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

The Patent Litigation Lobby — by Cherry-Picking Court Decisions — Explores Ways to Work Around 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Patent Software

Sunday 8th of April 2018 05:58:52 AM


Reference: Cherry picking

Summary: Patent maximalists (mostly lawyers) continue to distort the public debate and interject false claims into news reports in order to maintain a demand for software patents, from which they profit

THE demise of software patents in the United States is very real and we increasingly see/hear of cases where USPTO examiners, not just patent judges, reject applications based on 35 U.S.C. § 101. The entire system has become resistant to — if not intolerant of — software patents. We need to keep it that way.

“The entire system has become resistant to — if not intolerant of — software patents. We need to keep it that way.”As one can expect, software patents proponents are nitpicking in an effort to bring software patents back. This post collates examples from the past week.

Bilski Blog, one of the loudest anti-Bilski and anti-Alice sites (the name of the blog is rather misleading), started toying around with a couple of words, cherry-picked from a recent decision. The term “well-understood” somehow became an entire long blog post and it said:

The Federal Circuit has now had enough opportunity to address Mayo’s “well-understood, routine, conventional” test that we should have a good understanding of it. We don’t (or at least I don’t).

To begin with, the Federal Circuit cases don’t seem to differentiate among these terms. The cases also universally connect the three terms with “and” rather than “or,” but curiously most of the cases don’t seem to actually require all three to be explicitly met for a determination of ineligibility. See, e.g., Content Extraction, where the Federal Circuit noted only that the patent owner had conceded one function as being “routine.” Finally, there seems to be real disagreement about the extent to which these terms address facts as opposed to legal standards. In this post, I’m not going to comprehensively analyze all these issues, but instead will focus primarily on what these common terms mean.

This is another one of many attempts to belittle CAFC judges. It wasn’t long ago that Patently-O mocked a judge and Watchtroll does this kind of thing almost every week. As Judge Lucy Koh continues to reject software patents (in a district court) we expect her too to be targeted. Patently-O resorted to implicit racial insults, so it probably won’t be long before we see sexist insults, too. Koh can be smeared using both the “race” and the “gender” card.

“It wasn’t long ago that Patently-O mocked a judge and Watchtroll does this kind of thing almost every week.”Charles Bieneman, a software patents proponent, mentioned Aatrix at the end of last month and then wrote about Koh’s decision as follows:

A district court has granted a Rule 12 motion for judgment on the pleadings, holding that claims of two patents directed to modifying toolbars of Internet applications are patent-ineligible under the Alice test and 35 USC § 101. MyMail, Ltd. v. ooVoo, LLC, Nos. 17-CV-04487-LHK and 17-CV-04488-LHK (N.D. Cal. March 16, 2018) (Judge Lucy Koh).

What we find interesting about this case isn’t just the judge, who became famous for her rulings in Apple’s cases against Samsung. What’s more interesting here is that we’re seeing district courts, this time in California, increasingly citing 35 USC § 101 when they reject dubious patents. Traditionally it was CAFC — not district courts — that was tough on software patents. The same goes for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which we’ll be covering separately.

“What’s more interesting here is that we’re seeing district courts, this time in California, increasingly citing 35 USC § 101 when they reject dubious patents.”Not too long ago CAFC dealt with a virtual advertisement patent. James Korenchan liked this case because it stood out from the rest. Cherry-picking this fairly old decision (from last month), the anti-PTAB brigade was attempting to give the impression that 35 U.S.C. § 101 is nothing for software patents proponents (trolls and lawyers) to worry about. To quote the background:

In a decision issued last month, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board reversed the final rejection of all the pending claims in U.S. Application No. 12/628,383. The claims at issue are directed to evaluating an effectiveness of an advertisement in a virtual reality universe of a multiplayer online game. In particular, the claimed invention involves evaluating whether a proximity and direction of a user’s avatar enables the avatar to effectively view a virtual advertisement and, based on this evaluation, providing a virtual barrier (e.g., a virtual landscape element) that induces the avatar to navigate towards viewing the advertisement. The claims had been rejected under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as reciting patent ineligible subject matter in the form of an abstract idea of organizing human activities.

CAFC typically agrees with PTAB on such matters, but the anti-PTAB brigade clings onto the rare cases where a decision gets overturned. Looking at underlying statistics, one must conclude that software patents remain unworthy of pursuing, both at the patent office and the courts. Not that law firms would want to allow clients to think of feel that way…

IAM Encourages Patent Aggression, CCIA Highlights Cost of Being Accused of Infringement, Professor Tun-Jen Chiang Explores Free Speech Aspects of Patents

Sunday 8th of April 2018 05:01:56 AM

The First Amendment in the United States is contradictory to the notion of code patents (decision from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, CAFC)

Summary: A few items of interest which pertain to patent litigation and shakedown, in effect highlighting lesser-explored aspects of legal landscapes wherein being accused alone can cost one dearly

THE patent litigation culture that had become so prevalent in the US before the courts (and to a lesser degree the USPTO) put the brakes on it cost the economy many billions of dollars. Lawyers, trolls and few failing companies had made a lot of money but produced nothing of value. We risk seeing the same thing happening in Europe if EPO management gets its way.

“Software developers do not need patents. It’s an improper and truly unnecessary instrument of law.”IAM spent well over a decade promoting a patent litigation culture everywhere in the world. This is IAM’s bread and butter. What IAM meant by “webinar” the other day is marketing/lobbying. The word “licensing” refers to blackmail, extortion, and coercion with patents (otherwise a lawsuit gets filed). By contrast, the CCIA (Josh Landau in this case) bemoaned the situation, insisting that “[i]n Defending Against Patent Litigation, Even A Win Is A Loss” (except for the lawyers).

To quote:

So what we have is a lawsuit where, based on the statements in the complaint, the patent may not be valid, and where public information strongly suggests that the patent isn’t infringed.

Nonetheless, the Big Ten Network will have to spend money defending themselves from the lawsuit. And baseless patent assertions don’t just hurt large tech companies—they hit everyone, from entertainment companies like the BTN or Disney, to retailers and restaurants like Walmart and White Castle.

These suits, even if the defendant is successful in defending themselves, cost money. According to AIPLA’s 2017 survey, the median cost just to start defending a case with less than $1,000,000 at stake is around $25,000, and the median cost to get through the motions stage is around $250,000. If there’s more at stake? A case with more than $25,000,000 at risk might cost you around $140,000 just to get started, with the cost through the motions stage on the order of $1,700,000. That’s not even to get to trial.

All to defend yourself against a lawsuit that never should have occurred, based on a patent that never should have issued.

Tun-Jen Chiang has just outed/promoted “Patents and Free Speech,” a paper which discusses how patents affect the First Amendment in the United States. It’s no secret that computer code (in the case of software patents) is akin to poetry or speech and thus invokes questions pertaining to the First Amendment. CAFC ruled so specifically (about 2 years ago) while rejecting Microsoft’s patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. From this new introduction to Professor Chiang’s paper:

Scholars have long argued that copyright and trademark law have the potential to violate the First Amendment right to free speech. But in Patents and Free Speech (forthcoming in the Georgetown Law Journal), Professor Tun-Jen Chiang explains that patents can similarly restrict free speech, and that they pose an even greater threat to speech than copyrights and trademarks because patent law lacks the doctrinal safeguards that have developed in that area.

Professor Chiang convincingly argues that patents frequently violate the First Amendment and provides numerous examples of patents that could restrict speech. For example, he uncovered one patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,311,211) claiming a “method of operating an advocacy network” by “sending an advocacy message” to various users. He argues that such “advocacy emails are core political speech that the First Amendment is supposed to protect. A statute or regulation that prohibited groups from sending advocacy emails would be a blatant First Amendment violation.”

Perhaps the strongest counterargument to the conclusion that patents often violate free speech is that private enforcement of property rights is generally not subject to First Amendment scrutiny, because the First Amendment only applies to acts of the government, not private individuals. Although Professor Chiang has previously concluded that this argument largely justifies copyright law’s exemption from the First Amendment, he does not come to the same conclusion for patent law for two reasons.

When it comes to copyright law, one’s ability to speak freely depends on one’s originality. But rephrasing things can help dodge plagiarism/infringement claims, whereas with patents that is not quite possible. This means that when it comes to patents the risk to one’s free speech, e.g. in the code sense, is seriously jeopardised. Code is already covered by copyright law, so for the most part plagiarism is a problem that’s sufficiently tackled without patents. Software developers do not need patents. It’s an improper and truly unnecessary instrument of law.

Links 8/4/2018: KDE Applications 18.04 Release Candidate, Features Approval For Fedora 29

Sunday 8th of April 2018 04:33:08 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Slimbook Curve: Enjoy Using Linux On This 24″ Curved Screen All-In-One Powerhouse

      Slimbook has added another machine to their PC lineup which lets people experience Linux on quality machines. Their latest offering is an All-In-One desktop computer called Slimbook Curve.

      As the name suggests, it lets you use your favorite Linux distro on a 24-inch FHD curved screen display that is enclosed in a beautiful aluminum body. Slimbook Curve comes with all the features and enough power a regular user would want from their PC.

  • Kernel Space
    • Submitting my first patch to the Linux kernel

      I started using Linux three years ago while attending university, and I was fascinated to discover a different desktop environment. My professor introduced me to the Ubuntu operating system, and I decided to dual-boot it along with Windows on my laptop the same day.

      Within three months, I had completely abandoned Windows and shifted to Fedora after hearing about the RPM Package Manager. I also tried running Debian for stability, but in early 2017 I realized Arch Linux suits all my needs for cutting-edge packages. Now I use it along with the KDE desktop and can customize it according to my needs.

    • PCI, Crypto & Other Updates Head Into Linux 4.17

      We are at the end of the first (and busiest) week of the two-week long Linux 4.17 kernel merge window. There have been many articles on Phoronix about the big highlights of this next kernel version while here are some of the smaller change-sets that came about this week.

    • Thunderbolt Updates Head Into Linux 4.17, Adds USB/SL4 Security Level

      Greg Kroah-Hartman’s char/misc pull this week included a fair amount of Thunderbolt support improvements for the forthcoming Linux 4.17 kernel.

      Thunderbolt changes queued for Linux 4.17 include support for the new Intel Titan Ridge controller, support for a USB-only SL4 security level, prevent crashes when the ICM firmware is not active, support for a pre-boot ACL, handling for rejected Thunderbolt devices, and other error handling improvements and Thunderbolt related fixes.

    • POWER Updates For Linux 4.17 Drop POWER4 CPU Support

      In addition to Linux 4.17 dropping eight obsolete CPU architectures, this next kernel release is also doing away with POWER4 CPU support.

      The IBM POWER4 architecture dates back to 2001 for RS/6000 and AS/400 computers with just above 1.0GHz clock frequencies, dual cores, and around a 115 Watt TDP. POWER4 was succeeded by POWER5 in 2004. While POWER4 and POWER4+ support is removed, PowerPC 970 and POWER5 and newer support remains.

      It turns out back in 2016, the POWER4 CPU support was accidentally broken and with no one noticing the past two years, developers have decided to just do away with this older PowerPC architecture. This frees up some maintenance burden and “blocked use of some modern instructions.”

    • Graphics Stack
      • “The Forge” Rendering Framework Adds Linux/Vulkan Support

        The Forge, a cross-platform rendering framework developed by Confetti, a graphics research think-tank and consulting company, has rolled out Linux and Vulkan support.

        The Forge rendering framework supports Windows 10 with DirectX 12 and Vulkan, as well as the new DirectX Ray-Tracing API. There is also Metal 2 support on iOS/macOS, preliminary Android Vulkan support, PS4 and Xbox One console support, and now PC Linux support in the form of Vulkan graphics officially supported on Ubuntu.

      • DXVK, the Vulkan compatibility layer for Direct3D 11 and Wine has a fresh release reducing CPU overhead

        Since there’s a lot of excitement around DXVK we’ve been following it closely and a fresh release made it out last night.

        For those who don’t remember it, DXVK is the compatibility layer for running Direct3D 11 games in Wine using Vulkan. It’s a very promising project, with a lot of people having fun with it already on Linux.

      • Vulkan 1.1.72 Released With Three New Extensions

        Vulkan 1.1.72 is now available, which for simple terms is really “Vulkan 1.1.2″ except for the patch number having not been reset when Vulkan 1.1 was launched last month.

        Vulkan 1.1.72 has several documentation fixes and other corrections/clarifications. But of course what has most of our interest are three new extensions. The new extensions are VK_AMD_shader_core_properties, VK_NV_shader_subgroup_partitioned, and VK_EXT_descriptor_indexing.

      • Sway 1.0 Reaches Alpha For This Popular Wayland Compositor

        The Sway Wayland Compositor that is known for its compatibility and inspiration from the i3 tiling window manager is nearly out with its version 1.0 release.

        Sway 1.0 Alpha was released this Saturday evening as the first step towards the big 1.0 milestone. This release is now based on the wlroots Wayland compositor library and the code-base itself to the compositor was completely overhauled. In the process, the NVIDIA proprietary driver support was also removed.

      • NVIDIA Preparing To Drop Fermi Support From Their Mainline Drivers

        NVIDIA is in the process of retiring GeForce 400/500 “Fermi” GPU support from their mainline graphics drivers on Windows and Linux/BSD/Solaris.

        Yesterday NVIDIA announced that critical security updates for Fermi series GPUs will continue through January 2019, but after that be cut off while for now they will still be issuing “Game Ready Driver” (Windows) drivers with Fermi support included.

      • VKVG: Vulkan Vector Graphics With A Cairo-Like API

        The latest nifty open-source Vulkan project we have come across worthy of a shout-out is VKVG. VKVG is short for Vulkan Vector Graphics and is a C library for drawing 2D vector graphics using the Vulkan graphics API.

    • Benchmarks
      • AMD Ryzen 7 Performance On Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Six Linux Distributions

        Our latest Windows vs. Linux benchmarking interest has been seeing how the AMD Ryzen 7 performance compares with the latest operating systems / Linux distributions. We have recently posted some Windows 10 vs. Windows WSL vs. Windows Linux benchmarks, relative Spectre/Meltdown mitigation impact tests on Windows vs. Linux, and other benchmarks but has mostly been done with Intel or server hardware. For those curious, today’s tests were done with an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 platform.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDE Ships Release Candidate of KDE Applications 18.04

        April 6, 2018. Today KDE released the release candidate of the new versions of KDE Applications. With dependency and feature freezes in place, the KDE team’s focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing.

        Check the community release notes for information on tarballs and known issues. A more complete announcement will be available for the final release

        The KDE Applications 18.04 releases need a thorough testing in order to maintain and improve the quality and user experience. Actual users are critical to maintaining high KDE quality, because developers simply cannot test every possible configuration. We’re counting on you to help find bugs early so they can be squashed before the final release. Please consider joining the team by installing the release candidate and reporting any bugs.

      • KDE Applications 18.04 Release Candidate Arrives
      • Community Data Analytics: Now in Technicolor!

        So let’s revisit our “whole year 2017 for all of KDEPIM” (that is the parts in KDE Applications, in Extragear and in Playground) with more colors!

        Firstly, this gives us the weekly activity using the “Magma” palette and a linear interpolation of the colors between the minimum and maximum commit counts…

        [...]

        This time we don’t even need to zoom in to spot the code KDEPIM contributors in 2017. With the color coding, we see right away again that Laurent Montel, Daniel Vratil and Volker Krause are the core contributors. It’s much less guess work than the last time, we’re backed by the color coded centrality metric now. We can also better see that Allen Winter, Sandro Knauß and David Faure are very central too, something that we missed the last time.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Canta Is An Amazing Material Design GTK Theme

        Canta is a complete Material Design theme. It uses pastel colors in a beautiful blend, with round buttons, tabs, and corners. Subtle, unobtrusive transparency is used sporadically, giving Canta a stylish look.

      • 12 Best GTK Themes for Ubuntu and other Linux Distributions

        For those of us that use Ubuntu proper, the move from Unity to Gnome as the default desktop environment has made theming and customizing easier than ever. Gnome has a fairly large tweaking community, and there is no shortage of fantastic GTK themes for users to choose from. With that in mind, I went ahead and found some of my favorite themes that I have come across in recent months. These are what I believe offer some of the best experiences that you can find.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • MX Linux: A Mid-Weight Distro Focused on Simplicity

        MX Linux makes transitioning from just about any desktop operating system simple. Although some might find the desktop interface to be a bit less-than-modern, the distribution’s primary focus isn’t on beauty, but simplicity. To that end, MX Linux succeeds in stellar fashion. This flavor of Linux can make anyone feel right at home on Linux. Spin up this mid-weight distribution and see if it can’t serve as your daily driver.

    • New Releases
      • What’s New in Enso OS 0.2.1

        Enso OS 0.2.1 is the latest release of Enso Linux Distribution 0.2 series. This release features Xfce 4.12 series as default desktop environment, include the Panther application launcher, which it can resizing itself on change of the screen resolution. Also Plank dock installed by default.

        Based on Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS and using Linux Kernel 4.4, which means that it offers support for the latest hardware components available on the market. Galal now includes a new windows switcher that lists the active windows in a much more easy to read manner that is more familiar to users than was previously implemented. Enso greeter now applies a nice blur effect onto the set background which was kindly taken from the Deepin project

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
    • Red Hat Family
      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: Introduction to Quay with Joey Schorr (Red Hat)

        In this briefing, Red Hat’s Joey Schorr gave a in-depth introduction on and demonstration of Quay, CoreOs’ Application Registry for Kubernetes with OpenShift. Quay is an container registry for building, storing, and distributing your private containers to your servers.

      • Latest CRIU for CentOS COPR

        The version of CRIU which is included with CentOS is updated with every minor CentOS release (at least at the time of writing this) since 7.2, but once the minor CentOS release is available CRIU is not updated anymore until the next minor release. To make it easier to use the latest version of CRIU on CentOS I am now also rebuilding the latest version in COPR for CentOS: https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/adrian/criu-el7/.

      • Kerberos Sidecar Container

        The challenge facing this team was how best to implement the Kerberos client for processes running in containers, and how to ensure that the authentication remained valid for long running processes.

        For those not familiar with Kerberos, it is essentially a protocol for authentication, commonly used to allow users or systems to connect to other systems. Tickets are used to authenticate, avoiding the storing, or sending, of passwords, and it is based on symmetric key cryptography.

      • Red Hat Summit 2018: Develop Secure Apps and Services

        Red Hat Summit 2018 will focus on modern application development. A critical part of modern application development is of course securing your applications and services. Things were challenging when you only needed to secure a single monolithic application. In a modern application landscape, you’re probably looking at building microservices and possibly exposing application services and APIs outside the boundaries of your enterprise. In order to deploy cloud-native applications and microservices you must be able to secure them. You might be faced with the challenge of securing both applications and back-end services accessed by mobile devices while using third party identity providers like social networks. Fortunately, Red Hat Summit 2018 has a number of developer-oriented sessions where you can learn how to secure your applications and services, integrate single-sign on, and manage your APIs. Session highlights include:

      • Red Hat scripting languages for beta: adds Ruby 2.5, Perl 5.26; updates PHP 7.1.8

        Twice a year, Red Hat distributes new versions of compiler toolsets, scripting languages, open source databases, and/or web tools, etc. so that application developers will have access to the latest, stable versions. These Red Hat supported offerings are packaged as Red Hat Software Collections (scripting languages, open source databases, web tools, etc.), Red Hat Developer Toolset (GCC), and the recently added compiler toolsets Clang/LLVM, Go, and Rust. All are yum installable, and are included in most Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions and all Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Subscriptions. Most Red Hat Software Collections and Red Hat Developer Toolset components are also available as Linux container images for hybrid cloud development across Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, etc.

      • Red Hat adds/updates web tools for beta: HAProxy 1.8, Varnish 5.0, Apache httpd 2.4

        Twice a year, Red Hat distributes new versions of compiler toolsets, scripting languages, open source databases, and/or web tools, etc. so that application developers will have access to the latest, stable versions. These Red Hat supported offerings are packaged as Red Hat Software Collections (scripting languages, open source databases, web tools, etc.), Red Hat Developer Toolset (GCC), and the recently added compiler toolsets Clang/LLVM, Go, and Rust. All are yum installable, and are included in most Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions and all Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Subscriptions. Most Red Hat Software Collections and Red Hat Developer Toolset components are also available as Linux container images for hybrid cloud development across Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, etc.

      • New Red Hat compilers toolsets in beta: Clang and LLVM, GCC, Go, Rust

        Twice a year, Red Hat distributes new versions of compiler toolsets, scripting languages, open source databases, and/or web tools, etc. so that application developers will have access to the latest, stable versions. These Red Hat supported offerings are packaged as Red Hat Software Collections (scripting languages, open source databases, web tools, etc.), Red Hat Developer Toolset (GCC), and the recently added compiler toolsets Clang/LLVM, Go, and Rust. All are yum installable, and are included in most Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions and all Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Subscriptions. Most Red Hat Software Collections and Red Hat Developer Toolset components are also available as Linux container images for hybrid cloud development across Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, etc.

      • Red Hat open source databases in beta: Adds PostgreSQL 10, MongoDB 3.6; updates MySQL 5.7

        Twice a year, Red Hat distributes new versions of compiler toolsets, scripting languages, open source databases, and/or web tools, etc. so that application developers will have access to the latest, stable versions. These Red Hat supported offerings are packaged as Red Hat Software Collections (scripting languages, open source databases, web tools, etc.), Red Hat Developer Toolset (GCC), and the recently added compiler toolsets Clang/LLVM, Go, and Rust. All are yum installable, and are included in most Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions and all Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Subscriptions. Most Red Hat Software Collections and Red Hat Developer Toolset components are also available as Linux container images for hybrid cloud development across Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, etc.

      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: CyberArk Conjur Secrets Management on OpenShift

        In this briefing, Naama Schwartzblat and Kumbirai Tanekha (CyberArk) discuss and demo how to securely inject secrets into your applications and manage machine identities with CyberArk Conjur. Kumbirai Tanekha and Naama Schwartzblat,the lead developers on Conjur both of whom worked directly on the Conjur-OpenShift integration. They demonstrated how secrets can be managed and delivered securely to applications running in OpenShift without developer impedance, and how OpenShift security policy for secrets and machine identity can be managed as code.

      • CentOS 7.4 upgrade – Still got it

        The upgrade of CentOS to 7.4 (1708) worked fine. I did hit a few snags, but they were entirely due to my own use of third party sources. Once I had that ironed out, the process was robust. Even my extra programs were correctly carried over, all except Skype. Not bad, given that I have a beautiful, slick, and fully functional desktop with ten years of stability and support.

        Now, not all is golden. The old kernel 3.X is not as fast as the new 4.X stuff, and you can feel it. CentOS is pretty nimble, but modern distros are nimbler. And Plasma 5 is superior to KDE 4. Which is in fact my next project. See if I can get a custom kernel running and perhaps even grab Plasma. I’m not in the mood for excessive manual labor and compilations, but this might be doable.

        All in all, for those comfortable with running a somewhat conservative server distro with top-notch stability and many years of updates, and who do not mind not having always the latest and greatest stuff, CentOS 7.4 makes for an almost ideal candidate. Actually, the ideal candidate would have kernel 4.15 and Plasma, but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, 18 months of neglect have got nothing on CentOS. Linux on.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Early Features Begin Receiving Approval For Fedora 29

          Today was another weekly Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo). We had been looking forward to this meeting for a decision on the GNOME auto-suspend by default behavior but there wasn’t a quorum and that topic was then diverted until next week. But there were also early Fedora 29 features approved this week.

        • Improved Flathub Website Makes It Easier to Find Flatpak Apps

          It just got a whole heap easier to find and install Flatpak apps on Linux distros like Ubuntu.

          A new version of the Flathub website is now live on Flathub.org, albeit in beta.

          The improved front-end to what is the de facto Flatpak app store offers search, browsing and install options.

          It’s packed with app descriptions, screenshots, browsable categories, search, meta info, and a beautifully fluid design.

        • Fedora 28 : Golang by JetBrains .
    • Debian Family
      • Debian & Stuff — Montreal Debian Meeting

        Today we had a meeting of the local Montreal Debian group. The last meetings we had were centered on working on finishing the DebConf17 final report and some people told us they didn’t feel welcome because they weren’t part of the organisation of the conference.

        I thus decided to call today’s event “Debian & Stuff” and invite people to come hack with us on diverse Debian related projects. Most of the people who came were part of the DC17 local team, but a few other people came anyway and we all had a great time. Someone even came from Ottawa to learn how to compile the Linux kernel!

      • Derivatives
        • Debian GNU/Linux Operating System Is Now Supported on 64-bit RISC-V Hardware

          If you want to use the Debian GNU/Linux operating system on 64-bit RISC-V devices, you should know that there’s now an official port for the RISC-V 64-bit (riscv64) architecture in Debian infrastructure.

          The announcement comes from developer Manuel Fernandez Montecelo, who said that after a few weeks of hard work, he and his team managed to do an official 64-bit RISC-V bootstrap, which is now available in Debian Project’s debian-ports infrastructure for those who want to download packages on their RISC-V devices.

          “We’ve been working in the last few weeks to do a (second) bootstrap of Debian for RISC-V, and after a few weeks of hard work it is now bootstrapped and has been imported into the Debian infrastructure, in particular, debian-ports,” said Manuel Fernandez Montecelo in the announcement.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 18.04 Gives Nautilus a Striking New Look

            There’s a rather large visual change in Ubuntu 18.04 that I’ve only just noticed.

            It’s not because the change in question is subtle or easy to miss. It’s because I have only just booted up a copy of the Bionic Beaver thanks to the release of Ubuntu 18.04 beta 2.

          • Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS ‘Bionic Beaver’ Beta 2 now available

            Ubuntu Linux 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” is almost here — it is due on April 26. In the interim, today, the second — and final — beta becomes available. Bionic Beaver is very significant, as it is an LTS version, meaning “Long Term Support.” This is important to those that prefer stability to bleeding edge and don’t want to deal with the hassle of upgrades. In other words, you can install 18.04 and be confident that it will be supported for 5 years. In comparison, non-LTS Ubuntu versions get a mere 9 months.

            There is plenty to be excited about with Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS ‘Bionic Beaver’ Beta 2, including the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment — Beta 1 did not include GNOME at all. Of course, all the other DE flavors are available too, such as KDE and Xfce. The kernel is at 4.15, which while not the most current version, is still quite modern. Also included is LibreOffice 6.0 — an essential tool that rivals Microsoft Office. Wayland is available as a technical preview, although X remains the default display server — for now.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Final Beta Available to Download

            USB thumb drives at the ready as the Ubuntu 18.04 beta download is now available for testing.

            This release marks the first official testing snapshot of what will become Ubuntu 18.04 LTS later this month.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Final Beta Released
          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Final Beta released

            The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the final beta release of the
            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Desktop, Server, and Cloud products.

            Codenamed “Bionic Beaver”, 18.04 LTS continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition
            of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a
            high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard
            at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

            This beta release includes images from not only the Ubuntu Desktop,
            Server, and Cloud products, but also the Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu
            Budgie, UbuntuKylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, and Xubuntu flavours.

            The beta images are known to be reasonably free of showstopper CD
            build or installer bugs, while representing a very recent snapshot of
            18.04 that should be representative of the features intended to ship
            with the final release expected on April 26th, 2018.

          • 10 Reasons To Use Ubuntu Linux

            Ubuntu Linux is the most popular open source operating system. There are many reasons to use Ubuntu Linux that make it a worthy Linux distro. Apart from being free and open source, it’s highly customizable and has a Software Center full of apps.

            There are numerous Linux distributions designed to serve different needs. Being an open source software, Linux allows the developers to pick its code and create something new and exciting.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver “Final Beta” Released: Download Now

            Almost two weeks are left for Ubuntu’s next long-term release Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver to arrive for Linux fans. Canonical has announced its Beta 2 release, a near-final build showcasing the changes that’ll arrive with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

          • Canonical Releases Major Linux Kernel Update for Ubuntu 17.10 for Raspberry Pi 2

            Canonical released a major Linux kernel update for Ubuntu 17.10 for Raspberry Pi 2, addressing various security vulnerabilities that were previously patched for 64-bit and 32-bit architectures earlier this week.

            The security advisory mentions a total of 21 security vulnerabilities fixed for linux-raspi2, the Linux kernel for Raspberry Pi 2 on Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating systems, including a race condition that could lead to a use-after-free vulnerability in Linux kernel’s ALSA PCM subsystem, and a use-after-free vulnerability in the network namespaces implementation.

            The update also addresses a race condition in Linux kernel’s OCFS2 filesystem and loop block device implementations, as well as a null pointer dereference in the RDS (Reliable Datagram Sockets) protocol implementation. Most of these flaws could allow a local attacker to crash the vulnerable system by causing a denial of service or possibly execute arbitrary code.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Xubuntu Zesty Aardvark upgrade

              The Xubuntu upgrade process worked rather well. First, I was able to work around the Zesty EOL quirks, and that’s an important one, but I expect Ubuntu (and friends) to offer a seamless GUI mechanism. Users should not have to wonder how to get an upgrade underway. Then, the actual upgrade was successful, especially considering I had an UKUU kernel, lots of third-party repos, and that all of this runs in a complex eight-boot UEFI configuration.

              Post boot, we had a single error, but nothing after that. Smooth sailing. Good performance, Meltdown and microcode stuff notwithstanding, good hardware support, lots of nice programs and sweet looks all over the place. Fewer niggles than with Kubuntu 17.10, meaning the dev teams had time to polish all those beta-quality rough edges that were unleashed onto unsuspecting users. This leaves my Xubuntu instance ready and waiting for the LTS in April. That will be an interesting experience, I’m sure. But if you’re wondering, you can safely attempt to update, and by now, Aardvark has reached a usable state, so you will have none of those tribulations like I did when I tested early on. Oh me, the sacrificial goat lover of the Linux world. Commence, brave people!

            • Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Bionic Beaver Beta is released!

              The beta of the upcoming release of Ubuntu Studio 18.04 is ready for testing.

              You may find the images at cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntustudio/releases/bionic/beta-2/. More information can be found in the Beta Release Notes.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Beta 2

              We are preparing Ubuntu MATE 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) for distribution on April 26th, 2018 With this Beta pre-release, you can see what we are trying out in preparation for our next (stable) version.

            • Kubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04 LTS) Beta 2 Released!
            • A Preview to Kubuntu 18.04 from the Beta 2

              Kubuntu 18.04 Beta 2 is here! It arrived today at Friday, April 6, 2018 in an announcement from Steve Langasek on Ubuntu Announce mailing list. Here’s the summary after I installed it freshly on my laptop: the memory usage is only about 370MiB when idle, new dark themes, new wallpaper, new applications (Firefox 59, LibreOffice 6.0, KDE Applications 17.12.3), Muon is here again along with Plasma Discover (both are software center). This will be a good news for every Kubuntu user who is waiting for the latest LTS version of Kubuntu.

            • Getting Started with Linux Mint? Focus on These Three Tools

              About 18 months ago I switched to Linux Mint Cinnamon, and at this point, it’s hard for me to imagine using any other OS.

              I have already told you about things I like in Linux Mint. In this article, I hope to further explain why Linux Mint has become my go-to operating system.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Haiku monthly activity report – 03/2018

    Hrishi Hiraskar (one of our GSoC applicants) reworked the management of the shutdown phase. This revolves around both launch daemon and the BRoster, which collaborate together to coordinate system shutdown. Things must happen in a specific order to make sure all apps are properly terminated (leaving the user a chance to save his work if not done yet), and only then, system servers are stopped. There were some problemw with the existing implementation where it would be possible to start an application while another one was waiting for a save, and it could eventually lead to loss of work (a little unlikely, but still). We now have a better shutdown process which will make sure everything happens in the correct order.

  • BeOS-Inspired Haiku OS Continues Chugging Along With Driver Improvements, UI Changes

    The open-source Haiku operating system that is still striving for compatibility with BeOS had another busy month.

  • Substratum: An Open Source Network for Computing Power

    As centralized entities like Facebook and Google continue to be exposed for their improper handling of user data and questionable censorship, many are beginning to second guess their online habits. Add to that the exceedingly blatant government interference with actions like the repealing of Net Neutrality, and it becomes clear that new, decentralized alternatives need to be developed.

  • Goofy learns to fish: Why good documentation matters

    No matter what type of project you’re working on, you can’t expect users to fully understand it on their own. That’s where documentation comes in. Docs can be anything from simple procedures to thorough user stories. Sure, a web UI can sometimes speak for itself (and the best ones do), but I’m sure you’ve seen tales of readers questioning basic UI paths or squirming about doing anything on the command line.

  • Coreboot Lands Updated ME_Cleaner, Purism TPM & Other Updates

    A number of improvements to Coreboot were merged to Git master overnight.

    The latest improvements now in the Coreboot Git tree include:

    - ME_Cleaner v1.2 for aiming to strip out and disable the Intel Management Engine support. ME_Cleaner 1.2 adds support for the HAP/AltMeDisable bit, support for selective partition removal, wiping ME6 Ignition firmware images, adding a man page, a new Python setup script, and various other changes.

    - The Purism Librem Skylake laptop support now has TPM support following the company recently started shipping all their new laptops with the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) present and enabled.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • The Rust Team All Hands in Berlin: a Recap

        Last week we held an “All Hands” event in Berlin, which drew more than 50 people involved in 15 different Rust Teams or Working Groups, with a majority being volunteer contributors. This was the first such event, and its location reflects the current concentration of team members in Europe. The week was a smashing success which we plan to repeat on at least an annual basis.

        The impetus for this get-together was, in part, our ambitious plans to ship Rust, 2018 edition later this year. A week of work-focused facetime was a great way to kick off these efforts!

        We’ve also asked attendees to blog and tweet about their experiences at the #RustAllHands hashtag; the Content Team will be gathering up and summarizing this content as well.

      • Proposal: Knowledge Base Spring Cleaning at SUMO – June 2018
      • Firefox Performance Update #5

        And here we are with another Firefox Performance Update!

        This performance update is brought to you by perf.html! perf.html is our web-based profile analysis tool. We use it to analyze profiles gathered with the Gecko Profiler Add-on which helps us figure out why Firefox is feeling slow or sluggish. It’s probably the most important performance tool in our toolbox.

      • MDN Changelog for March 2018
      • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 1

        In the spirit of This week in Firefox/Rust/Servo, we’ve decided to start sharing weekly updates on the progress of the Mozilla Mixed Reality team. Late last year, we brought together all of the people working on Virtual and Augmented Reality at Mozilla to work in our new Mixed Reality program.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • ZeMarmot, main contributor of GIMP 2.10.0-RC1!

      Two weeks ago, we released GIMP 2.10.0-RC1! This is our first release candidate before the stable release GIMP 2.10.0. Yes, you heard it well, the release you have been waiting for, for 6 years, is just around the corner!

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Matthew Garrett Calls on Symantec to Share Its Code, EFF Questions Google’s Work on Project Maven and More

      Linux kernel developer, free software activist and Google engineer Matthew Garrett discovered that Symantec is using a Linux distro based on the QCA Software Development Kit (QSDK) project: “This is a GPLv2-licensed, open-source platform built around the Linux-based OpenWrt Wi-Fi router operating system” (if true, this means Symantic needs to share the Norton Core Router’s code). So, Garrett tweeted “Hi @NortonOnline the Norton Core is clearly running Linux and the license requires you to distribute the kernel source code so where can I get it?”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Mainstream academia embraces open source hardware

        Twenty years ago, even staunch proponents of free and open source software like Richard Stallman questioned the social imperative for free hardware designs. Academics had barely started to consider the concept; the number of papers coming out annually on the topic were less than could be counted on someone’s fingers.

  • Programming/Development
    • Best Programming Language

      Python wins Best Programming Language again this year in Linux Journal’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards. It’s easy to use, powerful and versatile with a really large and active community. Having that supportive community ensures that developers of all skill levels easily can find the support and documentation they require, which feeds Python’s popularity. It certainly helps that Python has something like a corporate sponsor. Python is recognized as an official language at Google, running on many of its internal systems and showing up in many Google APIs. In fact, Google’s developer website offers free Python classes, videos and exercises.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • Efforts to standardize tracing through OpenTracing

      Industry efforts toward distributed tracing have been evolving for decades, and one of the latest initiatives in this arena is OpenTracing, an open distributed standard for apps and OSS packages. APMs like Lightstep and Datadog are eagerly pushing forward the emerging specification, as are customer organizations like HomeAway, PayPal and Pinterest, while some other industry leaders – including Dynatrace, NewRelic, and App Dynamics – are holding back from full support. Still, contributors to the open-source spec are forging ahead with more and more integrations, and considerable conference activities are in store for later this year.

Leftovers
  • Microsoft Might Start Showing Ads in Windows 10 Mail App

    The latest update for the Mail app in Windows 10 appears to include something that nobody expected: a small ad in the lower left corner that recommends users to “Get Office 365.”
    By the looks of things, only a small number of users get this new button in their Mail app, judging from this discussion on reddit. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern to trigger the ad to show up, but the Get Office 365 banner is only displayed when the left pane isn’t collapsed.

    Mail doesn’t show any banner on Windows 10 for me, even after updating to the latest version of the app, which is 17.9126.21425.0 and was released today.

  • Office 365 Services Hit by Outage, Outlook, Skype, OneDrive Down – April 6, 2018

    Microsoft’s Office 365 is down once again, with users in Europe reporting issues connecting to their accounts. Services like Outlook, Skype, and OneDrive are currently not available.
    While Microsoft hasn’t released a statement to acknowledge the problems, DownDetector seems to point that several European countries are affected. Parts of the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, and Latvia are most affected.

    Somewhat surprising is that Microsoft’s Office 365 service health page claims “everything is up and running” with all services that users indicate to be down, including Outlook, OneDrive, and Yammer said to be running properly.

    Some users reveal that Exchange clients work correctly, and only the web access appears to be impacted by the outage. Others point out they’re not able to login to Skype and their password is being refused. Several said that they can send emails but not receive anything.

  • Office 365 goes down across Europe, again

    Users attempting to access Office 365 email are reportedly being greeted with an ‘AADSTS90033′ error message, alongside the unhelpful warning: “Service is temporarily unavailable. Please retry later.”

    The AADSTS90033 error message is typically displayed under normal circumstances when a user cannot get a token from Azure for the services they need to access.

  • Security
    • Important Kernel Update for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Patches 39 Security Vulnerabilities

      After releasing a major kernel update for the Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system series on both 64/32-bit and Raspberry Pi 2 devices, Canonical released an important kernel update for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) systems.

      The new kernel update published earlier this week addresses a total of 39 security vulnerabilities for the long-term supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series and its official derivatives, including Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Studio.

    • Another day, another breach: At what point does storing passwords in plaintext become criminally negligent?

      News of the Finnish breach (Google Translate) arrived yesterday, and while there isn’t a lot of details, we learn two important things: the leak was relatively big (the third largest in Finland), and cleartext passwords with usernames leaked, because they had hundreds of thousands of passwords stored in cleartext.

      …and they had passwords stored in cleartext.

      This is so bad security, it should not exist anywhere, period. It should not even be taught in a coding class as an intermediate step on the way to how to do it the right way.

      You don’t store passwords in cleartext because of two reasons combined:

    • Storing passwords in cleartext: don’t ever

      This year I’ve implemented a rudimentary authentication server for work, called Qvisqve. I am in the process for also using it for my current hobby project, ick, which provides HTTP APIs and needs authentication. Qvisqve stores passwords using scrypt: source. It’s not been audited, and I’m not claiming it to be perfect, but it’s at least not storing passwords in cleartext. (If you find a problem, do email me and tell me: liw@liw.fi.)

      This week, two news stories have reached me about service providers storing passwords in cleartext. One is a Finnish system for people starting a new business. The password database has leaked, with about 130,000 cleartext passwords. The other is about T-mobile in Austria bragging on Twitter that they store customer passwords in cleartext, and some people not liking that.

      In both cases, representatives of the company claim it’s OK, because they have “good security”. I disagree. Storing passwords is itself shockingly bad security, regardless of how good your other security measures are, and whether your password database leaks or not. Claiming it’s ever OK to store user passwords in cleartext in a service is incompetence at best.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • One-Fifth of Open-Source Serverless Apps Have Critical Vulnerabilities [Ed: One-Fifth of [buzzword] Apps [sic] need to be updated. Problem solved. With proprietary software you have back doors that cannot be fixed]
  • Defence/Aggression
    • ‘The Business of War’: Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon

      Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes.

      The letter, which is circulating inside Google and has garnered more than 3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash between Silicon Valley and the federal government that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes.

    • Phyllis Bennis on Gaza Massacre, Pam Vogel on Sinclair Propaganda

      This week on CounterSpin: As we record, Ha’aretz is saying the death toll is now 19 Palestinians killed by Israeli military, with hundreds more injured, on March 30, during a protest near the fence along border between Israel and the occupied region of Gaza. Israeli media offer a more complicated understanding of events than US media, who seem to suggest that there’s an “Israeli” position and a “Palestinian” position, but no actual reality worth trying to discern. We’ll talk about the Gaza protests with Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of, among other titles, Understanding the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict.

    • An Extremely Boring Video. Do Not Watch It.

      I have managed to get hold of a copy, which you can see here, of my lengthy interview with Sky News about the Skripals yesterday, which Sky refused to put online because they allege I was boring. With the warning you might therefore be very bored, you may watch it if you wish.

      [...]

      My perspective on the interview itself was that the interviewer became aggressive and sarcastic, increasingly shrill as the apparent effort to discredit me was not going well, and resorting eventually to asking about any old extraneous matter but the Skripals. I strongly suspect it was not me being boring, but the strange performance by Kay Burley, which motivated Sky to bury the interview.

      But you must judge for yourself.

      It is my policy when invited by journalists, to give considered and courteous answers to the particular questions which they ask. This is as opposed to what politicians do, which is to spout pre-prepared soundbites irrespective of what they are asked.

    • US Isn’t Leaving Syria—but Media Lost It When Possibility Was Raised

      At a rally in Cleveland last week, President Donald Trump said that the US will get out of Syria “very soon.” It is now clear that the 4,000 US troops currently occupying Syria (Washington Post, 10/31/17) will in fact stay in Syria (Independent, 4/4/18), even though keeping troops in another country in defiance of that country’s government is a violation of international law. Yet the very possibility of US withdrawal from Syria rendered apoplectic journalists who are convinced of the legitimacy of Washington’s domination of the country—international law be damned.

      Some writers want America to occupy Syria to weaken Russia. In the Washington Post (3/30/18), Josh Rogin claimed that “there are a lot of good arguments for maintaining an American presence in Syria after the fall of the Islamic State,” but stressed that the “larger US mission in Syria” was necessary for “stopping Russia from exerting influence over the region.”

      Michael Gerson, writing in the same paper (4/2/18), was concerned that a US departure “would leave Russia as the undisputed power broker at the heart of the Middle East,” a dubious claim in a region that includes Saudi Arabia (whose military budget by some counts exceeds Russia’s) as well as nuclear-armed Israel, both close US allies.

      CNN ran two articles that made the same point about Russia, with Dan Merica and Jim Acosta (3/30/18) writing “Trump Promise to Get Out of Syria ‘Very Soon’ Could Be a Win for Russia,” and Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne (3/31/18) telling readers “that most foreign policy experts agree that” the void left by US forces in the event of a withdrawal “would likely be filled by Russia.” The Syrian government’s alliance with Russia supposedly justifies Washington’s occupying Syria, in defiance of international law. Partnership with Russia is unacceptable; only submission to the US is permissible.

    • UK’s Russia Narrative: A Verdict in Search of a Crime

      Two weeks ago, the Right Honourable Boris Johnson was asked by a German journalist how the UK government could be so very certain so very early on that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Salisbury.

      “When I look at the evidence, the people from Porton Down, the laboratory, they were absolutely categorical,” Johnson replied. “I asked the guy myself, I said: ‘Are you sure?’ And he said: ‘There’s no doubt.’ So we have very little alternative but to take the action that we have taken.”

      The “action that we have taken” include the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom, a cold war escalation in which they were joined by many allied governments around the world in the largest collective ejection of Russian diplomats in world history. It would also include Johnson’s personal campaign to unite the EU behind a more aggressive stance against Russia.

    • Why Saudi Arabia’s next leader is courting LA’s entertainment execs

      Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman held a summit in Beverly Hills to sell local entertainment executives on expanding into the long closed-off country.

    • FBI Lies and Cover-Up Derail Biggest Terrorism Case Since 9/11

      The FBI suffered another debacle last Friday when an Orlando jury returned a not guilty verdict for the widow of Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded 53 in his attack on Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in June 2016. The biggest terrorism case of the year collapsed largely thanks to FBI misconduct and deceit.

      Noor Salman was charged with material support of a foreign terrorist organization and lying to the FBI about knowing about her husband’s pending attack on the nightclub. The FBI vigorously interrogated her for 18 hours, threatening her with the loss of custody of her infant son unless she signed a confession. Salman, who reportedly had an IQ of only 84, initially denied any knowledge but relented and signed a statement composed by an FBI agent.

    • Trump is right about Syria: It’s time to leave

      In fact, the war has failed to accomplish anything other than to destroy Syria, destabilize Europe, and bleed the United States. Around 500,000 are estimated to have died in the war, with 10 million displaced. Assad is still in power, and Iran and Russia are still his allies. America’s efforts, in short, have been a disaster.

    • Getting Ready for Nuclear War

      John Bolton is to assume the appointment as President Trump’s National Security Adviser on April 9. On February 28 he wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “it is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first,” which would undoubtedly lead to explosion of at least one nuclear device by whoever might remain alive in the Pyongyang regime after the US attack. In a macabre echo of the alleged link between Iraq and Al Qaeda before the US invasion, Bolton said on March 23 that “Little is known, at least publicly, about longstanding Iranian-North Korean cooperation on nuclear and ballistic-missile technology. It is foolish to play down Tehran’s threat because of Pyongyang’s provocations.”

      Link and bomb, and get ready for yet more war.

      On August 9, 2017 President Trump tweeted “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • #ReconnectJulian: Fmr intelligence officers & whistleblowers urge Ecuador to end Assange isolation

      WikiLeaks supporters are calling on Ecuador’s government to restore Julian Assange’s communication privileges, arguing that jamming his phone and internet access violates his rights, a former CIA officer and whistleblower told RT.
      In late March the government of Ecuador decided to cut off Julian Assange from the outside world by blocking his phone and internet access, over the WikiLeaks editor’s tweets in support of Catalonian independence from Spain. The move sparked massive outrage from Assange supporters, who view the action as a violation of free speech. Earlier this week, a group of WikiLeaks activists delivered a letter to the Ecuadorian government, urging the country’s authorities to restore Assange’s access to the outside world.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Climate Truth: a Plan for Sustainability

      There is a practical path for tackling climate change, for organizing from your house to your neighborhood, city, state and beyond. It’s clear. It’s simple. It’s 3 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person per year as a goal and a measure for global sustainability.

      3 tons is the basis for personal and collective action and planning on all levels. It is, and must become, the acceptable local and global standard first measuring where we are, sustainable or endangered, and as a guide to reaching sustainability.

      3 tons per person per year of carbon dioxide emissions is a simple number. In the global aggregate, 21 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, more or less, is the sustainable global limit for natural cycles to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide levels level. A gigaton is a billion tons. This means that 21 gigatons is about 3 metric tons per person per year , or 6,612 pounds per year for all of us. 3 tons per person per year of carbon dioxide from primary energy consumption equal to 70 gigajoules or 19,443 kilowatt hours a year was set as a sustainable global target for all by the U.N. In 2011. Remember that 3 tons per person per year number. That’s the target we need to keep in mind if we are to stop and then reverse the steady march toward climate catastrophe.

    • How Standing Rock Is Leading by Example on Renewable Energy

      The Trump administration quickly overturned the December 2016 decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to halt the construction of the infamous Dakota Access Pipeline — almost as quickly as Trump took office. Subsequent challenges in court failed to prevent the pipeline from being completed and going into operation. Rather than concede defeat, Water Protectors have shifted their focus and efforts to battling the oil and coal industry on different fronts.

      On the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the Water Protector camps are no longer standing, but some organizers who lived and organized in those camps are now shaping the movement to shift the reservation away from its dependence on fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.

    • Wipeout: Human role in climate change removed from science report

      National Park Service officials have deleted every mention of humans’ role in causing climate change in drafts of a long-awaited report on sea level rise and storm surge, contradicting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s vow to Congress that his department is not censoring science.

    • Court Rules EPA Unlawfully Delayed Environmental Racism Investigations for Decades

      A federal court ruled this week that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated the Civil Rights Act by delaying investigations into environmental discrimination complaints for years, even decades. For plaintiff Phil Schmitter, a priest and social justice activist from Flint, Michigan, the ruling is a bittersweet victory that was a long time coming.

      Schmitter’s story begins in the early 1990s, long before drinking water contaminated with dangerous levels of lead would turn Flint into an international symbol of environmental racism. At the time, Schmitter and other advocates living in a predominantly Black neighborhood on the outskirts of Flint were fighting a proposal to build a scrap wood incinerator nearby.

  • Finance
    • Whats the Difference Between a Bitcoin Wallet and an Exchange?

      A Bitcoin wallet is basically a software program in which you store Bitcoin. An exchange lets you convert “real money” like US dollars to Bitcoin. Exchanges also provide a wallet—but you don’t necessarily have full control of that wallet.

      We’re not recommending you invest in Bitcoin. But, if you’re putting money into Bitcoin—or you’re just interested in how it works—you should know this stuff.

    • India Bans Entities From Dealing In Crytocurrencies Like Bitcoin; New Cryptocoin On The Way

      The arrival of cryptocurrencies allowed people to make money in new ways. Some became multi-billionaires, and some with an unfortunate fate lost Bitcoins worth $100 million in landfills.

      However, this atypical form of money has started to see a downfall after ballooning and shocking the world last year. The unstable nature and the fact that cryptocoins are unregulated have concerned companies and governments.

    • HUD Long Neglected These Residents. Now As They Move Out, Some Feel HUD Let Them Down Again.

      For years, residents of public housing complexes here were stuck living in aging and neglected buildings with inoperable heat, leaky ceilings, broken windows, mold, mice, roaches, and frequently clogged toilets and sinks.

      And for years, federal authorities failed to step in despite regular financial reviews and building inspections that should have flagged problems and prompted corrective action much sooner.

      But the solution once the Department of Housing and Urban Development finally faced the scope of the decay in Illinois’ most southern city has turned out to be every bit as thorny and painful.

      Last spring, HUD announced it would shutter two sprawling World War II-era family housing complexes in Cairo and help residents move out. Ten months later, HUD officials delivered similar news to residents of two more public housing complexes in the nearby village of Thebes.

      All told, nearly 500 people, half of them children, are being forced to find new homes.

    • In Small-Town America, the Public Housing Crisis Nobody’s Talking About

      It’s a Sunday morning in late February at the tiny Baptist church atop the hill in Thebes, a remote village of about 400 people in the southernmost part of Illinois. I’m here for a story assignment, but to know people is to worship with them. Faith is as much a part of these small communities as the rivers that run outside their doorsteps.

      My heart twists seeing the church’s sign out front that reads, “Pray for America.”

    • Puerto Rico to dismantle its statistics agency in the midst of radical shock doctrine project
    • Ecuadorean Villagers May Still Triumph Over Chevron

      Michael Krauss, a lawyer who teaches “ethics” at a law school named after the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, recently posted a blog on the Forbes website entitled “The Ecuador Saga Continues: Steven Donziger now owes Chevron more than $800,000” (Forbes 3/14/2018). [1] Steven Donziger is one of the lawyers representing thousands of indigenous residents of Ecuador’s oil-rich Amazon whose battles with Texaco (which merged with Chevron in 2001) began over twenty-five years ago.

      Kraus says that Chevron has basically triumphed over evil: “appalling behavior” by Chevron’s enemies, he wrote, led to a “corrupt Ecuadorean court ruling” that ordered the company to pay $9 billion USD in damages for Texaco’s pollution of the Ecuadorian amazon from 1964 to 1990. “The war here is largely over.” declared Krauss. “Chevron has triumphed and what’s left is a kind of mopping up. A big part of that mopping up occurred on February 28, 2018, when United States District Court Judge Kaplan disposed of Chevron’s petition to be awarded court costs.” Krauss has written numerous blog posts on Forbes’ website cheering Chevron in this case. Here is one responseto him worth reading.

    • Quit Rates Jump to 17 Year High in March

      The percentage of unemployment due to people who voluntarily quit their jobs jumped to 13.1 percent in March, the highest level since May of 2001.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Those Who Die in Palestine: Those With Dead Souls Here

      I cannot imagine the cold viciousness it must take to work on the Guardian newspaper, where on the homepage the small headline of the latest six Palestinians to be shot dead, is way below the larger headline of the several hundredth article associating Jeremy Corbyn with anti-Semitism, on the basis of the quite deliberate conflation of anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel

    • Huge Surge in Political Activism, Engagement Has Direct Ties to Trump Presidency, Poll Finds

      The Trump administration has given way to an unusually engaged public, with one in five Americans reporting in a new survey that they’ve attended a protest or rally since 2016—and 70 percent of those who rallied said they disapproved of President Donald Trump and his policies.

      The poll, by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation, showed that political activism is new for many. About 19 percent of those who have demonstrated in the past two years said they had never been to a protest before 2016.

    • Cut-throat competition distorts democracy in India

      Indian national congress and BJP supporters during campaign on bye-elections. Shaukat Ahmed/Press Association. All rights reserved.Commenting on democracy in Great Britain, a north European journalist attributed its ills to “too much competition”. His own country is accustomed to a much gentler version of the democratic order.

      If he were to come to New Delhi and read just a day’s newspapers, he would find that in the case of India, his diagnosis is confirmed. Cut-throat competition afflicts democracy in India. Global warming is tracked by instruments but there are no instruments to measure the rise in sectarian hatred recorded by newspaper headlines. One such front-page headline may be sampled here: “As communal heat rises, BJP allies in Bihar rally together”. The same daily carries as many as ten reports related to sectarian animosity and violence.

    • Trump sends National Guard to the border: All that to appease Ann Coulter?

      Everyone has noticed by now that Donald Trump is no longer even attempting to stick with the script, evidently feeling that he’s been ill-served by people who observe political norms and common definitions of what it is to be a president of the United States. He’s starting trade wars, declaring an abrupt withdrawal from Syria and attacking businessmen who also own newspapers he wants to quash. He’s been animated and energized by this newfound freedom to “tell it like it is” as he did on Thursday at a tax forum in West Virginia, where he claimed to be the first president in 40 years to deliver on taxes because only he had the guts to demand “tax cuts” instead of tax reform.

      As is now the required ritual at any meeting where Trump appears, other speakers at the forum dutifully flattered and praised him. One attendee was nearly crying as she thanked him for the tax cuts, saying, “Thank you for listening to us. Thank you for fighting for us.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Censorship machines are coming: It’s time for the free software community to discover its political clout

      The starting point for this legislation was a fight between big corporations, the music industry and YouTube, over money. The music industry complained that they receive less each time one of their music videos is played on a video platform like YouTube than they do when their tracks are listened to on subscription services like Spotify, calling the difference the “value gap”. They started a successful lobbying effort: The upload filter law is primarily intended to give them a bargaining chip to demand more money from Google in negotiations. Meanwhile, all other platforms are caught in the middle of that fight, including code sharing communities.

      The lobbying has engrained in many legislators’ minds the false idea that platforms which host uploads for profit are necessarily exploiting creators.

    • Indian Government Enacts, Abandons ‘Fake News’ Law In Less Than 24 Hours
    • Cali Lawmakers Pushing For 72-Hour Bot Removal Requirements For Social Media Companies

      Hertzberg’s bot must have been made to “misinform and exploit users,” at least according to its own Twitter bio. And yet, the account’s tweets appear to disseminate actual correct info, like subcommittee webcasts and community-oriented info. It’s good the bot is transparent. But it’s terrible because the transparency immediately follows a line claiming automated accounts are made apparently solely to misinform people.

      Plenty of automated accounts never misinform or exploit users. Techdirt’s account automatically tweets each newly-published post. So do countless other bots tied into content-management systems. But the bill — and bill creator’s own words — paint bots as evil, even while deploying a bot in an abortive attempt to make a point.

      Going on from there, the bill demands sites create a portal for bot reporting and starts the removal clock when a report is made. User reporting may function better than algorithms when detecting bots spreading misinformation (putting bots in charge of bot removal), but this still puts social media companies in the uncomfortable position of being arbiters of truth. And if they make the “wrong” decision and leave a bot up, the government is free to punish them for noncompliance.

    • Japanese Government Seeks To Circumvent Its Own Constitution To Censor ‘Pirate’ Sites

      With site-blocking regimes now fully in vogue, far too many governments are getting in on this censorious party. In the cases of most governments, there is leeway in the overall legal structure to do this sort of thing, even if it is wholly unadvised and typically comes with disastrous results. But when Japan announced recently that it is considering site-blocking of so-called “pirate sites” in order to help its anime and manga industries, many familiar with Japanese federal law raised an eyebrow.

    • Japan Seeks to Outmaneuver Constitution With Piracy Blocking Proposals

      There is no legal basis for site-blocking in Japan and the country’s constitution forbids censorship of any kind. Later this month, however, the government looks set to present proposals to local ISPs demanding that they start blocking pirate sites. According to local reports, Japan’s penal code allows for direct action when “averting present danger.”

    • Not All Canadian ISPs Are Pro Site Blocking

      Several of the largest Canadian telecommunications companies including Bell and Rogers are in favor of a national pirate site blocking scheme. However, not all ISPs are eager to implement such measures. Several smaller ISPs, including TekSavvy, warn that the proposal will be costly and ineffective while violating current legislation.

    • DOJ Seizes And Shuts Down Backpage.com (Before SESTA Has Even Been Signed)

      So here’s a Friday evening surprise: the DOJ has just seized Backpage.

      [...]

      It notes that additional information will be provided soon, and we’ll update this post when that occurs. But first, there are a few important things to note. Before and after SESTA was voted on by Congress, we noted that while supporters of SESTA kept pointing to Backpage as the reason we needed to change CDA 230, there were two reasons why we thought it was premature to make such a change. The first was that there was a court in Massachusetts considering whether or not Backpage had lost its CDA 230 immunity by being an active participant in creating trafficking ads. And the second, more important, one was that there were many reports claiming that a DOJ grand jury was investigating Backpage, and nothing in CDA 230 stopped that from happening (federal crimes are exempt from CDA 230).

      Last week the Massachusetts court ruled that Backpage had lost its CDA 230 immunity for at least one victim, and this week a court in Florida ruled the same thing (though for dubious reasons).

    • Two Cuban Actors Together in Life and Censorship

      Eduardo Martinez and Lola Amores play the leading roles in Cuba’s latest award-winning fiction feature movie. However, in spite of Santa y Andres’ (2016) international success (the first movie they shared scenes in), it hasn’t been shown at any Cuban movie theater or on national TV.

      The film didn’t go down well with the Ministry of Culture and Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), and maybe even higher up. It tells the story about the affectionate relationship Santa, a 30-year-old rural woman, had with Andres, the homosexual writer who needed to be monitored because he was accused of being counter-revolutionary and subversive. Stories like that are still taboo in Cuba’s public sphere.

    • Ethiopians worried about internet censorship

      Ethiopian officials have restricted internet access in major cities across the country.

      Millions of Ethiopians living outside the capital Addis Ababa have not had access to the Internet for nearly a year, and the government explanation for the prolonged cut is still awaited.

      The situation has brought negative consequences on the economy.

      “We lost our daily income. As you can see, there are no customers. When there was Internet connection, people came here and used the Internet, downloaded files, printed and copied documents. We stopped providing all these services,“cyber cafe owner, Kale Alemayehu said.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • DHS defends media-monitoring database, calls critics “conspiracy theorists”

      Earlier this week, Bloomberg Law uncovered a Department of Homeland Security job listing for a “media monitoring services” request to keep tabs on over 290,000 “global news sources” and develop an extensive database for an unconfirmed number of “media influencers.” After news outlets reported about the amount of data sought by this job listing, DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton issued a response on Friday to verify its legitimacy and allege that the data project’s aims will be “standard practice.”

    • Homeland Security to Compile Database of Journalists, Bloggers

      The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to monitor hundreds of thousands of news sources around the world and compile a database of journalists, editors, foreign correspondents, and bloggers to identify top “media influencers.”

      It’s seeking a contractor that can help it monitor traditional news sources as well as social media and identify “any and all” coverage related to the agency or a particular event, according to a request for information released April 3.

      The data to be collected includes a publication’s “sentiment” as well as geographical spread, top posters, languages, momentum, and circulation. No value for the contract was disclosed.

    • DC’s Stingray Mess Won’t Get Cleaned Up

      “This was very expensive, controlled technology a decade ago, but today a motivated hobbyist can pull it together using open source software and hardware with a few hundred dollars,” says Ang Cui, CEO of the internet of things security firm Red Balloon. “We can try to legislate the use of the technology, but criminals have access to it and they are going to use it. The real solution is to build technology that mitigates against IMSI catchers and stingrays.”

    • Facebook Is Tracking Me Even Though I’m Not on Facebook

      I don’t use Facebook. I’m not technophobic — I’m a geek. I’ve been using email since the early 1990s, I have accounts on hundreds of services around the net, and I do software development and internet protocol design both for work and for fun. I believe that a globe-spanning communications network like the internet can be a positive social force, and I publish much of my own work on the open web.

      But Facebook and other massive web companies represent a strong push toward unaccountable centralized social control, which I think makes our society more unequal and more unjust. The Cambridge Analytica scandal is one instance of this long-running problem with what I call the “surveillance economy.” I don’t want to submit to these power structures, and I don’t want my presence on such platforms to serve as bait that lures other people into the digital panopticon.

      But while I’ve never “opted in” to Facebook or any of the other big social networks, Facebook still has a detailed profile that can be used to target me. I’ve never consented to having Facebook collect my data, which can be used to draw very detailed inferences about my life, my habits, and my relationships. As we aim to take Facebook to task for its breach of user trust, we need to think about what its capabilities imply for society overall. After all, if you do #deleteFacebook, you’ll find yourself in my shoes: non-consenting, but still subject to Facebook’s globe-spanning surveillance and targeting network.

    • To #DeleteFacebook or Not to #DeleteFacebook? That Is Not the Question

      Since the Cambridge Analytica news hit headlines, calls for users to ditch the platform have picked up speed. Whether or not it has a critical impact on the company’s user base or bottom line, the message from #DeleteFacebook is clear: users are fed up.

      EFF is not here to tell you whether or not to delete Facebook or any other platform. We are here to hold Facebook accountable no matter who’s using it, and to push it and other tech companies to do better for users.

      Users should have better options when they decide where to spend their time and attention online.

      The problems that Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal highlight—sweeping data collection, indiscriminate sharing of that data, and manipulative advertising—are also problems with much of the surveillance-based, advertising-powered popular web. And there are no shortcuts to solving those problems.

      Users should have better options when they decide where to spend their time and attention online. So rather than asking if people should delete Facebook, we are asking: What privacy protections should users have a right to expect, whether they decide to leave or use a platform like Facebook?

      If it makes sense for you to delete Facebook or any other account, then you should have full control over deleting your data from the platform and bringing it with you to another. If you stay on Facebook, then you should be able to expect it to respect your privacy rights.

    • Zuckerberg Can Delete Messages From Recipient’s Inbox, You Cannot!

      A couple of days ago, it was revealed that Facebook scans all the messages and videos you send through messenger. As if this wasn’t enough to breach user’s trust, there is another report which confirms that Facebook deletes Mark Zuckerberg’s messages from inboxes of people while you cannot do the same to yours.

      TechCrunch has reviewed an email receipt from three sources which proves that the messages they received from Facebook’s CEO have been wiped out from their FB inboxes, while their sent texts still show up in the conversation thread.

    • Facebook sent a doctor on a secret mission to ask hospitals to share patient data

      However, the company proposed using a common cryptographic technique called hashing to match individuals who were in both data sets. That way, both parties would be able to tell when a specific set of Facebook data matched up with a specific set of patient data.

    • Facebook admits Zuckerberg wiped his old messages—which you can’t do

      While deleting the messages may not have been illegal, it is going to raise some eyebrows. For weeks, Facebook has faced criticism for appearing to put its own financial interests ahead of the privacy interests of users in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Now we’re learning that Facebook has essentially created a two-tier system of privacy for Messenger users: Zuckerberg and a handful of other Facebook executives enjoy a limited “retention period” of their messages, whereas the embarrassing messages of ordinary users live on as long as their recipients want to keep them.

    • News of Facebook’s secret tool to delete executive messages caps days of chaos

      TechCrunch reported late Thursday that Facebook has been using a secret tool to delete messages sent by its executives from the inboxes of their recipients, without disclosing the deletions to the recipients or even recording there was ever a message in the first place.

      Effectively, this means if you send Mark Zuckerberg a Facebook message, he has a copy for ever. But if he sends you one, he can reach into your inbox and pluck it out of existence.

    • Over 1.5 billion personal medical and financial records exposed online in ‘staggering’ leak

      These files were discovered over the first three months of 2018, with the firm finding over one and a one and a half billion (1,550,447,111, to be exact) files open across a number of misconfigured file-sharing services, dwarfing 2016′s Panama Papers leak.

      The worrying thing for those of us in the UK was that the security researchers said a whopping 36 per cent of those exposed files were located in the European Union.

    • Facebook: If you want to buy a political ad, you now have to be “authorized”

      Under what criteria Facebook would “authorize” ad buyers, the company did not say directly in the post. However, Beth Gauthier, a Facebook spokeswoman, told Ars by email that there will be a three-step process for authorization.

    • Facebook to verify major page owners

      The move is designed to prevent users who run pages using fake accounts from hiding their true identity.

    • Facebook Moves to Get Ahead of Congress With Issue-Ad Change

      Facebook will hire more people to enforce the new advertising policy before the 2018 midterm elections. The company also said it would require managers of popular Facebook pages to have their identity verified.

    • Here Are the Notable People Who Deleted Their Facebook Profiles

      The list of protesters continues to grow as Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify to U.S. lawmakers next week. The dissenters include Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, as well as red-carpet regulars Will Ferrell, Cher, Rosie O’Donnell, Jim Carrey and the band Massive Attack. The number of daily #DeleteFacebook mentions in mainstream newspapers topped out at 1,700 two weeks ago but remains above 300, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    • Facebook Officials Head to Europe to Respond to Data Scandal

      The company has been refining its response in the wake of revelations that data on as many as 87 million people, most of them in the U.S., may have been improperly shared with research firm Cambridge Analytica. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who will testify at U.S. congressional hearing next week, has changed tack by communicating directly with the press in interviews, and a group conference call late on Wednesday.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ABORIGINAL PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO PROTEST THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES AS STOLEN WEALTH

      Amy McQuire tears away the facade on the Commonwealth Games currently under way in Australia, on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Australia has a long history of presenting a sunny, sporty picture of itself, complete with Indigenous icons and ‘celebrating’ native people. There is rarely a hint of the greatest theft of land in recorded history and the brutality that accompanied it, especially in Queensland, the bloodiest state, and which goes on today.

    • Teen Who Faced Deportation After He Informed on MS-13 Gets Temporary Reprieve

      What was on track to be a routine deportation hearing in a New York City immigration courtroom Thursday turned into an hours-long administrative battle and a detailed airing of a teenager’s reasons for informing on his gang, MS-13.

      Amid a flood of attention brought to the case by a ProPublica and New York magazine report published Monday, Judge Thomas Mulligan declined to issue a ruling. Instead, he gave the teen’s lawyer a list of evidence and testimony he wants to see before deciding the case in May. The judge seemed to be sketching a path to a successful asylum claim, and mentioned an alternative defense if asylum cannot be supported.

      Henry, who asked that his last name be withheld, helped police and the FBI arrest his fellow gang members on Long Island. He worked with law enforcement for about a year, until immigration authorities arrested him last August, using his own disclosures about gang membership to justify his deportation. As a known informant, deportation likely means death for Henry, whose cooperation with police is spelled out in an unsealed Immigration and Customs Enforcement memo. After eight months in detention with MS-13 members threatening his life, his case was looking so hopeless that he decided to go public ahead of his final hearing.

    • Supreme Court Says Shooting A Non-Threatening Person Without Warning Is Just Good Police Work

      The Ninth Circuit’s opinion stripped the officer of his immunity. This decision reestablishes it. And it reminds cops de-escalation rarely needs to be considered as a tactic because the courts will have their back in almost every case. While the presence of a knife suggests some sort of objective danger, the person experiencing the threat was Hughes’ roommate, not the cops on the other side of the fence. (And she testified she did not feel threatened.) It took only 60 seconds for one officer to resort to deadly force, based solely on the fact that Hughes refused to immediately drop the knife.

      The presence of a weapon changes the math a little, but it shouldn’t change it so much as to dismiss this appeal with an unsigned opinion and zero input from the engaged parties. The dissenting opinion [PDF], written by Justice Sotomayor (and joined by Justice Ginsburg) points out the “threatening” situation used to justify the shooting wasn’t all that threatening — not even for other officers on the scene.

    • In Moscow region, campaigners against a landfill site are being arrested

      Russian government media watchdog Roskomnadzor has brought a lawsuit against the messaging service Telegram, where our useful OVD-Info bot has its home. There will now follow a court case and an appeal, after which, if the court takes the side of the government agency, the Telegram messenger will be blocked. There is still time to hook up to a VPN, but you had better not wait too long. And, by the way, people are also being prosecuted for reposts on Telegram.

    • America’s Gun Problem is a Police Problem

      In the wake of a crisis, proposals for reform are often radical and ill-conceived. Seattle radio host John Carlson’s gun reform proposal, outlined in theWall Street Journal, boils America’s violent crime problem down to one issue; people who shouldn’t have guns do. But Carlson’s proposals ignore the role of police violence in criminals’ decisions to use guns.

      Carlson writes that only 11 percent of America’s gun crimes are committed with legal weapons. That means most of America’s gun crimes, including mass shootings, could be prevented simply by applying the existing laws designed to prevent dangerous and irresponsible people from obtaining guns. For instance, the Parkland, Florida shooting could have been prevented by simply following FBI protocol.

      But Carlson wants to take even stronger action to reduce the number of illegal firearms on the street. By imposing mandatory minimum four-year sentences for illegal possession of firearms, Carlson says criminals will avoid stealing guns or using them to commit crimes.

    • ‘The Tories cut, we bleed’: the story of Women’s Lives Matter in Doncaster

      Women’s Lives Matter protest. Photo: John Fuller. All rights reserved.“The Tories cut, we bleed,” said Joyce Sheppard, 68, an active member of the Women’s Lives Matter campaign in Doncaster, a former coal mining town in South Yorkshire, in the north of England.

      The Women’s Lives Matter campaign is a movement across South Yorkshire which originated in Doncaster in 2016, after the closure of the town’s Women’s Aid domestic violence service, one of many organisations that have been impacted by government funding cuts.

    • When we can’t agree to fight against neo-Nazis, we’ve reached a new low

      For anyone wondering about the state of American politics in 2018: A U.S. congressman was just publicly accused of spreading Russian propaganda and “holding Putin’s dirty laundry.” The congressman’s crime? Trying to prevent American weapons from going to neo-Nazis.

      Late last month, Congress authorized a massive aid package to Ukraine. The package contained a provision whose inclusion was supported by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). The provision bars U.S. aid from going to the 3,000-strong Azov Battalion, a unit of the Ukrainian National Guard with a heavy neo-Nazi contingent and a long record of horrific human rights abuses, according to the United Nations and Human Rights Watch. In response, Hill contributor Kristofer Harrison published an essay denying the neo-Nazi elements of Azov and accusing Khanna of being a Russian stooge.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Congress’s Biggest Opponent of Net Neutrality Is Getting Destroyed in Midterm Election Polls

      Blackburn was at the forefront of the attack on popular net neutrality protections last December, blasting attempts to protect a healthy, open and competitive [I]nternet as “socialistic.” Blackburn also played a starring role in helping the GOP dismantle important broadband privacy protections at the FCC before they could even take effect last March.

    • Ex-Obama FTC Boss Now Lobbying For Comcast, Trying To Prevent States From Protecting Consumers

      While the Trump FCC has certainly taken protectionism, corruption and cronyism to an entirely new level, it’s important not to forget that Trump and Ajit Pai are just products of the country’s long established bipartisan dysfunction when it comes to revolving door regulators, and it’s going to take more than just ejecting Trump and Pai to repair the underlying rot that has allowed them to blossom.

      Case in point: former Obama FTC boss Jon Leibowitz, who has long professed himself to be a “privacy advocate,” has spent much of the last few years lobbying for Comcast while at Davis Polk. That has included making a myriad of false claims about ongoing, EFF-backed efforts to protect broadband consumer privacy in California.

      In an endless wave of op-eds (where his financial conflicts of interest are almost never disclosed to the reader), Leibowitz has been busy insisting that rampant ISP privacy abuses are a “nonexistent problem,” and that strong state and FCC oversight of ISPs are unnecessary because the FTC will somehow rush in to save the day in the wake of efforts to neuter the FCC, kill net neutrality, and embolden massive anti-competitive telecom duopolies.

    • Ajit Pai’s “Harlem Shake” video preparations must remain secret, FCC says
    • FCC Withholds Ajit Pai’s Emails Regarding The Infamous ‘Harlem Shake’ Video

      Last December, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai starred in a “PSA” produced by The Daily Caller. In the video, Pai addressed all the “trolls” in the net neutrality debate, reassuring the public that they will still be able to enjoy things on the internet after its repeal. To illustrate this, Pai does the absolute polar opposite of an enjoyable thing on the internet: the Harlem Shake.

    • Twitter changes may bring major issues for third-party apps (updated)

      If you use a third-party Twitter app like Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Talon or Tweetings, you might lose a couple of key features when Twitter replaces developer access to User and Site streams with a new Account Activity API this coming June. The folks who created the apps mentioned above have created a new website to explain that, as a result, push notifications will no longer work and timelines won’t refresh automatically.

      The third-party devs say that when their apps open a connection to Twitter, currently, they get a continuous stream of updates. Push notifications, they say, is done on their own servers, which generate the messages you see on your devices. Timeline updates use that stream directly on your mobile or desktop apps. The new Account Activity API is currently in beta, but developers haven’t been given access. Even if they had been, say the devs, push notifications are limited to 35 Twitter accounts at the standard level, and there’s no pricing given for Enterprise-level service. The developers say that they need to deliver notifications to “hundreds of thousands of customers.”

      [...]

      Update 4/6/18 4:00PM ET: This afternoon, Twitter announced it has delayed the scheduled June 19th date for switching to the new Account Activity API. “As always, we’re committed to providing ample time to migrate,” the company’s developer account explained in a series of tweets. “We will provide at least 90 days notice of deprecation date from when the Account Activity API becomes generally available to all developers. More specifics on timing to come.” Additionally, Twitter says it offers a guide for developers to migrate to the new API.

    • Twitter API overhaul threatens to seriously shaft apps… again

      Twitter’s planned discontinuation of its streaming APIs in June has third-party developers worried that a replacement service won’t be available in time to prevent their Twitter apps from breaking.

      The makers of Talon, Tweetbot, Tweetings, and Twitterrific have joined together to create a webpage expressing their concerns and to rally developers and customers to urge Twitter to respond.

      The Register asked Twitter for comment, but all we heard were crickets.

      Twitter, even more than Facebook, has a history of pulling the rug out from under developers’ feet. The company has repeatedly encouraged developers to build software clients on its platform, only to change its platform rules and capabilities as it tried to figure out a viable business plan.

    • API changes will break Tweetbot and Twitteriffic alerts and streaming, Twitter not yet sharing new solution ahead of June deadline [U]

      Hopefully the bump from today’s coverage pressures Twitter to stop sabotaging third-party apps and communicate with developers about how to move forward — even if subscriptions are required in the future to sustain apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific.

      Without a proper Twitter for Mac client, indie apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific with support for timeline streaming is essential for my workflow and TweetDeck simply isn’t a reliable alternative.

    • Twitter postpones platform change that would cut off third-party apps

      However, we don’t know exactly when this change will come. In response to the furor on Twitter, the company has announced it is “delaying the scheduled June 19th deprecation date.” In a thread, the developer relations account further said the company it “will provide at least 90 days notice from when the Account Activity API becomes generally available” and that “more specifics on timing [are] to come.”

    • Twitter says it won’t break third-party Twitter apps June 19

      In a reversal from a statement made in December 2017, Twitter said it will delay its plan to pull support for Twitter apps like Talon, Tweetbot, Tweetings and Twitterrific. The microblogging service would stop these apps’ ability to push notifications and update post timelines starting on June 19, effectively crippling these non-Twitter apps.

      “Today’s update to last year’s announcement is focused on making sure developers have ample time to migrate to the new API,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

    • Twitter poised to kill all third-party apps like Plume and Talon

      What’s the point of using a third-party Twitter app if you can’t get notified when someone tweets at you and have to refresh your feed manually?

    • Twitter can’t decide if it wants to kill third-party apps

      Twitter’s complicated relationship with developers is about to get a whole lot worse.

      That’s because the company can’t seem to make up its mind on whether it wants to keep third-party Twitter clients around.

    • Future Twitter developer changes will impact notifications & streaming on third-party apps

      Third-party Twitter clients are often handicapped by the platform by a limit of 100,000 users for new developers and are not able to implement features found in the official client. The latest restriction threatens to impact fundamental features like push notifications and automatic timeline refresh.

    • It’s time to think about nationalising Twitter

      The first thing I did when I switched on my computer the other day – in fact, the first thing I’ve done every time I’ve switched on my computer in as long as I can remember – was boot up Twitter. Only this time, I couldn’t.

      I had locked myself out of my account. The phone number listed for the site’s two-factor authentication was no longer my number. Shit, I thought. Shit, shit shit shit. The near-panic I felt from losing that connection surprised me: it turned out I was a junkie, and I had robbed myself of my fix. I was adrift, disconnected, cut off from the body cultural.

    • How to Gopher

      When I think about the work that goes into putting a simple web page or text file on the [I]nternet, I realize how inaccessible the [I]nternet is for most people. As I write this, there is no commercial interest in Gopher. Many, myself included, hope it stays that way. This means that there’s no one trying to make all of this push-button-simple so that they can make a buck off of you on the back end. I think that if more regular folks feel like they own a piece of the [I]nternet, they will be more likely to resist policies and practices that aim to disenfranchise them.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Mobile Terminal: LG Patents Foldable Phone With Dual Screens, Headphone, & Batteries

      A new wave of ‘foldable smartphones’ has hit the tech industry with several tech companies like Apple, Samsung, Oppo and Huawei already working on it.

    • Copyrights
      • The EU copyright reform and the legacy of CJEU case law: lip service?

        I am attending what every year is a great conference in one of the greatest cities: the Fordham IP Conference in New York City. Now in its 26th edition, every year this event gathers IP enthusiasts from all over the world to “Learn. Debate. Have Fun.”

        Yesterday I was part of a panel moderated by Ted Shapiro (Wiggin) and composed of Shira Perlmutter (USPTO), Giuseppe Mazziotti (TCD), and Jerker Rydén (National Library of Sweden). The session was devoted to discussing the state of the EU copyright reform debate.

Patent Maximalists Against Patent Quality and Against the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Organisation (EPO)

Saturday 7th of April 2018 07:44:37 AM


Credit/source: JUVE’s latest edition

Summary: The EPO under Campinos and Battistelli (who chose Campinos to succeed him) lacks prospects of patent quality; these two Frenchmen lack scientific background and are notorious for their patent maximalism, which 4 years ago culminated in a war on patent judges that were 'too' judgmental of software patents (whether that was the real motivation or not)

THE management of the European Patent Office (EPO) is out of control, but that does not necessarily mean that patent law firms are suffering. In fact, these firms typically profit from chaos. Shiri Burema and Rene van Duijvenbode have just published another sponsored ‘article’ in IAM. As is widely known, patent lawyers look at patent oppositions merely as another ‘business’ opportunity, not an important battle over dodgy, questionable patents. So to them, the more bogus patents (and the more oppositions), the greater profit they’ll net (at the expense of companies that actually make stuff). Burema and her colleague said:

In 2016, oppositions continued to occur mostly at the EPO’s Munich branch, although The Hague’s EPO branch is growing more popular. The top 10 private patent firms involved in 2016 oppositions was dominated by German and UK firms. The first non-German, non-UK firm on the list for 2016 was Netherlands-based NLO, ranked 14th overall.

They use words like “more popular” (referring to correction of wrong grants) and they sort of count what they enumerate as a kind of ‘product’. That’s rather gross/crude an analogy, but when one works for the patent ‘industry’ and refers to patents as “assets” rather than monopolies, this might as well make perfect sense.

Looking at another patent law firm, Douglas Rankin from Marks & Clerk’s Aberdeen office has just published this self-promotional ‘article’ that says the “latest data released by the European Patent Office [...] Software patents, for instance, may be aimed at the sector, but not specifically categorised as such.”

They just use terms like “ICT”, “CII” and more recently “4IR”. Here’s the whole paragraph in question:

The latest data released by the European Patent Office reveals that patent application filings in the ‘Electrical machinery, apparatus, energy’ category grew to 10,402 in 2017, up from 10,002 in the previous year. On top of this data, there will be other oil and gas-related patents that are not formally categorised in the sector because of their digital nature. Software patents, for instance, may be aimed at the sector, but not specifically categorised as such.

Not too long ago Marks & Clerk said publicly that it’s now easier to pursue software patents at the EPO than at the USPTO. That’s how bad things have gotten. The US has become stricter on software patents than Europe!

It should also be noted, in light of news from yesterday, that in the United States the EPA has the same problem Europe has with EPO (also called “EPA” in some countries). The boss wastes a lot of money pretending he’s king, acts abusively, denies facts, then resorts to getting rid of anyone who questions him. It’s not just the same acronym, EPA, but also similar tactics. The acronym “EPO” is also associated with athletes who cheat, but that’s another matter altogether.

“The boss wastes a lot of money pretending he’s king, acts abusively, denies facts, then resorts to getting rid of anyone who questions him”Moving on to yet another patent law firm, while EPO management is attacking the Boards of Appeal to ensure patent quality/scrutiny is removed Shrey Pathak and Hazel Ford from Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP help perpetuate the false narrative that EPO cares about the Boards. The EPO posts this every couple of days (EPO’s tweets have become incredibly repetitive and barely original/informative lately) and now Finnegan joins in the ‘fun’:

As part of measures to improve efficiency and predictability of proceedings before the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO), the EPO has launched a consultation to revise the Boards’ Rules of Procedure.

There’s that sound bite again: “improve efficiency” (by which they typically mean making staff redundant).

“Mind the sorts of metrics they use; it’s grotesque. The patent maximalists are trying to take over everything.”The Boards of Appeal are still grossly understaffed. This means that the patent maximalism cult of Battistelli can carry on interrupted. Battistelli is pressuring EPO examiners/examining units to work faster even if that means sloppy prior art search and cutting corners. Anticipat has been naming individual examiners and ‘scoring’ them, too. Now, courtesy of Prof. Sean Tu (WVU) with Chris Holt (VP at LexisNexis IP), we see more of the same:

This study focuses on overall patent office trends as well as trends at the technology center and workgroup levels. PatentAdvisor’s “Examiner Time Allocation” metric can also be used to forecast the time and expense required to obtain a patent and is based on each specific examiner’s body of work.

Mind the sorts of metrics they use; it’s grotesque. The patent maximalists are trying to take over everything.

Over in Munich, where the EPO is based, IAM will soon have an event that promotes patent maximalism (taking place in Munich on the 18th of May) and yesterday it did this piece piece for Volvo’s Ray Millien, who is a speaker at this event (Auto IP Europe). To quote:

Of all the industries to have re-shaped the way they approach IP in recent years, arguably none has gone through as fundamental a change as the auto sector.

Many of the leading manufacturers, such as Ford and Toyota, have become far more sophisticated IP players, building portfolios to rival all but the largest tech giants in size terms. Others may be coming later to the party, but there are few car manufacturers that aren’t actively considering how the forces of convergence and profound technological change in areas like autonomous driving will impact them from an IP standpoint.

Like we said here many times before (and will show again later this weekend), “autonomous driving” typically boils down to software patents — something that IAM is an ardent supporter of.

Team UPC’s and Team Battistelli’s Lobbying Not Over Yet, Even Though the UPC is Likely Dead for Good

Saturday 7th of April 2018 06:32:42 AM


Credit/source: JUVE’s latest edition

Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is dead, but those who spent nearly a decade promoting it (for self-serving purposes and personal gain) refuse to let go

FOR the first time in years we’re writing more about the USPTO than about the EPO. That’s because UPC is likely dead in the water (for good) and not much is happening at the EPO controversy-wise; contrariwise, it seems like there’s greater calm at the EPO not because things are improving but because staff (and representatives) may have given up. The EPO may never regain its edge and staff will likely become redundant in the foreseeable future, not because of these acts of ‘rebellion’ but because of the terrible, short-sighted policies such ‘rebellions’ were against. Battistelli basically doomed the Office — a subject we’ll remark more on in our next post.

Bristows LLP is nowadays consciously lying to clients, non-clients, British politicians and so on. Such is the nature of Team UPC and all the nefarious actors who are pushing ‘unitary’ patent fantasies. Gemma Barrett from Bristows said (a couple of days ago): “In the UK, which is hosting in London a section of the central division, the remaining piece of legislation enabling ratification was passed on 8 February 2018.”

“This has been their modus operandi for a number of years and they don’t like to be challenged on it (they even delete comments).”But the UPC is dead and the UK is likely to be out of the Union quite soon. Why carry on lying about it? Why make it seem like the UPC is coming to the UK? Why carry on with this, you Bristows minions? You look like pathological liars. We’ve grown tired of these kinds of posts. No matter what happens, they either mislead or say nothing (if the reality does not suit them they just keep silent). This has been their modus operandi for a number of years and they don’t like to be challenged on it (they even delete comments).

“Google will also turbo charge patents trolls in Europe with their automated translation engine partnership with the EPO…”
      –Benjamin HenrionJust before the weekend started Brian Cordery (Bristows) wrote about two Regeneron patents (EP (UK) 1 360 287 and EP (UK) 2 264 163) and Rose Hughes wrote about Regeneron v Kymab over at IP Kat, where on the same day Annsley Merelle Ward (Bristows) promoted a Bird & Bird-sponsored event which looks (given the sponsors) like it’s promoting software patents. These are all just patent maximalists looking to push their corporate agenda in the form of “blog” or “news”.

“Google will also turbo charge patents trolls in Europe with their automated translation engine partnership with the EPO,” Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday. This was long foreseen as an apparatus for the UPC, but the UPC isn’t happening.

Incidentally, one UPC proponent pointed out (and posted a photo of a programme) an EPO session about the UPC. Margot Fröhlinger giving talk about the UPC at the Fordham IP think tank is nothing new, so she is doing is again this month:

As a #teamupc member I should probably report on this session. But so far there is nothing new to report. #fordhamip pic.twitter.com/MfyBU7VS2t

— Christopher Weber

Microsoft — Like BlackBerry — is Nowadays a Patent Extortion Company, So Ignore the ‘Shared Innovation Initiative’ Nonsense

Saturday 7th of April 2018 05:36:41 AM

“Steve Jobs threatened to sue me, too. [and also] Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. They’d flown in over a weekend to meet with Scott McNealy. [...] Bill skipped the small talk, and went straight to the point, “Microsoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice.” [...] Bill was delivering a slightly more sophisticated variant of the threat Steve had made, but he had a different solution in mind. “We’re happy to get you under license.” That was code for “We’ll go away if you pay us a royalty for every download” – the digital version of a protection racket.”

Jonathan I. Schwartz, Sun

Summary: The action recently taken by BlackBerry against Snap may in fact be a ‘proper’ lawsuit; as for Microsoft, it’s trying to hide the fact that it’s an aggressive patent-wielding operation by misusing words like “shared” and “innovation”

A COUPLE of days ago we wrote about BlackBerry's latest legal action, capitalising on patents granted by the USPTO a long time ago.

“Well, jury trials typically involve nontechnical people and would thus be easier for BlackBerry to win.”This is not a major lawsuit (at least not yet); it’s a complaint which is being described as follows: “The one-time smartphone king continued its efforts to cash in on its patent portfolio Tuesday when it filed a complaint [PDF] in the Central California US District Court accusing Snap of stealing its patented designs for the layout, alert, and messaging functions within mobile apps. [...] BlackBerry claims that it has been trying to strike a license deal with Snap for more than a year but, with talks breaking down, it now has to resort to a lawsuit and request for a jury trial.”

Well, jury trials typically involve nontechnical people and would thus be easier for BlackBerry to win.

“BlackBerry claims that it has been trying to strike a license deal with Snap for more than a year…”
      –The RegisterWith headlines like “BlackBerry sues Snapchat over alleged patent violation” or “BlackBerry sues Snapchat for infringing on its patented messaging technology” in Indian media, there’s no mistaking that for a lawsuit (some articles fell short of framing it like that). “According to The Verge,” says one article, “the 71-page complaint accused Snap of infringing six patents, including map improvements for mobile devices, advertising techniques and user interface improvements for mobile devices.”

“So basically, if someone mentions Microsoft’s “Shared Innovation Initiative” be sure to point out that it’s merely a publicity stunt, hailed for the most part by Microsoft boosters.”This was originally reported by Bloomberg, which The Verge very quickly cited on the matter. And speaking of Bloomberg, its writer Susan Decker, along with Linux-hostile writers like Liam Tung (CBS), were quick to promote a new Microsoft publicity stunt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], joining many Microsoft propaganda sites (no pretense about these sites’ motivation, even based on the domain names alone) in citing Microsoft’s Brad Smith, soon to be parroted by patent extremists like Richard Lloyd and someone who was — by his own admission — paid by Microsoft until 2013-2014. He actually wrote a book on their lobbying for software patents, but he has been a lot gentler on them since they paid him. Yesterday he said:

I interpret yesterday’s announcement of the Shared Innovation Innovative as an indication of Microsoft continuing to modify its approach to intellectual property. It’s still far from advocating the abolition of software patents, but it appears to be trying hard to be part of the sharing economy in some other ways.

This does not mention that Microsoft uses patent trolls to attack rivals while collecting ‘protection’ money. It also does not mention Microsoft’s persistent lobbying for software patents. So basically, if someone mentions Microsoft’s “Shared Innovation Initiative” be sure to point out that it’s merely a publicity stunt, hailed for the most part by Microsoft boosters.

The Anti-PTAB Brigade is Willing to Embrace Radical Elements Just to Get Its Way

Saturday 7th of April 2018 05:05:50 AM

The lobby against the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to compare judges to murderers and invokes Trump motto/slogans for resurgence of trolls

Summary: The toxic language, the bogus narratives and the venom against PTAB is getting increasingly unbearable and untenable, especially because it seems like the USPTO’s leadership, the Supreme Court and just about every corner of the Establishment stands behind PTAB and guards it

THE triumph of PTAB, necessarily improving patent quality at the USPTO, is undeniable. The anti-PTAB brigade, which resorted to even sending me threatening letters, isn’t getting its way. It tried all sorts of things to sabotage PTAB (threatening words, smears, legal action, price hikes, misuse of tribal immunity, lobbying and so on). But PTAB continues to break new records. Demand for PTAB is growing.

“How would IAM like it if we called it “mass murderer”? Or “Nazis”?”IAM ‘magazine’, part of the anti-PTAB brigade (for obvious reasons), carries on with the usual. Adam Houldsworth published this blog post yesterday — a post with a loaded headline that says “PTAB not such a death squad” (“not such”?). So the patent trolls’ lobby perpetuates the insulting narrative that compares patent judges to a firing line/squad because they cull out wrongly-granted patents. How much longer need we explain why this analogy is offensive? How would IAM like it if we called it “mass murderer”? Or “Nazis”?

Here’s what Houldsworth wrote:

A new US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) study has provided an improved insight into the outcomes of administrative validity challenges made against Orange Book-listed pharmaceutical patents at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Among the report’s key findings is that, while petitions against FDA-approved drug patent rights have enjoyed similarly high institution rates to petitions against other kinds of patents, Orange Book rights have a far greater survival rate than others when challenges reach a final written decision.

Notice that they also use words like “survival”; the anti-PTAB brigade almost invariantly uses words like “kill” and “survive” to describe PTAB’s actions. So when a patent aggressor or troll has a patent challenged it is “under attack” or merely “survives” the “kill”; the victim or the defendant is thereon portrayed as an “attacker” looking to “kill” patents. Narrative reversals like these are very common in war terminology/lexicons.

Incidentally, days ago IAM also published an article titled “Can Andrei Iancu make patents great again?” and by “great again” they mean ending PTAB or helping patent aggressors. What’s so great about that? The patent extremist Richard Lloyd (the most overzealous of the IAM bunch) fails to understand that IAM, by saying/reciting the “great again” motto, basically associates itself with fascists.

“Narrative reversals like these are very common in war terminology/lexicons.”Iancu would be wise not to associate with IAM in any way, but this summer he’ll give a talk in an event set up by IAM.

Speaking of false narratives (regarding PTAB), watch what IP Watch published yesterday. Here’s what’s outside the paywall (many of these Web sites, including IAM, broaden their paywalls these days):

The United States Supreme Court is likely to affirm the constitutionality of US Patent and Trademark Office inter partes reviews when it rules in the closely watched matter of Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group LLC, according to Michael Best & Friedrich intellectual property attorney Marshall Schmitt. The end result of the decision, however, is hard to predict, he said.

If you only ask the patent microcosm for its opinion on Oil States, it will call the expected slam-dunk for PTAB IPRs “Highly Uncertain”. That’s nonsense however. Expect the Justices to support IPRs, maybe even unanimously.

“It’s not like we’re dealing with rational people here but with extremists drunk on power.”Judging by what an anti-PTAB site wrote yesterday, it looks like Iancu will defend PTAB, which is good news and a relief (if true). To quote the relevant bits:

The PTAB Bar Association has a committee called “PTAB Appeals” that scheduled a meeting on April 5, 2018 to discuss various topics with sitting judges at the PTAB. This meeting was set up in part because of interest in Chief Judge Ruschke to meet with practitioners to discuss ex parte appeals. Ex parte appeals is the less-discussed and less-focused on aspect of what PTAB does. The two-hour meeting was at the USPTO in Alexandria, VA and covered a lot of ground including Section 101.

At this meeting, Chief Judge Ruschke was optimistic about newly appointed director Andrew Iancu. According to Ruschke, Iancu has stressed that the USPTO has to do a better job of applying Section 101 in a more consistent, straightforward manner. And Iancu sees the corpus of decisions coming out of the PTAB as an important clue to this.

Defending PTAB from patent extremists won’t be easy. I’m already receiving threats for merely reporting on this. It reminds me of the numerous threats the EPO sent me for merely reporting its abuses. It’s not like we’re dealing with rational people here but with extremists drunk on power.

Links 6/4/2018: New Fedora ISO, Next Ubuntu Reaches Final Beta

Friday 6th of April 2018 10:23:14 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Server
    • ​Want to profit from your underused servers? Overclock has an idea

      Akash is a blockchain-powered, open, and decentralized compute marketplace, which enables you to monetize your business’s underused server capacity. With up to 85 percent of the world’s compute capacity sitting unused in data centers, there’s a lot of compute out there.

    • 5 Things to Know Before Adopting Microservice and Container Architectures

      We definitely consider ourselves early adopters of containers, and we started packaging services in them almost as soon as Docker released its first production-ready version in the summer of 2014. Many of the customers I talk with are just now beginning — or thinking about beginning — such journeys, and they want to know everything we know. They want to know how we make it work, and how we architected it. But part of the process, I like to stress, is that they need to know what we learned from where we struggled along the way.

    • Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry: Better Together

      Industry veterans have cast predictions far and wide on what to expect in 2018. And while we can’t ensure every prediction will come true, many would agree that the container industry will continue to grow as it maintains support for businesses looking to leverage new technologies and platforms. In fact, the application container market is projected to grow from $762 million in 2016 to $2.7 billion by 2020 according to 451 Research.

      With this explosive growth, it’s easy to understand why some individuals are seeing Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry as competitive projects. The reality? While there is some functional overlap between the two, they ultimately serve complementary purposes that work toward the same goal. By taking approaches that leverage both projects, organizations are actually making it easier to manage their entire cloud environment.

  • Kernel Space
    • F2FS File-System Gets A Lost & Found, Performance Enhancements

      The explicitly flash-focused F2FS file-system is the latest noteworthy pull request on its way to the mainline Linux 4.17 kernel.

      F2FS maintainer Jaegeuk Kim says most of this past round of development was focused on performance tuning and critical bug fixes for low-end devices. But there’s also some new features and we surely love any and all performance work.

    • Razer’s Blade Stealth Multi-Touch To Be Supported By Linux 4.17

      The HID subsystem updates have been submitted for the Linux 4.17 merge window and that set of driver updates includes a variety of new product support.

      Perhaps most significant is that the Razer Blade stealth laptop will now have working multi-touch support with Linux 4.17. Multi-touch should be squared away thanks to an independent contributor while we still wait to see how Razer’s Linux laptop play will eventually pan out.

      The HID updates for Linux 4.17 also include supporting the third-generation Wacom Intuos BT, a ~$100 USD pen tablet. Additionally there is support for the NSG-MR5U and NSG-MR7U Sony remote controls.

    • New Sound Drivers & UAC3 Ready To Play On Linux 4.17

      Longtime Linux sound system maintainer Takashi Iwai of SUSE has sent in his album of updates for the Linux 4.17 kernel.

      First and foremost with the Linux 4.17 sound updates is the USB Audio Class 3.0 support we previously wrote about on Phoronix. USB Audio Class 3.0 (UAC3) is a 2016 audio-over-USB specification promoted as “USB Audio over USB Type-C” and brought power management improvements, additional interrupt sources, new descriptors, and other changes while still maintaining backwards compatibility with UAC2. UAC3 is now supported by the mainline Linux kernel plus for the existing UAC2 support they now have working jack detection.

    • Some 4.16 and -stable development statistics

      The 4.16 development cycle is shaping up to be a relatively straightforward affair with little in the way of known problems and a probable release after nine weeks of work. In comparison to the wild ride that was 4.15, 4.16 looks positively calm. Even so, there is a lot that has happened this time around; read on for a look at who contributed to this release, with a brief digression into stable kernel updates.

      As of this writing, 1,774 developers have contributed 13,439 non-merge changesets during the 4.16 development cycle. That work grew the kernel by about 195,000 lines overall. By recent standards, 4.16 is a relatively calm cycle, and certainly calmer than the 14,866-changeset 4.15 cycle. Still, that is quite a bit of work to integrate in nine weeks.

    • Energy-aware scheduling on asymmetric systems

      Energy-aware scheduling — running a system’s workload in a way that minimizes the amount of energy consumed — has been a topic of active discussion and development for some time; LWN first covered the issue at the beginning of 2012. Many approaches have been tried during the intervening years, but little in the way of generalized energy-aware scheduling work has made it into the mainline. Recently, a new patch set was posted by Dietmar Eggemann that only tries to address one aspect of the problem; perhaps the problem domain has now been simplified enough that this support can finally be merged.

      In the end, the scheduler can most effectively reduce power consumption by keeping the system’s CPUs in the lowest possible power states for the longest time — with “sleeping” being the state preferred over all of the others. There is a tradeoff, though, in that users tend to lack appreciation for saved power if their systems are not responsive; any energy-aware scheduling solution must also be aware of throughput and latency concerns. A failure to balance all of these objectives across the wide range of machines that run Linux has been the bane of many patches over the years.

    • Read-only dynamic data

      Kernel developers go to some lengths to mark read-only data so that it can be protected by the system’s memory-management unit. Memory that cannot be changed cannot be altered by an attacker to corrupt the system. But the kernel’s mechanisms for managing read-only memory do not work for memory that must be initialized after the initial system bootstrap has completed. A patch set from Igor Stoppa seeks to change that situation by creating a new API just for late-initialized read-only data.

      The most straightforward way to create read-only data is, of course, the C const keyword. The compiler will annotate any data marked with const, and the linker will ensure that it is placed in memory that ends up being marked read-only. But const only works at build time. The post-init read-only data mechanism, adapted from the grsecurity patch set, takes things a step further by marking data that can be made read-only once the system’s initialization process has completed. Data structures that must be set up during boot, but which need not be modified thereafter, can be protected in this way.

      Once initialization is completed, though, the (easy) ability to create read-only data in the kernel goes away. At that point, any additional memory needed must be allocated dynamically, and such memory is, by its nature, dynamic. So, while a kernel subsystem may well allocate memory, fill it in, and never change it again, there is no mechanism in place to actually block further modifications to that memory.

    • Linux Kernel Developer: Steven Rostedt

      Linus Torvalds recently released version 4.16 of the Linux kernel. These releases typically occur every nine to ten weeks, and each one contains the work of more than 1,600 developers representing over 200 corporations, according to the 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report, written by Jonathan Corbet and Greg Kroah-Hartman. In this series, we’re highlighting some of the developers who contribute to the kernel.

      Steven Rostedt, Open Source Programmer at VMware, maintains the Real Time Stable releases of the Linux kernel, among other things. Rostedt is one of the original developers of the PREEMPT_RT patch and began working on it in 2004 with the goal of turning Linux into a real-time designed operating system. He is also the main author, developer, and maintainer of Ftrace, a tool designed to help developers find what is going on inside the kernel. According to the Ftrace wiki, the tool can be used for debugging or analyzing latencies and performance issues that take place outside of user-space.

    • Linux 4.17 Gets PhoenixRC Flight Controller Support & PS/2 Mouse Improvements

      From several of the pull requests covered on Phoronix this week for the in-progress Linux 4.17 kernel, there are many areas seeing improved hardware/device support with this next kernel upgrade, including the input drivers.

      Last month I wrote about Phoenix RC Flight Controller support coming to Linux. That flight controller is modelled after radio controllers for model airplanes/helicopters/drones and designed for the Phoenix RC model aircraft/drone simulator on Windows, but thanks to a passionate independent developer, is now being supported on Linux. I was surprised by the interest indeed in this driver/controller support.

    • Graphics Stack
      • DXVK 0.41 Released, Slightly More CPU Efficient & Offers A Heads-Up Display

        DXVK 0.41 is now available as the library for Wine users to have Direct3D 11 implemented over Vulkan for generally allowing higher performance than Wine’s own D3D11-over-OpenGL layer.

        DXVK continues making great progress for getting D3D11 over Vulkan. DXVK 0.41 improvements include a slight reduction to the overall CPU overhead, better GPU saturation for deferred contexts, and a configurable HUD. There are also bug fixes to get better in spec with SPIR-V and fixes for the games World of Warships and Nier: Automata, among other fixes.

      • NVIDIA Video Codec SDK 8.1 Released, Now Supports Real-Time HEVC 4K @ 60 FPS

        NVIDIA has released a new version of their Video Codec SDK that serves as CUDA-based, cross-platform video encode and decode functionality that ultimately succeeds their VDPAU Linux video decode stack for GPU video coding needs.

      • Panfrost Project Getting “Half-Way Driver” To Gallium3D

        Alyssa Rosenzweig who has been leading the charge recently on the open-source Mali T700 GPU driver that was called “Chai” but has been renamed to “Panfrost” is now pursuing a “half-way driver” approach to testing their knowledge of the hardware’s command stream.

      • Work Is Underway To Upstream LLVM Clang’s CUDA Toolchain For AMDGPU/HIP

        A long available tool has been AMD’s ROCm HIP that allows converting CUDA code to portable C++ code that in turn can be executed on Radeon GPUs. There is now work on getting the upstream LLVM Clang compiler’s CUDA toolchain support to also support HIP.

        HIP’s hipify tool can convert CUDA code to HIP for execution on NVIDIA/AMD GPUs. HIP also consists of a portable C++ language for execution across GPU vendors. Those not familiar with HIP can learn more via its ROCm tool repository.

        What initially got me digging into the LLVM/Clang upstreaming work was seeing on Thursday: [CUDA] Add amdgpu sub archs. Clang’s CUDA code now not only listing NVIDIA GPU micro-architectures but also the Radeon GPU generations backed by the LLVM AMDGPU compiler back-end.

      • NVIDIA Xavier Support Being Brought Up With Linux 4.17, Other New ARM Boards Too

        There’s a lot of ARM work that has built up for the Linux 4.17 development cycle.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
  • Distributions
    • Subutai Blockchain Router v2.0, NixOS New Release, Slimbook Curve and More

      NixOS released version 18.03 “Impala” yesterday. Highlights include “core version changes: linux: 4.9 -> 4.14, glibc: 2.25 -> 2.26, gcc: 6 -> 7, systemd: 234 -> 237″; “desktop version changes: gnome: 3.24 -> 3.26, (KDE) plasma-desktop: 5.10 -> 5.12″; the Nix package manager now defaults to 2.0 and more.

    • NixOS 18.03 Switches To Linux 4.14, GCC 7 & Other Package Updates

      For fans of the NixOS Linux distribution that makes use of the Nix package manager, version 18.03 “Impala” is now available.

    • Arch Family
      • Bluestar Gives Arch Linux a Celestial Glow

        Using most any Arch Linux distro usually involves balancing the desire for hands-on control of the operating system from scratch against the attraction of convenient installation and maintenance processes. Bluestar Linux is one of the few Arch distros that gets the balancing act right.

        Bluestar Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution that features up-to-date packages, an impressive range of desktop and multimedia software in the default installation, and a live desktop DVD. The live session capability is one of Bluestar’s more enticing qualities.

        The live session feature lets you easily check out its operation on your own hardware before actually installing the OS to your hard drive. Even better, the installation uses the Calamares installer for a smooth, automated setup. Most other Arch installations require manual installations that involve a command line nightmare. Often that leaves hopeful users frustrated when critical components fail to work on their gear.

    • Red Hat Family
      • The Open Brand Project—we asked for help, and we got it.

        The Open Brand Project is a collaborative effort to evolve our corporate logo and brand system. A cross-functional team of in-house designers collaborating with Pentagram, a well-known international design consultancy, are working together to simplify and modernize our logo.

      • Unified Container Monitoring and Security on OpenShift with Sysdig

        The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform helps developers easily and quickly develop, build, and deploy container-native applications in nearly any infrastructure, public or private. But as you move from development to a large scale production environment, monitoring and security take center stage.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • F27-20180404 updated Live isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated 27 Live ISOs, carrying the 4.15.14-300 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save about 929 MB of updates after install. (for new installs.)

        • Yum Command Line Options
        • DNF 3: better performance and a move to C++

          It has only been a few years since DNF replaced Yum as the default Fedora package-management tool; that was done for Fedora 22 in 2015, though DNF had been available for several earlier Fedora releases. Since that time, DNF development has proceeded; it started a move from Python/C to all C in 2016 and has made multiple releases over the years. From an outsider’s perspective, no major changes seem necessary, which makes the announcement of DNF 3, and a move to C++, a bit surprising to some.

          For many years, Yum was the package-management front-end for many RPM-based distributions, including Fedora and RHEL. But it suffered from poor performance and high memory use; part of that was attributed to its iterative dependency solver. DNF was meant to fix those problems. It uses the libsolv dependency resolution library developed by openSUSE, by way of the hawkey library.

          Though it wasn’t a perfect drop-in replacement for Yum, DNF did replace it. But, even though DNF performed better, often much better, than its predecessor, the project continued to focus on making it faster. Ultimately, that’s a large part of the reasons behind DNF 3.

        • Fedora 28 beta is ready for you to test

          Fedora 28 has just been released in its beta version. That means it isn’t likely to be completely free of bugs and that you have a chance to participate in ensuring that it’s ready to go public on May 1.

          This news won’t be particularly surprising to the more enthusiastic Fedora users. Fedora’s release cycle is a fairly regular after all. Every six months, more or less, a new Fedora release is published. Many Fedora users have come to expect to see them around May Day and Halloween each year. Yet, while not surprising, the news is still exciting because of a number of new and enhanced features.

        • Fedora To Decide What To Do About GNOME 3.28′s Auto-Suspend Default

          While Ubuntu developers have decided to no longer enable auto-suspend by default as set with the new GNOME 3.28 desktop when running on AC power, Fedora developers are still debating the issue.

          While there is certainly overlap between Fedora/RedHat developers and those working on GNOME, including those that sanctioned this upstream change during the GNOME 3.28 cycle, the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) has now been summoned to voice their opinion on the matter as well as the Fedora Workstation special interest group.

    • Debian Family
      • My Free Software Activities in March 2018
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E05 – High Five – Ubuntu Podcast
          • Google Cloud Poaches Ubuntu’s VP of Product

            After being at Canonical for a decade (aside from a brief stint at Gazzang), Dustin Kirkland who most recently served as the company’s VP of Product, is joining Google.

            Dustin Kirkland managed the product teams for Ubuntu server, cloud, desktop and IoT the past five years while he’s been an open-source developer since the late 90′s and continues to maintain many Ubuntu packages himself. Dustin is a highly-skilled developer and manager while now he will be focusing his efforts on the Google Cloud.

          • The Nextcloud Box: a review of building an IoT device with snaps

            In 2016, Canonical, Nextcloud and WDLabs introduced the Nextcloud Box, the first IoT style device running with snaps out of the box. Besides sales of nearly 2K boxes before Western Digital shut down their research division WDLabs late last year, the snap been extremely popular with some days hitting over 10,000 downloads. Its installed base is estimated to be over 8000, making it a popular way to run a private cloud. Read our guest blog by Nextcloud’s Jos Poortvliet on to learn more about Nextcloud, the Box and how snaps help thousands of Nextcloud users keep their data under their control.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Final Beta Released, Available for Download Now

            Canonical released today the beta development version (a.k.a. Final Beta) of its upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system, along with the second beta for opt-in flavors.

            While many of the opt-in Ubuntu flavors participated in last month’s beta release, this is the first time Ubuntu 18.04 LTS gets a public beta build that users can actually download and install on their personal computers if they plan on becoming early adopters ahead of the official release later this month.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Lubuntu Bionic Beaver Final Beta has been released!

              Lubuntu Bionic Beaver Final Beta (soon to be 18.04) has been released!

              Thanks to the hard work of the Lubuntu team, we are pleased to announce the final beta!

            • Xubuntu 18.04 Community Wallpaper Contest Winners!

              The Xubuntu team are happy to announce the results of the 18.04 community wallpaper contest!

              We want to send out a huge thanks to every contestant; last time we had 92 submissions but now you all made us work much harder in picking the best ones out with a total of 162 submissions!

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Who really owns an open project?

    Differences in organizational design don’t necessarily make some organizations better than others—just better suited to different purposes. Any style of organization must account for its models of ownership (the way tasks get delegated, assumed, executed) and responsibility (the way accountability for those tasks gets distributed and enforced). Conventional organizations and open organizations treat these issues differently, however, and those difference can be jarring for anyone hopping transitioning from one organizational model to another. But transitions are ripe for stumbling over—oops, I mean, learning from.

  • Nginx gets granular on managed microservices

    Open source at its heart and essentially a web server technology, Nginx (pronounced: engine X) is the company that would like to have its name capitalised in the media but can’t, because it’s not an acronym.

  • Slack competitor Spectrum released as open source group messaging platform

    Spectrum, a group communication platform that launched last year, has gone fully open source, according to an announcement from developer Max Stoiber. The software, which is hosted on GitHub, is licensed under a 3-clause BSD license.

    In contrast to other commercial projects in which open sourcing is a goodwill gesture prior to the end of active development—such as with the opening of webOS following the abrupt discontinuation of the HP TouchPad—Spectrum appears very much ready to react to tickets and pull requests on GitHub. Spectrum’s existing hosted option will continue to be offered even after the release of the code.

  • Netflix open source FlameScope CPU tool helps developers debug performance issues

    Netflix’s cloud performance engineering team has released FlameScope, a performance visualization utility that allows programmers and system administrators to analyze CPU activity by generating a subsecond-offset heat map in which arbitrary spans of time can be selected by the user for further analysis by selecting a portion of the heat map, for which a flame graph is generated for corresponding block of time.

  • Huawei Unveils Open Source DMM Project That Redesigns the Protocol Stack Container in Networking

    At the 2018 Open Networking Summit North America, Huawei introduced the new Dual Modes, Multi-Protocols, Multi-Instances (DMM) open source project—a protocol stack framework—which elevates different protocol stacks for networking application developers. DMM is a Fast Data Project and a part of the FD.io community, which is tailored for open source software and aims to provide high-performance networking solutions. Leveraging Huawei’s expertise in providing cost-effective network solutions to customers, DMM will make it possible to use diverse protocol stacks for different apps, as well as simplify the process of developing a new protocol stack. This new framework will provide the enterprise industry with a more open, pluralistic, and reliable networking solution.

  • Events
    • FOSSASIA experience

      I spend most of my time at the Debian booth. People swing by the booth and they talked about their experience with Debian. It was fun to meet them all. Prior to the conference I created a wiki page to coordinate Debian booth at exhibition which really helped.

      I met three Debian Developers – Chow Loong Jin (hyperair), Andrew Lee 李健秋 (ajqlee) and Héctor Orón Martínez (zumbi). Andrew Lee and zumbi also volunteered at Debian booth from time to time along with Balasankar ‘balu’ C (balasankarc). Hyperair was sitting at HackerspaceSG booth, just two booth across from us.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Facebook Container extension now includes Instagram and Facebook Messenger

        To help you control the amount of data Facebook can gather about you, we have updated the Facebook Container extension to include Instagram and Facebook Messenger. This way, users of these sites, can also benefit from the tracking protections of the Facebook Container.

      • What Makes a Great Extension?

        We’re in the middle of our Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge and we’ve been asking ourselves: What makes a great extension?

        Great extensions add functionality and fun to Firefox, but there’s more to it than that. They’re easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to find. If you’re building one, here are some simple steps to help it shine.

      • Results of the MDN “Internal Link Optimization” SEO experiment

        Our fourth and final SEO experiment for MDN, to optimize internal links within the open web documentation, is now finished. Optimizing internal links involves ensuring that each page (in particular, the ones we want to improve search engine results page (SERP) positions for, are easy to find.

      • Why Fluent Matters for Localization

        In case you don’t know what Fluent is, it’s a localization system designed and developed by Mozilla to overcome the limitations of the existing localization technologies. If you have been around Mozilla Localization for a while, and you’re wondering what happened to L20n, you can read this explanation about the relation between these two projects.

        With Firefox 58 we started moving Firefox Preferences to Fluent, and today we’re migrating the last pane (Firefox Account – Sync) in Firefox Nightly (61). The work is not done yet, there are still edge cases to migrate in the existing panes, and subdialogs, but we’re on track. If you’re interested in the details, you can read the full journey in two blog posts from Zibi (2017 and 2018), covering not only Fluent, but also the huge amount of work done on the Gecko platform to improve multilingual support.

      • Mozilla VR Blog: Progressive WebXR

        Imagine you wanted to have your store’s web page work in 2D, and also take advantage of the full range of AR and VR devices. WebXR will provide the foundation you need to create pages that work everywhere, and let you focus on compelling User Experiences on each of the devices.

        In a recent blog post, we touched on one aspect of progressive WebXR, showcasing a version of A-Painter that was adapted to handheld AR and immersive VR. In this post, we will dive a bit deeper into the idea of progressive WebXR apps that are accessible across a much wider range of XR-supported devices.

        The WebXR Device API expands on the WebVR API to include a broader range of mixed reality devices (i.e., AR/VR, immersive/handheld). By supporting all mixed reality devices in one API, the Immersive Web community hopes to make it easier for web apps to respond to the capabilities of a user’s chosen device, and present an appropriate UI for AR, VR, or traditional 2D displays.

      • uBlock Origin is Back-to-Back March Addonness Champion

        It’s been three weeks and we’ve almost run out of sports metaphors. We’re happy to announce that after three rounds and thousands of votes you have crowned uBlock Origin March Addonness champion for the second year in a row!

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Licensing/Legal
    • ​Symantec may violate Linux GPL in Norton Core Router

      For years, embedded device manufacturers have been illegally using Linux. Typically, they use Linux without publishing their device’s source code, which Linux’s GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) requires them to do. Well, guess what? Another vendor, this time Symantec, appears to be the guilty party.

      This was revealed when Google engineer and Linux security expert Matthew Garrett was diving into his new Norton Core Router. This is a high-end Wi-Fi router. Symantec claims it’s regularly updated with the latest security mechanisms. Garrett popped his box open to take a deeper look into Symantec’s magic security sauce.

      What he found appears to be a Linux distribution based on the QCA Software Development Kit (QSDK) project. This is a GPLv2-licensed, open-source platform built around the Linux-based OpenWrt Wi-Fi router operating system.

  • Programming/Development
    • How to create an impact map for teams

      Give impact mapping a try and let us know how it works for you. You can use any mind map software to create your first impact map, but you might prefer to start with pen and paper and sticky notes, or even a nice clean whiteboard.

    • Is Python a Good Choice for Entrerprise Projects?

      If you follow me for a long time, you know I’ve been doing Python for more than ten years now and even wrote two books about it. So while I’m obviously biased, and before writing a reply, I would also like to take a step back and reassure you, dear reader, that I’ve used plenty of other programming languages those last 20 years: Perl, C, PHP, Lua, Lisp, Java, etc. I’ve built tiny to big projects with some of them, and I consider that Lisp is the best programming language.

Oil States is a Lost Cause for Enemies of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); Now They Push Droplets v Iancu Instead

Thursday 5th of April 2018 02:47:39 PM

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has been restoring patent sanity in recent years and judges must adapt. The Eastern District of Texas (EDTX, or TXED below) remains the outlier.


Image credit/original: Docket Navigator

Summary: The latest PTAB news and updates from courtrooms where frivolous litigation with low-quality patents carries on

THE Oil States decision will come soon (Supreme Court 2018). It’ll likely be a depressing one for the patent microcosm, or one they’ll attempt to spin. For the USPTO it’ll mean more of the same, i.e. PTAB correcting and affirming examiners.

“The Oil States decision will come soon (Supreme Court 2018).”The anti-PTAB brigade has been SLAPPing us recently; it does not wish to be criticised. The anti-PTAB brigade also tries to bring another anti-CAFC or anti-PTAB or anti-IPR case to the Supreme Court (in essence defending bogus patents from scrutiny). Yesterday Patently-O promoted Droplets v Iancu, heralding this “new petition for writ of certiorari questions the extent that the Federal Circuit can affirm a PTAB IPR decision on grounds different than those relied upon by the Board.”

Seems like nitpicking. Why should judges not be able to go further than PTAB? If a patent is deemed bogus, then so be it, based on the underlying evidence. What ultimately matters is patent justice. To lawyers, however, justice isn’t what’s most profitable, hence their PTAB bashing is likely to carry on.

“What ultimately matters is patent justice. To lawyers, however, justice isn’t what’s most profitable, hence their PTAB bashing is likely to carry on.”Yesterday we saw Robert Jain from Unified Patents announcing a new milestone, having disarmed a patent troll called Pen-One. “On April 4, 2018,” he wrote, “the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 7,281,135 owned and asserted by Pen-One Acquisition Group, LLC, an Equitable IP subsidiary and a well-known NPE. The ’135 patent, directed to an identity verification system, has been asserted against such companies as Apple and Samsung.”

Samsung and Apple are targeted here, so they have a common/shared interest in this IPR (this troll is a problem they have in common). But that does not mean that they’re friends. The latest in the patent battles of Apple (Apple Inc. v Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al) was also noted yesterday by Docket Navigator, which wrote:

The court granted in part defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of plaintiff’s technical experts because their application of the “designer of ordinary skill in the art” and “ordinary observer” standards to identify the relevant article of manufacture was improper.

Incidentally — and also quite exceptionally — Docket Navigator publishes some new charts. It shows how different patent (and beyond) judges decide on cases and included is the “reprehensible” (politicians call him that) Gilstrap, named on the left among names/breakdown of judges. Mind the IPR barcharts.

“The US patent system, if properly reformed by AIA/PTAB, would decrease the number of lawsuits (as well as lawyers) and hence discourage such unfortunate incidents that harm small businesses the most.”Regarding another new patent decision, Docket Navigator spoke of a “Parade of Horribles”, citing the text from ATEN International Co., Ltd. v Uniclass Technology Co., Ltd. et al.

It’s a jury deciding, i.e. people who are likely nontechnical:

Following a jury trial, the court denied defendants’ motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff’s litigation positions and tactics as a whole were not exceptional.

What’s at stake here is who pays for the lawyers, but as usual the lawyers don’t need to care all that much. They just do the billing, so plaintiffs and defendants both lose money; the question is, who loses more money.

The US patent system, if properly reformed by AIA/PTAB, would decrease the number of lawsuits (as well as lawyers) and hence discourage such unfortunate incidents that harm small businesses the most.

‘SIPO Europe’: More Low-Quality Patents at Lower Costs

Thursday 5th of April 2018 01:45:41 PM

‘System Battistelli’


References: Battistelli and China, 2016 [1, 2]

Summary: As ‘demand’ declined (the number of applications for European Patents was falling) the EPO lowered prices and it’s doing it again, basically assuring more low-quality, low-value applications to be followed by more low-quality patents granted, externalising the cost of patents to the public and outsourcing examination to courts (where lawyers make the most money)

THERE are persistent rumours about EPO layoffs; it’s more of a question of when, not if. What the EPO neglects to speak about are discounts it gave to spur or ‘create’ applications, irrespective of quality. China, with a tiny share of EPO patents/applications (about the same as Korea and about a third of Japan’s), was the main talking point. Is the EPO becoming another SIPO? China’s SIPO is globally notorious for its very low bar; and few even know what’s in there because it’s in Mandarin. It’s a patent-printing machine which devalues the ‘currency’ which is patents, but WIPO loves it because it helps fake/create an illusion of considerable growth.

“Is the EPO becoming another SIPO?”Judging by yesterday’s official announcement (warning: epo.org link), complete with the obligatory Battistelli plug/quote, the EPO foresees/wants lots of low-quality patents to help pretend that the number of applications grows. In the EPO’s own words:

Acting on a proposal of the European Patent Office, the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, had approved the fee reduction for patent applications in December 2017.

So even the Administrative Council is all over this. They can only pretend not to understand the objective of such policies; but examiners know very well what that means in practice. The examiners are typically guardians against bad patents that enable abuse (like patent trolls who bypass the court system); now they’re not allowed to do this kind of job because of so-called ‘demand’ or “efficiency”.

It Won’t Be Long Before BlackBerry Becomes Just a Patent Extortion Operation, Formerly Recognised as a Real Company

Thursday 5th of April 2018 01:13:34 PM

Florian Müller calls it “trollification of a failed tech business” (because all roads lead to nowhere)

Summary: BlackBerry keeps talking about “software business,” but it seems to be in the business of suing (or threatening to sue) using software patents

THE company once known as BlackBerry should probably rename because all it has left is a bunch of almost-expired patents, granted for the most part by the USPTO a decade or more ago.

“The usual trollification of a failed tech business,” Florian Müller called it. “No reason why it shouldn’t happen in Canada, too.”

“Is BlackBerry still an operating company? Yes. But for how much longer?”Canada already has other large patent trolls, such as WiLAN, not just BlackBerry.

Is BlackBerry still an operating company? Yes. But for how much longer?

BlackBerry has just signaled (yet again) that it is little more than a patent troll at this stage, except some remnants of its software business. Earlier this week (2 days ago) Wall Street media said that using software patents — yet again — “BlackBerry Accuses Snap of Using Patented Messaging Technology” (that’s their headline).

“So the company has decided to become a patent troll which preys on every company that does messaging.”“BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen” it says, “has been working to find additional sources of revenue as investors express concern over growth rates at the company’s core security-focused software business. That has sent the company hunting through its library of wireless tech and messaging patents to find opportunities for more licensing deals, and lawsuits. [...] The complaint accuses Snap of infringing six patents issued in 2012 and 2014. Two of those are among the seven BlackBerry patents that were in the suit against Facebook filed March 6.”

The Verge then said: “The complaint was first reported by Bloomberg.”

So the company has decided to become a patent troll which preys on every company that does messaging. Lawsuits or not, there are now demands. BlackBerry wants ‘protection’ money. There were many articles about it yesterday [1, 2, 3, 4], one of which (the last) titled “BlackBerry is also suing Snap over messaging and map patents” (no lawsuit yet).

“IAM was a big booster of Mark Kokes and his strategy at BlackBerry.”It’s worth noting that all of these lawsuits are happening even after Mark Kokes left BlackBerry.

IAM was a big booster of Mark Kokes and his strategy at BlackBerry. Yesterday it conveniently wrote about BlackBerry as though it’s already purely a patent troll — that is, ignoring the demise of the company and isolating only the extortion to make it look big (and growing), with “50% year-on-year rise” in the headline. From the outline (outside paywall):

Despite major upheaval in its licensing team BlackBerry saw a significant increase in its patent royalty income during the last fiscal year, according to figures released last week. Revenues jumped by more than 50% in the 12 months which concluded at the end of February, reaching $196 million, up from $126 million for FY 2017. The rise came despite the departure last summer of senior vice president of intellectual property, licensing & standards Mark Kokes, as well as the subsequent resignations of several of his direct reports – including licensing director Victor Schubert and head of technology, IP and standards, Paul Carpenter.

So they’re just treating BlackBerry as nothing but a patents company. They know what’s coming.

Links 5/4/2018: Mesa 17.3.8 and WordPress Patches

Thursday 5th of April 2018 11:37:50 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Containerization, Atomic Distributions, and the Future of Linux

    Linux has come a long way since Linus Torvalds announced it in 1991. It has become the dominant operating system in the enterprise space. And, although we’ve seen improvements and tweaks in the desktop environment space, the model of a typical Linux distribution has largely remained the same over the past 25+ years. The traditional package management based model has dominated both the desktop and server space.

    However, things took an interesting turn when Google launched Linux-based Chrome OS, which deployed an image-based model. Core OS (now owned by Red Hat) came out with an operating system (Container Linux) that was inspired by Google but targeted at enterprise customers.

  • The Slimbook Curve is a Stunning All-in-One Linux PC

    Yodel an aloha to the Slimbook Curve — an all-in-one Linux PC with an alluring curved edge-to-edge display.

    Call me old fashioned but I’m (still) a huge fan of desktop computers. I like having something big and bulky on my desk, purring away, helping me crunch through whatever workload I’m trying to avoid tackle.

    So all-in-one PCs are very much up my street — and when they run Linux out of the box, even better!

    Spanish computer company Slimbook, who make the KDE Slimbook pre-loaded with KDE Neon, has pulled the shrink wrap off of its new all-in-one desktop Linux PC.

  • Google’s 5 years of support for older Chromebooks is starting to be a problem

    When Google announced a few years ago that it would offer at least 5 years of software updates for Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, that seemed like good news. After all, most Android phones only get updates for a year or two, if that.

    But compared to Windows and OS X, that 5 year lifespan is pretty short… especially since the clock starts ticking the day a Chromebook is released, not the day that you actually buy it.

  • Linux Needs Deep Pockets

    I love the operating systems revolving around the Linux Kernel. I think it’s amazing that something so good comes to the world so cheap or mostly free. You can do tremendous work on this platform, so it begs the question: Why aren’t more people using it? Here are the known benefits:

  • Desktop
    • Ubuntu 18.04 Will No Longer Do Automatic Suspend By Default Unless On Battery

      Last month I wrote how Ubuntu 18.04 began enabling “automatic suspend” by default on new installations where after 20 minutes systems were suspending without notice and in some cases still causing issues trying to resume with modern x86 hardware in 2018… Fortunately, Ubuntu developers are reverting that behavior when on AC power.

    • Intel Has Been Working To Improve Linux Suspend/Resume, Calls For More Testing

      With Linux suspend/resume support still sometimes being problematic, it’s great to hear Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center has a team working on continuing to improve the Linux support for this power-saving functionality.

      Zhang Rui and Yu Chen of the Intel OTC Kernel Power team has published a brief whitepaper about their work and methodology to testing Linux suspend/resume performance.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • EzeeLinux Show 18.14 | Do You Really Need To Upgrade?

      With all the fuss about Ubuntu 18.04 and it’s many children coming along, you may be wondering if you should upgrade. Let’s chat about it.

    • VIDEO: When Linux Demos Go Wrong

      Full disclosure; this is an edited version of a live broadcast. You’ve heard me say it, and warn you about it. On this occasion, I decided it would be fun to take you through a tour of Linux based music player applications. To get said music on my system, I was also going to show you how to rip music from CDs using various applications. That’s when things fell apart and my desktop lost track of the CD hardware. I do recover however and the whole thing does make for an interesting exercise in trying to figure out just what the heck went wrong so I can fix it before I submit to the growing panic. Because things went horribly wrong, at least for a while, I had to reboot my system which meant the show was suddenly in multiple parts. In assembling said parts into a semi-coherent whole, I may have added things here and there.

    • Facebook Data Collection – Unleaded Hangouts

      Facebook Data Collection. Should we stop using it? If we continue to use Facebook, what can be done to minimize the privacy impact – does it even matter? We discuss.

    • Next DevNation Live: Test Smarter and Gain Some Time Back, April 5th, 12pm EDT
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux kernel lockdown and UEFI Secure Boot

      David Howells recently published the latest version of his kernel lockdown patchset. This is intended to strengthen the boundary between root and the kernel by imposing additional restrictions that prevent root from modifying the kernel at runtime. It’s not the first feature of this sort – /dev/mem no longer allows you to overwrite arbitrary kernel memory, and you can configure the kernel so only signed modules can be loaded. But the present state of things is that these security features can be easily circumvented (by using kexec to modify the kernel security policy, for instance).

      Why do you want lockdown? If you’ve got a setup where you know that your system is booting a trustworthy kernel (you’re running a system that does cryptographic verification of its boot chain, or you built and installed the kernel yourself, for instance) then you can trust the kernel to keep secrets safe from even root. But if root is able to modify the running kernel, that guarantee goes away. As a result, it makes sense to extend the security policy from the boot environment up to the running kernel – it’s really just an extension of configuring the kernel to require signed modules.

      The patchset itself isn’t hugely conceptually controversial, although there’s disagreement over the precise form of certain restrictions. But one patch has, because it associates whether or not lockdown is enabled with whether or not UEFI Secure Boot is enabled. There’s some backstory that’s important here.

    • Btrfs Updates Sent In For The Linux 4.17 Kernel

      David Sterba sent in the Btrfs file-system updates today for the Linux 4.17 kernel merge window.

    • XFS Gets Lazy Time Support In Linux 4.17, Other Improvements

      Darrick Wong has submitted the XFS file-system updates targeting the Linux 4.17 kernel. It’s a bit lighter than 4.15 and 4.16 that brought “great scads of new stuff”, but there still is a fair amount of feature work taking place.

    • Linux 4.17 Kicks Off Another Busy Cycle

      It’s been just about twenty-four hours that Linus Torvalds has been accepting new material for the Linux 4.17 mainline kernel and it’s looking indeed like it will be another very busy kernel update.

      Aside from the prominent pull requests issued so far among other early Linux 4.17 coverage on Phoronix, below is a collection of a few other pulls worth pointing out from yesterday but weren’t large enough to each warrant their own article.

    • IBM s390 Continues Working On Spectre Defense With Linux 4.17, VirtIO GPU Emulation

      With the Linux 4.17 kernel the s390 architecture updates include more mitigation work around the Spectre Variant One and Two vulnerabilities.

    • Torvalds Expresses Concerns Over Current “Kernel Lockdown” Approach

      The kernel lockdown feature further restricts access to the kernel by user-space with what can be accessed or modified, including different /dev points, ACPI restrictions, not allowing unsigned modules, and various other restrictions in the name of greater security. Pairing that with UEFI SecureBoot unconditionally is meeting some resistance by Linus Torvalds.

      This thread is what has Linus Torvalds fired up today.

    • USB Type-C Improvements On The Way To The Linux 4.17 Kernel

      The Linux 4.17 kernel is bringing further improvements to USB Type-C support.

      USB Type-C work queued for entering the Linux 4.17 kernel includes the promotion of more code from staging to the kernel tree proper, alert and status message handling within the Type-C Port Manager “TPCM” code, various improvements to the Rockchip Type-C driver, new Type-C switch/mux and usb-role-switch functions, a Pericom PI3USB30532 cross switch driver, an API for being able to control USB Type-C multiplexers, and other improvements.

    • SPARC ADI, SELinux SCTP & New BMC Server-Side Driver For Linux 4.17

      The Linux 4.17 kernel cycle is in full swing with many large pull requests pending.

    • Linux 4.16 launches

      Just over a week ago, Linus Torvalds said that the release of Linux 4.16 could take place on Sunday April 1. Ignoring the fact that April Fool’s day is a terrible day to do just about anything, he made good on his promise.

      As predicted, there was no RC8 of the kernel, and Torvalds notes that the final release is very similar to RC7. In a post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, he also said that the merge window for 4.17 is open, but for now, the focus is on 4.16.

    • RISC-V Support Continues Maturing Within The Mainline Linux Kernel

      The initial RISC-V architecture support landed in Linux 4.15 and now this open-source, royalty-free processor ISA is seeing further improvements with the Linux 4.17 cycle.

      Improvements for RISC-V with the newly in-development Linux 4.17 kernel include support for dynamic ftrace, clean-ups to their atomic and locking code, module loading support is now enabled by default, and other fixes.

      The complete list of RISC-V patches for Linux 4.17 can be found via today’s pull request.

    • Linux 4.17′s Staging Area Loses Some Weight

      While the Linux 4.17 kernel is getting much larger in some areas like the sizable additions to DRM this cycle, when it comes to the kernel’s staging area where new/experimental code gets vetted before being officially mainline, it’s lost tens of thousands of lines of code this cycle.

      For the 4.17 merge window, the staging area adds in 27,014 lines of code but drops 91,104 lines of code — or a net loss of about 64 thousand lines of code. This loss comes with some old code being deleted include the CCREE crypto, FSL-DPAA2, IRDA, and other bits. The FSL-MC code meanwhile was promoted out of staging and the MT7261 platform has staging support for DMA, DTS, ETH, GPIO, PCI, PINCTRL, and SPI.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Free Nitrokey cryptographic cards for kernel developers

        The Linux Foundation and Nitrokey have announced a program whereby anybody who appears in the kernel’s MAINTAINERS file or who has a kernel.org email address can obtain a free Nitrokey Start crypto card. The intent, of course, is that kernel developers will use these devices to safeguard their GnuPG keys and, as a result, improve the security of the kernel development process as a whole.

      • Nitrokey digital tokens for kernel developers

        The Linux Foundation IT team has been working to improve the code integrity of git repositories hosted at kernel.org by promoting the use of PGP-signed git tags and commits. Doing so allows anyone to easily verify that git repositories have not been altered or tampered with no matter from which worldwide mirror they may have been cloned. If the digital signature on your cloned repository matches the PGP key belonging to Linus Torvalds or any other maintainer, then you can be assured that what you have on your computer is the exact replica of the kernel code without any omissions or additions.

      • ONAP, CNCF Come Together on Containers

        ONAP and Kubernetes, two of the fastest growing and in demand open source projects, are coming together at Open Networking Summit this week. To ensure ONAP runs on Kubernetes in any environment, ONAP is now a part of the new Cross-Cloud CI project that integrates, tests and deploys the most popular cloud native projects.

      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OpenContrail (now Tungsten Fabric) Update with DP Ayyadevara (Juniper)

        In this briefing, DP Ayyadevara, Savithru Lokanath and Vinay Rao from Juniper Networks provide an update to the Juniper Contrail and OpenShift integration. We discussed an application build environment use case along with support for Network Policies leveraging Contrail Security integration. Contrail Security helps minimizes risk to the applications that run in multi-cloud environments. It discovers application traffic flows and drastically reduces policy proliferation across different environments. Contrail Security can also be used for easy monitoring and troubleshooting of inter- and intra-application traffic flows. We also touched on the re-branding of OpenContrail to Tungsten Fabric and the road ahead for the open source project itself.

      • Open Standards, Open Source Come Together With New Tech-World Partnership

        The open-source-focused Linux Foundation is teaming with TM Forum, a communications technology industry group that has upped its open standards game in recent years.

        With a new partnership, the world of telecom is jumping into the world of open source with both feet.

        Last month, TM Forum, an association that represents communications service providers (CSPs) as they interact in the digital supply chain, announced it would team with the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit best known for shepherding its namesake, the open-source operating system on which the modern internet is largely built.

        The foundation is also known as a key steward of major open-source projects, and with the partnership, TM Forum will boost its open-source game, a change advocated by the CSPs it represents.

    • Graphics Stack
      • The Big DRM Pull Request Made It Into Linux 4.17

        Last week David Airlie sent in the big DRM feature update for Linux 4.17 prior to going on holiday. For those wondering whether there was going to be any drama with the DRM updates increasing the size of the Linux kernel by another one hundred thousand lines of code, in large part due to Vega 12 header additions, Linus pulled it in without any fuss.

      • AMDGPU DC Begins Reworking FreeSync Module

        The latest batch of AMDGPU DC display code patches were posted last night on the mailing list. These 32 patches touching around three thousand lines of code have more fixes and also work on the FreeSync module.

        When it comes to the FreeSync module they have been reworking it to better jive with the atomic mode-setting model. Unfortunately though no word on when all of the FreeSync bits will be settled in full for allowing users a pleasant out-of-the-box open-source experience if having a modern Radeon GPU paired with a FreeSync-capable monitor. At least the big item is now in place with Linux 4.17 where AMDGPU DC is enabled by default for all supported GPUs, so hopefully it won’t be much longer before the remaining bits are squared away.

      • mesa 17.3.8

        In NIR we have a couple of patches to fix a crash when unrolling loops, as well as a fix for per_vertex_output intrinsic.

      • Mesa 17.3.8 Released With A Handful Of Fixes

        For those waiting until v18.0.1 before upgrading to the Mesa 18.0 series, Mesa 17.3.8 is now available as the latest release off this stable series from the end of 2017.

      • AMDVLK Updated With Fresh Batch Of Fixes

        It’s roughly once a week that AMD updates their external and public facing AMDVLK/PAL source tree for this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver while following last week’s significant update with Wayland support and more, they have quickly issued another update to this RADV driver alternative.

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Lands Out-of-Order Rasterization Support, Small Performance Boost

        The Mesa-based RADV Vulkan driver has landed initial support for out-of-rasterization support, but it’s currently disabled by default.

        Back in 2016 AMD developers introduced the VK_AMD_rasterization_order extension for out-of-order rasterization handling. This VK_AMD_rasterization_order extension has been present since Vulkan 1.0.12 and has already been supported in AMDGPU-PRO.

    • Benchmarks
      • POWER9 Benchmarks vs. Intel Xeon vs. AMD EPYC Performance On Debian Linux

        For several days we’ve had remote access to one of the brand new Raptor Talos II Workstations that is powered by POWER9 processors and open-source down through the firmware. For those curious how these latest POWER processors compare to AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon processors, here are some benchmarks comparing against of the few other systems in house while all testing was done from Debian GNU/Linux.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • dwm: A Minimalist Tiling Window Manager For Linux

      Tiling window managers have several advantages over their more popular cousins such as Gnome, KDE, XFCE, or Fluxbox. The feature of this post, dwm, takes these advantages to their most extreme.

      While most tiling managers strive to be lightweight, dwm keeps itself on a starvation diet of 2000 lines of code or fewer. All its configuration is done when it’s compiled, so it doesn’t read a runtime configuration file. It uses tags (the numbers 1 through 9), rather than arbitrarily-named window spaces, to group programs together. It can also be run entirely with keyboard commands, though it does incorporate mouse support for selecting and dragging windows when appropriate.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDE Connect – Tips, Tricks and Misconceptions

        Since my first blog post we got an huge amount of feedback and it’s amazing to see that you are as excited about KDE Connect as we are. This way I want to say “Thank you” for all your kind words and tell you that this kind of positive feedback is what keeps us going.

        I would also like to share some tips and tricks about KDE Connect that you might not know yet, but first I would like to clear up a common misconception.

      • [Slackware] New package for qbittorrent, now based on Qt5

        Not related per se to the fall-out of last weekend’s update to the icu4c and poppler packages, my qbittorrent package for slackware-current had stopped working sometime ago – caused by an update in -current of the boost package on which the torrent library depends.

        I needed to update qbittorrent too therefore, after having taken care of the icu4c/poppler breakage. The thing is, I had tried to delay the switch in qbittorrent from Qt4 to Qt5 for as long as possible. The ‘new’ 4.x series of qbittorrent have a hard dependency on Qt5, and Qt4 is no longer supported. So I bit the bullet and made packages for bittorrent-4.0.4 and its dependency, libtorrent-rasterbar-1.1.6.
        Since the program uses Qt5 now, the dependencies have changed. If you were running qbittorrent 3.x on slackware-current previously then you have to ensure that you have libxkbcommon, qt5 and qt5-webkit packages installed now.

      • Kraft Version 0.80 Released

        I am happy to announce the release of the stable Kraft version 0.80 (Changelog).

        Kraft is desktop software to manage documents like quotes and invoices in the small business. It focuses on ease of use through an intuitive GUI, a well choosen feature set and ensures privacy by keeping data local.

        After more than a dozen years of life time, Kraft is now reaching a new level: It is now completely ported to Qt5 / KDE Frameworks 5 and with that, it is compatible with all modern Linux distributions again.

        KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt5 are the best base for modern desktop software and Kraft integrates seamlessly into all Linux desktops. Kraft makes use of the great KDE PIM infrastructure with KAddressbook and Akonadi.

      • Proposed design for mobile network settings

        While thinking of design, i looked on biggest “competitors” on mobile OS market – Android and iOS. Mainly i am taking design ideas from Android, since i am thinking it has good proportion between usability and functionality, while i am studying/following KDE Human Interface Guidelines, https://community.kde.org/KDE_Visual_Design_Group/HIG and as recommended i am using Kirigami 2 framework, which implement most of HIG rules by itself.

      • Templates to create your own Plasma Wallpaper plugin
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Diplomatic Munity – Lethal Gnome 2

        Several things: MATE 1.20 looks way better on Bionic than my early test. A little bit of customization goes a long way, and there’s still more room for improvement. Then, Munity, with its Dash and HUD and whatnot, is a smart and practical nod toward Ubuntu and Unity, and it’s way better than Gnome 3. Brings MATE up to modern levels, and it easily achieves parity.

        I am quite happy with what MATE is going to bring us, and the 18.04 LTS test might actually prove to be a very sensible and fun distro, with goodies, practicality, speed, and efficiency blended into one compact and solid package. Bugs are to be ironed, for they are Devil’s work, and MATE can benefit from extra bling bling. But then, from a bland sub-performer to a nifty desktop, with tons of options and features. Takes some fiddling, and not everything is easily discoverable, but the road to satisfaction is a fairly short and predictable one. Munity is a cool, cool idea, and I’m looking forward to Bionic’s official release. Take care.

      • [Slackware] GNOME Library Stack Update
  • Distributions
    • Clear Linux Shedding More Light On Their “Magic” Performance Work

      If you have been a Phoronix reader for any decent amount of time, you have likely seen how well Intel’s Clear Linux distribution continues to run in our performance comparisons against other distributions. The developers behind this Linux distribution have begun a new blog series on “behind the magic” for some of the areas they are making use of for maximizing the out-of-the-box Linux performance.

      Their first post in their “behind the magic” series is on transparent use of library packages optimized for Intel’s architecture… While they are optimizing for their own hardware as one would expect, let’s not forget, Clear Linux does run on AMD hardware too; they are not doing any voodoo magic, which is why it pains me that more Linux distributions have not taken such a stance for better out-of-the-box speed. In fact, it runs on AMD hardware darn well as we have shown with our Ryzen and EPYC benchmarks. Obviously Intel tweaks their software packages for their own x86_64 CPUs, but even when testing on the AMD hardware Clear Linux tends to perform the best in terms of out-of-the-box performance and that Intel isn’t doing anything to sabotage the performance otherwise.

    • New Releases
    • Arch Family
      • 10 Reasons to Install an Arch Linux-Based OS on Your PC

        Arch Linux is one of the most popular Linux operating systems (also known as distributions) around, as are the easier-to-install distros that are based on Arch, such as Manjaro and Antergos.

        Whether you’re thinking of installing each component manually or downloading a pre-built Arch-based desktop, here are ten reasons to embrace the Arch ecosystem.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical Outs Major Kernel Update for Ubuntu 17.10 to Fix 22 Vulnerabilities

            According to the security advisory, a total of 22 security vulnerabilities were patched in this new kernel update, including several use-after-free vulnerabilities in Linux kernel’s ALSA PCM subsystem, network namespaces implementation, a race condition in the OCFS2 filesystem implementation, as well as a race condition in loop block device implementation.

            Issues were also fixed Linux kernel’s KVM implementation, HugeTLB component, HMAC implementation, netfilter component, keyring implementation, the netfilter passive OS fingerprinting (xt_osf) module, the Salsa20 encryption algorithm implementation, the Broadcom NetXtremeII Ethernet driver, Reliable Datagram Socket (RDS) implementation, and the usbtest device driver.

          • Ubuntu Community Theme in Action

            One of the proposed new features in Ubuntu 18.04 was the brand new Community Theme, called Communitheme. As the name suggests, the Community Theme is being developed by the community i.e. volunteers across the globe.

            This new Communitheme uses Adwita theme (GNOME’s default theme) as its base and looks similar to Ubuntu’s own Ambiance theme. Ubuntu Touch inspired Suru is the icon theme here.

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 4 April 2018
          • LXD weekly status #41

            The highlight for this week is the release of LXD, LXC and LXCFS 3.0!

            Those 3 releases are LTS releases and will be supported for the next 5 years.

          • Git-to-k8s automation for on-prem container deployments
          • Dustin Kirkland: I’m Joining the Google Cloud Team!

            A couple of months ago, I reflected on “10 Amazing Years of Ubuntu and Canonical”. Indeed, it has been one hell of a ride, and that post is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg…

            The people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned, the places I’ve been, the users I’ve helped, the partners I’ve enabled, the customers I’ve served — these are undoubtedly the most amazing and cherished experiences of my professional career to date.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Hands-On with System76′s New Installer for Ubuntu-Based Pop!_OS Linux 18.04

              System76′s engineers worked with the elementary OS team on the new Pop!_OS Linux installer, which is now finally available for public testing. Today we take a first look at the new graphical installer in Pop!_OS Linux 18.04, so we can show you how it stands compared to other GNU/Linux distributions.

              Pop!_OS Linux 18.04 LTS is available to download only for 64-bit systems with either Intel/AMD or Nvidia GPUs. The live ISO images can be either installed on your local disk drive or used as is, directly from the bootable medium. When running the ISO, you’ll first be asked to select the system language and keyboard layout.

            • Linux Mint vs. MX Linux: What’s Best for You?

              For the past few years, Linux Mint has been unstoppable in terms of attracting new users. I honestly never really understood its appeal over Ubuntu MATE. However, the fact remains that the Cinnamon desktop seems to be a large part of its appeal.

              Recently I had the pleasure of discovering another desktop distro that is aimed at newer uses. It’s lightning fast, and offers fantastic support for features that newer Linux users are usually looking for. This distro is called MX Linux and it’s latest release is called MX 17.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Lobste.rs visitor statistics

    For April Fools day, lobste.rs turned into an phpBB-like forum. This also allowed for setting external images as forum signatures, which i did make use of. After the whole thing was over, i grabbed the webserver logs and [...]

  • Latest macOS Update Disables DisplayLink, Rendering Thousands of Monitors Dead
  • Hardware
    • Intel sheds Wind River

      Nine years after Intel announced it was acquiring Wind River Systems for $884 million, the chipmaker quietly sold its software subsidiary to investment firm TPG for an undisclosed sum. Although in recent years, Intel had begun to integrate the Wind River into its Open Source Group, the subsidiary is returning to its status as an independent software company, this time backed by TPG. Current Wind River President, Jim Douglas, and his executive management team will stay on, and Intel says it will continue to collaborate with Wind River once the acquisition is closed later this quarter.

    • For Apple, Quitting Intel Won’t Come Easy

      As Gurman reports, Apple hopes to replace the x86 Intel architecture that its Macs have used for over a decade with ARM-based chips, like those that power the iPhone. That transition would pose at least two hurdles, both fairly high.

  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #153
    • WordPress 4.9.5 Security and Maintenance Release

      WordPress 4.9.5 is now available. This is a security and maintenance release for all versions since WordPress 3.7. We strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

    • Richard Stallman’s Privacy Proposal, Valve’s Commitment to Linux, New WordPress Update and More

      Richard Stallman writes “A radical proposal to keep personal data safe” in The Guardian: “The surveillance imposed on us today is worse than in the Soviet Union. We need laws to stop this data being collected in the first place.”

      WordPress 4.9.5 was released yesterday. This is a security and maintenance release, and it fixes 28 bugs, so be sure to update right away. To download or view the changelog, go here.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • EXT4 Gets Extra Protection Against Maliciously Crafted Container Images

      Given the booming popularity of Linux containers, it’s little surprise but unfortunate that Linux file-systems are having to protect against specially-crafted file-system images by malicious actors looking to exploit vulnerabilities in the code.

      Ted Ts’o today sent in the EXT4 Linux file-system updates and it’s mostly mundane maintenance work with no major features this cycle. He did note of the bug fixes to protect against potentially malicious EXT4 file-system images.

    • Walden seeks to bolster cybersecurity on Linux open source software system

      U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) has asked the head of The Linux Foundation to explain the nonprofit’s efforts around securing the open source software (OSS) ecosystem against vulnerabilities that could make the sensitive information of hundreds of millions of users vulnerable to cyber attacks.

      “As the last several years have made clear, OSS is such a foundational part of the modern connected world that it has become critical cyber infrastructure. As we continue to examine cybersecurity issues generally, it is therefore imperative that we understand the challenges and opportunities the OSS ecosystem faces, and potential steps that OSS stakeholders may take to further support it,” wrote Rep. Walden, chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, and U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), chairman of the panel’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

    • Better Cyber Security Problematic, Says US Financial Industry: Power Struggle Over Encryption

      A decision to keep third party listeners out of communications on the internet taken by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) at their recent meeting in London elicited an alarmist message from the US financial industry. The premier internet standardisation body would provide “privacy for crooks,” and practically prohibit “bank security guards from patrolling and checking particular rooms” online, BITS, the technology division of the Financial Services Roundtable, argued in a press release last week. Has standardisation gone rogue?

    • Confirmed: Intel Will Not Patch Spectre And Meltdown Flaw In Older Processors

      Intel has published a microcode update guidance that confirms that it won’t be patching up the Spectre and Meltdown design flaws in all of its processors — mostly the older ones.

      The company has rolled out microcode updates to fix the Spectre v2 vulnerability for many of its processors going back to the second generation Core (Sandy Bridge).

  • Defence/Aggression
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Nearly 100 Public Interest Organizations Urge Council of Europe to Ensure High Transparency Standards for Cybercrime Negotiations

      EFF along with 93 civil society organizations from across the globe today sent a letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. The letter requests transparency and meaningful civil society participation in the Council of Europe’s (CoE) negotiations of the draft Second Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime (also known as the “Budapest Convention”) —a new international text that will deal with cross-border access to data by law enforcement authorities. According to to the Terms of Reference for the negotiations, it may include ways to improve Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) and allow “direct cooperation” between law enforcement authorities and companies to access people’s “subscriber information”, order “preservation” of data, and to make “emergency requests”.

      The upcoming Second Additional Protocol is currently being discussed at the Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) of the Council of Europe, a committee that gathers the States Party to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and other observer and “ad hoc” countries and organisations. The T-CY aims to finalize the Second Additional Protocol by December 2019. While the Council of Europe has made clear its intention for “close interaction with civil society”, civil society groups are asking to be included throughout the entire process—not just during the Council of Europe’s Octopus Conferences.

    • Celebrities, academics, activists rally to #ReconnectAssange

      Celebrities and political activists have rallied in solidarity around WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose internet access was abruptly suspended by the Ecuadorian government last week, by signing an open letter demanding that it be restored.

      The signatories not only include prominent intellectuals, like Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Zizek, and journalists, but also famous artists. Rapper M.I.A. added her name to the list, alongside filmmaker Oliver Stone, musician Brian Eno, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and actress Pamela Anderson.

      “If it was ever clear that the case of Julian Assange was never just a legal case, but a struggle for the protection of basic human rights, it is now,” the letter reads.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The death of the newsfeed

      Unavoidable as it seems, though, this approach has two problems. First, getting that sample ‘right’ is very hard, and beset by all sorts of conceptual challenges. But second, even if it’s a successful sample, it’s still a sample.

    • Here’s How You Can Use Trump Town

      President Donald Trump sits atop a sprawling executive branch, with thousands of hand-picked lieutenants across dozens of agencies who make sure his agenda is pursued and his priorities are followed.

      Presidential appointees have historically wielded a significant amount of power, playing dealmaker on Capitol Hill and handling billion-dollar budgets in federal offices.

      With all of this hiring going on, it’s important that the public gets a chance to know who these new power players are and what conflicts of interest they may have. Figuring that out can be difficult, requiring painstaking, laborious research and public records sleuthing.

    • Help Us Dive Into the Swamp — ‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast

      This week, we’re doing a couple of things differently on “Trump, Inc.” Instead of focusing on President Donald Trump’s businesses, we’re looking more broadly at business interests in the Trump administration. We’re also giving you, our listeners, homework.

      Last month, ProPublica published the first comprehensive and searchable database of Trump’s 2,684 political appointees, along with their federal lobbying and financial records. It’s the result of a year spent filing Freedom of Information Act requests, collecting staffing lists and publishing financial disclosure reports.

    • How Do You Identify Fake News?

      Remember when 318 people were shot in Chicago on Halloween 2015 and former President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in the city? Or when Hillary Clinton ran a child sex-trafficking ring from the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor? Or when first lady Melania Trump used a body double in public appearances?

      All these events received news coverage. All were fake.

      It’s troubling how much traction false news can get. Like when major news sources splashed headlines over the Trump administration’s claims that Chicago’s gun violence was occurring in a “city with the strongest gun laws in our country.” Not true, either. Local media have countered that claim time and again. The nonpartisan political fact-checker PolitiFact called President Donald Trump’s comments about this “Pants on Fire!” the worst rating on its Truth-O-Meter.

    • Facebook’s Targeting System Can Divide Us on More Than Just Advertising

      It’s heartening to see, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, growing skepticism about how Facebook handles data and data privacy. But we should take this opportunity to ask the bigger, harder questions, too — questions about discrimination and division, and whether we want to live in a society where our consumer data profile determines our reality.

      In the spring of 2016, a Facebook executive gave a presentation about the success of Facebook’s then-new “ethnic affinity” advertising categories. Facebook had grouped users as white, Black, or Latino based on what they had clicked, and this targeting had allowed the movie “Straight Outta Compton” to be marketed as two completely different films. For Black audiences, it was a deeply political biopic about the members of N.W.A. and their music, framed by contemporary reflections from Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. For white audiences, it was a scripted drama about gangsters, guns, and cops that barely mentioned the names of its real-life characters. From the perspective of Universal Pictures, this dual marketing had been wildly successful. “Straight Outta Compton” earned over $160 million at the U.S. box office.

      When we saw this news in 2016, it immediately raised alarm bells about the effect of such categories on civil rights. We went straight to Facebook with our immediate concern: How was the company ensuring that ads for jobs, housing, and employment weren’t targeted by race, given that such targeting is illegal under the civil rights laws? Facebook didn’t have an answer. We worked with officials from the company for more than a year on solutions that, as it turned out, were not properly implemented. Facebook still makes it possible for advertisers to target based on categories closely linked to gender, family status, and disability, and the company has recently gotten sued for it.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Patronizing censorship

      Unlike Joel Rubinoff, I’m not going to tie labels on anyone (that’s a liberal thing). But I’d like to remind him of two sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; free speech and the right to be presumed innocent. Apparently, he doesn’t agree with either of them.

    • Negative Criticism, Even When It’s Based on Politics, Is Not the Same as Censorship

      Much of the criticism of the new Roseanne reboot has had less to do with how it works as a traditional sitcom, and more with the ideology behind it. Some are upset that the character of Roseanne Conner is a Trump supporter. Some are discomfited by the way the show sanitizes and whitewashes that support. For others, the problem lies with Roseanne Barr herself, and the fact that ABC gave such a prominent, lucrative platform to a hateful, transphobic woman obsessed with rightwing conspiracy theories.

    • Republican governor forced to stop blocking Facebook users who criticize him

      Four Maryland residents sued the Republican governor in a US District Court in August 2017, with help from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland. The ACLU announced yesterday that a settlement has been finalized, requiring Hogan to implement a new social media policy within two weeks. The state is also required to pay $65,000 to the plaintiffs.

    • Maryland governor settles lawsuit with ACLU over Facebook censorship

      In the fall of 2015, James Laurenson of Maryland was so upset that his governor, Larry Hogan, was opposed to the Obama administration’s plan to allow Syrian refugees to resettle within the U.S. that he did something he never had before: He aired his grievances on the governor’s public Facebook page.

      As part of comments that were also emailed to the governor’s office, Laurenson wrote that he was “ashamed to be called a Marylander” and believed that Hogan, a Republican, was “aiding and abetting” the Islamic State.

      No one replied to Laurenson’s email, but someone overseeing the Facebook page deleted his comments and then blocked him from posting further, according to a federal lawsuit filed last August on behalf of Laurenson and three others who say they were similarly gagged by the governor’s office.

    • Maryland governor settles suit over Facebook censorship

      In the fall of 2015, James Laurenson of Maryland was so upset that his governor, Larry Hogan, was opposed to the Obama administration’s plan to allow Syrian refugees to resettle within the U.S. that he did something he never had before: He aired his grievances on the governor’s public Facebook page.

    • Censorship Conversation

      Derflinger: For me censorship is like the limiting of ideas, whether that is words, thoughts, actions … it could be written, it could be spoken, it could be whatever kind of limitations there are, limiting people to express themselves and their ideas and their beliefs.

    • Associate dean Donald Low of LKY School resigns

      Earlier this year, he wrote a controversial Facebook post, which said that teenage blogger Amos Yee – who had been convicted for derogatory remarks about Christians in a YouTube video – “has all the traits that we want in our youth”, drawing criticism online.

    • Goodbye freedom of the press, hello media censorship

      Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Zendaya and Demi Lovato all have two things in common. They are all advocates for the “Me Too” campaign, and two, they were all on the cover of Cosmopolitan in 2017. Is this for their own publicity or is it because they are also advocates for the female empowerment mission Cosmo stands for?

      On the other hand, Walmart has a different opinion about these magazines. At the end of March 2018, one of the biggest stores in the country, Walmart, decided to move Cosmopolitan magazines from the checkout aisles to the back of the store behind barriers, according to the New York Times. Walmart stated that they did not want the customers to be exposed to the sexual content that Cosmopolitan delivers.

      The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) partnered up with Walmart to decrease publications of Cosmopolitan in hopes that the sex magazine will stop degrading women and painting them as sex objects to males, according to the Huffington Post.

    • Yet Another Court Says Victims Don’t Need SESTA/FOSTA To Go After Backpage

      We already pointed to a ruling in Massachusetts showing that victims of sex trafficking don’t need SESTA/FOSTA to get around CDA 230 and go after Backpage when Backpage is an active participant, and now another court has found something similar. Found via Eric Goldman, a court in Florida has rejected a motion to dismiss by Backpage on CDA 230 grounds. The full order is here (and embedded below).

      As with other cases (including the Massachusetts case) the real issue here is whether or not Backpage was just a service provider, or if it crossed the line into being a content provider itself, and did so in ways that broke the law. To be clear, the court here does seem… confused about CDA 230 and how other courts have ruled, and basically rejects plenty of existing caselaw and the nature of 230:

    • Sex Workers Fighting Back Against SESTA/FOSTA With Their Own Social Network… And Plan To Expose Politicians

      One of the most vocal groups in opposition to SESTA/FOSTA were sex workers, who spoke out about how the bills would put their lives at risk and how it would put the lives of trafficking victims at risk, often making it more difficult for victims to find information on how to get help or to protect themselves. Indeed, there are already reports of information sites shutting down entirely.

    • Sex workers are sick of censorship on social media

      Social media’s a great place — unless you’re a sex worker.

      Sex workers claim they’re being marginalized by Twitter and Instagram, Vice reports.

      Melody Kush, a veteran camgirl, was iced from Twitter in 2017. Despite an earlier tussle over an exposed nipple, she can’t figure out what led to her getting booted, and says she’s also been kicked off Instagram for no obvious reason.

    • Self-Censorship and the State: Evaluating Progress on Free Speech in Uzbekistan

      Last week, the trial of two journalists and two businessmen accused of plotting to overthrow the government began in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Breaking with past precedent, the trial has been open to press and human rights organizations. As such, it has become a test case for the limits of Uzbekistan’s reforms under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, particularly as they apply to domestic politics and matters of free speech.

      Bobomurod Abdullaev, a freelance journalist, blogger Hayot Nasriddinov, and businessmen Ravshan Salaev and Shavkat Olloyorov have been charged with “conspiracy to overthrow the constitutional regime.” The charge is rooted in a series of articles published under the byline Usman Haqnazarov, a pseudonym reportedly used by more than one individual. The articles were critical of the regime of Uzbekistan’s first president, Islam Karimov, who died in the fall of 2016.

    • Royal Court dropped Tibet play after advice from British Council

      The Royal Court theatre pulled a play about Tibet after the British Council privately advised that it would coincide with “significant political meetings” in China and could jeopardise the theatre’s ability to work there.

      The West End venue – which had been criticised by the play’s award-winning Indian author, who claimed the play had been shelved – said in February it had had to postpone and then withdraw the production for “financial reasons” in 2017 and that it was now committed to producing the play in spring next year.

      Correspondence released under the Freedom of Information Act now reveals details of discussions about the play, Pah-La, between the theatre and the British Council, the UK government’s cultural diplomacy arm.

      The play’s scheduled West End run, from October to November last year, would have had an impact on a joint arts programme being run in China as well as coinciding with “significant political meetings” in China, the theatre was told by a high-ranking British Council official serving as a first secretary in the UK’s embassy in Beijing.

      Pah-La deals with life in contemporary Tibet, drawing on personal stories of Tibetans with whom the playwright, Abhishek Majumdar, worked in India, which is home to a substantial community of Tibetan exiles including the Dalai Lama.

    • Malaysia just made fake news illegal and punishable by up to six years in jail
    • The world’s largest democracy is out to stifle its already docile press
    • Censorship fears: PMO asks I&B Ministry to withdraw memo on fake news after widespread criticism
    • The Algorithms Take Over: Will Facebook’s Private Message Scanning Lead To Autonomous Censorship?
    • Russia blasts Facebook’s ‘totalitarianism & censorship’ after 270 accounts banned for no reason

      Sample of the pages banned by Facebook, which it says did not violate any of its content guidelines / Facebook / Supplied for media use
      Moscow has chided Facebook and demanded an explanation from the US State Department, after the social media giant banned media and personal accounts that violated no rules but are purportedly linked to a Russian “troll factory.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Richard Stallman Proposes Ceasing Of Data Collection To Safeguard Privacy And Anonymity

      The aftermath of Facebook CA scandal has attracted several comments and criticism from common people and prominent figures alike.

      Now Richard Stallman, the man behind GNU project and free software movement, has shared his views in a column on The Guardian on restoring privacy through stricter regulations for data accumulation.

    • How Wizards and Muggles Break Free from the Matrix

      Many of those appear more than once, with different prefixes. I’ve also left off variants of google, doubleclick, facebook, twitter and other familiars.

      Interesting: when I look a second, third or fourth time, the list is different—I suppose because third-party ad servers are busy trying to shove trackers into my browser afresh, as long as a given page is open.

      When I looked up one of those trackers, “moatads”, which I chose at random, most of the 1,820,000 search results were about how moatads is bad stuff.

    • Google And Amazon File Creepy Patents That Can Further “Sniff” Your Conversations

      The world hasn’t even recovered from the user data breach following the Facebook CA scandal, meanwhile Google and Amazon’s virtual assistants are getting smarter at a scary speed by adopting advanced data spying methods.

      Recent patent filings of Google and Amazon “outline an array of possibilities” for how their smart devices could observe what users say and do.

    • Facebook Isn’t Telling the Whole Story About Its Decision to Stop Partnering With Data Brokers

      The company publicly announced last week that it was shutting down its Partner Categories program to “help improve people’s privacy on Facebook.” What it didn’t mention was that the move is actually part of the company’s efforts to comply with the GDPR, the new EU data protection law going into effect in May, which imposes consent requirements that make using third-party data more difficult.

      While it’s nice to see Facebook deciding to implement this EU-mandatory privacy change across the globe, it would be missing some of the larger picture to interpret this as a completely voluntary, privacy-protective measure taken wholly in response to Cambridge Analytica. Beyond the stark fact of legal compliance, this isn’t even a move that is likely to affect Facebook’s bottom line: the company may actually stand to benefit from this, in terms of boosted profits and solidified market dominance.

    • HTTPS Everywhere Introduces New Feature: Continual Ruleset Updates

      Today we’re proud to announce the launch of a new version of HTTPS Everywhere, 2018.4.3, which brings with it exciting new features. With this newest update, you’ll receive our list of HTTPS-supporting sites more regularly, bundled as a package that is delivered to the extension on a continual basis. This means that your HTTPS-Everywhere-protected browser will have more up-to-date coverage for sites that offer HTTPS, and you’ll encounter fewer sites that break due to bugs in our list of supported sites. It also means that in the future, third parties can create their own list of URL redirects for use in the extension. This could be useful, for instance, in the Tor Browser to improve the user experience for .onion URLs. This new version is the same old extension you know and love, now with a cleaner behind-the-scenes process to ensure that it’s protecting you better than ever before.

    • Data Privacy Policy Must Empower Users and Innovation

      As the details continue to emerge regarding Facebook’s failure to protect its users’ data from third-party misuse, a growing chorus is calling for new regulations. Mark Zuckerberg will appear in Washington to answer to Congress next week, and we expect lawmakers and others will be asking not only what happened, but what needs to be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

      As recent revelations from Grindr and Under Armour remind us, Facebook is hardly alone in its failure to protect user privacy, and we’re glad to see the issue high on the national agenda. At the same time, it’s crucial that we ensure that privacy protections for social media users reinforce, rather than undermine, equally important values like free speech and innovation. We must also be careful not to unintentionally enshrine the current tech powerhouses by making it harder for others to enter those markets. Moreover, we shouldn’t lose sight of the tools we already have for protecting user privacy.

    • Want to Keep Personal Information Safe Online? Fix the Software

      Code for enforcing security and privacy is tangled up with other code, making it hard for both developers and auditors to look at a code base and determine which policies are being enforced.

    • Facebook apologises for storing draft videos users thought they had deleted

      The bug was first reported last week after users discovered videos they had never posted were being stored by the company. The storage was only uncovered when those users attempted to download all the data the company had on them, and were startled to find that Facebook had stored unused draft videos for years.

    • Facebook says it will not extend GDPR privacy protections beyond EU

      Facebook has no plans to extend the user privacy protections put in place by the far-reaching General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, law to users of its social network around the globe, according to Reuters. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the news agency in an interview that Facebook would like to make such privacy guarantees “in spirit,” but would make exceptions. Zuckerberg declined to explain those exceptions, according to Reuters.

    • Exclusive: Facebook CEO stops short of extending European privacy globally

      Zuckerberg told Reuters in a phone interview that Facebook was working on a version of the law that would work globally, bringing some European privacy guarantees worldwide, but the 33-year-old billionaire demurred when asked what parts of the law he would not extend worldwide.

    • Facebook wants a social media supreme court so it can avoid hard questions

      As Klein points out, Facebook’s failures have consequences on par with government failures. The integrity of elections is threatened; violence is incited; and key communication channels are jammed by bad actors. In America and many other countries, much of this activity goes unregulated by the government. So, what recourse does the average person have? As Klein puts it [...]

    • Here are the moats and walls Facebook has been building for years to defend against #DeleteFacebook

      As we set ourselves to the task of dooming Facebook to the scrapheap of history, it’s worth considering the many ways in which Facebook has anticipated and planned for this moment, enacting countermeasures to prevent the rise of a competitor focused on delivering things that help users (making it easy to find people to form interest groups with), rather than focused on “maximizing engagement” and spying on us.

    • Facebook Has Been Preparing for #DeleteFacebook for More Than a Decade

      But Facebook’s nearly 2 billion users have nowhere else to go. That’s because, with a few exceptions, Facebook has managed to squash its competitors, either by cloning or acquiring them—a tactic it’s used to remain relevant and irreplaceable. For the past 14 years, since its inception, Facebook has been preparing for this very moment. And now that it’s here, the company continues to monopolize the way humans interact online.

    • Facebook Is Not the Problem. Lax Privacy Rules Are.

      There’s no need to start from scratch. In 2012, President Barack Obama proposed a privacy bill of rights that included many ideas for giving people more control over their information, making data collection more transparent and putting limits on what business can do with the information they collect. The bill of rights fizzled out when Congress showed little appetite for it. But the European Union has used a similar approach in developing its General Data Protection Regulation, which goes into effect on May 25.

    • Brazil’s ISPs Line up for their Privacy Stars in “Quem Defende Seus Dados”

      InternetLab, the Brazilian independent research center, has published their third edition of “Quem Defende Seus Dados?” (Who defends your data?”), an annual report which evaluates the practices of their local Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and how they treat their customers’ personal data when the government demands it.

      This years’ report expanded the number of ISPs covered, and shows Vivo taking a strong lead, followed by Tim and then Claro and Oi close behind. The Brazilian ISPs still have plenty of room for improvement, especially on transparency reports, law enforcement guidelines, and notification to users.

    • State Dept. Wants to Expand Social Media Collection to All Visa Applicants

      The State Department has alarmingly declared that it wants to collect social media information from all visa applicants. This appears to be an expansion of a 2017 program that sought social media information only from a subset of initially suspicious visa applicants. This is also the latest effort in a troubling trend of conducting social media surveillance both domestically and abroad that began with President Barack Obama’s Administration and has continued during President Donald Trump’s Administration.

      The State Department issued two Federal Register notices last week seeking public comments on its proposal to ask all visa applicants—those seeking both immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the United States—for social media information for the past five years. “Social media information” includes the online platforms that visa applicants currently use—or have used in the past—and their account identifiers or handles. This means that visa applicants will have to disclose their use of websites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. The State Department also wants to ask all visa applicants for the phone numbers and email addresses used for the past five years, among other information.

      This questioning invades the free speech and privacy rights of foreign visitors to the U.S., as well as the rights of their American friends, families, and professional associates. As with other similar programs, EFF opposes this collection of personal information.

    • DNS Resolvers Performance compared: CloudFlare x Google x Quad9 x OpenDNS [Ed: In exchange for leverage, dependence and surveillance they give us 'free' DNS and boast and about "speed" and the likes of that]

      A couple of months ago I did a performance comparison between some of the top free DNS Resolvers available. It was just after Quad9 had launched and I was trying to decide which one to use and recommend to families and friends. Google, OpenDNS, Quad9, .. some many options… I love options …

    • It’s Grindr’s Turn In The Barrel As America Finally Decides To Care About Consumer Privacy

      Whatever you think about the Facebook Cambridge Analytica kerfuffle, it’s pretty obvious that the scandal is causing a long overdue reassessment of our traditionally lax national privacy standards. While most companies talk a good game about their breathless dedication to consumer privacy, that rhetoric is usually pretty hollow and oversight borders on nonexistent. The broadband industry is a giant poster child for that apathy, as is the internet of very broken things sector. For a very long time we’ve made it abundantly clear that making money was more important than protecting user data, and the check is finally coming due.

      While it may only be a temporary phenomenon, the Cambridge Analytica scandal is finally causing some much-needed soul searching on this front. And given how deep our collective privacy apathy rabbit hole goes, being sloppy with consumer data may actually bear witness to something vaguely resembling accountability for a little while. Case in point is gay dating site Grindr, which this week was hammered in the media after it was revealed that the company was sharing an ocean of data with app optimization partner companies, including location data and even HIV status.

    • Why do people dislike online ads?

      Many people who have shopped online have had the experience of looking for something to buy, and then being followed by ads for that thing for days (or weeks, sometimes months!) afterwards. This is known as behavioral retargeting in the ad industry. The premise for this is as follows: the advertiser is looking for consumers who are interested to buy a product, such as a shirt. They would like to show ads for their shirt to people who would be a good target audience for buying a shirt. In the offline world, if the advertiser were to place such an ad looking for a custom target audience, they would probably look for print magazines specializing in fashion, attire and such, based on the assumption that a subset of people who would buy and read such magazines would probably be interested in buying a shirt. In the online world, however, the online ad industry offers a more lucrative option: showing ads for the shirt to people who have before shown real interest in buying a shirt, possibly a shirt of the same kind, color, size, etc. as the one the advertiser is looking to promote! What could be better than this?! The way the online ad companies do this is typically by tracking users from their online shopping carts through everywhere else on the Web as they browse, so that they can detect who abandoned a shopping cart without buying the products in it, what was in the cart, where that user is going now, which advertisers are interested to show ads for those abandoned products, and match up the two.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • The Legal Questions Raised by a Women-Only Workspace

      When it was reported last week that the New York City Commission on Human Rights was investigating The Wing, the co-working space for women, over its women-only membership policy, its members and advocates rushed to the company’s defense. The inquiry has generated controversy given the heightened awareness, resulting from the #MeToo movement, that sexual harassment is still rampant in far too many workplaces.

      Judging by The Wing’s success as both a business venture and a place for women to gather, it has undoubtedly met a real need. Yet the commission’s job is to respond to reports of discrimination it receives, as in this case. By limiting its patrons to women only, The Wing may not be in compliance with New York’s public accommodation law — a law that exists for good reason and furthers gender equality.

      New York, like nearly every state and many cities, provides that places of public accommodation can’t discriminate against members of the public based on characteristics including race, religion, disability — or sex. Antidiscrimination laws like New York’s are why we have the freedom to go about our daily lives without fear of being turned away from retail stores, banks, and hotels simply because of who we are.

    • The Role of Youth in a Hoped-for Transformation

      The massive turnout for the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington on March 24 has given rise to hope that a new youth movement can spur a social transformation in the United States, write Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers.

    • King’s Legacy Betrayed

      Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the preeminent leader of the black liberation movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Millions of people engaged in the struggle against America’s shameful apartheid system but King was the most influential. His actions are remembered, his words are quoted by activists, politicians, and pundits. His birthday is a national holiday. Only the worst and most retrograde racists dare to speak ill of King.

      But the lionizing is mostly a sham. In fact there are very few people who remember the importance of what King said, what he did or why and how they should replicate his work. His legacy has been subverted and is now understood only by the most conscious students of history.

      Nothing illustrated this state of affairs more clearly than the use of King’s words in a Ram truck commercial broadcast during the 2018 Super Bowl football championship. Viewers were told that Ram trucks are “built to serve.”

      The voice over is provided by King himself speaking exactly 50 years earlier, on February 4, 1968. The Drum Major Instinct sermon was a call to reject the ego driven desire for attention in favor of working for more altruistic pursuits. “If you want to say that I was a drum major say that I was a drum major for justice.”

    • 50 Years After MLK’s Assassination, We Remain Two Societies, ‘Separate and Unequal’

      On April 4, 1968, I was 11 and growing up in Memphis when the news came that Martin Luther King had been murdered. My parents couldn’t hide how bad it was – they were angry. They were afraid. And most memorably to my childhood self, they were crying. I couldn’t articulate it at the time, but I know now that I was afraid that killing the dreamer could kill the dream.

      Exactly one year earlier, in a speech at Riverside Church in New York City, Dr. King said, “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now… Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity.” A year later, his call for civil rights and racial justice was answered by an assassin’s bullet.

      King understood the urgency of now.

      He graduated from divinity school in 1955 and six months later he was leading the Montgomery Improvement Association during the now-famous Montgomery bus boycott. For the next 12 years he was a tireless public spokesperson for racial justice. He endured being shot at, stabbed, beaten, surveilled and harassed by the government, arrested more than 30 times, subjected to unrelenting media scrutiny, outpourings of hate speech, and death threats.

    • From Chaos in Saigon, to Chaos in Washington: 4/4/68

      As news of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis spread, despondent crowds gathered in the heart of Washington’s business section along 14th street. Orderly at first, the crowds became surly and started breaking windows, looting stores and setting fires.

      I reported immediately to the ABC News bureau on Connecticut Ave. The news editor said, “Good timing Don, we can use a reporter with combat experience. There’s a crew leaving for the riots in a few minutes. There’s room in the car for you.”

    • The Orange County Prosecutor’s Office Ran a Secret, Unconstitutional Jailhouse Informant Scheme for Years

      When Bethany Webb’s sister, Laura, was killed in a mass shooting in 2011, she couldn’t imagine things getting worse. But then-District Attorney Tony Rackauckas of Orange County, California, took the case.

      In his zeal to impose the death penalty — over Webb’s objection — Rackauckas employed jailhouse informants to elicit damning statements from the defendant, Scott Dekraai, while Dekraai was in jail. These informant-defendant interactions violated the Constitution’s right to counsel — no one is allowed to interrogate defendants without their attorneys present. Rackauckas knew that what he was doing was illegal, but he did it anyway. And it wasn’t the first time Rackauckas had broken the law in pursuit of a conviction.

      In fact, Rackauckas and Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens had overseen a systematic, methodical program of using jailhouse informants for years. Their era of impunity ended only in 2014, when Dekraai’s attorney uncovered their illegal jailhouse informant program. Remarkably, even after their unlawful acts were discovered, Rackauckas, Hutchens, and their employees denied it, going so far as to lie about it under oath to Orange County judges and juries.

      Rackauckas’ and Hutchens’ illegal acts corrupted the entire system, making it impossible for crime victims to achieve closure, defendants to receive due process, and the community to trust those charged with protecting them. When law enforcement cheats, we all lose.

      Now, seven years after Laura Webb was killed, Bethany Webb, the sister of a murder victim, has joined forces with the ACLU, the ACLU of Southern California, People for the Ethical Operation of Prosecution and Law Enforcement, and the law offices of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, to end this illegal and destructive informant program.

      The Orange County informant program has three primary components, all of which violate the law. First, Orange County deputy sheriffs cultivate relationships with professional jailhouse informants. These informants are facing serious jail time themselves, and therefore have a strong incentive to enter the employ of law enforcement.

    • Judge Tosses Charges Against Journalist Who Published Docs Leaked To Her By A Police Officer

      A police department’s retaliatory arrest of a citizen journalist has dead-ended with a courtroom loss. Priscilla Villarreal — better known as “Lagordiloca” to her thousands of Facebook fans — was arrested after she published information given to her by police officer Barbara Goodman. The info included the name of Border Patrol agent who had committed suicide — info never officially released by the Border Patrol.

      While the proper target for Texas prosecutors would have been the officer leaking sensitive info, they decided to pursue Villarreal instead, issuing an arrest warrant for “misuse of official information.” Publishing leaks has never really troubled the courts before, usually falling well within the confines of the First Amendment. But prosecutors argued the “misuse” occurred when Villarreal “profited” from it by “gaining popularity” with her exclusive leak.

      “Lagordiloca” operated outside the mainstream, publishing and streaming interactions with officers live to her Facebook page. It’s apparent many officers didn’t care for her reporting, and this misuse of a “misuse” law seemed like a quick and dirty way to shut her up. It didn’t work. As Jason Buch reports for the San Antonio Express-News, a judge has tossed the charges against Villareal, finding them unconstitutional.

    • Judge throws out charges against blogger called La Gordiloca

      A judge in Laredo on Wednesday threw out the charges against the social media personality known as La Gordiloca.

      State District Judge Monica Z. Notzon ruled that part of the law police used to arrest Priscilla Villarreal is unconstitutionally vague.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Comcast’s Top Lobbyist Is Pushing A Net Neutrality ‘Compromise’ That Isn’t

      With net neutrality rules currently on the chopping block, Comcast’s top lobbyist is once again trying to sell people on letting giant ISPs pick winners and losers on the internet. The FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules explicitly banned “paid prioritization,” or letting one company (say, Disney) buy itself a network advantage over more cash-strapped competitors. While the FCC’s 2015 rules carved out vast exceptions for legitimate prioritization (VoIP, medical services), they made it clear that anti-competitive paid prioritization deals of this kind distorted the traditionally level playing field, letting the wealthiest companies buy an unfair edge over competitors.

      And while Comcast used to promise that it would never consider such deals, those promises have slowly but surely evaporated the closer we get to the net neutrality repeal the company has spent millions on. As we get closer to a country without real net neutrality protections, Comcast’s promises to avoid such pay-to-play schemes have been not-coincidentally mysteriously disappearing from the company’s website.

    • Even the telco industry thinks Ajit Pai is an asshole for maiming Lifeline, a broadband subsidy for poor Americans

      Now, Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, wants to force Lifeline users to buy access from the big telcos, a move even those very same telcos think is bananas. And as a group of US 10 US senators have pointed out, Pai offered no evidence to support his contention that MNVOs strangle broadband investment (the FCC is only allowed to act on the basis of documented evidence), and Pai’s proposal would eliminate the plans used by more than 70% of Lifeline recipients.

    • California’s Legislature Seeks to Protect Network Neutrality and Promote ISP Competition

      In response to the rollback of federal network neutrality protections, this year more than 20 states have taken up the mantle of protector of a free and open Internet. Washington has already passed a law and Oregon’s waits to be enacted. Not to be outdone, California has three bills pending that, if all passed, would create the most comprehensive net neutrality defense of any state while promoting community broadband.

      Those bills, S.B. 420, S.B. 822, and A.B. 1999, will face hearings and votes this month and hopefully make it to the governor’s desk towards the end of the year. If Governor Brown signs all three, California’s would not only restore the ban on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization the FCC recently repealed, but also secures more protections and options for Californians while making it easier for local governments to engage in community broadband projects to give their residents choice and competition in the ISP market.

    • Digital Justice: Internet Co-ops Resist Net Neutrality Rollbacks

      More than 300 electric cooperatives across the US are building their own internet with high-speed fiber networks. These locally owned networks are poised to do what federal and state governments and the marketplace couldn’t. First, they protect open internet access from the internet service providers (ISP) that stand to pocket the profits from net neutrality rollbacks that the Trump administration announced last November. Second, they bring affordable, fast internet access to anyone, narrowing the digital divide that deepens individual and regional socioeconomic disparities.

      In Detroit, for example, forty percent of the population has no access of any kind to the internet. Because of Detroit’s economic woes, many Big Telecom companies haven’t thought it worthwhile to invest in expanding their network to these communities. Internet connectivity is a crucial economic leveler without which people fall behind in schools, health, and the job market.

      In response, a growing cohort of Detroit resident has started a grassroots movement called the Equitable Internet Initiative, through which locals are build their own high speed internet. It started with enlisting digital stewards—locals who were interested in working for the nonprofit coalition. Many of these stewards started out with little or no tech expertise, but after a 20-week-long training, they’ve become experts able to install, troubleshoot, and maintain a network from end to end. They aim to build shared tools like a forum and a secured emergency communication network—and to educate their communities on digital literacy so people can truly own the network themselves.

      Detroit isn’t the only city with residents who aim to own their internet. Thirty of the 300 tribal reservations in the US have internet access. Seventeen of these tribal reservation communities in San Diego County have secured wireless internet access under the Tribal Digital Village initiative. Another local effort, Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, which was originally established in 1939 to brings electrical power to central Missouri farms, has organized to crowdfund the money necessary to establish its own network. By 2014, members enjoyed connection speeds in the top twenty percent of the US, and the fastest in Missouri. By 2016, Co-Mo’s entire service area was on the digital grid.

  • DRM
    • Intel’s new 8th-gen Core vPro business-class processors ‘engineered for digital transformation’

      called Intel Runtime BIOS Resilience.”

      Intel Authenticate, a “multifactor authentication solution that verifies identities in hardware for added protection below the software layer, now includes support for facial recognition with Windows 10. This enables an intuitive user experience across leading business devices from Dell*, HP*, Lenovo* and more, while also supporting specific IT policies and management consoles.”

      “Right out of the box, new Intel vPro platform-based PCs from Lenovo and HP will begin to take advantage of Intel Runtime BIOS Resilience – a hardware enhancement that minimises the risks of malicious code injection. As part of Intel’s commitment to continually advance cybersecurity, this new firmware feature locks BIOS when software is running to help prevent planted malware from gaining traction.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Intel Patents Hardware Accelerator

      On March 29, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published an application in the name of Intel Corporation, which puts the famous microprocessor company back in the spotlight of crypto mining.

    • Trademarks
      • Is the Limiting of Scandalous Marks a Viewpoint Neutral Government Activity?

        The US Government (USPTO/DOJ) has petitioned for en banc review of the decision – arguing that the immoral/scandalous prohibition should stand. Notably, the US argues that limiting registration of disparaging marks in Tam was more suspect because it was directed toward a particular viewpoint (e.g., disparagement of people …). On the other hand, the prohibition on registering scandalous marks is viewpoint neutral. Despite that difference, the Federal Circuit applied a strict scrutiny test. The Federal Circuit argues that strict scrutiny should not apply here but rather that the Federal Circuit should develop a separate and new test for “the constitutionality of viewpoint-neutral limitations on registrability.”

    • Copyrights
      • Yet Another Case Highlights Yet Another Constitutional Infirmity With The DMCA

        Once again, the Constitutional exceptionalism of the DMCA has reared its ugly head. Thanks to the way it has been interpreted we have already enabled it to become an unchecked system of prior restraint, which is anathema to the First Amendment. And now yet another court has allowed this federal law to supersede states’ ability to right the wrongs that misuse of the DMCA’s censorship tools inevitably causes, even though doing so arguably gives this federal law more power than the Constitution allows.

        The two problems are of course related. Prior restraint is what happens when speech is censored without ever having being adjudicated to be wrongful. That’s what a takedown demand system does: force the removal of speech first, and sort out whether that was the right result later. But because the Ninth Circuit has taken the teeth out of the part of the DMCA that is supposed to punish bogus takedowns, that second part very rarely happens. Section 512(f) was supposed to provide a remedy for those who have been harmed by their content being removed. But in the wake of key rulings, most recently Lenz v. Universal, that remedy is rarely available, leaving online speakers everywhere vulnerable to the censoring whims of anyone inclined to send a takedown demand targeting their speech, no matter how unjustifiably, since there is little ability to ever hold this wrongdoer liable for the harm their censorship causes.

      • Court Says Scraping Websites And Creating Fake Profiles Can Be Protected By The First Amendment

        It’s no secret that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a mess. Originally written by a confused and panicked Congress in the wake of the 1980s movie War Games, it was supposed to be an “anti-hacking” law, but was written so broadly that it has been used over and over again against any sort of “things that happen on a computer.” It has been (not so jokingly) referred to as “the law that sticks,” because when someone has done something “icky” using a computer, if no other law is found to be broken, someone can almost always find some weird way to interpret the CFAA to claim it’s been violated. The two most problematic parts of the CFAA are the fact that it applies to “unauthorized access” or to “exceeding authorized access” on any “computer… which is used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communications.” In 1986 that may have seemed limited. But, today, that means any computer on the internet. Which means basically any computer.

      • Take-Two Fails To Get NBA2K Tattoo Copyright Lawsuit Dismissed

        I’ll forgive you since it’s been two years, but hopefully you will remember our posts about a crazy copyright lawsuit back in early 2016 between a company called Solid Oak Sketches and Take-Two Software. At issue were Take-Two’s faithful depictions of several NBA stars in its NBA 2K series of games, including LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The problem is that Solid Oak claims to have copyrights on several tattoos appearing on the skin of these players, all of which show up in the images of the game. Of course, Take-Two negotiates the rights for player likenesses with the NBA Players Association, meaning this lawsuit has the odd smell of a third party bickering over branded cattle. While Solid Oak is asking for $1.2 million in damages, Take-Two has pointed out that these sorts of statutory damages shouldn’t apply as the company only registered its copyrights in 2015. This fact leads a reasonable observer to wonder why the copyrights weren’t registered much earlier, were Take-Two’s use so injurious.

        That question is of course tangent to the most central concern of why in the world any of this isn’t obvious fair use? Take-Two has First Amendment rights, after all, and its use of the eight tattoos in each iteration of the game is a hilariously small portion of each work. On top of that, the whole enterprise of the game is to faithfully depict reality with regards to each player whose likeness it has properly licensed through the NBAPA. None of this should strike anybody as a million dollars worth of copyright infringement.

      • Hosting Provider Steadfast is Not Liable for ‘Pirate’ Site

        Hosting provider Steadfast is not liable for the copyright-infringing activities that took place on the server of a customer. A California District Court has dismissed all copyright and trademark infringing claims filed by ALS Scan, concluding that the hosting provider did enough to curb copyright infringement.

      • Canadian BitTorrent Traffic Tanked, But Video Piracy is Still Hot

        New data published by broadband management company Sandvine reveals that while BitTorrent traffic is dropping off in Canada, video piracy remains a significant problem. The data was released as part of the ongoing debate around website blocking, something Sandvine is familiar with.

      • French Universities Cancel Subscriptions to Springer Journals

        French research organizations and universities have cancelled their subscriptions to Springer journals, due to an impasse in fee negotiations between the publisher and Couperin.org, a national consortium representing more than 250 academic institutions in France.

        After more than a year of discussions, Couperin.org and SpringerNature, which publishes more than 2,000 scholarly journals belonging to Springer, Nature, and BioMedCentral, have failed to reach an agreement on subscriptions for its Springer journals. The publisher’s proposal includes an increase in prices, which the consortium refuses to accept.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Breaks More Records, This Time Number of Post-Grant Review Petitions

Wednesday 4th of April 2018 02:59:00 PM

Summary: The latest statistics (March) from PTAB show that things are going well and only on rare occasions does the Federal Circuit (CAFC) stand in the way; the US Supreme Court is expected to defend PTAB very soon

THE improved quality of patents at the USPTO gives reasons for optimism; the same cannot be said about the EPO unless António Campinos changes something fast (Battistelli won’t change a thing). Imagine the EPO adopting a PTAB-like mechanism (it already has the Boards of Appeal) that can eliminate thousands of patents rather quickly, especially patents granted in a hurry throughout the Battistelli era. Oppositions already work to that effect, but not post-grant.

Anyway, this latest PTAB round-up says in the summary: “Patent Trial & Appeal Board developments in March included the most post-grant review petitions filed in a month, a predicted switch to the Philips standard, two informative decisions involving 35 USC § 325(d), and the Board instituting trial to a derivation petition for the first time” (also remember that the USPTO recently raised the price of PTAB IPRs; evidently that wasn’t enough to discourage/slow down the constant growth in petitions which tackle bad patents, i.e. those wrongly granted by the USPTO).

Are PTAB IPRs going away? No way!

Even a patent maximalist like Dennis Crouch does not think so. Hours ago he wrote (again): “We all await the outcome of Oil States. Conventional wisdom is that the case will be a dud and that the Supreme Court confirm the viability of Inter Partes Review proceedings.”

Oil States‘s outcome won’t be much of a surprise. So the anti-PTAB brigade is looking for other strategies by which to slow down PTAB. Here’s Michael Borella with another cherry-picked opinion (already mentioned by Crouch and Kluwer Patent Blog earlier this week).

CAFC judges did, in this particular case, decide against a decision by PTAB, which is rare. Judge Newman, however, found that PTAB did its job properly. Borella put it like this:

Apple argued before the PTAB that “because the mobile unit transmitters in Natarajan operated in low duty cycle RF bursts, it would have been plainly obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art to have the base station operate in an analogous manner.” Apple further contended that “because the base and mobile stations have the same physical structure, it would have been no more than using a known technique to improve similar devices in the same way.”

[...]

Writing in dissent, Judge Newman took issue with two aspects of the decision. First, she would have found that the PTAB did explain its reasoning regarding the obviousness of the claims in a sufficient fashion. Essentially, Judge Newman believed that the PTAB incorporated parts of Apple’s arguments by reference, and that these arguments were uncontested by DSS. (At the end of the day, the majority seems to object to the PTAB’s conclusion that the duty cycle of the mobile units would also work for the base station, while Judge Newman found such an outcome plausible.) Second, she asserted that the proper remedy for finding the PTAB’s reasoning to be inadequate was to vacate and remand the case for further review by the PTAB.

While the decision/opinion does not bode well for PTAB, it’s actually a rarity, but this is the kind of thing that the anti-PTAB brigade will highlight ad infinitum, as usual.

There’s meanwhile this new report (less than a day old) about “seeking to have seven of Nasdaq’s patents canceled.” Notice the part about Alice:

Nasdaq Inc. is trying to claim that it invented the concept of options trading, rival Miami International Holdings Inc. said in a series of petitions seeking to have seven of Nasdaq’s patents canceled.

[...]

Miami International is trying to use the patent office to dispense with an infringement lawsuit that Nasdaq filed against it in September in federal court in Trenton as it can be faster, easier and cheaper to invalidate a patent through the review board than in court.

In each of the seven petitions filed in with the review board in the past week, Miami International said the patents cover an “abstract idea” and cites a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has led to invalidity rulings against hundreds of software patents.

Those are software patents or patents on business methods. The only thing going in their favour is the number of them; it’s much greater a burden when one needs to invalidate all seven of them.

It remains to be seen how many of these ‘financial’ patents PTAB will render worthless in the coming years. Earlier today there was a self-promotional ‘article’ from Martin M. Zoltick and Mark T. Rawls (Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, PC). These lawyers love talking about blockchains, Bitcoin or cryptocurrency in general. It’s a lot of contemporary hype and all they can drone on about is patents, trademarks etc. Here they are name-dropping “blockchain”, “FinTech” and all kinds of other names/words:

If the past is any indication of what is to come, those who invest in cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, just to name a few, had better buckle-up. It is surely going to be a wild ride as more cryptocurrencies emerge and the growing array of use cases blows hot and cold. The extreme volatility of cryptocurrencies themselves does not appear to be a phenomenon of the patents directed to the technologies underlying these digital currencies and their ecosystems. As the flurry of innovation continues and the cryptocurrency ecosystem becomes increasingly more mainstream, expect to see exponential growth in the cryptocurrency and blockchain-related patent landscape as financial services companies, FinTech startups and a growing number of tech companies from a wide range of industries all vie for a dominant position.

As we’ve been saying for years, all those patents on digital currencies are likely void. GTX Corporation is bullying indie developers/startups using such patents because it knows that they’re poor enough to do anything they can to avoid a court battle (one in which such patents would likely get trashed).

In summary, PTAB remains relevant, its role is expected to soon be cemented by US Justices, and it is actively being used to thwart abusive litigation with abstract patents (typically software patents or patents on business methods).

The European Patent Office (EPO) Will Need to Acknowledge It Has a Patent Quality Issue, Then Tackle It or Perish

Wednesday 4th of April 2018 02:12:11 PM

EPO examiners know there's a problem, but the management continues to deny it

Summary: António Campinos is coming within less than a quarter of a year and unless he’s willing to acknowledge a decline in patent quality and then do something about it, the Office is doomed and Europe will suffer

THE USPTO has already recognised the problem with its patent quality, which is why PTAB now corrects things, invalidating a great number of patents and setting an example which itself acts as a deterrent against trigger-happy lawyers. The EPO, on the other hand, keeps denying the problem (when we say EPO we mean the management; examiners repeatedly do highlight the problem).

“This merely devalues patents, making them impossible to navigate.”What will Campinos do in July? Will he too deny the problem, just like his predecessor (who set him up for the job)? Probably.

Kluwer Patent Blog has just published “China is to Establish Patent Linkage,” a long article by Hui Zhang, Xiang Li, Dani Min and Jiao Yuxin. China is basically granting some truly terrible (low-quality) patents just for the sake of numbers (we’ve always assumed as a bargaining chip in the face of sanctions, fines, trade wars); do we want to link them to Europe really? Do we want the likes of Battistelli to imitate the Chinese system? With well over a million patent filings per year? This merely devalues patents, making them impossible to navigate.

More invalid EPO-granted patents have just been mentioned by Brian Cordery and Rachel Mumby (Bristows) in the patent maximalists’ blog, Kluwer Patent Blog. Notice the fate of EP’766:

Wise readers will know that when it comes to matters of the heart, it is often best not to interfere. Indeed, the Court of Appeal in its recent judgment in Edwards Lifesciences v Boston Scientific [2018] EWCA Civ 673, decided not to interfere with HHJ Hacon’s judgment that of the two patents in suit relating to replacement heart valves, one was valid and infringed (EP’254) and the other invalid (EP’766).

One must ask why EP’766 was granted in the first place. It was then used in a lawsuit. If that lawsuit relied only on this one patent, it would be frivolous and expensive for both sides. Also mind yesterday’s press release regarding a patent on disposable sleep sensors. The company said:

Nox Medical, a leading sleep diagnostic medical device company and innovator has achieved a major success in EPO opposition proceedings initiated by Natus concerning one of Nox Medical’s key patents, EP 2 584 962 B1, covering the biometric connector on its disposable RIP belts. The European Patent Office (EPO) has concluded that Nox Medical’s European patent on the Nox RIP Belts is valid as amended in the opposition proceedings. Nox Medical is confident that its patent will also survive the appeal proceedings.

We typically focus on software patents in Europe. But it’s interesting to see that in some other domains such as replacement heart valves the patents (EPs) are found to be invalid.

The Mass Litigation Lobby Craves for Patent Armageddon

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 11:52:06 PM

And it does not always want its critics to see what it’s doing/saying

Summary: The propaganda arm of patent trolls and other patent aggressors (those who would rather sue than create) keeps promoting patent maximalism, the Unified Patent Court (UPC), and even draconian injunctions (embargo) which are almost synonymous with UPC-type visions

AS another month starts, following a short holiday, we return to covering USPTO matters only to receive nasty threats in the post (from those attempting to silence us). This time it comes from another continent (America), not from Europe. That really says a lot about the patent microcosm, doesn’t it? A bunch of bullies. And the bullying isn’t limited to patent trolls; even law firms and management of the EPO can do it.

“They are already drooling over litigation prospects because they, as lawyers, would profit from it (irrespective of the outcome).”Recently, IAM ‘broke’ the story about one troll buying part of another (in Europe). Today it published its magazine article about InterDigital’s acquisition of Technicolor, but don’t expect to find the “T” word (troll) anywhere in there. In fact, there’s a paywall too. They recently broadened their obstruction to access by 'outsiders'. Managing IP does the same thing. On they go with their misleading coverage and it’s mostly/only those who agree with them that can see what they say, hence little/no scrutiny. It’s that ‘echo chamber’ mentality we see at their events. They make it extremely expensive for anyone outside the patent microcosm to attend and don’t even think about a speaking/panel position (not even by becoming a corporate sponsor if the views are too ‘different’ and thus inconvenient to Managing IP, IAM, and their other sponsors).

“Ericsson and/or its patent trolls are already suing in Europe (targeting even foreign firms) and Team UPC habitually celebrates this.”Managing IP is actually being rather laughable this week. Lawyers without much of a clue about blockchains (they’re nontechnical for the most part) ride/suft the hype wave again. Managing IP endlessly mentions blockchains these days, this time in the form of a so-called ‘Special Report’? More like Special PR. And for the second time in a week Managing IP latches onto hype waves, this time CRISPR, in order to sell misleading numbers (“near 200% increase”) and advocate patents on life itself. “Patent filing trends for the gene editing technology indicate a near 200% increase globally between 2013 and 2015, and a continuing boom since. Patrick Wingrove investigates what is driving this and whether a litigation war is brewing,” says the summary. They are already drooling over litigation prospects because they, as lawyers, would profit from it (irrespective of the outcome).

These are the sorts of people who attend Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying events and try to impose the UPC on Europe, typically behind the scenes or behind closed doors in “exclusive” events. They just want lots and lots of litigation. Ericsson and/or its patent trolls are already suing in Europe (targeting even foreign firms) and Team UPC habitually celebrates this. Watch that trolls’ jingoism at IP Kat, typically but not always courtesy of Bristows. They just love it! Even when — or especially when — these patent trolls come to London, where they are based. Earlier today Benjamin Henrion wrote:

The Unitary [sic] Patent Court (UPC) is not a democratic structure. It suffers from the same problems as those ISDS investment courts: capture and not counter-balanced by an elected legislator #upc #isds

Henrion already knows what it’s like to be targeted by a patent troll in his home country. Such trolling would be vastly exacerbated by anything resembling the UPC (which is itself in its death throes but can be renamed and reattempted in the future). The UPCA (agreement) was crafted based almost solely on a single author’s paper from 2009 — a paper which was full of errors.

“Henrion already knows what it’s like to be targeted by a patent troll in his home country.”Managing IP and IAM still try to usher in this mess, sometimes emboldened or motivated by payments from the EPO or its PR agencies. It’s gross, but that’s just where we are.

And speaking of IAM, earlier today it wrote about “[h]ow and why Huawei got an injunction in its ground-breaking Chinese FRAND/SEP dispute with Samsung.”

Managing IP and IAM still try to usher in this mess, sometimes emboldened or motivated by payments from the EPO or its PR agencies.”The title of the corresponding blog post is “Full judgment in Huawei v Samsung details why Shenzhen court hit Korean company with SEP injunction” and it’s similar to what Ericsson’s patent trolls did to Chinese/Asian firms in Europe. China now uses patents to ban Koreans (it already drove LG away, but not yet Samsung). As for BlackBerry? Like Nokia and Ericsson it is becoming less of a practising entity over time. As a former IAM writer put it earlier today: “BlackBerry FY2018 results: Handheld devices revenue -83%; IP licensing revenue +56%.”

BlackBerry is being transformed/warped into “patent troll” mode. Sooner or later it will be just a “holding” company, i.e. an empty shell with nothing but patents. Sites like IAM would then hail it as an “NPE” and speak about how truly wonderful its “monetisation” strategy is.

Scam and Threat in the Mailbox Today, Courtesy of the Anti-PTAB Brigade

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 10:53:50 PM

We are meanwhile exploring the possibility of reporting them to the relevant authorities to get them disbarred

Summary: As the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to reject software patents by the thousands the patent extremists are getting ever more desperate and are even sending me threats by post (to my home, whose address they somehow — somewhat miraculously — found out)

THE USPTO keeps making it tougher to get software patents; we’re reminded of that in light of this trio of “PTAB Reversed Examiner’s 101 Rejection” rants of the day [1, 2, 3] (there’s more). This is why Watchtroll keeps portraying PTAB as clueless and morally corrupt (as usual). Kluwer Patent Blog, which is another patent maximalists’ turf, writes about DSS Tech. v Apple (mentioned by Crouch at the start of this week even though it’s about 10 days old). Cheryl Beise summarised it as follows:

Two final decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board—each finding that certain apparatus claims of a wireless communication network owned by DSS Technology Management were invalid as obvious—have been reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, because the Board failed to provide a sufficient explanation for its findings, and a more reasoned explanation could not be gleaned from the record.

Like quote-mining or cherry-picking, they try really hard to find anything by which to stop PTAB. They are attempting to basically bypass the law.

The patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, worked very hard/overtime in March promoting the patent “scam” of Allergan and the Mohawk tribe, as today’s roundup from IAM reminded us. Watch how much they wrote about this “scam” and basically put a lipstick on this pig. And today, a week later, I received a physical (hard copy) threatening letter from the charlatan who is behind the patent “scam” of Allergan and the Mohawk tribe.

Earlier today (in fact just several hours ago) Watchtroll complained about patent attorney Michael I. Kroll getting disbarred and still working. Are these people above the law? They seem to believe so and they act accordingly.

“I’ve already received actual physical threats too (quite recently), citing an old address of mine.”I think it’s important to find out if what’s being done to me is legal. We are currently exploring legal advice, looking to clarify if it’s legal for patent lawyers to just keep intimidating critics like myself. I got some other unpleasant letters from patent trolls (electronically), some of them suggesting that I kill myself. I’ve already received actual physical threats too (quite recently), citing an old address of mine. This is why we prefer for the address not to be publicly known. Why should my wife too be worried?

The “scam” of Allergan and the Mohawk tribe was the first time I received something by post. How did they get my address? It’s not shown publicly anywhere, so my wife and I cannot help but wonder if they misused a department at their firm to access some database and, if so, does that not constitute an actionable violation of US/UK law? I would not mind taking action against them for reasons other than SLAPP. I’ve grown tired of these bullies and charlatans acting quite so recklessly without any consequences for their actions. Just look what the EPO got away with; it, unlike law firms, enjoys and abuses its immunity. The EPO did SLAPP against me as well (several times).

The patent ‘community’ or the patent world is an ugly place, intolerant of criticism and trigger-happy with threats. This is, after all, what most of them to for a living. It’s their principal ‘skill’ to just threaten people.

Benoît Battistelli’s Era Yields Not Only Invalid and Harmful Monopolies But Also Breeds Distrust and Layoffs

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 09:45:04 PM

“The best way to keep one`s word is not to give it.”Napoleon Bonaparte

Summary: The destruction left behind Battistelli cannot be undone; experienced staff has already left or is leaving, many invalid/bogus patents have been granted (muddying the water), and the worst is yet to come

MATTERS pertaining to Battistelli have been a lot quieter lately. There’s not much to report about Team Battistelli. The EPO’s worst ever President barely says anything. It’s almost as if he’s already packing up his things, preparing to go before the ship sinks. He sank it. He knows it. The Administrative Council knows it too, but it just doesn’t seem to care. There’s no UPC, there’s definitely brain drain, and the reputation of the Office suffered profoundly (in the eyes of everyone inside and outside Europe). Battistelli will receive a massive bonus for this ‘accomplishment’ — something which the Administrative Council certainly knew would anger staff even more and likely lead to resignations. Maybe it’s actually their intention to cause/induce an exodus (i.e. resignations) so as to lower staffing numbers and level of experience, longevity of contract etc. It produces more obedient workers that are new and not accustomed to high working standards, just so-called ‘productivity’.

“Notice how UPC propaganda sites such as IAM and Managing IP have said absolutely nothing about declines in quality (even when a thousand workers signed a petition to that effect).”Citing Liberaler Mittelstand in Bavaria, this recent report in German spoke about problems associated with patent quality at the EPO and today (in the afternoon) the article was translated or rather translations of it were published in English and French by SUEPO, which shares these concerns about patent quality and work running out (this will definitely necessitate layoffs quite soon). The comments sections here is better than the long article in the sense that it brings up important observations, including the sort of reality which will ‘strike’ Campinos when he joins the Office in less than 3 months. He might be the first EPO President ever to lay off a lot of staff. It’s not because this staff is not necessary but because of a terrible policy which made this staff redundant, lowering patent quality in order to fake so-called ‘production’.

The news article articulates what many already knew. “Application numbers are not increasing in anything like the same proportions,” it says (in spite of the discounts). Here’s SUEPO’s English version of the article:

Liberaler Mittelstand concerned about a flood of patents – and poor quality

Ursula Lex, Chair, Liberaler Mittelstand

Bavaria (23.03.2018) Regional Parliament candidate and Chair of the business association Liberaler Mittelstand in Bavaria, is concerned about the enormous rise in numbers of patents. Year after year the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich has been setting new records in the issues of patents, regularly with two-figure rates of increase over the year before. Application numbers are not increasing in anything like the same proportions.

This trend is not evident at the German Patent and Trademark Office, which is also in Munich.

The small and medium enterprises sector in Germany, and in Europe altogether, could find itself in financial difficulties as a result of a less restrictive patent issue practice on the part of the EPO, if this were to result in improperly issued patents being pursued to the detriment of SME’s on a large scale. A particular issue is the fact that the revoking of a patent takes longer than the decision about a possible infringement, and that regularly means that the proprietor of an improperly issued patent will nevertheless still be able to take advantage of it.

This means that it is essential for the survival of small and medium enterprises that the quality of patent issues should be as high as can possibly be achieved. The difficulty is the lack of definition of quality. Liberaler Mittelstand considers it essential that a broad public debate should be held with regard to the definition of the quality of patents. Such a definition must on no account be left exclusively to the Patent Office, which, after all, is supposed to be providing this quality.

We are still hoping that some large corporate/state media such as Spiegel or the BBC will cover the issue, but we expect such sites never to do this. We have already explained why. Notice how UPC propaganda sites such as IAM and Managing IP have said absolutely nothing about declines in quality (even when a thousand workers signed a petition to that effect). It’s not a coincidence and it’s not an oversight; it’s very much deliberate. They know their loyalties.

Links 3/4/2018: OpenSSH 7.7, Cutelyst 2.1 and Fedora 28 Beta Released

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 08:39:49 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Now Available: April 2018 issue of Linux Journal
  • Linux 4.16 Released, SLES SP3 for Raspberry Pi, Cloudflare Launches the 1.1.1.1 Privacy-First DNS Service and More
  • Desktop
    • Making Linux love my LG RD510 Nvidia-powered laptop

      Well, here we are. Validation is the key to everything. Input and output. I don’t think there’s any serious mechanism in Linux to actually verify that devices have gracefully and correctly resumed operation after being suspended. Such checks, including non-volatile traces, would offer more robustness, allowing distro teams to tackle hardware issues and produce better systems, with higher quality and user satisfaction. It’s definitely preferable to the blame evasion and shifting that exists today.

      I find it hard to accept the “use friendly hardware” or “blame X vendor” as a lazy excuse for developing state-of-the-art drivers and business logic to allow seamless operations. It does not matter who’s at fault if you have the technical knowhow and capacity to identify and maybe stop the problems from manifesting. In my case, the sad reality is the ancient problem will remain around until the RD510 machine is no more, and then it will no longer be a problem. But that mentality won’t make the Linux desktop into a perfect product. Lastly, for those of you who have come here for technical guidance and not philosophy, if you have an Nvidia card and resumes are botched, try IDE vs AHCI, just to see what gives. After that, there might be some tweaks and workaround to help mitigate the issue, but at least you will know where you stand. Hopefully, this was of use. See you around.

    • Why I love ARM and PowerPC

      Once upon a time, I studied environmental protection. While working on my PhD, I was looking for a new computer. As an environmentally aware person, I wanted a high-performing computer that was also efficient. That is how I first became interested in the PowerPC and discovered Pegasos, a PowerPC workstation created by Genesi.

      I had already used RS/6000 (PowerPC), SGI (MIPS), HP-UX (PA-RISC), and VMS (Alpha) both as a server and a workstation, and on my PC I used Linux, not Windows, so using a different CPU architecture was not a barrier. Pegasos, which was small and efficient enough for home use, was my first workstation.

    • Intel FSP reverse engineering: finding the real entry point!

      After attending 34C3 in Leipzig at the end of December, in which we (Zlatan and me) met with some of you, and had a lot of fun, I took some time off to travel Europe and fall victim to the horrible Influenza virus that so many people caught this year. After a couple more weeks of bed rest, I continued my saga in trying to find the real entry point of the Intel FSP-S module.

    • The End of Windows

      That wasn’t the only news that week: Microsoft also renamed its cloud service from Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure. The name change was an obvious one — by then customers could already run a whole host of non-Windows related software, including Linux — but the symbolism tied in perfectly with the Office on iPad announcement: Windows wouldn’t be forced onto Microsoft’s future.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • [Podcast] PodCTL Basics – Windows Containers & Kubernetes

      It’s been a while since we did a “PodCTL Basics” show (see: Kubernetes, Linux Containers, Containerizing an Application, Services Meshes), but we’ve heard a lot of questions about Windows Containers, so we thought it was time to review the basics. In this short show, we talk about the differences between Linux and Windows containers, the dependencies in Windows Server 02016, the requirements of older vs. newer .NET applications, and how this will all play together with the Kubernetes technology that will orchestrate both Linux and Windows containers. These “Basics” shows are intended for listeners that are new to this technology space. In future episodes, as the technology matures, we’ll have additional shows that provide more technical depth.

    • Linux Kernel 4.16, GIMP 2.10 RC, Firefox Facebook Container, Qubes OS & more | This Week in Linux 26

      Facebook is still under fire for privacy violations but Mozilla is trying to help users mitigate these issues with their new Facebook Container Extension for Firefox.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.16 Released with Improved Security, Virtualization Features

      April 1 is usually a day for April Fool’s jokes, but Linux creator Linus Torvalds’ Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) message that day was anything but a joke.

      In keeping with his established practise of announcing both release candidates and releases on Sundays, Torvalds released the Linux 4.16 kernel on April 1, after seven release candidates. The Linux 4.16 kernel is the second new major Linux kernel of 2018, following the 4.15 kernel that was released on Jan. 28.

      “So the take from final week of the 4.16 release looks a lot like rc7, in that about half of it is networking,” Torvalds wrote in his release announcement. “If it wasn’t for that, it would all be very small and calm.”

      The “calm” final release of Linux 4.16 is in stark contrast to the Linux 4.15 release, which was the longest development cycle for a Linux kernel in seven years. Among the multiple reasons why the Linux 4.15 development cycle was so long, were patches for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. In Linux 4.16 there are further mitigations and update for Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities as well.

    • Old CPUs losing support in Linux, cutting size by 500,000 lines of code

      The Linux kernel maintainers have taken the decision to go ahead with dropping support for old CPU architectures in an upcoming release. As a result, Linux 4.17 kernel will ship with a whopping 500,000 fewer lines of code – currently it contains around 20.3 million lines of code, according to Linux Counter.

      The architectures which will become deprecated are Blackfin, CRIS, FRV, M32R, Metag, MN10300, Score and Tile. Although not being deprecated, the Unicore32 and Hexagon architectures are also at risk but their maintainers are working on improving the situation so their support can be continued.

    • Linux 4.16 Released. Kernel Release Was “Small and Calm”

      Yesterday Linus Torvalds officially released Linux 4.16. In an announcement to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Linus announced that this release of the Linux kernel was “small and calm”, mostly related to networking, and that there was no need to continue testing it for another week.

    • Linux Kernel 4.16: Networking Patches and More

      The Linux kernel 4.16 cycle has been mercifully smooth; learn more from Paul Brown.
      Creative Commons Zero

      Linus Torvalds released version 4.16 of the Linux Kernel on Sunday, April 1st, nine weeks after the previous version. After the rather eventful 4.15 cycle, which included the loss of the Linux Kernel Mailing List for several days and the fallout from the Meltdown and Spectre bugs, 4.16 has been mercifully smooth.

      Not all smooth, though. There was a big bump in the amount of patches in RC7 that nearly derailed Sunday’s release. However, looking into it, Torvalds noted that the abnormal number of submissions may have been due to the fact that during the RC5 and 6 cycles there had been almost no patches regarding networking. This meant there was a backlog of “2.5 weeks worth of networking stuff, and that makes rc7 look artificially bigger. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.” Torvalds said.

    • In 2018, Linux Is Still Receiving Fixes For The Apple PowerBook 100 Series

      The PowerBook 100 sub-notebook launched in 1991 with a 16MHz Motorola 68000 processor and up to 8MB of memory. In 2018, the Linux kernel is still receiving fixes/improvements for the PowerBook 100 series.

      While Linux 4.17 is dropping support for eight obsolete CPU architectures, the kernel is still sticking around with obsolete hardware support. With the Motorola 68000 processors still being around, the Linux kernel “m68k” code continues to be maintained. But hitting the mailing list today were the m68k architecture updates and it included some updates for “Macintosh enhancements and fixes.”

    • Linux 4.17 Shredding 500,000 Lines Of Code, Killing Support For Older CPUs

      Whenever a new Linux kernel is released, it adds tons of new code to support some new hardware. Coupled with driver changes, fixes, and networking code, each release gets bulkier by thousands of lines of code.

    • Linux 4.16 is once again focused on Meltdown and Spectre

      LINUS TORVALDS has released the final version of the Linux 4.16 kernel. On April Fools’ Day. Ho Ho.

      Well, technically, it was after midday so we know it’s not a joke, so we can plough on.

      After another seven release candidate (RC) cycle month, the final version rolled out on time, with Torvalds explaining that without a bunch of networking code it would be “very small and calm”.

      “We had a number of fixes and cleanups elsewhere, but none of it made me go “uhhuh, better let this soak for another week”. And davem didn’t think the networking was a reason to delay the release, so I’m not.” he explains.

    • Linux 4.16 arrives, keeps melting Meltdown, preps to axe eight CPUs

      Linus Torvalds has pulled the trigger and released version 4.16 of the Linux kernel, thereby killing off his own suggestion this release might need an extra week to mature.

      And here’s some fair warning: version 4.17 is set to remove support for eight CPU architectures. That would mean Linux will no longer officially work on blackfin, cris, frv, m32r, metag, mn10300, score, nor tile, if developer Arnd Bergmann’s changes are accepted. There’s no shame in not knowing much about the eight: the reason they’re gone from Linux is that kernelistas couldn’t find anyone using them to run Linux any more. Drop them a farewell card.

    • Linux 4.16 arrives, bringing more Spectre and Meltdown fixes

      The latest version of the Linux kernel — 4.16 — has arrived, bringing with it more fixes for the Spectre and Meltdown flaws.

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds had been hoping for a “normal and entirely boring release cycle” for 4.16 after the excitement of the last Linux release, 4.15, being dominated by Spectre and Meltdown patches.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Software-defined networking is harmonizing for networking’s future

        Heather Kirksey held up her smartphone. “How often do you stare at your smartphone? How often do you use the Internet on your phone?” asked the vice president of network functions virtualization (NFV) and director at the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), speaking at the Open Networking Summit. “That’s why you have to care about open source networking. We are transforming the global telecommunications infrastructure.”

        Perhaps you still think of networking in terms of hardware infrastructure: the Wi-Fi router in your office, the cables hiding in the plenum, or the Internet backbone cable that a backhoe just ruined. However, moving forward, tomorrow’s networks will be built from open source software-defined networks (SDNs) running on a wide range of hardware including the open source Open Compute Project (OCP).

      • Cloud Foundry for Developers: Part 1

        You’ve heard about Cloud Foundry, and you know it’s growing fast and might be something you’re interested in. But what exactly is Cloud Foundry? One possible short answer is Yet Another Cloudy Thingy, because there sure are a lot of cloud projects. A better short answer is Platform as a Service (Paas), for building, managing, and deploying cloud-native applications.

        In this series, you will learn about Cloud Foundry and how to get started using it to develop applications. In the first three blogs, we’ll cover basic concepts, terminology, a technical overview and architecture, and in the last two blogs we’ll learn how to write and push an app to a Cloud Foundry instance. The information in this series is based on the Cloud Foundry for Developers (LFD232) training course from Cloud Foundry and The Linux Foundation. You can download a sample chapter from the course here.

      • Linux Foundation moves towards “Harmonization 2.0” with its open source networking initiatives

        Around 1,600 developers, OEMs and operators attended the ONS open networking summit in Los Angeles last week, in what was the Linux Foundation’s most news-heavy event to date. The interconnection of the Linux Foundation (LF) and the huge number of open source projects is quite a complicated picture to understand. Basically, the LF Networking Fund (LFN) provides administration services and facilitates collaboration across networking projects like the telco-friendly ONAP and OPNFV.

      • Juniper OpenContrail evolves into the Linux Foundation’s Tungsten Fabric

        Juniper Networks’ open-source network virtualization platform OpenContrail has finished migrating to the Linux Foundation and rebranded itself as Tungsten Fabric.

        Juniper originally open sourced OpenContrail in 2013 and announced it was moving to the Linux Foundation last December. The company said the platform includes all the components needed to run a data center, including a software-defined networking (SDN) controller, virtual router, orchestration API, analytics and a management console.

      • Editor’s Corner—AI, open source, white boxes and vendor openness dominated ONS 2018’s headlines

        The Open Network Summit 2018 may have come and gone, but the trends that emerged during that show will continue to resonate with service providers and their vendor partners throughout 2018 and beyond.
        We thought it would be a good time to take a quick look back at the key trends FierceTelecom observed at this emerging technology event.

        With the movement to software and virtualization being top of mind for service providers, a core message was to create an environment that incites collaboration and clarity.

        Generally speaking, we identified five trends that surfaced during ONS 2018:

    • Graphics Stack
      • [ANNOUNCE] weston 3.0.93

        This is the RC1 for the weston 4.0 release.

      • Wayland 1.15 & Weston 4.0 Release Candidates Published

        Not only is there a new X.Org Server 1.20 release candidate today but the folks managing Wayland/Weston development have today announced the first release candidates of Wayland 1.15 and the Weston 4.0 reference compositor.

        As we have covered previously, the Wayland 1.15 release pulls in libwayland-egl from Mesa, offers various documentation clarifications, improves Wayland-Scanner, and has some minor API additions. Meanwhile for Weston 4.0 the ABI has been bumped, leading to the big version jump. Weston 4.0 has initial atomic mode-setting support, rolls out the new input-timestamps protocol support, drops support for older versions of XDG-Shell, OpenGL high priority context support, and has a variety of other code improvements.

      • X.Org Server 1.20 Release Candidate 3 Arrives

        The lengthy X.Org Server 1.20 development cycle continues with today Adam Jackson of Red Hat having put out a third release candidate.

      • X.Org Developers Conference 2018 This September In Spain Is Looking For Presenters

        As we have covered previously, the annual X.Org Developers Conference (XDC) for 2018 is being organized by the folks at consulting firm Igalia and will be hosted in A Coruña, Spain at the local university. This event is taking place from 26 to 28 September and they have now issued their call for papers.

        As has been the case the past number of years, talks at XDC aren’t just about the traditional X.Org Server but these days are largely focused on Mesa, Wayland, the Direct Rendering Manager kernel code, libinput, and other areas of the Linux graphics and input stacks.

      • RadeonSI Mega cleanup

        This mostly removes code from drivers/radeon and moves most of it into drivers/radeonsi. There are still a few things left in drivers/radeon.

      • RadeonSI Gets A “Mega Cleanup” To Kick Off Spring

        Marek Olšák of AMD has done some spring cleaning to the RadeonSI Gallium3D code in what he’s calling a mega cleanup with 55 patches.

      • RadeonSI Now Supports KHR_blend_equation_advanced, Needed For OpenGL ES 3.2

        RadeonSI Gallium3D has caught up to the fellow Intel i965 and Nouveau NVC0 drivers in supporting the OpenGL KHR_blend_equation_advanced extension.

        KHR_blend_equation_advanced provides extra color blending operations. Developers curious about the intricacies of KHR_blend_equation_advanced can find its documentation on Khronos.org.

      • AMD Vega 20 GPU in Linux patch reignites hope for an RX Vega refresh coming this year

        Rumblings of an AMD Vega 20 GPU have begun thanks to a Linux patch file update. The Vega 7nm die shrink seems a likely culprit for the additional code, but that hasn’t stopped excited rumours of a complete generational refresh sometime this year.

      • AMD’s refreshed Vega 20 spotted in Linux driver patches

        AMD won’t be releasing a follow up to their flagship Radeon RX Vega 64 this year, but a refreshed Vega 20 has been spotted in the new Linux driver patches.

    • Benchmarks
      • GCC 7.3 vs. GCC 8.0 vs. LLVM Clang 6.0 On The POWER9 Raptor Talos II

        As part of the remote testing of the Raptor Talos II Workstation that is comprised of fully free software down to the firmware and powered by high-end POWER9 processors, over Easter weekend I carried out some GCC vs. Clang benchmarks.

        I’m still working on the POWER9 vs. Xeon vs. EPYC benchmarks on Debian Testing for publishing in the next day or two, but for those curious, below are some POWER9 compiler benchmark comparisons.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Last week in Kube

        Kube by now is my daily driver, and we’ve managed to iron out a lot of the remaining kinks since the last update.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • ‘Dash to Dock’ Adds New Launcher Styles, Support for GNOME 3.28

        An updated version of Dash to Dock, the hugely popular GNOME Shell extension, is available to download.

        Dash to Dock v63 adds support for the recent GNOME 3.28 release. This means those of you on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Fedora 27 and other Linux distributions can rock out with your dock out — sans any compatibility issues.

        But naturally there’s more to this latest release than a version bump.

      • The LVFS CDN will change soon

        The current CDN (~$100/month) is kindly sponsored by Amazon, but that won’t last forever and the donations I get for the LVFS service don’t cover the cost of using S3. Long term we are switching to a ‘dumb’ provider (currently BunnyCDN) which works out 1/10th of the cost — which is covered by the existing kind donations. We’ve switched to use a new CNAME to make switching CDN providers easy in the future, which means this should be the only time this changes client side.

      • ED Update – Week 14

        Last weekend, I was at LibrePlanet 2018, the FSF’s annual conference where I gave a talk about Free Software desktops and their continued importance. The videos are currently being uploaded, and there were some really interesting talks on a wide range of subjects. One particular highlight for me was that Karen Sandler (Software Freedom Conservancy ED, and former GNOME ED) won the Award for the Advancement of Free Software, which was very highly deserved. Additionally, the Award for Projects of Social Benefit went to Public Lab, who had a very interesting talk on attracting newcomers and building communities. They advocated the use of first-timers-only as a way to help introduce people to the project. It was good to catch up with GNOMErs and various people in the wider community.

  • Distributions
    • Gentoo Family
      • py3status v3.8

        Another long awaited release has come true thanks to our community!

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • Questions and Answers With Candidates for openSUSE Board Elections

        Elections for the openSUSE Board have been postponed until mid-April. Until then, the community can familiarize themselves with the candidates who are running for three available seats on the board.

        openSUSE Community Members can engage with the candidates directly or on the openSUSE-project mailing list if they have specific questions for a candidate(s).

    • Slackware Family
      • Fun and games in -current when ABIs break

        All of us who follow Slackware’s development know that “shared library version bump” means ABI breakage. I.e. a lot of 3rd-party binaries will suddenly not find required library versions anymore. In particular icu4c and poppler are nasty beasts. Slackware’s own packages had been carefully updated and recompiled where needed of course, so there was no breakage in the distro itself. But many people do not run a bare Slackware installation… a lot of software is usually installed on top. And that is the software which will be affected by an incompatible change like this one on April 1st.

        What’s this version bump all about? How is it possible that it affects your computer so deeply?

        Most programs depend on other programs. Software developers hate to re-invent the wheel if they can avoid it. Lots of lower-level or widely used functionality has been put into software libraries. Think of network access functionality, text rendering, encryption etc – smart people have created useful, efficient and robust software and stuffed that code into libraries. Your own program can link against these libraries at run-time and access the functionality they have to offer and your program needs.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Sysdig Container Intelligence Platform Certified for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform

        -Sysdig, Inc., the container intelligence company, today announced Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform certification for the Sysdig Container Intelligence Platform, the first unified approach to container security, monitoring, and forensics. Certification and publication of Sysdig in the Red Hat Container Catalog, Red Hat’s service for discovering, distributing, and consuming commercially-curated Linux container images, is a natural step in the relationship between Sysdig and Red Hat. With this certification, developers have the confidence of knowing the Sysdig Container Intelligence Platform is a member of the OpenShift ecosystem and has been tested with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise-grade Kubernetes container application platform.

      • Partner Spotlight: NetApp

        Hi! I’m Garrett Mueller, and I’m a Technical Director at NetApp. I keep an eye on technology forged in open communities, and that happens to be a lot of the most interesting stuff! I’ve been at the company going on 15 years, and I moved into this role after kicking off our container journey just over 3 years ago.

      • Quick Branding for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform With Your Company Logo

        Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is usually used by developers within a company, but Red Hat customers who have Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on-premise may in turn use it to provide PaaS services to their customers. In this case, I am occasionally asked by customers to change the OpenShift logo to their company logo.

      • Cloud should have killed Red Hat, but is saving it instead

        Red Hat’s secret formula for making billions of dollars selling free software is not-so-secret, as I’ve recently written. What still remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, however, is what’s driving Red Hat’s business.

        In a word: Cloud.

        A year ago, analysts pointed to the cloud as a harbinger of Red Hat’s doom. Today, those same analysts are slowly waking up to the opportunity that a multi-cloud world affords the open source giant.

      • Red Hat Rides Containers, Kubernetes, Hybrid Cloud Into the Future

        Red Hat exited its fiscal 2018 on a high note as the company continued to show strong growth from new platforms expected to drive long-term growth. And even better, investors this time appear to be on board.

        At a high level, Red Hat’s financial results were robust with strong growth for both the quarter and full year, which ended Feb. 28. Quarterly revenues surged nearly 23 percent year-over-year to $772 million, while full-year revenues were up more than 21 percent to$2.9 billion.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Announcing the release of Fedora 28 Beta

          The Fedora Project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Fedora 28 Beta, the next big step on our journey to the exciting Fedora 28 release in May.
          Download the prerelease from our Get Fedora site.

        • Fedora 28 Beta Released
        • Fedora 28 Beta Linux distro is finally here

          Fedora is the best overall Linux-based desktop operating system — Linus Torvalds famously uses it regularly. Today, version 28 of the distribution finally achieves Beta status. After a short delay — it was scheduled to be available a week earlier — the distro is back on track, and looking better than ever.

          As is typical now, there are three versions of the operating system — Atomic Host, Server, and Workstation. While all three have their places, normal desktop computer users will want to focus on Workstation. There are plenty of new features (and bugs), but the most exciting aspect of Fedora 28 Workstation is the inclusion of the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment.

        • Fedora 28 Beta now available

          We’re pleased to announce that Fedora 28, the latest version of the Fedora operating system, is now available in beta. The Fedora Project is a global community that works together to help the advancement of free and open source software, culminating in the innovative Fedora operating system designed to answer end user needs across the computing spectrum. As part of the community’s mission, the project delivers separate editions (Fedora Server, Fedora Atomic Host, and Fedora Workstation), each one a free, Linux-based system tailored to meet specific use cases.

        • Fedora Infra PSA: I have been marked spamchecked! What do I do?
        • Flatpak builds in the CI

          This is a follow-up to Carlos Soriano’s blog post about the new GNOME workflow that has emerged following the transition to gitlab.gnome.org. The post is pretty damn good and if you haven’t read it already you should. In this post I will walk through setting up the Flatpak build and test job that runs on the nautilus CI. The majority of the work on this was done by Carlos Soriano and Ernestas Kulik.

          Let’s start by defining what we want to accomplish. First of all we want to ensure that every commit commit will be buildable in a clean environment and against a Flatpak runtime. Second to that, we want to ensure that the each project’s test suite will be run and pass. After these succeed we want to be able to export the resulting Flatpak to install and/or test it locally. Lastly we don’t want to waste precious time of the shared CI runners from other projects so we want to utilize Flatpak’s ostree artifacts for caching.

        • Top Badgers of 2017: Alessio Ciregia
        • HiFive Unleashed for Fedora
    • Debian Family
      • Looking back on starting Libravatar

        As noted on the official Libravatar blog, I will be shutting the service down on 2018-09-01.

        It has been an incredible journey but Libravatar has been more-or-less in maintenance mode for 5 years, so it’s somewhat outdated in its technological stack and I no longer have much interest in doing the work that’s required every two years when migrating to a new version of Debian/Django. The free software community prides itself on transparency and so while it is a difficult decision to make, it’s time to be upfront with the users who depend on the project and admit that the project is not sustainable in its current form.

        [...]

        In addition, I wanted to validate that it is possible to run a FOSS service without having to pay for anything out-of-pocket, so that it would be financially sustainable. Hosting and domain registrations have been entirely funded by the community, thanks to the generosity of sponsors and donors. Most of the donations came through Gittip/Gratipay and Liberapay. While Gratipay has now shut down, I encourage you to support Liberapay.

        Finally, I made an effort to host Libravatar on FOSS infrastructure. That meant shying away from popular proprietary services in order to make a point that these convenient and well-known services aren’t actually needed to run a successful project.

      • My Debian Activities in March 2018
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Flavours and Variants
            • Why not the best? Why not Linux Mint?

              I’ve been running Linux on the desktop for decades. When I was starting with it, Linux was, comparatively, harder to use than the GUI-based operating systems then available from Apple and Microsoft. That was then. This is now.

              Today, Linux, especially such distributions as openSUSE, Ubuntu and, my favorite, Linux Mint, are just as easy to use as macOS and Windows. And they don’t have the security bugs.

              What’s that? You don’t mind dealing with a few bugs? Well, on the latest Patch Tuesday, as Woody Leonhard put it, an “enormous number of patches spewed out of Microsoft this month, with two ponderous cumulative updates.” Every month, we see a new flood of critical Windows updates. Maybe updating Windows is your idea of a good time. It’s not mine.

            • Lubuntu Next Is Adopting the Calamares Installer, Continues to Be in Development

              Lubuntu, the most lightweight official Ubuntu flavor, had a hard time these past few months, during the development cycle of the upcoming Bionic Beaver operating system series, with all sorts of problems, but its small development team managed to get past them and continued to work on both Lubuntu and Lubuntu Next.

              While Lubuntu Next offers us the more modern LXQt desktop environment, built on the latest Qt 5 technologies, the upcoming Lubuntu 18.04 LTS release is still using the LXDE desktop environment by default. The switch from LXDE to LXQt for Lubuntu is in the testing phase since Lubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf), but progress is being made on this front.

            • This Week in Lubuntu Development #1

              At Lubuntu we decided it was a good idea to create a weekly newsletter detailing the work that has been happening. So, here we are.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • 5 Open Source Libraries to Aid in Your Machine Learning Endeavors

    While many factors have contributed to this increase in machine learning, one reason is that it’s becoming easier for developers to apply it, thanks to open source frameworks.

    If you’re not familiar with this technology, and feel confused about some of the terms used, such as “framework” and “library,” here are the definitions.

  • Sonatype Contributes Nexus JavaScript Support to Open Source Community

    Sonatype, the leader in open source governance and DevSecOps automation, today announced the contribution of its JavaScript support for Nexus Repository to the open source community. This is yet another step in Sonatype’s plan to contribute source code to the community for all formats currently supported in Nexus Repository.

    “Sonatype was founded on the principles of open source – that collaboration and community can help developers innovate faster and create higher quality software,” said Brian Fox, CTO and co-founder of Sonatype. “Nexus Repository has become a defacto standard within DevOps toolchains worldwide and is simply the best way to continuously control binaries, build artifacts, and release candidates as they flow through the modern SDLC. By contributing repository formats to the community, we’re maximizing developer flexibility and further accelerating continuous innovation.”

  • Glitch leaves beta and goes open source

    The developer community website Glitch has announced it is leaving beta and The Glitch.com community is now open-source. It was initially announced last year as a way to facilitate collaboration between developers.

    Since it was first announced, the platform has continued to evolve based on feedback from the developer community. Some of the new editions to the site include real-time help, a new console, and the ability to thank creators. It also features an easy way to add licenses and a code of conduct.

  • NETL releases carbon capture simulation toolset as open source software
  • Events
    • foss-north approaching

      Organizing a conference means going through multiple stages. The first parts are the most difficult – signing up for a venue, looking for the initial speakers, finding the initial sponsors. Basically, building something out of nothing. This becomes easier over the years, and this, the third year, it has been quite fun. However, since the aim is to grow the event, we always need more sponsors, more speakers and a bigger venue.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox Reality: Bringing the Immersive Web to Mixed Reality Headsets

        Today we are proud to announce Firefox Reality, a new web browser designed from the ground up for stand-alone virtual and augmented reality headsets. We took our existing Firefox web technology and enhanced it with Servo, our experimental web engine. From Firefox, we get decades of web compatibility as well as the performance benefits of Firefox Quantum. From the Servo team (who recently joined the Mixed Reality team) we will gain the ability to experiment with entirely new designs and technologies for seeing and interacting with the immersive web. This is the first step in our long-term plan to deliver a totally new experience on an exciting new platform.

      • Mozilla Brings Firefox to Augmented and Virtual Reality

        Today, we primarily access the Internet through our phones, tablets and computers. But how will the world access the web in five years, or in ten years, and how will the web itself grow and change?

        We believe that the future of the web will be heavily intertwined with virtual and augmented reality, and that future will live through browsers. That’s why we’re building Firefox Reality, a new kind of web browser that has been designed from the ground up to work on stand-alone virtual and augmented reality (or mixed reality) headsets.

      • Firefox Reality is the first open source cross-platform mixed reality browser

        THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION has announced that it is releasing a new version of Firefox specifically for mixed reality (MR).

        Firefox Reality is a “built from the ground up” version of Firefox Quantum specifically designed to meet the needs of those wanting to interact with the web with a stupid hat on their faces.

        “Here at Mozilla, it’s our mission to ensure that the Internet is an open and accessible resource that puts people first,” explains Sean White, Chief R&D Officer at Mozilla.

        “Currently, the world can browse the open web using our fast and privacy-focused Firefox browser, but continuing that mission in a rapidly changing world means constantly investing our time and resources into new and emerging technologies – and realities.”

      • Mozilla Announces Open Source AR/VR Web Browser ‘Firefox Reality’

        Mozilla, the non-profit company behind Firefox web browser, today announced a new cross-platform, open sourced web browser called Firefox Reality, something Mozilla says was built from the ground-up for standalone VR and AR headsets.

      • Mozilla Brings Virtual Reality to all Firefox Users

        We are delighted to announce that WebVR will ship on by default for all Windows users with an HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift headset in Firefox 55 (currently scheduled for August 8th). WebVR transforms Virtual Reality (VR) into a first-class experience on the web, giving it the infinite possibilities found in the openness and interoperability of the Web Platform. When coupled with WebGL to render 3D graphics, these APIs transform the browser into a platform that allows VR content to be published to the Web and instantaneously consumed from any capable VR device.

      • Open source Firefox Reality is a mixed reality browser that could bring VR mainstream

        Firefox Reality is also open source, which the post said will make it easier for manufacturers to add it to their platform while also adding transparency. This is perhaps the most poignant aspect of Reality, in that it could provide a common platform for OEMs to build their AR and VR hardware off of, similar to what Google did with Android. This makes it easier to develop web-based AR and VR content as well, as it can be developed for a single platform and reach a wide audience.

      • There’s a new version of Firefox for virtual reality

        Mozilla has announced a new version of its Firefox browser for standalone virtual and augmented reality headsets. It’s called Firefox Reality, and Mozilla describes it as a cross-platform, open source, and privacy-friendly browser whose interface will be specialized for headsets. You can see an early demo of it working on the HTC Vive Focus, but it’s not available publicly yet, and Mozilla hasn’t specified which headsets will support it.

      • This Week In Servo 110

        In the last week, we merged 66 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

  • CMS
    • DNN Updates DNN Platform, dotCMS Hires New CMO, More Open Source News

      DNN released version 9.2 of its DNN Platform, which includes updates such as “Prompt,” a command-line interface for managing a DNN site, as well as a storage connector for Azure. Prompt was created and led by Kelly Ford, President of DNNDev, with other members of the community contributing. DNN 9.2 can be downloaded at GitHub.

      Ford, who is also an Executive Committee Member of DNN-Connect, announced via the DNN Community blog that he is spearheading a community effort to organize and improve DNN documentation. DNN community member David Poindexter spent time organizing the release archives of DNN Platform. Users can now access every version of DNN Platform, from version 9 back to version 1, which dates back to 2003.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Announce: OpenSSH 7.7 released

      OpenSSH 7.7 has just been released. It will be available from the
      mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

    • OpenSSH 7.7 Release Notes

      This is primarily a bugfix release.

    • OpenBSD 6.3 released ( Download of the day )
    • OpenBSD 6.3 released
    • OpenBSD 6.3 Released – Apr 2, 2018

      The release was scheduled for April 15, but since all the components
      are ready ahead of schedule it is being released now

    • OpenBSD 6.3 Released

      April 2, 2018: The OpenBSD project has announced the availability of the newest release, OpenBSD 6.3

    • The Shoving Continues

      More KDE4 parts have been moved around on FreeBSD. Basically what we’re seeing is that all the existing KDE4 ports — that is, pretty much all KDE software except the KDE Frameworks 5, which are the kf5-* ports already available — are getting a -kde4 suffix. I resurrected the old filelight from KDE4 times, which we had updated to the modern KDE Applications version some time ago. That is so that KDE4 users can get the authentic (in the case of filelight-kde4, I think that also means “buggy”) experience. Users of x11/kde4 are encouraged to update and upgrade regularly these days, to catch all of the moves of packages. There are no actual updates in here, no new packages, since there aren’t any more upstream releases.

    • “Ed Mastery” follow-up

      Yesterday I released #mwlSecretBook: Ed Mastery. April first is the perfect day to release such a book. I wrote a nice release announcement and everything.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 19 new GNU releases!

      artanis-0.2.4
      autoconf-archive-2018.03.13
      automake-1.16.1
      datamash-1.3
      dionysus-1.4.0
      foliot-0.9.7
      gawk-4.2.1
      gnuhealth-client-3.2.6
      help2man-1.47.6
      icecat-52.6.0
      libunistring-0.9.9
      linux-libre-4.15.13
      mcron-1.1
      mcsim-6.0.0
      nano-2.9.4
      octave-4.2.2
      parallel-20180322
      shepherd-0.4.0
      time-1.9

    • A radical proposal to keep your personal data safe – by Richard Stallman

      To restore privacy, we must stop surveillance before it even asks for consent.

      Finally, don’t forget the software in your own computer. If it is the non-free software of Apple, Google or Microsoft, it spies on you regularly. That’s because it is controlled by a company that won’t hesitate to spy on you. Companies tend to lose their scruples when that is profitable. By contrast, free (libre) software is controlled by its users. That user community keeps the software honest.

    • GnuCash 3.0 Released

      GnuCash 3.0 released

      The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 3.0, the first release in our new 3.x stable series.

    • Mozilla Announces Firefox Reality Browser for Mixed Reality, GnuCash 3.0 New Release and More

      Mozilla announced Firefox Reality today, “Bringing the Immersive Web to Mixed Reality Headsets”. Firefox Reality is the only open source browser for mixed reality and the first cross-platform browser for mixed reality. See The Mozilla Blog for more details.

      GnuCash 3.0 was released yesterday, marking the first stable release in the 3.x series. This version has several new features, but the main update is the use of the Gtk+-3.0 Toolkit and the WebKit2Gtk API. See the announcement for a list of all the new features for both users and developers.

  • Public Services/Government
    • How the EU’s Copyright Reform Threatens Open Source–and How to Fight It

      Translated into practical terms, this means that sites with major holdings of material uploaded by users will be required to filter everything before allowing it to be posted. The problems with this idea are evident. It represents constant surveillance of people’s online activities on these sites, with all that this implies for loss of privacy. False positives are inevitable, not least because the complexities of copyright law cannot be reduced to a few algorithmic rules that can be applied automatically. That, and the chilling effect it will have on people’s desire to upload material, will have a negative impact on freedom of expression and undermine the public domain.

      The high cost of implementing upload filters—Google’s ContentID system required 50,000 hours of coding and $60 million to build—means that a few big companies will end up controlling the market for censorship systems. Their oligopoly power potentially gives them the ability to charge high prices for their services, which will impose burdens on companies in the EU and lead to fewer online startups in the region. Other problems with the idea include the important fact that it seems to go against existing EU law.

      Article 13 has been drawn up mainly to satisfy the barely disguised desire of the European copyright industry to attack successful US companies like Google and Facebook. But the upload filter is a very crude weapon, and it will affect many others who—ironically—will be less able than internet giants to comply with the onerous requirement to censor. For example, it is likely that Wikipedia will be caught by the new rule. After all, it hosts huge amounts of “subject-matter” that is uploaded by users. As a post on the Wikimedia blog pointed out: “it would be absurd to require the Wikimedia Foundation to implement costly and technologically impractical automated systems for detecting copyright infringement.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • RISC-V leader gains $50 million in funding and Western Digital vows to build 1 billion chips

        SiFive has raised $50.6 million in Series C funding, and Western Digital pledged to produce 1 billion of SiFive’s RISC-V cores. Meanwhile, the new Linux 4.16 kernel boosted RISC-V support, and there are rumors of a RISC-V project led by Google, Qualcomm, and Samsung.

        The open source RISC-V computer architecture project has continued to generate buzz since SiFive opened pre-sales in early February for its Linux-friendly HiFive Unleashed SBC, which showcases SiFive’s RISC-V based Freedom U540. Today, SiFive announced it has received $50.6 million in Series C funding, and has signed a multi-year license to its Freedom Platform with storage giant Western Digital, which pledged to produce 1 billion of SiFive’s RISC-V cores (see farther below).

  • Programming/Development
    • Cutelyst 2.1 Released

      Cutelyst a Qt/C++ Web Framework got upped to 2.1. Yesterday I found a bug that although not critical it’s important enough to roll out a new release.

      As a new feature we have LangSelect plugin to help with auto detection of user language (Matthias).

    • New in Qt 5.11: quick text selection in QLineEdit

      There are many reasons why one would want to contribute to a free software project. This post belongs to the “scratch your own itch” category. Firefox is my main browser and I use reddit a lot. I switch between my favourite subreddits many times per day. Sometimes I also use Qupzilla (nowadays called Falkon) because it has a specific reddit account of mine already logged-in.

      Now, Firefox has a feature that Falkon used to lack: quick selection of the trailing part of the URL by slightly moving the mouse down, while selecting the text towards the right.

    • Programming the Raspberry Pi with Perl; eBook fundraiser

      Timm will be writing the bulk of the content using various distributions including my RPi::WiringPi along with all its related distributions, and I will be adding at least one chapter to cover my indoor grow room single-webpage environment controller, as well as performing editing duties and testing of the code.

Leftovers
  • Hardware
    • Apple Plans to Ditch Intel and Use Custom Mac Chips Starting in 2020

      A move away from Intel would have a major impact on Intel, with Apple providing approximately five percent of Intel’s annual revenue. Intel stock has already dropped following the news.

    • Apple is actively working on Macs that replace Intel CPUs

      According to Bloomberg’s sources, the project (which is internally called Kalamata) is in the very early planning stages, but it has been approved by executives at the company. The report says that Apple could ship computers based on its own processors as early as 2020, but the report also says this would be part of a “multi-step transition” in a larger effort to make iOS devices and Macs “work more similarly and seamlessly together.” Apple could still change or drop these plans in the future.

    • Apple Plans to Use Its Own Chips in Macs From 2020, Replacing Intel

      While the transition to Apple chips in hardware is planned to begin as early as 2020, the changes to the software side will begin even before that. Apple’s iPhones and iPads with custom chips use the iOS operating system, while Mac computers with Intel chips run on a different system called macOS. Apple has slowly been integrating user-facing features over the past several years, and more recently starting sharing lower-level features like a new file management system.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Addiction Drug’s Side Effect: More Overdoses?

      Researchers suggest people getting Vivitrol shots may be more susceptible to a fatal overdose if they halt the regimen early and resume using opiates.

      [...]

      Now comes a new paper, in the journal Drug Safety, focusing on another aspect of Vivitrol: the risk of overdose among people who’ve stopped taking it. Precisely because Vivitrol deters opioid abuse while people are on it, it reduces their tolerance for opioids — unlike methadone and buprenorphine, which are themselves opioids. This means that those relapsing after a period of Vivitrol shots are at a particularly high risk of overdosing. The 2017 study comparing Vivitrol and Suboxone found similar rates of overdose among those who had stopped taking the medications, but several previous studies of Vivitrol have done a poor job of tracking those who stopped taking the shot prematurely.

      The three researchers who co-authored the Drug Safety paper sought to analyze the overdose risk after Vivitrol use through different means: the “adverse event” data that Alkermes is supposed to report to the FDA when it learns (typically from medical providers, criminal justice authorities, social workers or family members) of an overdose suffered by someone who had been taking Vivitrol. The researchers submitted a public records request to the FDA and received reports of 263 adverse events. Of those, some were duplicates, many were instances in which Alkermes had not been able to establish the cause of death, and 10 were suicides. This left 52 deaths that fit the definition of opioid overdoses following Vivitrol use.

    • Access to Abortion for Young Immigrants in Government Custody

      Jane came to this country September 2017 without her parents, who abused her in her home country, seeking a better life. When she found out she was pregnant after the U.S. government detained her, she immediately requested an abortion. But instead of providing her access to medical care – as required by law – the government attempted to coerce her to carry her pregnancy to term, at the explicit instruction of head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Scott Lloyd. Lloyd also forced her to endure medically unnecessary ultrasounds, and instructed that she tell her abusive parents in her home country about her pregnancy.

    • Grindr shared information about users’ HIV status with third parties

      Norwegian nonprofit research group Sintef uncovered Grindr’s data sharing with two companies – Apptimize and Localytics – and concern spread in the US after BuzzFeed reported the findings.

    • Grindr exposed its users’ HIV statuses to two other companies

      What’s more, the app has been sharing users’ info — like GPS location, sexuality, relationship status, and phone ID — with advertising companies, according to SINTEF. In some cases, this data was not protected by encryption.

    • Grindr shares users’ HIV status with third-party companies: report

      Apptimize and Localytics, both data-optimization firms, have received certain information that some Grindr users choose to include in their profiles, including their HIV status and “last tested date.”

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • How Many People Has the U.S. Killed in its Post-9/11 Wars? Part 2: Afghanistan and Pakistan

      In the first part of this series, I estimated that about 2.4 million Iraqis have been killed as a result of the illegal invasion of their country by the United States and the United Kingdom in 2003. I turn now to Afghan and Pakistani deaths in the ongoing 2001 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. In part two, I will examine U.S.-caused war deaths in Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. According to Ret. U.S. General Tommy Franks, who led the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in reaction to 9/11, the U.S. government does not keep track of civilian casualty that it causes. “You know, we don’t do body counts,” Franks once said. Whether that’s true or a count is covered up is difficult to know.

    • Breaking News: Porton Down to Make Public Statement

      The government is putting up the Chief Scientist at Porton Down to give a press interview on Sky News this afternoon on the Skripal affair.

      If the government were not confident he would implicate the Russian state, they would not be doing this. But nevertheless I would be surprised if the Chief Scientist were to lie outright*, and we need to study his language very carefully. Much of course will depend on the questioning, and undoubtedly Sky News (a Fox affiliate) has been selected as unlikely to be be forensic or difficult. I have however passed to the producers, who contacted me for potential comment, the three questions I would ask given the chance:

      Are you saying definitely this can ONLY be made in Russia?

      How long from contact would this agent take effect?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Assange works for the people – now we need to save him

      Julian Assange has been silenced again, and the timing is most suspicious. With the Cambridge Analytica story dominating the news, it seems some powerful people have reasons to keep the brave WikiLeaks boss quiet right now.
      Ecuador is a small country, and one can only imagine the brutal behind-the-scenes pressure exerted on it by Western powers to increase the isolation of Julian Assange from the public space. Now, his internet access has been cut off and many of his visitors are refused access, thus rendering a slow social death to a person who’s spent almost six years confined to an apartment at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      This happened before, for a short period around the time of the US elections, but back then it was a reaction to WikiLeaks publishing documents which could have affected the outcome of the Trump/Clinton race, while there is no such excuse now. Because, currently, Assange’s “meddling” in international relations consists only of publishing on the web his opinions about the Catalonia crisis and the Skripal poisoning scandal. So why such brutal action now, and why did it cause so little uproar in the public opinion?

    • ‘Assange is a war hero, he exposed American war crimes’ – Vivienne Westwood

      Fashion icon Vivienne Westwood sent a message of support on RT to her friend Julian Assange, whose Internet access was cut off by the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK, calling him a “hero” and a “brilliant” man.
      Westwood hailed Julian Assange on RT after being asked why she decided to come to the Ecuadorian Embassy. Holding what appears to be a UK passport, Westwood said she wanted to make a statement on freedom of speech.

      READ MORE: Ecuador cut Assange’s internet over Catalonia crackdown tweet, source close to WikiLeaks tells RT

      “Julian Assange is one of the greatest heroes of the world, we are very concerned now that he can’t have visitors,” she said. “It’s really important that he’s got access to the world by all the exposures he has managed to do.”

      According to Westwood, Assange was “a war hero, he exposed American war crimes.” The founder of WikiLeaks “is my friend and he is brilliant,” she said.

    • Congress Will Finally Make Its Research Reports Public

      The recent omnibus bill passed by Congress contains a nugget of good news for those interested in access to publicly funded research.

      Open access activists have long been asking for reports by the Congressional Research Service, or CRS, to be made publicly and easily available. CRS creates a vast array of reports on topics that are of interest to members of Congress. In 2016 alone [.pdf], CRS produced reports for Congress on topics like climate change, agriculture and free trade, offshore oil and gas drilling, and U.S. patent policies. The research produced by CRS has been held in high regard for decades.

      But that research has also been hard to get. In theory, CRS reports have always been public documents. They’re paid for with tax dollars, and since they’re produced by the federal government, they aren’t copyrighted. But until recently, unless you could ask for one directly from a member of Congress, it wasn’t clear how to get a report—or even to find out if one existed.

      A former CRS lawyer who went on to found the group Demand Progress, Dan Schuman, published an essay in 2016 detailing the problems that led CRS to become so secretive. “Opposition to public access to CRS report is rooted in fears of the unknown,” Schuman wrote. “It is time to conquer that fear.” He created EveryCRSReport.com, which to date has made more than 14,000 CRS reports public.

    • Court Says PACER System Is Illegally Using Fees

      Nearly two years ago, we wrote about an important lawsuit concerning PACER — the electronic records system of the federal court system in the US. As we’ve pointed out many, many times over the years, the whole PACER system is a complete scam by the federal courts. Beyond the clunky and vintage 1998 interface, it is insanely expensive. It technically charges 10 cents per “page” but it determines “pages” liberally. Do a search? That’ll cost you 10 cents. View a docket in a long case? With no warning, that could add $3 to your bill (there is an upper limit of $3 per document). Want to read a filing that’s more than 30 pages? $3. For each one. The only thing that’s actually free are opinions — but even just getting to them could cost you some money as you do the search and load the docket, etc. And I won’t get into the convoluted system it takes to sign up for a PACER account (at least when I did it, you had to wait for them to mail you stuff through the physical mail — though they may have since updated it).

      This is ridiculous for a system that should be open to the public. Case law is a part of the law. The public should have free access to it to understand the law. But it’s been made incredibly difficult by this system. On top of that, as we pointed out almost a decade ago, it’s also against the law. Under the law that set up PACER, Title 28, the courts are only allowed to charge as much as is necessary to pay for the system (realistically, this should come out of filing fees, rather than user fees, but… that’s another issue for another day). And, by all accounts, the PACER system was generating a huge profit for the court system — from 2010 through 2016, PACER brought in $920 million for the courts. Yes, nearly a billion dollars. Admittedly, the US courts say that they’ve spent that money in other potentially useful ways — including upgrading computer systems in court rooms and such. But if Congress wants them to spend money that way, they should say so — rather than have the courts flat out ignore the law (irony!) and overcharge PACER users.

    • In the Struggle for Freedom of Expression, I stand with Julian Assange

      A terrible propaganda war of great proportions has been underway against Julian Assange over the course of this decade. A propaganda war with many grotesque and ridiculous tactics, focusing on such menial aspects as the hygiene and bodily odors of its victim. A propaganda war that has branded Julian as a rapist, although he was never even charged. A propaganda war that has constantly been prodding, experimenting with libel and defamation, patiently waiting to see which claims would stick, because any damage to his character is a victory: Russian agent, Mossad agent, covert CIA agent, anti-Semite, anti-American, rapist, megalomaniac, paranoid, pedophile, and the list goes on. Most of these spurious claims have been easily debunked, but the damage in the public perception has been done. The perpetrators continue to wait, hoping to weaken the public resolve to protect and speak out for this abused man.

    • Ecuador, Assange and the Empire: Anatomy of a Neoliberal Sellout

      LONDON — You can call the Ecuadorian government’s disconnection of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet connection and ban on contact with the outside world a lot of things: unfair, treacherous, a signal of surrender to the West.

      Such was the reaction of internet users and journalists throughout the world following an announcement by Ecuador that it had suspended Assange’s ability to accept visitors or communicate with the outside world.

    • Assange cut off from outside world

      Ecuador on Wednesday said it has stopped Julian Assange’s ability to communicate to the outside world from its London embassy, where the WikiLeaks founder has been holed up since 2012.

      The decision was taken because the Australian had broken a 2017 promise not to interfere in other countries’ affairs while in the mission, an Ecuadoran government statement said without elaborating.

      Under that deal, Assange had pledged “to not send messages that could be seen as interference in relations with other countries,” the statement said, adding that it could take other, unspecified measures if he persisted.

      The move to cut off Assange came after he used Twitter on Monday to challenge Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the March 4 nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent in the English city of Salisbury.

    • Where Is the Outrage About Julian Assange’s Silencing?

      On October 12, 1969, Daniel Ellsberg copied a secret dossier with the intention of disclosing the truth about the Vietnam War. The Pentagon Papers were a chronicle of events that recorded the scope of operations in Vietnam and beyond—details which were being withheld from the American public. The Vietnam War was built on the foundation of lies; we were rushed into the war using the Gulf of Tonkin as a false flag and defending freedom as a pretext to further the interests of the defense-financial complex. The truth eventually caught up to the lies of politicians and bureaucrats; Defense Secretary Robert McNamara later admitted the Gulf of Tonkin attack never took place.

      The Gulf of Tonkin set the stage for a decade of continuous half-truths and outright lies as the US government suppressed information from the citizenry and kept falsifying records. This coordinated campaign of governmental disinformation prolonged a war that led to the deaths of 58,200 Americans and snuffed the lives of over 2 million Vietnamese people. It was this pernicious operation of deceit—intent on keeping the public in the dark—that prodded Ellsberg to act. After presenting the findings of the Pentagon Papers to authorities in government only to be met with a wall of silence, he decided to inform the press. The firestorm of controversy that was created after The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers and the ensuing outcry from the public played a large part in bringing an end to the Vietnam War.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • How America’s Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump’s War On The Media

      Earlier this month, CNN’s Brian Stelter broke the news that Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner or operator of nearly 200 television stations in the U.S., would be forcing its news anchors to record a promo about “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.” The script, which parrots Donald Trump’s oft-declarations of developments negative to his presidency as “fake news,” brought upheaval to newsrooms already dismayed with Sinclair’s consistent interference to bring right-wing propaganda to local television broadcasts.

      You might remember Sinclair from its having been featured on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight last year, or from its requiring in 2004 of affiliates to air anti-John Kerry propaganda, or perhaps because it’s your own local affiliate running inflammatory “Terrorism Alerts” or required editorials from former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, he of the famed Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that failed to mention Jewish people. (Sinclair also owns Ring of Honor wrestling, Tennis magazine, and the Tennis Channel.)

      The net result of the company’s current mandate is dozens upon dozens of local news anchors looking like hostages in proof-of-life videos, trying their hardest to spit out words attacking the industry they’d chosen as a life vocation.

    • The Real Problem With Sinclair

      For more than a year, Markey and a group of media-savvy senators—Maria Cantwell of Washington, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Cory Booker of New Jersey—have been raising concerns about Sinclair’s proposal, and about the FCC chair’s approach to it. “We are concerned about the level of media concentration this merger creates, and its impact on the public interest,” the senators wrote in a June 2017, letter asking for Senate hearings on the deal. “In light of these concerns, we believe that Senate hearings would provide critical transparency for the many American consumers who will be impacted by the deal and greater accountability from the companies who must demonstrate that the deal serves the public interest.”

    • Sinclair forced TV anchors to criticize “fake” news—and Trump loved it

      Sinclair owns or operates 193 TV stations in 89 US markets, and it has repeatedly required them to run segments that spread right-wing messages.

      Sinclair’s pending purchase of Tribune would allow it to reach 72 percent of TV-owning households in the US. Tribune says it owns or operates 42 local TV stations, including stations “in each of the nation’s top three markets and seven of the top 10.”

    • Sinclair defends itself over uproar after local news anchors read anti-’false news’ screed

      Sinclair Broadcast Group is defending itself against criticism for a recent on-air promotional message many of its local news anchors were asked to read that warned viewers about “false news” on competing media outlets.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Malaysia just made fake news illegal and punishable by up to six years in jail

      Malaysia passed a new law today that would punish citizens on social media or those working at a digital publication for spreading fake news with a 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) fine and a possible a prison sentence of up to six years. Led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Anti-Fake News bill passed in parliament today despite opponents who had criticized the bill for possibly impeding free speech and attempting to censor the prime minister’s involvement in a multibillion-dollar scandal.

    • Malaysia outlaws ‘fake news’; sets jail of up to six years

      Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government secured a simple majority in parliament to pass the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, which sets out fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) and a maximum six years in jail. The first draft of the bill had proposed jail of up to 10 years.

      [...]

      Co-opted by U.S. President Donald Trump, the term “fake news” has quickly become part of the standard repertoire of leaders in authoritarian countries to describe media reports and organizations critical of them.

    • UN Human Rights Rapporteur Warns Against Canadian Pirate Site Blocking Plan

      The Canadian pirate site blocking plan may violate The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Special Rapporteur David Kaye warns. He informs the CRTC that website blocking is an extreme measure which could restrict people’s freedom of expression, especially when there’s no judicial oversight.

    • Facebook may soon let users appeal if a post was wrongly removed

      In an interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, Mark Zuckerberg says he is exploring the option for Facebook users to independently appeal to the content moderation team if their content gets taken down for violating community policies. The CEO likens the appeal process to Facebook operating more like a government, with the goal of creating a network that “reflects more what people in the community want than what short-term-oriented shareholders might want.”

    • Judge Blocks Iowa Town From Shutting Down Or Suing Resident Over His Critical Website

      The government of a small town in Iowa has just received a slapdown from a US federal court. The public servants running Sibley, Iowa — pop. ~3,000 — decided it was going to eliminate one resident’s First Amendment rights because he wouldn’t stop telling people moving to Sibley might be a bad idea.

      It all began with a meat byproduct processing plant that moved to the small town, creating jobs and a powerful stench. Resident Jeremy Harms approached the town government about the nasty smell several times, but was blown off repeatedly. News of the “blood plant’s” unpleasant odor began making news around the state, but it was Harms’ personal website that finally pushed the town into violating First Amendment rights. The town’s lawyer sent Harms a legal threat, telling him to stop criticizing the town on his website and strongly suggesting he try to be more positive about the stinkhole he lived in.

    • China: Free Anti-Censorship Activist

      The Chinese government should immediately and unconditionally release human rights activist Zhen Jianghua, who has been held incommunicado since September 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 30, 2018, Chinese police formally arrested Zhen on charges of inciting subversion, but continue to deny Zhen access to legal counsel and family members, citing “national security” concerns.

      Zhen, 32, is the executive director of the Human Rights Campaign in China, or Quanli Yundong (权利运动), an online platform that publishes information related to detentions of activists, police abuses, and other human rights violations. Zhen is also the founder of ATGFW.org, a website that provides information and services to help people scale China’s Great Firewall to access the uncensored global internet.

      [...]

      Zhen is a former computer programmer who has been involved in human rights activism since the mid-2000s. As a social worker, he assisted women who suffered domestic violence in Zhuhai and people with autism in Macau. He helped victims of human rights abuses use the internet to promote their cases and taught university students about methods of circumventing internet censorship.

      After becoming executive director of Human Rights Campaign in China in 2015, Zhen focused on helping spread news about government crackdowns on human rights activists, and building a support network to advocate for their releases. During the “709 crackdown,” in which authorities rounded up hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists, Zhen mobilized support for the detained lawyers and activists and their families. Over the past decade, authorities have harassed, intimidated, forcibly evicted, and briefly detained Zhen.

    • Cody Library: We don’t censor

      When I starting working in technical services – the realm of the catalogers – I was impressed by the diversity of material contained in this library.

      One day, I saw a tract that had been donated by a special interest group. In my ignorance, I said, “Throw that away.”

      “We don’t censor,” chief cataloger Edie Phillips said.

      In fact we can’t. Policy dictates that the library system adheres to the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement listed below:

      A. Library Bill of Rights

      The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

    • Oppose Internet censorship! Defend freedom of speech!

      The supporters group of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) in India will hold a public meeting in Chennai on April 8 against Internet censorship.

      Google has modified its search algorithms to target the World Socialist Web Site and other socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites. Facebook has made changes to limit access to news, except what it terms authoritative news.

      Another indication of the dangerous advance of Internet censorship is the decision by the American payment-processing corporation PayPal to block online sales of the WSWS pamphlet, The Struggle Against Imperialism and for Workers’ Power in Iran.

      The attack on Internet access is global. Under the guise of opposing “hate speech” and defending “national security,” the right-wing Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Internet technology companies to censor selected web sites and social media accounts.

    • India Tops List Of Countries With Maximum Censorship Of Films In 2017

      India is among the world’s most creative filmmaking countries but has topped the list of countries that have censored the most number of films in 2017, surpassing Turkey, China, Lebanon, France and its neighbor Pakistan, according to a study The State of Artistic Freedom by Freemuse, an independent international organisation advocating for free artistic expression.

      According to the study, in 2017, 20% of all film censorship cases came from India, followed by Turkey and Pakistan, with 9% of cases each and China accounted for 6% of the total cases. In cases of persecution and threats to filmmakers and actors, India accounted for one-third of all, followed by the United Arab Emirates, with 17% cases.

    • County Attorney Formally Asks ACLU To Stop Saying Factual Things About Pending Drug Legislation
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Panerabread.com Leaks Millions of Customer Records

      Panerabread.com, the Web site for the American chain of bakery-cafe fast casual restaurants by the same name, leaked millions of customer records — including names, email and physical addresses, birthdays and the last four digits of the customer’s credit card number — for at least eight months before it was yanked offline earlier today, KrebsOnSecurity has learned.

      [...]

      Fast forward to early this afternoon — exactly eight months to the day after Houlihan first reported the problem — and data shared by Houlihan indicated the site was still leaking customer records in plain text. Worse still, the records could be indexed and crawled by automated tools with very little effort.

    • Why the crypto-backdoor side is morally corrupt

      This is nonsense. It’s like claiming we haven’t cured the common cold because researchers haven’t spent enough effort at it. When researchers claim they’ve tried 10,000 ways to make something work, it’s like insisting they haven’t done enough because they haven’t tried 10,001 times.

    • Billion-dollar Facebook investor tells Mark Zuckerberg to quit as chairman
    • The Next NSA Chief Is More Used to Cyberwar Than Spy Games

      After sailing through two friendly Senate hearings—one so uncontroversial that only six senators tops bothered to even show up at any given point in the hour—Lieutenant General Paul Nakasone seems set for confirmation as the next director of the National Security Agency. That means he’ll soon lead not just one agency, but two: the world’s most powerful spying operation, the NSA, and the world’s most powerful military hacker force, US Cyber Command. And for the first time since those two roles were combined in 2010, the man leading them may be more comfortable with the latter—leaving the NSA with the unfamiliar feeling of being the not-quite-favorite sibling.

    • Feds: There are hostile stingrays in DC, but we don’t know how to find them

      The federal government has formally acknowledged for the first time that it has located suspected and unauthorized cell-site simulators in various parts of Washington, DC.

      The revelation, which was reported for the first time on Tuesday by the Associated Press, was described in a letter recently released from the Department of Homeland Security to the offices of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).

      “Overall, [DHS' National Protection and Programs Directorate] believes the malicious use of IMSI catchers is a real and growing risk,” wrote Christopher Krebs, DHS’ acting undersecretary, in a March 26, 2018 letter to Wyden.

    • ‘Being cash-free puts us at risk of attack’: Swedes turn against cashlessness

      It is hard to argue that you cannot trust the government when the government isn’t really all that bad. This is the problem facing the small but growing number of Swedes anxious about their country’s rush to embrace a cash-free society.

      Most consumers already say they manage without cash altogether, while shops and cafes increasingly refuse to accept notes and coins because of the costs and risk involved. Until recently, however, it has been hard for critics to find a hearing.

      “The Swedish government is a rather nice one, we have been lucky enough to have mostly nice ones for the past 100 years,” says Christian Engström, a former MEP for the Pirate Party and an early opponent of the cashless economy.

    • Emmanuel Macron compares ‘too big to be governed’ Google and Facebook to oil barons

      Emmanuel Macron has suggested that Facebook and Google are “too big to be governed” and compared their dominance to that of the oil barons in the early 20th century, saying they may have to be dismantled.

    • Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s hardest year, and what comes next

      Behind Facebook’s hard year is a collision between the company’s values, ambitions, business model, and mind-boggling scale. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has long held that the company’s mission is to make the world more open and connected — with the assumption being that a more open and connected world is a better world. That assumption has been sorely tested over the past year. As we’ve seen, a more open world can make it easier for governments to undermine each other’s elections from afar; a more connected world can make it easier to spread hatred and incite violence.

    • Alleged NSA leaker files to subpoena cybersecurity firms, national security agencies

      Reality Winner, the former National Security Agency contractor alleged of leaking classified information to online publication the Intercept, recently submitted a request to subpoena several U.S. government intelligence agencies, private-sector organizations and state governments.

      Winner is standing trial for allegedly retaining and transmitting top-secret documents related to state election systems penetrated by Russian-affiliated cyber actors during the 2016 presidential election.

    • Alleged NSA leaker files to subpoena cybersecurity firms, national security agencies
    • Alleged NSA leaker seeks to subpoena major cybersecurity companies, intel agencies
    • NSA Leaker’s Defense Seeks Records From 21 States Over Election Hacks
    • Accused leaker Reality Winner wants to subpoena Homeland Security, states
    • Accused NSA Leaker Wants to Subpoena Intel Agencies, Cybersecurity Firms

      Lawyers for an alleged NSA leaker are seeking the right to subpoena witnesses from US state and federal agencies, along with cybersecurity firms, as part of her legal defense. The subpoenas would include elections officials who were told by Homeland Security last September that their systems had been targeted by hackers.

      26-year old former NSA contractor Reality Leigh Winner is accused of leaking classified documents to The Intercept, and is now looking to subpoena some of America’s largest cybersecurity firms. Her lawyers are applying for the court’s permission to call representatives from the companies, along with officials from the CIA, Pentagon and other government agencies as witnesses for the defense. The justification for Winner’s lawyers seeking these subpoenas is still sealed and has to undergo a classification review before it can be released to the public.

    • It’s Really Hard To Grab Mark Zuckerberg’s Trash

      Facebook is a trade. You give up some privacy and in return you get access to a “free” social network where you can talk to your friends and family.

    • California Supreme Court Upholds the State’s Problematic Arrestee DNA Collection Law

      In a disappointing and deeply divided opinion released today, the California Supreme Court upheld a state law law mandating DNA collection from arrestees. A lower court had held this law violated the privacy and search and seizure protections guaranteed under the California constitution. Today’s decision lets this flawed law stand.

      The case, People v. Buza, involved a San Francisco man who challenged his conviction for refusing to provide a DNA sample after he was arrested. California law allows police to collect DNA from anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony—without a warrant or any finding by a judge that there was sufficient cause for the arrest. The state stores arrestees’ DNA samples indefinitely, and allows DNA profiles to be searched continuously by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

      EFF weighed in on the case in 2015, filing an amicus brief arguing the state’s constitution prohibits the collection of DNA from arrestees because of the severe impact DNA collection has on our right to privacy. Our DNA contains our entire genetic makeup—private and personal information that maps who we are, where we come from, and whom we are related to.

      In our brief, we noted California’s law sharply impacts tens of thousands of innocent Californians every year—nearly a third of the more than 400,000 people arrested for suspected felonies in California each year are never charged with or convicted of a crime. However, law enforcement can and has collected DNA from all of them. Their DNA remains in the state database, and state rules make it almost impossible to get it expunged or removed.

    • The FBI Could Have Gotten Into the San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone, But Leadership Didn’t Say That

      The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) last week released a new report that supports what EFF has long suspected: that the FBI’s legal fight with Apple in 2016 to create backdoor access to a San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone was more focused on creating legal precedent than it was on accessing the one specific device.

      The report, called a “special inquiry,” details the FBI’s failure to be completely forthright with Congress, the courts, and the American public. While the OIG report concludes that neither former FBI Director James Comey, nor the FBI officials who submitted sworn statements in court had “testified inaccurately or made false statements” during the roughly month-long saga, it illustrates just how close they came to lying under oath.

      From the onset, we suspected that the FBI’s primary goal in its effort to access to an iPhone found in the wake of the December 2015 mass shootings in San Bernardino wasn’t simply to unlock the device at issue. Rather, we believed that the FBI’s intention with the litigation was to obtain legal precedent that it could compel Apple to sabotage its own security mechanisms. Among other disturbing revelations, the new OIG report confirms our suspicion: senior leaders within the FBI were “definitely not happy” when the agency realized that another solution to access the contents of the phone had been found through an outside vendor and the legal proceeding against Apple couldn’t continue.

    • Poll: One in five cutting down on social media

      85 percent use social media to maintain relationships [sic]

    • [Older] Decentralized identity and decentralized social networks

      Furthermore, nobody accuses Bob of being dishonest or duplicitous for acting this way. In fact, everything described above is such a fundamental, everyday part of the human experience that it’s downright boring.

      Now Bob goes online. Suddenly, every social network is telling him that he should have exactly one identity, speak in one voice, and abide by one set of rules.

    • Facebook Data Scandal Has Left Zuckerberg Isolated in Tech

      “This is about the entire web surveillance-based and advertising-powered business model,” she said. “Facebook is just the worst or best at it, depending on your view of surveillance.”

    • Mark Zuckerberg calls Tim Cook’s comments on Facebook ‘extremely glib’

      Cook said, “The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.” Apple, instead, has monetized products to customers, and Cook argued that was a sounder business model and not vulnerable to the same problems Facebook is having.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • NPR Runs IDF Playbook, Spinning Killing of 17 Palestinians

      The “firebombs” claim is repeated later in the piece by Estrin himself: “Israel responded to Palestinians throwing rocks, firebombs, burning tires.” This isn’t qualified with “according to the IDF” or “the Israeli government”—even though as of now, there’s no independent evidence firebombs were used, much less used before any sniper fire from Israel.

      The issue isn’t trivial: The matter of first blood when it comes to the Palestinian/Israeli “conflict” is a crucial one (FAIR.org, 12/8/17); framing Israel as always responding to threats, rather than inflicting aggressive violence on an occupied people, is a critical difference. And subtle framing devices like “clashes,” distorting timelines of who did what, or morphing IDF claims of “firebombs” into fact are how media keep this myth alive, and further delegitimize Palestinian resistance. (It should be borne in mind that opposition to occupation, even armed opposition, is a right guaranteed by international law.)

      When FAIR pointed out to Estrin on Twitter that he had reported the “firebombs” as fact and not a claim by the IDF, he responded, “I reported the firebombs as an Israeli claim.” When FAIR showed evidence he and host Shapiro had done the opposite, Estrin deflected: “Be kind; it’s live radio.”

    • Attorney General Says Texas Cops Can View All The Camera Footage They Want Before Being Questioned
    • NY Appeals Court Gives NYPD Even More Opacity By Upholding It ‘Glomar’ Powers

      Three years after a lower court decided the NYPD could deliver Glomar responses to records requesters, the state’s appeals court has handed down its agreement. Apparently the NYPD can — without being a federal agency or one charged with pursuing terrorists in foreign countries — refuse to confirm or deny the existence of documents, something previously only granted to federal agencies.

      The case stems from federal intervention, however. The records sought pertain to the NYPD’s now-disbanded Demographics Unit. As its name suggests, the Demographics Unit focused on one demographic: New York City Muslims. They were being placed under surveillance while they engaged in First Amendment-protected activities. This unit was created by a former CIA officer and routinely shared information with federal agencies like the FBI… right up until federal agencies realized the NYPD’s routine rights violations made the shared info too toxic to touch, must less to use in prosecutions.

    • He Gave His Life in the Labor Struggle: MLK’s Forgotten Radical Message for Economic Justice

      Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago this week while in Memphis, where he was supporting striking sanitation workers and building support for his Poor People’s Campaign. We look at King’s long history of fighting for economic justice, with the Rev. James Lawson and historian Michael Honey, author of the new book “To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC Boss Under Fire For Facts-Optional Attack On Low-Income Broadband Programs

      For a while now, we’ve noted how FCC boss Ajit Pai professes to be some kind of a hero to the poor, despite the fact that his policies are quickly making broadband and TV services more expensive for Americans. His extremely unpopular net neutrality repeal, for example, will only wind up driving up costs for consumers as entrenched ISPs jack up costs for competitors and consumers alike. And when Pai wasn’t busy killing net neutrality, he was busy killing efforts to make cable boxes more competitive and affordable, or making it easier for prison phone monopolies to rip off inmate families via absurdly over-priced services.

      Pai has also been taking aim at a government program dubbed Lifeline, which makes expensive American telecom services slightly less expensive for poor families. The program, started under Reagan and expanded under Bush Jr., simply gives low-income homes a $9.25 credit they can use for home phone, broadband, or wireless service (they have to pick one). Traditionally, this program has had pretty broad, bipartisan support, and is uniformly seen as pretty much the least the government can do to help those struggling to make ends meet.

      But Pai’s attack on Lifeline has come via death by a thousand cuts, and is starting to alarm folks that actually try to help poor people for a living. Most recently, Pai tabled a proposal that would declare that smaller wireless MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators, like Boost or Virgin Mobile) could no longer participate in Lifeline. While Pai has claimed that these changes will somehow magically boost broadband deployment, he hasn’t been able to offer the slightest shred of data to support that contention.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Disbarred Patent Attorney Michael I. Kroll Still Practicing, No Comment from PTO

      In preparation for an ethics CLE later this week I was reviewing final disciplinary decisions against registered patent practitioners. Not surprisingly, Michael I. Kroll’s name appeared twice over the past year. Kroll has been frequently disciplined by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) over the years.

      What is surprising, however, is that Kroll continues to practice despite being disbarred. When reached for comment a spokesperson for the United States Patent and Trademark Office declined to comment.

    • A new way of recording revenue comes into force: Will it hurt?

      Another area of change involves intellectual property (IP) licensing. Entities will need to determine whether the licence transfers to the customer ‘over time’ or ‘at a point in time’. A licence that is transferred over time allows a customer access to the entity’s IP as it exists throughout the licence period – such revenue is recognised over time. Licence provides right to access IP if all of the following criteria are met: 1) The licensor performs activities that significantly affect the IP; 2) The rights expose the customer to the effects of these activities; and 3) The activities are not a separate good or service.

      Examples of such arrangements include consumer franchise arrangements, popular consumer brands, tradenames, etc. On the other hand, licences transferred at a point in time allow the customer the right to use the entity’s IP as it exists when the license is granted. The customer must be able to direct the use and obtain substantially all of the remaining benefits from the licensed IP to recognise revenue when the license is granted. Such examples include licensing of product formula, IT software, patents, etc.

    • Intel Patents Bitcoin Mining Chip Accelerator to Reduce Energy Usage

      Intel has filed a patent for a Bitcoin (BTC) mining hardware accelerator that would dramatically reduce the amount of electricity used to mine the cryptocurrency. The patent was filed on September 23, 2016.

    • Intel Patents Hardware Accelerator

      On March 29, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published an application in the name of Intel Corporation, which puts the famous microprocessor company back in the spotlight of crypto mining.

    • Trademarks
      • University Of Illinois Attempts To Trademark Bully An Alumnus After Failing To Stop His Trademark Registration

        It’s not a great look when our institutions of higher learning either can’t get their own collective shit together on matters of law or else attempt to bully former students with specious claims. And, yet, this appears to happen far too frequently. The most glaring example of this was Iowa State University’s attempt to violate the free speech rights of its students that resulted in a $400k bill of blowback. Now it seems that the University of Illinois is seeking to trademark bully an alumnus after failing to take action during that alumnus’ trademark registration for a t-shirt in orange and black that reads “Make Illinois Great Again.”

    • Copyrights
      • Spotify poised to be a $25bn company on eve of IPO

        Spotify, like fellow tech firms such as Tesla and Uber, is yet to make a profit, as its income struggles to keep pace with costs, including the royalties it pays to record labels and artists.

      • Federal Circuit Ruling in Oracle v. Google Could Affect Global Software Industry

        Google’s use of 37 of Oracle’s Java application programming interface (API) packages in its Android operating system infringed Oracle patents and copyright, the US District Court for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) said on 27 March. The latest decision in the long-running case was not unreasonable but could stifle software innovation, lawyers said.

Berkheimer Can be Overturned and Software Patents Are Still a Waste of Time/Money/Effort in the United States

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 09:14:18 AM

Summary: Contrary to the views (or marketing rather) of the patent ‘industry’, software patents remain weak if not outright worthless after Alice, no matter how much name-dropping (e.g. “Berkheimer”) the patent ‘industry’ resorts to

THE status/fate of software patents at the USPTO depends on PTAB, which compels examiners to reject some. It often affirms rejections, too. We stopped keeping track of these many affirmations about a month ago, instead noting (citing some statistical analysis of these affirmations) that patent applications pertaining to algorithms are likely to be a waste of time and money.

“The EFF and others stepped in with formal input on Berkheimer. They wrote to the court.”Some days ago we wrote about law firms 'pulling a Berkheimer', i.e. selectively citing a case or two in an effort to convince clients to still pursue software patents. The EFF and others stepped in with formal input on Berkheimer. They wrote to the court. So did HP, seeking to overturn/reverse Berkheimer. Michael Borella, who writes for a patent maximalists’ site, wrote about it at the start of the week (he covers Berkheimer’s side, not HP’s). HP is now in a position to further cement the de facto ban on software patents.

Sure, the court overturned PTAB in spite of dissenting judges (like those whom the patent microcosm insulted racially), but there’s still room for appeal. To quote Borella:

In early February, the Federal Circuit published an opinion in HP Inc. v. Berkheimer stating clearly –- for the first time — that patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 should be determined as a matter of law, but with possible underlying factual issues. While supported in principle by Supreme Court and previous Federal Circuit decisions, neither body had unambiguously stated that facts matter in eligibility disputes. Thus, this ruling has the potential to fundamentally shift how the § 101 inquiry is carried out.

Berkheimer’s U.S. Patent No. 7,447,713 is directed to “digitally processing and archiving files in a digital asset management system.” This system “parses files into multiple objects and tags the objects to create relationships between them,” then compares these objects to “to archived objects to determine whether variations exist based on predetermined standards and rules.” Doing so “eliminates redundant storage of common text and graphical elements, which improves system operating efficiency and reduces storage costs.”

Do not fall for the Berkheimer hype. With very rare and few exceptions, software patents are being proven to be as worthless as they have been after Alice in the US Supreme Court.

It’s obvious that the patent maximalists won’t give up; last night Lisa Ouellette wrote about an “article [which] is mostly from the perspective of cutbacks in patent rights that retroactively invalidate patents. ”

These are not cutbacks. They merely get rid of bogus patents. And they’re not rights, they’re monopolies.

“They merely get rid of bogus patents. And they’re not rights, they’re monopolies.”Dennis Crouch meanwhile takes note of a decision/opinion more than a week old, stating: “In its March 23 opinion, the Federal Circuit reversed two USPTO IPR decisions favoring the patent challenger — holding that “the Board did not provide a sufficient explanation for its conclusions” of obviousness. [...] the Federal Circuit found that the PTAB had not shown its case — its conclusions lacked evidentiary support.”

This is basically the latest bubble or hype on which the patent maximalists rely. Another one that we saw yesterday came from the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM). Only a site like IAM, which fronts for patent trolls and serial litigators, would come up with a headline (yesterday) which says US patent “litigation remains depressed” (seriously, they said “depressed”).

That’s like saying “war remains depressed” and this is generally their message on an Easter Monday. That “litigation remains depressed”…

“The world is moving on and with Oil States in the pipeline we expect a lot of the Berkheimer hype (or PTAB bashing) to stop as well.”Maybe it’s just them who are depressed, knowing that their funding sources may soon run dry. In addition to Alice there’s also TC Heartland, which makes litigation a lot harder for serial bullies.

Yesterday, the Docket Navigator cited Whirlpool Corporation v TST Water, LLC, 2-15-cv-01528 (dated March 29th). It’s a decision from Rodney Gilstrap, whom politicians called “reprehensible”. He continues to signal that patent trolls and aggressors ought to come to the Eastern District of Texas for patent extortion, but few of them can come there for such favourable rulings. The latest:

Following a jury verdict of willful infringement, the court granted in part plaintiff’s motion for enhanced damages because defendant’s copying, lack of a good faith belief in noninfringement/invalidity, lack of closeness of the case, duration of misconduct, lack of remedial action, and motivation for harm favored an enhancement of $3.8 million on a $7.6 million award.

Typical Gilstrap. Thankfully, after TC Heartland there will be a lot less ‘business’ for him. The world is moving on and with Oil States in the pipeline we expect a lot of the Berkheimer hype (or PTAB bashing) to stop as well. As for that anti-PTAB bill (which they dubbed “STRONGER”)? We have not heard from it in over a week, so it’s likely dead or dying again, just like it did a year ago. After Easter recess we doubt it’ll even be brought up much (if at all).

‘Patent Imperialism’ in the United States and China

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 07:32:19 AM

They believe that by amassing millions of low-quality patents they will perpetually maintain dominance and glory

Summary: Patent maximalism, which is encouraged and always glorified by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), threatens to accomplish nothing but associating patents with self-destructive lawsuits that divert economic capacities from research and development to patents and litigation (passage of power and wealth from science and technology to law firms)

Thanks to Cablegate (2010), we already know about ambitions of a global patent system (we wrote quite a lot about this around 2011). But whose globalism? In Cablegate we see ambitions of a USPTO-like or US-leaning system worldwide (the EPO moved closer to that, more so than IP5 on average) and putting WIPO aside, why would anybody want that? What about the hundreds (about 200) nations that don’t dominate the world’s economy? What’s in it for them? What about high-density and large populations like Nigeria, Brazil, India, Indonesia and so on? Should billions of people become indebted to or beholden to some corporations halfway across the world? Does unification of systems or a sort of convergence benefit the public or does that benefit large multinational corporations and billionaires? In practice, due to political dynamics, it’s usually the latter. We already saw how a ‘cartel’ of patent law firms crafted and then attempted to force-feed (ratify) the UPC all across Europe, basically helping patent trolls from other continents blackmail many SMEs across Europe (profitable for patent law firms, representing both plaintiffs and defendants).

“We already saw how a ‘cartel’ of patent law firms crafted and then attempted to force-feed (ratify) the UPC all across Europe, basically helping patent trolls from other continents blackmail many SMEs across Europe (profitable for patent law firms, representing both plaintiffs and defendants).”Anyway, yesterday IAM wrote more of its Chinese jingoism over the patent system of China (because it had fully embraced patent maximalism some years ago). The vast majority of patent lawsuits in China may still be initiated by Chinese firms, some government-connected monopolies in fact, and the targets are often foreign companies they hope to drive out. That’s a very high cost for PRC/CPC/China/Xi to pay just to pretend that it has an innovation surge (measured wrongly by number of monopolies) and counter sanctions/fines in case of trade wars, which seem inevitable now.

IAM, echoing the headline (more or less) in Twitter, basically quotes only the patent microcosm (as usual):

Beijing has a reputation for deep patent expertise in its courts and is a favoured venue for overseas companies. But Lui has found that foreign parties enjoy a high success rate across the whole of the country. In cases that resulted in a verdict, foreign plaintiffs won 29 and lost just 8 – a conversion rate of about 78%.

But 24 other cases were withdrawn. It is hard to get a good read on what these presumed settlements mean. Chinese practitioners say that one reason for the high winning rate of all plaintiffs in China is that it often becomes clear during the course of a case if a plaintiff is unlikely to succeed – technical determinations made by judges’ assistants can be decisive. So we really cannot assume that the larger share of settlements will be on terms favourable to the plaintiff.

At the end, this patent policy of China benefits law firms but not practicing (real) companies. Chinese companies are complaining about this (to the extent they can given the oppressive levels of censorship). Law firms are staging a sort of ‘coup’ there.

Speaking of China, mind this morning’s nonsense from the patent microcosm (Managing IP with some self-promoting law firms). The headline says “Global blockchain patent filing increased three-fold in 2017,” but actually the use of that word tripled (it’s a fairly new term), that is all. That’s just how patent maximalists try to seem ‘cool’ or ‘up to date’, basically by adopting hype waves.

“But never let a good propaganda opportunity get in the way, with ‘sensational’ headlines such as “patent filing increased three-fold in 2017″ (misleading at best).”According to them, in 2016 there were 59 such patents counted in China (top of the table) and in 2017 226. But don’t expect them to be able to read these patents; not only is their quality dubious; they’re likely authored in a language nobody at Managing IP can even pronounce.

But never let a good propaganda opportunity get in the way, with ‘sensational’ headlines such as “patent filing increased three-fold in 2017″ (misleading at best).

We often wonder why WIPO is so eager to embrace low-quality patents from China just to fake so-called ‘growth’ (of monopolies). But we know the answer. WIPO is the mother of all patent maximalism and it derives its very relevance/clout from such astronomic increase in the number of patents (mostly Chinese). I too can create (in theory at least) a patent office, but WIPO would not recognise it. This whole thing is a back-rubbing exercise, just like national delegates at the EPO (typically heads of national patent offices) offering protection to the insane Battistelli. These people are staging a sort of coup, wherein law firms gain at everyone’s expense (companies, the public, governments).

As if things weren’t already mad enough, the US now asserts/claims to have patent authority over New Zealand, whose patent laws vary (there are exclusions regarding software patents for instance). Together with the R Street Institute (a recent trend), the EFF’s Daniel Nazer has just weighed in on WesternGeco LLC v ION Geophysical Corp. under the headline “EFF to Supreme Court: Don’t Turn US Patents Into Worldwide Patents”. To quote:

The general rule in patent law is that each country has its own patent system. If you want damages for sales in the United States, you need a U.S. patent. If you want damages for sales in New Zealand, you need to get a New Zealand patent, and so on. A case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court threatens to disrupt this system by allowing worldwide damages for infringement of U.S. patents. Together with the R Street Institute, EFF has filed an amicus brief [PDF] in the case explaining that extraterritorial damages are inconsistent with the Patent Act and would hurt U.S. innovation.

The case, called WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., involves damages for overseas patent infringement. Literally. WesternGeco owns a patent that covers a method of conducting marine seismic surveys. ION exported components that, when combined, were used to infringe the patent. Under Section 271(f) of the Patent Act, exporting components of a patented invention for assembly abroad is considered infringement. Accordingly, WesternGeco received damages for the sales of the components. The question in the case is whether WesternGeco should also receive lost profits for the use of the invention overseas (even though that use is not itself infringement under U.S. law).

Remember that the notion that patent numbers should always rise is misguided if not grotesque. All it does is, eventually, might be surge in litigation activity. We know who gains/benefits from it and who loses (or at whose expense those gains are made).

Keep the patent systems rational or risk the concept of patents losing its legitimacy (public support) altogether.

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