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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 38 min 2 sec ago

Team UPC and Team Battistelli in IP Kat and IAM

Monday 30th of April 2018 02:57:13 AM

Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) agenda as seen in IP Kat posts and in IAM editorials, courtesy of the main firms/entities which are driving the UPC

“How is this possible if the UK will not accept the jurisdiction of the CJEU?”

So said the latest comment at IP Kat in response to their UPC propaganda (comments there are nowadays better and more honest than articles, which are mostly ‘marketing’).

Sadly, the EPO constantly lies about the UPC and so does Team UPC, which now dominates IP Kat. The latest example of that is only hours old.

“Just remember that IAM actually set up a pro-UPC event in the United States, funded by the EPO’s PR agency and explicitly support by EPO management.”UPC boosters (Bird & Bird/Bristows) are celebrating an injunction (embargo), which is their bread and butter. Watch the caption of the image. It says “The AmeriKat [Annsley Merelle Ward, Bristows] bundled warmly in blanket of FRAND and SEP injunctions…” (as if embargoes are cute and sweet rather an ultimate act of aggression, which UPC strives to phase in across the whole of Europe).

Joff Wild (chief editor of the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM) has just boosted Bristows, then repeated what he tweeted some days ago, and concluded with these words about “UK’s UPC ratification”:

I will leave it to others to decide for themselves whether that makes the whole exercise a wonderful expression of independence and the start of a new, global Britain; or a complete and utter waste of time that will end up making the UK slightly worse off, a rule-taker rather than a rule-maker and a lot less influential than it was before. Me? I am just counting down the days until I get my blue passport!

Joff Wild is just interjecting his political choice/orientation (Remain) rather than acknowledge the reality that this “UK’s UPC ratification” (as he put it in his headline) is somewhat of a PR stunt, as we have already explained in these previous posts:

Just remember that IAM actually set up a pro-UPC event in the United States, funded by the EPO’s PR agency and explicitly support by EPO management. Team UPC and Team Battistelli are very much connected.

Guest Article: Is the EPO Deliberately Disseminating “False Facts” About Benoît Battistelli’s Political Activities in Saint-Germain-en-Laye?

Monday 30th of April 2018 02:27:48 AM

In the past, the EPO got Les Échos (its “media partner”) to censor articles which it had already published, so we have made a copy [PDF] of its latest puff piece which we mentioned three days ago

Summary: Whilst European media is being paid a lot of EPO money to promote Battistelli’s upcoming event in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, serious questions about alleged corruption continue to circulate inside EPO rooms and corridors

IN the build up to the European Inventor of the Year Award which is due to take place in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on 7 June the EPO recently posted a number of “fact sheets” (warning: epo.org link) on its official website.

One of these “fact sheets” is a profile of EPO President Battistelli (warning: epo.org link), which is downloadable as a Word document in the three official languages of the EPO (English, German, and French).

Amongst other things the “fact sheet” about Battistelli refers to his political activities in Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

English:

“Mr Battistelli plays an active role in public and community life. He was the deputy mayor of Saint-Germain-en-Laye from 2008 to 2014, and is now on the City Council there.”

German:

“Herr Battistelli ist aktiv am öffentlichen Leben beteiligt. Von 2008 bis 2014 war er stellvertretender Bürgermeister von Saint-Germain-en-Laye und ist dort seither delegierter Gemeinderat.”

French:

“Actif dans le domaine associatif, Benoît Battistelli a été Adjoint au maire de Saint-Germain-en-Laye de 2008 à 2014 et, depuis, Conseiller municipal délégué.”

The reader of the “fact sheet” is left with the impression that Battistelli’s current role in the municipal council is that of an ordinary rank and file member of the council.

However the publicly accessible records of the municipal council reveal that in October 2017 Battistelli was once again elected as deputy mayor in charge of cultural affairs.

“However the publicly accessible records of the municipal council reveal that in October 2017 Battistelli was once again elected as deputy mayor in charge of cultural affairs.”This means that he is now in charge of the management committee of the Théâtre Alexandre Dumas where the European Inventor of the Year Award is due to be held on 7 June.

The document which records Battistelli’s election as deputy mayor in charge of cultural affairs is registered under the file number “17 G 02″ and is dated 19 October 2017.

It can be retrieved from the Internet under the following address. [we have made a local copy [PDF] just in case, for longterm preservation in an age of constant SLAPP and revisionism]

Did the EPO press department inadvertently overlook a potentially awkward fact concerning Battistelli’s current role in the political life of Saint-Germain-en-Laye or is this the deliberate omission of a relevant fact?

“Did the EPO press department inadvertently overlook a potentially awkward fact concerning Battistelli’s current role in the political life of Saint-Germain-en-Laye or is this the deliberate omission of a relevant fact?”EPO insiders suspect the latter. They see it as part of a deliberate strategy to disseminate “false facts” about Battistelli’s political activities in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in advance of the forthcoming Inventor of the Year extravaganza and a patently transparent attempt to distract public attention away from a rather glaring conflict of interest.

In its latest “puff piece” about Battistelli the French journal “Les Échos” claims that he himself chose the venue for “his” (!) event: “Pour sa dernière cérémonie du Prix de l’inventeur européen, le 7 juin 2018, Benoît Battistelli a choisi pour écrin, le théâtre municipal de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, la ville dont il est maire-adjoint à la culture depuis 2008.”

“In its latest “puff piece” about Battistelli the French journal “Les Échos” claims that he himself chose the venue…”Translation: “For his [!] last European Inventor Prize ceremony, on 7 June 2018, Benoît Battistelli chose the municipal theatre of Saint-Germain-en-Laye as the setting, the town where he has been deputy mayor for culture since 2008.”

The six million Euro questions which so far remain unanswered are as follows:

  • What authorisation did Battistelli have to chose the venue?
  • What was the role of the Administrative Council in the affair or were the delegates too busy stuffing themselves with petit fours to notice what was going on?

[Editor’s note: contact details for relevant officials can be found here.]

Links 29/4/2018: Microsoft Excuses, Mesa 18.1 RC2, and Mesa 18.0.2

Sunday 29th of April 2018 04:30:11 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • E-waste warrior slapped with 15-month sentence for flogging Windows restore discs

      At US federal judge agreed with Microsoft’s viewpoint and found Lundgren guilty of infringing copyrigh[t]. Lundgren then challenged the verdict at the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, but the court decided to uphold the judge’s decision.

    • E-waste guru going to prison says cracking down on refurbishers is ‘harmful to society’

      Lundgren, who’s also an electric vehicle inventor, ordered a shipment of the discs and provided them to a Florida broker, with plans to move them on to computer refurbishers. The broker eventually asked Lundgren to personally purchase them instead — only for Lundgren to discover the sale was part of a government sting operation.

      In court, Lundgren pleaded guilty but argued that the value of the discs was zero, as the software was made freely available online to restore broken computers. But the courts sided with the prosecution, which was assisted by Microsoft. The company said in a statement this week that providing software as Lundgren did “exposes people who purchase recycled PCs to malware and other forms of cybercrime, which puts their security at risk and ultimately hurts the market for recycled products.”

    • Microsoft responds to e-waste recycler’s jail sentence: ‘he was counterfeiting Windows software’

      One of the core issues of the case was the value of the software Lundgren was attempting to distribute. Lundgren and an expert witness contend that the value was essentially zero. That’s because, they argue, the actual value of the software should have been in the license to use the software, not in the restore software itself — which can be downloaded for free from Microsoft’s own website.

    • Microsoft attempts to spin its role in counterfeiting case [Ed: Microsoft is - and always has been - a company of thieves, liars, crooks and criminals that work for spy agencies to get away with crimes (immunity from the state)]

      Earlier this week Eric Lundgren was sentenced to 15 months in prison for selling what Microsoft claimed was “counterfeit software,” but which was in fact only recovery CDs loaded with data anyone can download for free. The company has now put up a blog post setting “the facts” straight, though it’s something of a limited set of those facts.

      “We are sharing this information now and responding publicly because we believe both Microsoft’s role in the case and the facts themselves are being misrepresented,” the company wrote. But it carefully avoids the deliberate misconception about software that it promulgated in court.

      That misconception, which vastly overstated Lundgren’s crime and led to the sentence he received, is simply to conflate software with a license to operate that software. Without going into details (my original post spells it out at length) it maintained in court that the discs Lundgren was attempting to sell were equivalent to entire licensed operating systems, when they were simply recovery discs that any user, refurbisher, or manufacturer can download and burn for free. Lundgren was going to sell them to repair shops for a quarter each so they could hand them out to people who needed them.

    • Microsoft defends conviction of e-waste recycler over piracy

      Many were upset that e-waste recycling pioneer Eric Lundgren was going to prison for creating his unofficial Windows restore discs, and in some cases pointed the finger at Microsoft for its role in the conviction. Microsoft, however, doesn’t think he’s a hero… and thinks it’s getting a bad rap. The software giant has posted a response to critics that characterizes Lundgren’s piracy as fully intentional while simultaneously washing the company’s hands.

  • Server
  • Kernel Space
    • The Linux Kernel Might Drop Memory Protection Extensions Support

      Yesterday I wrote about GCC developers moving to drop Intel MPX support and now the Linux kernel developers are looking at dropping the Memory Protection Extensions support too, thereby rendering this modern CPU feature unsupported by Linux.

      Memory Protection Extensions is a security feature present since Skylake for checking pointer references at run-time to avoid buffer overflows. MPX support requires plumbing through the kernel, compiler, run-time library, etc. But with Intel not maintaining that support too well on Linux, it looks like it will be dropped entirely. With mainline LLVM Clang not supporting MPX, with GCC dropping it means no compiler support and thus no support for this functionality short of any Intel compiler offering it.

    • Graphics Stack
      • RadeonSI Ups Its Compiler Threads To Let Shader-DB Run Faster On Modern Systems

        The RadeonSI compiler queue can now run across more CPU cores/threads of modern systems though it appears this will primarily just benefit those running the shader-db shader test cases.

        Marek Olšák of AMD has increased the number of compiler threads depending upon the CPU. The compiler queue in the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver was previously limited to three threads, which is a bottleneck for shader-db when running on modern systems commonly featuring eight or now sixteen threads.

      • Red Hat Developers Continue Working On OpenCL/Compute For Nouveau

        Karol Herbst and others at Red Hat continue working on improving the open-source GPU compute for Linux, particularly for the Nouveau open-source reverse-engineered NVIDIA driver.

        Longtime Nouveau developer Karol Herbst who joined Red Hat towards the end of 2017 has been working on compute support for Nouveau since joining the company. He’s been added NIR support to Nouveau in order to get SPIR-V support working for OpenCL though also helps along Vulkan enablement for this open-source driver.

      • mesa 18.0.2

        Mesa 18.0.2 is now available.

        In this release we have:

        A couple of fixes for Meson that solves some problems regarding
        building tests and installation.

        A couple of fixes in state tracker / DRI that was causing crashes
        in QtCreator and Firefox, among other problems.

        A couple of fixes for GFX9, that solves a hang in the driver, and
        a problem with buffer views.

        SVGA gets also a patch to fix incorrect advertizing of
        EGL_KHR_gl_colorspace extension.

        Etnaviv gets a fix for swizzled texture formats.

        Intel drivers get also several patches.

        RADV gets a patch to solve a problem of lot of games complaining
        about not having enough memory.

      • Mesa 18.1-RC2 & Mesa 18.0.2 Released

        Mesa 18.0.2 is now the latest stable release for Mesa3D while those wishing to ride the bleeding-edge version for these OpenGL/Vulkan drivers can try Mesa 18.1-RC2.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Kdenlive sprint news #1

        Part of the Kdenlive team is currently meeting in Paris at the La cité des sciences e de l’industrie to improve the project. We’ve tackled several goals, starting with being together. The magic of this kind of project leads to situations where we work together without meeting each other. Thus, we were able to live, share and especially spend good times to work together in a good mood. It was also useful for making important decisions after rich and lively discussions, exchanging varied points of view related to our respective experiences. Expect big changes very soon. Do you want to know more? Come join us at our new Telegram group!

      • Elisa music player – Fur Elise

        Elisa is an early beginning of something that might one day transpire into a good, meaningful, exciting project. Or become yet another pile of code created without a greater strategic imperative aimed at satisfying a primal need. At the moment, it’s a bit early to tell, but the initial showing is just okay. Reasonable looks, reasonable behavior, some bugs, and simple functionality that is neither here nor there. I would like to see more. Better yet, I’d like to see something new and unique.

        In other words, think, what would make you switch? What would make you abandon your current music player and opt for Elisa as your primary choice? And what does it have that we haven’t already seen or tried in dozens of other players? At the moment, not much. True, another effort does not hurt anyone, and why not. But then, why not is not the foundation on which greatness is built. Plasma is taking off, and recently, it’s become more robust, more consistent, more professional. All and every future effort needs to align to this core mission, and Elisa should follow suit. This beginning ain’t bad, but I want more. Worth testing, just don’t expect any miracles.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 16: new lock and login screens

        Get ready for a Usability & Productivity avalanche! There’s so much to announce this week that I’m breaking it up into two posts! I’m super excited to announce that in addition to the normal stream of little quality-of-life improvements, a major and long-simmering change has landed: we’ve overhauled the lock and login screens to provide better usability and aesthetics, and more features!

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 16: everything else
      • GSoC’ 2018: I am in

        Wooo… I am accepted as a GSoC student this year to hack on Falkon. Currently Falkon supports extensions but in C++ and Python. My project is to implement JavaScript/QML extension support for Falkon so that its both easy to develop and distribute.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Submit your talk for GUADEC!

        GUADEC 2018 is taking place in Almerîa, Spain this year and now is the time to submit your proposals! The submission deadline for talk submissions is tomorrow, on the 29th April.

      • More Memory, More Problems

        In GJS we recently committed a patch that has been making waves. Thanks to GJS contributor Georges Basile “Feaneron” Stavracas Neto, some infamous memory problems with GNOME Shell 3.28 have been mitigated. (What’s the link between GNOME Shell and GJS? GNOME Shell uses GJS as its internal Javascript engine, in which some of the UI and all of the extensions are implemented.)

        There is a technical explanation, having to do with toggle-refs, a GObject concept which we use to interface the JS engine’s garbage collector with GObject’s reference counting system. Georges has already provided a fantastic introduction to the technical details so I will not do another one here. This post will be more about social issues, future plans, and answers to some myths I’ve seen in various comments recently. To read this post, you only need to know that the problem has to do with toggle-refs and that toggle-refs are difficult to reason about.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
    • Red Hat Family
      • Fedora
        • Fedora on ODROID-HC1 mini NAS (ARMv7)

          Hardkernel is a Korean company that makes various embedded ARM based systems, which it calls ODROID.

          One of their products is the ODROID-HC1, a mini NAS designed to take a single 2.5″ SATA drive (HC stands for “Home Cloud”) which comes with 2GB RAM and a Gigabit Ethernet port. There is also a 3.5″ model called the HC2. Both of these are based on the ODROID-XU4, which itself is based on the previous iteration ODROID-XU3. All of these are based on the Samsung Exynos5422 SOC and should work with the following steps.

          The Exynos SOC needs proprietary first stage bootloaders which are embedded in the first 1.4MB or so at the beginning of the SD card in order to load U-Boot. As these binary blobs are not re-distributable, Fedora cannot support these devices out of the box, however all the other bits are available including the kernel, device tree and U-Boot. So, we just need to piece it all together and the result is a stock Fedora system!

        • A Beginners Guide To Flatpak

          A while, we have written about Ubuntu’s Snaps. Snaps are introduced by Canonical for Ubuntu operating system, and later it was adopted by other Linux distributions such as Arch, Gentoo, and Fedora etc. A snap is a single binary package bundled with all required libraries and dependencies, and you can install it on any Linux distribution, regardless of its version and architecture. Similar to Snaps, there is also another tool called Flatpak. As you may already know, packaging distributed applications for different Linux distributions are quite time consuming and difficult process. Each distributed application has different set of libraries and dependencies for various Linux distributions. But, Flatpak, the new framework for desktop applications that completely reduces this burden. Now, you can build a single Flatpak app and install it on various operating systems. How cool, isn’t it?

        • “RISCY BUSINESS” runs Fedora in a chroot on HiFive Unleashed
        • Mahapatra: Summer, Code and Fedora

          Fedora has an android app which lets a user browse Fedora Magazine, Ask Fedora, FedoCal etc within it.

          [...]

          In the current form, most of the functions in the app rely on an in-app browser to render content. This project aims to improve the existing Fedora App for Android for speed, utility and responsiveness, introduce a deeper native integration and make the app more personal for the user.

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Advances Canonical’s Cloud, Kubernetes Strategy

            Canonical the lead commercial sponsor behind the Ubuntu Linux project, officially announced the launch of Ubuntu 18.04 on April 26.

            The new release, dubbed the Bionic Beaver, is a Long Term Support (LTS) milestone and will be supported by Canonical for at least the next five years. The 18.04 LTS is the first LTS since the 16.04 LTS in April 2016. Enterprises and cloud providers alike rely on the LTS release as the stable base on which other services including OpenStack and Kubernetes are deployed.

            “The majority of all public cloud workloads across Amazon, Google, Oracle and Microsoft are Ubuntu workloads,” Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical and founder of Ubuntu Linux said during a press launch event.

          • Canonical on Ubuntu ‘Bionic Beaver’ 18.04 LTS and its controversial changes

            The release of Ubuntu ‘Bionic Beaver’ 18.04 is important. Not only is it the LTS – with five years’ worth of support – that will see millions of users installing Ubuntu for the first time with GNOME firmly nestled in the desktop environment slot, but it could be the release that sees Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, through IPO. We spoke to Will Cooke, Canonical’s desktop director and David Bitton, engineering manager of Ubuntu Server, about the overall goals for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and future plans.

          • 26 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Linux

            The new stable LTS version of Ubuntu, Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver, will be released on 26th of April 2018. Some of the new features of Ubuntu 18.04 include: new default desktop GNOME 3.28, better boot speed, new “minimal installation” option, new default applications, Linux Kernel 4.15 and others.

            This guide will list for you some selected things to do after installing Ubuntu 18.04.

            Some of the recommendations might not be suitable for everybody, hence use it as a guide only and decide what suits you best according to your user needs.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Screenshots Tour – See What’s New

            Canonical has officially announced the release of Ubuntu 18.04, codenamed Bionic Beaver. This is a LTS (Long-Term Support) release that will be supported for 5 years, until April 2023.

            Ubuntu 18.04 is the first LTS release to use Gnome Shell instead of Unity by default, so if you’re coming from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, you’ll find a lot of changes.

            This article presents the most important changes in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) since the previous version, 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), as well as since the previous LTS release, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Review
          • Shuttleworth on Ubuntu 18.04: Multicloud Is the New Normal

            Canonical last week released the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS platform for desktop, server, cloud and Internet of Things use. Its debut followed a two-year development phase that led to innovations in cloud solutions for enterprises, as well as smoother integrations with private and public cloud services, and new tools for container and virtual machine operations.

            The latest release drives new efficiencies in computing and focuses on the big surge in artificial intelligence and machine learning, said Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth in a global conference call.

            Ubuntu has been a platform for innovation over the last decade, he noted. The latest release reflects that innovation and comes on the heels of extraordinary enterprise adoption on the public cloud.

          • Here’s Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Running on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3

            If you think about installing Canonical’s recently released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 2-in-1 detachable laptop, we have some good news for you.

            After we saw that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS could run on the Nintendo Switch gaming console, though not without some heavy patching to make hardware acceleration and Wi-Fi networking work, now someone managed to install the Linux-based operating system on a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 device.

          • Top 10 Things to do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Desktop

            So you’ve successfully installed Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and hoping what do to next? Yes, you can always browse on the new features introduced in the 18.04 LTS, the Bionic Beaver.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Pop OS 18.04 bursts onto the Linux scene

              Carl Richell the CEO of System76, the Linux computer manufacturer backing the new Linux operating system, discusses Pop!_OS’ first major release.

              Before Pop!_OS all of our attention was focused on ensuring the computer hardware ran flawlessly with [Ubuntu] Linux. And when Unity [Ubuntu's desktop environment project] announced its end last year, it created a lot of unknowns amongst the team. But what started as an unknown quickly became an opportunity.

              For 11 years, we were outsourcing one of System76’s most important customer interactions, the desktop experience. And during this tenure, we collected tons of data: a list of customer requests for an improved desktop interface.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Leap Motion details low-cost AR headset, plans to go open source

    “We believe that the fundamental limit in technology is not its size or its cost or its speed,” writes Leap Motion, “but how we interact with it.”

    This statement demonstrates the fresh perspective that companies like Leap Motion have been bringing to the commercial 3D tech industry. In fact, in the past year or two, we’ve started to feel a sea change as even the most entrenched, traditional manufacturers in the commercial 3D space have taken a hard turn toward simplicity of operation and sheer usability.

  • Netflix Open Sources Its Container Management Platform “Titus”

    Netflix announced the open source release of their container management platform called Titus. Titus is built on top of Apache Mesos and runs on AWS EC2.

    Netflix, which runs its services on virtual machines on AWS, started moving parts of its systems to containers to take advantage of the benefits of a container-based development and deployment model. Netflix’s unique challlenges included an already-existing cloud-native infrastructure, which meant that moving to a container model should not involve too many changes. Hybrid deployments of both VMs and containers, a mix of microservices and batch jobs, and ensuring reliability with the additional layer that containers would introduce were some of the technical challenges.

    These challenges led to the development of its own container management platform called Titus. Currently, Netflix runs video streaming, recommendations and machine learning (ML), big data, content encoding, studio technology, and internal engineering tools in containers, which add up to half-a-million containers and 200,000 clusters per day.

  • Databases
    • It’s Time for the Personal Datasphere (Finally!)

      When it comes to the blockchain, most people fall into one of two camps: the hand-wavers that think the blockchain will disrupt and benefit the world as profoundly as the Internet, and those who are scratching their heads and just can’t see how that could be possible. I confess that I fall more into the second camp than the first, but I do recognize that blockchain technology can provide a far superior tool to tackle some challenges than any that we’ve had to work with before.

      I identified just such a challenge many years ago when the Internet was really taking off, and suggested that individuals needed to seize control of their personal information before commercial interests ran off with it instead, locking it away inside proprietary databases. The date of that article? February 2004, the same month that a little Web site called Facebook went live. Back then the problem was (and it still is) that the critical keys to avoiding data lock in are standards, and the process that develops those standards wasn’t (and still isn’t) controlled by end users.

  • Funding
    • Gitcoin ICO: Grow Open Source Software For Tips & Rewards?

      Existing incentive open software are faced with various challenges. Some of them include the fact that open source software developers create a lot of economic value, however, this value is not well incentivized. The repo maintainer is faced with the challenge of taming while the contributor has the monetization challenge. The job hunter, on the other hand, is faced with the prioritization problem.

  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GIMP 2.10.0 Has Been Released with HIDPI Display support and New Dark Theme

      GIMP is a free and open source software for creating and editing image content. The development team has just announced the new stable release GIMP 2.10.0. It’s been almost six years of heavy development since the earlier stable release GIMP 2.8.x back in 2012. So, let’s check what’s new in GIMP 2.10.0.

    • After 6 Years, GIMP 2.10 is Here With Ravishing New Looks and Tons of New Features

      Free and open source image editing application GIMP has a new major release today. GIMP 2.10 comes six years after the last major release 2.8.

      It won’t be an exaggeration if I say that GIMP is the most popular image editor in Linux world and perhaps the best Adobe Photoshop alternative. The project was first started in 1996 and in the last 22 years, it has become the default image editor on almost all major Linux distributions. It is also available on Windows and macOS.

    • Image Editor GIMP 2.10 is out (after six years)

      After six years of development, a dedicated team of contributors released GIMP 2.10, a new version of the open source cross-platform image editor.

      The new version of GIMP is the first major release after version 2.8 of the software was released nearly six years ago.

      GIMP, an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free alternative to programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Photo Paint that is especially popular in the GNU/Linux world.

      Users may download the latest GIMP release from the official project website where it is offered as a direct download and torrent. The image editor has a size of roughly 560 Megabytes installed on Windows if you only install the core editor.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Open-source Circuit Simulation

        For simple circuits, it’s easy enough to grab a breadboard and start putting it together. Breadboards make it easy to check your circuit for mistakes before soldering together a finished product. But if you have a more complicated circuit, or if you need to do response modeling or other math on your design before you start building, you’ll need circuit simulation software.

        While it’s easy to get a trial version of something like OrCAD PSpice, this software doesn’t have all of the features available unless you’re willing to pony up some cash. Luckily, there’s a fully featured free and open source circuit simulation software called Qucs (Quite Universal Circuit Simulator), released under the GPL, that offers a decent alternative to other paid circuit simulators. Qucs runs its own software separate from SPICE since SPICE isn’t licensed for reuse.

      • An Open-Source Turbomolecular Pump Controller

        It’s not every project write-up that opens with a sentence like “I had this TURBOVAC 50 turbomolecular pump laying around…”, but then again not every write-up comes from someone with a lab as stuffed full of goodies as that of [Niklas Fauth]. His pump had an expired controller board, so he’s created an open-source controller of his own centred upon an STM32. Intriguingly he mentions its potential use as “I want to do more stuff with sputtering and Ion implantation in the future“, as one does of course.

        So given that probably not many Hackaday readers have a turbomolecular pump lying around but quite a few of you will find the subject interesting, what does this project do? Sadly it’s a little more mundane than the pump itself, since a turbomolecular pump is a highly specialised multi-stage turbine, this is a 3-phase motor controller with analogue speed feedback taken from the voltage across a couple of the motor phases. For this reason he makes the point that it’s a fork of his hoverboard motor controller software, the fruits of which we’ve shown you in the past. There isn’t a cut-out timer should the motor not reach full speed in a safe time, but he provides advice as to where to look in the code should that be necessary.

  • Programming/Development
    • AMD AOCC 1.2 Compiler Released For Zen Systems, Brings FLANG & Retpolines

      AMD has released a new update to their AMD Optimizing C/C++ Compiler (AOCC).

      AOCC 1.2 is their second major update since debuting this LLVM Clang downstream compiler one year ago following the launch of the Ryzen/EPYC processors. AMD AOCC continues carrying various patches atop the LLVM/Clang compiler tool-chain to cater towards the performance of these “znver1″ CPUs.

Leftovers
  • Microsoft Windows adapts as its business importance declines [Ed: Calling everything "cloud" to simulate 'growth']
  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
    • PyRoMine Uses NSA Exploit for Monero Mining and Backdoors

      The ShadowBrokers leaked a whole treasure chest of hacking tools and zero-day exploits in 2017, attributed to the Equation Group, which is believed to be an arm of the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations unit. They target Windows XP/Vista/8.1/7/10 and Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016, taking advantage of a pair of vulnerabilities, CVE-2017-0144 and CVE-2017-0145. Microsoft patched these very quickly after the tools were made public.

    • Google Releases Major Chrome OS Update for Chromebooks with New Meltdown Patches

      Google has released on Friday a new stable Chrome OS update for Chromebooks, adding new mitigations for the Meltdown security vulnerability, as well as numerous new features and improvements.

      Google updated its Linux-based Chrome OS operating system for Chromebooks to version 66.0.3359.137, a major release that introduces KPTI (Kernel page-table isolation) mitigation patches against the Meltdown security vulnerability for Intel-powered Chromebooks running on Linux kernel 3.8.

  • Defence/Aggression
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Finland slips further down in World Press Freedom Index

      Finland has slipped down to fourth place in the World Press Freedom Index, an annual assessment of the extent of freedom granted to journalists in 180 countries around the world published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

    • Future Uncertain For Assange In Wake Of US-Ecuador Military Deal

      Late yesterday, Telesur reported that Ecuador had signed a “security deal” with the United States, which is expected to result in a US military presence in that country.

      Telesur wrote: “Ecuador signed Wednesday a cooperation agreement with the United States to fight transnational organized crime and drug trafficking…. Moreno’s move is a further shift away from the policies of his left-wing predecessor and former ally, Rafael Correa, who has criticized and refused to participate in the U.S.-sponsored Plan Colombia, arguing peace is not obtained with helicopters and weapons but rather by promoting economic and social development.”

      The news comes as a new blow to hopes that Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno would heed calls from around the globe to end the solitary confinement of Julian Assange. Tomorrow, the arbitrarily confined journalist will have been totally isolated for one month.

      The latest news of a military agreement struck between Moreno’s government and the US comes as yet another major shift away from the policies of Ecuador’s prior administration. It is also a distinct pivot away from Ecuador’s decision, made just a few months prior, to confer citizenship and diplomatic status on the Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief.

      This writer previously expressed the opinion that the ongoing solitary confinement of Assange by his own government constitutes torture. Disobedient Media has also reported consistently on the numerous online and physical vigils, petitions and other efforts to encourage Ecuador to return the Ecuadorian embassy in London to a place of refuge, as intended when the previous administration bravely granted Assange political asylum from the threats to his life and work emanating from the United States.

    • French spying agency tapping Australia’s communications

      Thirty years ago this week, French secret agents destroyed the Rainbow Warrior. The Greenpeace flagship had been involved in high-profile protests over French nuclear testing in the South Pacific and agents from the French General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) were sent to prevent it leaving New Zealand for another protest campaign at Mururoa Atoll. Just before midnight on the evening of July 10, 1985, two explosions ripped through the hull of the Rainbow Warrior, killing a Portuguese crew member, Fernando Pereira, and sinking the vessel alongside Marsden Wharf in Auckland.

    • WikiLeaks Might Not Have Existed Without Bitcoin – Cryptography Consultant

      Coinbase, the world’s biggest bitcoin brokerage, has blocked Wikileaks from using the service prompting Wikileaks to call for a global boycott of Coinbase. According to statement from Wikileaks, Coinbase blamed the ban on US financial regulations. Sputnik discussed this with Peter Todd, an applied cryptography consultant.

    • Litecoin Update: WikiLeaks, Lee Joins DMG Blockchain and Collaboration With TokenPay

      Independent media company WikiLeaks announced it would start accepting Litecoin (LTC) as a payment method on its online marketplace. The announcement comes after WikiLeaks has called for a boycott of popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase following the termination of its bitcoin merchant payment service for the media company.

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has long been a supporter of decentralized digital currencies due to their inherent privacy-supporting features. For a while, the WikiLeaks store has been accepting bitcoin. However, it recently announced it would also start accepting litecoin. This is as a result of the addition of a new cryptocurrency payments gateway called CoinPayments.

      Evidently, the ‘Pay With Litecoin’ initiative is working well as UK-based fintech startup Wirex announced it would add litecoin support to its wallets. Until recently, the company has only been providing support for bitcoin users. Explaining the move, Wirex stated, “It’s faster than Bitcoin, has lower blockchain fees and may become a global payment option available on dozens of big brand websites in coming months.”

    • What’s really going on with bizarre duo Pam Anderson and Julian Assange

      Pamela Anderson has long been a defender of animal rights, but now she has a new cause: being reunited with her is-he-or-isn’t-he boyfriend Julian Assange.

      On March 28, it was announced that the Ecuadorean embassy in London — where the WikiLeaks mastermind has been holed up since 2012 — had revoked Assange’s visitor privileges and Internet access. Ecuador’s government, which granted him citizenship in January, chalked it up to Assange having breached “a written [agreement] not to issue messages that might interfere with other states.”

      In a statement to The Post, Anderson — a frequent guest of Assange’s since they were introduced in 2014 — said: “I’m deeply concerned about his health and well-being. His human rights have been abused before without sunlight but this is extraordinary. Incommunicado. No visitors. No Internet. No phone calls. No access to outside world.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Bosch might just have solved the problem of diesel NOx emissions

      Bosch’s solution to the NOx problem involves optimizing a number of different steps in the process. Engine displacement is reduced from 2.0L down to 1.7L. The turbocharger has been tweaked to be more responsive, thereby improving transient and low-end torque behavior. Exhaust gas treatment has been enhanced to increase the temperature of the catalyst as quickly as possible upon startup.

    • Scott Pruitt can’t answer a yes-or-no question to save his life (or even his ass)
    • Half of the Great Barrier Reef Has Died Since 2016

      Scientists have known that Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef is in trouble, but they are just starting to realize the extent of the damage that’s been brought on by climate change.

      The reef is one of the largest living structures on earth, stretching 1,400 miles, but despite being so massive it can be seen from space, it’s still incredibly fragile. Scientists who have been studying the reef have been raising concerns about its future, but now a new study has shed even more light on the damage that’s been brought about by climate change.

  • Finance
    • University of Michigan Students Write Not-Rich Guide

      When two University of Michigan juniors read a campus affordability guide earlier this year that suggested, among other things, that firing the maid could help save them money, they decided to write their own.

    • [Older] “Being Not-Rich at UM” inspires UT Austin students

      Following the controversial release of the Central Student Government Campus Affordability Guide last January, students at the University of Michigan responded with the creation of “Being Not-Rich at UM,” which circulated online and has now spread to other schools around the country. The “Being Not-Rich” guide was created as a Google document by Public Policy junior Lauren Schandevel and other University students on which students can suggest tips to help other students save money, instead of the Affordability Guide which suggested adjustments such as cutting down on laundry services and selling one’s car. The Google document allows students to review and add additional comments regarding the resources mentioned. The document, shared via social media, prompted a response from CSG to update their version an affordability guide.

    • Team Trump goes to China to avert a trade war

      The fear is that confrontation between the world’s two biggest economies derails trade, destabilizing the global economy.

      That’s why it’s an unmistakable positive that President Donald Trump is sending top economic officials to China this week for trade negotiations. Talks are certainly better than tariffs.

      The hope is that Team Trump will leave Beijing with the framework for a trade agreement that both sides can live with. Not only would that avoid the escalation that investors fear, but it could put a stop to the unfair trade practices that cost American businesses billions.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Chinese Student Uses Cryptocurrency to Bypass Government Censorship And Share Historic Letter

      Two days ago, an open letter to China’s Peking University was anonymously uploaded to the Ethereum blockchain, effectively sharing it with anyone who trades or tracks the cryptocurrency.

      In it, student Yue Xin writes that the university coerced her to stop looking into a decades-old controversy surrounding Gao Yan, a Peking University student who committed suicide in 1998 after being sexually assaulted by a professor, who remained on staff.

      This letter had originally appeared on a more standard online platform. But it, along with several others by China’s #MeToo activists, have been vanishing from the internet, Quartz reports.

      So to avoid censorship, people have started hiding text in the code of various cryptocurrencies. To upload Yue’s note, for example, the anonymous user pasted it in the notes section of a transaction.

    • YouTube’s new Transparency Report reveals centrality of automated notices and automated takedowns

      Over the past few years YouTube has relied on a combination of human intervention and technology to “flag” content that is considered inappropriate in light of YouTube’s Community Guidelines. In particular, content can be flagged by YouTube’s automated flagging systems, members of the Trusted Flagger programme (which includes NGOs, government agencies and individuals) or from simple users within the YouTube community.

    • How US, Facebook Are ‘Complicit in Censoring Non-Western Media’

      It’s more than evident that non-Western media are having their rights to free speech infringed upon, writes Val Reynoso.

      The United States prides itself on being the land of the free; however, this narrative shifts in regards to U.S. government censorship of non-Western media, particularly through major social media outlets such as Facebook.

      [...]

      Moreover, leading social media corporations such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have strengthened their artificial intelligence systems and repress user content, at the request of the U.S. government and in partnership with U.S. spy organizations. According to a report from MintPressNews, the director of the Global Policy Management at Facebook, Monika Bickert, said Facebook now has a rapidly growing security team consisting of 10,000 members, with 7,500 of them in charge of assessing what the media giant considers potentially violating content. The team also has a counterterrorism group made up of former intelligence and law enforcement figures who specialized in counterterrorism. Facebook has collaborated with numerous other companies to form a blacklist of media content identified by the corporation as violating standards and which would ultimately be restricted from all social media, according to Bickert.

    • Facebook’s Censorship in Germany

      A court in Berlin has issued a temporary restraining order against Facebook. Under the threat of a fine of 250,000 euros (roughly $300,000 USD) or a jail term, Facebook was obliged to restore a user’s comment that it had deleted. Moreover, the ruling prohibited the company from banning the user because of this comment.

      This is the first time a German court has dealt with the consequences of Germany’s internet censorship law, which came into effect on October 1, 2017. The law stipulates that social media companies have to delete or block “apparent” criminal offenses, such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint.

    • Anti-Semitism and censorship make headlines in Europe, Pakistan, Tanzania

      Anti-Semitism as a political weapon

      Some of Corbyn’s critics, who consider him too left-wing, also accuse him of complacency towards anti-Semitism, in some cases linking the charge to his support for the Palestinian cause. A charge he strongly denies.

      [...]

      Elsewhere, an anti-Semitic incident grabbed headlines in Germany.

      An Israeli wearing a kippa was recently attacked by a Syrian refugee in a trendy neighbourhood of Berlin, with the attacker yelling ‘Jew’ in Arabic. The video went viral.

      The attack prompted a strong show of solidarity, but did little to dampen fears among Germany’s Jewish community, who connect hatred of Jews today to that of Europe’s past.

      Yet covering anti-Semitism isn’t always easy, particularly when it comes to language, explains Eline Jeanne from the Media Diversity Institute.

      “Often we see people using anti-Semitic language either in their headlines or in the way they explain things without even realizing it,” she said, in reference to a recent article on Hungarian businessman George Soros.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Weekend Reading: Privacy
    • Mark Zuckerberg faces formal summons from MPs

      MPs have raised the prospect of a formal summons to force Mark Zuckerberg to appear in Westminster, after the Facebook founder’s ignored requests to appear in person.

    • Army researchers find the best cyber teams are antisocial cyber teams

      “Successful cyber teams don’t need to discuss every detail when defending a network,” said Dr. Norbou Buchler, Networked Systems Branch team leader at the US Army Research Laboratory, in a press release. “They already know what to do.”

    • How Facebook’s tentacles reach further than you think

      Facebook’s collection of data makes it one of the most influential organisations in the world. Share Lab wanted to look “under the bonnet” at the tech giant’s algorithms and connections to better understand the social structure and power relations within the company.

    • High Court rules part of Snoopers’ Charter illegal following Liberty’s legal challenge

      THE high court on Friday ruled part of UK gov’s Investigatory Powers Act (IP Act) illegal, following a legal challenge brought by human rights campaigning outfit Liberty.

    • 23 And (Identify My Relatives And) Me

      While it’s absolutely great that cops identified the Golden State Killer, what’s disturbing — if you haven’t considered this and if you care a whit about privacy — is how they did it: using consumer genealogical websites.

    • Golden State Killer suspect was tracked down through genealogy website GEDmatch

      The website is a place where people share their full genetic information — entirely in public — so there are no legal hurdles for investigators trying to track someone down. By contrast, private DNA sites like Ancestry and 23andMe tend to be choosier when it comes to complying with police requests.

    • Relative’s DNA from genealogy websites cracked East Area Rapist case, DA’s office says

      The effort was part of a painstaking process that began by using DNA from one of the crime scenes from years ago and comparing it to genetic profiles available online through various websites that cater to individuals wanting to know more about their family backgrounds by accepting DNA samples, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi.

    • [Repeat] Here’s the ‘open-source’ genealogy DNA website that helped crack the Golden State Killer case [iophk: “open-source as in intelligence gathering”

      The case sheds light on a little known fact: Even if we’ve never spit into a test tube, some of our genetic information may be public — and accessible to law enforcement. That’s because whenever one of our relatives — even distant, distant kin — submits their DNA to a public site hoping to find far-flung relations, some of our data is shared as well.

    • 21st Century DNA Searches

      The case of the Golden State Killer is fascinating. It began when I was a young man and may conclude shortly. The killer left a few samples of DNA which have been preserved well enough to be matched decades later. Family members of the killer entering their DNA profiles into various databases lead to finding a familial match which by process of elimination lead to the killer. This is a huge positive benefit to society and victims of crime but opens the door to horrible abuses. What if Hitler had such technology? What if DNA samples were compulsory for everyone? What if a tyrant wanted to wipe out whole families or communities to suppress dissent? This gives a whole new meaning to ethnic cleansing or eugenics.

    • What the Golden State Killer case means for your genetic privacy

      The arrest was made on the basis of genetic information, with detectives matching a discarded DNA sample from his home to evidence from the investigation, law enforcement officials said. DNA evidence is used to implicate criminals every day, but the method used in this case was new.

    • Early Facebook Investor And Zuckerberg Mentor: “I Feel My Baby Has Turned Out To Be Something Horrible”

      Even if Facebook’s stellar Q1 earnings report hadn’t helped erase some of the losses that Facebook shares incurred in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sanderberg would still believe that the company’s troubles are largely behind them and that the company had essentially repaired the damage done to its reputation.

      That was the assessment delivered by early Facebook investor and one-time Zuckerberg mentor Roger McNamee, who warned during an appearance at an event organized by Quartz in Washington DC last week that the company’s leaders are deeply complacent and still haven’t accepted the fact that Facebook has badly mislead its users about how the company profits off their data.

    • Facebook advertisers shrug off its privacy scandal

      Facebook is the second largest digital publisher in the world, behind Google. It reportedly raked in $39.94 billion in 2017 — about 17 percent of total online ad spending.

    • Ex-Cambridge Analytica CEO lied, says academic

      Academic Aleksandr Kogan’s company, Global Science Research, developed a Facebook app that vacuumed up information from users as well as additional data from their Facebook friends.

    • I tried leaving Facebook. I couldn’t

      Facebook is an emotional labor machine, and if you want to leave it, you’re going to have to start doing a lot of work

      [...]

      In this new national debate over Facebook, it’s become apparent that it’s very difficult to pin down exactly what Facebook even is.

    • Emotional labor watch: “Closers” flirt on behalf of men who use Tinder
    • You could be flirting on dating apps with paid impersonators

      I’m what’s called a “Closer” for the online-dating service ViDA (Virtual Dating Assistants). Men and women (though mostly men) from all over the world pay this company to outsource the labor and tedium of online dating. The matches I speak to on behalf of the Texan man and other clients have no idea they’re chatting with a professional.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • EU protection for whistleblowers is coming

      The Commission used to resist calls for a whistleblower directive, saying that this was outside EU competence. To show that it could be done, my group in the European Parliament, the Greens/EFA, put together a draft – and many of its key points are now found in the Commission’s proposal!

    • Documents at Issue Cited in Senate Report and by CIA Inspector General

      The National Security Archive filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against the CIA today in federal district court in Washington. The case seeks 12 specific cables from November and December 2002 that were authored or authorized by Gina Haspel, the acting director of the CIA as of this morning. The cables describe the torture of a CIA detainee under her supervision.

      The Archive filed a FOIA request with the CIA for the 12 cables on April 16, 2018. The Archive FOIA sought expedited processing, which must be granted to requests with a “compelling need…made by a person primarily engaged in dissemination of information [with] urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.” Expedited processing is clearly warranted in this instance, as Gina Haspel’s Senate confirmation hearing for CIA director is slated for May 9.

      The CIA denied the Archive’s request for expedited processing, arguing that the request was not “made by a person primarily engaged in dissemination of information.” In the same letter, the CIA granted the National Security Archive “news media fee status.”

      The 12 cables were identified by National Security Archive staff in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report, Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, declassified in 2014. The cable numbers correspond to the time period Al Qaeda suspect Abd al Rahim al Nashiri (who was captured in Dubai) spent in a CIA black site prison in Thailand where he was waterboarded three times. New York Times and Pro Publica reporting confirms that Haspel was the chief of base of the black site when Nashiri arrived and immediately underwent torture.

    • Gina Haspel’s Interrogation Program Hurt Americans Too

      One of the leaders who helped enact the CIA’s former interrogation program—and saved herself and her colleague from prosecution for this program by illegally destroying videotape evidence—has been nominated to lead the nation’s preeminent spy agency. Democratic senators appear ready to contest this nomination, an effort many Republicans are decrying as partisan politics at its worst.

      There was a time when both Democrats AND Republicans understood that the “cruel and unusual punishment” of prisoners was unconstitutional, violating both federal laws and U.S.-signed treaties. Americans understood that our nation’s real strength lay not in applying brute force in greater measure or more precisely than our enemies, but in the coherence our national values gave us. This coherence gave us resolve, it enabled strong alliances with other great democracies, and it served as an inspiration to people everywhere struggling with despotic regimes.

    • We Don’t Know When the War on al-Qaida Will End—or When It Began

      A frequent line of criticism of the “war on terrorism” framework that the United States has operated under for the past 17 years is that it’s not clear what would need to happen for this “war” to end. But now it appears it’s not clear when the “forever war” began, either.

      As Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald reports, a military judge at Guantanamo Bay ruled this week that the United States was already engaged in armed conflict with al-Qaida at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Attorneys for Mustafa al-Hawsawi, a Saudi detainee at Guantanamo who is on trial alonside alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and several other defendants, had filed a motion to dismiss charges against their client. They argued that Hawsawi’s alleged offenses—helping some of the hijackers with funding and travel to the United States—took place before the U.S. was formally at war with al-Qaida. Therefore, they reasoned, he should not be charged by the military commission.

    • The CIA’s tortured history

      Tommy talks with ACLU political director Faiz Shakir about the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA despite her role in the Bush-era torture of terrorism suspects. They also discuss the politics of national security in the Trump era, and whether Obama did enough to hold the CIA accountable for its actions.

    • Protests Force Starbucks to Ditch ADL From Leading Anti-Racism Training

      After a video of the arrest of two African-American men sitting in Starbucks without buying anything went viral, Starbucks scheduled anti-racism training. But their inclusion of the Anti-Defamation League in the training provoked another outcry and Starbucks capitulated.

      On April 12, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks. A manager called the police because the men, who had been in the coffee shop for just a few minutes, hadn’t bought anything.

      Melissa DePino, a Starbucks customer who recorded the video of the arrest that went viral on social media, said, “These guys never raised their voices. They never did anything remotely aggressive . . . I was sitting close to where they were. Very close. They were not doing anything. They weren’t.”

    • Supreme Court Appears Set to Uphold Trump’s Travel Ban Targeting Muslim Nations

      The U.S. Supreme Court looks poised to uphold President Trump’s travel ban, which blocks most people from seven countries—including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen—from entering the United States. During oral arguments on Wednesday, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often seen as a swing vote, appeared to side with the conservative wing of the court. U.S. solicitor general Noel Francisco argued the travel restrictions were not a “so-called Muslim ban” and that the order fell within the president’s executive authority. Francisco made the claim even though Trump campaigned for president calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Lower courts have repeatedly ruled against versions of Trump’s travel ban, saying they were unconstitutional and in violation of federal immigration law. We are joined by Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s national Immigrants’ Rights Project, who presented the first challenge to President Trump’s travel ban order last year, and Diala Shamas, a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She was in Djibouti last month speaking to Yemeni relatives of U.S. citizens attempting to come to the United States under Trump’s travel ban.

    • Trump’s Pick To Lead The CIA Is Telling Senators The Agency Should Stay Out Of Interrogations

      President Donald Trump has made no secret of his support for torturing suspected terrorists, declaring on the campaign trail that he would bring back waterboarding.

      In private, however, his pick to be the next CIA director, who faces tough questions about her involvement in the agency’s so-called enhanced interrogation program after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has told senators she has no interest in getting the CIA back into the interrogation business at all.

      In fact, Gina Haspel — a career officer who briefly supervised one of the CIA’s secret overseas prisons where brutal interrogations took place — believes the military should handle interrogations while adhering to the Army field manual, which does not contain any of the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” that the CIA used in the aftermath of 9/11.

      “She’s very candid,” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin recently told BuzzFeed News. “She does not believe the CIA should be in the interrogation business.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • BitTorrent Piracy Lawuit Morphs into Attack on Dragon Box and Resellers

        A Hawaiian copyright lawsuit against several accused BitTorrent pirates has evolved into something entirely different. One of the defendants used the Kodi-powered Dragon box, which is now the main target of the case, along with two local resellers of the streaming device.

      • ISP Sued For Breaching User Privacy After Blocking Pirate Sites

        Following a decision this week to voluntarily block three pirate sites, Japanese ISP NTT has found itself in legal hot water. A lawyer, who is also an NTT customer, has filed a lawsuit against the provider, stating that in order to block sites the ISP must invade the privacy of its users’ communications, something that is expressly banned under local law.

      • Nike Sued for Running Pirated Software

        The California-based software company Quest is suing Nike for copyright infringement. Nike stands accused of using pirated software keys which are generally only available through unauthorized sites. The software company uncovered the alleged copyright infringements during an audit and states that Nike refuses to purchase the additional licenses.

      • Under-Fire “Kodi Box” Company “Sold to Chinese Investor” For US$8.82m

        A supplier of piracy-enabled Kodi boxes being sued by Sky TV in New Zealand for almost US$1m has been sold to a mystery Chinese buyer for an eye-watering US$8.8m. That’s the claim from founder Krish Reddy who says that the company will shut down within 90 days with the loss of six jobs. It’s a spectacular end to an always controversial and sometimes ridiculous story.

      • Kim Dotcom seeks topnotch chef and counter-intelligence staff for new house

        Kim Dotcom, the founder of file-sharing company Megaupload, is advertising for live-in staff in his New Zealand mansion; and the eclectic team, including a chef and counter-intelligence officer, he is recruiting will make for a lively household.

      • Pre-Release Game of Thrones Leaks Bred Pirates, Research Shows

        Three years ago, four Game of Thrones episodes leaked online before the season had started. As a result, millions of people turned to unauthorized sources to watch them. New research shows that this had a long-lasting negative impact on the official viewership of both Game of Thrones and related shows.

      • “Fake news” is the newest, fakest justification for the EU link tax

        The European Commission today released a proposal on combating fake news. It includes a call for the extra copyright for news sites or “link tax”, which is part of the copyright reform plans currently hotly debated in Parliament and Council. In parallel, rapporteur Axel Voss is also trying to add this justification for the law in Parliament.

        Unfortunately, that’s in itself fake news. The link tax won’t help fight fake news – it will make the problem worse.

Patent Maximalists Are Using SAS Institute v Iancu to Distract From Their Epic Defeat in the Vastly More Important Oil States

Sunday 29th of April 2018 01:01:07 PM

“For a decade, makers of AIDS medicines had rejected the idea of lowering prices in poor countries for fear of eroding profits in rich ones. The position required a balancing act, because the companies had to deflect attacks on the global reach of their patents, which granted exclusive marketing rights for antiretroviral drugs.”Barton Gellman

Summary: As one might expect, law firms don’t want pairs of eyes and attention on Oil States, so they start speaking about a far less critical case — a case that might, under some circumstances, give PTAB even more work

JUST under a decade ago we criticised Florian Müller for all sorts of reasons, half a decade after he had fought software patents. Over the past 3-4 years, owing largely to EPO scandals, Müller and us became amicable again. He’s no longer attacking FOSS like he used to (while Microsoft paid him). He’s back to software development and he’s getting involved in USPTO matters. He wants software patents to go away (virtually all software developers reject software patents).

“Over the past 3-4 years, owing largely to EPO scandals, Müller and us became amicable again. He’s no longer attacking FOSS like he used to (while Microsoft paid him).”“Someone wrote on Twitter that patent holders had something to celebrate yesterday,” he wrote in Twitter a day after Oil States. “Classical spin doctoring?”

Yes.

Both Oil States and SAS Institute v Iancu (formerly SAS Institute v Lee) are about patents. But it’s clear which of the two decisions matters a great deal. We cover patents dozens of times per week and rarely do we even mention SAS Institute v Iancu (it’s about patents but not so important). Müller went on to writing a whole blog post about it: [via]

Someone wrote on Twitter that patent holders had something to celebrate yesterday: After the Supreme Court’s Oil States (7-2 confirming constitutionality of PTAB inter partes review) and SAS (5-4 holding that PTAB must render decision on all challenged patent claims after granting review), patent holders were allegedly in a stronger position than before, which–as the same tweeter (I forgot the name) noted–is rarely the case when the Supreme Court overrules the Federal Circuit as it did in SAS.

Classical spin doctoring? A comparison of the number of amicus briefs filed shows where most of the attention was. 54 briefs in Oil States vs. only [one] in SAS. If patent holders at large had cared a lot about SAS, more of them than just the Intellectual Property Owners Association (amicus brief, PDF) would have chimed in. However, many of those who’d have preferred to have done away with PTAB IPR in the first place presumably welcome anything that adversely affects PTAB’s operational efficiency–and even when (as is the case here) it’s not easy to predict the fallout, someone who hates PTAB probably just thinks it can hardly get worse from that particular vantage point.

Exactly!

“Both Oil States and SAS Institute v Iancu (formerly SAS Institute v Lee) are about patents. But it’s clear which of the two decisions matters a great deal.”Over the past few days we’ve waited patiently and collected examples of this diversion tactic.

At Patently-O, for example, Dennis Crouch wrote that Justice “Ginsberg, joined by the other three most liberal justices, calls Gorsach’s [sic] reading “wooden” and lacking of any true understanding or indication of congressional intent” (Gorsuch is as “wooden” as the Kochs and their think tanks which he cited).

Here’s more:

Simplifying petitions decisions: The decision here should simplify the petition institution decisions. Following SAS, the question should simply be whether there is at least 1 challenged claim where the petitioner has presented a “reasonable likelihood” of prevailing on the merits. 35 U.S.C. 314(a).

[...]

Writing in dissent, Justice Ginsberg, joined by the other three most liberal justices, calls Gorsach’s [sic] reading “wooden” and lacking of any true understanding or indication of congressional intent: “Court’s opinion offers no persuasive answer to that question, and no cause to believe Congress wanted the Board to spend its time so uselessly.”

Over a year ago Patently-O worked ‘overtime’ trying to slow things down at PTAB. It was like a contingency (in case they cannot undermine or altogether eliminate PTAB). Watchtroll, piggbacking SAS Institute v Iancu, is also hoping to slow things down. Its headline from 4 days ago was self explanatory.

This wasn’t enough for this patent-maximising pair. They carried on and on.

“We predict that tomorrow, right after the webinar with David Ruschke, the patent microcosm will try as hard as it can to leave Oil States behind, burying it while shouting from the rooftops about SAS Institute v Iancu.”Saurabh Vishnubhakat, an Associate Professor at the Texas A&M University School of Law and the Texas A&M College of Engineering,‏ wrote in Twitter: “After 7-2 finding in #OilStates of #PTAB constitutionality, #SCOTUS 5-4 in #SASInstitute rejected partial institution. Court denied @USPTO call for deference at #Chevron step 1: relevant text unambiguous. Oil States: https://bit.ly/2Hq9OSJ SAS Institute: https://bit.ly/2Hq9OSJ”

Guess which decision Saurabh Vishnubhakat decided to write about for Patently-O… not Oil States. Not convenient? Dennis Crouch published for him a long article titled “First Steps After SAS Institute” and to quote:

The incentive of the Patent Office, meanwhile, is likely to deny institution relatively more often in the wake of SAS Institute, at least initially. One reason is that the Court’s opinion has no effect on the PTAB’s ability to grant full institutions. Panels could already do so and still can. What panels now confront is the prospect of fully instituting even where some arguments in the petition may lack merit. Rather than dispense with these potentially unavailing arguments at the institution phase, where estoppel would at least arguably not attach, the only alternative left is to try all of these arguments fully, with all the Chenery obligations that such a choice entails, and the specter of estoppel looming larger than before for the petitioner. This represents a potentially significant increase in the PTAB’s workload and is not something that the Patent Office is likely to undertake lightly.

Another reason why the agency’s incentives now point more, if not entirely, toward denial is the workaround proposed in Justice Ginsburg’s dissent. Only a paragraph in length, it expressly contemplates precisely this sort of full denial of a petition, except that the PTAB in its decision to deny institution would also identify which claims were worthy of review and which claims were not. Petitioners could then refile in light of this guidance. Justice Ginsburg described this exercise as the PTAB spending its time “uselessly”—in contrast simply to allowing partial institutions and reaching the same point without the added step of refiling.

But this is actually a reasonable idea. Just as petitioners themselves now have greater incentive than before to focus their challenges in order to make full institution more tenable than full denial, the PTAB can also play a useful complementary role by explaining in its denials of institution just what it finds worthy or unworthy of review, and why. By channeling petitioners to “file new or amended petitions shorn of challenges the Board finds unworthy,” the PTAB may create additional work in the short run. Over time, however, its guidance would conserve the agency’s adjudicatory resources by discouraging the overinclusive petitioning that partial institution fostered because the PTAB had a way to manage its workload without having to discipline extravagant petitioners.

This is no longer the case, and the PTAB’s own workload is now more closely tied to the burdens that it allows petitioners to visit upon patent owners. The opinion of the Court purported not to take a stance on policy arguments about efficiency, directing such arguments to Congress. Nevertheless, the decision in SAS Institute may produce efficiency gains after all.

It’s a very long article overall. Nothing from him (that we can see) about Oil States. Except a “tweet”…

Ellie Mertens, who works for/serves the US patent microcosm, wrote the following:

The US Supreme Court has decided in SAS Institute v Iancu that the PTAB must review all or none of the challenged claims. Observers say the PTAB petitioners could react to the ruling in a number of ways, and it “may increase the number of issues that bubble up to the Federal Circuit”

The US Supreme Court has decided in SAS Institute v Iancu that Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) must review all or none of the challenged claims.

To be fair, Mertens did write about Oil States as well (we shall cover that separately).

Dennis Crouch, writing again a few days later, resorted to jingoistic patent propaganda from Ross and Iancu. Here they go again:

In a joint statement, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Andrei Iancu, Undersecretary of Commerce and USPTO Director, have released a joint statement following upon President Trump’s statements yesterday that the Administration is “tak[ing] steps to strengthen our patent system.” In particular, President Trump focused on increasing “reliability and enforceability of patents.” Following today, Iancu and Ross have announced that “The Department of Commerce and the United States Patent and Trademark Office will be taking steps to further strengthen our patent system” and that our intellectual property rights must be “strong, reliable and predictable.”

Crouch also wrote about “USPTO Guidance for Dealing with SAS Decision” as follows:

The US Supreme Court recently decided SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu (U.S. Apr. 24, 2018), holding that USPTO has been improperly issuing “partial-institution” and holding AIA trials on only a subset of challenged claims. The USPTO has now issued a one-page introductory guidance memorandum for procedure moving forward.

Here’s the original statement. There’s a webinar about it tomorrow at 1PM Eastern Time:

The PTAB is holding a “Chat with the Chief” webinar on Monday, April 30 from noon to 1 pm ET about the Supreme Court’s decisions on Oil States and SAS. Chief Judge David Ruschke will discuss the decisions, their impacts on AIA trial proceedings, and answer questions.

The webinar is free and open to everyone to attend. Webinar access information is provided on the left side under Event Summary.

Yes, PTAB’s Chief Judge David Ruschke will be there too.

Regarding the guidance, there has been a lot of coverage about it (almost more than about Oil States). Michael Loney, editor of a patent maximalists’ site, wrote this summary:

Guidance includes stipulating that for pending trials in which a panel has instituted only on some challenges in the petition, the panel may issue an order supplementing the institution decision to institute on all challenges raised in the petition

Guidance in relation to SAS Institute v Iancu was also mentioned by IP Watch, which has not been doing much ‘watching’ lately (they gave the platform to maximalists). To quote:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued guidance on changes to post-grant proceedings following the 24 April decision by the US Supreme Court in the SAS Institute v Iancu case. The Court ruled that the USPTO must decide the patentability of each claim that is challenged in petitions for inter partes review.

Guidance as such was also noted by Watchtoll, which got all worked up over Oil States and preferred to deflect: (deflection over to SAS Institute v Iancu)

On Thursday, April 26th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued new guidance regarding the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s judgment in SAS Institute Inc. on America Invents Act (AIA) trial proceedings held before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Along with the new guidance, the USPTO also announced a webinar with PTAB Chief Judge David Ruschke taking place next Monday to further discuss the impact of recent Supreme Court decisions regarding the trial activities conducted at the PTAB.

SAS Institute v Iancu coverage by Kevin E. Noonan, another patent maximalist:

Well, that didn’t take long. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Guidance today, just two days after the Supreme Court decision in SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu came down, regarding how the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) will apply the Court’s mandate in that inter partes review (IPR) decisions are all or nothing with respect to challenged claims (“Guidance on the Impact of SAS on AIA Trial Proceedings”).

The Guidance is simple: going forward (i.e., for all pending and future-filed petitions), the Board will institute on all challenged claims so long as the petitioner has shown a reasonable likelihood of invalidating at least one of the claims. For cases where the Board has engaged the parties in partial institution proceedings, the Board “may” issue an order “supplementing the institution decision to institute on all challenges raised in the petition.” In such cases the Board also has discretion to take action “permitting additional time, briefing, discovery, and/or oral argument.” Examples included in the Guidance include granting additional time for the Patent Owner Response or, if the statutory twelve-month time is close to expiry, taking advantage of the additional six months provided by the statute for extraordinary cases. The Guidance stresses however that such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Patent Docs covered not only SAS Institute v Iancu; as we’ll show in our next post, they also mentioned Oil States, but these two decisions were treated almost as equal. They’re not. To repeat what Müller said, we have “54 briefs in Oil States vs. only [one] in SAS” (which is quite revealing).

We predict that tomorrow, right after the webinar with David Ruschke, the patent microcosm will try as hard as it can to leave Oil States behind, burying it while shouting from the rooftops about SAS Institute v Iancu. Did Iancu even want to ‘win’ this case (unlike Lee)?

When You Cannot Win the Case Attack the Judge and Say the Decision is Wrong

Sunday 29th of April 2018 11:13:59 AM

Watchtroll calls Oil States (et al) a “mistake”, having attacked jurists and courts for years

Summary: The US Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision invited polite feedback from technology firms and geeks; the same cannot be said about law firms, which are accustomed to acting like bullies that send legal threats to companies

THE Oil States decision is irrevocable. It cannot be appealed. It’s a done deal. This is a concept that scares patent maximalists, who are running out of tricks and strategies. No matter what they are trying, PTAB continues to attract more petitions over time. The maximalists haven’t even been successful at slowing it down, e.g. with increase in fees (implemented under Matal). Seeing the maximalists squirm is enjoyable to us, having received threats from them over the years. They’re bullies. They’re vile.

“Seeing the maximalists squirm is enjoyable to us, having received threats from them over the years. They’re bullies. They’re vile.”Two days ago Sanjeev Mahanta wrote for Watchtroll, which is nowadays looking for other, newer tricks for avoiding/bypassing PTAB. The patent “scam” of Allergan failed and SCOTUS ruled on Oil States in line with the US Constitution. PTAB is basically doing no wrong and it can carry on indefinitely; don’t expect similar cases to be (re)visited by the Justices any time soon; it would be a waste of this court’s time. They also touch nothing like Alice. There’s no point. None. Alice was pretty clear about vagueness of particular patents. Mahanta’s post is titled “Federal Circuit to decide if licensing agreement can prevent validity challenge at PTAB,” but it seems like a very long shot and this court’s decisions on patents are so many that whatever the outcome might be, it will have a ‘shelf life’ of just days if not weeks. On rare occasions these decisions are recalled for a few months. Then everyone forgets about them and moves on (not the case with Alice, Mayo, TC Heartland and so on).

We were actually amused to see that Watchtroll published 3 articles in just 5 hours about the Oil States decision. Yes, 3 article, all about the very same topic. They were in ‘damage control’ mode, looking to distort the narrative as early as possible. Seeing the totally incomprehensible mumbo jumbo that was going on inside their minds truly made our week. They just don’t know what to do. They didn’t know what to say. Steve Brachmann, who is neither technical nor legally-qualified (hired as merely a writer), said that the “Supreme Court Issues Much Anticipated Oil States and SAS Decisions” (“much anticipated” as in “everything is under control!”). This outcome was anticipated and expected, too.

“It’s one thing to accuse judges of corruption (like secretly working for a defendant/plaintiff and sometimes accepting a bribe) but another thing altogether to bash judges for their views or facts-based decisions.”“SCOTUS applied the public rights doctrine to the government’s grant of a patent, finding that patent validity trials need not take place in an Article III court nor did they violate the Seventh Amendment,” Watchtroll wrote.

But that was not enough. Brachmann’s ‘master’ (the site’s founder) then jumped in. “While there has been much optimism due to the arrival of USPTO Director Andrei Iancu and his recent speeches signaling he understands the U.S. patent system must move along a different path, it is impossible to think that one man will be able to correct the collective mistakes of 535 elected Members of Congress and 9 ivy league educated jurists who seem convinced that forfeiting America’s patent system is somehow what the Constitution demands,” wrote a later article, implicitly casting the Supreme Court’s decision as a “mistake”.

It’s one thing to accuse judges of corruption (like secretly working for a defendant/plaintiff and sometimes accepting a bribe) but another thing altogether to bash judges for their views or facts-based decisions. Watchtroll has quite a reputation for judge-bashing rhetoric, sometimes even demanding that judges step down or get fired. This is ugly.

“IPRs are formally constitutional, as per the US Constitution.”A third article called the patent ‘industry’ (not a real industry) just “industry”. It’s a stack of self-serving quotes from the patent microcosm and patent aggressors. Hardly a reflection of views or consensus among the practicing (or producing) industry. Watchtroll‏ has already attacked the courts, so why not go further? On Wednesday Watchtroll published its latest anti-PTAB spin: “Despite Oil States, Inter Partes Review May Still Be Held Unconstitutional” (the exact opposite of what just happened).

Keep wishing, spin doctors. James Carmichael and Brad Close (in this particular case) were looking for loopholes, e.g.: “What was unfortunately never addressed in Oil States, and which the court specifically left the door open for, was that patents rights are still property rights for the purpose of Due Process–the inference being that IPRs may fail under the Due Process or Takings Clause.”

So what do they intend to do? Appeal the decision of SCOTUS? They cannot. It’s over. Case closed. IPRs are formally constitutional, as per the US Constitution. Get over it.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Lives on and People Whom Patents Were Conceived for (Not Lawyers) Are Happy

Sunday 29th of April 2018 10:17:51 AM

Serving scientists, not law firms

Summary: The Supreme Court ruling in Oil States v Greene’s Energy (putting aside SAS Institute v Iancu for now) received praises from those who care about science and technology rather than patenting and litigation

THE Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decisions that will impact USPTO policy (guidelines) were covered here twice before [1, 2]. We focused on Oil States because it was the far more important decision (among a pair). We have meanwhile uploaded a local copy of the Oil States decision [PDF] (33 pages). We want to ensure it remains accessible to us in the rare event of SCOTUS downtime. The decision is not very long. Far more has been written about it and there’s not so much actually in it. To a lesser degree, SAS Institute v Iancu got some coverage; a lot of patent-centric news sites were preoccupied/obsessed with these decisions (we focused on UPC and EPO scandals instead).

“The decision is not very long.”The outcome of Oil States was not surprising. Not even the dissent from Justice Gorsuch. All this was more or less expected and matched our predictions. PTAB is good (adds value to the United States), it is reasonable in line with constitutionality, and it is here to stay. Oil States made our week.

In fact, thanks to PTAB, as noted by TechDirt about a week ago, a patent troll and legal bully lost its patent. It is a thug in more than one way (blackmail as well as SLAPP) and here’s what happened to it:

Remember GEMSA (Global Equty Management (SA) Pty. Ltd.)? That’s the Australian patent troll who “won” a Stupid Patent of the Month award from EFF for its silly patent (US Patent 6,690,400 on “virtual cabinets representing a discrete operating system.” GEMSA sued a bunch of companies, including Airbnb and Zillow for supposedly violating the patent. Oh, and then it sued EFF in Australia, getting an order from the court demanding that EFF take down its article and barring EFF from ever publishing anything about any GEMSA patents.

That kinda thing is not going to fly in the US, and so EFF went to court in the US, seeking declaratory judgment that such an Australian court order was totally unenforceable in the US under the SPEECH Act. Late last year, the court gave a thorough and complete victory to EFF, making it clear that GEMSA could not, in any way, hope to enforce its Australian order in the US, as it clearly would violate EFF’s First Amendment rights.

[...]

The PTAB laughed off GEMSA’s argument that the original owner of the patent, Flash Vos, somehow “moved the computer industry a quantum leap forward in the late 90′s” by pointing out that GEMSA “has put forth no evidence that Flash Vos or GEMSA actually had any commercial success.” Ouch.

I’m curious if GEMSA will now seek to sue the US Patent Office in Australia as well…

Notice the headline from TechDirt, which calls it “Bullshit Patent”. It is a software patent. It’s gone now. Thanks to PTAB. We first wrote about it 6 days ago. Over the years we have received threats and SLAPP attempts from various patent bullies. We received one less than one week ago. It’s becoming quite routine. It ought to stop. Well, PTAB has the power to revoke patents, which in turn disarms those kinds of actors. The EFF has relatively deep pockets; we do not.

“Over the years we have received threats and SLAPP attempts from various patent bullies. We received one less than one week ago. It’s becoming quite routine. It ought to stop.”About a month ago, as readers may recall, a firm that had devised a “scam” to bypass PTAB sent us a legal threat. It sent this by electronic mail as well as special delivery to our door (Federal Express). Not exactly pleasant. Is this what one gets, even as an individual, for writing about the anti-PTAB brigade?

Geeks should unite in support of PTAB and against PTAB bashers. Technology companies overwhelmingly support PTAB. Geeks’ sites too care about PTAB (here’s one that published “SCOTUS: Patent Reviews Are Constitutional” a few days ago).

Speaking of the EFF, here is its slightly belated response to the decision, composed by Daniel Nazer. A few days later he wrote:

In one of the most important patent decisions in years, the Supreme Court has upheld the power of the Patent Office to review and cancel issued patents. This power to take a “second look” is important because, compared to courts, administrative avenues provide a much faster and more efficient means for challenging bad patents. If the court had ruled the other way, the ruling would have struck down various patent office procedures and might even have resurrected many bad patents. Today’s decision [PDF] in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC is a big win for those that want a more sensible patent system.

Oil States challenged the inter partes review (IPR) procedure before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The PTAB is a part of the Patent Office and is staffed by administrative patent judges. Oil States argued that the IPR procedure is unconstitutional because it allows an administrative agency to decide a patent’s validity, rather than a federal judge and jury.

Together with Public Knowledge, Engine Advocacy, and the R Street Institute, EFF filed an amicus brief [PDF] in the Oil States case in support of IPRs. Our brief discussed the history of patents being used as a public policy tool, and how Congress has long controlled how and when patents can be canceled. We explained how the Constitution sets limits on granting patents, and how IPR is a legitimate exercise of Congress’s power to enforce those limits.

Since Public Knowledge, Engine Advocacy, and the R Street Institute participated in it alongside the EFF we should not give all the credit only to the EFF, which sometimes cross-posts at TechDirt. Here is what TechDirt wrote about this decision 4 days ago. Mike Masnick, the sites’s founder, authored it:

Supreme Court Says Of Course The Patent Office Can Admit It Made A Mistake And Dump Bad Patents

For the second time in two years, the Supreme Court has needed to weigh in and note that, of course, the US Patent Office can take another look at the crappy patents it already granted, recognize its mistake, and void the patents. A little less than two years ago, it looked at what standards could be used by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) using the Inter Partes Review (IPR) system created by the America Invents Act of 2010. The latest case was much more broad: challenging whether the IPR/PTAB process itself was Constitutional.

The basic idea behind the IPR process was an admission that the USPTO is historically bad at properly reviewing patents before granting them. It grants a lot of bad patents. The IPR process allows anyone to present evidence to the PTO that it made a mistake and granted a patent that should never have been granted. If the PTAB is convinced, it can invalidate the patent. Seems pretty straightforward. Except that the usual patent lovers (mainly patent trolls and big pharma) insisted that this was some sort of unconstitutional taking of property, without the review of a court. This is wrong for a whole bunch of reasons — starting with the incorrect view of patents as traditional “property.”

The Supreme Court ruled on the issue, in a case called Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group, and basically said that of course the PTAB can invalidate patents this way. Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion with a 7 – 2 split (Gorsuch and Roberts dissented). The key issue was whether or not invalidating patents is reserved only for the courts, and most of the Justices don’t see any support for that. In short, the majority opinion says what the Patent Office gives, the Patent Office can take away…

It didn’t take long for Matt J. Krupnick (Red Hat) to write about this at OpenSource.com (a Red Hat site). To quote the opening paragraphs:

This week’s Supreme Court ruling in Oil States v. Greene’s Energy was an important victory for technology companies and innovators who face threats of patent litigation from entities that abuse the patent system by seeking to extract value from innovators and companies that create jobs.

In Oil States, the Court ruled against a constitutional challenge to the administrative process at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for disputing the validity of previously-granted, but questionable, patents—the type that are most used by so-called patent trolls. This process called inter partes review (IPR), has become an important tool for combating frivolous infringement assertions based on likely invalid patents in a way that is much less expensive than testing those patents in federal court.

Congress created the IPR process with the America Invents Act of 2011 (AIA) in order to clean up what Congress saw as an abundance of improperly granted patents, which are used by patent trolls to extract money from innovators. Since the process was implemented in 2012, more than 7,000 petitions have been filed, primarily to review dubious patents in the computer and high-tech field, and more than 1,300 claims have been ruled invalid.

All in all, as expected, anyone that actually practices anything other than litigation seems happy with this decision. We congratulate the court for making the right decision for the country. In our next few posts we’ll show how the patent microcosm reacted. And yes, that included judge-bashing vitriol.

35 U.S.C. § 101 is Still in Tact and Enforceable En Masse (Thousands of Times) by PTAB

Sunday 29th of April 2018 09:07:20 AM

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) will continue to crush software patents in the foreseeable future

Summary: Ahead of our in-depth coverage of US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions, a quick roundup of recent patent cases and developments, including the push against Alice

THE USPTO is updating some of its guidelines in lieu with last week’s Supreme Court decisions. We’ll cover that separately later. Some patent lawyers hope that guidelines will also be changed in lieu with last month’s (or February’s) CAFC decision/s. The thing about such a change, however, is often overlooked by the patent microcosm; it is actually not final.

Michael Borella wrote about cases when a “claim fails to meet the requirements of 35 U.S.C. § 101.” This is what he said about a week ago:

The second part of the patent-eligibility test of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l involves an inquiry into whether certain elements of a claim directed to an unpatentable judicial exception are “well-understood, routine, and conventional.” If this is the case, the claim fails to meet the requirements of 35 U.S.C. § 101. If not, the claim clears the § 101 hurdle. Since Alice, this determination has been largely treated as a matter of law.

There’s great hope among patent maximalists that the Berkheimer case will change everything, but that's wishful thinking (for the most part). First of all, CAFC rarely changes underlying laws and rules, unlike the Supreme Court. Sure, it can be cited (its pertinent decisions), but the impact/weight of CAFC decisions is lessened by this court’s volume of decisions on patents. For every single ruling that patent maximalists like there may be a dozen or more decisions/opinions they do not like and simply try to ignore. Since Berkheimer there has been virtually nothing of interest to patent maximalists. It has been a ‘dry springtime’ for them. Later on when we write about Oil States we’ll show that they’re still in ‘damage control’ mode. CAFC notwithstanding, Justices stand firm behind PTAB, which applies Alice/§ 101 to invalidate many abstract patents, notably software patents. Here’s another example worth noting:

The court granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment that the asserted claims of its dietary supplement patent did not encompass unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims were not directed toward a natural phenomena.

The district court, in assessing a case against Zhejiang Medicine, says “[t]hat the asserted claims rely on the ability of certain microorganisms to produce reduced CoQ[10] at a ratio greater than 70 mole % among the entire coenzymes Q[10] under standard culturing conditions does not indicate the claims are ‘directed to’ this phenomenon.”

This is actually more about medicine than anything like software.

In other news, in Acantha LLC v DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. et al (not covered here before, it’s about surgical technique guides), § 287 is being invoked. It’s about damages, not infringement:

The court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment to limit plaintiff’s damages for failing to mark its surgical products through its licensee’s surgical guides.

In Dyson, Inc. et al v SharkNinja Operating LLC et al it seems clear that shoddy design patents aren't quite being tolerated, which is good news. To quote a summary of the latest development (not decision yet):

The court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment of noninfringement of plaintiffs’ vacuum cleaner design patents and rejected plaintiffs’ argument that the ordinary observer test may be satisfied with a “quick glance” to determine “the same basic shape.”

It’s about designs; we don’t believe such things merit patents because trademarks and copyrights already cover such things (to a certain extent). How about patents on GUIs, which generally accompany code? Haseltine Lake LLP, which we recently mentioned here in relation to EPO appeals [1, 2] (“Confidence in European Patents (EPs) is Eroding”), has just published this article by Caroline Day. It’s about the EPO:

In November last year, the EPO updated the Guidelines for Examination in relation to presentations of information, which includes Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) (see sections G-II, 3.7 and 3.7.1). This provides a useful consolidation of their current approach to such inventions.

As will be familiar to users of the EPO, when assessing patentability of patent applications in this area, the claimed subject-matter is considered as a whole to determine if it has technical character and is thus not excluded from patentability. Only once this test is passed is the application examined in respect of the other requirements of patentability, in particular novelty and inventive step. However, only those features which, in the context of the invention, contribute to producing a technical effect serving a technical purpose can be used to support inventive step.

The new Guidelines confirm that a presentation of information that credibly (i.e. objectively, reliably and causally) assists the user in performing a technical task by means of a continued and/or guided human-machine interaction process may be seen as having a technical effect.

We have almost lost hope in denial of software patents at the EPO, seeing that the management merely attempts to rebrand or rename software patents in order to carry on issuing them.

In other cases of interest, the patents-hostile Kinsella has this new episode about “Argumentation Ethics and Estoppel” (a concept we mentioned some months ago). The show’s summary:

I was a guest last night on Punching Left, with hosts Clifton Knox and David German, discussing argumentation ethics, estoppel, covenant communities, the non-aggression principle, physical removal, Hoppe, Propertarianism, Curt Doolittle, Austin Peterson, and so on.

Kinsella no longer focuses only on patents, but the bringing up of estoppel is noteworthy. It was mentioned by Patently-O several days ago when it wrote:

In EVE-USA v. Mentor Graphics, petitioner raises two important questions of patent law involving assignor-estoppel and damage apportionment respectively. Here, EVE-USA was founded by former Mentor employee-inventors.

We wrote about this case before. It serves to highlight certain injustice when it comes to patent assignments for “employee-inventors”. It’s basically the large corporations that derive all the power from the current patent system, not so-called ‘inventors’.

Speaking of which, how about when someone with a patent is accused of “Patent Infringement Through American Subsidiary for Personal Gain”? Such is the case noted by Watchtroll the other day:

On March 30th, Japanese gaming firm Universal Entertainment Corporation (TYO:6425) filed a complaint alleging patent infringement and other claims against Las Vegas, NV-based entity Aruze Gaming America as well as Kazuo Okada, the founder of Universal Entertainment (UEC) and the sole shareholder and director of Aruze Gaming. The suit, filed in the District of Nevada, alleges that Okada directed patent infringing activities of Aruze while he was also an officer with UEC.

[...]

This infringement was allegedly made possible by defendant Okada’s usurpation of corporate opportunities, according to UEC’s complaint. After founding UEC in 1972, Okada served as its Representative Director (Japanese law equivalent to Chief Executive Officer) through September 2004. Between January 2006 and June 2017, Okada served UEC as Chairman of its Board of Directors. In the two years between June 2008 and June 2010, UEC underwent a corporate restructuring that wound up with Okada being placed in charge of UEC’s foreign businesses, including those in the U.S.

This basically boils down to somewhat of a software (or game) patent — a subject we covered here as recently as last week (not the case of Okada but a similar one).

EPO Gazette: The Obligatory EPO Propaganda That Paints an Oppressive Office as ‘Fun and Games’

Sunday 29th of April 2018 08:19:51 AM

Nothing but smooth sailing?

Summary: Sailing and other extracurricular dross/fluff occupies a great deal of space in the quarterly Gazette, which not only helps the management spread a lot of lies (e.g. about patent quality, software patents, UPC) but also paints the Office as a scientific institution with a bright future, ever so caring for staff and people’s wellbeing

OVER the past few weeks we’ve been posting examples of EPO lies that are relayed to staff through the quarterly Gazette (circulation of 10,250). Not only is this Gazette a waste of time and money; it’s actually extremely dishonest. Even insiders complain about it*. Our EPO Wiki, which will soon have 3,000 posts and 1,111,111 views in it, contains items that can help rebut some of the claims. Gazette readers hopefully understand why and how they’re being lied to. Having read the March edition from start to finish, I was tempted to respond to all of it, but it would probably not be worth the time. There are more urgent EPO matters that are worth covering.
_______
* “Plenty of topics that you would love,” one reader sarcastically told us about it. “4th industrial revolution, quality, inventor of the year, tension-free workplace (sic). Plenty of lies in just 50 pages of expensive glossy paper and a lot of portrait pictures of the big thick liar.”

Even Vocal Proponents of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Admit That There Are ‘Holes’ in the Announcement From Sam Gyimah

Sunday 29th of April 2018 08:07:11 AM

Be sure to look ‘under the hood’

Summary: A couple of days after Team Battistelli and Team UPC pretended that everything was back on track for the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) people are still talking about many issues associated with the announcement, calling it “a good PR coup”

HAVING already published 3 articles about ‘ratification’ of UPC in the UK [1, 2, 3], we must revisit the subject in light of new information. UPC booster Darren Smyth, who prematurely belittled our analysis of the situation, now highlights issues with the ‘ratification’ (also see the reply to him).

This can make the minister “look like a mug” as we say here:

I have noticed that the UK ratification of the UPC Agreement has a reservation that Article 4 (giving Court legal personality) shall not apply in the provisional period:
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/documents-publications/treaties-agreements/ratification/?id=2013001&partyid=GB&doclanguage=en …
It seems to have been a reservation made when the Protocol on Provisional Application was signed by UK, but I don’t remember any comment at the time and I had not noticed this before.
Any idea what is the reason for this reservation? It seems to be difficult to set up a Court in London if it does not have legal personality there…

He later added the same comment here (where there’s heavy censorship by Team UPC/Bristows, so we’re assuming many comments may have been deleted).

The reply is more important:

That last comment from Darren Smyth puts me in mind of what we used to do when we were children, and needed to promise to do something, when we had no intention of keeping that promise.

The trick was to keep your fingers crossed, behind your back, when you made your promise.

What else but the good old “fingers crossed ” trick is this UK “reservation” I wonder.

And much later came another reply:

A very interesting comment from Darren Smith.

It brings other questions to mind:

- even if the reservation is only provisional, how can the liability of the Court, as provided in Art 5 UPCA be guaranteed?

- the same applies to the Liability for damage caused by infringements of Union law as provided in Art 22? I read “The Contracting Member States are jointly and severally liable for damage….

By Member states only member states of the EU are meant!

My conclusion: The announcement is a good PR coup, but we could not see the fingers crossed in the back of Mr Sam Gyimah!

If it was merely a “PR coup”, then we know who was fastest to exploit it: Team Battistelli and Team UPC, notably Bristows, which wrote no less than 4 ‘articles’ about it!

“Num[ber] 10 [British government] is leveraging “efficient” EU membership,” Josep Maria Pujals, a lawyer from Terrassa (Spain), joked in relation to this UPC ‘ratification’ which Brexit immediately thwarts (those two things are evidently not compatible).

Heuking Patent Law Team also said that “UPC is a project of Enhanced Cooperation of EU member states which want to go one step further in the European integration than other member states. It will inevitably result in fundamental frictions when a leaving member state participates in an Enhanced Cooperation.”

Going back to the aforementioned comments thread, UPC is being compared to the Titanic:

…the stern of the Titanic is rising, the band is playing, and Mr Gyimah MP provides a statement like: “Ratification of the UPCA will keep the UK at the forefront of influencing the international system.”

I do not have a lot of confidence in many German politicians, but why would any sane negotiator run and act after reading a statement like: “The unique nature of the proposed court means that the UK’s future relationship with the Unified Patent Court will be subject to negotiation with European partners as we leave the EU.”

This clearly translates as: No ratification in Germany equals one messy bargaining chip less.

Then the Isle of Man was brought up:

What puzzles me is how the Isle of Man is included. They wanted to be in if possible, and the statutory instrument clearly speaks about including the Isle of Man in the ratification (7.5-7.7 in http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/162/pdfs/uksiem_20170162_en.pdf).

However, no information on inclusion of or extention to the Isle is included on the depositary website… and the UPC agreement is silent on extensions, which makes the status of the Isle very unclear.

Any thoughts?

All in all, taking stock of all these comments, it clearly looks like Britain wasn’t entirely sincere about this ratification. Gyimah just sought to score some points on a 'special' (to the 'IP' maximalists) day.

“Concerned about the practicalities” wrote this:

Enforcement ultimately means this: can an injunction be enforced if the party against whom it was made does not comply? Or can a costs award (or damages award) be enforced against assets in a jurisdiction?

Under the English system if a party does not comply with a court order, the ultimate enforcement lies in contempt proceedings (for injunctions) and orders over property (for monetary awards – as you cannot be put in prison for not paying your debts under the English system). Contempt proceedings can allow a court to award fines or imprisonment (maximum two years). These end enforcement mechanisms are what ultimately means court orders are followed. The UPC system does not set up any equivalent system, nor could it. So recognition of judgments is essential as without that the underlying English legal system won’t be able to enforce.

Brexit is then brought up among other comments (in a ‘sanitised’ thread that discourages/deletes UPC-hostile comments):

Question: if the UK somehow (magically) manages to stay in the UPC post-Brexit, what are we to make of Articles 5(3) and 7(1) of Regulation 1257/2012?

“The acts against which the patent provides protection referred to in paragraph 1 and the applicable limitations shall be those defined by the law applied to European patents with unitary effect in the PARTICIPATING MEMBER STATE whose national law is applicable to the European patent with unitary effect as an object of property in accordance with Article 7.”

“A European patent with unitary effect as an object of property shall be treated in its entirety and in all the participating Member States as a national patent of THE PARTICIPATING MEMBER STATE in which that patent has unitary effect and in which, according to the European Patent Register:
(a) the applicant had his residence or principal place of business on the date of filing of the application for the European patent; or
(b) where point (a) does not apply, the applicant had a place of business on the date of filing of the application for the European patent.”

Of course, after Brexit, the UK will no longer be an EU (Participating) Member State – and so will become irrelevant for the purposes of Articles 5(3) and 7(1). Thus, it seems that the UPC will NEVER apply UK national law to “unitary” patents.

This could be bad news for those wishing to conduct clinical trials in the UK, as it will make it impossible to argue that the UK’s (extremely broad) “Bolar” exemption represents a defence against infringement of a “unitary” patent … even if the alleged infringement takes place in the UK and the patent proprietor has their (principal) place of business in the UK.

So, all of the legal effort expended to make the UK a go-to destination for conducting clinical trials will have essentially been rendered pointless. Not quite the “taking back control” of our laws that the Brexiteers had in mind, I’m sure!

British media did not cover this as much as we expected. Maybe it will next week; maybe it won’t. But we certainly hope that fact-checking will accompany any such endeavours.

Short: EPO Paid for ‘Study’ (Corrupting Academia) to Push Unitary Patent Agenda, Then Advertised the Outcome

Sunday 29th of April 2018 07:48:15 AM

Related: EPO Budget (Users’ Money) Has Been Corrupting Media and Academia

Summary: Management of the EPO presents to its staff a ‘study’ which management of the EPO paid for (to help patent maximalists increase litigation in Europe) and “CII” (i.e. software patents) are thrown into the mix as well

Short: The EPO is Limiting Itself to Microsoft Office and PowerPoint (the ‘Special Relationship’)

Sunday 29th of April 2018 07:42:03 AM

Related: Microsoft Lobbying, the EPO, and Software Patents Disguised as ‘Internet of Things’

Summary: The EPO reaffirms its view that nothing but Microsoft Office exists, not only when it spreads OOXML format as the on-line filing ‘standard’ but also for internal/external uses

Short: Adding a Sense of Fear/Perceived Threat to the EPO With Number Plate Recognition (Surveillance)

Sunday 29th of April 2018 07:32:35 AM

Related: Raw: EPO Was Forewarned About the Investigative Unit (IU) Turning Against Law-Abiding Dissent Using Illegal Surveillance

Summary: Further contributing to the atmosphere of fear, the EPO’s management increases the level of surveillance on the premises

“The present situation is a state of shock,” Märpel wrote on Saturday (“the Shock Doctrine”). To quote a portion:

This was about the past, how President Battistelli managed to raise its power and to render each and every controlling instance moot. Märpel shall come back to that.

But what is the present situation?

The present situation is a state of shock. Maybe President Battistelli is trying to put into practice the Shock Doctrine? Formalities have been reorganised, examiners put in a state of permanent urgency.

Märpel deplores that everyone forgets formality officers. In truth they are an essential part of the office. The procedures are complex and many, with EP, PCT and national searches. Every error has legal consequences. This is an area of specialists. Or actually, it was an area of specialists till the last reorganisation. Now, everyone is supposed to do every possible procedure, without any training. The training budget was exactly zero.

Patent Trolls Roundup: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Microsoft Trolls, and the Eastern District of Texas

Saturday 28th of April 2018 04:04:22 PM


Hublink, LLC, a Dominion Harbor subsidiary, is also based in Texas (Dominion Harbor receives its patents from Microsoft’s patent troll, Intellectual Ventures)

Summary: A look at challenged patents and patent lawsuits that are associated with patent trolls or Microsoft’s distant proxies that are based in Texas

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT in Canada is coming to grips with the need to tackle patent trolls, whereas the EPO does anything it can to attract them (e.g. low-quality patents, UPC and expensive appeals). As for the USPTO, things are improving a bit over time. We’re optimistic.

“The general pattern is, PTAB tackles a lot of software patents, which are the trolls’ favourite weapon (for reasons we explained before).”Earlier this week, according to RPX, patent trolls still accounted for too many lawsuits in the US. RPX will probably go out of business some time very soon (good riddance), but these statistics are valuable. “According to RPX Corp.,” United for Patent Reform wrote, “of the 32 patent suits filed yesterday, 27 were filed by patent trolls. That’s 84%.”

A few days later it wrote:

According to RPX Corp., 15 of the 22 patent suits filed yesterday were filed by #patenttrolls. That’s 68%.

That’s relatively low (compared to most dates). Sometimes it’s well over 90%.

Mr. Gross, who writes for patent trolls (including Dominion Harbor), continues to moan about the status quo not because there are too many trolls but not enough of them (according to him). We’re generally rather cynical about his tweets; among the latest, about IBM and PTAB:

IBM invention on customizing messages fails as “abstract idea” bc it does not “improve any technology”? https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017002782-04-23-2018-1 … PTAB also confuses role of claims and spec: “Although it may be a feat…emulating human intelligence, the claimed invention provides no particularity”

Another rant about abstract ideas:

PTAB perverts ALICE 101 test: “The issues of eligible subject matter tum primarily on whether the claims recite more than abstract conceptual advice of what a computer is to provide without implementation details.” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016005837-04-20-2018-1 … ALICE silent re: “implementation details”

Then there’s one about Microsoft:

Your dose of daily PTAB insanity: MSFT discovers that “creating an insulator in a host webpage in a browser” is just an “abstract idea” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016008168-04-24-2018-1 … HOW DOES THIS NOT MEET THE DDR TEST???

The general pattern is, PTAB tackles a lot of software patents, which are the trolls’ favourite weapon (for reasons we explained before).

Take for example Uniloc, which Microsoft paid a lot of money about a decade ago. Robert Jain from Unified Patents (an RPX competitor) is causing this patent troll to run away, having petitioned PTAB. In his own words:

On April 25, 2018, the Board granted Uniloc’s request for adverse judgment and cancellation of all challenged claims in IPR2017-01850 filed by Unified Patents. This request comes shortly after the PTAB’s decision to institute trial on US 8,838,976 directed to an online service user authentication system.

Good riddance. “Uniloc abandons patent after Unified [Patents] files IPR,” Jain wrote. Jain also wrote about the large patent troll Dominion Harbor (connected to Microsoft through Intellectual Ventures) and one of its proxies called Hublink, sporting its likely bogus patent.

In his words:

Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winner, Raman Deep Singh, who received a cash prize of $2000 for his prior art submission for U.S. Patent 7,239,338, owned by Hublink, LLC, a Dominion Harbor subsidiary and well-known NPE. The ’338 patent, directed towards a video conferencing system, has been asserted against numerous companies in district court litigation. To help the industry fight bad patents, we have published the winning prior art below.

We would also like to thank the dozens of other high-quality submissions that were made on this patent. The ongoing contests are open to anyone, and include tens of thousands of dollars in rewards available for helping the industry to challenge NPE patents of questionable validity by finding and submitting prior art in the contests.

It’s worth remembering that we deal here with several levels of ‘proxies’. Hublink is controlled by Dominion Harbor, which is being armed by Intellectual Ventures, which is being sponsored by Microsoft. All these indirections don’t quite fool us as we’ve been tracking and writing about these trolls for almost 12 years. According to this, “Hublink, LLC filed as a Domestic Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the State of Texas on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 and is approximately one year old, according to public records filed with Texas Secretary of State.”

Texas again, just like its creator, Dominion Harbor.

Marshall Phelps, the man who turned IBM and Microsoft into de facto patent trolls, is still up to no good, urging for aggression again, this time in the context of Uber. Days ago he wrote this:

Everybody knows that strong patents help decide the winners and losers of business competition — which is why companies applied for roughly 600,000 of them in the U.S. last year (though only half that number were granted). But there’s another, little-known way for companies to acquire the patents they need: they can simply buy them.

Patent sales usually involve a smaller company buying patents from a larger one, with the transfers benefiting both buyer and seller alike. This is especially true for startups, which can use patent purchases to leverage the vast R&D resources of major technology firms.

Take Uber. As is often the case with startup companies, it would have taken Uber many years to internally develop a patent portfolio capable of protecting its innovations and ensuring freedom of action in the marketplace. This is a perennial problem faced by startups historically, from Google to Facebook more recently, especially as they prepare to go public, which along with generating cash also paints a giant patent bullseye on the newly-public company’s back.

Well, Mr. Phelps has not changed. Everything he touches turns into a patent bully/aggressor/troll. That’s just his career’s legacy in a nutshell.

Staying on the subject of Microsoft, which is not only a patent extortionist but also patent trolls feeder, Microsoft gets sued in the Eastern District of Texas. As reported several days ago by WIPR:

Microsoft is facing a legal battle over the alleged infringement of patents relating to video game lighting technology.

In a complaint, filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, video game developers Infernal Technologies and Terminal Reality accused Microsoft of infringing its patents for in-game lighting and shadows with various game engines.

A game engine is a software development environment that allows developers to create video games. Game engines have a variety of functions, including a rendering engine, which allows developers to perform deferred rendering, deferred shading and deferred lighting, all of which affect the visual aspect of a scene in a video game.

A Microsoft advocacy site called it a “patent troll” and named the patent, which is a software patent:

Patent trolls are common in the technology industry and it seems like “Terminal Reality and Infernal Technologies” is targeting Microsoft this time. You might remember the name from a complaint involving EA from 2015. While that case was settled around October 2017, it seems like the company has a new target. Developer Terminal Reality closed in 2013, and since then it seems like its affiliate Infernal Technologies has been suing game developers.

According to post by IGN, Terminal Reality and Infernal Technologies has accused Microsoft of “egregious and wilful” patent infringement of Patent 6,362,822 and Patent 7,061,488 relating to game lighting and shadows. The plaintiff claims that it developed the “Infernal Engine” which it then licensed to other studios. The company also says that games like Halo 5: Guardians, numerous Forza titles, Sea of Thieves, and even PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds infringe upon its patents.

In the Eastern District of Texas they might actually tolerate such abstract patents, but can CAFC or PTAB get involved? 4 days ago the Docket Navigator wrote about Sandoz, Inc. et al v Duke University et al, which is another case in the Eastern District of Texas. It is the patent trolls’ favourite venue, but possibly an “improper venue” (after TC Heartland many of these things changed):

The court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ second-filed declaratory relief action under the first-to-file rule even though the defendants’ first-filed action was filed in an improper venue.

Docket Navigator also wrote about Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd. et al v Hughes Network Systems LLC et al. In the Eastern District of Texas, the patent trolls’ breeding ground, the “defendant’s litigation conduct was [deemed] exceptional” after Elbit (from Israel) had acted like a troll. Being Texas, one can expect a plaintiff-friendly ruling:

Following a jury verdict of $21 million, the court granted plaintiffs’ motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because defendant’s litigation conduct was exceptional.

Why have they put a jury in charge of a verdict on technical matters?! Appeal to CAFC perhaps?

Speaking of misconduct, watch the latest on this Gilead case, in which the “patents are unenforceable due to Merck’s “unclean hands” involving both business and litigation misconduct.”

To quote Patently-O:

The district court rejected a $200 million jury verdict against Gilead’s infringing Hep-C sofosbufir drugs. Rather than enforcing the jury verdict, the district court held instead that the patents are unenforceable due to Merck’s “unclean hands” involving both business and litigation misconduct.

There’s another case involving Gilead (Teva v Gilead) and it involves SPCs. As one site framed it the other day:

Advocate General Wathelet has rejected the UK court’s suggestion that “core inventive advance” is a relevant consideration in determining whether a basic patent protects an active ingredient within the meaning of Article 3(a)

Advocate General Wathelet has provided an opinion in the Teva v Gilead case in which a UK court referred a question regarding supplementary certificates (SPCs) to the CJEU.

Notice the role of the CJEU (European) in SPCs in the UK — something that Team UPC lobbies very hard for. They hope to make life a lot easier for trolls and massive pharmaceutical companies looking to shut down rivals (like generics), even by raids and embargoes. They are trying to turn Europe into another Eastern District of Texas.

Canada Has a Patent Trolls Problem and the Federal Government Intends to Start Tackling That

Saturday 28th of April 2018 02:42:42 PM

Problem if not epidemic

Summary: Productivity in Canada suffers from a growing abundance/prevalence of patent trolls and to improve productivity the Canadian government seems eager to crack down on this nuisance

THE country north of the United States is very large, but its population is not so large and there aren’t many technology firms there (compared to some other countries). Those which are based in Canada, usually in the big cities, are pursuing patents at the USPTO, not CIPO (Canadian Intellectual Property Office), and as many Canadian companies operate in the neighbouring country, the United States, the ramifications of lawsuits are very real. We’re not unfamiliar with it. We’ve covered plenty of examples over the years.

“It can start with WiLAN (mentioned here earlier this year and even about 8 years ago), not to mention BlackBerry.”Canada’s government is beginning to recognise the issue. It can start with WiLAN (mentioned here earlier this year and even about 8 years ago), not to mention BlackBerry.

Canada, according to the mainstream media, will “announce [a] ‘patent troll’ crackdown as part of national IP [sic] strategy” (that’s their headline).

For subscribers only at the time of publication, it’s now open access and it says:

The federal government plans to clamp down on “patent trolls” and help train Canadian innovators to compete more effectively against global tech giants as part of its intellectual-property (IP) strategy to be unveiled Thursday.

The strategy, details of which have been obtained by The Globe and Mail, will be announced at an event in Ottawa to commemorate World Intellectual Property Day.

It is already being hailed as a success by former Research In Motion chairman and co-chief executive Jim Balsillie, Canada’s most vocal and persistent advocate for government to step up efforts to equip Canadians with the tools necessary to operate in a global economy increasingly shaped by patented technological advances.

“This is a first step towards an innovation strategy,” said Mr. Balsillie, whose former company settled a lawsuit filed against it by patent holding company NTP Inc. in 2006 by paying NTP US$612.5-million.

The Globe and Mail’s report seems rather unique as we did not find similar reports at the time. Like Australia, which has some commonalities with Canada (except the weather), Canada seems to be adopting a saner patent strategy. Productivity should be paramount and trolls clearly and patently reduce productivity.

“Like Australia, which has some commonalities with Canada (except the weather), Canada seems to be adopting a saner patent strategy.”Over the past week we’ve found many news stories about patent activity in Canada — a lot more than usual in fact.

“Canadian toy maker files patent suit against Mattel in US district court,” one report in the Canadian media said. The gist of it:

Canadian toy maker Spin Master Corp. is suing industry giant Mattel, Inc. in California in the next stage of a high-stakes battle to defend its rights to a patented mechanism used in its Bakugan transforming robots.

Canadian news such as this may have become rather common.

Bogus software patents (of Canadian companies) have again shown up in the media. This firm seems to act more like patent trolls, having chosen a big target:

A small Canadian software company on Thursday lost a bid to revive a U.S. patent infringement lawsuit seeking $65 million in damages from remote computing giant Citrix Systems Inc.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision denying a motion for a new trial 01 Communique Laboratory Inc made after a jury found Citrix did not infringe one of its patents, rejecting 01 Communique’s claim that it was prejudiced by the trial judge’s evidentiary rulings.

So CAFC generally and categorically rejected these patents. Software is not patentable. These patents are worthless.

Regarding Toronto-Dominion Bank, see what Canadian media said only yesterday. It is specifically about software patents:

The large number of software patents that TD Bank has made over the past few years leads me to believe that TD Bank is treating the tectonic shift the industry is about to face as an opportunity to get the leg-up on its peers through patented technological applications that will give the company a durable competitive edge over peers that will be inclined to follow suit.

Given the immense disruption that technology is going to have on the financial services industry, TD Bank realizes that to protect its business from disruption, it’s going to need to double-down on tech, whether it’s through filing patents to protect innovative new tech applications or through the acquisition of smaller FinTech firms for their talent pools.

Canadian companies, as we have shown in past years, are already suing in Texas. Very far from the Canadian border; probably as far as one can get from it! Now watch this news about Jim Banowsky from Microsoft becoming General Counsel of AmpThink, which has offices in Dallas (Texas) and Toronto. He has “12 years at Microsoft where he was a Senior Patent Attorney,” says the press release. “Jim’s patent work includes extensive experience with software patents…”

“Whatever or whichever side one might take, it’s pretty clear that Canada has become fertile ground for hostile sorts of actors, including some of the world’s very large patent trolls.”Yes, those patents that are worthless and Microsoft uses to extort Linux companies. Microsoft is a criminal enterprise when it comes to patents because it blackmails a lot of companies — a subject we’ll cover in our next post. But remember that Microsoft was sued by the Canadian firm called i4i. So sometimes it’s also on the receiving end of so-called ‘trolls’.

Whatever or whichever side one might take, it’s pretty clear that Canada has become fertile ground for hostile sorts of actors, including some of the world’s very large patent trolls. They are not beneficial to Canada and they tarnish their national image.

New Zealand and India, Two Nations That Reject Software Patents, Are Still Besieged by Patent Law Firms

Saturday 28th of April 2018 01:09:25 PM

Summary: In lesser talked-about patent offices, such as India’s and New Zealand’s, software patents remain infeasible to enforce (let alone get) but patent law firms and maximalists keep trying to change that

OUR focus on the EPO and USPTO often distracts us from smaller patent offices, such as IPONZ, which still denies software patents in New Zealand (NZ), loopholes notwithstanding, just like in India and in Europe before Battistelli (who opened the floodgates).

The NZ “proposed bill was seeking to include software patents,” says Sarah Putt (Computerworld/IDG in New Zealand). She has just helped show that patent zealots and profiteers in NZ never really quit trying to introduce software patents down there. She said:

A private members bill introduced by National Party spokesperson for Science and Innovation Parmjeet Parmar, which proposes a second-tier patent system, has raised fears that the issue of ‘software patents’ is back on the agenda.

The Patents (Advancement Patents) Amendment Bill seeks to introduce a second tier system to make patents easier and less costly to obtain and “require a lesser advancement in order to be granted than the inventive step required for other kinds of patents”. It would also provide a shorter term of protection – the proposal being 10 years instead of 20 years.

When asked by Computerworld if her proposed bill was seeking to include software patents, Parmar replied: “The advancement patent is proposed to apply to the same subject matter permissible for a standard patent. Section 11 of the Patents Act which applies to Computer Programs is amended to insert “or advancement’ in there which actually clarifies that the Section is applicable to advancement patents too.”

[...]

ITP objects to software patents because it claims that the time frame is too long (even if this was reduced from 20 to 10 years) in the tech industry when innovation moves so fast. Matthews points out that 20 years ago Netflix was a small-time DVD mail order company and Google hadn’t been invented (until September this year).

This is definitely something to keep an eye on and keep vigilant about (we shall inform some contacts we have in NZ).

In other news, there’s this new article By Sudip K. Mitra and Alain Villeneuve (Vedder Price) explaining to patent aggressors how to dodge the Supreme Court’s decision and enforce software patents that are bogus in defiance of Alice. They pushed this nonsense in more than one site [1, 2], possibly in exchange for payments, and they also push for litigation (implicitly):

In 2014, the United States Supreme Court in a landmark decision in the field of Patent Law (Alice Corp. v. CLS Int’l)1 invalidated software patents related to mitigating settlement risk. Relying on the now-infamous Section 1012, the Court held that use of an intermediary to mitigate settlement risk in a financial exchange is a fundamental economic practice directed to a patent-ineligible abstract idea.

Well, the US has fallen in line with the rest of the world, except China. In fact, after Alice it’s even harder to get (or enforce) software patents in the US than it is in Europe (EPs/EPO).

Vaish Associates Advocates, in the meantime, pushes the illusion that software patents are possible and worth pursuing both in India and the US (both are hostile towards these in court). There are virtually no software patents in India. To quote their article:

Software Patenting In India And USA

[..]

In this paper, we would be discussing the various case laws which have determined the conditions for patentability of software in Indian subcontinent and USA.

So, what is software patent? It is a patent on any performance of a computer realized by means of a computer program. India was the first country in the world to provide statutory protection to the software through the Copyright Act, but from then, the journey has been quite slow as in this era of internet, there is a need for more protection to the software, and we are still an old-school regarding the same. The effect of ‘Make in India Campaign, hackathons, software innovations and the youth participation is severely mitigated as India is not able to provide protection, software deserves. About 60% of all make in India is happening through the software. IBM registered 8088 patents in a year, and 30% of which were filed in the name of Indian inventors. The need of the hour is dire and extreme to recognize the software not merely a literary work but as something which is invented on a routine basis.

If they are trying to insinuate that software patents are worth pursuing both in India and the US, then they are liars, not lawyers. Maybe that’s just what they are.

Links 28/4/2018: Wine 3.7 Released, FigOS 2.8, GIMP 2.10

Saturday 28th of April 2018 12:18:08 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Penguins in a sandbox: Google nudges Linux apps toward Chrome OS

      This indicates it’s a feature aimed squarely at developers and system administrators – a world away from the education market where locked-down Chromebooks rule.

      “Signs point to other devices, even ones with ARM system-on-chips, receiving support in the future,” wrote Miyamoto. “But perhaps not quite yet for 32-bit machines. There are also hints that some parts of VM functionality required to run Crostini won’t be available for devices with older kernel versions.”

      More may be revealed at Google’s annual developer conference, I/O, starting 8 May.

    • Crostini Linux Container Apps Getting Full Native Treatment on Chromebooks

      Another day, another Crostini feature comes to light. So far, we have the Linux Terminal installer, Files app integration, and Material Design cues already rounding out the Linux app experience. As we continue to uncover clues by the day, it seems development of the Crostini Project is full steam ahead today is no different. Each clue we uncover continues to push the entire experience closer to something I believe will be delivered to developers and general users alike.

    • Linux Apps On Chromebooks

      Don’t you sometimes wish that you could throw the entire development stack out and start again. Yes we all do, but we all also know that if we did no-one would follow us. The reasons we use the technology we do has very little to do with good engineering and nothing at all to do with good design. We sort of struggle on from where we are to get a little further down the road. It isn’t even that we know what our end point is, it is more that we inch along to a slightly better place. Viewed from 1000 feet our progress must look a lot like a random walk.

    • Chrome OS will support Linux apps — with a dash of Material Design

      A commit to Chromium’s code has revealed more about Google’s plan to support Linux apps in Chrome OS with a dash of Material Design.

      Google’s annual I/O developer conference is just around the corner, and we’re starting to see the usual early hints at what to expect. We’ve known about Project Crostini, the codename for the project to bring Linux apps to Chrome, for some time — but the UI elements have remained a mystery, until now.

      The developers behind Crostini appear to have settled on the Material Design-inspired ‘Adapta’ theme for Linux. Google may choose to create its own bespoke theme which is even closer to Chrome OS, but for now, it seems this is what’s being used.

    • “Terminal” App Brings Crostini And Linux Apps One Step Closer To Chrome OS

      Developers continue to bring together bits and pieces of the still mysterious Project Crostini and this week we see more detail of what the end-user could see whenever the new feature is made available. Yesterday, Robby shared a sneak-peek as some new UI elements that will bring a Material Design feel to the container tech as well as evidence that Crostini will have access to the Files App on Chromebooks.

    • Crostini Seemingly Gaining Direct File Access In Chrome OS

      Google Chromebook owners who frequently have to work with Linux applications can attest that one of the biggest limitations of the Crostini Linux container is that it does not have direct access to the device’s file system, but it seems that this may be changing soon. The way things work now forces files generated in the Crostini container to stay there, and keeps users from using local files inside the container’s application. A workaround is available via SSH, but it can be cumbersome. A recent code commit in the Chromium repository points to Google using Crostini’s built-in SSH and a pre-built action library to create an easier solution, essentially giving Crostini file access privileges to and from the Chromebook.

    • How Microsoft Convinced Clueless Judges To Send A Man To Jail For Copying Software It Gives Out For Free

      This story should make you very, very angry. Last month we had the basic story of how Microsoft had helped to get a computer recycler sentenced to 15 months in jail for “counterfeiting” software that it gives away for free, and which is useless unless you have an official paid-for license from Microsoft. Let me repeat that: Microsoft helped put someone in jail for criminal infringement over software that anyone can get for free (here, go get it), and which won’t function unless you’ve paid Microsoft their due.

      At issue are Windows recovery discs. Way back when, these were the discs that usually shipped with new computers in case you needed to reinstall Windows. You still needed your license to make them work, of course. Then people realized it was wasteful to ship all that — combined with enough broadband to make it easy enough to download and burn the files, and Microsoft then just made it easy to do that. But, that’s still complex enough, and Eric Lundgren had a solution. Lundgren is not some fly-by-night pirate. He’s spent years doing amazing things, recycling computers and helping them last longer. And he had an idea. It might be helpful to manufacture a bunch of these recovery discs and offer them to repair shops to help people who were unable to download the recovery discs themselves. He was being helpful.

      But Microsoft insisted that he was not just infringing on their copyrights civilly, but criminally. When we left things last month, we were waiting for the 11th Circuit Appeals Court to consider Lundgren’s appeal — and astoundingly this week the judges, demonstrating near total ignorance of technology and the actual legal issues — rejected his appeal which means Lundgren is going to jail for over a year for trying to do some good in the world, helping people get the exact same thing that Microsoft is offering for free, and which no one could use unless they’d already paid Microsoft its tax.

      [...]

      Look, that statement is pure hogwash. The software is not counterfeit. It’s legit. It’s the same thing that anyone can download from Microsoft for free. It didn’t expose anyone to malware or cybercrime, and Microsoft knows that.

      So much of this comes down to a fundamental misunderstanding, driven by copyright maximalists of all stripes, including Microsoft. And it’s the idea that all of the following are equivalent: a copyright, a piece of software, a license, and “intellectual property.” Many people like to use all of those things indistinguishably. But they are different. The issue here is the difference between the software and the license. And Microsoft, prosecutors and the judges either do not understand this or just don’t care.

    • E-waste recycler Eric Lundgren loses appeal on computer restore disks, must serve 15-month prison term

      A California man who built a sizable business out of recycling electronic waste is headed to federal prison for 15 months after a federal appeals court in Miami rejected his claim that the “restore disks” he made to extend the lives of computers had no financial value, instead ruling that he had infringed Microsoft’s products to the tune of $700,000.

      The appeals court upheld a federal district judge’s ruling that the disks made by Eric Lundgren to restore Microsoft operating systems had a value of $25 apiece, even though they could be downloaded free and could be used only on computers with a valid Microsoft license. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit initially granted Lundgren an emergency stay of his prison sentence, shortly before he was to surrender, but then affirmed his original 15-month sentence and $50,000 fine without hearing oral argument in a ruling issued April 11.

    • Microsoft sends recycler to jail for reinstalling obsolete, licensed copies of Windows on refurbished PCs

      After doing everything in its power to put this amazing, brilliant, principled man in jail, Microsoft issued a statement smearing him and calling him a “counterfeiter.”

      As JWZ puts it: “In case you’ve forgotten: Microsoft is still a vile garbage fire of a company.”

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Foundation
      • How the blockchain could secure our identities

        We’re bringing information and devices online at an unprecedented rate, raising one of the fundamental questions of our time: how do we represent ourselves in this digital world that we are creating? And, more importantly, how do we secure our identity in a digital world? We’ve heard about blockchain for currencies and smart contracts; a compelling and crucial application is in securing online identity.

      • The future of Node.js: Q&A with Mark Hinkle

        onceived in 2015, the Node.js Foundation is focused on supporting Node.js and its related modules through an open governance model. Node.js as a technology has gone through a lot of changes in the last few years, and is becoming a staple in the enterprise. It is used across industries to build applications at any scale.

        Executive Director of the Node.js Foundation, Mark Hinkle provides commentary on the growth of Node.js in general, how the Node.js Foundation works with the community and what he is most excited about this year with Node.js.

    • Graphics Stack
      • New BC7/BPTC GPU Texture Encoder Open-Sourced

        Former Valve developer and texture compression wizard Rich Geldreich has open-sourced the “bc7enc16″ BC7/BPTC texture encoder.

        This latest BC7/BPTC texture format encoder Rich believes to offer to be one of the strongest CPU-based encoders available for opaque textures. This encoder served as a prototype for work at his consulting firm Binomial with their Basis compression portfolio.

      • Intel ANV Vulkan Driver Adds Initial Support For Icelake

        While we are still waiting for Intel Cannonlake CPUs with “Gen 10″ graphics to formally launch (which looks like may not happen now until very late 2018 or early 2019, with the recent Intel earnings call indicating no 10nm volume production until 2019), open-source Intel developers continue their work on the Linux bring-up of Icelake “Gen 11″ graphics.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Atelier/AtCore First Brainstorm

        I’m here today to invite you to participate in Atelier/AtCore first Brainstorm. But why are we going to do a brainstorm in the first place?

        Since July/2016 we’ve been working on AtCore, adding features and tools to help us on development. On 20th of January of 2018, we did our first tagging of the project and launched AtCore 1.0. Since then, more than 100 commits were already added to AtCore, including new features.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Google Just Forked a Popular GTK Theme

        Rumour is that desktop Linux apps are coming to Chromebooks, and when they do they may look rather familiar.

        Like, Adapta GTK theme familiar.

        Reports earlier in the year revealed plans Google has to add Linux virtual machine support in Chrome OS via LXD containers.

        We speculated at the time that the move could allow end-users to run desktop Linux apps on Chromebooks without resorting to existing Crouton-based hybrid-OS solutions.

      • Dropping support for non-square pixels in Pitivi

        GStreamer Editing Services (GES), the library used by Pitivi for video processing, is very flexible and allows using videos of any video format in the same project. However, normally, in a “pro” setup, most video editing applications are very strict about the formats they accept as input, so Pitivi and GES were a bit unconventional with the “anything goes” approach.

      • Make Gnome Shell More Like Unity With Unite Extension

        Users coming to Ubuntu 18.04 from 16.04 with Unity might find it easier to switch (or at least feel more “at home”) to Gnome Shell with the use of an extension called Unite.

      • GNOME at FOSS North

        FOSS North is a nordic free software conference happening annually in Gothenburg, Sweden. I have attended most of them since it started. It is no more than a ferry ride away from me and I also enjoy the conference size. Bastien and Kat coordinated that the event box was sent to my address in good time. Additionally, Nuritzi and Carlos sent additional GNOME stickers which I packed down along with some 20 pairs of GNOME Socks in various sizes.

  • Distributions
    • FigOS 2.8? An interview with the creator of Fig & FigOS
    • New Releases
      • Linux Lite 4.0 OS Enters Beta with New Look and Feel, Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

        Dubbed “Diamond,” based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel, the Linux Lite 4.0 operating system enters beta stages of development today to give us a first glimpse of the upcoming release, which was slated for worldwide release on June 1, 2018.

        According to the developer, Linux Lite 4.0′s biggest changes are both internal and visual as the operating system comes with a brand new icon and system theme, namely Papirus and Adapta, Timeshift app by default for system backups, and new, in-house built Lite applications.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Inside a Red Hat Open Innovation Labs Residency (Part 3)

        This article is the final in a series taking readers on a journey to peek inside life in a Red Hat Open Innovation Labs residency.

        This is the top-tier experience for any customer*, exposing them to open collaboration, open technologies, and fast agile application delivery methods.

      • BPM, mobile, IoT driving investment in field ops, Red Hat and Vanson Bourne

        To better understand how these technologies are being applied and the impact they are having in the enterprise, Red Hat commissioned research firm Vanson Bourne to survey 300 IT decision makers from organisations in the US, Europe and Asia that employ a significant field workforce. The survey examined investment trends, current and future adoption patterns, use cases and implementation challenges.

      • Executive interview: Werner Knoblich, Red Hat

        Red Hat is 25 years old. We speak to its European chief about how open source, containers and hybrid cloud computing represent the foundation for IT

      • Highlights from the OpenStack Rocky Project Teams Gathering (PTG) in Dublin

        Last month in Dublin, OpenStack engineers gathered from dozens of countries and companies to discuss the next release of OpenStack. This is always my favorite OpenStack event, because I get to do interviews with the various teams, to talk about what they did in the just-released version (Queens, in this case) and what they have planned for the next one (Rocky).

      • Red Hat Summit Spotlight: Getting Started with Cloud-Native Apps Lab

        Cloud-native application development is the new paradigm for building applications and although is it often mistaken for microservices, it is much more than that and encompasses not only the application architecture but also the process through which applications are built, deployed, and managed.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ in Fedora

          So I’m sure none of you are surprised to hear that I’ve been asked a bunch about support for the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ in Fedora. Well the good news is that it’ll be supported in Fedora 28. Most of the bits were there for the official Fedora 28 beta, it just needed a minor work around, but nightly images since Beta have had all the bits integrated so the upcoming Fedora 28 GA release will support the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ to the same levels as the original 3 B on both ARMv7 and aarch64. The Fedora Raspberry Pi FAQ has now been updated with all the details of both the RPi3+ and Fedora 28.

        • Commitment to community: Fedora CommOps FAD 2018

          The Fedora Community Operations (CommOps) team held a team sprint, or Fedora Activity Day, from January 29-31, 2018. CommOps provides tools, resources, and utilities for different sub-projects of Fedora to improve effective communication. The FAD was an opportunity for us to further our mission by focusing on two primary goals and two secondary goals for 2018.

        • PHP version 5.6.36, 7.0.30, 7.1.17 and 7.2.5
        • Flatpak inception

          One interesting usecase of flatpak is as a compliment to the ideas of Fedora Atomic Workstation and similar projects. In other words, a read-only core image for the base operating system, and then using various types of containers and sandboxes for the applications on top of that.

          One problem in such a setup is doing development, in that the basic core rarely contains development tools. This is helped a bit by flatpak using runtimes and SDKs, because the compiler used during the build is not from the host. However, flatpaks are typically build using flatpak-builder, which still has some dependencies on the host, such as git/bzr/svn and strip. These pull in a lot of packages that you don’t want on a minimal core OS image.

        • Fedora Atomic Workstation: Developer Tools, continued

          Last time, I wrote about using flatpak-builder to do commandline development in a container (namely, in a flatpak sandbox). Flatpak-builder is a pretty versatile and well-documented tool.

        • New third-party repositories — easily install Chrome & Steam on Fedora
        • Mozilla’s New Mixed Reality Hubs, NanoPi K1 Plus, Wireshark Update and More

          Fedora announced that it now has a “curated set of third-party repositories” containing software that’s not normally available in Fedora, such as Google Chrome, PyCharm and Steam. Fedora usually includes only free and open-source software, but with this new third-party repository, users can “opt-in” to these select extras.

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Here’s Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Running on the Nintendo Switch

            Yes, you’re reading it right, someone on GBAtemp gaming community posted a photo (attached below) of what it would appear to be Canonical’s latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system running on a Nintendo Switch. You can see the new layout powered by the GNOME desktop and the brand new welcome screen.

            Moreover, there’s no hardware acceleration by default, which means that things are moving very slow when opening windows and switching between opened apps. However, after building the latest Mesa/LibDRM from a specific PPA the performance of the GNOME desktop was significantly improved.

          • The New Ubuntu 18.04 Server Installer Is Working Out Nicely
          • 11 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            Our savvy selection of tips, tricks and ‘things to do’ help make Ubuntu 18.04 easier and more pleasant to use. The aim? To give you the best possible experience.

            From common-sense suggestions and nifty tweaks to helpful advice and pertinent pointers, our list doesn’t care if you’re a bash-hardened stalwart or a fresh-faced newbie. There’s something for everyone.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Flavours Released, Available to Download

            Strutting their stuff alongside the main Ubuntu 18.04 release are new stable versions of Ubuntu’s community flavours.

            Long-term support (LTS) releases of Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie and the (always magnificent) Ubuntu MATE are available to download.

            In this post we’ll take a look at the key new features in each of these flavours, how long they’re supported for, and who might want to try them.

          • The controversial Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is now available to download

            Canonical has released its latest Long Term Support (LTS) version of its popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, and it continues Canoncial’s habit of giving releases an alliterative animal-based name, with the distro also known as Bionic Beaver.

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS comes with plenty of new features, while building upon the changes that we brought in last year’s Ubuntu 17.10, and this means that Canonical’s own Unity desktop environment is no longer used, in favour of GNOME.

          • Ubuntu Releases Security, Multi-cloud, Container and AI OS

            According to a recent release, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the newest version of the Linux distribution for workstations, cloud and IoT, is now available.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is now available for download

            Canonical today released the latest Long Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu, its widely used Linux distro. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, also known as Bionic Beaver, arrives to solidify some major changes made with the release of Ubuntu 17.10, including the use of the GNOME desktop environment instead of the defunct Unity desktop used until the previous LTS version of the OS, Ubuntu 16.04.

          • This is Ubuntu 18.04 Running on the Nintendo Switch

            Dream of using Linux on the Nintendo Switch? Dream no more as hardware hackers ‘fail0verflow’ have disclosed a Nintendo Switch exploit that lets you boot distros like Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu Release Focused on Multi-Cloud Environments, Artificial Intelligence

            Canonical Ltd., creator of the Ubuntu version of the open-source Linux operating system, said its latest release is geared toward multi-cloud environments and provides greater support for enterprise machine learning initiatives.

            Calling multi-cloud operations “the new normal,” Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said the update, scheduled for release Thursday, has been optimized for performance across major public cloud providers.

            “There has been a tremendous surge in interest in artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Mr. Shuttleworth said. The Ubuntu upgrades allow developers to work with multiple machine learning frameworks both on-premise and in the cloud, as well as on devices at the edge of networks, he said.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) now available

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” is here and brings quite a few changes to the OS. Users upgrading from 16.04 LTS will notice quite a few aesthetic changes; 18.04 LTS brings the switch back to the GNOME desktop to the long-term support version of the most popular Linux distro. Some other tweaks under the hood bring support for modern hardware features as well.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 focuses on security and AI improvements

            Canonical has announced the release of its open-source Linux operating system, Ubuntu 18.04, which features security, multi-cloud, containers, and AI improvements.

          • Ubuntu Linux 18.04 Bionic Beaver is here — download it now!

            Ubuntu is one of the most popular desktop Linux distributions — if not the most popular. While it may not be everyone’s favorite operating system, it is largely responsible for making Linux accessible for average consumers. It is fairly easy to install, simple to use, and has a convenient application center. Ultimately, it is a pleasure to use for both beginners and experts alike.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Available To Download

            Ubuntu 18.04, the latest LTS release of Ubuntu has finally been released. After massive changes and moments of waiting it is clear that canonical had something exciting for Ubuntu users. Codenamed Bionic beaver, the ubuntu 18.04 is a hit with its new features optimized for artificial intelligence and machine learning cloud support, desktop features and server support. In this article, we are going to inform you everything you need to know about 18.04. Installation procedures, its advantages over previous versions as well as the surprises it brings to Unity users of Ubuntu 16.04.

          • What’s new in Ubuntu 18.04 and OpenStack Queens
          • Breeze through Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver

            The Bionic Beaver, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is here! It’s been a busy six months for the desktop team, and indeed for everyone working on Ubuntu. We’ve been working on making sure that your upgrade from previous releases is smooth and trouble free, tracking down bugs to make 18.04 LTS stable and reliable, and adding some new features which I’d like to introduce you to and quickly run through how they work.

          • S11E08 – The 8th Circle

            This week we play with Windows 98 on a crusty Thinkpad from the past, interview David Britton from the Ubuntu Server team, bring you some command line love and go over all your feedback.

          • [Full Circle Magazine] issue 132

            This month:
            * Command & Conquer
            * How-To : Python, Freeplane, and Ubuntu Touch
            * Graphics : Inkscape
            * Everyday Linux
            * Researching With Linux
            * My Opinion
            * My Story
            * Book Review: Cracking Codes With Python
            * Ubuntu Games: Dwarf Fortress
            plus: News, Q&A, and much more.

          • How Do Ubuntu-Based Distros Differ from Ubuntu

            If you are a seasoned Linux user, you most likely know what a “Ubuntu-based distro” means, but for new users, it is often very confusing. So is “Linux Mint” another version of Ubuntu, or is it another version of Linux? This article will explain the significance of Ubuntu-based distros compared to Ubuntu itself and what “Ubuntu-based” means.

          • In Beaver We Trust: A Lengthy, Pedantic Review of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            It’s obvious that a lot of work and polish went into this release. Although no Linux-based desktop OS has yet been able to wrest much market share from Windows and Mac OS, I’d say within the last ten years it’s at least moderately popular among software developers and other technology-centric folk. I applaud Canonical for being part of the reason this is true. They also get a lot of credit for supporting tons of ancilary open source projects along the way, including actively encouraging spin-offs of their OS.

            The Bionic Beaver release of Ubuntu is actually pretty solid, truth be told. Although it turns out that the basic design of the window and desktop management completely prevent me from switching away from Xubuntu, I think it’s a fine choice for a lot of users. To get all cliche about it: sorry Ubuntu, it’s not you, it’s me.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS – My First Experience and Customization

            Are you looking for an excellent Linux distro to switch from Windows or macOS? get Ubuntu 18.04. Don’t even bother with its previous versions because the Bionic Beaver is the best of its kind.

            It is a lot more beautiful to behold. It has a wider set of options, and the GNOME Shell makes it easier to manage and further personalize using a seemingly unending list of extensions.

            If you ever get stuck on how to perform certain tasks Canonical has a well put together tutorial site that you can always consult so by all means, go ahead and install Ubuntu 18.04.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Review: An Interesting LTS Release

            Ubuntu continues to offer a stable and solid experience. The latest LTS, although seems rushed a little bit (because of fixing 2 critical bugs just hours before the release is not something usually done), is fine and working just as expected. No special bugs or issues encountered us during our periods of usage. An ordinary user will definitely enjoy using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            If you are using an older version of Ubuntu on your desktop PC or your server, then you may would like to wait few days or weeks just in case of any new issue comes out. Then, upgrading to the new LTS should be just fine. Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported until 2023, which is really a long time of support.

          • Download Links and Mirrors for Trisquel 8.0 GNU/Linux

            Trisquel 8.0 GNU/Linux operating system finally released at Thursday, 18 April 2018 by Ruben Rodriguez. It is available in three versions of Regular, Mini, and Kids editions, each in 32 and 64 bit. This is a list of download links and also mirrors for it all you can instantly click and download. Happy downloading!

          • Download Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) CD/DVD

            Ubuntu Linux version 18.04 LTS (codenamed “Bionic Beaver”) has been released and available for download. Ubuntu Linux is a community-based Linux distribution, and you can download Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS version today. The latest release of Ubuntu brings the best open source technologies together on one platform, with the benefit of free updates for five years. This newest release of Ubuntu Server and desktop heavily focused on supporting cloud computing, IoT, AI, machine learning, 64-bit ARM-based server, and more.

          • Canonical Taunts VMware, Launches Major Ubuntu Update

            Canonical released the first major update to its Ubuntu platform in two years, touting performance and cost superiority compared with VMware.

            Ubuntu is Canonical’s distribution system for Linux designed to run on computing devices, network servers, and in the cloud. It includes an OpenStack version and a newly launched Kubernetes option. It also is the basis for most public cloud instances, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Oracle Cloud.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS Released with New Desktop Layouts, Better HiDPI Support

              Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS has been released as part of yesterday’s Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series as the official flavor for fans of the lightweight MATE desktop environment.

              Powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel series, which contains mitigations for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, and using the latest MATE 1.20.1 desktop environment by default, Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) introduces numerous improvements and new features, including better support for HiDPI (High Dots Per Inch) displays, new desktop layouts, as well as support for indicators in all layouts by default.

            • Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Released

              We are happy to announce the release of our latest version, Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Bionic Beaver! Unlike the other Ubuntu flavors, this release of Ubuntu Studio is not a Long-Term Suppport (LTS) release. As a regular release, it will be supported for 9 months. Although it is not a Long-Term Support release, it is still based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS which means the components will be supported as usual for a LTS release.

            • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS flavors including Ubuntu Mate, Ubuntu Budgie, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, and Xubuntu

              This week Canonical released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and while the company is emphasizing cloud features and performance, there are plenty of updates for desktop users too.

              Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has a new Linux kernel, new power management features, an updated user interface (that’s now based on GNOME), and more.

            • Ubuntu’s 18.04 LTS ‘Bionic Beaver’ And All Of Its Flavors Have Been Released

              Right on schedule, the latest iteration of Ubuntu, 18.04 ‘Bionic Beaver’, released yesterday, and to say that it’s worth an upgrade is probably an understatement. 18.04 becomes Ubuntu’s newest LTS release, meaning that it will be fully supported until 2023. If you’re currently running the previous LTS, 16.04, you’ll be treated to a considerable update, but before you update anything, always make sure you have your important data backed up!

            • Alternative Ubuntu Versions Are Also Out This Week

              Linux users love choice, and one thing they love choosing between is desktop environments. And while it’s easy to switch to another desktop interface, it’s even easier to install a version of Ubuntu running the desktop environment that you want.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Best open source Microsoft Office alternatives

    Microsoft Office remains the go-to productivity package for many businesses, with the obvious exception to that being Google G Suite users. But high costs and a growing number of irrelevant features means that increasingly, professionals are looking for more options.

    Luckily, there are a number of options out there which are completely free.

    Here, we take a look at the best open source software packages that provide a successful replacement to Microsoft Office.

    And don’t worry, most are also compatible with Microsoft Office documents, meaning the transition to new software needn’t be messy.

  • Solo.io aims to fill the gaps of enterprise microservices with open source

    The trend toward microservices and serverless systems is quickly proving to be the next wave of digital transformation in the enterprise. As an increasing number of businesses identify the need for a greater focus on serverless systems, new organizations with a foundation in the virtual world are emerging, ready to take advantage of the potential for significant shifts in cloud computing.

    “Sometimes you slow down because of a big organization, and I feel that we can do things much faster outside. That’s why we started Solo,” said Idit Levine (pictured), founder and chief executive officer of Solo.io Inc. Levine spoke with Stu Miniman (@stu), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, at the Cloud Foundry Summit in Boston, Massachusetts. (* Disclosure below.)

    An innovative technologist with a history at companies like Dell EMC, Levine is leveraging her experience and vision to work toward streamlining the stack and simplifying cloud technology in the enterprise with Solo.io.

  • Telefónica’s New Open Source Edge Project Cuts 5G Network Slices Into Strings

    Telefónica’s latest open source project, called OnLife Networks, tackles multi-access edge (MEC) computing and other 5G use cases not with network slicing, but with network “strings.”

    During a keynote at this week’s NFV and Zero Touch World Congress, Patrick Lopez, VP of networks innovation at Telefónica, discussed what the service provider is doing with open source. It’s heavily involved in several projects including Open Source MANO (OSM), the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), KVM, DPDK, and the Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD). One of its newer efforts is OnLife.

  • Open source software reading list

    A colleague recently asked what books I’d recommend about open source software. I go back a ways with open source software. I first contributed to Free software and open source software in 1993, before the term “open source software” was widely adopted.

    So my list of book recommendations has some older titles on there. And that’s good, because this list also provides a solid grounding for contributing to open source software.

  • Monero Fork XMV Changes Tact, Promises ‘Open Source’ and Key Reuse Safeguards

    The airdropped fork of Monero, MoneroV (XMV), recently delivered an announcement promising they would open source their code, and take the necessary safeguards to minimize their impact on one aspect of Monero’s fungibility, ring signatures, if users decide to claim XMV.

    BTCManager first reported on MoneroV in February 2018, with the fork looking like it could deal some minor damage to the privacy of the Monero (XMR) blockchain. Some Monero enthusiasts were banned from the MoneroV Reddit channel for raising awareness of the privacy implications for, chiefly, their own chain, as well as Monero’s. Following a second planned fork date anticipated May 2, 2018, at block 1,564,965 (the first date penned was March 15, 2018), the MoneroV team have changed tact.

  • Bounties Offered For Universal Open-Source Cryptocurrency Wallet By Blockstack and ShapeShift

    Anticipating the growth of both the number of available digital coins as well as users’ uptake, the exchange ShapeShift and VC fund Blockstack are jointly funding a project designed to create the pinnacle open source, universal wallet for cryptocurrencies, announced on April 25, 2018.

    The companies are offering $50,000 to the developer who produces the best solution, which is to have users enabled and secured facility that provides the best possible UX for digital coin enthusiasts within a single-source wallet facility regardless of which virtual currency they employ.

  • Nokia AirFrame edge computing meets open source

    Nokia revealed its building block for edge deployments and small data centers at the NFV World Congress yesterday. The Airframe Open Edge server is compact and uses open-source software to manage network functions.

    The server is designed to cut latency by bringing computing closer to the customer in an edge cloud.

    Henri Tervonen, Nokia CTO and head of its R&D foundation for mobile networks, spoke about winning on the edge at a conference devoted more to software when he slyly whipped out the new sleek server blade. The blade — either by itself or in multi-rack configuration — can be inside the datacenter or anywhere from a light pole to the factory floor, on the edge of the network.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Unboxing the Talos II: it’s here!

        This post is being written in TenFourFox FPR7 beta 3. More about that in a day or two, because today a big container arrived at my P.O. box. I had to put the rear seats down to get it into my 2018 Honda Civic Si Sedan.

      • Vote for the Winners of the Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge

        Thank you to everyone who submitted extensions to the Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge!

        Our judges reviewed more than 100 submissions and have selected the finalists for each prize category. Now, it’s time for the add-on community to vote for the winners. Use Firefox Beta or Firefox Developer Edition and take these extensions for a test drive (many of the APIs used are not yet available on Firefox 59, the current release), then vote for your favorites here. (And hey, if you really love an extension, maybe consider writing a review?)

      • An alias-based formulation of the borrow checker

        Ever since the Rust All Hands, I’ve been experimenting with an alternative formulation of the Rust borrow checker. The goal is to find a formulation that overcomes some shortcomings of the current proposal while hopefully also being faster to compute. I have implemented a prototype for this analysis. It passes the full NLL test suite and also handles a few cases – such as #47680 – that the current NLL analysis cannot handle. However, the performance has a long way to go (it is currently slower than existing analysis). That said, I haven’t even begun to optimize yet, and I know I am doing some naive and inefficient things that can definitely be done better; so I am still optimistic we’ll be able to make big strides there.

      • This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 04

        This week has been super exciting on the Mixed Reality team. We announced a preview of Hubs by Mozilla and shipped out a new version of the Unity WebVR exporter tool.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Arcan Display Server Porting To OpenBSD For “Secure System Graphics”

      The Arcan Display Server that is the display stack built off (in part) a game engine and also developing the Durden desktop and most recently developing a “Safespaces” VR Linux desktop has also been working on porting the code from Linux to OpenBSD.

      With Arcan and OpenBSD, they are striving for “secure system graphics” given the security focus of the OpenBSD project. In a new post on the project’s blog, they outlined some of the challenges in porting this large code-base to this security-minded BSD.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GIMP 2.10 Officially Released as the Biggest Release Ever, Here’s What’s New

      The latest release, GIMP 2.10, is the biggest yet, bringing so many changes that it would be impossible for us to list them all here. Instead, we’ll have a look at the most prominent ones, which include multi-threaded, high bit depth, and hardware accelerated pixel processing.

      This is possible thanks to the GEGL porting of the image processing engine inside GIMP, which can now do a lot more than that. Also ported to GEGL (Generic Graphics Library) is the on-canvas preview for all filters that ship by default with GIMP 2.10.

    • GIMP 2.10 Released With A Ton Of Improvements
    • Free Software Directory meeting recap, April 2018

      Every week, free software activists from around the world come together in #fsf on irc.freenode.org to help improve the Free Software Directory. We had an exciting month working on the Directory with our wonderful stable of volunteers. These folks show up week in and week out to improve the Directory. It’s also important to note the valiant efforts of those volunteers who can’t make an appearance at the meeting proper, but still plug away at Directory entries during the week.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Germany, Israel, and the UK turn to open source, new driverless car tech, and more news

      It’s no secret that governments around the globe are moving to open source, both to cut costs and to better protect their data. Recently, three national governments have made significant strides into the open world.

      First up, the German government announced it’s shifting 300,000 employees to Nextcloud, the popular open source file storage and collaboration platform. The government chose Nextcloud because it was the best option to build a private cloud it can control, one that “would not allow access to data by any third party” and would comply with the GDPR.

      Next, Israel is starting down the path to making the code crafted by government departments open source. The code for the government’s web portal gov.il will be the first to be released to the public, with other services being encouraged to follow suit. The Israeli government states, “the code was developed at public expense and should therefore be accessible to members of the public.”

      Finally, the UK’s Ministry of Justice has just released an open source data analysis platform. The platform, built on Amazon Web Services and Kubernetes, supports “secure environments running analytical software such as R Studio and Jupyter Lab.” The tools built on the platform include a machine learning suite to analyze text and a statistical package.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • An Open Source Sip-and-Puff Mouse for Affordable Accessibility

        At the core of any assistive technology is finding a way to do something with whatever abilities the user has available. This can be especially difficult in the case of quadriplegia sufferers, the loss of control of upper and lower limbs caused by spinal cord damage in the cervical region. Quadriplegics can gain some control of their world with a “Sip-and-puff” device, which give the user control via blowing or sucking on a mouthpiece.

        A sip-and-puff can make a world of difference to a quadriplegic, but they’re not exactly cheap. So to help out a friend, [Jfieldcap] designed and built an open source sip-and-puff mouse on the cheap. As is best for such devices, the design is simple and robust. The hollow 3D-printed mouthpiece acts as handle for a joystick module , and a length of tubing connects the mouthpiece to a pressure sensor. An Arduino lets the user move his head to position the cursor; hard sips and puffs are interpreted as left and right clicks, while soft mouth pressure is used for scrolling. In conjunction with some of the accessibility tools in modern OSes and personal assistant software like Siri or Cortana, the sip-and-puff opens up the online world, and for all of $50 in material.

  • Programming/Development
    • How I designed a game with Scratch

      I decided to create a game using the Scratch programming language. Targeted at kids who want to learn programming, Scratch is designed to be easy and visual.

      I am a good programmer, and I also do game development with other platforms, but what fascinates me about Scratch is that it is easy to get started with and I didn’t need to remember too much to use the platform. This was a plus because I had limited time to spend getting up to speed on other platforms.

      A project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, the coding system and player for Scratch is available as open source on GitHub, although Scratch is most often used via its browser-based online version. The latter also comes with cloud storage and a website to host, play, comment, and favorite projects. All published projects are automatically released under a CC-BY-SA 3.0 license, so as a Scratcher, you experience the open source concept first-hand. I even used code from another Scratch project for the text display in my game.

    • HardCloud: OpenMP Offloading To FPGAs For The Cloud

      While OpenMP 4 supports accelerators like GPUs and DSPs, HardCloud is a new initiative focused on OpenMP offloading for FPGAs and with an emphasis on speeding up cloud computing.

    • GCC 9 Looks Set To Remove Intel MPX Support

      Last year we reported on GCC deprecating Intel Memory Protection Extensions (MPX) and now it looks like with GCC 9 they will be dropping the support entirely.

      Intel Memory Protection Extensions is a security feature present since Skylake for checking pointer references at run-time to avoid buffer overflows. Intel MPX support was plumbed through the Linux stack in recent years, but the GCC support has fallen a bit apart. Developers from the likes of Red Hat and SUSE are more interested now in dropping the code to reduce the maintenance burden although Intel developers have contributed patches from time-to-time.

    • 3 Python template libraries compared

      In my day job, I spend a lot of time wrangling data from various sources into human-readable information. While a lot of the time this just takes the form of a spreadsheet or some type of chart or other data visualization, there are other times when it makes sense to present the data instead in a written format.

    • Best Free Python Microframeworks – Build Fast App Backends and Microservices

      One of the types of software that’s important for a web developer is the web framework. A framework “is a code library that makes a developer’s life easier when building reliable, scalable, and maintainable web applications” by providing reusable code or extensions for common operations. By saving development time, developers can concentrate on application logic rather than mundane elements.

      A web framework offers the developer a choice about how to solve a specific problem. By using a framework, a developer lets the framework control portions of their application. While it’s perfectly possible to code a web application without using a framework, it’s more practical to use one.

      We covered the finest Python web frameworks in our previous article. Some of those applications are possibly best described as mega-frameworks. They can make decisions for you that you may not agree with. The alternative to a mega-framework is the microframework.

Leftovers
  • Apple discontinues its AirPort WiFi routers
  • Science
    • We Robot Comments on Ryan Abbot’s Everything is Obvious

      I’ve been busy with lots of interesting conferences and workshops in the past few weeks, and since I wrote out detailed notes for two of them, I thought I would post them for people who weren’t able to attend. First, my comments from the We Robot conference two weeks ago at Stanford:

      Ryan Abbott’s Everything is Obvious is part of an interesting series of articles Ryan has been working on related to how developments in AI and computing affect legal areas such as patent law. In an earlier article, I Think, Therefore I Invent, he provocatively argued that creative computers should be considered inventors for patent and copyright purposes. Here, he focuses on how these creative computers should affect one of the most important legal standards in patent law: the requirement that an invention not be obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art.

      Ryan’s definition of “creative computers” is purposefully broad. The existing creative computers he discusses are all narrow or specific AI systems that are programmed to solve particular problems, like systems from the 1980s that were programmed to design new microchips based on certain rules and IBM’s Watson, which is currently identifying novel drug targets for pharmaceutical research. And Ryan thinks patent law already needs to change in response to these developments. But I think his primary concern is the coming of artificial general intelligence that surpasses human inventors.

  • Hardware
    • My iPhone 8 Just Failed a Durability Test and All I Think Of Is Bendgate 2

      Apple gave up on aluminum for the new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X in favor of glass, a more exquisite material which not only makes the device look more premium, but also allows for other features like wireless charging.
      A side-effect of having a phone with a body made of glass is that it is incredibly slippery, so it’s extremely easy to drop it to the ground, which in the case of glass is obviously something you should avoid.

      Apple has paid particular attention to this thing and tried to make the glass as durable as possible, while also improving the metal frame that’s still being used on all three models to be as tough as possible.

      At first glance, all these efforts paid off. Torture tests performed by so many people after the launch of these models proved that all three iPhones are extremely durable and they can withstand shocks and hits that they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. Furthermore, what these tests have shown was that new-generation iPhones are no longer prone to bending, a problem that affected the iPhone 6 Plus and which Apple first addressed with the release of the 6s upgrade.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • USTR Annual Special 301 Report Intensifies Action On China, Colombia, Canada
    • USTR IP Report Sparks Outcry Among Health Advocates

      The annual Special 301 report of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued today sparked a quick outcry among health advocates over its seemingly more restrictive approach they say bullies other countries into unfairly promoting US pharmaceutical industry rights to an extent that would raise drug prices and limit accessibility.

      The Special 301 report (see IP-Watch story today) unilaterally assesses the adequacy of US trading partners’ protection of US intellectual property rights. In a call with reporters today, a USTR official said it conducted a wide-ranging process in coming to its conclusions, including hearing from more than three dozen nongovernmental organisations and nearly two dozen foreign governments.

      [...]

      “This year, the Trump administration has chosen to be even worse,” Public Citizen said. “The watch list published today includes new and aggressive passages attacking policies used in many parts of the world to make medicines affordable. This marks a shameful departure in U.S. health and trade policy that places people’s lives at risk.”

      For example, it points out, the report includes a new passage (p. 14) challenging countries that “unfairly issue, threaten to issue or encourage others to issue” compulsory licenses. “But patent licensing saves lives by authorizing affordable generic competition with expensive drugs. Licensing is a standard and essential part of any patent system; intended to protect the public interest and defend against abuse. It is necessary to respond to HIV/AIDS, cancer, hepatitis and other serious diseases,” the group argues.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Friday
    • What is tar and why does OpenShift Container Application Platform use it?
    • What OpenShift Online/Dedicated customers should know about the recent Source-to-Image Exposure

      Red Hat recently announced information about CVE-2018-1102, a bug in the S2I (Source to Image) functionality of OpenShift Online and OpenShift Container Platform (OCP).

      This bug affects OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) versions 3.0 through 3.9, and the OpenShift Online service including our Starter, Pro, and Dedicated tiers. In response to this, the OpenShift Online Security SRE team took steps to minimize exposure across all the clusters managed by Red Hat.

      For the OpenShift Container Platform on-premises product, fixes have been released, and a workaround in the form of turning off the source to image feature is also available, please see the vulnerability article linked below for more information on these.

    • SC Video: CA Veracode’s Chris Eng talks on the cyber risks of using open-source software [Ed: Veracode just badmouths FOSS to sell its non-FOSS products. Why does the media entertain them if not paid PR?]
    • Sonatype Named IDC Innovator [Ed: Yet another one of these firms that attempt to profit from badmouthing FOSS security whilst ignoring back doors in proprietary software]
    • PyRo Mine Malware Uses NSA Tool to Collect Monero [Ed: No, it uses Windows and Microsoft back doors for the NSA.]

      Attackers are known to leverage any means available to go after cryptocurrencies, and Fortinet researchers reported this week that hackers are using a new crypto-mining malware they are calling PyRo Mine to quietly collect Monero.

      The Python-based malware uses an NSA exploit to spread to Windows machines while also disabling security software and allowing the exfiltration of unencrypted data. By also configuring the Windows Remote Management Service, the machine becomes vulnerable to future attacks.

      “Researchers have discovered malware authors using the ETERNALBLUE exploit in cryptocurrency mining malware, such as Adylkuzz, Smominru, and WannaMine. PyRo Mine uses the ETERNALROMANCE exploit,” wrote Fortinet security researcher Jasper Manuel in his blog.

      The malicious URL with a downloadable zip file compiled with PyInstaller is dangerous because it packages Python programs into stand-alone executable so that the attacker does not need to install Python on the machine to execute the program.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Full text of Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula

      Below is the full joint statement by North and South Korea released by the South Korean presidential office on Friday (April 27) after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In pledged to work for the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”. It punctuated a day of smiles and handshakes at the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.

      “During this momentous period of historical transformation on the Korean Peninsula, reflecting the enduring aspiration of the Korean people for peace, prosperity and unification, President Moon Jae In of the Republic of Korea and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea held an Inter-Korean Summit Meeting at the ‘Peace House’ at Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.

      [...]

      Between South and North, the two sides will encourage the atmosphere of amity and cooperation by actively staging various joint events on the dates that hold special meaning for both South and North Korea, such as June 15, in which participants from all levels, including central and local governments, parliaments, political parties, and civil organisations, will be involved.

      On the international front, the two sides agreed to demonstrate their collective wisdom, talents, and solidarity by jointly participating in international sports events such as the 2018 Asian Games.

    • Korean Peninsula in Historic Peace Talks – Thanks to Activists, Not Trump

      South and North Korea are considering a peace treaty after six decades of war. Simone Chun says this is the result of years of grassroots organizing and protests

    • Koreas agree to call for formal end to war this year

      South and North Korea will seek to hold tripartite talks with the United States, or talks including China, with the goal of declaring an end to the Korean War (1950-53) this year and establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced Friday.

      [...]

      “South and North Korea will actively cooperate to establish a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” the declaration read.

      The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to non-aggression and agreed on gradual arms reduction if military tensions are reduced and military confidence is built between the two Koreas.

    • Israeli forces kill three Gaza border protesters, wound 600: medics

      Israeli troops shot dead three protesters along the Gaza border on Friday, Gaza medics said, hours after the United Nations human rights chief criticized Israel for using “excessive force” against demonstrators.

      Israeli troops have killed 41 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,000 others since Gaza residents began staging protests along the border fence on March 30 to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

    • Amid Missiles and Bombs in Damascus

      A loud and persistent booming woke everyone up here in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, April 14. To a visitor from Boston it sounded like Fourth of July fireworks over the Charles River. But this was Damascus and the thunder was from exploding missiles in the long-awaited attack by Donald Trump and his British and French allies.

      The bombardments started precisely at 4am local time and continued for the better part of an hour. Only the timing was a surprise here, as Trump had been threatening a reprisal attack for the alleged use by the Syrian government of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus the previous week.

      [...]

      Bab Touma is a traditionally Christian part of town, but there are also many mosques here, in some cases directly neighboring churches of the 12 Christian denominations said to exist in Syria. Orthodox (Greek, Syrian and Catholic Melchite) are the majority, but there are also Roman Catholic, Maronite, Armenian and even evangelical churches. The restaurants in Bab Touma are frequented by mixed crowds of Muslims and Christians, drinking beer or Arak and smoking shisha (water pipes). Liquor stores and bars are commonplace here.

    • Weapons Inspector Refutes U.S. Syria Chemical Claims

      In the 1980’s, Scott Ritter was a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, specializing in intelligence. In 1987, Ritter was assigned to the On-Site Inspection Agency, which was put together to go into the Soviet Union and oversee the implementation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. This was the first time that on-site inspection had been used as part of a disarmament verification process.

      Ritter was one of the groundbreakers in developing on-site inspection techniques and methodologies. With this unique experience behind him, Ritter was asked in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, to join the United Nations Special Commission, which was tasked by the Security Council to oversee the disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. From 1991 to 1998, Ritter served as a chief weapons inspector and led a number of teams into Iraq.

      According to Ritter, in the following Flashpoints Radio interview with Dennis Bernstein conducted on April 23rd, US, British and French claims that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against civilians last month appear to be totally bogus.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Who is Jennifer Robinson? Australian human rights lawyer who defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      AUSTRALIAN human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson has defended Julian Assange since 2010 and remains a member of his current legal team.

    • DNC’s hacking suit is a missed opportunity

      The case could have provided the opportunity to resolve a vexing legal problem about liability for hacking. Instead, the DNC preferred a publicity stunt.

    • Why Democrats have filed a lawsuit against Russia – and what Australian politicians should learn from it

      Last week, the Democratic Party in the United States brought an unprecedented lawsuit against a foreign country, Russia, and persons connected to the Kremlin. Predictably, this has received condemnation from Republicans and the Trump campaign. The Russian government – the primary target of the case – has not responded publicly.

      Democratic party faithful have been supportive, invoking memories of their successful legal action against the Nixon campaign. That action yielded a settlement worth US$750,000 in 1974.

      The recent filings provide important insights for Australian politicians.

    • Summary: Democratic National Committee v. Russian Federation et. al.

      The plaintiffs argue that the longstanding relationships between the Trump family and Russia, dating back as early as the 1980s, provided “fertile ground for a conspiracy.” The complaint includes a detailed history of President Trump’s business negotiations with and regarding Russia. The complaint also highlights Manafort and Gates’ indirect ties to Russia through work they conducted for the Ukrainian government, which at the time was headed by Kremlin-allied President Viktor Yanukovych. Additionally, it notes Manafort’s ties to Konstantin Kilimnik, who has been reported to likely be a GRU agent.

    • Unprecedented: DNC’s Lawsuit Against WikiLeaks Threatens to Suppress Free Speech

      he Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit against WikiLeaks, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Russian Federation, and a slew of other individuals and organizations must show that WikiLeaks aided and abetted an illegal seizure of DNC and John Podesta emails to warrant monetary damages or the removal of the information, Kirtley said in a Thursday interview with Fault Lines on Radio Sputnik. Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

      But if the DNC cannot demonstrate its case then the lawsuit might amount to a violation of the US Constitution’s First Amendment, she said.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
  • Finance
    • HUD May Soon Evict Residents in Two Public Housing Complexes in Southern Illinois

      The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday that about 40 families remaining in two dilapidated public housing complexes in southern Illinois have until June 30 to move — or they may face eviction proceedings.

      HUD spokesman Jereon Brown said that housing officials will work with families facing “extenuating circumstances,” such as difficulties securing another apartment. But otherwise, eviction proceedings will begin July 2, according to a flier that HUD provided to affected residents Thursday evening at a meeting in Cairo, the most southern city in Illinois.

      “Please note an eviction on your rental record could affect your ability to rent other housing in the future,” the flier stated.

      “Landlords typically use rental and eviction history to select who they will rent to.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Why Theresa May is to blame for the Windrush scandal

      To see the cruelty of bureaucracy, the injustice that can spring from reducing public life to mere process and human beings to paperwork, look no further than the Windrush scandal.

      Scandal is an overused word these days. Everything from a politician’s ill-advised tweet to a celeb’s extramarital affair gets chalked up as scandal. But if we abide by the true definition of the word — to mean something that is morally wrong and which stirs outrage among the public — then the British state’s sudden, hostile turning against the Caribbean people and others who have made their home in Britain over the past 70 years genuinely fits the bill. This is truly scandalous. The Home Office harassment of the Windrush generation is a black mark, perhaps the blackest mark yet, against Theresa May’s government, and she urgently needs to end this wickedness.

      It was on 22nd June 1948 that the Empire Windrush sailed up the Thames, carrying on it 492 migrants from the Caribbean. It marked the start of a wave of migration from Commonwealth countries. These migrants and their children and grandchildren became an integral part of British life. Many, many people born in Britain from the 1950s onwards will have been cared for, educated by or simply become workmates or good neighbours with the Windrush people and their offspring. It is hard to imagine Britain without them.

    • Consenting to be Insulted, Abused, Degraded and Ignored

      Scottish politics has been dominated these last few months by the attempt by Westminster to seize wide ranging powers in major policy areas shortly formerly held by Brussels, which under the Scotland Act would come to Holyrood as they are not “reserved matters”. The Tory plan is to use the EU exit legislation to override the Scotland Act and seize these powers initially for a period of seven years, after which rather arbitrary period the matter will be looked at again.

    • Student Loan Lenders Created A Fake Person Whose Points Were Uncritically Repeated By Numerous News Outlets
    • Controversial GOP report: Trump campaign’s WikiLeaks praise was “highly objectionable”

      Democrats on the committee immediately dismissed the Republican investigation as “superficial” and “political,” and said it overlooked key evidence of collusion that’s hiding in plain sight.

    • Trump campaign rebuked over Wikileaks

      A congressional investigation criticised the Trump presidential campaign for “poor judgment and ill-conceived actions” in its dealings with Russians but said there was no evidence that it had colluded with the Kremlin.

      A report by the Republican-controlled House intelligence committee also rebuked President Trump for praising Wikileaks during the 2016 election, saying his support for “a hostile foreign organisation” had been “highly objectionable and inconsistent with US national security interests”.

    • House Dems Say Christopher Wylie Provided New Info About Cambridge Analytica’s Links To WikiLeaks

      Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie revealed new and potentially significant ties between his former company and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to House Democrats who interviewed Wylie this week.

      “It’s a significant connection,” Rep. Eric Swalwell told BuzzFeed News, adding that Wylie plans to give Democrats additional documents. “We’re trying to verify it right now.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Alleged NSA leaker seizes on Comey memos

      Lawyers for a National Security Agency contractor charged with leaking a highly classified document say newly released memos show the “extraordinary pressure” the FBI was under from President Donald Trump and then-FBI Director James Comey to prevent her from leaving her Augusta, Georgia, home during her interrogation there last June.

    • Why It’s Worth Reading Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty’

      Midway through former FBI head James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty, the author broaches one of the darkest episodes in the bureau’s history: its attempt in the 1960s under Director J. Edgar Hoover to blackmail Martin Luther King Jr. into committing suicide. This shameful act, one of many by the FBI under Hoover, came after the bureau, fearing communist infiltration, wiretapped King’s associates and then King himself following the March on Washington in 1963. Comey reveals that it was Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General at the time, who signed off on the King surveillance request. Comey tells us he kept a copy of the signed request on his desk, to warn himself against FBI overreach.

      [...]

      By denigrating the FBI and firing Comey as its director, Trump has indeed undermined confidence in an institution that checks his power. This is the same strategy Trump uses when attacking the press, judiciary, and our other intelligence agencies. But as correct as Comey is on this point, America still needs a public reckoning of the travesties that our intelligence agencies have inflicted on countless people here and around the globe.

    • Police Are Downloading Data From People’s Phones Without Warrants and Privacy Advocates Are Outraged
    • NSA: Our Crypto Is Good. ISO: No Thanks Though

      The NSA (US National Security Agency) has responded with disappointment to widespread reports that the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) has rejected its ciphers “Simon and Speck” as international cryptographic standards.

      NSA Capabilities Technical Director, Neal Ziring said in a statement emailed to Computer Business Review: “Both Simon and Speck were subjected to several years of detailed cryptanalytic analysis within NSA, and have been subject to academic analysis by researchers worldwide since 2014. They are good block ciphers with solid security and excellent power and space characteristics.”

      He added: “NSA devotes our decades of cryptologic experience towards breaking codes for foreign intelligence and making codes to secure US National Security Systems (NSS) — offering strong algorithms for consideration as international standards is often the best way to ensure that such algorithms are implemented in products on which national security depends. That was the basis for submitting Simon and Speck to ISO.”

    • “Fake Zuckerbergs” Are Tricking Facebook Users Into Sending Money

      In a difficult phase where Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to clean up Facebook, several fake Facebook and Instagram accounts are masquerading as Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, deceiving users into sending money to collect bogus lottery prizes.

      According to a report by the New York Times, multiple cases have occurred where Facebook users were contacted by scammers claiming to be the top executives of the company to swindle money from unsuspecting users.

    • How Fake Mark Zuckerbergs Scam Facebook Users Out of Their Cash

      A Facebook notification on Gary Bernhardt’s phone woke him up one night last November with incredible news: a message from Mark Zuckerberg himself, saying that he had won $750,000 in the Facebook lottery.

      “I got all excited. Wouldn’t you?” said Mr. Bernhardt, 67, a retired forklift driver and Army veteran in Ham Lake, Minn. He stayed up until dawn trading messages with the person on the other end. To obtain his winnings, he was told, he first needed to send $200 in iTunes gift cards.

      Hours later, Mr. Bernhardt bought the gift cards at a gas station and sent the redemption codes to the account that said it was Mr. Zuckerberg. But the requests for money didn’t stop. By January, Mr. Bernhardt had wired an additional $1,310 in cash, or about a third of his Social Security checks over three months.

    • Europe fires back at ICANN’s delusional efforts to fix Whois for GDPR by next, er, year

      On March 26 – two months before new privacy protections come into effect in Europe – Goran Marby, CEO of DNS overlord ICANN, sent a letter [PDF] to each of Europe’s 28 data protection authorities (DPAs) asking them to hold off punishing it over Whois.

      Whois is a set of databases of domain-name owners, overseen by ICANN, and it contains people’s personal information such as their names and contact addresses. As it stands, it is not compatible with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which kicks in on May 25. Flouting the rules may result in fines. Something therefore has to be done. ICANN isn’t quite sure what to do yet, hence its request for a stay of enforcement.

      In a blog post on ICANN’s website on March 29, Marby said he was “hopeful that we will be provided with a moratorium on enforcement.” He mentioned the moratorium again in another update on April 10.

    • The predictable dystopian trajectory of China’s Citizen Scores

      Liu Hu is a Chinese journalist who is critical of the state — he was recently ordered to apologize for critical social media posts and then sanctioned for being “insincere” — and it has earned him a low Citizen Score. Now he can’t buy airplane tickets or property, or send his kid to private school.

    • China Assigns Every Citizen A ‘Social Credit Score’ To Identify Who Is And Isn’t Trustworthy

      China is rolling out a high-tech plan to give all of its 1.4 billion citizens a personal score, based on how they behave.

    • The Snoopers’ Charter: Everything you need to know about the Investigatory Powers Act

      The UK government’s Investigatory Powers Bill has sparked debate over the balance between privacy concerns and national security in the post-Snowden era, with controversy around encryption, bulk data and hacking being aimed at the former home secretary Theresa May.

    • Thinking through the “What should we do about Facebook?” question
    • Gaius Publius: What To Do About Facebook — First Thoughts

      The questions surrounding Facebook are many and serious. Facebook is first a monopoly; next, a mass manipulator capable of swinging elections and other social decisions in an order-of-magnitude-greater way than simple common advertising, no matter how targeted; third, a source of enormous wealth to a powerful few; and finally, it performs an almost utility-like, ubiquitous social function in today’s Internet age. (Consider the telephone network as a utility that connects masses of people and enables communication. Now consider Facebook as a kind of modern-day telephone network. The communication is what we’re interested in. The monetizable data and metadata of our communication is what its owners are interested in. The data collection is not necessary to the communication function.)

    • Facebook Is Letting Parents Turn Off Their Kids’ Messenger Apps With a New ‘Sleep’ Feature

      Facebook launched the messaging app aimed at kids under 13 in December. It comes with a bevy of parental controls and no ads. But some child development experts have called for Facebook to pull it, saying it should not be making apps for kids.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • CBP Using Fake Math To Greatly Inflate Number Of Assaults On Border Patrol Officers

      Customs and Border Protection is inflating numbers to push a narrative about dangerous undocumented immigrants. And it’s not just a little bit of fudging. It’s a whole new way of counting — one that fuels anti-immigrant rhetoric and keeps the agency well-funded.

    • Were Henry’s Civil Rights Violated?

      A Department of Homeland Security watchdog is looking into the case of a Long Island high school student who informed on the gang MS-13 and was marked for deportation.

    • Joe Emersberger on Venezuelan Elections, Dahr Jamail on Antarctic Ice

      If the “liberal” US media are to be believed, one country interfering in the elections of another country is flat-out unacceptable, worth backburnering numerous other problems in the effort to trace its impact and root it out. If the liberal US media are to be believed, one country secretly pressuring an opposition candidate in another country not to run, so that the election can be discredited as having no viable opposition candidate, and imposing sanctions to create hardship to “encourage” the public to overthrow their elected officials—is not merely sound policy, but humanitarian as well. It just depends which countries you’re talking about. Joe Emersberger has been tracking media coverage of Venezuela—target of bipartisan calls to force regime change in the name of democracy—for FAIR.org and other outlets. He joins us to talk about that.

    • Social media has a censorship problem of its own making
    • The Golden State Killer Suspect Was a Cop When Some of the Killings Happened
    • The CIA Gives a Highly Sanitized View of Gina Haspel While Keeping Her Torture Record Secret

      While the CIA has been trying to salvage Gina Haspel’s rocky nomination to lead the agency with a series of gushing tweets and by making public only flattering bits of her record, the American people have to reckon with a nominee whose role in torture and the destruction of torture evidence is still shrouded in secrecy.

      The CIA wants us to know positive stories about Haspel, hailing her as a trailblazer, consummate professional, dedicated agent, and Johnny Cash fan. At the same time, the agency won’t release full information about the most important and contentious parts of Haspel’s record.

    • Funnily Enough, Mark Wadsworth Was Guilty of Bringing the Labour Party Into Disrepute – But Not of Anti-Semitism

      Mark Wadsworth has not been found to be anti-semitic, but to have brought the Labour Party into disrepute. He was in fact guilty of that. At a sensitive press launch, showcasing a very important report the Party was introducing, Wadsworth thought it appropriate to take the microphone in front of a massive media presence and launch a verbal attack on a Labour MP. Nothing Wadsworth said was anti-semitic, and I quite accept his assurance he had no idea that Smeeth was Jewish. Here was my analysis of the incident written on the day, which I believe has held up well. But Wadsworth’s notion that he was at an appropriate place and time to attack a Labour MP was, at the very least, extremely misguided.

      [...]

      Watching that hatchet-faced Friends of Israel mob bear down on the Wadsworth hearing reminded me of the secretly taped meeting between Shai Masot of the Israeli Embassy and Joan Ryan MP of Labour Friends of Israel, where he told her he had over £1 million to give her to influence the Labour Party in Israel’s favour.

      So Mark Wadsworth did bring the Labour Party into disrepute, but not nearly as much as Joan Ryan MP, and in about the same measure as every member of the lynch mob whose equally unnecessary intrusion on a party disciplinary hearing gave the media plenty of occasion for knocking copy. But do not expect natural justice to prevail in the UK’s distorted, propaganda-led politics of 2018.

    • Prosecutors Hid Evidence of Corey Williams’ Innocence in Pursuit of a Death Sentence

      Prosecutorial misconduct led to Corey Williams’ conviction in Louisiana. The Supreme Court can undo that injustice.

      In 2000, Corey Williams, a Black teenager with an intellectual disability, was tried and convicted in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, for the murder of a pizza delivery man at his friend’s house.

      Williams was just 16 years old at the time and due to his disability, still wet himself, sucked his thumb, and ate odd things like dirt and paper. Despite these factors, Caddo Parish prosecutors still sought and obtained the death penalty for Williams, though his guilt was not supported by much of the evidence, which they never turned over to the teenager’s trial lawyers. Williams’ plight is a horrifying example of the awesome power of prosecutors, who can not only take someone’s freedom — but life itself.

      Williams wasn’t even a suspect at the outset of the investigation. Rather police officers first focused their attention on two older men, who were present during the crime. Police recorded witness statements on the night of the homicide that were never given to Williams’ defense. On these recordings, one witness told police that he saw a man nicknamed “Rapist” with the murder weapon prior to the homicide. Another witness, the brother of one of the likely culprits, insisted that it would make no sense for Williams to have killed the pizza delivery man, implicating his own brother and “Rapist” instead.

    • Appeals Court: Driving Attentively While Black Isn’t Probable Cause For A Traffic Stop

      The courts have allowed police officers to engage in pretextual traffic stops. Minor moving violations — including some that aren’t actually moving violations — have been used to engage in fishing expeditions for drugs, cash, or evidence of some other criminal activity. The Supreme Court dialed this back a bit with its Rodriguez decision, allowing pretextual stops but forcing them to end once the stop’s objective is complete. When an officer hands out a citation or warning, the person is free to go, no matter how much the officer may want to ask more questions or run a drug dog around the vehicle.

      This hasn’t deterred fishing expeditions as much as one might hope. If a drug dog can be summoned while the officer slow-walks paperwork, it will probably be found Constitutional by the courts. And the hopes of netting bigger fish with stops for improper signal use or whatever will never completely die. The risk/reward factor still favors law enforcement, so pretextual stops will continue.

      But, as the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court points out, even pretexts need to have some statutory basis. A recent decision [PDF] comes as close as the courts ever have to decrying law enforcement’s tendency to pull people over for “driving while black.” The lower court’s awful decision finding all of this Constitutional is reversed

    • Decoding Trump’s Latest Anti-Immigrant Attacks

      ACLU attorney Madhuri Grewal discusses the Trump administration’s never-ending assault on immigrants.

      Over the last few weeks, the Trump administration has continued its relentless crusade against immigrants by moving to dismantle important protections for immigrants with little input or oversight from Congress or the public. Though the changes made in the last few weeks have largely flown under the radar, they are a threat to our constitutional rights and will devastate people’s lives.

      Just this week, the heads of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wrote to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asking her to arrest, detain, and criminally prosecute all parents arriving at our border with their children — a move that will likely prosecute asylum seekers and separate thousands of families. This follows a move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this month calling on federal prosecutors to implement a “zero tolerance” approach to criminal prosecution of migrants the government apprehends at the border. While Secretary Nielsen and other high-ranking officials claim that cases of family separation are rare, The New York Times documented over 700 cases of children taken from their parents, including more than 100 children under the age of 4.

      The White House’s cruelty doesn’t end with family separation.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Net Neutrality Has No Future Without a Strong And Independent Supervision

      In particular, we are alarmed that the European Parliament delegation appears not to be strongly defending the Parliament’s mandate. The Parliament’s position is quite clear that NRAs should be responsible for “ensuring compliance with rules related to open internet access in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2015/2120″ and for “ensuring consumer protection and end-user rights in the electronic communications sector within the remit of their competences under the sectorial regulation, and cooperating with relevant competent authorities wherever applicable”. Any change to this approach can only serve to create legal uncertainty and the weakened enforcement of the Regulation previously approved by the Parliament.

    • Small ISPs Like Sonic Join The Legal Battle To Preserve Net Neutrality

      The coalition attempting to reverse the Trump FCC’s attack on net neutrality continues to grow. INCOMPAS, a trade group representing a number of smaller ISPs like Sonic and RCN, says it has filed a Petition (pdf) in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the FCC’s misleadingly-titled “Restoring Internet Freedom” Order. INCOMPAS joins Mozilla, Vimeo, numerous consumer groups and 23 state attorneys general in claiming that the FCC violated agency policy when it ignored the public, ignored the experts, and decided to give a sloppy wet kiss to the nation’s entrenched broadband monopolies.

      While FCC boss Ajit Pai frequently tries to claim that the FCC’s modest net neutrality protections were a terrible burden on small ISPs, his claims pretty routinely aren’t supported by actual facts and hard data (remember those?).

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • 15 Patents That Changed the World [Ed: Back in the days patents were granted for physical inventions, not thoughts. The system has gone out of control for lawyers' profits.]
    • How to Patent an Idea: A Step-by-Step Guide [Ed: This article, for a change, was not composed by a lawyer.]
    • With Apple and Huawei disputes rumbling on Qualcomm licensing revenue drops $1 billion

      Qualcomm announced its latest quarterly earnings yesterday. These included a sharp year-on-year drop in revenues from its licensing business as the impact of the chipmaker’s ongoing dispute with Apple continued to have a major impact.

    • Huawei’s portfolio is best in China, but international expansion now the focus, exclusive research reveals

      Telecommunications giant Huawei has seen an explosive rise in its patent filing numbers since 2013, which has helped to make its portfolio the strongest in China, research commissioned from a team of leading IP analytics and intelligence companies exclusively for IAM has uncovered.

    • How To Discover Valuable Patents

      That’s what Tesla did in 2014. Elon Musk wrote: “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.” Many read this as a call to innovate in the electric vehicle space. What’s more, Elon Musk sent a very clear message about Tesla’s technology leadership to the market: “Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers.” Communicating your innovativeness can become even more powerful when you continue to count on innovation and patents but also invite input from the outside.

    • Qualcomm’s first ITC complaint against Apple down to three patents (from the original six)

      Qualcomm has further narrowed its first USITC complaint (request for import ban) against Apple. It originally brought the complaint in early July 2017 and published a full-page infographic with the following headline: “Six inventions iPhones use everyday [sic]”

      [...]

      The next Munich hearing will take place next Thursday (May 3). First hearings in Munich serve the purpose of discussing the key issues the court has identified based on the complaint and the answer to the complaint. At that stage, validity usually isn’t discussed yet. Next week’s hearing will be about the German parts of four European patents from the same family, each covering a “method and device for communication channel selection”: EP1956806, EP1955529, EP3054658, and EP3094067.

    • Availability Of WIPO Digital Access Service Under The WIPO‐India Cooperation Agreement

      Recently, a WIPO – INDIA Cooperation agreement was established between World Intellectual Property Organization (hereinafter referred to as the ‘WIPO’) and Indian Patent Office (hereinafter referred to as the ‘IPO’) on January 31, 2018, stating that the IPO has started the WIPO Digital Access Service (DAS) for priority documents submitted by the applicants from the participating Patent offices.

    • Qualcomm chip sales indicate some smartphone strength

      U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc’s (QCOM.O) quarterly profit and revenue topped Wall Street forecasts, suggesting that a slowdown in the global smartphone business might be less severe than feared after a string of weak forecasts from suppliers.

    • Qualcomm proposes new licensing terms to lure in customers

      Qualcomm in an earnings conference call on Wednesday showed rare willingness to modify its patent licensing policies, a core segment of its business that sparked a court battle with Apple and government investigations into potentially anticompetitive practices.

    • South Korea and China set the global standard for gender equality in patent filing [Ed: This has been a theme among patent maximalists lately, using feminism as a pretext to urge patent offices to grant more patents]

      It has to be said that Greater China is perhaps somewhat ahead of the curve in this regard. Executives like Laura Quatela of Lenovo and Billie Chen of TSMC are running very large leading IP functions. Alibaba’s Amy Xu, Alice Wang of drone-maker DJI and Kate Shang at Acer all head stellar corporate patent teams as well. Dong Mingzhu, CEO of appliance maker Gree, is so outspoken about IP issues that she has been named among China’s top ten IP personalities. And in a country where the highest echelons of political power are almost exclusively male-dominated, Supreme People’s Court Justice Madame Tao Kaiyuan is China’s most respected policy voice when it comes to judicial IP matters.

    • Copyrights
      • Berkeley Remarks on a Patent Small-Claims Tribunal

        As noted in my earlier post today with my remarks from We Robot, I’ve been busy with lots of interesting conferences and workshops in the past few weeks. Because I wrote out detailed notes for two of them, I thought I would post them for people who weren’t able to attend. Here are my comments from the fantastic BCLT/BTLJ symposium on the administrative law of IP, where I was on a panel discussing IP small-claims tribunals:

        You have already heard some insightful comments from Ben Depoorter and Pam Samuelson on copyright small-claims courts, including their analysis of problems with the proposed Copyright Alternatives in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2017, as well as their thoughts on how a more narrowly tailored small-claims system might be beneficial. The main justification for introducing such a tribunal is that high litigation costs prevent claimants from pursuing valid small claims.

        I’m here to provide some perspective from the patent law side, and the short version of my comments is that the idea of a patent small-claims court seems mostly dead in the United States, and I don’t see a reason to revive it.

        The idea of a patent small-claims court got a bit of traction over 30 years ago at a 1989 conference at the Franklin Pierce Law Center (now the University of New Hampshire), and then the ABA IP Section and the AIPLA endorsed establishment of a low-cost procedure for patent claims under $100,000. This suggestion didn’t go anywhere until the end of 2012, when the PTO requested comments on whether the US should introduce a small-claims proceeding for patents. They received 22 public comments in April 2013.

        [...]

        How are patents different? For one, patent law has an even stronger utilitarian foundation than copyright law, so we really only want to be enforcing claims where the social value in terms of incentivizing innovation outweighs all the costs. One of those costs is the higher effort to properly assess validity in patent than in copyright. A high percentage of granted patents turn out to be legally invalid when scrutinized for more than the roughly twenty hours the PTO uses during its initial examination—it seems plausible to only want to enforce patents where there is enough at stake to merit the costs of reevaluating whether the patent should have been granted. It’s pretty clear from a utilitarian perspective that the socially optimal amount of patent enforcement is not 100%. Unlike in copyright, patent liability doesn’t require copying and has no independent invention defense, and for low-value uses, sometimes the costs of searching for and negotiating over all the relevant patents aren’t worth it.

      • The Fate of Text and Data Mining in the European Copyright Overhaul

        The current European Digital Single Market copyright negotiations involve more than just the terrible upload filter and link tax proposals that have caused so much concern—and not all of the other provisions under negotiation are harmful. We haven’t said much about the text and data mining provisions that form part of this ambitious legislative agenda, but as the finalization of the deal is fast approaching, the form of these provisions is now taking shape. The next few weeks will provide Europeans with their last opportunity to guide the text and data mining provisions to support coders rights, open access, and innovation.

        Text and data mining, which is the automated processing and analysis of large amounts of published data to create useful new outputs, necessarily involves copying at least some of the original data. Often, that data isn’t subject to copyright in the first place, but even when it is, copies made in the course of processing generally fall within the scope of the fair use right in the United States.

        But European countries have no such fair use right in their copyright law. Instead, they have a patchwork of narrower user rights, which vary from one country to another. Although some states have introduced rights to conduct text and data mining, there is little consistency between them. As such, the legality of text and data mining conducted in Europe is questionable, even though it doesn’t result in the creation of anything that resembles the original input data set. Worse still, Europe also has a separate copyright-like regime of protection for databases, which has no equivalent in the United States. Text and data mining activities could also run afoul of these database rights.

British Technology News Sites Point Out the Absurdity of Ratifying UPC in the UK Amid Brexit

Saturday 28th of April 2018 07:18:46 AM

“Even if the UPC does gets [sic] passed, it is still going to take years and significant effort to repair the damage done by Battistelli.”

Summary: In the face of Brexit, which shows no signs of abandonment (not yet anyway), UPC is being pushed by the British Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah, raising all sorts of legitimate and awkward questions

IT didn’t take long for real journalists rather than stenographers of law firms and the EPO to write about this latest absurdity.

Well, published by Kieren McCarthy in The Register on Friday night (around 8PM when many people are already offline) was this article titled “That Brexit in action: UK signs pact to let Euro court judge its patents” and it’s similar to what we have said in our two articles about it [1, 2] (so far, there’s likely much more on the way).

To quote a couple of portions:

Britain has finally signed up to Europe’s unified patent court (UPC) – a long-planned simplification of the continent’s patent system – but big questions still remain thanks to Brexit and a federal court challenge in Germany.

“The Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah MP, has today confirmed that the UK has ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA),” the UK government said in a formal announcement.

Soon after, the ratification appeared on the European Union’s treaty webpage, confirming that it is a done deal.

But despite the UK government noting that “our ratification brings the international court one step closer to reality,” the truth is that thanks to the UK’s planned exit from the European Union, things are much messier than they appear.

While the UK is signing the treaty as a member of the European Union, by the time the UPC is up and running, it will almost certainly not be a member of said union, if Brexit is allowed to run its course. In other words, the UK has backed a court system that, come next year, may or may not have any jurisdiction over the country.

On one level, the UK – in pursuing its efforts to break free from European laws – has just agreed to abide by European laws: the patent court’s decision will have the European Court of Justice as its ultimate decider.

[...]

Thankfully for the EPO, Battistelli will be leaving later this year but his determined drive to get more patents approved each year has led to a complete breakdown in communication between EPO staff and examiners and its management, a drop in patent quality, and earned him numerous rebukes from international organizations and European politicians.

Even if the UPC does gets passed, it is still going to take years and significant effort to repair the damage done by Battistelli.

As usual, comments on such articles are dominated by the anti-EU crowd rather than patent professionals, one of whom wrote: “The contradiction #Brexit <-> UPC cannot be kept under the radar forever. #UPC means: A Danish / … chamber, with a majority of Danish / … judges, on the basis of proceedings in Danish / …, under the surveillance of the #ECJ, can stop production in the UK.”

Yes, exactly. This also makes UPC as a whole unconstitutional. How can one be subjected to rulings in languages one does not even comprehend? This among other things is grounds for the Constitutional complaint in Germany (FCC).

The EPO Grants Software Patents Under the ‘CII’ Umbrella, Mass Litigation in Europe Already a Problem

Saturday 28th of April 2018 06:21:10 AM

From the latest Gazette (referring to software patents as “CII” whilst alluding to "4IR")

Summary: The decline in patent quality at the EPO is becoming a liability to Europe, in effect passing tremendous costs to European businesses and the European public while the EPO’s Chief Economist (another Frenchman with connections to Battistelli) does not seem to care

THE EPO is fast becoming worse than the USPTO when it comes to patent quality. It also targets software patents from the US now that over 50% of EP applications are software-related, by the EPO’s own admission. Yesterday a US-based site published a gender-oriented piece that’s the latest Battistelli puff piece (it’s an ongoing and very expensive PR campaign). To quote:

European Patent Office President Benoit Battistelli praised Sans Takeuchi’s battery work for benefitting millions of patients – and said her advances rank her among history’s top American innovators.

European Inventor Award. Patent award/s. Even to Americans who are literal frauds whose “millions of patients” fell for a scam that EPO management made a European Inventor Award finalist.

It sure sounds as though the EPO grants software patents that are then already used for large-scale litigation campaigns. From yesterday’s press release:

IDnow, Europe’s leading provider of online identity verification solutions for the financial services, mobility, telecommunications and many other sectors, has taken another step in protecting key elements of its innovative online identity platform as the European Patent Office in Munich found its amended patent EP 2 948 891 to be valid.

The patent, which was applied for in January 2014 and was granted by the EPO on May 18, 2016, was contested by the Deutsche Post and another competitor. With 2 minor amendments suggested by IDnow, the EPO maintained the patent.

[...]

The involved parties may appeal this decision, but this will not affect the parallel patent infringement proceedings where there will be a hearing in the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court in June 2018 to decide whether another competitor of IDnow has violated this patent.

So they now serially go after a whole bunch of companies, over an “online identity platform” patent which is clearly a software patent. Remember that a recent study showed patent trolling in Europe soaring. Maybe Battistelli’s Chief Economist deems/considers that to be a feature, not a bug. Battistelli’s agenda is toxic and highly dangerous not just to the EPO but to everywhere in Europe.

Short: EPO Brags About EPO-Bribed Media Covering EPO-Funded ‘Study’

Saturday 28th of April 2018 05:54:14 AM

Related: Short: EPO Bribes the Media and Then Brags About the Paid-for Outcome to Staff

Summary: The EPO‘s “media partner”, which just did another puff piece for Battistelli (a day or two ago), had also cushioned the EPO with paid-for propaganda for software patents (euphemised as '4IR')

More in Tux Machines

WhiteSource Rolls Out New Open Source Security Detector

WhiteSource on Tuesday launched its next-generation software composition analysis (SCA) technology, dubbed "Effective Usage Analysis," with the promise that it can reduce open source vulnerability alerts by 70 percent. The newly developed technology provides details beyond which components are present in the application. It provides actionable insights into how components are being used. It also evaluates their impact on the security of the application. The new solution shows which vulnerabilities are effective. For instance, it can identify which vulnerabilities get calls from the proprietary code. Read more

Announcing “e Foundation” for eelo

I’m pleased to announce that a non-profit organization has been incorporated to support the project: e Foundation. “e Foundation” will host core eelo assets and fuel the development of eelo software. This non-profit organization will be able to receive private and public grants, as well as donations from individuals, from anywhere in the world. We’re also working to add a legal way so that donations could benefit from tax cuts, as it’s often possible when donating to “in the public interest” organizations. As soon as a bank account will be ready for “e Foundation”, we will move there all donations and our “in demand” crowdfunding campaign. Read more

RIP Robin "Roblimo" Miller

Linux Journal has learned fellow journalist and long-time voice of the Linux community Robin "Roblimo" Miller has passed away. Miller was perhaps best known by the community for his roll as Editor in Chief of Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned Slashdot, SourceForge.net, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, and ThinkGeek from 2000 to 2008. He went on to write and do video interviews for FOSS Force, penned articles for several publications, and authored three books, The Online Rules of Successful Companies, Point & Click Linux!, and Point & Click OpenOffice.org, all published by Prentice Hall. Read more

Devices: Ibase, OpenWatch, Purism

  • 3.5-inch Apollo Lake SBC supports industrial temperatures
    Ibase’s Linux-compatible, 3.5-inch “IB818” SBC provides a dual- or quad-core Apollo Lake SoC, plus 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.0, 2x SATA, 2x mini-PCIe, triple display support, wide-range power, and -40 to 85°C support.
  • AsteroidOS and OpenWatch offer open alternatives to smartwatch stacks
    The open source, Linux based “AsteroidOS” alternative to Wear OS arrives in a stable 1.0 release, and Block spins off some of its Android smartwatch stack as an open source OpenWatch Project. The AsteroidOS project has released version 1.0 of its open source, Linux-based smartwatch distribution. Designed for after-market installation on “Wear OS by Google” (formerly Android Wear) watches, AsteroidOS can now be dual booted on seven different models. The release follows the late March announcement of an OpenWatch Project for building Android based open source custom ROMs on Wear OS watches.
  • Purism Publishes Librem 5 Dev Kit Details, Small Batch Order Going In Soon
    Purism has published their nearly final specifications on their limited-run Librem 5 Dev Kit. The cutoff for ordering a developer kit is next week as they are placing their hardware order and planning on only this single, limited run of the developer kit prior to the phones becoming available next year. Their deadline for ordering a developer kit is the end of the month and the kit price has raised to $399 USD. In the process, Purism believes they are still on track for their January 2019 for coming up with having the phone's actual hardware ready.