an example from yesterday, Shrey Pathak from Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP is still perpetuating this trend of Finnegan puff pieces for EPO decisions/policies. Finnegan works together with IAM towards patent maximalism and yesterday it wrote:

Once a patent is granted by the European Patent Office (EPO), it becomes a bundle of national patents. As a result when looking to amend a European patent after grant, despite attempts to harmonise national patent laws and practice, different countries may have different requirements as well as fees for making changes to the patent in those states.

The revision of the European Patent Convention (EPC) in December 2007 introduced Article 105a EPC and a relatively quick, cost effective and straightforward centralised procedure at the EPO to amend a European patent in all validated states after grant. In this respect the patentee may limit the scope of their European patent at any given time after grant, except when the patent is being opposed or appealed at the EPO.

Well, the European Patent Convention (EPC) no longer applies at the EPO; we’ve covered more examples than we can remember wherein Battistelli violated the EPC without any consequences. Even the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation did not seem to mind. They’re complicit.

Recently, staff representatives repeated their request for transparency, not demanding but politely asking to know why (and how much) Battistelli is being rewarded for his bad behaviour. Somebody sent the letter to us (it is an “Open Letter”) and we’re reproducing it below:

Date: 04.05.2018

OPEN LETTER

Governance and transparency

Dear Mr Battistelli,

The EPO is an international organisation at the heart of the patent system and (self-) financed by fees from applicants. With the introduction of the new career system the grades for EPO management were adjusted upwards for higher salaries and bonuses and functional allowances were introduced. Until last year functional allowances were not foreseen for managers and the award of individual bonuses for higher management was strongly denied. Not only has the possibility for functional allowances been opened for managers, the previous cap at the equivalent of two steps was considerably increased to two monthly salaries1. We have always argued against such additional rewards particularly for higher management who are already quite comfortably served with their high incomes. Requests for more transparency in the reward exercises of the past years have been ignored, such that the application of any rewards remains quite opaque to this day.

Different sources lead us to understand that in its March meeting the Administrative Council (AC) has approved an extraordinary bonus of some 600.000 Euro to be paid to you, Mr Battistelli. We are not aware of that bonus featuring on the agenda of the last AC meeting, nor are we aware of any consultation of the Budget and Finance Committee. It is unclear from which budget that bonus will be or has been paid and we would appreciate if reassurances would be given that it did not come out of the envelope earmarked for this year’s reward exercise, as it does not appear to have been exhausted yet with some 6,8m EUR not allocated2.

The Central Bureau of SUEPO has to date not received an answer to its request by letter (su14137cl) of 5 June 2014 for making your employment conditions public. For such additional benefit to simply and quietly materialise would appear not to be foreseen in the key elements of the EPO President’s contract (CA/186/09), officially published “in the interests of good governance and transparency”, and “with narrow scope for negotiation”.

Bonuses are frowned upon in the civil service. Rumours of extraordinary or individual bonuses have been circulating for members of senior management for this and the past years. The award of such a very substantial additional benefit in your case will be seen as inappropriate for an international organisation like ours and feed the perception that a self-service mentality lives at the EPO. If that bonus should have been argued on the grounds of the Office’s exceptional performance, then surely staff have provided that basis. Many users of the patent system will question whether that bonus is justified when reviewing your actions during your presidency3.

We feel that it is long overdue for you to provide full clarity “in the interests of good governance and transparency”.

Yours sincerely,
Joachim Michels
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

cc: Mr Christoph Ernst, Chairman of the AC
____
1 manager rewards increases:
as of 2015: new career: for managers about up to 20% higher salary in first step. End salary reachable in extreme cases about 6 times faster – enabling to reach it within 3 years

as of 2017: functional allowance: up to 16% of basic salary December 2017: injection into SSP, advantage of about 10x by management to staff in
lower grades

spring 2018: individual / extraordinary bonus: €600k; equivalent to about 222% of yearly basic salary

2 May we suggest that the funds are turned into pensionable rewards for those who helped you look good – staff?

3 See for instance the poll by Juve: 87% criticise the low appreciation for staff; 71% the excessive emphasis on efficiency.

The letter referred to above is 4 years old and we’re reproducing it below as well:

Munich 05.06.2014

Transparency on your earnings

Dear Mr Battistelli,

European citizens demand today the highest level of transparency and accountability not only from institutions and organisations operating in Europe, but also from the leaders who manage them.

You have served as the head of the European Patent Office for almost four years. We understand you actively seek an extension of your current mandate which ends in June 2015.

Since you have regularly claimed to be a strong supporter of openness and transparency, we are sure that you will not object to disclosing information which has so far been kept under wraps and respond to the list of questions provided in the Annex.

SUEPO kindly requests full and frank disclosure, with clear answers to all the questions by close of business on 17 June 2014.

If no satisfactory answers are received, SUEPO will have to take appropriate steps and inform the public accordingly.

We copy the delegations of the Administrative Council for information.

Yours sincerely,

On behalf of SUEPO Central:
J. Michels
Chair SUEPO Central

D. Dickinson
Vice Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Vienna

W. Manntz
Vice Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Berlin

E. Hardon
Vice Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Munich

A. Rose
Vice Chairman SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO The Hague

cc.: Representatives of Administrative Council delegations

ANNEX: LIST OF QUESTIONS TO Mr BATTISTELLI.

1. How much does your salary including allowances and other benefits amount to each month, both gross and net of tax?

2. Have you received any additional financial benefits, e.g. bonuses, entertainment allowance or use of services and facilities since you joined the Office. If so: are these benefits defined in your contract with the EPO; what are the amounts; and what are the performance conditions attached to their award?

3. Does your contract with the EPO foresee an end-of-contract bonus? If so: is it conditioned to any achieved goal or performance?

4. Does your contract with the EPO foresee a pension to be paid by the organisation? If so, what is the basis for the calculation and the amount (gross and net of tax)? Are there conditions attached to the payment?

5. Did you receive any income or expenses for your position as an associate mayor of St. Germain-en-Laye after taking up your mandate as President of the EPO (from July 2010)? Following recent municipal elections in March 2014, do you continue to receive any payment for your new position of “conseiller municipal”?

6. Do you receive a pension from the French State, as a former civil servant? If so, how much is it each month, again gross and net of tax?

We don’t expect Battistelli to ever willingly disclose these figures/facts (it’s like asking Trump for his tax returns), but we certainly hope that one day he will be held accountable for what he did at the EPO and his ‘bulldog’ from Croatia will be held accountable for what he did in the Croatian SIPO. No person in this world should be above the law. The EPO seems to have become a harbour for abusers in need of immunity; Battistelli took it a step further and made it somewhat of a mental asylum.

So-Called ‘System Battistelli’ is Destroying the EPO, Warn Insiders

Techrights - Thursday 17th of May 2018 04:05:30 PM


Source: “European Patent Office Attacks its Examination Backlog”

Summary: Low-quality patent grants by the EPO are a road to nowhere but a litigious climate in Europe and an unattractive EPO

THE EPO never had as many patents as the USPTO granted (e.g. per year or totals), but that is not a bad thing. What matters is the goodness of patents, not the number (quality over quantity). But Battistelli is currently just printing patents like a lunatic at the spigot. He clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing and having surrounded himself by “yes men” (mostly French, many former colleagues) nobody will tell him just how crazy he is. What do they care? They participate in the destruction and they profit while it lasts.

Someone has just passed to us a new document which circulates around the EPO and warns about what Battistelli is doing. We’ve decided to reproduce it below.

MORE and MORE, but NEVER ENOUGH

Examining staff in Principal Directorate HBC recently received a communiqué1 that started with:

“HBC strives to deliver consistently high qualitative and quantitative output, i.e. an output which is in line with the agreed2 objectives.

After 4 months, I can report that we are well on target with respect to our qualitative goals3 – well done and thank you for this. However, at this very moment HBC as a whole is behind in view of the set production objectives with approx. 3.8% which means approx. 1.900 SEO products.”

What follows is yet another call to make an extra effort and produce more “to achieve the common goal in what we call “to be green in June””.

Similar calls are made in the other technical areas. But: why, how, and what for? And more importantly: what next?

Why?

Battistelli has claimed record performances for many years, both financially and in terms of production/productivity. The EPO is currently making an operational surplus (“profit”) of well over a million EUR/calendar day. It is sitting on an over 2 billion cash reserve. It seems that the EPO’s search backlog has all but vanished. Its examination back-log has been greatly reduced.

So why are examiners being whipped to do even more?

How?

In the recent years, Mr Battistelli has already used every means at his disposal to increase examiner4 productivity. Among the more controversial measures by Mr Battistelli are:

- a new reporting system solely based on annual production, thereby excluding staff members who have a significant period of sick leave, who take maternity leave (!), or who work part-time from any form of career advancement or other rewards.

- use of the electronic file cabinet to oblige examiners to prioritise “easy” files , e.g. files that only have “A” documents,

- the suppression of time made available for non-examining tasks (examining staff are asked to do such “work packages” in addition to their normal duties, in return for a modest financial reward,

- the suppression of time for company visits (examining staff is asked to take annual leave),

- the suppression of (time for) training,

- the suppression of leave days, including national holidays,

- refusal of part-time, parental leave or even annual leave,

- reduction of time available for staff representation to less than half.

The above-mentioned Communiqué explicitly calls for staff “to take their our responsibility (sic) in maximizing presence in the office during the months May and June and to contribute to the best possible output.” It also talks about part-timers who “express the readiness to temporarily return to 100% full time” (question: just for May and June?). But otherwise the Communiqué brings no new ideas.

What for?

Mr Kober, one of our previous Presidents, at some point called for a one-off increase in productivity. When the objective was achieved, all staff in the Office was rewarded with a bonus, on top of the normal step advancements and promotions. In other years staff was rewarded for the good results with one or two days extra leave. Under Mr Battistelli, staff lost days of leave. And it was “rewarded” for its record-breaking performances with a new career system that suppressed step advancements and promotions for a majority of staff. That makes us worry what “reward” will be in store for staff should it reach Mr Battistelli’s mid-year targets.

What next?

Probably the most important question now is: what will come next? Mr Battistelli will leave his successor an exhausted and demoralised work-force, not only in DG1 (now examiners and formalities officers) but all around the Office, and a stock from which the “easy” files have already been picked, together with an Administrative Council that has been mesmerised by “record-breaking” results achieved using sweatshop management practices.

Mr Campinos will have to choose how to continue: either trying to outperform those results or else returning to a more realistic and sustainable management policy. We hope that he will chose wisely.
___
1 Communiqué HBC 03 May 2018
2 There are no longer any agreed objectives. The following paragraph more correctly refers to set production objectives.
3 Presumably « timeliness ».
4 Patent Administration expected to follow the pace despite a serious shortage of staff

They neglect to mention that ‘stock’ is running out, which probably means layoffs or grossly under-worked staff.

Rise in Patent Trolls’ Activity in Germany Noted Amid Declining Patent Quality at the EPO

Techrights - Thursday 17th of May 2018 03:22:15 PM

And even without/before something like the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is introduced to augment their scope of damage

Summary: The UPC would turn Europe into some sort of litigation ‘super-state’ — one in which national patent laws are overridden by some central, immune-from-the-law bureaucracy like the EPO; but thankfully the UPC continues its slow collapse

BATTISTELLI has failed miserably as head of the European Patent Office (EPO), which he ran a lot longer than usual and then left in the hands of a fellow Frenchman, whose appointment he lobbied for. Here we are in 2018 and there’s no Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the European Patent Convention (EPC) is severely violated. The EPO is a pariah institution unable to attract any talent and Britain seems to be moving away from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), rendering the UPC moot. As for Germany, seeing violations of the EPC (big part of the constitutional complaint), it can’t go on; do not expect it to ratify anything. It will just hope that people forget about the whole thing while it rots away. They won’t want to admit culpability, including 'banana republic' German politics at 2 AM in the morning (we covered this utterly embarrassing episode several times before and Bristows deliberately mischaracterised it time after time).

“They won’t want to admit culpability, including ‘banana republic’ German politics at 2 AM in the morning (we covered this utterly embarrassing episode several times before and Bristows deliberately mischaracterised it time after time).”Bristows’s latest UPC propaganda (for the first time in weeks) came out thrice in one day. That was yesterday. Nothing from Germany, which is where the main question/barrier lies, just some fluff about the Preparatory Committee, the Hungarian political/court system, and also the Bulgarian one. Those countries don’t really matter to the fate of the UPC; it’s France, Germany and the UK that matter because their signature is imperative. Britain cannot participate and Germany may take a number of years to decide on the constitutional complaint, so don’t expect any developments in this space any time soon. Battistelli is leaving next month. Even IAM, which his PR firm paid for UPC promotion, no longer seems to believe that UPC will ever materialise. Hours ago it wrote from an IAM-run event covering UPC among other things (patents in cars): “UPC – if it happens – will make little difference at first. Why would you use it, when you can go to a German court and get an injunction in less than 12 months? Hogan Lovells partner Benjamin Schroer…”

“It would be overwhelmingly negative for people of Europe and firms of Europe — a fact that Team Battistelli and Team UPC passionately deny or lie about.”UPC would be good for litigation firms and some foreign (non-EU) firms. It would be overwhelmingly negative for people of Europe and firms of Europe — a fact that Team Battistelli and Team UPC passionately deny or lie about. The UPC would be fantastic to patent trolls and the demise of patent quality at the EPO already contributes to this.

A few hours ago IAM tweeted that “Germany is becoming more and more attractive to NPEs [patent trolls]. Maybe Ray should be more worried than he is! – Wilmer Hale partner Justin Watts,” tying this to another tweet quoting Volvo (Sweden): “Up to now 100% of our NPE exposure has been in the US. NPEs in Europe do not keep me awake at night – Millien, Volvo [] Don’t underestimate China, says Volvo’s Millien. I talk to chief IP counxel there who put many chief IP counsel in Europe and US to shame…”

Remember that IAM still denies that trolls even exist, not only that they're a problem. Germany is becoming more and more attractive to patent trolls, says Wilmer Hale, who reaffirmed what IP2Innovate keeps saying, backed by hard numbers.

I responded to IAM with: “But how can this be? IAM wrote long 'articles' (propaganda) denying what IP2Innovate had shown about patent trolls in Europe (did IAM lie?)” (IAM knows who its sponsors are).

“UPC’s intended effect is to override national patent laws and courts, basically enforcing even software patents in nations that strictly forbid these.”Remember that IAM will soon have Battistelli as a keynote speaker. He will be promoting software patents under the guise of “4IR” — a relatively new buzzword/term the EPO invented and promoted by paying the media (corrupting journalism basically). Hours ago it tweeted: “We looked at #4IR from the perspective of patented inventions. Here are the results: http://bit.ly/4IR_findings #wef4ir #ioT #AI #fourthindustrialrevolution”

IAM quoted from its event: “Currently about 10% of a car is composed of software. In the future that will be 30%, says Volvo’s Millien. The risk is that this will lead to patent litigation…”

“This is seductive to law firms.”Only if Battistelli, IAM and others like them succeed in bringing software patents to Europe. They have been working towards that for years. UPC’s intended effect is to override national patent laws and courts, basically enforcing even software patents in nations that strictly forbid these. This is seductive to law firms.

Found via Team UPC and Prospect a few hours ago is this new article, mostly behind paywall about the “farce” which is the “European patent court”. To quote:

This is the business end of Brexit, when all the contradictory promises and impossible dreams come face-to-face with legal reality. Usually we only notice this when it’s about trade, but the same is happening all over society, from security to rules around food recipes. This is the tawdry story of what the government did—and didn’t do—with patents, and why it is now stuck with a series of mutually incompatible promises which are about to collide headlong into one another.

It starts with Theresa May saying one thing and then proceeding to do exactly the opposite. In October 2016, she told the Conservative Party conference that Britain would leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Then, the next month, the government confirmed that in fact it would do the opposite. The first statement was made in the full glare of media attention at a key event in the political calendar. The second was made away from journalists, in a quiet announcement on a departmental website noticed by just a handful of lawyers and nerds.

The rest is behind a paywall, but Team UPC treats that as further evidence that UPC cannot really happen, especially not in the UK. One pro-UPC person wrote: “Will contradiction Brexit -RemainUPC be resolved by merely limiting the announced retreat from reach of CJEU to “direct” CJEU jurisdiction (whatever that may mean)?”

There’s no such thing. To even suggest such a thing is to insinuate that the laws (and even constitutions) can just be violated for the “greater good” which is facilitating the business model of Team UPC, namely litigation boon.

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today's howtos

Games and Wine: Hacknet - Deluxe, Full Metal Furies and More