Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Techrights

Syndicate content
Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 10 min ago

The Sickness of the EPO – Part IV: Cruel Management That Deliberately Attacks the Sick and the Weak

4 hours 18 min ago

The Haar mentality

Summary: The dysphoric reality at the European Patent Office, which is becoming like a large cell (with bolted-down windows) where people are controlled by fear and scapegoats are selected to perpetuate this atmosphere of terror and maintain demand (or workload) for the Investigative Stasi [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

It’s becoming very hard not to be (or at least feel) sick at the EPO. Sick of Battistelli; Sick of his goons like those blindly loyal deputies and the overzealous Investigative Stasi; Sick of his many scandals and the fact that he miraculously remains in charge after all that*. Sickness has, for many people (a growing number of them) at the Office, become a ‘way of life’. They feel utterly sick coming to work at the EPO, but they must hide it or simply decide to end their EPO careers for good. Issue pertaining to health of workers will occupy a lot of our time and space in the coming months. We have a lot of material about that. It’s a scarcely explored matter, at least in the public domain (the media rarely mentions it at all). It helps explain at least some of the many suicides. So-called ‘studies’ about health at today’s EPO are a sham, as they are funded by the management of the Office and conducted by people subservient to it. They’re what a classic sceptic would dub “coverup” or “diversion”, or an attempt to cast uncertainty and doubt like oil giants notoriously do. Internal documents, by contrast, explain how sickness leaves got reduced, not because people are any less sick (or less often ill) but because they’re terrified to stay home when they fall ill; they must pretend to be healthy, even when they clearly are not. This kind of phenomenon was explained here before and will be revisited in the future. It’s a deadly combination, akin to lack of sleep (sleep deprivation experiments are well documented in scientific literature), deficiency of exposure to sun/light and so on.

“So-called ‘studies’ about health at today’s EPO are a sham, as they are funded by the management of the Office and conducted by people subservient to it.”Depressed, helpless, hopeless people whom we hear from/speak to are evidently exhausted, both mentally and physically. They project outwards some of the symptoms experienced in overly demanding production lines (my wife used to work in Taiwan where this was common). It’s incredible that outsiders were never allowed to properly study (and also publish) data on it, but as we shall show at a later point, the Office is actually aware of this issue (e.g. an epidemic of upper limb disorder, which spectacularly enough inflicts nearly half of all the staff!). And that’s putting aside esteem issues, high stress levels that are associated with coronary problems, problems with family/marriage etc.

Leaked to us this week was the following important document, “Mandate for Working Group on the improvement of working conditions and well being” or, as our source titled it, a “quick guide on how to make sick staff sicker”.

Have a look (click to zoom):


Large-sized version

This is just a draft paper about invalidity. It was “produced some 5 years ago in a brainstorming meeting,” our source told us. Elaborating on what is shown or the context, our source expanded as follows:

Generally, there is one other point you are well aware of but I would like to emphasise: The unfairness and inequality of a “legal” system. Each time the office launches a bullying action, in particular against sick staff, invalids among others, they hit the persons who are in the weakest position to defend themselves. The internal “rules”, the ILOAT imposes legal notices that are acrobatic for most persons in good physical condition, but unbearable for sick or invalid staff. You may spend, hours, days or months in addition to fairte [sic] amounts of money for your lawyer but the office hires the most expensive ones and have troops of jurist to defend themselves. Therefore no chance there.

Invalids are let alone in the dark with the management shooting on persons without defense. These guys are at war and use warriors’ techniques to defeat what they consider their enemy. Invalids are their easiest and weakest prey.

Last but not least, I have developed a strategy to try to get rid of the nefarious clique. I utterly respect all those who try to enforce their rights by claiming them in front of tribunals. This may or may not work in democracies, but at least there is a chance that you get a favourable judgment, if you can afford it. SUEPO has tried many actions in front of many tribunals without an inch of success. SUEPO officials are also profoundly pacifists, which I admire, but sounds pretty naive to me.

In part 5 (there are plenty more parts to come) we intend to share some more information on what should, in my humble opinion, be approached from a criminal angle. How many people need to be systematically bullied and sometimes be driven to their death before the psychopath in chief loses his immunity and gets put — himself — before a tribunal, maybe somewhere like The Hague where he so happily and flagrantly shows off his immunity?
_____
* The parallel realities of Battistelli were described in a comment 3 days ago as follows (we see/hear these lies repeated occasionally, even as recently as days ago by an official in Bavaria):

Neutral persons should confirm that Battistelli´s decisions are right (or not).

Mr.Battistelli tells the world outside the EPO that everything is going well inside the EPO. Quality and production are top. Only a few troublemakers are against him and his reorganisations. Most of the EPO personel and one of the unions accept or even love him and his decisions. His decisions are all right and not in conflict with any law he said. No decision of him is against human rights. His values are democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person.

When this is true, why does he not accept that independent persons analyse the situation in the EPO and confirm that he, Battistelli, is right and doing everything well. Then the ¨troublemakers¨ have to stop. Or is there something he has to hide?.

Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision

5 hours 20 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • US Business, Government Work To Bring Down ‘Dangerous’ UN Panel Report On Access To Medicines – And Change The Debate In Geneva

      Calling it flawed and narrow and seemingly threatened by its contents, the leading United States business group and US government IP specialists are working to limit the impact of a recent United Nations report that made recommendations for the decades-old problem of ensuring affordable medicines reach people when they are under patent in a way that does not threaten innovation. One step in countering the UN report? Change the discourse in Geneva and elsewhere.

      [...]

      The IP Attaché program places US diplomats in many offices around the world “to advocate US positions on intellectual property matters for the benefit of US stakeholders,” as stated in a program brochure. They not only raise issues with foreign governments and provide training and raise public awareness, but they also help US stakeholders doing business in foreign markets. The main focus is foreign laws, foreign courts, and IP enforcement.

    • German-Backed Report Lays Out Strategy For R&D Into New Antibiotics

      In the face of the lack of attractiveness of investing in research for new antibiotics for the pharmaceutical industry, and the general lack of funding for research and development for novel antibiotics, a new report commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Health calls for countries to take action. In particular, the report proposes a global union for research and development, a global research fund, and a global launch reward. And access and pricing are key components of the strategy, it says.

      The report [pdf] titled, “Breaking through the Wall – A Call for Concerted Action on Antibiotics Research and Development,” was written by the Boston Consulting Group for the German Federal Ministry of Health.

    • Side Event On UN High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines Next Week At WTO

      As the World Trade Organization intellectual property committee meeting next week is expected to discuss the report of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines next week, a group of developing countries is convening a side event to engage in discussion with members of the panel. The report included several direct recommendations to WTO members.

      The side event [pdf], organised by Bangladesh, Brazil, India, South Africa, the Secretariat of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, and the South Centre, is scheduled to take place on 1 March.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Terrorism Denial on the Left

      At the end of last year I attended a large conference of social science academics and researchers in Melbourne. Speaking on a plenary panel in front of hundreds of attendees was the director of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Australia’s primary refugee advocacy organisation. He opened the plenary by describing the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers, decrying the cruelty of Australia’s policy of offshore detention toward refugees, and the need for a more humane approach. He pointed out that funding for refugee services had been cut by a seemingly callous government that was indifferent to the plight of refugees. These are all legitimate — if familiar — points in the debate about this topic. However he then went on to say that all of this was happening whilst we spent billions of dollars on a “fictitious war against terror”.

    • What’s With The Assumption That Criticism Equals Hate?

      Take the term “Islamophobia.” It is anything but phobic to fear that pernicious Islamic ideology — which calls for the death or conversion of “the infidel” and a world without individual rights — will have negative effects on our society and our lives.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • South Korea presidential candidate calls for ‘WikiLeaks’ operation

      A South Korean presidential candidate known for his left-leaning populist views is proposing a government-run operation similar to WikiLeaks, the international organization that publishes classified information on its website.

      Lee Jae-myung, the mayor of Seongnam and a politician with the liberal Minjoo Party of Korea, appeared to be suggesting a new policy, South Korean news service Money Today reported.

      Lee, 52, said South Korean government staffers who leak information to the press should be protected before they are fired.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • First national ‘bee map’ charts their decline – but hopes to stem the trend

      Scientists have compiled a map detailing wild bee activity across the US, but the picture it paints isn’t great.

      It’s no secret that bees are struggling to stay aloft. The precise reasons are up for debate, but many experts agree that a perfect storm of pressures from pesticide use, the rise of monocrop agriculture, declines in natural habitat, and global warming are squeezing many bee populations out of existence.

    • Standing Rock Under Siege: Officials Begin Arresting Protesters

      Law enforcement officials began arresting protestors at the Oceti Sakowin campsite in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, just after 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, hours after the deadline Gov. Doug Burgum set for the camp to clear contractors can finish the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Protestors vowed to stay as long as any Standing Rock Sioux tribe elders wanted to stay.

      Several activists and media organizations broadcast Facebook Live feeds from a scene that is shaping up to be a bitter end to months-long resistance to the pipeline. As of 6 p.m. ET, thousands of people watched Facebook Live streams that showed protesters braving the snow, sleet and rain to make one last stand against what they see as desecration of the sacred land of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. While violence appeared minimal, BuzzFeed News reported one man broke his hip while clashing with police on Highway 1806.

    • Police begin arresting, removing last DAPL protesters

      Hundreds of police in riot gear and carrying night sticks arrested several of the final Dakota Access Pipeline protesters remaining on federal land in violation of orders to vacate by the governor. Protesters consider the land to be indigenous property, Standing Rock, under treaty.

    • Last Remnants of Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Camp Are Engulfed in Flames

      Some of the last remnants of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp went up in flames Wednesday as opponents of the project set fire to makeshift wooden housing as part of a leaving ceremony ahead of a government deadline to get off the federal land.

      The camp has been home to demonstrators for six months as they tried to thwart construction of the pipeline. Many of the protesters planned to go peacefully, but authorities were prepared to arrest others who said they would defy the deadline in a final show of dissent.

      About 150 people marched arm-in-arm out of the camp, singing and playing drums as they walked down a highway. It was not clear where they were headed. One man carried an American flag hung upside-down.

  • Finance
    • New WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Seen Benefiting Developing Nations, Global Trade

      As of 23 February, the following WTO members have accepted the TFA: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei Darussalam, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia, Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, India, the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Albania, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Madagascar, the Republic of Moldova, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Senegal, Uruguay, Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iceland, Chile, Swaziland, Dominica, Mongolia, Gabon, the Kyrgyz Republic, Canada, Ghana, Mozambique, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Nigeria, Nepal, Rwanda, Oman, Chad and Jordan.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Ellison holds edge in DNC race survey

      As Democrats head to Atlanta this weekend to vote on their party’s next chair, the race to lead the Democratic National Committee chair is coming down to its two leading candidates.

      Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) has the edge over former Labor secretary Tom Perez in The Hill’s new survey of DNC members. But while both men claim they are close to securing commitments from the majority of the 447 voting members, neither candidate is assured victory.

      The Hill has identified the stances of 240 DNC members, either through their private responses to a survey circulated over the past week or from public endorsements.

      Out of those who responded, Ellison leads with 105 supporters to Perez’s 57. The remaining major candidates have less than a dozen supporters each, while more than 50 DNC members remain undecided.

    • More Than 90 Percent of U.S. Opposed to Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban According to AI Research

      The vast majority of Americans are opposed to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, according to new research that significantly contrasts with traditional polling on the subject.

      Research by BrandsEye, an artificial intelligence data analysis firm, showed that 91 percent of Americans were critical of Trump’s recent executive order on immigration in conversations on social media. The findings highlight the limitations of current opinion polls, according to the firm’s CEO, which generally found opinion to be more evenly divided. A Reuters/Ipsos poll at the end of January found that 49 percent of people agreed with the order, while 41 percent disagreed.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Swedish Library Outlaws Factual Book on Migration, Offers Hitler’s Mein Kampf

      Political correctness gone wrong can yield surprisingly worrying results. A Swedish library has landed in hot water for freely offering Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to its readership, while stopping books that question Sweden’s established view of immigration. This has evoked troubling hints at censorship in a country that takes pride in its openness.

    • Kenya’s Censorship King: Head Of Film Board Accused Of Overstepping

      Ezekiel Mutua is the head of Kenya’s film board. He’s really just supposed to rate films and other media. But over the past year, he has undertaken a censorship crusade expanding his mandate into the Internet, music and even forcing the cancellation of a lesbian speed-dating event.

    • Skepta fans angered over censorship of Brit Award performance
    • Brit Awards 2017: Skepta Performance Censorship Sparks Social Media Backlash

      Brit Awards viewers were left unimpressed during Wednesday’s (22 February) live show, after Skepta’s performance was heavily censored.

      The grime artist was one of several British stars to take to the stage during this year’s ceremony, performing his song ‘Shutdown’, taken from his Mercury Prize-winning album, ‘Konnichiwa’.

      However, despite the fact that Skepta’s performance was aired after the 9pm watershed, the audio was cut several times throughout his time on stage, due to his repeated use of the word “pussy”.

    • Universities and the Threat of Censorship

      During the last few years, we have witnessed a very worrying period for free-speech within universities. In 2015 alone we witnessed 30 universities banning newspapers, 25 banning songs, 10 banning clubs or societies, and 19 worryingly banning speakers from events. Not only that, we have witnessed various feminists, human-rights advocates and LGBT-Rights defenders indicted as encroachers of acceptable propriety and consequently indicted as ‘unfit for a speaker platform’.

    • Techdirt’s Readers Kept This German Comedian Out Of Prison

      Remember Jan Böhmermann? The guy who caused a major diplomatic spat back in April when he read out a satirical poem about Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the notoriously thin-skinned Turkish president, on a German comedy show?

      Usually, what happens on Central European state-run TV stays on Central European state-run TV. Not this time. “Erdogate” went massively viral: there were protests in the streets of Istanbul. Techdirt covered it at length. Even a guy named John Oliver did a segment on it.

      Now Erdogate’s back in the news, with a number of media outlets reporting that a German court just permanently enjoined Böhmermann from reciting his own poem. Sucks for him, right? Actually, no. Bad as it is, things are usually a hell of a lot worse for people in his position.

    • Another Free Speech Win In Libel Lawsuit Disguised As A Trademark Complaint

      Unless the Supreme Court decides to weigh in on this long-running SLAPP lawsuit (highly unlikely — and unlikely to be appealed to that level), it looks like it’s finally the end of the line for Dr. Edward Tobinick and his quest to silence a critic of his questionable medical practices.

    • Students speak out against censorship

      The recent incident at Guangdong’s Southern Weekly appears to be galvanizing Chinese from diverse backgrounds. Earlier today, we reported how the second open letter voicing support for the newspaper has been signed not just by journalists but by lawyers, academics, artists, writers, students, migrant workers and others.

      This afternoon another open letter surfaced on Chinese social media, this time attributed to students at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University. The letter, which includes the names of 18 signers identified as students of the university, bears the title: “Today, We Are Not Without Choices: An Independent Call from Sun Yat-sen University Students on the Southern Weekly Incident.”

    • Vice goes inside Syria to show what media censorship really looks like

      Inspired by President Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer, the press frequently invokes the specter of ominous reality control as exercised by the bad guys in George Orwell’s “1984.”

      No surprise, book sales are through the roof even if many journalists may not have actually read the classic they cite. But, forget Trump: if you want truly odious propaganda in action, which makes Conway look like a Franciscan Sister, check out Bashar al-Assad’s Syria.

      A recent Vice Media dissection of the situation is part of Friday night’s 5th season premiere of Vice’s newsmagazine show on HBO. It’s a two-part episode, featuring “Assad’s Syria,” which is fronted by correspondent Isobel Yeung, and “Cost of Climate Change,” hosted by Vice founder Shane Smith.

      It’s all very strong, especially Yeung’s effort that entailed dangerous reporting throughout Syria. For sure, there has been great reporting in the country. But this goes well beyond much of the sporadic American media accounts, which have tended to focus on the battle over Aleppo and the nation’s unceasing humanitarian disaster resulting from a civil war with atrocities on all sides.

    • Music Industry Wants Piracy Filters, No Takedown Whack-a-Mole

      A group of prominent music groups including the RIAA has asked the Copyright Office to help solve the “broken” and “ineffective” DMCA law. The current takedown provision results in a never-ending game of whack-a-mole, they say, arguing that automated piracy filters are the way forward.

    • Google Report: 99.95 Percent Of DMCA Takedown Notices Are Bot-Generated Bullshit Buckshot

      Google, being the search giant that it is, has been banging the drum for some time about the silly way the DMCA has been abused by those that wield it like a cudgel. Here at Techdirt, we too have described the many ways that the well-intentioned DMCA and the way its implemented by service providers has deviated from its intended purpose. Still, the vast majority of our stories discuss deliberate attempts by human beings to silence critics and competition using the takedown process. Google, on the other hand, has been far more focused on statistics for DMCA takedown notices that show wanton disregard for what it was supposed to be used for entirely. That makes sense of course, as the abuse of the takedown process is a burden on the search company. In that first link, for instance, Google noted that more than half the takedown notices it was receiving in 2009 were mere attempts by one business targeting a competitor, while over a third of the notices contained nothing in the way of a valid copyright dispute.

    • Google: 99.95% of Recent ‘Trusted’ DMCA Notices Were Bogus

      In comments submitted to a U.S. Copyright Office consultation, Google has given the DMCA a vote of support, despite widespread abuse. Noting that the law allows for innovation and agreements with content creators, Google says that 99.95% of URLs it was asked to take down last month didn’t even exist in its search indexes.

    • Why The DMCA’s Notice & Takedown Already Has First Amendment Problems… And RIAA/MPAA Want To Make That Worse

      The Copyright Office’s study concerning Section 512 of the DMCA (the notice-and-takedown/safe harbors part of the law) had its second comment period end this week — which is why you’re seeing stories about how the RIAA is suddenly talking about piracy filters and notice-and-staydown. Via our think tank arm, the Copia Institute we filed our own comments, pointing out the already problematic First Amendment issues with the way the current notice-and-takedown system works. Remember, there’s a very high standard set by the Supreme Court before you can take down expressive content.

    • New MTRCB chief says no to censorship

      Don’t be fooled by the cool and calm demeanor, Rachel Arenas is tough as nails and seems raring to pursue her new job as the chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

      At first glance, Arenas, a former representative of Pangasinan, seems more than primed to face the intrigues that come with the territory.

      [...]

      A long-term objective is to “revisit the law” governing the MTRCB. Specifically, she is looking into the different bills that have been filed in Congress, that pertain to the board’s mandate. “Our Technical Working Group is in the process of reviewing the bills and drafting our comments,” she explained.

    • Judge Pauses Enforcement of IMDb Age Censorship Law
    • Judge Pauses Enforcement of IMDb Actor Age Censorship Law
    • Judge blocks California law that allows actors to delete their age from website
    • ‘Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship’
    • Censorship and art don’t mix
    • London’s first alt-right art show since Trump’s election to be met with protests
    • Benefactor of controversial LD50 art gallery denies interest or involvement in its activities
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Sen. Wyden Wants Answers From New DHS Head, Introducing Legislation To Create Warrant Requirement For Border Phone Searches

      There aren’t many rights extended to anyone in the “Constitution-free zones” we like to call “borders.” You may have rights 100 miles inland, but the government’s needs and wants outweigh citizens’ and non-citizens’ rights wherever immigration officers roam. According to the Supreme Court, warrants are required for cell phone searches. But neither the Constitution nor Supreme Court rulings apply within 100 miles of the border, where the government’s needs and wants are considered more important than the protections they can avail themselves of everywhere else in the country.

      Senator Ron Wyden is looking to change that. Rather than cede more ground to the rights-swallowing concept of “national security,” Wyden is looking to change the laws governing the “Constitution-free zones.”

    • Federal Bill Introduced To Add A Warrant Requirement To Stingray Deployment

      House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, along with his Senatorial counterpart Ron Wyden, is tackling something he promised to act on after he was finished excoriating the leaky Office of Personnel Management for ruining the lives of millions of Americans: Stingray devices.

    • Pentagon mulling split of NSA, Cyber Command
    • Peter Thiel’s Palantir allegedly helped NSA spy programme XKeyscore, new Snowden documents reveal
    • Peter Thiel company reportedly helped NSA spy program
    • Palantir has a couple of new software for spy agencies, here are some details
    • New details emerge about Palantir’s custom software for spy agencies
    • NSA denies ‘blanket’ spying on spectators and athletes at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City

      The National Security Agency has denied it indiscriminately spied on spectators, athletes and others who attended the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

      The denial came in a document filed last week in a U.S. District Court in Utah, where a group of Salt Lake City residents filed a complaint in 2015 alleging the U.S. government engaged “in widespread, indiscriminate communications surveillance, interception, and analysis, without warrants and without probable cause” during the Games that took place just months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    • NSA denies spying on everyone in SLC during the 2002 Olympics
    • Coalition Slams DHS Plans To Demand Social Media Passwords

      Starting last summer, we noted that the Department of Homeland Security had quietly tested the waters to expand the information it requested of travelers entering the United States, to “optionally” include social media handles. By December it was officially in place. And then, just days into the new administration, the idea was floated to expand this program even further to demand passwords to social media accounts.

    • Tinder boss predicts AI will find your matches within five years

      Sorry about that. But more and more it seems that developers are looking at ways to use AI to find you that special someone. 420 Friends, which launched this week is a dating app that specialises in finding you that special someone.

    • The Ousting Of Trump’s National Security Advisor Shows Just How Dangerous ‘Lawful’ Domestic Surveillance Is

      Those who thought the domestic surveillance Ed Snowden exposed was perfectly acceptable and lawful are finding it much harder to stomach with Trump in charge. The Lawfare blog, which routinely hosts articles supportive of government surveillance activities, has taken on a new tone over the past few months. The lesson being learned: if a power can only be trusted in certain people’s hands, then it really can’t be trusted in anyone’s. This belated realization is better than none, but one wonders if the drastic change in tone would have followed an election that put Hillary Clinton in the White House.

      That’s not to say the first month of Trump’s presidency has borne any resemblance to a “peaceful transition of power.” The federal government isn’t just leaking. It’s hemorrhaging. Underneath the recent ouster of Mike Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, is something disturbing.

      What’s disturbing isn’t the surveillance — although in “normal” circumstances it might be. Flynn was dumped because recorded phone calls captured him discussing sanctions with Russian officials. This domestic surveillance isn’t unheard of. The fact that this information — including the content of the calls — was leaked to the public is more notable.

    • When the NSA Feared Psychics Could Make Cities Lost in Time and Space

      A classified government document opens with “an odd sequence of events relating to parapsychology has occurred within the last month” and concluded with an alarming question about psychics nuking cities so that they became lost in time and space. If this sounds like a plot out of science fiction, it is – but it’s also a NSA memo from 1977.

      The first “event” raised by the NSA note is a CIA report which mentioned KGB research into parapsychology. According to this, the KGB used hobbyists and non-governmental researchers to talk to western scientists. This allowed the KGB to collect useful information without putting themselves into a position to accidentally leak confidential information to westerners. According to the NSA note, this tactic yielded “high grade western scientific data.”

    • NSA will continue to disclose zero-day bugs under Trump… for now [Ed: Repeating what the NSA says (stenography) even though it is already, under Obama too, hiding serious flaws and exploits these]
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Amos Yee blames Donald Trump for his extended incarceration in U.S. jail

      Yee made his first appearance at an immigration court in Chicago on 30 Jan. The blogger claimed that the American authorities backtracked on their promise to release him from the American jail after his first hearing. His next hearing is set for 7 March.

      Yee landed in Chicago O-Hare Airport on 16 Dec with a tourist visa and was detained by the US authorities when they discovered text messages between him and a US-based Singaporean activist, Melissa Chen, about his bid for political asylum in America.

    • PNG Customary landowner: SABL exploits human rights

      Customary landowner Anna Sipona from Malmal Village in west Pomio said the SABL is a strange concept to the people of Pomio that promotes human rights abuse.

      Representing the silent majority in the affected villages in west Pomio, Sipona said the SABL issue is not just about land and logging but about the human rights of women and children.

    • Need for PNG parliament to enact whistle blower legislation

      Justice Ambeng Kandakasi highlighted this recently when handing down a decision on a case involving a “whistle blower” who was sacked by his superiors.

    • Danish man who burned Quran charged with blasphemy

      A man who filmed himself burning the Quran has become the first person to be charged under Denmark’s blasphemy law in 46 years.
      The 42-year-old filmed himself burning a copy of Islam’s holy book in his back yard in December 2015. He then posted the video on the anti-Islamic Facebook group, “Yes to freedom – no to Islam” along with the words, “Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns.”

    • Another ‘Terrorist’ Swept Up By The FBI, Which Had To Purchase $20 Of ‘Terrorist’ Supplies To Keep The ‘Plan’ In Motion

      Perhaps no entity generates more fake news than the FBI’s counterterrorism unit. Several times a year, a press release is issued announcing the bust of a so-called terrorist. Almost invariably, the “terrorist” has been handcrafted through the relentless intercession of undercover FBI agents.

      [...]

      Undercover agents began working with/on Hester shortly after this arrest. Seizing on his anti-government social media posts [good lord], the agents told Hester they could put him in touch with someone with direct terrorist connections. This “direct connection” was just another FBI agent. It was the FBI that suggested acquiring weapons. And it was the FBI who chose to take Hester seriously, despite his nonexistent terrorist group (“the Lion Guard”) sporting a name that had been pulled from a cartoon his children watched.

      It was also an FBI agent who suggested that even thinking about planning a terrorist attack was an irrevocable act — and that entertaining second thoughts about committing acts of violence would be rewarded with acts of violence.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Missouri The Latest State To Let Telecom Monopolies Write Awful, Protectionist State Law

      21 states have passed laws hamstringing the rights of local communities when it comes to improving broadband infrastructure. Usually dressed up as breathless concern about the taxpayer — these bills have one purpose: protect the telecom mono/duopoly status quo — and the campaign contributions it represents — from the will of the people. Countless towns and cities have built their own next-generation networks, usually because nobody else would. But these bills, usually ghost written by ISPs for politicians with ALEC’s help, either ban locals from making this decision for themselves, or saddle these operations with enough restrictions to make them untenable.

  • DRM
    • Mashable Says You Shouldn’t Own What You Buy Because You Might Hurt Yourself

      The news site Mashable has apparently decided that you, the general public, are simply too dumb to actually own the stuff you thought you bought because you might just injure yourself. We’ve written about so-called “right to repair” laws and why they’re so important. There are a variety of issues, but the most basic one here is about property rights. If you buy something, it’s supposed to be yours. It doesn’t remain the property of whoever first made it. And they shouldn’t then be able to deny you the ability to tinker with, modify, or repair what you bought. However, Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff (last seen here being completely clueless about the importance of anonymity online because he, personally, never could see a reason why someone might want to speak truth to power without revealing who they are), has decided that because you might be too dumb to properly repair stuff, the entire “right to repair” concept “is a dumb idea.”

      The article can basically be summed up as “I have a friend, and her iPhone wasn’t repaired properly, so no one should be able to repair your iPhone but Apple.” Really.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • China’s Latest Target For Online Crackdown: Live-Streaming Foreigners

        Perhaps the Chinese government feels that it has the domestic population sufficiently under control now that it can move on to tightening up the rules for foreign visitors.

      • 8 things hidden in 400 pages of copyright secrets

        Much of the content, including arguments from key players, is redacted.

      • Former RIAA Executive Attacks Fair Use

        This week has been dubbed fair use week by a whole bunch of organizations (mostly universities and libraries) as a chance to celebrate the usefulness and wonder that is fair use in protecting free speech, enabling creativity and inspiring innovation. As we’ve said many times in the past, fair use is an incredibly important concept — if often misunderstood — so it’s good to see these organizations working together to better educate the public on why fair use is so key.

        However, not everyone is so enthralled with fair use. The MPAA and RIAA are apparently so frightened by fair use that they, and some of its friends, have been posting weirdly uninformed screeds against fair use over the past few days. Some are more silly than others (such as one that tries to claim that the MPAA has never been against fair use, ignoring that the MPAA’s long-time boss Jack Valenti once declared — totally incorrectly — that fair use wasn’t in the law), but let’s focus on the one that comes straight from a former RIAA top exec.

UPC Roundup: War on the Appeal Boards, British Motion Against the UPC, Fröhlinger Recalled, and Fake News About Spain

19 hours 24 min ago

Team UPC still distorts the facts, as if the end justifies the means

Summary: Taking stock of some of the latest attempts to shove the Unitary Patent (UPC) down Europe’s throat, courtesy of Team Battistelli and Team UPC

THE EPO‘s management is eager to ram the UPC through, having decided to replace the Boards’ location, keep them understaffed and perpetually scared, etc. The management calls it “reform” but it’s actually an overhaul which serves the patent microcosm and large foreign corporations; it would be an enormous, historic disaster. It needs to be stopped, both by EPO insiders (not Team Battistelli) and outsiders.

Decision T 2561/11

An EPO-friendly legal firm wrote the other day (earlier this week) about decision T 2561/11 from the Boards, noting that “the EPO Board of Appeal found an Appeal to be admissible despite certain omissions in the Notice of Appeal. In particular, the Notice of Appeal failed to mention the Appellant’s name and address, and was alleged not to contain a request defining the subject of the Appeal, both requirements of Rule 99 EPC.”

“In the above case, it would be so convenient for the Office to just blame the Boards and punish them for it, as is so common/habitual nowadays.”Since then, as was covered here before, the EPO got even stricter, not when it comes to patent scope but when it comes to signatures etc. It further complicates the process not of patent-granting but merely the bureaucracy. In the above case, it would be so convenient for the Office to just blame the Boards and punish them for it, as is so common/habitual nowadays.

Douglas Carswell in Motion to Bury the UPC in the United Kingdom

Putting aside the war on the Boards — a war long fought by Battistelli — how about the war on British law, or the pretense that Brexit is magically compatible with UPC (it’s not)? Dr. Luke McDonagh, who had repeatedly explained why the UPC is untenable here, said it is “interesting that Carswell seems all on his lonesome in putting this UPC motion forward – what is the Tory position?”

“Remember that Carswell is a longtime Tory (Conservative) politician.”“Be interesting to keep an eye out on this UPC EDM by UKIP’s Douglas Carswell this week,” Max Walters from the Law Society Gazette wrote.

Remember that Carswell is a longtime Tory (Conservative) politician. He is hence pretty mainstream and he comes from a high-profile family of famous doctors of medicine. His defection to UKIP is pretty recent and wasn’t motivated by nationalism, racism and so on (the stereotypes).

“Her Master’s Voice,” Margot Fröhlinger

“Founded doubts regarding a legal UPC with UK after brexit,” wrote another person the other day, “IP system need certainty…”

“Is this the first time that [the EPO's] Mrs. Fröhlinger is not 100% certain in public about UK participating in UPC after Brexit?”

That’s what Christopher Weber wrote before noting that “it’s just an old article preceding the UK’s intent to ratify that I mistook for a later statement. My bad.”

But nothing has technically changed since then. In fact, the person who expressed intent to ratify has since then been sacked or resigned. We also did a long series explaining why ratification makes no sense and even if it ever happened, it would not be sustainable, in particular after Brexit. Here is that series again:

What’s noteworthy about Fröhlinger’s remark is that she has always been “her master’s voice” (Battistelli’s echo chamber) and rejected simple facts when it suited Battistelli’s agenda [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], as pointed out here before. Fröhlinger is in many ways an extension of if not part of Team Battistelli, wherein lying has become banal and routine.

The Rain in Spain…

Meanwhile, fake news about Spain is being spread again (we have seen a lot of fake news about the UPC recently, e.g. [1, 2]) and Team UPC is trying to connect it to Brexit (there is no connection). This one tweet, linking to Manuel Rey-Alvite Villar from Bristows LLP (some of the worst liars out there), says: “Will the Spain joins the UPC System and the Unitary Patent? Brexit can make Spain changes his mind…”

“Spain’s ruling party and authorities still reject the UPC and have stated the reasons as recently as a year ago.”Nonsense. First of all, none of this is news; Francisco Moreno has already demonstrated that it goes a couple of years back. And what does the self-serving Bristows base its ridiculous headline on? “The motion [which] will be debated in the Committee on Economy, Industry and Competitiveness of the Congress of Deputies (the lower house of the Spanish parliament).”

But the party behind this motion has already spoken about it and attempted it before. Spain’s ruling party and authorities still reject the UPC and have stated the reasons as recently as a year ago.

The Sickness of the EPO – Part III: Invalidity and Suicides

20 hours 11 min ago

Toxic cocktail (or "dangerous mix")

Summary: An explanation of what drives a lot of EPO veterans to depression and sometimes even suicide

THE mistreatment of EPO workers who go through a temporary (not even permanent) illness is a widely known problem. We keep hearing about it from more and more people who if not themselves got subjected to this kind of abuse know someone (or someones) who did. This series, by itself, has already managed to unearth more suppressed facts and taboos — observations that would get one sacked if publicly aired/expressed. People do not wish to speak about these things without strict assurance of anonymity.

The other day we received some interesting statistics.

“Each time they get mail from the EPO, they feel even worse.”
      –Anonymous“More than 250 persons are receiving an invalidity pension,” one person told us. “I don’t have (yet) figures about the persons under house arrest due to their illness. I’ll try to find them. Invalids are systematically bullied. Their benefits are changed without, or at a short, notice. Each time they get mail from the EPO, they feel even worse. “What is coming next?””

Two years ago we wrote about them, as did the media which merely alluded to them. Some end up committing suicide, which isn't too shocking given the way they are treated (some allege that they cannot even help refugees in their spare time).

“The Office succeeded in deteriorating the health condition of some of them,” the above person told us, “by introducing without notice and without any kind of explanation a reform of the invalidity benefits as from January 2008 (changed again in 2015, effective as from January 2016). With that change many invalids had problems with the local tax authorities. The Office declared the benefits to be exempted from the local tax (they changed from a pension to an allowance). Of course without consulting the respective tax authorities in each country. The moron-in-chief Battistelli was at the time head of the French delegation at the AC and shouted (to be actual: trumpeted) that his country would NEVER recognise the newly introduced invalidity pension as being tax-free.

“No wonder that some of them commit suicide. Because the worse is yet to come…”
      –Anonymous“Do you understand what all this means to a person receiving invalidity benefits? No wonder that some of them commit suicide. Because the worse is yet to come: as some countries didn’t accept the tax-free nature of the invalidity pension they had to pay taxes. Pretty normal every does [sic]. Except that they paid twice… Very “generously” again the Office proposed to reimburse the paid taxes…. at a cost. The condition was to sign a contract to go to their tax consultant, to disclose every penny of your income (your partner may work as well), to spend hours if not days, months discussing with them. And on the top of that once you were reimbursed the local tax office considered the reimbursement as an additional income. The obviously unqualified managers of the Office never heard of exponential progression. According to my calculations with such a system one would have to declare an income of about 10.000.000 € a year in 15 years from now for a real income being 7% of that amount, the rest are the accumulated reimbursements. Not bad! But what if the office says “FU”? They then abolished the system and replaced it with another fully incomprehensible system; inquiries for explanations remained unanswered.”

In future parts of this series we are going to dive a little deeper and expose some documents which help illuminate how bad things have become. As was repeatedly noted, by more than one source in fact, these policy changes are directly responsible to quite a few suicides, not that tragedies only count when a person’s tragedy culminates in death. There is a lot of suffering associated with what the EPO is doing and since there is no proper justice system, there is no hope, either.

The Appeal Board (PTAB) and Federal Circuit (CAFC) Maintain Good Pace of Patent Elimination Where Scope Was Exceeded

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017 09:30:41 PM

It’s driving the patent maximalists nuts!

Summary: The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to accept about 4 out of 5 decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) refuses to intervene

WE are very gratified to see the USPTO improving patent quality by means of appeals, or by revisiting and reassessing already-granted patents. There has been a lot of news about that this past week and below is an outline.

CSIRO/CRISPR

We previously wrote a number of articles about CSIRO and CRISPR, which served to demonstrate unjust patents that went against public interests, sometimes at the expense of the public. Well, PTAB, based on this new blog post, finally — one might say belatedly — takes on CRISPR and the patent parasite, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), which earned a lot of disdain/notoriety for its patent strategy. “The gene-editing tool CRISPR,” IAM wrote, “is in the process of transforming the life sciences industry.”

“We certainly hope that PTAB will somehow take public interests into account, but that’s not how PTAB works.”IAM means privatising and monopolising, even by means of lawsuits. The promotional and defensive language carried on as follows: “Perhaps not surprisingly with such a revolutionary technology still in its relative infancy, a dispute over patents between universities and research institutes that have been at the forefront of its development, erupted over just who owns some of the foundational IP.”

Maybe nobody? Especially given that money for this work came from the public?

We certainly hope that PTAB will somehow take public interests into account, but that’s not how PTAB works. It assesses patents not on ethical grounds but based on the guidelines/laws/rules.

Watchtroll Still at It… Denying Facts

Watchtroll’s PTAB bashing is nothing new (see screenshot at the top). The site continued with this bashing today (factually-flawed and structurally-incoherent drivel that’s akin to fake news). According to this new article, which is based on statistics from the first day of the month, “Federal Circuit PTAB Appeal Statistics” suggest that in addition to the all-time high for PTAB in January, CAFC agrees with PTAB ~80% of the time. It means that PTAB is doing its job capably and correctly. To quote from Lexology: “Through February 1, 2017, the Federal Circuit decided 161 PTAB appeals from IPRs and CBMs. The Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB on every issue in 125 (77.64%) of the cases, and reversed or vacated the PTAB on every issue in 13 (8.07%) of the cases. A mixed outcome on appeal, where at least one issue was affirmed and at least one issue was vacated or reversed, occurred in 14 (8.70%) of the cases.”

“Put in simple terms, PTAB maintains its ability to crush bad patents and CAFC generally agrees with PTAB in 77.64% of the cases it looks at. “The statistics for 2016 were very similar, as we noted here before (the exact number was 77.4% rather than 77.64%, so the increase is marginal). Put in simple terms, PTAB maintains its ability to crush bad patents and CAFC generally agrees with PTAB in 77.64% of the cases it looks at.

ImmunoGen Case

Based on more news, PTAB continues to smash patents to pieces, and CAFC agrees, as usual. To quote:

After the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found claims of ImmunoGen Inc.’s U.S. Patent No. 8,337,856 nonobvious, non-practicing entity Phigenix, Inc. appea​led to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit dismissed the appeal, finding that Phigenix lacked standing to appeal because it had not established it had suffered an injury in fact.

Prior to filing its inter partes review petition, Phigenix was engaged in litigation with a third company, Genentech, Inc., over a Phigenix patent, U.S. Patent No. 8,080,534. Phigenix asserted that the ’534 patent covered Genentech’s manufacture and sale of a drug, Kadycla. Genentech produces the drug under a “worldwide exclusive license” from ImmunoGen for the ’856 patent. As part of its efforts to commercialize its own patent portfolio, Phigenix filed the petition for inter partes review of the ’856 patent, alleging claims 1–8 were invalid as obvious over various prior art references.

Depomed Case

CAFC is again (as usual) agreeing with PTAB that Depomed’s patent should be invalidated, based on this new report:

The Federal Circuit on Tuesday affirmed the U.S. Patent and Trial Appeal Board’s decision in an America Invents Act inter partes review that Depomed’s patent on extended-release drug technology is invalid as obvious, saying the board’s conclusion is backed by substantial evidence.

Novartis Case

There is another high-profile ‘case’ (petition rather) in the pipeline. Here are the details from the news:

Days after rejecting a challenge from Roxane Laboratories to a patent related to Novartis’ blockbuster cancer drug Afinitor, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed recently to review the patent based on a challenge from another generic drugmaker, Par Pharmaceutical.

In a Feb. 15 decision, the PTAB found that Par Pharmaceutical Inc. had shown the patent was likely invalid as obvious. Par, which was previously sued for infringement, filed a petition seeking inter partes review last summer.

TradeStation Case

Justice does not seem plausible and is not perceived as legitimate when the outcome is always the same (like FISA rubber-stamping), so there are also exceptions. Here, for a change, “PTAB Follows Fed. Circ. Lead, Upholds Trading Patent” and to quote:

A split Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Friday followed the lead of the Federal Circuit and upheld a Trading Technologies International Inc. electronic trading patent, finding it was not invalid under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling.

In a 2-1 decision, the PTAB said TradeStation Group Inc. and IBG LLC had not shown why it should break from the appellate court’s Jan. 18 decision, when the court ruled that a judge correctly found this and another Trading Technologies patent covered technological improvements, not abstract ideas…

PTAB Scares the Patent Microcosm

It’s no secret that patent maximalists, unlike actual companies that make things, hate PTAB. In general, PTAB can help save/defend practicing companies, to whom patents are still a two-edged sword. Here we have a law firm asking (seeking attention from potential clients), “Can Your Patent Be Invalidated Without a Trial?”

“As there is no foreseeable case at the SCOTUS which involves software patents, we are pretty certain that there will be no challenge to Alice any time soon.”Well, yes, and many software patents are already as valuable as nothing at all. They are toothless. Trying to litigate with them would benefit nobody except lawyers at both sides. In that sense, such patents may be even worse than none at all. But to quote the above: “Patent owners should be keeping a close eye on a case that may come before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals that could potentially block challenges to patent validity outside of the courtroom. Cascades Projection v. Epson and Sony 1 asks the court to decide whether the rights granted by a patent are public or private and, in turn, if those rights are capable of being revoked without access to a jury trial.”

We wrote about it earlier in the month. These are edge cases or rare exceptions; thus, promoting these to prospective clients is rather disingenuous and misleading. Or as one might call it — marketing!

SCOTUS Defends CAFC and by Extension PTAB

One interesting case that we spotted today in the news involves a company called Big Baboon (real company name!) and its unusual attempts to challenge patent scope etc. at the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Software patents are still dead/dying after Alice, so Big Baboon attempted another angle and failed. To quote:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a petition by a Silicon Valley software company asserting that the Federal Circuit has routinely imputed patent law claims into lawsuits that challenge the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s procedures in order to exert jurisdiction over the cases.

The high court declined to hear Big Baboon Inc.’s Oct. 10 petition for writ of certiorari, which argued that it was in the public’s interest that the justices stop the appellate court from the “ongoing and palpable” harm it…

This is good news. As there is no foreseeable case at the SCOTUS which involves software patents, we are pretty certain that there will be no challenge to Alice any time soon. There is also no indication from the Trump administration that AIA (which brought PTAB) will be in any sense revoked/undone.

Software Patents Are Ebbing Away, But the “Swamp” Fights Back and Hijacks the Word “Fix”

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017 08:33:09 PM

When they say “fix” they mean the very opposite of it


Photo from Reuters

Summary: The club of patent maximalists, or those who profit from excess prosecution and legal chaos, isn’t liking what has happened in the United States and it wants everything reversed

“Twenty patents,” this new report says. “That’s how many patents were invalidated in only three decisions in the last few weeks alone.” The report, titled “The Supreme Court’s Impact on Patentable Subject Matter,” is behind walled gardens (or paywall), but it shows just how desperate the meta-industry of patents is becoming. Confidence in abstract (esque) patents is eroding because of Alice (and Mayo to a lesser degree).

“Confidence in abstract (esque) patents is eroding because of Alice (and Mayo to a lesser degree).”Longtime readers of ours know that we are not against patents, not inherently or even intrinsically. We believe that quality control for patents is essential; otherwise we have just a cash cow controlled by few monopolists, granting millions of patents on anything conceivable and denying free (as in freedom) innovation.

We are amused to see this new piece from Quinn IP Law (not IP Watchdog‘s Quinn, but a similar attitude); it’s titled “The 20 Year War On Patents: When Will It End?” (sounds like a headline from IP Watchdog/Watchtroll) and it is, as usual inverting narratives of the offensive and defensive. In reality, for a number of decades, patents attacked (as in “war”) ordinary people and small companies; the system wasn’t “under attack” but actually attacking, using patents. Unlike Quinn’s portrayal (he puts it misleadingly, painting litigation/prosecution as “defense”), the reality is that the system is belatedly changing, having failed to fulfill its original goals.

“The matter of fact is, trolls use software patents most of the time; some have estimated 70% of the time (depending on how one classifies these patents and adds them up).”Quinn wrote that the “Federal Circuit’s 1998 State Street Bank decision was a sweeping departure from precedent and opened the floodgates to so-called business method patents, leading to a significant outcry against “bad patents.” Also, out-of-control patent troll litigation gave birth to the anti-troll movement, which further fueled the fires of an anti-patent backlash, resulting in judicial and legislative action amounting to arguably the most significant pendulum swing against patent rights in US history. Many of the resulting changes were necessary to address these problems, but how far have we gone, and when will it end?”

The matter of fact is, trolls use software patents most of the time; some have estimated 70% of the time (depending on how one classifies these patents and adds them up). So the two aforementioned issues are closely connected.

Joining the likes of Quinn IP Law, we now have Gene Quinn’s Watchtroll (promoter of software patents and trolls), calling the the patent system to be “fixed”. The “Swamp” of Watchtroll, which can’t help attacking the USPTO Director who cleaned up a lot of the mess, says “fix the patent system” but actually it means break the system (again, like in the Reagan days). They’re trying to hijack terms like “fix” (or “reform”) to mean the very opposite of it!

“Facts are not on their side, but money is on their side and if they can afford to repeat their lies many times in a lot of different publications, then they might actually, successfully, fool some politicians.”They also latch onto that China nonsense (it’s granting patents on every silly thing). To quote one example: “While we have damaged our patent system, China has strengthened theirs. Today, China leads the world in new patent filings.”

That’s not strengthening, that’s weakening. They lower their standards and have merely become a platform for opportunists such as patent trolls. The other day, Watchtroll also published this article titled “How to Fight Low Quality Patents Related to Commoditized Technology that Threaten Innovation”. It did speak about trolls as follows:

The most successful patent trolls tend to be those with the sharpest noses for weakness. They sniff out low quality patents and hit legitimate businesses where they’re vulnerable in order to make money without doing the actual work of innovation.

And incidentally, they typically use software patents, which Watchtroll can’t help promoting every other day.

The likes of Watchtroll and that greedy bunch of self-serving maximalists are thankfully enough losing the battle. That is why they have grown so desperate and are now painting a revocation of a fix (regression) as a “fix”. Facts are not on their side, but money is on their side and if they can afford to repeat their lies many times in a lot of different publications, then they might actually, successfully, fool some politicians. Right now they try to get Rader installed as USPTO Director. If the “Swamp” had a human face to it, he is it.

Report From Yesterday’s Debate About the European Patent Office (EPO) at the Bavarian Landtag

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017 07:38:02 PM

Report from an anonymous contributor

Summary: A report of the EPO debate which took place at the Bavarian Landtag yesterday (21/2/2017)

The motion concerning the situation at the EPO which was proposed by the Freie Wähler group in the Bavarian Landtag was debated at the 54th session of the the European and Regional Affair Committee which took place on Tuesday, the 21st of February, 2017.

The session which was open to the public was chaired by Dr. Franz Rieger (CSU) and co-chaired by Georg Rosenthal (SPD).

“The session which was open to the public was chaired by Dr. Franz Rieger (CSU) and co-chaired by Georg Rosenthal (SPD).”The debate on the EPO motion was preceded by an informal briefing (“Informationsgespräch”) about EU matters by two representatives of the EU, Richard Kühnel and Tobias Winkler which kicked off at 12:30. Kühnel is a former Austrian diplomat and the EU Commission’s Head of Representation in Germany.

Winkler is head of the Information Office of the European Parliament in Munich which by a curious coincidence is housed on the ground floor of the EPO’s Isar Building at Bob-van-Benthem-Platz.

During the information briefing with the EU officials, EPO problems already started to rear their ugly head when one of the Freie Wähler group, Dr. Hans Jürgen Fahn, referred to the EPO motion which was scheduled for discussion later in the afternoon.

“Winkler is head of the Information Office of the European Parliament in Munich which by a curious coincidence is housed on the ground floor of the EPO’s Isar Building at Bob-van-Benthem-Platz.”Dr. Fahn asked Mr. Kühnel to explain the position of the EU Commission in relation to the situation at the EPO. He noted that the EU Commission had observer status on the Administrative Council. He also referred to the fact that an MEP from the Freie Wähler, Ms. Ulrike Müller, had submitted a question to the EU Commission and had received a rather vague answer which left nobody any the wiser about where the Commission stood and what, if anything, it intended to do about the problems at the EPO.

When grappling with Dr. Fahn’s question, the normally eloquent Mr. Kühnel appeared to be stuck for words and seemed visibly uncomfortable. He attempted to wriggle his way out of the awkward situation by referring to the fact that EU Commission only had observer status on the Administrative Council and didn’t have any vote. Although technically correct, his answer is disingenuous because if the EU member states (27 or 28 depending on whether the UK is included …) agreed to take a common line on EPO matters then they would command almost 75% of the votes on the Administrative Council.

“When grappling with Dr. Fahn’s question, the normally eloquent Mr. Kühnel appeared to be stuck for words and seemed visibly uncomfortable.”After the information briefing on EU matters concluded there was a brief discussion about a number of other items on the agenda relating to local Bavarian issues.

Shortly after 14:00 the debate on the EPO motion was opened. The motion was introduced by Gabi Schmidt (Freie Wähler) who noted that nothing had really changed since the last time the Landtag had discussed the situation at the EPO in June 2016.

The Freie Wähler were ably supported by the Green Party represented by Christine Kamm.

“Some observers had the impression that he was just parroting off a script that had been drafted for him by Battistelli’s legal wizards and witches in the DG5 propaganda department.”The motion was opposed by Mr. Walter Taubeneder, the rapporteur for the majority CSU. Mr. Taubeneder went through a list of points including the recent judgment from the Dutch Supreme Court and recent decisions from the ILOAT and somehow managed to conclude from all this that everything was rosy at the EPO and that Mr. Battistelli was doing a fine job and that EPO staff had no valid reasons for complaining about anything. Some observers had the impression that he was just parroting off a script that had been drafted for him by Battistelli’s legal wizards and witches in the DG5 propaganda department.

The second largest party in the Landtag, the SPD, was strangely quiet during the debate and did not attempt to make any contribution.

Susann Biedefeld who had made a spirited speech during the previous debate in June 2016 seemed to be absent and was sadly missed.

Some people were wondering whether or not the local Bavarian SPD had received orders from the party headquarters in Berlin to keep out of the debate.

“Some people were wondering whether or not the local Bavarian SPD had received orders from the party headquarters in Berlin to keep out of the debate.”Despite the lack of any contribution from the SPD, towards the end of the debate, the SPD vice-chairman of the committee Georg Rosenthal made a short statement indicating that his party would support the motion.

The chairman of the committee, Dr. Franz Rieger (CSU), closed the debate by noting that the majority CSU did not support the motion resulting in its rejection.

Although the motion failed to secure majority backing at the committee stage, the story doesn’t end here because the matter will now go forward for discussion in a plenary session of the Landtag estimated to take place in about six to eight weeks time.

“But whatever the final outcome may be, Gabi Schmidt and her parliamentary colleages from the Freie Wähler and Christine Kamm from the Green Party deserve praise for their persistence in refusing to let the matter rest.”Unless the CSU decides to change course in the meantime, it is very likely that the motion will be defeated when it is put to a vote in front of the Landtag as already happened once before in June last year.

But whatever the final outcome may be, Gabi Schmidt and her parliamentary colleages from the Freie Wähler and Christine Kamm from the Green Party deserve praise for their persistence in refusing to let the matter rest.

Links 22/2/2017: Wine-Staging 2.2, Nautilus 3.24

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017 06:38:28 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Austrian Schools

      Here it is 2017 and Austrian schools are using GNU/Linux and folks are still having problems with That Other OS in schools. I was in a similar situation back in 2000 when I first installed GNU/Linux in my classroom. TOOS didn’t work for me then and it still doesn’t work for schools today. Any time you have a monopolist telling you what you can and can’t do in your classroom, you’re going to have problems, especially if that monopolist isn’t particularly supportive of your objectives. In my case, M$ was celebrating its monopoly and didn’t even care if the software crashed hourly. I later discovered there were all kinds of evil consequences of the EULA from Hell, like limiting the size of networks without a server running their software and fat licensing fees.

    • How to build the fastest Linux PC possible on a budget

      There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a system boot up almost instantaneously when the power switch is hit. Long gone are the days of going to make yourself a brew while those spinning platters buzz and the display kicks into life, lazily dragging you into the GUI you call home.

      But surely that luxury of speed is reserved for those who are willing to drop £1,000+ on a new system? Fortunately, this is not the case anymore. With advancements in technology over the last six years, and Intel’s aggressive push to keep reinvigorating its chipsets each and every generation, we’re starting to see more and more affordable budget, speed-oriented components finally making it to market.

      The SSD has succeeded the hard drive with sub 10-second boot times and lightning quick file transfers. However, three years on and we’ve seen both the rise and fall of the SATA III bus. This was a standard that was supposed to last us until 2020, but now lies completely saturated, with only the ever enduring HDD still making good use of the connectivity.

    • How to communicate from a Linux shell: Email, instant messaging

      I get a lot of questions on how to perform various tasks from a Linux shell/terminal. In the interest of making a simple cheat sheet—something I can point people to that will help them get rolling with terminal powers—what follows are my recommendations for how to perform various types of communication from your shell.

      I’m talking about the normal sort of communication most people perform via a web browser (or a handful of graphical applications) nowadays: Email, instant messaging, that sort of thing. Except, you know, running them entirely in a terminal—which you can run just about anywhere: in an SSH session on a remote server, on a handheld device, or even on your Android phone/tablet.

    • 5 signs that you are a Linux geek

      Linux users are a passionate bunch, and some are downright proud of their of their geekiness. But if you’re not sure about your status, a writer at MakeUseOf has a list of 5 signs that show you are a Linux geek.

    • The Year Of Linux On Everything But The Desktop

      The War on Linux goes back to Bill Gates, then CEO of Microsoft, in an “open letter to hobbyists” published in a newsletter in 1976. Even though Linux wouldn’t be born until 1991, Gates’ burgeoning software company – itself years away from releasing its first operating system – already felt the threat of open source software. We know Gates today as a kindly billionaire who’s joining us in the fight against everything from disease to income inequality, but there was a time when Gates was the bad guy of the computing world.

      Microsoft released its Windows operating system in 1985. At the time, its main competition was Apple and Unix-like systems. BSD was the dominant open source Unix clone then – it marks its 40th birthday this year, in fact – and Microsoft fired barrages of legal challenges to BSD just like it eventually would against Linux. Meanwhile Apple sued Microsoft over its interface, in the infamous “Look and Feel” lawsuit, and Microsoft’s reign would forever be challenged. Eventually Microsoft would be tried in both the US and the UK for antitrust, which is a government regulation against corporate monopolies. Even though it lost both suits, Microsoft simply paid the fine out of its bottomless pockets and kept right at it.

    • EU privacy watchdogs say Windows 10 settings still raise concerns

      European Union data protection watchdogs said on Monday they were still concerned about the privacy settings of Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system despite the U.S. company announcing changes to the installation process.

      The watchdogs, a group made up of the EU’s 28 authorities responsible for enforcing data protection law, wrote to Microsoft last year expressing concerns about the default installation settings of Windows 10 and users’ apparent lack of control over the company’s processing of their data.

      The group – referred to as the Article 29 Working Party -asked for more explanation of Microsoft’s processing of personal data for various purposes, including advertising.

    • Microsoft Faces European Privacy Probes Over Windows 10

      Microsoft Corp. faces a coordinated investigation by European privacy regulators after it failed to do enough to address their concerns about the collection and processing of user data with a series of changes to Windows 10 last month.

      European Union data-protection officials sent a letter to Microsoft saying they remain “concerned about the level of protection of users’ personal data,” according to a copy of the document posted by the Dutch watchdog Tuesday. Regulators from seven countries are concerned that even after the announced changes, “Microsoft does not comply with fundamental privacy rules.”

  • Server
    • Of Pies and Platforms: Platform-as-a-Service vs. Containers-as-a-Service

      I’m often asked about the difference between using a platform as a service (PaaS) vs. a containers-as-a-service (CaaS) approach to developing cloud applications. When does it makes sense to choose one or the other? One way to describe the difference and how it affects your development time and resources is to look at it like the process of baking a pie.

    • Understanding OpenStack’s Success

      At the time I got into the data storage industry, I was working with and developing RAID and JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) controllers for 2 Gbit Fibre Channel Storage Area Networks (SAN). This was a time before “The Cloud”. Things were different—so were our users. There was comfort in buying from a single source or single vendor. In an ideal world, it should all work together, harmoniously, right? And when things go awry, that single vendor should be able to solve every problem within that entire deployment.

    • Open source docks with mainstream vendors

      Open source and mainstream are joining forces this week as the Docker software containerisation platform comes under the spotlight at technology-focused network and information sessions in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

      “The diversity of our partners at the event − Docker, Microsoft Azure, Atlassian, SUSE and HPE – is a clear indication of the excitement around the Docker platform,” says Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian Systems.

  • Kernel Space
    • New Media Drivers Queued For Linux 4.11

      Another pull request worth mentioning for the Linux 4.11 kernel is the media subsystem updates.

    • A Big Networking Update For Linux 4.11

      David Miller has mailed out the rather big set of updates to the networking subsystem for the Linux 4.11 kernel.

    • Linux 4.11 Adds EFI Memory Attributes Table Support

      The (U)EFI support continues to evolve within the Linux kernel and with the 4.11 release will be new and improved functionality.

    • Security Changes Bring Major AppArmor Update, Better TPM 2.0 To Linux 4.11

      James Morris has filed the security subsystem feature updates targeting the Linux 4.11 merge window.

      Changes to the security-related components in the kernel include a major AppArmor update with policy namespaces support and many fixes, /sys/kernel/security/lsm now makes it easy to show loaded Linux Security Modules, SELinux updates, and improved TPM 2.0 support.

    • Linux 4.10 arrives

      With more than 13,000 commits, the release of Linux 4.10 was not as small at Linus Torvalds was expecting. Nonetheless, it arrived over the weekend, bringing with it significant changes, such as the introduction of support for virtual GPUs.

    • Linux Kernel 4.10 Released — Happy Anniversary!

      Kernel 4.10 has the honor of being christened the “Anniversary Edition” by Linus Torvalds. I’m guessing this is because of the recent 25th anniversary of the release of Linux 0.01. Admittedly, it is a bit late for that (the anniversary was back in September); however, Linus had not named any of the recent releases for the occasion, opting instead for naming them after several deranged animals.

    • Collabora Contributions to Linux Kernel 4.10

      Linux Kernel v4.10 is out and this time Collabora contributed a total of 39 patches by 10 different developers. You can read more about the v4.10 merge window on LWN.net: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

      Now here is a look at the changes made by Collaborans. To begin with Daniel Stone fixed an issue when waiting for fences on the i915 driver, while Emil Velikov added support to read the PCI revision for sysfs to improve the starting time in some applications.

    • Mesos Is to the Datacenter as the Kernel Is to Linux

      Necessity is the mother of invention. We needed our datacenters to be more automated, so we invented tools like Puppet and Chef. We needed easier application deployment, so we invented Docker. Of course it didn’t stop there. Ben Hindman, the founder and chief architect of Mesosphere, co-created Apache Mesos. In his keynote at MesosCon Asia 2016, Hindman relates how failures and elasticity led to the development of Mesos.

    • Power Management Sees More P-State Tweaking, Other Changes For Linux 4.11

      Rafael Wysocki has submitted the ACPI and power management feature updates for the Linux 4.11 kernel.

      The work in the power management space this cycle includes improvements to Operating Performance Points (OPP), CPUFreq core clean-ups, new CPUFreq drivers for Broadcom BMIPS and TI SoCs and Qoriq.

    • Linux 4.10 Released as First New Kernel of 2017

      After a one week delay, Linus Torvalds released the first new Linux kernel of 2017 on Feb. 19, with the debut of Linux 4.10. The Linux 4.9 kernel (aka ‘Roaring Lionus” was released back on Dec. 11. There was some talk in 2016 that seemed to indicate that Linux 4.10 would in fact be re-numbered as Linux 5.0 but that didn’t end up happening.

      “On the whole, 4.10 didn’t end up as small as it initially looked,” Torvalds wrote in his release announcement. “After the huge release that was 4.9, I expected things to be pretty quiet, but it ended up very much a fairly average release by modern kernel standards.”

      “So we have about 13,000 commits (not counting merges- that would be another 1200+ commits if you count those),” Torvalds added.

    • The Companies That Support Linux and Open Source: Mender.io

      IoT is largely transitioning from hype to implementation with the growth of smart and connected devices spanning across all industries including building automation, energy, healthcare and manufacturing. The automotive industry has given some of the most tangible examples of both the promise and risk of IoT, with Tesla’s ability to deploy over-the-air software updates a prime example of forward-thinking efficiency. On the other side, the Jeep Cherokee hack in July 2015 displayed the urgent need for security to be a top priority for embedded devices as several security lapses made it vulnerable and gave hackers the ability to remotely control the vehicle. One of the security lapses included the firmware update of the head unit (V850) not having the proper authenticity checks.

    • Open Source Networking: Disruptive Innovation Ready for Prime Time

      Innovations are much more interesting than inventions. The “laser” is a classic invention and “FedEx” is a classic innovation. Successful innovation disrupts entire industries and ecosystems as we’ve seen with Uber, AirBnB, and Amazon to name just a few. The entire global telecommunication industry is at the dawn of a new era of innovation. Innovations should be the rising tide in which everybody wins except what’s referred to as “laggards.” Who are the laggards going to be in this new era of open communications? You don’t want to be one.

      [...]

      It’s clear from this presentation that The Linux Foundation and its Open Source Networking and Orchestration portfolio of projects is driving real innovation in the networking ecosystem. Successful and impactful innovations take time as the disruptive forces ripple throughout the ecosystem. The Linux Foundation is taking on the complex task of coordinating multiple open source initiatives with the goal to eliminate barriers to adoption. Providing end-to-end testing and harmonization will reduce many deployment barriers and accelerate the time required for production deployments. Those interested in the future of open source networking should attend ONS 2017. No one wants to be a “laggard.”

    • XFS Changes Filed For The Linux 4.11 Kernel

      The XFS file-system updates have been submitted for the Linux 4.11 merge window.

    • Xen Changes For Linux 4.11: Lands PVHv2 Guest Support

      The latest pull request worth mentioning for the Linux 4.11 merge window are the Xen virtualization feature updates.

    • Linux Kernel 4.10 Lands in SparkyLinux’s Unstable Repo, Here’s How to Install It

      The trend of offering users the most recent Linux kernel release continues today with SparkyLinux, an open-source, Debian-based distribution that always ships with the latest GNU/Linux technologies and software versions.

      SparkyLinux appears to be the third distro to offer its users the ability to install the recently released Linux 4.10 kernel, after Linux Lite and Ubuntu, as the developers announced earlier that the Linux kernel 4.10 packages are now available from the unstable repository.

    • Graphics Stack
      • RADV Vulkan Driver’s PRIME Code Rewritten

        Red Hat’s David Airlie keeps to work on improving the open-source Radeon Vulkan driver.

      • Intel Sandy Bridge Picks Up transform_feedback2, Should Allow WebGL 2.0 Support
      • Radeon Pro Software 17.Q1 Released For Linux Professionals

        AMD today released the Radeon Pro Software 17.Q1 driver for Windows and Linux users running FirePro / RadeonPro workstation graphics cards.

      • Wayland 1.13 Released

        Wayland 1.13 is now available thanks to release management by Samsung OSG’s Bryce Harrington.

      • wayland 1.13.0

        This is the official release of Wayland 1.13. There have been no changes since beta and RC1.

        In addition to a range of bug fixes, changes since wayland 1.12 have added some API for controlling the visibility of globals and numerous documentation and other improvements.

      • Wayland 1.13.0 Display Server Officially Released, Wayland 1.14 Lands in June

        Bryce Harrington, a Senior Open Source Developer at Samsung, announced today the release and general availability of the Wayland 1.13.0 for GNU/Linux distributions that already adopted the next-generation display server.next-generation display server.

        Wayland 1.13.0 has entered development in the first days of the year, but the first Alpha build arrived at the end of January, along with the Alpha version of the Weston 2.0 compositor, including most of the new features that are present in this final release that you’ll be able to install on your Linux-based operating systems in the coming days.

      • Weston 2.0 RC2 Wayland Compositor Arrives With Last Minute Fixes

        While Wayland 1.13 was released today, Bryce Harrington today opted against releasing the Weston 2.0 reference compositor and instead issue a second release candidate.

        Weston 2.0 is the next version of this “playground” for Wayland compositor technologies since the new output configuration API had broke the ABI, necessitating a break from the same versioning as Wayland.

      • [ANNOUNCE] weston 1.99.94
      • The Vulkan Differences Between AMDGPU-PRO, RADV & SteamVR’s RADV Drivers

        With Valve having published a binary-only RADV Radeon Vulkan driver build for their beta of SteamVR on Linux, I did some poking out of curiosity to see the differences to the mainline RADV driver in Mesa. Out of curiosity I also did a comparison to see how the Vulkan capabilities compare to the proprietary AMDGPU-PRO Vulkan driver.

    • Benchmarks
      • NVIDIA/Radeon Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Relative Gaming Performance

        Last week I published some Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Radeon benchmarks and Windows vs. Linux NVIDIA Pascal tests. Those results were published by themselves while for this article are the AMD and NVIDIA numbers merged together and normalized to get a look at the relative Windows vs. Linux gaming performance.

        With the tests last week we tested Company of Heroes 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, GRID Autosport, Metro Last Light Redux, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Civilization VI, Tomb Raider, Total War: WARHAMMER, and The Talos Principle, among others.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDE Plasma 5.8.6 Released for LTS Users with over 80 Improvements, Bug Fixes

        Today, February 21, 2017, KDE announced the availability of the sixth maintenance update to the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems.

      • Plasma in a Snap?

        Shortly before FOSDEM, Aleix Pol asked if I had ever put Plasma in a Snap. While I was a bit perplexed by the notion itself, I also found this a rather interesting idea.

        So, the past couple of weeks I spent a bit of time here and there on trying to see if it is possible.

      • QStringView Diaries: Advances in QStringLiteral

        This is the first in a series of blog posts on QStringView, the std::u16string_view equivalent for Qt. You can read about QStringView in my original post to the Qt development mailing-list, follow its status by tracking the “qstringview” topic on Gerrit and learn about string views in general in Marshall Clow’s CppCon 2015 talk, aptly named “string_view”.

      • Making Movies with QML

        One of the interesting things about working with Qt is seeing all the unexpected ways our users use the APIs we create. Last year I got a bug report requesting an API to set a custom frame rate for QML animations when using QQuickRenderControl. The reason was that the user was using QQuickRenderControl as an engine to render video output from Qt Quick, and if your target was say 24 frames per second, the animations were not smooth because of how the default animation driver behaves. So inspired by this use case I decided to take a stab at creating such an example myself.

      • KDE Talks at FOSDEM

        The continuation of the original talk from Dirk Hohndel and Linus Torvalds about the port of Subsurface from Gtk to Qt, now with mobile in mind.

      • How to Create a Look and Feel Theme
      • United Desktop Theme for KDE Plasma 5.9
      • How to create a look and feel theme
      • Qt Roadmap for 2017

        With Qt 5.7 and 5.8 released we have a completely new baseline for Qt 5 based applications and devices. In this blog, I want to provide a roadmap update on what we are currently working on in the Qt R&D and what the future directions are.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME hackaton in Brno

        Last week, we had a presentation on Google Summer of Code and Outreachy at Brno University of Technology. Around 80 students attended which was a pretty good success considering it was not part of any course. It was a surprise for the uni people as well because the room they booked was only for 60 ppl.

      • Nautilus 3.24 – The changes

        Since Nautilus was created, if a user wanted to open a folder where the user didn’t have permissions, for example a system folder where only root has access, it was required to start Nautilus with sudo.

        However running UI apps under root is strongly discouraged, and to be honest, quite inconvenient. Running any UI app with sudo is actually not even supported in Wayland by design due to the security issues that that conveys.

      • Nautilus 3.24 to Bring Desktop Support for Wayland Sessions, Easy Root Browsing

        The GNOME 3.24 desktop environment is coming in only one month from today, on March 22, and it will bring with it a lot of new features for many of its core components and applications, including the Nautilus (Files) file manager.

        GNOME developer Carlos Soriano is sharing with us today the upcoming features of Nautilus 3.24, as well all the improvements and bug fixes that landed so far, and what didn’t make it in the release, which will be available for all users as part of the GNOME 3.24 Stack.

  • Distributions
    • [elementaryOS] AppCenter: Funded

      A few moments ago, we hit 100% funded for our AppCenter campaign on Indiegogo. Thank you, backers! More than 300 people backed us over just two weeks to help bring our pay-what-you-want indie app store to life.

    • New Releases
      • Meet Flint OS, a Chromium OS Fork for Raspberry Pi & PCs That Runs Android Apps

        Will Smith from Flint Innovations Limited is informing Softpedia today about their up and coming Linux-based operating system for PCs and Raspberry Pi devices, Flint OS, based on the open-source Chromium OS project.

        These days, we see more and more developers and entrepreneurs launching new operating systems based on Chromium OS, which Google uses with much success for its Chrome OS on many Chromebooks that you can purchase today. But Flint OS is somehow a bit special, not only because it provides support for both Raspberry Pi SBCs and x86 computers with either Intel or Nvidia GPUs, but because it uses Android apps.

      • Zorin OS 12 Business Edition Launches with macOS, Unity, and GNOME 2 Layouts

        Three months after launching the biggest release ever of the Ubuntu-based operating system, the Zorin OS team is today announcing the availability of Zorin OS 12 Business Edition.

        Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel, Zorin OS 12 Business Edition ships with the innovative Zorin Desktop 2.0 desktop environment that offers multiple layouts for all tastes. These means that you can make your Zorin OS 12 desktop look like macOS, GNOME 2, or Unity with a click.

      • Rebellin Linux v3.5 released!
      • Rebellin Linux 3.5 Rolls Out as the Best GNU/Linux Distro Based on Debian Sid

        The developers of the Debian-based Rebellin Linux operating system have announced today the release and general availability of version 3.5, a major build that introduces exciting new features and up-to-date components.

        Rebellin Linux 3.5 rolls out as the best GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian Sid, according to the developers, because it comes with out-of-the-box email support. We don’t know what to say about that, but we can’t help but notice that this release includes the latest GNOME 3.22.2 and MATE 1.16.1 desktop environments.

        “Rebellin Linux v3.5 is out! Built on the goodness of Debian and the previous Rebellin, it’s the best Debian Sid based distribution you can get. Know why? Cos it comes with email support,” reads today’s announcement. “Download Rebellin now and end your search for the perfect Linux distro.”

      • KaOS 2017.02

        KaOS is proud to announce the availability of the February release of a new stable ISO.

        The policy is, once a first pacman -Syu becomes a major update, it is time for a new ISO so new users are not faced with a difficult first update. With the exceptional large amounts of updates the last four to five weeks a new ISO is needed a bit sooner than usual.

        As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.31.0, Plasma 5.9.2, KDE Applications 16.12.2 & not yet released ports of KDE Applications. All built on Qt 5.8.0.

      • KaOS 2017.02 Is Out with Linux 4.9.10, KDE Plasma 5.9.2, and X.Org Server 1.19.1

        KaOS 2017.02, the February release of the ISO image of KaOS, an open-source GNU/Linux distribution that offers a rolling model and it’s inspired by Arch Linux, has been announced today.

        As its name suggests, KaOS is built around the KDE desktop environment, so it’s targeted mainly at KDE fans. The new ISO image, KaOS 2017.02, ships with all the latest KDE technologies and applications, including KDE Plasma 5.9.2, KDE Applications 16.12.2, KDE Frameworks 5.31.0, and Qt 5.8.0.

      • Linux Lite To Have These New Features In The Next Release Linux Lite 3.4

        …we contacted the creator of the Linux Lite “Jerry Bezencon” and enquired the upcoming new features in the latest version of the Linux Lite. We have also done a review of the latest available distro i.e. 3.2 (32 bit) so that the readers can understand easily where are the new features headed towards.

    • Slackware Family
      • Thoughts on Slackware 14.2

        All in all I’m quite happy with slackware 14.2 on my quasi-modern computer. Old school linux and openbsd types will no doubt feel at home with slack. There’s no systemd to worry about. A full install takes about 9 gigs of drive space. The slackware folks have obviously put a ton of work into this new release. A word of warning to linux newbies, this isn’t the easiest distro to install and is probably best suited to linux intermediates or experts.

    • Red Hat Family
      • JBoss Fuse 6.3 integration services for Red Hat OpenShift released

        Red Hat announced the latest update to the Red Hat JBoss Fuse-based integration service on Red Hat OpenShift. With the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud-based SaaS systems, and new data streams, organizations can face increasing pressure to more quickly deliver innovative new services. Traditional centralized, monolithic ESB-style integration approaches are often ill-suited to support the business in responding to this pressure.

      • Huawei, Red Hat expand cloud cooperation to include public and NFV clouds

        Huawei and Red Hat are expanding their cooperation to include public and network functions virtualization (NFV) clouds.

        The announcement expands upon previously announced collaborations between the two companies to deliver OpenStack-based solutions and carrier-grade software-defined networking (SDN) solutions.

      • Why upstream contributions matter when developing open source NFV solutions.

        When software is developed using open source methods, an upstream repository of the code is accessible to all members of the project. Members contribute to the code, test it, write documentation and can create a solution from that code to use or distribute under license. If an organization follows the main stream or branch of the upstream code their solution will receive all the changes and updates created in the upstream repository. Those changes simply “flow down” to the member’s solution. However, if a member organization forks the code — if they create a solution that strays from the main stream — their solution no longer receives updates, fixes and changes from the upstream repository. This organization is now solely responsible for maintaining their solution without the benefit of the upstream community, much like the baby salmon that took a tributary and then have to fend for themselves rather than remain in the main stream and receive the benefit and guidance of the other salmon making their way to the ocean.

      • HPE and Red Hat Join Forces to Give Customers Greater Choice for NFV Deployments

        Hewlett Packard Enterprise ( NYSE : HPE ) and Red Hat, Inc. ( NYSE : RHT ) announced today they are working together to accelerate the deployment of network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions based on fully open, production-ready, standards-based infrastructures. HPE plans to offer ready-to-use, pre-integrated HPE NFV System solutions and HPE Validated Configurations incorporating Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage for communications service providers (CSPs).

      • Red Hat Joins the OpenPower Foundation

        As part of our commitment to delivering open technologies across many computing architectures, Red Hat has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the POWER microprocessor architecture, at the Platinum level. While we already do build and support open technologies for the POWER architecture, the OpenPOWER Foundation is committed to an open, community-driven technology-creation process – something that we feel is critical to the continued growth of open collaboration around POWER.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Fedora 25: The perf linux tool.
        • Fedora 25 KDE: disappointing experience

          Fedora is not a frequent guest on the review deck of Linux notes from DarkDuck blog. The most recent review was of Fedora 22 back in July 2015. That was a review of the GNOME version, the most native for Fedora.

          You are probably aware of the tight link between the GNOME project and RedHat, the Fedora Project main sponsor.

        • F25-20170221 Updated ISOs available!!

          It is with great pleasure to announce that the Community run respin team has yet another Updated ISO round. This round carries the 4.9.10-200 kernel along with over 780 MB of updates (avg, some Desktop Environments more, some less) since the Gold release.

        • F25-20170221 Updated Lives Released

          I am happy to announce new F25-20170221 Updated Lives.

        • Our Bootloader Problem

          GRUB, it is time we broke up. It’s not you, it’s me. Okay, it’s you. The last 15+ years have some great (read: painful) memories. But it is time to call it quits.

          Red Hat Linux (not RHEL) deprecated LILO for version 9 (PDF; hat tip: Spot). This means that Fedora has used GRUB as its bootloader since the very first release: Fedora Core 1.

          GRUB was designed for a world where bootloaders had to locate a Linux kernel on a filesystem. This meant it needed support for all the filesystems anyone might conceivably use. It was also built for a world where dual-booting meant having a bootloader implemented menu to choose between operating systems.

    • Debian Family
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • SF’s Elections Commission asks mayor to put $4M toward open source voting system [Ed: Microsoft a threat]

    While the Elections Commission may be among the least followed city bodies, the seven members are playing a critical role in determining whether San Francisco will begin to use an open-source voting system.

    For years, open-source voting advocates have called on San Francisco officials to part ways with traditional voting machine companies.

    Open-source voting is widely considered the best defense to voter fraud with the added benefits of cost savings and flexibility.

    Much to chagrin of these advocates, The City has continued to sign contracts with nonopen-source voting companies. While no open-source voting system has been deployed elsewhere, other jurisdictions are currently working on it, such as Travis County, Texas.

    After The City allocated $300,000 in the current fiscal year to move San Francisco toward an open-source voting system, the effort has gotten off to a slower-than-expected start. Advocates worry if funding isn’t committed to building out such a system, the effort will face further delays.

  • Radisys Contributes Its LTE RAN Software to M-CORD

    Radisys announced today that its open source LTE radio access network (RAN) software will be available under the Apache 2.0 license for On.Lab’s Mobile Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (M-CORD) 5G architecture. The software will be available to the open source group in March.

    M-CORD, one of a few CORD projects at On.Lab, aims to set the stage for 5G with a disaggregated virtual evolved packet core (vEPC), a programmable RAN, mobile edge computing, and mobile network slicing. The goal is to help bring the CORD framework to the mobile edge of the network for 5G services.

  • Radisys Announces Open Source LTE Radio Access Network (RAN) Software for the Mobile-CORD (M-CORD) Project
  • Radisys and China Unicom Collaborate on Mobile CORD (M-CORD) Implementation for 5G Services
  • Singapore IT bosses turn to open source

    In order to successfully compete in the age of the customer and continue to deliver world-class operational capabilities, senior IT decision makers from Singapore plan to focus on three IT and business priorities in the next 12 months.

    These include reducing cost and improving operational efficiency (78%); improving their organization’s ability to innovate (46%); and improving customer experience (46%).

    These three priorities have been reflected in respondents’ strategic IT initiatives in the next 12 months to transform both internal and customer facing technologies.

    Three-fourths (76%) identified integration of back-end systems-of-record with customer-facing mobile and web systems-of-engagement as a high or critical priority.

    More than half (56%) identified modernization of key legacy applications as a high or critical priority.

  • An AI Hedge Fund Created a New Currency to Make Wall Street Work Like Open Source

    Wall Street is a competition, a Darwinian battle for the almighty dollar. Gordon Gekko said that greed is good, that it captures “the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” A hedge fund hunts for an edge and then maniacally guards it, locking down its trading data and barring its traders from joining the company next door. The big bucks lie in finding market inefficiencies no one else can, succeeding at the expense of others. But Richard Craib wants to change that. He wants to transform Wall Street from a cutthroat competition into a harmonious collaboration.

  • This Is The World’s First Cryptocurrency Issued By A Hedge Fund
  • Hedge Fund Numerai Launches its Own Cryptocurrency
  • Ubuntu Developer to Unveil Crypto Micropayments Concept [Ed: Article may have been removed]
  • Meet the chap open-sourcing US govt code – Paul, an ex-Microsoft anti-piracy engineer [Ed: Used to work for Microsoft and now spreads the GPL ("cancer" according to Microsoft) in the US government]

    The manager of the project, Berg said, really wanted to release MOOSE as open source, but didn’t know how to do so. As a result it took 18 months to traverse government bureaucracy and to obtain the necessary permissions. It’s now available under the GPL 2.1 license.

  • Another option for file sharing

    Existing mechanisms for file sharing are so fragmented that people waste time on multi-step copying and repackaging. With the new project Upspin, we aim to improve the situation by providing a global name space to name all your files. Given an Upspin name, a file can be shared securely, copied efficiently without “download” and “upload”, and accessed by anyone with permission from anywhere with a network connection.

  • Google Developing “Upspin” Framework For Naming/Sharing Files

    Google today announced an experimental project called Upspin that’s aiming for next-generation file-sharing in a secure manner.

  • Google releases open source file sharing project ‘Upspin’ on GitHub

    Believe it or not, in 2017, file-sharing between individuals is not a particularly easy affair. Quite frankly, I had a better experience more than a decade ago sending things to friends and family using AOL Instant Messenger. Nowadays, everything is so fragmented, that it can be hard to share.

    Today, Google unveils yet another way to share files. Called “Upspin,” the open source project aims to make sharing easier for home users. With that said, the project does not seem particularly easy to set up or maintain. For example, it uses Unix-like directories and email addresses for permissions. While it may make sense to Google engineers, I am dubious that it will ever be widely used.

  • Google devs try to create new global namespace

    Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a universal and consistent way to give names to files stored on the Internet, so they were easy to find? A universal resource locator, if you like?

    The problem is that URLs have been clunkified, so Upspin, an experimental project from some Google engineers, offers an easier model: identifying files to users and paths, and letting the creator set access privileges.

  • Netflix treats security ills with Stethoscope: Open-source self-probing tool

    Netflix has released the source code of a web application called Stethoscope for evaluating the security of mobile and desktop computing devices.

    The software, covered by the Apache 2.0 license, intended for employees of organizations that use a device management service. Netflix hopes that employees using the toolkit will learn from it and apply the app’s recommendations to personal devices that are not under active management.

  • ReactOS 0.5 Open Source Windows-Compatible OS to Offer Windows Vista-Like Style

    ReactOS 0.4.4 arrived last week as the latest maintenance update to the stable 0.4 series of the open source Windows-compatible operating system, bringing better rendering for many applications and initial printing support.

  • 6 open source tools I use on my Windows machine

    In most of the places I have worked there has been a centralized computer and application standard that was more or less mandatory for all employees. There are benefits of such an environment, which I will not go into in this piece, but for me, as an open source and Linux enthusiast, I try to use the tools I’m used to and like.

    So, I immediately install my favorite applications when I receive a new standardized Windows-based work computer, something I have been lucky enough to be allowed to do.

  • Events
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • Licensing/Legal
    • Basic Rules to Streamline Open Source Compliance For Software Development

      Companies will almost certainly face challenges establishing their open source compliance program. In this series of articles, based on The Linux Foundation’s e-book, Open Source Compliance in the Enterprise, we discuss some of the most common challenges, and offer recommendations on how to overcome them.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Building an Open Source Eco-Village

      People involved in the maker movement are coming up with all sorts ideas to both help the planet and improves people’s lives — such as this idea for an open source village.

  • Programming/Development
    • Best practices for guiding new coders

      As the new year progresses, many free and open source projects are turning their attention to various formalized mentoring programs, such as Mozilla’s Winter of Security, Outreachy, and (the program with my favorite name) the X.Org Endless Vacation of Code. Patterned after the success of Google’s Summer of Code, these programs give many new programmers a chance to gain firsthand experience working within successful FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) projects and the projects themselves access to fresh talent.

    • Developing an nrf51822 based embedded device with Qt Creator and Debian

      I’m currently developing an nRF51822-based embedded device. Being one the Qt/Qt Creator maintainers in Debian I would of course try to use it for the development. Turns out it works pretty good… with some caveats.

    • Qt’s Roadmap For 2017: Graphics, An Exciting Qt 5.9/5.10

      Tuukka Turunen of The Qt Company has shared some of the project’s goals for the 2017 calendar year in delivering Qt 5.9 and Qt 5.10 along with more point releases.

      Qt developers hope to make 2017 exciting by shipping Qt 5.9 in May and their hope is to ship Qt 5.10 this November.

    • Intend to retire perl-Log-Any-Adapter-Dispatch
Leftovers
  • Why I Don’t Talk to Google Recruiters

    This is a real story, and it’s not only about Google. I’m getting emails from recruiters at Amazon, Facebook, and smaller Silicon Valley startups. They find me somehow, most likely through this blog, my books, or my GitHub account. They always start with “We’re so impressed by your profile” and finish with “Let’s schedule an interview.” I always reply with the same text, and they always disappear, only to come back in a few months under a different name. Let me explain my reasons; maybe you will do the same and we can change this situation in the industry.

  • On Killers and Bullshitters*

    We’re living in a very weird and convoluted moment in the annals of truth and bullshit. For some reason Americans saddled themselves with a rich and obnoxious reality TV star significantly unmoored from reality. A George W. Bush aide famously told a reporter: We’re an empire now and we make our own reality. Maybe it’s an axiom of our age: The wealthy and powerful have the right to make their own reality. As for the poor and the powerless, the same condition of being unmoored from reality is generally linked with what we call “mental illness,” which leads to marginalization, institutionalization or incarceration.

    The same corrupt double standard works in the realm of violence. I‘ve been writing for decades about the killing our government has officially undertaken in places like Vietnam and Iraq and in smaller venues. I’ve always liked the bumper sticker that says: Kill One Person It’s Murder; Kill 100,000 It’s Foreign Policy. In my thinking, it isn’t a joke; it’s more like the Rules Of Engagement.

    For me, the exemplary culprit in this equation is Henry Kissinger and the cold-blooded slaughter of millions of Vietnamese in a war that really makes no sense at all. (I challenge anyone to tell me what the Vietnamese ever did to us other than work as our ally against the Japanese in World War Two.) The most truthful narrative is that the Vietnamese were betrayed and attacked by the United States, one, to support French re-colonization after WWII, and, two, because US leaders felt compelled to dominate the wrecked post-WWII world. To recognize Vietnamese nationalism and the Vietnamese urge for freedom was too complicated for our fearful and reductive Cold War mindset. Rich and powerful, we ended up killing millions of Vietnamese in an ultimately failed effort to impose our reality — although in the end the Vietnamese developed excellent capitalistic instincts.

  • Science
    • Separation from your phone ‘makes you stressed within minutes’

      Psychologists have found that the answer is probably only a few minutes – at least among people aged 18 to 26.

      In a study, people whose phones were taken away from them were more likely to show “stress behaviour” than those who had their phones on them.

      Participants who were given another mobile showed less signs of stress too, even though it wasn’t their own phone.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • European Commission Public Consultation On Plan To Fight Antimicrobial Resistance

      The European Commission has launched a call for comments on its proposed plan to help EU members fight antimicrobial resistance.

      In mid-2017, the European Commission is launching a Commission Communication on a One Health Action Plan to support Member States in the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

      The communication will be directed towards European Parliament and European Council. Public consultation from any citizens or organisations is welcome through 28 April, and is available through a questionnaire assessing the opinions of individuals on activities related to the European Commission’s action plan, according to a Commission announcement.

    • We must punish those guilty of Female Genital Mutilation

      There are four types of FGM, all four types are barbaric and there are no health benefits in forcing young girls and women to go through with this. The ages at which girls are mutilated can range from babies to young women, and an elder, ‘the cutter,’ in their communities, with no painkillers to numb the pain, will cut them with a rusty blade.

      The reasons given are always ‘social and cultural’ with little or no focus on religion. Religion is the common denominator in all 30 countries where FGM is concentrated. The three top countries are Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia and while their cultural and social norms will differ vastly, the religion will be the same.

      It is at this point that many will argue, ‘Yes but Christians also cut their girls.’ Even though there is no demand from Christian countries to do this nor is there any biblical call for FGM.

    • Mysterious radiation spreading across Europe after authorities keep it secret

      Mysterious radioactive spikes are being found across Europe – and nobody quite knows why.

      Iodine-131, a man-made radioactive material, is being found in small amounts across the continent. It was found in northern Norway early in January, according to officials, but has been gradually moving across the rest of Europe ever since.

      But despite finding the material in January, authorities didn’t announce that it had been found until recent days. That might be because it isn’t at all clear where it has come from or how it got to be spread out.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: week 95 in Stretch cycle
    • Kaspersky: No whiff of Linux in our OS because we need new start to secure IoT [Ed: Kaspersky repeats the same anti-Linux rhetoric he used years ago to market itself, anti-Linux Liam Tung recycles]

      Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, says its new KasperskyOS for securing industrial IoT devices does not contain “even the slightest smell of Linux”, differentiating it from many other IoT products that have the open-source OS at the core.

    • Russian security company to compete with Microsoft via new OS
    • KasperskyOS “11-11” Released After 14 Years Of Development — Here Are Best Features
    • KasperskyOS aims to secure the billions of forgotten network devices
    • Intent-Based Security Gains Momentum at RSA

      It isn’t a buzzphrase on par with “artificial intelligence” yet, but intent-based security has been gathering steam, as evidenced at this week’s RSA Conference.

      Startups such as Illumio, Twistlock, and vArmour have staked their plans on intent-based security, and at least one established player, Fortinet, is steering its portfolio in that direction.

    • 5 open source security tools too good to ignore

      Open source is a wonderful thing. A significant chunk of today’s enterprise IT and personal technology depends on open source software. But even while open source software is widely used in networking, operating systems, and virtualization, enterprise security platforms still tend to be proprietary and vendor-locked. Fortunately, that’s changing.

      If you haven’t been looking to open source to help address your security needs, it’s a shame—you’re missing out on a growing number of freely available tools for protecting your networks, hosts, and data. The best part is, many of these tools come from active projects backed by well-known sources you can trust, such as leading security companies and major cloud operators. And many have been tested in the biggest and most challenging environments you can imagine.

    • What’s the best Linux firewall distro of 2017?

      You don’t have to manage a large corporate network to use a dedicated firewall. While your Linux distro will have an impressive firewall – and an equally impressive arsenal of tools to manage it – the advantages don’t extend to the other devices on your network. A typical network has more devices connected to the internet than the total number of computers and laptops in your SOHO. With the onslaught of IoT, it won’t be long before your router doles out IP addresses to your washing machine and microwave as well.

      The one thing you wouldn’t want in this Jetsonian future is having to rely on your router’s limited firewall capabilities to shield your house – and everyone in it – from the malicious bits and bytes floating about on the internet.

      A dedicated firewall stands between the internet and internal network, sanitising the traffic flowing into the latter. Setting one up is an involved process both in terms of assembling the hardware and configuring the software. However, there are quite a few distros that help you set up a dedicated firewall with ease, and we’re going to look at the ones that have the best protective open source software and roll them into a convenient and easy to use package.

    • Java and Python FTP attacks can punch holes through firewalls

      The Java and Python runtimes fail to properly validate FTP URLs, which can potentially allow attackers to punch holes through firewalls to access local networks.

      On Saturday, security researcher Alexander Klink disclosed an interesting attack where exploiting an XXE (XML External Entity) vulnerability in a Java application can be used to send emails.

    • Microsoft: no plans to patch known bugs before March [Ed: Microsoft is keeping open ‘back doors’ that are publicly known about, not just secret ones]

      Microsoft has no plans to issue updates for two vulnerabilities, one a zero-day and the other being one publicised by Google, before the scheduled date for its next round of updates rolls around in March.

      The company did not issue any updates in February, even though it had been scheduled to switch to a new system from this month onwards.

      It gave no reason for this, apart from saying: “This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today.

      “After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan.”

      The Google-disclosed bug was made public last week, and is said to be a flaw in the Windows graphic device interface library that can be exploited both locally and remotely to read the contents of a user’s memory.

    • Microsoft issues critical security patches, but leaves zero-day flaws at risk

      Microsoft has patched “critical” security vulnerabilities in its browsers, but has left at least two zero-day flaws with public exploit code.

      The software giant released numerous patches late on Tuesday to fix flaws in Adobe Flash for customers using Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1 and later, as well as Edge for Windows 10.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Michigan, where did our winter wonderland go?

      About a half-dozen plows moved snow around on the frozen surface of Whitmore Lake in early February, forming the borders for 20 ice rinks.

      Temperatures rose steadily over the next few days, going from about 30 degrees to the high 30s, then into the 40s and 50s. It rained.

      The organizers of the Michigan Pond Hockey Classic, a charity tournament that brings up to 7,000 people to Whitmore Lake every year, postponed the event over concerns about thin ice but eventually had to cancel it all together, another casualty of an unusually warm winter in the Mitten State.

      From ice hockey to ice fishing and snowmobiling, many beloved outdoor wintertime activities have taken a hit this year, especially in the lower half of the Lower Peninsula.

    • Alarm as haze from Indonesian fires spreads in Southeast Asia News DW.COM

      Smoke over swathes of Indonesia and Singapore was “tracking close to 1997” with forecasts pointing to a longer dry season, NASA’s Robert Field said on Friday. For weeks, residents in the region, including Malaysians, have sought treatment for respiratory problems, with Indonesia again facing pressure from its neighbors to tackle illegal burn-offs by plantation firms and small farmers. The smog has disrupted aviation and forced school closures across the region. Southeast Asia is currently in the grip of a so-called El Nino weather phenomenon, which makes conditions drier than usual. Everything under control? On Thursday, Indonesia’s disaster chief, Willem Rampangilei, turned down a Singaporean offer to help by saying “everything was under control” and that he believed rains would arrive by early November.

  • Finance
    • Apple to Europe: It’s our job to design Ireland’s tax system, not yours

      Stop terraforming taxation, says Cupertino, and let us get on with it Apple has filed its defence against the European Commission’s claim it owes €13bn in back taxes in Ireland.

      Apple on Monday filed a defence in which it dismissed the very idea of the US$13.75/£11bn bill, calling for the total or partial annulment of the European Commission decision that set the case in motion and suggesting the Commission pay Apple’s costs into the bargain.

      Cupertino’s argument offers 14 pleas in law that collectively assert that the EU just doesn’t understand how Apple operates and thoroughly misunderstands the way it gets stuff done in Ireland.

      We therefore get familiar arguments suggesting Apple need not pay tax in Ireland because the real profit-generating work happens elsewhere. Apple Ireland “carried out only routine functions and were not involved in the development and commercialisation of Apple IP which drove profits,” says Plea 4.

    • Irish Union on European Agendas

      I was speaking with a Polish friend who is a Member of the European Parliament. He confirmed that Brexit had led to very wide support for Scottish Independence in the Parliament, across many political and national divides. He also made the interesting point that the cause of Irish reunification was again mentioned in the bars of Brussels.

      This of course makes perfect sense. With the personal and economic freedoms and common rights of EU citizenship, a sense of both the Republic and the North being inside a much wider union took the edge off some of the grievances of Irish nationalists, at least to the degree that this was a contributing argument for ceasing to pursue reunification by violence. It is a commonplace that Brexit undermines the intellectual and emotional basis of the Good Friday agreement – it certainly does. I hope Brexit will not result in renewed violence, but that it will result in a strongly renewed demand for Irish reunification I do not doubt – and I will support that demand.

    • Uber’s self-driving cars are now picking up passengers in Arizona [Ed: Uber operated at a loss to drive taxi drivers out of business. Now it gets rid of its own drivers.]

      Almost two months to the day after Uber loaded its fleet of self-driving SUVs into the trailer of a self-driving truck and stormed off to Arizona in a self-driving huff, the company is preparing to launch its second experiment (if you don’t count the aborted San Francisco pilot) in autonomous ride-hailing.

      What’s different is that this time, Uber has the blessing from Arizona’s top politician, Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, who is expected to be “Rider Zero” on an autonomous trip along with Anthony Levandowski, VP of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group. The Arizona pilot comes after California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registration of Uber’s 16 self-driving cars because the company refused to apply for the appropriate permits for testing autonomous cars.

    • Government grants new powers to stop foreign human rights abusers buying London homes to launder their wealth

      The Government has bowed to pressure to act on evidence that London has become “a haven for the blood money of the world’s nastiest despots”.

      New powers will be given to the authorities to seize the assets of foreign human rights abusers who buy homes in Britain to funnel their ill-gotten wealth.

      However, the Home Office denied the move amounted to a US-style ‘Magnitsky Act’ – introduced after a corruption whistleblower who died in a Russian prison in suspicious circumstances.

    • Blockchain: A new hope, or just hype?

      Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin may have captured the public’s fancy – and also engendered a healthy dose of skepticism — but it is their underlying technology that is proving to be of practical benefit to organizations: the blockchain. Many industries are exploring its benefits and testing its limitations, with financial services leading the way as firms eye potential windfalls in the blockchain’s ability to improve efficiency in such things as the trading and settlement of securities. The real estate industry also sees potential in the blockchain to make homes — even portions of homes — and other illiquid assets trade and transfer more easily. The blockchain is seen as disrupting global supply chains as well, by boosting transaction speed across borders and improving transparency.

    • Leftist French lawmakers take CETA to Constitutional Council

      More than 100 French MPs decided yesterday (21 February) to appeal to the country’s Constitutional Council to block a contentious free trade deal between the European Union and Canada.

      Supporters of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) say it will boost economic growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. But opponents say it will lead to a race to the bottom in labour and environmental standards and allow multinational corporations to dictate public policy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • If Zuckerberg wants to rule the world, does he even need to be president?

      It is not normal for a technology chief executive to announce a new product roadmap in the form of a 5,700 word blogpost that begins with a unified theory of history and ends by quoting Abraham Lincoln. But that’s exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has done in his letter to the “Facebook community”, published on Thursday.

      The unusual aspects of the letter don’t stop at its length. Zuckerberg rapidly alternates between lofty statements of social principle and minor product updates. One minute, he is discussing the necessity for a strong civil society existing between the government and the people, implicitly rebutting Margaret Thatcher; the next, he is discussing the need for the administrators of Facebook groups to be able to support “sub-communities”, so that, for example, a Facebook group for a university can contain within it a sub-group for a particular accommodation block.

      If an attentive reader overcomes the whiplash induced by the shifts in tone, they’ll find a founder clearly concerned by the growing discontent many are feeling about Facebook’s effect on the world. Zuckerberg proposes solutions to such varied problems as Facebook’s history of heavy-handed censorship, the social network’s role in enabling and promoting fake news, and the need to prevent terrorist groups from using Facebook’s tools to recruit and co-ordinate.

    • We Could Have Had Biden

      Joe Biden would have beaten him.

      Think about why Trump won. He was by sheer accident the more or less least worst choice. Despite his behavior, he kept failing upward, right into the White House.

      A large portion of this election was about income disparity, cultural and economic displacement, a sense that the country had abandoned too much of its center. I don’t know how many of those people voted for Trump per se, but some percentage voted against for Hillary Clinton (spare me the popular vote bit, we’re dealing with the reality of the system which was here in 2016 and will be here in 2020.)

    • Are Liberals Helping Trump? Not Much, Apparently

      The article mostly talks to Trump supporters; it’s another entry in the Trump-supporters-support-Trump genre, with the twist that the supporters blame opponents for the fact that they still support Trump. Tavernise does cite some polling data well into the article, noting that Trump “has high marks among moderates who lean Republican: 70 percent approve, while 20 percent disapprove.”

    • Why the Flynn-Russia Controversy Isn’t Over Yet
    • Why the Flynn-Russia Affair Is So Troubling for Donald Trump
    • Cost of Trump family security vexes New York and Florida officials

      Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, inserted himself into the debate on Sunday, saying it costs $500,000 per day for nearly 200 police officers to protect Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which houses the Trump family business headquarters and serves as the home of the first lady, Melania Trump, and the couple’s son, Barron. The senator estimated the cost could rise to as much as $183m annually.

      At current estimates, even a four-year Trump administration could be heading for a billion dollars in taxpayer-borne costs – an eight-fold increase of the $97m Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, estimates it cost to protect Barack Obama over the two terms of his administration.

    • Defending Our Borders From Hell-Demons From Another Dimension

      “Only Trump can make Americans safe again!”

    • Socialism’s Return

      For the American left, 2016 proved to be a year with a cruel twist ending. In the first few months, a self-
described democratic socialist by the name of Bernie Sanders mounted a surprisingly successful primary challenge to the Democratic Party’s presumed and eventual presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. By the end of 2016, however, not only had Sanders lost the primary race, but Clinton had been defeated in the general election by a billionaire who dressed his xenophobic and plutocratic ambitions in the garb of class resentment.

      But the apparent strength of the left wasn’t entirely an illusion. Even as late as November, the Sanders campaign had racked up a set of important victories. The Cold War had helped to entrench the idea of socialism as antithetical to the American political tradition, and Sanders had gone a long way toward smashing that ideological consensus. By identifying himself explicitly as a democratic socialist from the outset of his campaign, he helped give renewed meaning and salience to it as a political identity firmly rooted in the American tradition.

      In addition to helping end the stigma around socialism, the Sanders campaign provided a blueprint for a new generation of leftists and progressives. By running in the Democratic primary and showing that he could draw large crowds, Sanders revealed an emerging left-leaning constituency. It seemed in those early autumn months that even in defeat, Sanders had opened up the path for a more progressive Democratic Party: “Sanders Democrats” could continue to work within the party and not only protest outside it. The way forward seemed clear: After Clinton won the general election, a strengthened social-democratic left could work toward the universal provision of various social services and push for criminal-justice reforms and other key priorities.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Thiel company helped support NSA spy program: report

      Billionaire Peter Thiel’s company Palantir helped support the National Security Agency’s controversial spy program XKeyscore, according to a report in The Intercept citing previously undisclosed documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      Palantir helped build software to accelerate and increase the NSA’s use of XKeyscore, according to the documents.

      The program, first revealed by The Guardian in 2013, lets analysts search through databases of emails, online chats and browsing histories without authorization.

    • How Peter Thiel’s Palantir Helped the NSA Spy on the Whole World

      Donald Trump has inherited the most powerful machine for spying ever devised. How this petty, vengeful man might wield and expand the sprawling American spy apparatus, already vulnerable to abuse, is disturbing enough on its own. But the outlook is even worse considering Trump’s vast preference for private sector expertise and new strategic friendship with Silicon Valley billionaire investor Peter Thiel, whose controversial (and opaque) company Palantir has long sought to sell governments an unmatched power to sift and exploit information of any kind. Thiel represents a perfect nexus of government clout with the kind of corporate swagger Trump loves. The Intercept can now reveal that Palantir has worked for years to boost the global dragnet of the NSA and its international partners, and was in fact co-created with American spies.

    • Legislation to stop U.S. border agents from demanding passwords and logins is on the way

      Privacy advocates aren’t happy with proposals for enhanced digital prying at U.S. borders, and now that issue could be taken up in the Senate.

      In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden called for accountability around reports that U.S. Customs and Border agents are obtaining the passwords to locked devices that belong to detainees at the border. Invoking the Fourth Amendment, Wyden dismissed such practices as extralegal, lacking probable cause and a warrant required for such searches.

      “There are well-established legal rules governing how law enforcement agencies may obtain data from social media companies and email providers,” Wyden wrote. “The process typically requires that the government obtain a search warrant or other court order, and then ask the service provider to turn over the user’s data.”

    • Pressure Mounts For FBI To Disclose How Much It Paid To Unlock iPhone

      The Associated Press and two other news organizations asked a judge Monday to force the federal government to reveal how much it paid for a tool to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters.

      The news organizations said in a court filing there was “no adequate justification” for the FBI to continue to withhold information on the cost of the tool or the identity of the vendor that sold it. They said their requests were narrowly tailored and, contrary to the arguments of the FBI and Justice Department, did not seek information that would jeopardize national security or be exploited by America’s enemies.

      “While it is undisputed that the vendor developed the iPhone access tool, the government has identified no rational reason why knowing the vendor’s identity is linked in any way to the substance of the tool, much less how such knowledge would reveal any information about the tool’s application,” lawyers for the news organizations wrote in the filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington.

    • London Internet Exchange members vote to block UK Snoopers’ Charter gagging order

      Members of LINX, the London Internet Exchange – the UK’s largest net “peering” point – have rejected proposals that would reshape the company’s constitution and could block members from being consulted about government tapping instructions.

      The vote, on Tuesday, followed a Reg report revealing that members had been given less than two weeks notice of a proposed change which would allow LINX’s chairman to “override” directors’ wishes and prevent members learning about controversial actions, including, according to LINX, “secret orders from the government”

      Directors of the company had urged the 740 members of LINX, mostly Internet providers from overseas, to vote for the plans without any debate or considering alternatives, during a 10-minute “Extraordinary General Meeting” (EGM) held on Tuesday.

    • NSA and CIA is the Enemy of the People

      Astute students of history understand that government agencies often further their own interests and not the administration they are designated to serve. Seldom is the genuine national security advanced when bureaucrats pledge their loyalty to their respective fiefdoms of projecting influence and power. Absent in this supremacy struggle equation is the abstract notion that state legitimacy is founded upon the will and consent of the people. Such a quaint concept does not reflect a chapter in the training manual that breeds the spooks who operate as above the law and unaccountable super spies.

      Guarding signals traffic or capturing foreign communication is a logical task to protect national secrets, while gathering information on intentions and operations from advocacies. Once upon a time the National Security Agency directed the ECHELON project as a cold war network. Over the decades the functions of electronic surveillance broadened into collection on all forms of data, no matter the source or the national origin of the subject.

    • NSA Contractors Join Privacy Shield

      Did you really think that the European Union would protect your privacy? Don’t be so naive.

      The US-EU Privacy Shield program is supposed to give EU citizens greater data protections. As I wrote previously, the Privacy Shield program has several legal loopholes, which makes it look a bit like a block of Swiss cheese.

    • Software vulnerability disclosures by NSA will continue under Trump, officials say [Ed: Relaying fake news and NSA propaganda/puff pieces. it's also a loaded headline; they harvested/weaponised zero-days, so this boils down to stenography and reputation laundering. Why is it a very big deal that the NSA sat on zero-days and did nothing? Because adversaries too could exploit these. Even if one naively believes that it's desirable for one's government to snoop on innocents, it still leaves adversaries empowered (e.g. control by blackmail)]
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Rep. Sensenbrenner Thinks We Can Pay For The Border Wall With More Asset Forfeiture

      President Trump appears to have thrown his support behind asset forfeiture, even as the issue has begun reaching critical mass in the mainstream media. (It’s been thoroughly covered by more libertarian publications like Reason for years.) In addition to not being able to “see anything wrong with it,” Trump jokingly suggested he’d ruin the careers of politicians mounting reform efforts.

      His recent executive orders appear to back this “gloves off” approach to criminal justice. In addition to singling out immigrants as troublemakers, the orders ask law enforcement officials to take a look around and see if they’re being constrained by any state or federal laws. Presumably, any recent forfeiture reform legislation would fall under this heading as it prevents law enforcement agencies from acting in the way they’ve become accustomed: seize first, convict later… if at all.

    • Appeals Court Says Filming The Police Is Protected By The First Amendment

      In news that will surprise no one, police officers decided they must do something about someone filming the police department building from across the street. That’s where this Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision begins: with a completely avoidable and completely unnecessary assertion of government power.

    • Boris Johnson – an Ethics Free Zone

      The total absence of even a shadow of an ethical dimension to UK foreign policy is nowhere better illustrated than its continued relationship with the appalling Uzbek dictatorship. There is competition of course for the role of most unconscionable British policy. The support for the vicious tyrant of Bahrain and the suppression of the Bahraini Shia majority, the secret British military presence on the ground in Saudi Arabia assisting the bombing campaign that has killed thousands of children, these are sickening examples of Britain’s true role in the world.

    • Court To Cop: You Took 80 Days Away From A Person’s Life With A Baseless Warrant, So We’re Taking Your Immunity

      In 2009, April Yvette Smith was arrested on drug dealing charges and spent 80 days in jail. The charges were ultimately dropped by the district attorney, but by the time it happened, Smith had already lost her job. The same can’t be said for the officer who obtained her arrest warrant. His job was always secure. The only thing he’s lost — seven years after the fact — is his immunity from Smith’s civil rights lawsuit.

      The chain of events leading to Smith’s wrongful arrest are as horrible as they are stupid. Somewhere between Barney Fife and the banal evil of law enforcement ineptitude lies Officer Jason Munday. It starts with a “wired” confidential informant and ends in an indifferent “investigation” that sounds as though Munday just got bored sitting around the office.

    • UK Schools Experiment With Police-Style Body Cameras To Tackle ‘Low-level Background Disorder’

      Although only two UK schools are currently involved, a survey carried out by the Times Educational Supplement revealed that a third of the teachers who were asked said they would be willing to try wearing a body camera; two thirds said they would feel safer wearing it; and a tenth even thought it would eventually become compulsory for all UK teachers to use them.

    • The far-right panic: a distraction from jihadism

      But is this really the case? Youths have always aired obnoxious views to wind up adults, and this could well account for part of these figures. In any case, mouthing off is still a world away from actively organising and campaigning on far-right issues. That kind of mobilisation is completely absent today. The British National Party has disintegrated, its local council presence all but wiped out. Street-based protest groups such as the English Defense League and Britain First can barely mobilise a few hundred people for their rallies in car parks. We’re not witnessing a return to 1970s levels of far-right activity, let alone the 1930s, as one commentator recently claimed.

      [...]

      Even before Brexit, warnings of a far-right resurgence have routinely appeared in the press in recent years. Whenever there has been a terrorist atrocity carried out by jihadists, the elite response has been to raise concerns about a ‘far-right backlash’, even though none has emerged. In this way, obsessing about the far-right has become a displacement activity, a refusal to recognise that a significant minority of young Muslims are estranged from British society.

    • Iran Bans Teen Chess Siblings Over Head Scarf, Match Against Israeli

      ranian chess officials have barred two teen siblings from domestic chess tournaments and the national team for crossing some of the religious establishment’s so-called red lines at an international chess event.

      The Iranian National Chess Team dismissed 18-year-old Dorsa Derakhshani for appearing at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2017, which ran from January 23 to February 2, without the Islamic head scarf that became compulsory in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

      Her 15-year-old brother, Borna Derakhshani, was banned for playing against an Israeli opponent at the same event.

      Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and forbids Iranian athletes from competing against Israeli athletes at international sports events. Iranians in the past have cited injury or illness to avoid facing Israeli rivals.

    • Bangladesh catches Islamist convicted of blogger murder

      Bangladesh police on Monday (Feb 20) detained an Islamist who had been sentenced to death in his absence in 2015 for planning the gruesome murder of a secular blogger.

      Police said they had caught Rezwanul Azad Rana, a 34-year-old former student at one of the country’s top universities, and one other man when they raided a house in a suburb of Dhaka.

      Rana had been on the run since the start of his trial for the murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death with machetes in February 2013 in the first of a string of attacks targeting secular writers in Bangladesh.

      “The counter-terrorism and transnational crime unit of police has arrested Rana along with an assistant militant named Ashraf during a raid from a house at Uttara suburb in the capital Dhaka,” said a statement on the Dhaka police website.

    • Convicted hairdresser argues ruling should be overturned as Muslim woman takes off hijab

      Merete Hodne was initially given an £800 fine by police in October, 2015, after she refused to serve Malika Bayan in her establishment in Bryne, southwest Norway, because she was wearing a hijab.

      However the 47-year-old businessman, who said she was fully within her rights to not colour Ms Bayan’s hair, refused to pay the fine and was taken to court.

      The case has already been heard twice, as Ms Hodne appealed the ruling in September which initially found she had discriminated against the 24-year-old.

    • Speaking in Detroit, Farrakhan slams both Democrats and Trump

      Speaking to thousands gathered in Detroit on Sunday, Minister Louis Farrakhan said African-Americans shouldn’t place their faith in Democrats or Republicans, criticizing both parties for neglecting the black community.

      “Most of you are so hurt because Queen Hillary lost,” Farrakhan said at Joe Louis Arena during the final day of the annual convention of the Nation of Islam. “And some of you have cussed me out because I didn’t vote for her. I didn’t vote for Trump. I knew both of them is the same. You ain’t going to get nothing from either one, but more deceit from Hillary, but more straight talk from Trump.

      “He told you, you didn’t have nothing to lose. You’ve been a Democrat all your life and don’t have a damn thing to show for it.”

    • Clashes in Stockholm Suburb Draw Attention to Trump’s Remarks

      Residents in a northwestern suburb predominantly inhabited by immigrants have clashed with police officers, two days after President Trump unleashed a vague but pointed critique of Sweden’s migration policies.

      About 20 to 30 masked men threw stones and other objects at police officers in the suburb, Rinkeby, after the police arrested a man on suspicion of dealing drugs. A police officer fired a warning shot, but the disturbances continued for several more hours, stretching into early Tuesday morning. A photojournalist was injured in the clashes.

      The episode drew scrutiny worldwide because of Mr. Trump’s assertions — based on a Fox News segment — that Sweden had experienced a surge in crime and violence as a result of taking in large numbers of refugees. Mr. Trump’s comments were greeted with anger in Sweden, the latest example of strong criticism by the American president antagonizing friendly countries, including neighbors like Mexico and allies like Australia and the European Union.

    • Police forced to shoot at protesters as violence erupts – yet PM is in denial

      Stockholm police were forced to fire a shot into the crowd in the hard-hit suburb of Rinkeby, after a mob of around 30 began attacking officers with rocks.

      Violence erupted after the police had tried to arrest a wanted person on the subway.

    • 4 Ways To Make Sure Your Protest Really Makes A Difference

      The country is a garbage nest of rage. And no matter which side of the political pop you’re licking, the situation sure feels helpless. Too often protests devolve into dumb hostility, like the Oregon standoff or the more-recent UC Berkeley shitshow.

      But what if I told you that if you follow the rules history has laid out, protests and boycotts absolutely can work? For when you look down the annals of successful civil disobedience, a clear pattern emerges. One that I will now express to you in the following four easy steps. Grab a beer, you pitchfork-shining renegade. This is your handy guide to nut-punching The Man!

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • After Losing 10,000 Viewers Per Day, ESPN Finally Buckles To Offering Standalone Streaming Video Service

      For years now, ESPN has been the perfect personification of the cable and broadcast industry’s denial regarding cord cutting. Long propped up by a system that forces consumers to buy massive bundles of largely-unwatched channels, ESPN has struggled with the rise of streaming alternatives and sleeker, “skinny” channel bundles. The sports network, which has lost 7 million viewers in just a few years, has been trying to argue that these losses (which caused Disney stock to lose $22 billion in value in just two days at one point) are simply part of some kind of overblown, mass hallucination.

    • Ajit Pai is making the FCC more transparent — but only when it suits him

      FCC chairman Ajit Pai has had a whirlwind first month, taking immediate action to scale back net neutrality, slow broadband subsidies for low-income households, and block efforts to reform the exorbitant calling rates to prisons.

      But in the background of all of this, Pai has also made a series of changes at the commission in the name of transparency. He’s explored publishing FCC orders a month before they’re voted on, alongside a one-page summary (instead of close to one month after they’re voted on); limited the extent to which the commission can edit orders after a vote; and given commissioners more oversight of enforcement actions (fines, mostly) that punish companies for violating FCC rules

    • If New FCC Boss Ajit Pai Is So ‘Pro Consumer,’ Why Does The Telecom Industry Need To Pay People To Say So?

      On his first day new FCC Boss Ajit Pai repeatedly and breathlessly insisted that consumers and the digital divide would be his top priority. The problem: that dedication was directly contradicted by not only Pai’s past voting record at the agency, but his first actions as agency head. Out of the gate Pai undermined an FCC legal case against prison phone telecom monopolies, scrapped an FCC plan to bring competition to the cable box, killed all ongoing zero rating inquiries and began laying the ground work for killing net neutrality, and prevented nine already-approved ISPs from helping the poor via the agency’s Lifeline program.

      Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take particularly long for some news outlets to realize that Pai’s words weren’t supported by his actions. Both The Washington Post and the New York Times penned editorials blasting Pai, most notably for his ongoing disdain for net neutrality, which has broad, bipartisan support.

      Driven to defend Pai’s selection as FCC boss for obvious reasons, ISPs got right to work fighting back via their traditional weapon of choice: bullshitters for hire. Shortly after the Post and Times pieces surfaced, contrasting op-eds quickly popped up in newspapers and websites nationwide claiming Pai is actually an incredible boon to consumers, competition and innovation. Most of these op-eds failed to adequately disclose the authors’ financial ties to large broadband providers, or the fact they take money while pretending to be objective analysts — often including Congressional testimony.

  • DRM
    • Apple Says Nebraska Will Become A ‘Mecca For Hackers’ If Right To Repair Bill Passes

      Apple probably expected its heavy-handed (and stupid — more on that in a bit) “suggestion” to be taken more seriously by podunk legislators in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately for Apple, Brasch isn’t just a legislator in a state mainly known for corn and football-as-religion.

      Brasch is not only an Apple customer, but she’s a farmer who has had to deal with plenty of repair-blocking BS from companies like John Deere. She also has a background in computer science and an apparent tendency to not let corporate lawyers talk down to her.

      Not only did Apple pick the wrong legislator to threaten, its threat is incoherent. I’ve spent most of the last 15 years in the Midwest and, trust me, it would take far more than a right-to-repair bill’s passage to make Nebraska a mecca of anything. (Beyond college football, he said to head off the Cornhusker faithful most likely already demanding a retraction…)

      Then there’s the thing about “hackers.” There’s more than one type of hacker, but Apple dropped it as a pejorative term in hopes of conjuring images of hoodied figures sitting in dark rooms with the local SWAT team on speed dial and deploying some sort of encryption… you know, the evil kind.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • ARIPO, OAPI To Harmonise Practices On Intellectual Property In Africa

      The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and its sister organisation, Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle [African Intellectual Property Organization] (OAPI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to harmonise the intellectual property systems of the two institutions.

    • Book Review: The Informal Economy in Developing Nations – Hidden Edge of Innovation?

      Shamnad Basheer, of SpicyIP, picks up on two main themes. He cautions against, “the simplistic tendency to superimpose an existing “formal” IP appropriation regime onto the informal economy,” and, “it is foolhardy to assume that the informal sector simply needs to learn from the formal sector and formalise as quickly as possible. On the contrary, the informal economy may have important lessons for the informal economy…” Supporting innovation is important, but a formal approach to IP may not always be the answer.

    • Kenyan Regulator Cancels Leading Collective Management Licence To Streamline Music Royalties

      In a move meant streamline the collection of music royalties in Kenya, the government regulator declined to renew a 2017 licence for a leading collective organisation over unmet standards.

    • Momentum-Building: An Interview With Ruth Dreifuss On High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines

      I chaired the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health, which delivered a report to the World Health Organization in 2006. At that time I saw real momentum on the issue of access to medicines, an awareness, and a will to go further.

      However this momentum had been diminishing over the last years and the report of the High Level Panel acted as a strong push to put the issue back on the international agenda. This is the case at the World Health Organization, it cannot be ignored. We will have an opportunity to discuss the report at a side event at the World Trade Organization, and will present it at the United Nations Human Rights Council. It is very important that others take ownership of the report now.

    • Copyrights
      • European News Publishers Still Believe They Have The Right To Make Google Pay For Sending Traffic Their Way

        The European Commission is still (slowly) moving forward with its plan to dump a link tax on service providers like Google, Facebook, etc. in hopes of propping up local news outfits. The plan has been in the works for a couple of years now and it’s looking like the longer the planning goes on, the less likely it is to result in something that makes its advocates happy.

        A long report from Politico details the current state of this doomed venture. And it is doomed. Even if implemented in a way that makes news outlets happiest, the end result will be less incoming traffic from some of the most-used sites in the world. Some news agencies aren’t so sure this is the way forward.

      • Online Piracy Can Boost Comic Book Sales, Research Finds

        A new academic study shows that piracy can have a positive effect on comic book sales under some conditions. The empirical research, which zooms in on Japanese Manga comics, suggests that sales of ongoing comics dip when pirated versions are more readily available, while those for completed series go up.

      • Court: Hosting A Pirate Site Doesn’t Equal Copyright Infringement [Ed: What authorities mean these days by "pirate site" is "site that people can upload copyright-infringing material to"]

        A Federal Court in California ruled that Steadfast is not automatically liable for hosting an alleged pirate website. In a tentative order favoring the Chicago-based hosting provider, Judge Wu fails to see sufficient evidence to support a secondary liability claim.

      • Why you should care about the Kafkaesque abomination that is the legal case against Kim Dotcom

        And the madness that is this Kafkaesque case against Kim Dotcom continues, this time the Court rules that the Police had no cause to have arrested Kim on the charges of Copyright infringement, but have given our legal sovereignty over to the United States by instead finding trumped up fraud charges as the excuse to trigger extradition.

        [...]

        The Moment of Truth had Assange, Greenwald and Edward Snowden prove without a shadow of a doubt that John Key had lied through his teeth about mass surveillance. It showed the NSA and CIA have staff here, it showed they planned to spike the sea cable and steal data directly from that feed and it showed that our GCSB went and met with the NSA to assure them the law Key had just pushed through allowed for mass surveillance despite Key telling the NZ public that it didn’t.

        But what did NZ focus on? Kim not proving Key knew he existed before he claimed to have known.

      • New Zealand Court Says Kim Dotcom Still Eligible For Extradition… But Not Over Copyright

        After quite some time, a New Zealand court has said that Kim Dotcom is eligible for extradition to the US — something he’s been fighting for over five years. But there’s a weird twist to the story. A key part of the argument that Dotcom’s lawyers have been making is that for extradition to the US, there needs to be “dual criminality” (you can hear Dotcom’s lawyer, Ira Rothken, discuss this on our podcast a few months back). And, the key “crime” that Dotcom is charged with involves secondary copyright infringement (i.e., creating a platform that others use to infringe). But, that’s a problem, as there’s no criminal secondary copyright infringement under New Zealand law (nor US law, but that’s a separate issue). So, here’s the twist. The court actually agreed that there’s no such thing under New Zealand law — and said that Dotcom can’t be extradited for copyright infringement. However, the court said that he can be extradited for “fraud” because there’s dual criminality there.

French Politician Richard Yung Tells the Government About Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017 01:23:23 PM

The picture below is from Yung’s personal Web site

Summary: The subject of EPO scandals has once again landed in French politics, just a couple of months since it last happened

THE CORPORATE media continues to ignore the EPO scandals, with few and rare exceptions like The Register. There’s this Ferrari marketing/puff piece (also EPO sidekick) in the media, yet virtually nothing about a serious scandal which costs lives and is quickly becoming Europe’s biggest reputational disaster in recent decades. We already mentioned several potential motivations for the media blackout, e.g. in Germany.

“We already mentioned several potential motivations for the media blackout, e.g. in Germany.”At the end of last year the French government heard about the EPO’s abuses, having already been approached in all sorts of motions in which Richard Yung was personally involved, e.g. [1, 2]. Well, Mr. Yung has just spoken out again and an automated translation of his blog post says:

On 21 February I asked the Government about the deterioration of the social climate in the European Patent Office (EPO).

Below is a video of my speech and the response of Axelle Lemaire, Secretary of State for Digital and Innovation .

See is the video he is sharing (Adobe Flash required, not just knowledge of French).

For those who wish to inform Yung of the abuses they have suffered (not necessarily French), here are his contact details.

The Sickness of the EPO – Part II: Background Information and Insights

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017 12:52:16 PM

Mercenary doctors at the Office


Reference: CIA Paid Torture Teachers More Than $80 Million

Summary: With a privatised, in-house (sometimes outsourced and for-profit) force for surveillance, policing, justice, public relations and now medical assessment (mere vassals or marionettes of the management) the EPO serves to show that it has become indistinguishable from North Korea, where the Supreme Leader gets to control every single aspect (absolutely no separation of powers)

YESTERDAY we kicked off a series of articles about EPO problems pertaining to health and other medical issues, which the EPO not only ignores/disregards but actually exploits. We have been hearing many stories about it for quite some time; it’s clearly part of a pattern. Not only personal tragedies of employees are being exploited but also health problems of relatives (like dying parents or spouses) are being exploited. We wrote about one such example yesterday. In any normal place of work this would probably lead to lawsuits and high levels of compensation, but the EPO as a workplace is ‘exceptional’; it is effectively above the law or a law unto itself. It’s truly incredible that in a supposedly civilised society — more so in an institution which employs a lot of people with doctoral degrees — such abhorrent abuse of human rights can be tolerated for so long.

“In any normal place of work this would probably lead to lawsuits and high levels of compensation, but the EPO as a workplace is ‘exceptional’; it is effectively above the law or a law unto itself.”We are hearing from a growing number of people who are intimately familiar (first- or second-hand) with these abuses. One person wrote to us: “thank you for starting a series of articles on this sensitive topic. Here again there is a lot I could write about, but in order to keep me protected I unfortunately cannot disclose many details. Anyway, I can tell you general considerations as a “longtime insider”. Being ill wasn’t a problem decades ago. Having a flu, catching a cold or being more seriously ill was nothing that would have led the management to bully you to the exit door of the EPO, and condemn you to stay home ad vitam. I remember a time, when the office was even generous — or better said empathetic — about your personal case. I mean, when something extremely serious happened to you or in your family and you were absent off your duties they wouldn’t ask too much, because they knew that things would be all right again. That was the time when the Office considered itself as an “example of international organisation”. However, the EPO has never been very understanding for psychic illnesses. Mainly because those affected were not “visibly” ill. As a consequence, those suffering psychic disorders were quickly rubber-stamped “fake”. And with the usual kind of EPO “subtlety”, all your colleagues knew about you disease. Of course these weren’t the best conditions to recover your health. Most of the cases lad to a complete inability to carry out the duties, aka invalidity.”

Without disclosing any information about anyone in particular, we can safely say that we have read about many stories (not published here for personal reasons and sensibilities) — enough to be sufficiently familiar with the subject. This is clearly a subject that many people are aware of but are unwilling to openly discuss, for reasons ranging from fear of retaliation to emotional injury (opening up a Pandora’s box of bad memories).

“Yet,” the person stressed to us, “there is another point which displeases the Office: never tell them that the computer tools provided aren’t suitable and may be, or are indeed harmful, to your health. But the use of poorly designed computer tools 8 or more hours a day in addition to an environment affecting your mental condition is a bad cocktail for your health. The computer-related disorders (eyes, spine, skeleton) are well known professional diseases but not in the Office.”

“The computer-related disorders (eyes, spine, skeleton) are well known professional diseases but not in the Office.”
      –AnonymousWe might get around to covering some examples of this. I previously worked, as a researcher, with several (not just one) colleagues who suffered from such conditions. I would estimate that about 5% of us had these conditions in our department (Imaging Science and Biomedical Engineering at Manchester University). The affliction rates tend to be rather high among researchers and people who spend a lot of time reading, sitting down, typing, etc.

“Decades ago,” the person continues, “you could still refer to hired practitioners, doctors who were apparently very severe but extremely professional. One could trust them. These doctors made a mistake: they told the Office the truth about the health conditions of the staff and issued severe warnings. The consequence: they were fired and replaced by in-house doctors. These in-house doctors sing another song: they were judging your health condition and 100% paid by the office. As a consequence, their judgment was always disadvantageously biased….until Sung king Prez decided he was the most competent to asses health issue because the in-house doctors were too “generous” anyway.”

We have heard a lot over the years about such “practitioners”, sometimes in the context of suicides.

“We have heard a lot over the years about such “practitioners”, sometimes in the context of suicides.”“To put it short,” the person continued, “the whole organisational health service is corrupted and to me it appears that some of the goons hired there (before Sun king Prez made the putsch) are damned toxic and take a mischievous pleasure to torture their patients.”

EPO Cartoon/Caricature by KrewinkelKrijst

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017 11:55:42 AM

Inspired by Animal Office


Full size (larger)

Summary: A new rendition by Dutch cartoonist and illustrator KrewinkelKrijst [Web site]

Inverting Narratives: IAM ‘Magazine’ Paints Massive Patent Bully Microsoft (Preying on the Weak) as a Defender of the Powerless

Tuesday 21st of February 2017 01:54:36 PM

If it looks like a patent troll, IAM will certainty love it and agonise over the bad reputation of trolls

Summary: Selective coverage and deliberate misinterpretation of Microsoft’s tactics (patent settlement under threat, disguised as “pre-installation of some of the US company’s software products”) as seen in IAM almost every week these days

THERE IS A WAR against GNU/Linux. It’s a very big war. But a lot of it happens in the back room and it is being led by Microsoft, a notoriously corrupt company that still relies on bribes and blackmail for a lot of its deals (we have given many examples in the past).

Yesterday we saw a Microsoft-friendly site writing about the latest attack on Free software from Google. The site called it “Patently Ridiculous” (in the headline) that “Google [is] Ordered To Pay $20 Million Plus,” as we noted here the other day (it’s a notoriously trolls-friendly judge).

“Not all of this officially counts/qualifies as patent revenue (royalties) because Microsoft uses a clever trick now.”“Software patents are usually patents on the obvious wrapped up in as obscure, vague and technical a language as possible,” the site said. “In this case Google has been found guilty of infringing a “sandbox” patent in Chrome.”

That’s a software patent and it was found valid in one of those notorious courts in the Eastern District of Texas, so Google will hopefully appeal. But there is an even broader war going on, some of which involves Microsoft satellites that keep suing Android (or GNU/Linux) device makers. We provided plenty of examples in past years.

“This trick started about a year ago with Acer, not too long after it naturally followed from a lawsuit against Samsung that yielded a settlement 2 years ago (same effect, same consequences).”Microsoft itself is playing this aggressive game also directly, though it learned how to disguise it a little better. It is trying to make billions of dollars by shaking down Android OEMs and Chrome OS OEMs (often the same OEMs — more or less — as these two operating systems overlap one another more and more over time). Not all of this officially counts/qualifies as patent revenue (royalties) because Microsoft uses a clever trick now.

This trick started about a year ago with Acer, not too long after it naturally followed from a lawsuit against Samsung that yielded a settlement 2 years ago (same effect, same consequences). Then came Xiaomi (not only bundling of Microsoft malware but also payments to Microsoft, in the form of patent purchases). This was all along misportrayed by IAM, as we repeatedly showed. Either they are willfully ignorant or maliciously lying about it. Today IAM published another one of these puff pieces. It paints Microsoft as some kind of “good cop”, but what the author of this article conveniently neglects to say (or twists the facts of) is that Microsoft previously blackmailed HTC using software patents (around the same time Apple did so).

Here is how IAM put it:

The Microsoft petition – jointly filed with Taiwan’s HTC – argues that claims 14, 15 and 17 of the ‘695 patent should be invalidated on grounds of obviousness. The petition also notes that the ‘695 patent has been asserted by Philips along with several other patents in a series of infringement cases it filed in the District of Delaware back in December 2015. The seven of these lawsuits that remain active target Acer, Asus and HTC from Taiwan; Double Power Technology and Yifang from China; and US companies Visual Land and Southern Telecom. Microsoft has joined the Acer, Asus, Double Power, Visual Land and Yifang cases as a counter-defendant; it is also involved in the HTC case as an intervenor-plaintiff.

[...]

Of the defendants in the Philips lawsuits, we know that Microsoft signed HTC as a patent licensee back in 2010, and that it has revised and expanded existing IP licensing deals with Acer and Asus in recent years. With regards to both the latter, this involved the pre-installation of some of the US company’s software products on the Taiwanese manufacturers’ devices; this has also been a feature of headline patent deals signed with other major Asian companies, including Lenovo and Xiaomi. It may be the case that Microsoft has also offered some form of patent risk mitigation, similar to the aforementioned cloud customer programme, as part of these agreements – though that is just my speculation at this stage, and would be difficult to confirm since the details of such licensing arrangements are typically highly confidential.

Instead of ever acknowledging their mistakes/errors, Team IAM likes to pretend that I did not understand what they wrote. This Microsoft-powered site with many guests from Microsoft embedded in articles is fooling nobody. Microsoft is almost worshiped there and rarely is there even a single sentence critical of the company.

“Just using patents to coerce companies into doing what Microsoft tells them,” I told IAM. “It’s a form of blackmail.” But they keep repeating Microsoft’s talking points every month if not every week. That’s revisionism.

Watch how IAM framed a PTAB IPR petition (as if Microsoft cares for companies it blackmailed): “Microsoft IPR filed against Philips looks like another example of the company’s patent-plus value creation strategy.”

Blackmail with patent threats is not “Value creation”. It’s extortion, it’s blackmail. IAM needs to stop pretending that it’s a news site if trolls are painted as innocent victims and companies that terrify and bully the whole industry get treated like a banality to be ignored if not celebrated.

IAM, like the EPO which turned it into a propaganda mill, is a symptom of many of the things we stand against. The other day it celebrated European patent-based sanctions against Chinese companies (like the aforementioned OEMs from Taiwan or China) and only days ago it promoted patent tax through SEPs, which are inherently not compatible with Free/libre software. To quote:

Avanci was launched last September with Qualcomm, Ericsson, ZTE, KPN, InterDigital and Sony all agreeing to make their standard essential patents that read on 2G, 3G and 4G technology available for license across a range of IoT industry verticals. The first three sectors that Avanci has targeted are the auto industry, connected homes and smart meters. There’s no doubt that Avanci brings together some of the leading plays in wireless technology, but it also has some notable gaps such as Nokia and Huawei. Five months after it launched it is yet to conclude any licensing agreements, although Alfalahi insisted that feedback from the industry and from regulators has been positive and that his team continues to talk to a wide range of licensees and possible members. “We’re not saying that cross-licensing or one-on-one licensing doesn’t work, we just believe there’s a better way and over the last year it has become clear there is a need in the market,” he said.

By making up buzzwords like “IoT” or “4G” companies try to bundle together a bunch of patents that deny entry into the market (via standards) unless entrants pay a very large toll (sometimes more expensive than all the hardware combined). In reality, many of these patents are software patents, i.e. something which isn’t even patent-eligible in the vast majority of countries.

We read IAM not for information but mostly as an exercise in understanding the idealogical opposition; IAM stands for greed, protectionism, and litigation, in lieu with its funding sources (revenue sources are not limited to subscriptions).

The Sickness of the EPO – Part I: Motivation for New Series of Articles

Tuesday 21st of February 2017 01:05:03 PM

Facts don’t matter at the EPO anymore

Summary: An introduction or prelude to a long series of upcoming posts, whose purpose is to show governance by coercion, pressure, retribution and tribalism rather than professional relationship between human beings at the European Patent Office (EPO)

THE EPO is no ordinary employer and not an ordinary place to work (or retire from). The best way to judge the character of a person (or an employer) is not the way he or she protects a friend or family (kinship); it’s often the way he or she treats/mistreats peers, especially in difficult times (times of trouble or trauma). Sympathy and care under stress, ordeal or challenge help build long-term relationships — the very thing which the EPO lacks. Utter lack of empathy seems to be a path to promotion, which means that those at the top of the ladder tend to be cruel, heartless, and greedy.

“Utter lack of empathy seems to be a path to promotion, which means that those at the top of the ladder tend to be cruel, heartless, and greedy.”In the series, which we will structure chronologically, details will be shown to demonstrate the EPO’s poor treatment of workers, the lack of a functional justice system, the lack of a proper appeals system, nepotism, harassment (from management/superiors), and lack of outside assistance from ILO, which basically discredits claims that the EPO deserves immunity.

Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VII: EPO Hypocrisy on Cancer and Lack of Feedback to and From ECPC

Tuesday 21st of February 2017 12:46:26 PM

Summary: The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), which calls itself “the largest European cancer patients’ umbrella organisation,” fails to fulfill its duties, says a source of ours, and the EPO makes things even worse

THE merciless EPO is one those things that, once you go further and delve even deeper, reveals much broader abuse which implicates more institutions. Not only European institutions are implicated but international ones too. 2 years ago we mentioned the ECPC's letter, which is still available online [PDF]. One can also access it from the link in this introductory page. We have already published the whole letter as text (mentioned in part 2), but one of our readers called it “another piece of information about the EPO and its bla bla mission, so caring about us citizens.”

“Our experience is not only about fighting cancer, but also about the absurd state of things in this branch of healthcare, the cancer and the many powerful industries connected.”
      –AnonymousThe EPO does not even care about its own workers, let alone citizens. One day we intend to show just how poorly if not arrogantly (inflammatory and indignant psychosis) the EPO treats workers with disabilities, illnesses, etc. It always leaves our jaw on the floor because in any other working place the employer would get sued for improper treatment (or mistreatment) of workers. Psychopathology at the EPO is what inflicts and now wholly dominates the management, not ordinary workers such as examiners. For the most part, examiners are the victims.

One of our readers was eager to share an old story which demonstrates just how bad experiences with the EPO’s management can be.

“At the time,” a reader told us, “I was struggling with my mother’s cancer, pancreatic cancer. The fight we went through is a chapter on its own and one day (hopefully soon) [when] I will find time and guts to publish it as a case study, since even if that terrible disease finally claimed my mother’s life, we could obtain some good results. Our experience is not only about fighting cancer, but also about the absurd state of things in this branch of healthcare, the cancer and the many powerful industries connected. Surprisingly, but now not really, EPO management jumped into this tragedy of my family, by exploiting (and in fact provenly aggravating) my nervous breakdown, and exacerbating the difficulties of coping with a deadly disease in my family distant over a thousand km and a severely ill father, with dementia.

“The letter speaks out the concerns that the ECPC has about a recent decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, how it is an obstacle and a further hurdle for scientific information sharing and consequently how it actually hampers progress in a field of medical research which is already burdened by questionable practices of keeping secret and hidden vital information. ”
      –Anonymous“Well, in that horrible state of mind of those days, I bumped into this European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) group (to me previously unknown) and into De Lorenzo’s open letter to the EPO. The letter speaks out the concerns that the ECPC has about a recent decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, how it is an obstacle and a further hurdle for scientific information sharing and consequently how it actually hampers progress in a field of medical research which is already burdened by questionable practices of keeping secret and hidden vital information.

“I was already on a long-term sick leave, having been missing from the Office for about a year, so I mailed it to my colleagues at the EPO to ask about it and they told me that no information whatsoever had ever been disclosed internally about that letter or about its related issue, which was to me no surprise of course.

“But whatever: up until the day I found that ECPC open letter no answer or even the slightest consideration could be documented, from the side of the EPO, and this was already several months after it was issued.

“…up until the day I found that ECPC open letter no answer or even the slightest consideration could be documented, from the side of the EPO, and this was already several months after it was issued.”
      –Anonymous“I phoned the Italian branch of that institution, where its president Mr. De Lorenzo mostly operated and following their very own directions I sent a mail to ECPC, precisely addressing the attention of its president, asking whether an answer from Battistelli and the EPO had ever been received. Well, I got no answer from them either. De Lorenzo had been hit by scandals in the nineties in Italy, then being Minister of Health, and had been condemned to a third degree sentence, hence fully confirmed. So, maybe after his own troubled experiences, on which I express no opinion, he saw no [point] either and not much of an interest in messing about the “nasty and powerful” as he might sense EPO and Battistelli are (and rightly so). By the way, I never got an answer from ECPC or from De Lorenzo ever since… Don’t know, maybe he’ll answer, one day. I don’t tolerate politics mess-abouts with a topic like this, especially after what I have been through with mum’s disease and death. The painful efforts of a desperate fight and after that cancer caused the loss of so many people I knew.

“Anyway, and this is the juicy bit for you, after a good while I found a post in the LinkedIn profile of EPO; they posted a stupid pink ribbon, to show their support for the fight against this deadly disease…Ugh! Seeing the nerdy servile comments and thumb-ups on the post, I could not take it. So I took a screenshot for safety and posted the link to the ECPC letter there as a provocative reminder, to point out the hypocritical attitude of the EPO, so disgusting on such an issue. In the image below, a .png file, people should [be able to] see it. It is dated February 2015, so well after the open letter from ECPC and three months after my mother left us.

“Same as when I recently posted, as an ironical pun with the recent infamous habits at the EPO, a link to an exhibition on The World of Spying held in Berlin. Some visits on my LinkedIn profile, often anonymous, started to buzz around. Yet, and as up to present, no answer at all. Not on my post in LinkedIn, nor to the ECPC letter, what would be more important.

“How should I not think for a while, that Big Pharma is also having a say on that and dictates EPO/Battistelli behaviour?”
      –Anonymous“Now, the issue addressed by the letter is urgent. It deals with the struggle that research has in pursuing a cure and it points out an obstacle caused by decisions and policies of the EPO. If the EPO believes in what it says about promoting research on cancer, it should at least give an answer. Well, no answer; So the EPO simply and very openly does not care, yet is hypocritical enough to purport the opposite with a stupid LinkedIn post, with a pink ribbon they should better shove up their [expletive].

“This episode has implications: why is the EPO reticent on this issue? Why not have the EBA [Enlarged Board of Appeal] express their views openly, on their very own decisions, either reconsidering or not their position? How should I not think for a while, that Big Pharma is also having a say on that and dictates EPO/Battistelli behaviour?

“The people at the Alltrials.net initiative should be also made aware of this…”

Checking the link of the letter again, it’s still there. “To my knowledge,” our reader noted, “it had never been answered by EPO or Battistelli himself.

“…if ECPC itself fails to further pursue such an important issue they brought up themselves and tolerates a total lack of consideration by EPO, then we might ask whether this is another corporate European money machine…”
      –Anonymous“For the record, my direct enquiry by ECPC also remained unanswered: At the time I asked whether they got an answer from the EPO they told me, on the phone, they’d surely answer on this, they would surely follow up the issue and also let me know. But they never did. Which might cast some doubt about the seriousness of this type of initiatives or even about the organisations promoting them: if ECPC itself fails to further pursue such an important issue they brought up themselves and tolerates a total lack of consideration by EPO, then we might ask whether this is another corporate European money machine…

“But this might be a side note… or another story…”

Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3

Tuesday 21st of February 2017 11:50:30 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Interview: Thomas Weissel Installing Plasma in Austrian Schools

      With Plasma 5 having reached maturity for widespread use we are starting to see rollouts of it in large environments. Dot News interviewed the admin behind one such rollout in Austrian schools.

    • Best Linux File Sharing Tips

      Today’s article is going to provide you with some useful Linux file sharing tips using common file sharing software. This article assumes two things. First, you’re running Ubuntu. Second, you’re comfortable typing recommended commands into a terminal window.

  • Server
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Kernel 4.10 Now Available for Linux Lite Users, Here’s How to Install It

      Minutes after the release of Linux kernel 4.10 last evening, Jerry Bezencon from the Linux Lite project announced that users of the Ubuntu-based distribution can now install it on their machines.

      Linux 4.10 is now the most advanced kernel branch for all Linux-based operating systems, and brings many exciting new features like virtual GPU support, better writeback management, eBPF hooks for cgroups, as well as Intel Cache Allocation Technology support for the L2/L3 caches of Intel processors.

    • Wacom’s Intuos Pro To Be Supported By The Linux 4.11 Kernel

      Jiri Kosina submitted the HID updates today for the Linux 4.11 kernel cycle.

    • EXT4, Fscrypt Updates For Linux 4.11

      Ted Ts’o sent out today the feature updates for the EXT4 file-system for the Linux 4.11 merge window as well as the fscrypt file-system encryption code.

    • Ten Collabora Developers Have Contributed 39 Patches to Linux Kernel 4.10

      Today, February 20, 2017, Collabora’s Mark Filion is informing Softpedia about the contributions made by a total of ten Collabora developers to the recently released Linux 4.10 kernel.

      Linux kernel 4.10 was released on Sunday, February 19, as you should already be aware of, and it brings a whole lot of goodies to goodies, among which we can mention virtual GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) support, Intel Cache Allocation Technology support, eBPF hooks for cgroups, as well as improved writeback management.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Mesa 13.0.5 Released for Linux Gamers with over 70 Improvements, Bug Fixes

        We reported the other day that Mesa 13.0.5 3D Graphics Library will be released this week, and it looks like Collabora’s Emil Velikov announced it earlier this morning for all Linux gamers.

        Mesa 13.0.5 is a maintenance update to the Mesa 13.0 stable series of the open source graphics stack used by default in numerous, if not all GNU/Linux distributions, providing gamers with powerful drivers for their AMD Radeon, Nvidia, and Intel GPUs. It comes approximately three weeks after the Mesa 13.0.4 update.

      • mesa 13.0.5
      • R600/Radeon TGSI Shader Cache Gets Closer To Merging

        Timothy Arceri, who is now working for Valve on the open-source AMD Linux stack, has sent out the latest patches for wiring in Mesa’s GLSL on-disk shader cache for R600g/RadeonSI drivers.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Plasma 5.9.2, Applications 16.12.2 and Frameworks 5.31.0 available in Chakra

        The latest updates for KDE’s Plasma, Applications and Frameworks series are now available to all Chakra users.

        Included with this update, is an update of the ncurses, readline and gnutls related group of packages, as well as many other important updates in our core repository. Be aware that during this update, your screen might turn black. If that is the case and it does not automatically restore after some time, then please switch to tty3 with Ctrl+Alt+F3 and then switch back to the Plasma session with Ctrl+Alt+F7. If that does not work, please give enough time for the upgrade to complete before shutting down. You can check your cpu usage using ‘top’ after logging in within tty3. You can reboot within tty3 using ‘shutdown –reboot’.

      • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.9.2 and KDE Applications 16.12.2, More

        The developers behind the Chakra GNU/Linux operating system have announced today the immediate availability of all the latest KDE technologies released this month in the stable repositories of the distribution.

        Yes, we’re talking about the KDE Plasma 5.9.2 desktop environment, KDE Applications 16.12.2 software suite, KDE Frameworks 5.31.0, and KDE Development Platform 4.14.29, all of which can be found in your Chakra GNU/Linux’s repos if you want to run the newest KDE software.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • The Smallest Server Suite Gets Special Edition with PHP 7.0.15, Apache 2.4.25

        4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs Softpedia about the availability of a special edition of the TheSSS (The Smallest Server Suite) Live Linux operating system.

        Carrying the same version number as the original TheSSS release, namely 21.0, and dubbed TheSSS7, the new flavor ships with more recent PHP packages from the 7.0.x series. Specifically, TheSSS7 includes PHP 7.0.15, while TheSSS comes with PHP 5.6.30.

      • Descent OS Is Dead, Arkas OS Takes Its Place and It’s Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        Some of you out there might remember the Descent OS distro created by Brian Manderville and based on the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system, and today we have some bad news for them as the development is now officially closed.

        Descent OS first appeared in February 2012 as a lightweight Ubuntu derivative built around the GNOME 2 desktop environment. Back then, it was known as Descent|OS, and was quite actively developed with new features and components borrowed from the latest Ubuntu releases.

      • Black Lab Linux 8.1 Out Now with LibreOffice 5.3, It’s Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        Softpedia was informed today by the Black Lab Software project about the general availability of the first point release to the Black Lab Linux 8.0 operating system series.

        Serving as a base release to the company’s enterprise offerings and equipped with all the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel from the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, Black Lab Linux 8.1 comes with up-to-date components and the latest security patches ported from Ubuntu’s repositories as of February 15, 2017.

        “Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux 8.1. Our first incremental release to the 8.0 series. In this release we have brought all security updates up to Feb 15, 2017, as well as application updates,” said Roberto J. Dohnert, CEO of Black Lab Software.

      • Parrot 3.5 – Call For Betatesters

        We did our best to prepare these preview images including all the updates and the new features introduced since the last release, but now we need your help to understand how to make it even better, and of course we need your help to understand if there is something that doesn’t work as expected or something that absolutely needs to be included in the final release.

    • Red Hat Family
      • SSM uses Red Hat technology to modernise IT infrastructure

        RED Hat, Inc, a provider of open source solutions, announced that it has been selected by Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) to support the development of a new and advanced gateway for the registration of companies and businesses in Malaysia.

        Mesiniaga Bhd, a systems integrator with 35 years of experience, is the primary implementer for this initiative.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Fedora 27 Aiming To Drop Out Alpha Releases

          In a similar effort to Ubuntu itself not issuing alpha/beta releases the past few years as they focused on the quality of their daily ISOs instead, Fedora developers have been discussing a similar maneuver of beginning to drop alpha releases from their schedule.

          Beginning with Fedora 27 we could see no more alpha releases, if the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee approves of this change. The focus would be on ensuring Fedora Rawhide is always in good shape and save on release engineering time and other resources with putting out alpha builds.

        • Fedora macbook pro testers++

          In the final run-up to the Fedora 25 release, we slipped a week because there was a bug in installs on apple osx (now macos again) hardware. This was (and is) a use case the Workstation working group cares about, as they would love for folks with apple hardware to install Fedora and use it on that hardware. Sadly, we don’t have too many testers with this hardware to help our testing cycles, and many community members with this hardware also are using it day to day and cannot afford to reinstall and test at the drop of a hat.

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • IOTA: IoT revolutionized with a Ledger

            Ever since the introduction of digital money, the world quickly came to realize how dire and expensive the consequences of centralized systems are. Not only are these systems incredibly expensive to maintain, they are also “single points of failures” which expose a large number of users to unexpected service interruptions, fraudulent activities and vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious hackers.

            Thanks to Blockchain, which was first introduced through Bitcoin in 2009, the clear benefits of a decentralized and “trustless” transactional settlement system became apparent. No longer should expensive trusted third parties be used for handling transactions, instead, the flow of money should be handled in a direct, Peer-to-Peer fashion. This concept of a Blockchain (or more broadly, a distributed ledger) has since then become a global phenomenon attracting billions of dollars in investments to further develop the concept.

          • Return Home and Unify: My Case for Unity 8
          • Can netbooks be cool again?

            Earlier this week, my colleague Chaim Gartenberg covered a laptop called the GPD Pocket, which is currently being funded on Indiegogo. As Chaim pointed out, the Pocket’s main advantage is its size — with a 7-inch screen, the thing is really, really small — and its price, a reasonable $399. But he didn’t mention that the Pocket is the resurrection of one of the most compelling, yet fatally flawed, computing trends of the ‘00s: the netbook. So after ten years, are netbooks finally cool again? That might be putting it too strongly, but I’m willing to hope.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Rewriting the history of free software and computer graphics

    Do you remember those days in the early nineties when most screensavers were showing flying 3D metallic logotypes? Did you have one?

    In this article, I want to go back in time and briefly revise the period in the history of computer graphics (CG) development when it transitioned from research labs to everyone’s home computer. The early and mid-1990s was the time when Aldus (before Adobe bought the company) was developing PageMaker for desktop publishing, when Pixar created ToyStory, and soon after 3D modeling and animation software Maya by Alias|Wavefront (acquired by Autodesk). It was also a moment when we got two very different models of CG development, one practiced by the Hollywood entertainment industry and one practiced by corporations like Adobe and Autodesk.

    By recalling this history, I hope to be able to shed new light on the value of free software for CG, such as Blender or Synfig. Maybe we can even re-discover the significance of one implicit freedom in free software: a way for digital artists to establish relations with developers.

    [...]

    The significance of free software for CG

    On the backdrop of this history, free software like Blender, Synfig, Krita, and other projects for CG gain significance for several reasons that stretch beyond the four freedoms that free software gives.

    First, free software allows the mimicking of the Hollywood industry’s models of work while making it accessible for more individuals. It encourages practice-based CG development that can fit individual workflows and handle unexpected circumstances that emerge in the course of work, rather than aiming at a mass product for all situations and users. Catering to an individual’s needs and adaptations of the software brings users work closer to craft and makes technology more human. Tools and individual skill can be continuously polished, shaped, and improved based on individual needs, rather than shaped by decisions “from above.”

  • ONF unveils Open Innovation Pipeline to counter open source proprietary solutions

    ONF and ON.Lab claim the OIP initiative to bolster open source SDN, NFV and cloud efforts being hampered by open source-based proprietary work.

    Tapping into an ongoing merger arrangement with Open Networking Lab, the Open Networking Foundation recently unveiled its Open Innovation Pipeline targeted at counteracting the move by vendors using open source platforms to build proprietary solutions.

  • [FreeDOS] The readability of DOS applications

    Web pages are mostly black-on-white or dark-gray-on-white, but anyone who has used DOS will remember that most DOS applications were white-on-blue. Sure, the DOS command line was white-on-black, but almost every popular DOS application used white-on-blue. (It wasn’t really “white” but we’ll get there.) Do an image search for any DOS application from the 1980s and early 1990s, and you’re almost guaranteed to yield a forest of white-on-blue images like these:

  • More about DOS colors

    In a followup to my discussion about the readability of DOS applications, I wrote an explanation on the FreeDOS blog about why DOS has sixteen colors. That discussion seemed too detailed to include on my Open Source Software & Usability blog, but it was a good fit for the FreeDOS blog.

  • Building a $4 billion company around open source software: The Cloudera story

    Dr Amr Awadallah is the Chief Technology Officer of Cloudera, a data management and analytics platform based on Apache Hadoop. Before co-founding Cloudera in 2008, Awadallah served as Vice President of Product Intelligence Engineering at Yahoo!, running one of the very first organizations to use Hadoop for data analysis and business intelligence. Awadallah joined Yahoo! after the company acquired his first startup, VivaSmart, in July 2000.

    With the fourth industrial revolution upon us—where the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres are blurred by the world of big data and the fusion of technologies—Cloudera finds itself among the band of companies that are leading this change. In this interview with Enterprise Innovation, the Cloudera co-founder shares his insights on the opportunities and challenges in the digital revolution and its implications for businesses today; how organizations can derive maximum value from their data while ensuring their protection against risks; potential pitfalls and mistakes companies make when using big data for business advantage; and what lies beyond big data analytics.

  • What we (think we) know about meritocracies

    “Meritocracy,” writes Christopher Hayes in his 2012 book Twilight of the Elites, “represents a rare point of consensus in our increasingly polarized politics. It undergirds our debates, but is never itself the subject of them, because belief in it is so widely shared.” Meritocratic thinking, in other words, is prevalent today; thinking rigorously about meritocracy, however, is much more rare.

  • A new perspective on meritocracy

    Meritocracy is a common element of open organizations: They prosper by fostering a less-hierarchical culture where “the best ideas win.” But what does meritocracy really mean for open organizations, and why does it matter? And how do open organizations make meritocracy work in practice? Some research and thinking I’ve done over the last six months have convinced me such questions are less simple—and perhaps more important—than may first meet the eye.

  • Events
    • OpenStack Summit Boston: Vote for Presentations

      The next OpenStack Summit takes place in Boston, MA (USA) in May (8.-11.05.2017). The “Vote for Presentations” period started already. All proposals are now again up for community votes. The period will end February 21th at 11:59pm PST (February 22th at 8:59am CEST).

    • [FOSDEM] Libreboot

      Libreboot is free/opensource boot firmware for laptops, desktops and servers, on multiple platforms and architectures. It replaces the proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware commonly found in computers.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • pfSense 2.3.3 RELEASE Now Available!

      We are happy to announce the release of pfSense® software version 2.3.3!

      This is a maintenance release in the 2.3.x series, bringing numerous stability and bug fixes, fixes for a handful of security issues in the GUI, and a handful of new features. The full list of changes is on the 2.3.3 New Features and Changes page, including a list of FreeBSD and internal security advisories addressed by this release.

      This release includes fixes for 101 bugs, 14 Features, and 3 Todo items.

      If you haven’t yet caught up on the changes in 2.3.x, check out the Features and Highlights video. Past blog posts have covered some of the changes, such as the performance improvements from tryforward, and the webGUI update.

    • NetBSD Accomplishes Reproducible Builds

      A lot of Linux distributions have been focusing on reproducible builds support in the past few years — ensuring individuals can rebuild a bit-for-bit replica of the original source code. NetBSD has now accomplished their operating system can be built in a reproducible build fashion.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Three new FOSS umbrella organisations in Europe

      So far, the options available to a project are either to establish its own organisation or to join an existing organisation, neither of which may fit well for the project. The existing organisations are either specialised in a specific technology or one of the few technology-neutral umbrella organisations in the US, such as Software in the Public Interest, the Apache Software Foundation, or the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC). If there is already a technology-specific organisation (e.g. GNOME Foundation, KDE e.V., Plone Foundation) that fits a project’s needs, that may well make a good match.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Access/Content
      • ESA affirms Open Access policy for images, videos and data / Digital Agenda

        ESA today announced it has adopted an Open Access policy for its content such as still images, videos and selected sets of data.

        For more than two decades, ESA has been sharing vast amounts of information, imagery and data with scientists, industry, media and the public at large via digital platforms such as the web and social media. ESA’s evolving information management policy increases these opportunities.

        In particular, a new Open Access policy for ESA’s information and data will now facilitate broadest use and reuse of the material for the general public, media, the educational sector, partners and anybody else seeking to utilise and build upon it.

  • Programming/Development
    • Key Traits of the Coming Delphi For Linux Compiler

      Embarcadero is about to release a new Delphi compiler for the Linux platform. Here are some of the key technical elements of this compiler, and the few differences compared to Delphi compilers for other platforms.

Leftovers
  • Surprising no one, Los Angeles is the most gridlocked city in the world

    In Los Angeles, every day brings a new carmageddon. The portmanteau was originally coined to describe a weekend in July 2012, when a section of 405 Freeway was closed for massive widening project. The traffic apocalypse turned out not to be as bad as predicted, but the additional lanes of freeway did nothing to alleviate LA’s legendary traffic woes. In fact, one could argue they’ve only gotten worse. According to a study released today, the City of Angels held the dubious distinction of ranking No. 1 for traffic congestion in the entire world.

    LA was the most gridlocked city in the world, with drivers spending 104 hours in congestion in 2016 during peak time periods, according to a massive review of global traffic data by analytics firm INRIX. That’s four whole days (plus eight hours) stuck in traffic. In that amount of time, you could watch Joel Schumacher’s 1993 Falling Down, in which an LA traffic jam spurs Michael Douglas into a spasm of rage-filled violence, over 50 times. Cool!

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Florida Supreme Court Reminds Politicians That Women Are Capable of Making Their Own Decisions

      The state’s high court blocked a law that unnecessarily makes women wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.

      Every day, people face important medical decisions. When tough choices arise, we consult with our health care providers about the pros and cons of different treatment options. We meditate on our goals and fears. Some of us will turn to family or friends for advice. Some of us will pray.

      No one goes to the state capitol building to ask a politician their opinion.

    • Hospital cuts planned in most of England

      Hospital services in nearly two-thirds of England could be cut or scaled back, BBC analysis of local plans shows.

      The proposals have been made by NHS bosses as part of a national programme to transform the health service and save money.

      They include everything from full closures of hospitals to cutting some specialist services such as accident and emergency and stroke care.

  • Security
    • Monday’s security advisories
    • Hackers take over microphones on Windows PCs to steal data

      Hackers targeting people in Ukraine have come up with something unusual: they use the microphones on Windows PCs to steal audio recordings of conversations, screenshots, documents and passwords.

      The cyber security firm CyberX calls it Operation BugDrop because the malware eavesdrops by controlling microphones — bugging its targets — and uses Dropbox to store the data that it steals.

      In a blog post, the company said it had confirmed that at least 70 people, from various sectors like critical infrastructure, media and scientific research, had fallen victim to the malware that was carrying out the cyber surveillance.

      While malware that takes over video cameras on PCs or laptops can be blocked by placing a piece of tape over the camera, the microphone on a PC or laptop requires dismantling to disable.

    • Trump’s Cybersecurity Plan is a Big No-Show at Key Event

      Tens of thousands of cyber professionals, academics, and a handful of public servants have swarmed downtown San Francisco for the annual RSA Conference — one of the largest digital and cyber security events of its kind.

      But trying to find a representative from the 3-week-old White House in the convention halls is like playing a game of Where’s Waldo. None appeared to attend, and panels discussing cybersecurity policy worked off of leaked drafts of an executive order abandoned by President Donald Trump’s administration.

      The White House did not respond to a request for comment on whether it had sent a representative to San Francisco for the week, and previous requests for comment on plans for the cybersecurity executive order went unanswered.

      Rudy Giuliani serves as White House cyber security adviser, though he has said little publicly on the topic since being appointed.

    • using yubikeys everywhere

      Everybody is getting real excited about yubikeys recently, so I figured I should get excited, too. I have so far resisted two factor authorizing everything, but this seemed like another fun experiment. There’s a lot written about yubikeys and how you should use one, but nothing I’ve read answered a few of the specific questions I had.

      It’s not a secret I’ve had a dim view of two factor auth, although many of my gripes are about implementation details. I think a lot of that remains true. Where two factor auth perhaps might succeed is in limiting the damage of phishing attacks. I like to think of myself as a little too savvy for most phishing attacks. That’s sadly true of most phishing victims as well, but really: I don’t use webmail. I don’t have any colleagues sharing documents with me. I read my mail in a terminal, thus on the rare occasion that I copy and paste a link, I see exactly the URL I’m going to, not the false text between the a tags. Nevertheless, if everybody else recommends secure tokens, I should at least consider getting on board with that recommendation. But not before actually trying these things out.

      To begin with, I ordered two yubikeys. One regular sized 4 and one nano. I wanted to play with different form factors to see which is better for various uses, and I wanted to test having a key and a backup key. Everybody always talks about having one yubikey. And then if you lose it, terrible things happen. Can this problem be alleviated with two keys? I’m also very curious what happens when I try to login to a service with my phone after enabling U2F.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Last man standing: McMaster for NSA?

      As I said at the end of my Friday post, once Trump was turned down by Harward, it became more likely that he would turn to the active duty military for his 3rd pick for the job. McMaster is among the best of them out there. For his Ph.D. dissertation, he wrote one of the best books on the Vietnam War, Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.

    • Democrats, Liberals Catch McCarthyistic Fever

      Democrats and liberals are so angry about President Trump that they are turning to McCarthyistic tactics without regard to basic fairness or the need to avoid a costly and dangerous New Cold War, notes Daniel Lazare.

    • Former Swedish PM: More murders in Florida where Trump spoke than in Sweden last year

      Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt responded to President Trump’s remarks on Sweden again — this time with statistics on the country’s crime rates.

      In a tweet Monday morning, Bildt said the counties Trump made the speech at in Florida experienced higher murder rates last year than the whole country of Sweden did.

      “Last year there were app 50% more murders only in Orlando/Orange in Florida, where Trump spoke the other day, than in all of Sweden. Bad,” Bildt tweeted.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Assange must reduce ‘meddling’ in US policies while in Ecuadorian embassy – Moreno to RT (EXCLUSIVE)

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is sheltered in Ecuador’s embassy in London, should reduce meddling in the policies of countries Ecuador has friendly relations with, the frontrunner for Ecuador’s presidential elections, Lenin Moreno, told RT.

      [...]

      Moreno, who is so far leading in the count in the presidential elections in Ecuador which took place Sunday, may still have to face a second round of voting against his rival, former banker Guillermo Lasso, of the Conservative party.

      Moreno, a disabled former vice president, received 39.12 percent of valid votes out of 40 percent needed to win outright, the official preliminary election count, issued on Monday morning, showed, Reuters reported. Lasso, in turn, had 28.30 percent of the votes. At that point, 88.5 percent of votes were counted.

    • Federal Court Rules Against Public.Resource.Org, Says Public Safety Laws Can Be Locked Behind Paywalls

      Everyone should be able to read the law, discuss it, and share it with others, without having to pay a toll or sign a contract. Seems obvious, right? Unfortunately, a federal district court has said otherwise, ruling that private organizations can use copyright to control access to huge portions of our state and federal laws. The court ordered Public.Resource.Org to stop providing public access to these key legal rules.

      Public.Resource.org has one mission: to improve public access to government documents, including our laws. To fulfill that mission, it acquires and posts online a wide variety of public documents including regulations that have become law through “incorporation by reference,” meaning that they are initially created through private standards organizations and later incorporated into federal law. Those regulations are often difficult to access because they aren’t published in the federal code, but they are vitally important. For example, they include the rules that govern the safety of buildings and consumer products, promote energy efficiency, and control the design of standardized tests for students and employees.

    • Chinese whistleblower granted political asylum

      ‘Rebecca’ Jun Mei Wu has told SBS News she is relieved to have been granted asylum in Australia.

      Ms Wu worked for the digital arm of the People’s Daily state media empire from 2012 to 2016. She fled the city of Wuhan for Sydney after being detained and questioned by security officers over her affiliation with an underground Protestant church.

      “I’m very thankful to the Australian government for saving me from certain imprisonment in China,” Ms Wu told SBS.

      “My relatives are still under surveillance back home. The situation journalists face in China is dire.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • After Advancing Scott Pruitt Confirmation, Senator Heads Over to Energy Lobbyist Fundraiser

      Jody Gale and Joe Vacapoli, two lobbyists from Farragut Partners, were seen arriving at the Barrasso fundraiser together. Former Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who resigned in disgrace after mounting ethics scandals, joined the firm last year, and was also at the event with Barrasso. Farragut Partners represents Energy Future Holdings and Southern Company, two utilities that rely heavily on coal-fueled power plants and have clashed with environmental regulators.

      Another lobbyist, Conrad Lass, who represents the trade group for Chevron and ExxonMobil, was listed on the event invitation as a host.

      Barrasso, the new chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has — like Pruitt — advanced oil and gas industry agenda items by moving to block environmental regulations. Records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show that Barrasso collected over $1.1 million from the oil, gas, mining, and utility industries in the last campaign cycle.

  • Finance
    • ‘No deal’ Brexit would mean £6bn in extra costs for UK exporters
    • The day Britain died: Brexit, Trump and Scottish independence

      Last week a Rubicon was crossed as the House of Commons voted 494 to 122 – a government majority of 372 – to give a third reading to triggering Article 50.

      Just as seriously on the same day – Wednesday February 8th 2017 – the UK government reneged on its promise to take 3,000 child refugees (what was called the Dubs amendment) and slashed the number to 350. If that wasn’t enough the Commons at the same time voted to refuse to offer any guarantees to EU citizens living in the UK: content to use them as pawns in a high power poker game.

      It is going to be difficult for many in Scotland, and for many ‘openDemocracy’ readers, but Britain is over. There is no way back. Last week the very idea of Britain as outgoing, welcoming, doing the right thing, looking after the most vulnerable and being driven by a sense of humanity, was not only trashed but finally and fatally died.

      All of this requires that we get real about the debate here and recognise that we need to be tolerant, serious and embrace detail and facts, not faith and assertion. Unless the UK does an about turn on Brexit and Scotland, indyref2 is inevitable. The only issue will be timing and context.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Will Keith Ellison Move the Democrats Left?

      “Here’s the interesting thing about Islam,” Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman currently running for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, said. It was a sunny, gelid afternoon just after Christmas. “The Prophet Muhammad—peace and blessings be upon him—his father dies before he’s ever born. His mother dies before he’s six. He’s handed over to a foster mom who’s so poor, the stories say, her breasts are not full enough to feed him. So he grows up as this quintessential orphan, and only later, at the age of forty, does he start to get this revelation. And the revelation is to stand up against the constituted powers that are enslaving people—that are, you know, cheating people, trying to trick people into believing that they should give over their money to appease a god that’s just an inanimate object. And those authorities came down hard on him! And his first converts were people who were enslaved, children, women—a few of them were wealthy business folks, but the earliest companions of the Prophet Muhammad were people who needed justice. I found that story to be inspiring, and important to my own thinking and development.”

    • The Real Enemy of the People Is a President Who Opposes the Free Press

      When John Fitzgerald Kennedy addressed the American Newspaper Publishers Association just two months after he was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States, he explained that: “I have selected as the title of my remarks tonight ‘The President and the Press.’ Some may suggest that this would be more naturally worded ‘The President Versus the Press.’ But those are not my sentiments tonight.”

      [...]

      But the point of Kennedy’s speech was a serious one. He had come, as a new president of the United States, to talk about the relationship between his administration and the media. He acknowledged “the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war,” and he spoke honestly of his hope for a measure of restraint in the coverage of particularly sensitive global disputes. But he also said: “The question is for you alone to answer. No public official should answer it for you. No governmental plan should impose its restraints against your will.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • 3 things companies must know about data sovereignty when moving to the cloud

      I hear it nearly every day – the lament of teams trying to transform their enterprise from ’80s-era software to the cloud: “Our state (or country, or regional authority) says that data can never leave our jurisdiction, which means we can’t store it in the cloud.”

      It’s true that data sovereignty presents technical and legal challenges when moving on-premises systems and information stores to the cloud. There is no United Nations resolution, European Union mandate, or international trade agreement that provides one blanket set of data sovereignty requirements that all countries follow. Privacy and data-hosting laws vary by country and state, and some are more strict than others.

    • Tech Groups Tell Congress to Consider Privacy Implications of NSA Surveillance Powers

      Several technology industry groups sent a letter to members of Congress last week urging them to ensure privacy safeguards are maintained when they vote to renew a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which gives the National Security Agency broad powers to collect information on foreign nationals.

    • How US Intelligence Surveillance May Affect Immigrants

      Recent reports that the US monitored calls between members of President Trump’s campaign staff and Russian intelligence personnel have renewed controversy about the surveillance powers of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI), and how those bodies handle the information they collect. But anyone concerned about the scope or legality of the US government’s warrantless intelligence surveillance should also worry about the way these programs may affect the country’s border and immigrant communities.

    • History tells us the wars on privacy and sharing will get worse before it gets better

      All governments of the world are cracking down on privacy and increasing mass surveillance, sometimes in the name of copyright enforcement, sometimes in the name of fighting terrorism, sometimes because they just want to. There’s a pattern here of similar things in the past – something is horrible, horrible, horrible, until the point where fighting the phenomenon just looks silly, counterproductive, and inhumane. Cannabis is there today, and it’s going to be years if not decades until it’s just as silly to fight people sharing knowledge and culture with each other, trying to brand them as awful people.

    • Privacy in practice for self hosting

      One of the main issue with centralized internet services is the commercial exploitation of people private datas, and the relative lack of security of those data against states actors among others. Yet, being self hosted and using smaller provider do not automatically grant protection, and few people do have a concrete idea of what steps are needed to efficiently protect the privacy of others when hosting services, inspired by the policy of Mozilla, riseup and several others groups trying to do the right things

    • Understanding the different Maslow need levels for privacy

      When we aspire to have privacy, we may do so for a number of different reasons. All these reasons are valid, but some are more urgent than others, psychologically speaking. When debating privacy issues, it’s important to be aware of these psychological models and the very real consequences involved.

      The psychologist Abraham Maslow created a theory known as the Maslow Hierarchy of Human Needs, which predicts the ranked order people will adhere to in seeking out certain things in their life. Where privacy is ranked on this list is a matter of which environment you operate in, and it’s crucial to recognize the differences.

      Generally speaking, Maslow predicted that people won’t progress to addressing a higher level of needs until the current level is fully satisfied. The first level involves basic physiological needs – food, air, water, heat. Once these are satisfied, people start working on the second – safety from violence, safety in having food, air, and water for tomorrow as well; general freedom from worry. The third level is a sense of belonging to a group or tribe, the fourth is enjoying a sense of respect within that tribe, and the fifth and highest is self-development, once all other levels are satisfied.

    • Big Brother in the U.K.

      The United Kingdom’s Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority is not part of an agency tasked with fighting terrorism. It’s a licensing body that “regulates businesses who provide workers to the fresh produce supply chain and horticulture industry, to make sure they meet the employment standards required by law,” according to its mission statement.

    • Trump’s Attorney General’s Record on Privacy

      President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the country’s law enforcement has cleared the Senate.

      The Senate voted 52-47 on Wednesday to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions, whose record on civil liberties issues—including digital rights—has drawn fire from Democratic lawmakers and public interest groups.

      EFF has expressed concerns about Sessions’ record on surveillance, encryption, and freedom of the press. Those concerns intensified during his confirmation process.

      Throughout his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and his written responses to additional questions from lawmakers, Sessions made a number of troubling statements. He said he would support legislation to enable a privacy-invasive Rapid DNA system. He refused to definitively commit not to put journalists in jail for doing their job. He dodged questions about Justice Department policies on Stingrays, and wouldn’t commit to publish guidelines on how federal law enforcement uses government hacking. He called it “critical” that law enforcement be able to “overcome” encryption.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Trump Effort To Protect Cops Doesn’t Match Facts

      President Trump put an executive order into effect last week to, in his words, “stop crime and crimes of violence against law enforcement officers.” But when the facts about police, violence and victims are considered — real facts, not alternative facts — the math doesn’t work. Like Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984, we are being asked to believe that two plus two does not equal four.

    • Where Protests Flourish, Anti-Protest Bills Follow

      State legislatures across the country are trying to crack down on protesters and make a mockery of the First Amendment.

      Over the past year, a historic level of activism and protest has spilled out into our nation’s parks, streets, and sidewalks — places where our First Amendment rights are at their height. The January 21 Women’s March, anchored in D.C. with echoes across the nation, was likely the single largest day of protest in American history. And yet, legislators in many states have followed up on this exuberant activism with proposed bills that are not only far less inspiring, but also unconstitutional.

    • Vague Rules Let ICE Deport Undocumented Immigrants as Gang Members

      Of the more than 680 people swept up during last week’s nationwide raids by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, none has attracted more attention than 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina. Although he crossed into the United States illegally when he was a child, Ramirez Medina twice applied successfully for permission to stay in the country under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.

      The former California resident, who recently moved north to Des Moines, Washington, was detained on Friday when ICE went to his family’s home looking for his father, who is also undocumented and in removal proceedings.

      ICE claims Ramirez Medina’s DACA status is null and void due to evidence of gang involvement outlined by government attorneys in a brief filed earlier this week. The sum of the evidence is a tattoo on his arm that immigration officials believe is gang related, and statements that he allegedly made in custody that “he used to hang out with the Sureno[s] in California,” that he “fled California to escape the gangs,” and that he “still hangs out with the Paizas in Washington State.”

    • YODA, the Bill That Would Let You Own (and Sell) Your Devices, Is Re-Introduced in Congress

      Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) just re-introduced their You Own Devices Act (YODA), a bill that aims to help you reclaim some of your ownership rights in the software-enabled devices you buy.

    • Why a Jewish Organization Is Suing to Stop the Muslim Ban

      We assist refugees today not because they are Jewish, but because we are Jewish.

      I cringed when I heard the Trump campaign and administration start using “territory” as a euphemism for “religion.”

      It wasn’t just the thinly veiled attempt to institute a Muslim ban by another name. Sure, barring travelers from seven majority Muslim countries with an exception for religious minorities is pretty brazen, but so is the president going on television and saying we need to protect Christians more than Muslims.

      No, what made me wince was the sheer repetitiveness of it. We’ve seen this show before, and they haven’t even bothered to change the script.

    • Jeff Sessions’s Dubious Refugee Math

      How frightened should Americans be of refugees, and how much safer will they be under President Trump’s more restrictive refugee policy? If Americans are concerned about actual attacks involving committed terrorists sneaking through the vetting process with the intent to kill or maim Americans, the answer – based on statistics developed by Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions – appears, for all practical purposes, to be virtually zero.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC Abandons Zero-Rating Investigation and Moves Backward on Net Neutrality

      Bad news for Internet users. In his first few days in office, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has shelved the Commission’s investigation into Internet companies’ zero-rating practices and whether they violate the Commission’s Open Internet Order.

      As recently as January, the FCC was rebuking AT&T (PDF) for seemingly prioritizing its own DirecTV content over that of its competitors. Now, Pai has made it clear that the FCC doesn’t plan to move forward with the investigation.

      Simply put, zero-rating is the practice of ISPs and mobile providers choosing not to count certain content toward users’ data limits, often in exchange for capping the speeds at which customers can access that content. Most major mobile providers in the U.S. offer some form of zero-rated service today, like T-Mobile’s BingeOn program for zero-rated streaming and Verizon and AT&T’s FreeBee Data program. Facebook, Wikimedia, and Google have their own zero-rated apps, too. While they are currently focused on emerging mobile marks in developing countries, this recent development from the FCC may open the domestic market to them in new ways.

    • How Tech Policies May Evolve Under Republicans and Trump

      On zero rating, F.C.C. Chairman Ajit Pai has already expressed a preference on that: It is something consumers seem to love. To be able to download or stream without letting it count against your data plan is extremely popular with consumers. I don’t have a problem with that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Search Engines and Rightsholders Sign Landmark Anti-Piracy Deal

        After well over half a decade of backroom meetings facilitated by the UK Government, search engines and major rightsholder groups have signed an anti-piracy agreement. Both sides agreed on a deal in which search engines will delist and demote pirated content, faster and more effectively than before. The voluntary agreement, targeted at UK consumers, is the first of its kind in the world but appears to offer little new.

      • Kim Dotcom extradition to US can go ahead, New Zealand high court rules

        The high court in New Zealand has ruled Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to the United States to face a multitude of charges including money laundering and copyright breaches.

        US authorities had appealed for Dotcom’s extradition to face 13 charges including allegations of conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud.

      • Kim Dotcom Extradition to Go Ahead, But Not on Copyright Grounds

        The New Zealand High Court today ruled that Kim Dotcom can be extradited to the US, but it won’t be on copyright grounds. After months of deliberation, Justice Murray Gilbert agreed with the US Government’s position that this is a fraud case at its core, an offense that is extraditable. Dotcom says he will fight on.

      • New Zealand will probably try and extradite Kim Dotcom to the US

        NEW ZEALAND’S JUDICIAL SYSTEM HAS DECIDED, AFTER ALL THIS TIME, that is is fair to send citizen Kim Dotcom to the US and meet its extradition demands.

        This is something that Dotcom has been fighting for some time, and we must admit that it has come as something of a shock to us. The case against Dotcom has been proved to be a bit lacking, and he does have the kind of legal backing that we would want in these circumstances.

        The ruling is a murky one. It was delivered by the Auckland High Court and ruled that Dotcom could now be extradited to the United States due to allegations of wire fraud, copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and money laundering. He was found guilty of 13 counts in all.

      • New Zealand High Court clears Kim Dotcom extradition to the US

        Megaupload website founder Kim Dotcom and three associates were on Monday cleared by a court in New Zealand to be extradited to the U.S. where he faces a variety of charges including copyright infringement and racketeering.

        Holding that copyright infringement by digital online communication of copyright protected works to members of the public is not a criminal offense under New Zealand’s Copyright Act, the High Court found that a conspiracy to commit copyright infringement amounts to a bid to defraud, which is an extradition offense listed in the treaty between the U.S. and New Zealand.

      • Healthy Domains Initiative Isn’t Healthy for the Internet

        EFF had high hopes that the Domain Name Association’s Healthy Domains Initiative (HDI) wouldn’t be just another secretive industry deal between rightsholders and domain name intermediaries. Toward that end, we and other civil society organizations worked in good faith on many fronts to make sure HDI protected Internet users as well.

        Those efforts seem to have failed. Yesterday, the Domain Name Association (DNA), a relatively new association of domain registries and registrars, suddenly launched a proposal for “Registry/Registrar Healthy Practices” on a surprised world, calling on domain name companies to dive headlong into a new role as private arbiters of online speech. This ill-conceived proposal is the very epitome of Shadow Regulation. There was no forewarning about the release of this proposal on the HDI mailing list; indeed, the last update posted there was on June 9, 2016, reporting “some good progress,” and promising that any HDI best practice document “will be shared broadly to this group for additional feedback.” That never happened, and neither were any updates posted to HDI’s blog.

      • It’s the End of the Copyright Alert System (As We Know It)

        The Copyright Alert System has called it quits, but questions remain about what, if anything, will replace it. Known also as the “six strikes” program, the Copyright Alert System (CAS) was a private agreement between several large Internet service providers (ISPs) and big media and entertainment companies, with government support. The agreement allowed the media and entertainmenet companies to monitor those ISPs’ subscribers’ peer-to-peer network traffic for potential copyright infringement, and imposed penalties on subscribers accused of infringing. Penalties ranged from “educational” notices, to throttling subscribers’ connection speeds and, in some cases, temporarily restricting subscribers’ web access.

EPO Caricature: Battistelli’s Wall

Monday 20th of February 2017 10:57:17 PM

Summary: Battistelli’s solution to everything at the EPO is exclusion and barriers

The ‘New’ Microsoft is Still Acting Like a Dangerous Cult in an Effort to Hijack and/or Undermine All Free/Open Source Software

Monday 20th of February 2017 08:25:27 PM

“Linux infestations are being uncovered in many of our large accounts as part of the escalation engagements.”

Microsoft Confidential

Summary: In an effort to combat any large deployment of non-Microsoft software, the company goes personal and attempts to overthrow even management that is not receptive to Microsoft’s agenda

IN LIGHT of the news (also the Microsoft-leaning fake news) from Munich, and also in light of Microsoft’s attempts to cause me trouble with my employer (that is their modus operandi apparently), now is a good time to share this story, which we learned about some months ago. Over the years we have covered examples of Microsoft retribution against individuals and organisations that were viewed as “enemies” of Microsoft. To Microsoft, competition is “enemy”, standards are an “enemy”, and even fair competition is an “enemy”. Less than a decade ago a government delegate compared Microsoft's methods to those of “Scientology cult”. That comparison was apt.

“I’ve been looking for Tim Bray’s blog post about how Microsoft went after his job; when they couldn’t get him fired, crushed his wife’s business.”
      –AnonymousThe latest example of it happened in the UK and is still happening (we might have some updates on this at a later time). We have shared this information with some Techrights members and studied the patterns before publishing anything.

“I’ve been looking for Tim Bray’s blog post about how Microsoft went after his job,” one member wrote, “when they couldn’t get him fired, crushed his wife’s business.”

“Also,” this member noted, “Microsoft has been after you before, do you have a blog entry about it? If not, it might be a good idea.”

I learned some more about it a few months ago in my employer’s Christmas dinner, but that might be an interesting subject which would be better left aside for another day.

Today we would like to focus on a bigger story which has been long coming. We waited before writing about this, as Microsoft is evidently back to these dirty tricks that many assumed had already ended. It is pretty serious and lawyers along with police are involved (in the UK). In the mean time, in order to not compromise any ongoing processes, we shall refrain from naming people and companies.

“Life for my friend and I has been pretty horrific. Still dealing with the aftermath…”
      –AnonymousA person we spoke to said something “isn’t quite right at the moment” in some local authorities in the UK. These local authorities are in England. It has gotten so severe that relocations were needed. “A friend/former colleague,” we were told, “is in similar situation, but is skeptical of larger issues…”

Several key groups in the UK, those professing to promote Free/Open Source software, are now “in the hands of someone influenced by some very Microsoft-friendly people,” we got told. It’s too early/premature to name the culprits, but we might do so one day. “Microsoft’s “open source” staff contacted my boss,” I told the person, and they “tried to get me fired or something…”

The matter of fact is, this isn’t so uncommon. “Nothing surprises me,” this person told me. “Just remember Microsoft acts like a cult,” I explained, and it “always did,” based on people who knew Microsoft as officials. Look what happened in Munich recently, including the politics preceding it all the officials involved. “Life for my friend and I has been pretty horrific,” the person explained to me. “Still dealing with the aftermath…”

We are afraid we cannot say much more at the moment. “Still just dealing with complaints,” the person told me, who will “will make little progress until solicitors return from leave…”

Whether we can proceed to naming and shaming some of the parties involved only time will tell. What we know for sure, however, is that Microsoft still plays dirty and people who are in denial about it do so at their own peril.

“I figure that even if Microsoft goes bankrupt, there will be a very long tail due to its cult-like nature and the spread of its minions throughout industry and, now, even academia.”
      –Anonymous“I know someone non-technical who considers Microsoft mostly dead,” a member told us. “From my perspective, I don’t count them gone until the office furniture is auctioned off and the officers past and present brought to justice before the courts of law.

“I figure that even if Microsoft goes bankrupt, there will be a very long tail due to its cult-like nature and the spread of its minions throughout industry and, now, even academia. The big breakthrough needed there will be a court decision rendering anti-disparagement clauses invalid so that those that have had a change of heart can speak out.”

This isn’t so rare and unusual an incident. “About Microsoft,” one member told us, “my dad now came to the conclusion on his own that Microsoft put pressure on the administration in my old job to force me out, first removing my boss, then me, then harassing the hell out of my former students. I have no opinion on his conclusion in that area due to lack of data aside from the harassment, the removal of my boss with no warning or reason given, and the discontinuation of my contract with the excuse of the lie of no more teaching. I had not suggested Microsoft as a cause at all to him because I have no data other than that the new managers gave the appearance of being both incompetent and assholish. There was something going on though with or without Microsoft involvement. Anyway, it looks like that whole institution may close soon.”

This is similar to something that happened to a potential client of ours in the UK. They get rid of people’s entire role, in order to get rid of the people who occupy these roles. It’s quite obvious that Microsoft and its resellers do this intentionally and consciously.

“I was going to meet someone who had widely deployed GNU/Linux and was using it for nearly 100% of their machines. While I was physically en route to their site, they got a panicked call from the top regional Microsoft sales representative who kept them on the phone a long while, trying all kinds of methods to get them to purchase Microsoft, even trying to wheedle a meeting agreement when a sale could not be reached.”
      –Anonymous“Another time,” told us a member, “I was going to meet someone who had widely deployed GNU/Linux and was using it for nearly 100% of their machines. While I was physically en route to their site, they got a panicked call from the top regional Microsoft sales representative who kept them on the phone a long while, trying all kinds of methods to get them to purchase Microsoft, even trying to wheedle a meeting agreement when a sale could not be reached. They thought it was coincidence, I did not. Fortunately he had a good working relationship with his boss and his boss’ boss so when Microsoft went over his head, he survived unscathed. However, that site really wishes to remain very low profile some years more to further build up their position.”

I have come to witness this sort of “low profile” policy myself; Microsoft likes to keep a sort of “naughty list” of institutions or companies (to convert to Microsoft). There’s nothing they won’t do to derail the competition, even just for the sake of driving it out of business.

If you too have a similar story to share, even if pertinent details like names must be omitted, please get in touch with us. The world needs to understand what Microsoft is still up to.

PTAB Petitioned to Help Against Patent Troll InfoGation Corp., Which Goes After Linux/Android OEMs in China

Monday 20th of February 2017 06:47:43 PM

Google uses IPRs to eliminate everything that’s left of this parasite

Summary: A new example of software patents against Free software, or trolls against companies that are distributing freedom-respecting software from a country where these patents are not even potent (they don’t exist there)

InfoGation Corp. [sic] (corporations typically make things) is not a real company. Maybe it used to actually do something in the distant past, but now it’s just a pile of patents. Their Web site is a one-page stop, the classic troll-themed Web site, referring to “technology” (for so-called ‘licensing’) rather than actual products. Search the Web for the term “InfoGation Corp.” and just about every single result will be about some lawsuit, which is rather telling.

“Search the Web for the term “InfoGation Corp.” and just about every single result will be about some lawsuit, which is rather telling.”Under the “Patent Trolling Archives” section, the Patent Investor described InfoGation Corp. as an “assertion entity” (fancy name for troll), noting that after it had gone after Taiwan’s HTC (the first time we wrote about InfoGation Corp.) it also attacked other Google partners, mostly in China, e.g. ZTE and Huawei. Google stepped in to defend these partners.

Watchtroll is bashing PTAB, essentially by calling the patent holder, InfoGation Corp., “small software developer” (yes, software patents) and saying that those challenging the patents merely “gang up”. This is quite a lot of Watchtroll FUD in quick succession, e.g. after it had published a piece we debunked this morning. We don’t want to start a line-by-line rebuttal; instead we’ll just say that Watchtroll has been grooming this troll for quite some time (it wrote quite a lot about it in the past). It also exploits it for PTAB bashing — an old tradition at Watchtroll. Is PTAB going to trash some more software patents, thus taking InfoGation out of business once and for all? We sure hope so. This would help deter trolls and discourage further litigation such as this.

Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

Monday 20th of February 2017 05:14:23 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • When Open Source Meets the Enterprise

    Open source solutions have long been an option for the enterprise, but lately it seems they are becoming more of a necessity for advanced data operations than merely a luxury for IT techs who like to play with code.

    While it’s true that open platforms tend to provide a broader feature set compared to their proprietary brethren, due to their larger and more diverse development communities, this often comes at the cost of increased operational complexity. At a time when most enterprises are looking to shed their responsibilities for infrastructure and architecture to focus instead on core money-making services, open source requires a fairly high level of in-house technical skill.

    But as data environments become more distributed and reliant upon increasingly complex compilations of third-party systems, open source can provide at least a base layer of commonality for resources that support a given distribution.

  • EngineerBetter CTO: the logical truth about software ‘packaging’

    Technologies such as Docker have blended these responsibilities, causing developers to need to care about what operating system and native libraries are available to their applications – after years of the industry striving for more abstraction and increased decoupling!

  • Pieter Hintjens In Memoriam

    Pieter Hintjens was a writer, programmer and thinker who has spent decades building large software systems and on-line communities, which he describes as “Living Systems”. He was an expert in distributed computing, having written over 30 protocols and distributed software systems. He designed AMQP in 2004, and founded the ZeroMQ free software project in 2007. He was the author of the O’Reilly ZeroMQ book, “Culture and Empire”, “The Psychopath Code”, “Social Architecture”, and “Confessions of a Necromancer”. He was the president of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), and fought the software patent directive and the standardisation of the Microsoft OOXML Office format. He also organized the Internet of Things (IOT) Devroom here at FOSDEM for the last 3 years. In April 2016 he was diagnosed with terminal metastasis of a previous cancer.

  • Events
    • foss-gbg on Wednesday

      The topics are Yocto Linux on FPGA-based hardware, risk and license management in open source projects and a product release by the local start-up Zifra (an encryptable SD-card).

      More information and free tickets are available at the foss-gbg site.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Back End
    • What will we do when everything is automated?

      Just translate the term “productivity of American factories” into the word “automation” and you get the picture. Other workers are not taking jobs away from the gainfully employed, machines are.

      This is not a new trend. It’s been going on since before Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. Industry creates machines that do the work of humans faster, cheaper, with more accuracy and with less failure. That’s the nature of industry—nothing new here. However, what is new is the rate by which the displacement of human beings from the workforce in happening.

    • Want OpenStack benefits? Put your private cloud plan in place first

      The open source software promises hard-to-come-by cloud standards and no vendor lock-in, says Forrester’s Lauren Nelson. But there’s more to consider — including containers.

    • Set the Agenda at OpenStack Summit Boston

      The next OpenStack Summit is just three months away now, and as is their custom, the organizers have once again invited you–the OpenStack Community–to vote on which presentations will and will not be featured at the event.

    • What’s new in the world of OpenStack Ambassadors

      Ambassadors act as liaisons between multiple User Groups, the Foundation and the community in their regions. Launched in 2013, the OpenStack Ambassador program aims to create a framework of community leaders to sustainably expand the reach of OpenStack around the world.

    • Boston summit preview, Ambassador program updates, and more OpenStack news
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • NVIDIA Makes Huge Code Contribution To Qt, New Qt 3D Studio

      The Qt Company today announced Qt 3D Studio, a new 3D UI authoring system, thanks to NVIDIA providing Qt with hundreds of thousands of lines of source code making up this application.

    • Cavium ThunderX Support Added To LLVM

      Cavium’s ThunderX ARM 64-bit processors are now formally supported by the LLVM compiler stack.

    • How copying an int made my code 11 times faster

      Recently, after refactoring some Rust code, I noticed that it had suddenly become four times slower. However, the strange part is that I didn’t even touch the part of the code that became slower. Furthermore, it was still slower after commenting out the changes. Curious, I decided to investigate further.

      The first step was to use git diff to display all changes since the previous commit, which was normal speed. Then I started removing them one by one, no matter how inconsequential, and testing to see if it was still slow after the change.

      [...]

      Adding the print statement causes the code to go from 0.16 seconds to 1.7 seconds, an 11x slowdown (in release mode). Then, I posted it in the rustc IRC channel, where eddyb and bluss suggested a workaround and explained what was going on.

      The fix was to the change the print line to the following, which does indeed fix the slowdown.

Leftovers
  • Cars
    • Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber

      As most of you know, I left Uber in December and joined Stripe in January. I’ve gotten a lot of questions over the past couple of months about why I left and what my time at Uber was like. It’s a strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying story that deserves to be told while it is still fresh in my mind, so here we go.

      I joined Uber as a site reliability engineer (SRE) back in November 2015, and it was a great time to join as an engineer. They were still wrangling microservices out of their monolithic API, and things were just chaotic enough that there was exciting reliability work to be done. The SRE team was still pretty new when I joined, and I had the rare opportunity to choose whichever team was working on something that I wanted to be part of.

      After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.

    • Former engineer says Uber is a nightmare of sexism

      A former Uber engineer has published an explosive account of sexism and power struggles in the workplace, with allegations beginning from her very first official day with the company. The engineer, Susan Fowler (who left Uber in December and now works for Stripe), posted the account to her blog on Sunday, calling it a “strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying story.” It is indeed horrifying.

      Sexism is a well-documented problem in Silicon Valley, but the particulars of Fowler’s account are astounding. She says problems began on day one, when her manager accosted her with details of his sex life:

    • Tesla Owner Who Sacrificed His Model S To Save Another Driver Gets Surprise From Elon Musk

      For those who may have missed the story, here’s the deal. Manfred Kick was driving his Model S on the German Autobahn near Munich and noticed that a person in a Volkswagen Passat was driving erratically on the highway, German publication Munchen Merkur reported. The Passat hit the guardrail several times and swerved suspiciously, so Kick realized that something was wrong.

      He didn’t know whether the Passat driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or whether some other issue was at stake, but he nonetheless decided to intervene to avoid a more serious accident. Kick accelerated to reach the Volkswagen Passat and when he looked over, he saw that the driver appeared unconscious.

    • Why buying used cars could put your safety at risk

      Charles Henderson sold his car several years ago, but he still knows exactly where it is, and can control it from his phone.

      The IBM researcher leading X-Force Red, the firm’s security testing group, wasn’t researching car security when he discovered a major privacy issue. He simply sold his car.

      “The car is really smart, but it’s not smart enough to know who its owner is, so it’s not smart enough to know it’s been resold,” Henderson told CNNTech. “There’s nothing on the dashboard that tells you ‘the following people have access to the car.’”

  • Proprietary Nightmares
    • SAP license fees are due even for indirect users, court says

      SAP’s named-user licensing fees apply even to related applications that only offer users indirect visibility of SAP data, a U.K. judge ruled Thursday in a case pitting SAP against Diageo, the alcoholic beverage giant behind Smirnoff vodka and Guinness beer.

      The consequences could be far-reaching for businesses that have integrated their customer-facing systems with an SAP database, potentially leaving them liable for license fees for every customer that accesses their online store.

      “If any SAP systems are being indirectly triggered, even if incidentally, and from anywhere in the world, then there are uncategorized and unpriced costs stacking up in the background,” warned Robin Fry, a director at software licensing consultancy Cerno Professional Services, who has been following the case.

    • “Active Hours” in Windows 10 emphasizes how you are not in control of your own devices

      No edition of Windows 10, except Professional and Enterprise, is expected to function for more than 12 hours of the day. Microsoft most generously lets you set a block of 12 hours where you’re in control of the system, and will reserve the remaining 12 hours for it’s own purposes. How come we’re all fine with this?

      Windows 10 introduced the concept of “Active Hours”, a period of up to 12 hours when you expect to use the device, meant to reflect your work hours. The settings for changing the device’s active hours is hidden away among Windows Update settings, and it poorly fits with today’s lifestyles.

      Say you use your PC in the afternoon and into the late evening during the work week, but use it from morning to early afternoon in the weekends. You can’t fit all those hours nor accommodate home office hours in a period of just 12 hours. We’re always connected, and expect our devices to always be there for us when we need them.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Michigan civil rights panel: Flint water crisis rooted in ‘systemic racism’

      The Flint drinking water crisis has its root causes in historical and systemic racism, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission said Friday in a hard-hitting report that calls the public health catastrophe ” a complete failure of government” and recommends a rewrite of the state’s emergency manager law and bias training for state officials.

      The report, unanimously adopted at a meeting of the commission in downtown Flint, also calls for the creation of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” a model that was used in South Africa after apartheid as a way of rebuilding government trust and credibility by listening to and addressing specific concerns raised by Flint residents.

      It calls on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to invite experts to provide training on “implicit bias” to his cabinet, his team responding to Flint, and to require all state departments, including the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Health and Human Services, to do the same for their staff. Implicit bias is unconscious bias that can be directed toward historically disadvantaged groups, influencing decision-making.

    • Commission report: ‘systemic racism’ played role in Flint water crisis

      The 129-page report does not claim there were any specific violations of state civil rights laws, but says “historical, structural and systemic racism combined with implicit bias” played a role in the problems, which still linger in the city’s drinking water almost three years later.

      “The presence of racial bias in the Flint water crisis isn’t much of a surprise to those of us who live here, but the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s affirmation that the emergency manager law disproportionately hurts communities of color is an important reminder of just how bad the policy is,” state Sen. Jim Ananich, a Democrat from Flint, said.

  • Defence/Aggression
  • Finance
    • EVA: 79,000 prime working-age men are permanently outside labour force in Finland

      The Finnish Business and Policy Forum (EVA) has expressed its concern about the nearly 79,000 men in the prime working-age group who are not in employment, not in education and not eligible for disability pension.

      “Finland is home to 78,657 prime working-age men who can be labelled as missing workers. Not much is known about the activities of these 25–54-year-old men – except that they have disappeared from the labour force, apparently permanently,” EVA states in a report published on Thursday.

    • A Corporate Defender at Heart, Former SEC Chair Mary Jo White Returns to Her Happy Place

      Mary Jo White, whose tenure as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission under President Obama bitterly disappointed those who hoped she would aggressively enforce banking laws, is rejoining the corporate defense team at Debevoise & Plimpton, marking her sixth trip through the revolving door between various government jobs and the white-collar defense law firm she calls home.

      Debevoise represents numerous major financial institutions under federal investigation, and White will now help those corporate clients manage their legal exposure.

      White got the call to return to Debevoise on Inauguration Day, her last day at the SEC. As Debevoise presiding partner Michael Blair told the Wall Street Journal, “We had been waiting to make that phone call for several years.”

      This latest trip through the revolving door is particularly disturbing because White declared in ethics disclosure forms before becoming SEC chair that she was retiring from her partnership at Debevoise, receiving a lump sum retirement payment of over $2 million. Instead of staying retired, she immediately went back to Debevoise after her government service ended, pocketing the money.

      It is not, however, surprising.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • ‘Life is a campaign’: After a difficult first month, Trump returns to his comfort zone

      As President Trump descended the stairs from Air Force One on Saturday evening, with a patriotic country song playing and thousands cheering, the 2020 election season officially began.

      Although the past several presidents have waited more than two years before jumping back onto the campaign trail, Trump’s first four weeks in office have shown that he just can’t stand too much time in Washington. One adviser calls political rallies the president’s “oxygen” — and Trump seemed to direly need a deep inhalation following a week that included his national security adviser resigning and his top replacement pick turning him down, his nominee for labor secretary withdrawing from consideration and accusations involving his campaign and Russia.

      “Life is a campaign,” the president told reporters aboard Air Force One. “Making our country great again is a campaign. For me, it’s a campaign.”

    • Presidential Impeachment, Explained

      Shortly following new revelations from the New York Times that President Donald Trump’s campaign team was in “repeated” contact with Russian officials ahead of the 2016 election, #TrumpImpeachmentParty began trending on Twitter in a call to take Trump out of office. But while the hashtag might be gaining steam, the process of impeaching a president is a lot easier said than done.

      What does it mean for a president to be impeached, what does the process look like, and is it even possible for Donald Trump to be impeached less than a month into his presidency? Here’s what you need to know.

    • Trump’s apparent security faux-pas-palooza triggers call for House investigation

      Representative Ted Lieu, a congressman from Los Angeles County, California, led fourteen other House Democrats on Friday in urging the House Government Oversight Committee to investigate “troubling reports” of President Donald Trump’s apparently poor security practices and the potential danger to national security posed by them—including his continued use of an unsecured Android device to post to Twitter, discussion of sensitive information (including nuclear strategy) in the restaurant at his Mar-A-Lago resort, and leaving classified material unlocked while visitors were in the Oval Office.

    • Trump attends private Mar-a-Lago event without telling press corps

      President Trump attended a private fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Saturday evening, without informing the press corps that follows him and reports on his movements.

      Trump made an unexpected stop at a fundraiser for Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute held at his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., the Washington Post reported.

      The event was not on his schedule.

      A video posted on Instagram shows Trump arriving at the private fundraiser, where he was met with cheers. More than 800 people attended the event, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Sunday.

    • Donald Trump invited golf club members to help choose his cabinet, leaked audio suggests

      Donald Trump invited wealthy members of one of his golf clubs to help interview candidates for posts in his administration, leaked audio recordings have revealed.

      The Republican was taped telling guests to “come round” and help interview potential “generals and dictators”, claiming it would be “fun”.

      Audio recordings from a party hosted by Mr Trump at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey in November – just two weeks after his election win – reveal comments he made to members.

    • Ralph Nader – Breaking Through Power Event
    • ACTION ALERT: WaPo’s Post Live Series Is a Love Letter to Corporate Conflicts of Interest

      Since 2010, the Washington Post has been banking on its pedigree and prestige by putting on Q & A sessions with influential Beltway personalities—sponsored by corporations directly involved in the topics of discussion. Event sponsors include Bank of America, Eli Lilly, Qualcomm, WGL Energy, AFLAC, GlaxoSmithKline and UnitedHealth, among others.

      These events, billed as “Post Live,” are generally fluffy, non-combative industry hype sessions sponsored by a relevant corporation and quarterbacked by a Washington Post columnist or reporter to lend it gravitas. The ideological scope, as one would expect based on who funds them, ranges from “how capitalism and the US military can be more awesome” to “capitalism and the US military are already awesome.” This ideological capture is seen most starkly in Post Live’s coverage of healthcare and war.

    • Event at University of La Verne – Fighting Fake News: 21st Century Global Critical Media Literacy

      Mickey Huff (Director of Project Censored, professor of social science and history, Diablo Valley College), Andy Lee Roth (associate director of Project Censored, instructor in sociology, Citrus College) and Elizabeth Blakey, (lawyer, sociologist, First Amendment scholar, and assistant professor of journalism, Cal State-Northridge) will examine news censorship, the origins of “fake news,” and how critical media literacy, particularly among young adults, will be essential for sustaining democracy in the 21st Century.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • A preview of self-censorship in the new political landscape

      Over the next few months, there’ll be plenty of debate about the role of the government in funding public broadcasting.

      The Trump administration reportedly has the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — and a host of other cultural and arts organizations– targeted for elimination.

    • Why Suzanna Mukherjee thinks the online space is evolving

      The biggest advantage of the medium, is that there is no censorship yet, says Suzanna. “In film and television, censorship is the biggest problem. At the end, owing to cuts, one finally cannot end up telling the story he or she sets out to do so,” Suzanna adds.

    • Legal impediments to Internet censorship

      Back then, cinema and television, on account of their inaccessibility to ordinary researchers, did not provide a convenient source of research information. To put it simply, it was basically impossible to cite television, and motion pictures were exhibited at the cinema houses at the whim of the film distributors.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Oldham headmistress makes fresh ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations against Islamist parents

      Allegations of a new Islamist “Trojan Horse” plot to wrest control of a state school have been made by a headmistress in the north of England.

      Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham since 2006, emailed the local council saying she had “very strong reasons to believe that… a ‘Trojan Horse’ agenda [is] being played out”, The Sunday Times reported.

      “Trojan Horse” refers to plots uncovered in 2014 in Birmingham schools in which Islamist groups attempted to infiltrate positions of authority and impose a conservative or Salifist ethos on their running.

    • Revealed: new ‘Trojan Horse plot’

      Fears of a new “Trojan Horse” Islamic plot to take over a state school in Oldham have been raised by its head teacher, who says she has been concerned for her personal safety.

      Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School since 2006, has been so worried that she has worked from home for short periods in recent months.

    • Iranian morality police beat and detain 14-year-old girl ‘for wearing ripped jeans’

      A 14-year-old girl has been beaten and detained for wearing ripped jeans in Iran in the latest incident of police brutality against women and girls.

      Zahra*, who The Independent is not identifying for fear she may suffer reprisals, was celebrating her birthday with friends last week when a patrol of “morality police” pulled up.

      The teenager said officers tried to force her and her friends into their car in the city of Shiraz, beating them when they resisted.

    • ‘How is this ALLOWED?’ Fury as Turkish PM holds election rally in GERMANY
    • New Homeland Security Guidelines Call for the Sweeping Detention and Deportation of Illegal Immigrants: Report

      The Homeland Security Department has drafted sweeping new guidelines aimed at aggressively detaining and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, according to a pair of memoranda signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly.

      The memos dated Friday seek to implement President Donald Trump’s broad directive to crack down on illegal immigration. Kelly outlines plans to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand on the priority list for immigrants marked for immediate removal and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests, according to a person briefed on the documents, who confirmed the details to the Associated Press.

      “The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” Kelly wrote.

    • Scrutiny for Supreme Court Pick Fails to Focus on Rights of Disabled

      Since Donald Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court, media have coalesced around a few themes: One is about whether any Trump appointment should be blocked as payback to Republicans, as expressed in a New York Times headline (2/13/17): “Democrats’ Quandary on Gorsuch: Appease the Base or Honor the Process.” Spoiler: The paper thinks the real strain is on “those in the middle.”

      Another theme is Gorsuch’s “eloquence” and his being “hard to pigeonhole” as conservative: One story said he “didn’t skip a beat” when a friend came out to him as gay.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Jessica Gonzalez on FCC Chair Ajit Pai

      This week on CounterSpin: “T-Mobile Very Pleased with Direction of Change under Trump Administration, CEO Says.” That headline tells you pretty much what you need to know about Ajit Pai, Trump’s choice of chair for the FCC—the entity charged with representing the public interest in the communications industry. The phone company exec is pleased, he says, because Pai’s appointment signals “an air of less regulation.”

      The idea that the media industry hates regulation is fiction, given that it’s government that grants licenses to companies to use the public airwaves and monopoly franchises to cable companies. In so doing, as media scholar Bob McChesney has said, government isn’t so much setting the terms of competition as picking the winners. What’s objected to, of course, are public interest regulations—including the net neutrality rules that allow for a democratic and diverse internet. What’s ahead for the public interest under Ajit Pai’s FCC? We talk with Jessica Gonzalez, deputy director and senior counsel at the group Free Press.

  • DRM
    • Chrome 57 Will Permanently Enable DRM

      The next stable version of Chrome (Chrome 57) will not allow users to disable the Widevine DRM plugin anymore, therefore making it an always-on, permanent feature of Chrome. The new version of Chrome will also eliminate the “chrome://plugins” internal URL, which means if you want to disable Flash, you’ll have to do it from the Settings page.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Google v. Oracle: Fair Use of a Copyrighted API

        Back in 2012, the N.D. Cal. district court ruled that the portions of Java structure that Google copied were not themselves entitled to copyright protection. On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit reversed and ordered a new trial. In particular, the Federal Circuit panel led by Judge O’Malley held that the Java API taxonomy copyrightable as a whole and rejected the applicability of idea/expression merger doctrine. “Merger cannot bar copyright protection for any lines of declaring source code unless Sun/Oracle had only one way, or a limited number of ways, to write them.”

      • Search Engines, Rightsholders Agree Plan To Stop UK Consumers From Reaching Infringing Websites

        Search engines Google and Bing have signed a voluntary code of conduct with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the Motion Picture Association to prevent consumers from being directed to copyright-infringing websites, the UK Intellectual Property Office said on 20 February. The deal, brokered by the IPO, comes into effect immediately and is intended to reduce the visibility of infringing content in searches by 1 June, the office said.

      • Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom Can Be Extradited to the U.S., a New Zealand Court Rules

        New Zealand’s High Court has found that Kim Dotcom, best known for creating the now-defunct file sharing service Megaupload, is eligible for extradition to the U.S., rejecting a legal appeal by the self-styled “internet freedom fighter.”

        But the judges supported an argument put forth by Dotcom and his legal team that the U.S. cannot extradite him for charges related to copyright violation, reports the New Zealand Herald.

      • New Zealand appeals court upholds Kim Dotcom extradition ruling

        An appellate court in New Zealand has upheld a lower court’s 2015 decision that Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants should be extradited to the United States to face criminal copyright-related charges involving his former website, Megaupload.

        In a ruling issued Monday afternoon local time (late Sunday night, Eastern Standard Time), Justice Murray Gilbert of the High Court of New Zealand ruled that while he agreed with one of Dotcom’s attorneys’ primary arguments—”that online communication of copyright protected works to the public is not a criminal offence in New Zealand”—the judge noted that nevertheless, Dotcom and his co-defendants remain eligible for extradition based on other elements in the case.

      • Dotcom Legal Team on High Court judgment

        This case is no longer the “largest criminal copyright case”, 1 at least as far as New Zealand is concerned. As we have said all along, there is no such offence under our Copyright Act. We were right. However, this afternoon the High Court judgment 2 was issued and, ultimately, although it concluded we are right, 3 the Court concluded that Kim is still eligible for surrender.

      • NZ court rules Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to U.S. for alleged fraud

        A New Zealand court ruled on Monday that internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom could be extradited to the United States to face charges relating to his Megaupload website, which was shutdown in 2012 following an FBI-ordered raid on his Auckland mansion.

        The Auckland High Court upheld the decision by a lower court in 2015 on 13 counts, including allegations of conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud, although it described that decision as “flawed” in several areas.

        Dotcom’s lawyer Ron Mansfield said in a statement the decision was “extremely disappointing” and that Dotcom would appeal to New Zealand’s Court of Appeal.

      • Pirate Site With No Traffic Attracts 49m Mainly Bogus DMCA Notices

        It’s likely you’ve never heard of mp3toys.xyz since the site has very little traffic. However, thanks to a bungling anti-piracy outfit, the site is now the second most complained about ‘pirate’ site on the Internet, with Google receiving more than 49 million notices in just over six months.

No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

Monday 20th of February 2017 11:03:49 AM

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway” —Marshall Phelps

Summary: Old and familiar tricks — a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines — are being peddled by Watchtroll again

I COME from a professional background of computer vision and I am also familiar with (and trained in) processor technology, so when I say that software is inherently mathematics I am not just merely repeating what other people are saying. In fact, having debated this in length with Watchtroll a couple of years ago, it became abundantly clear that he (Mr. Quinn) does not know that the heck he is talking about; he could not even name any computer program he wrote. It’s astounding that people who want to believe that software is patentable take him seriously*.

I therefore worry that Watchtroll is seen by many as some sort of ‘authority’ on the subject; it’s a site by and for law firms, or a propaganda mill for their pockets (software patents). They do a lot of lobbying and also shaming of officials like the Director of the USPTO (they never even mention the EPO).

“The latest Watchtroll piece wants people to think of computer programs as computers; as if putting something that is akin to prose through a processor magically makes it patentable.”The latest Watchtroll piece is titled “Operational Mathematics on a Processor is not an Abstract Idea”. They are mixing two things here; processors are not abstract but mathematics is a whole different thing. They cannot just magically link two things to make them look like the same thing. In our view, which was consistent over the years, the processor itself can have patents associated with it, and we don’t object to that. But algorithms are not processors and they are rarely if ever embedded in gate level. The computers are programmable. That’s what Manchester innovated after the (second) World War and what the Computer Science department here — the department which I studied in — became most renowned for.

The latest Watchtroll piece wants people to think of computer programs as computers; as if putting something that is akin to prose through a processor magically makes it patentable. Clueless or just lying to oneself?

We often wonder how many of the software patents proponents who write for Watchtroll actually come from Computer Science and can comprehend computer programs/code. We cannot recall even one. “Peter also works as a patent engineer in patent prosecution,” says the disclosure in the above article. What the heck is a “patent engineer”? That makes it sound like the act of patenting itself is an engineering task? Can they patent the process of patenting too? I once dated a girl who said she was a “nail engineer” (later it turned out she meant manicurist), so here again we have these artistic semantics.

“Sadly, based on what we heard, the above-mentioned pattern of deception (combining or blurring the gap between machine and code) is often used to trick EPO examiners into granting software patents; they can mislead themselves into thinking that they don’t grant software patents, but they do.”“Operational math on a processor is a switching device and not an abstract idea,” Peter writes. The processor just takes an instruction or a set of instructions (input) and produces some output, yielding something that can be processed for visualisation, sound etc. But the processor is not the program itself. The programs are stored in memory or in registers, which themselves resemble a book and are already covered by copyrights, not patents, just like a book. We could go on and deconstruct the whole piece from Peter, who is an Electronic Engineer, not a software engineer (far from the same thing).

Sadly, based on what we heard, the above-mentioned pattern of deception (combining or blurring the gap between machine and code) is often used to trick EPO examiners into granting software patents; they can mislead themselves into thinking that they don’t grant software patents, but they do.
____
* Well, here is Mr. Watchtroll being treated as some kind of guru on the subject [1, 2] just a few days ago.

More in Tux Machines

Linux 4.11, 4.9.12 and 4.4.51

today's howtos

Leftovers: Gaming

Red Hat and Fedora