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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 11 min ago

German Court on UPC Constitutional Complaint: “No Oral Hearing is Currently Scheduled. A Decision Date is Not Foreseeable at Present.”

Tuesday 23rd of October 2018 02:44:22 PM

Mathieu Klos (below) previously said that it can take years for a decision to be reached

Summary: More bad news for Team UPC as there’s no sign of Germany signing/ratifying the UPCA and none of the underlying issues (noted in the complaint) have been addressed at all

SEVERAL days ago the EPO mentioned (merely named) the UPC for the first time in months. It didn’t say that there was any progress.

Mathieu Klos (he’s usually posting accurate things) then wrote on Twitter: “Christmas present for the #UPC? The latest rumour has it that the @BVerfG will decide on the constitutional challenge in December. The reply of the court to our enquiry: “No oral hearing is currently scheduled. A decision date is not foreseeable at present” #JUVEpatent”

“…Team UPC has a long history of lying (“boy who cried ‘wolf’,” as the fable goes).”Well, Team UPC is trying to meddle in or influence the outcome with false rumours that we mentioned some days ago. Such rumours can usually be disregarded because Team UPC has a long history of lying (“boy who cried ‘wolf’,” as the fable goes).

“Christmas present for who,” I asked him. “Scientists? Or the litigation cartel? Did they rig this thing too?”

Remember what they did in the German political system.

Links 22/10/2018: New Kernel Release and Linus Torvalds is Back in Charge

Monday 22nd of October 2018 10:28:29 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Windows 10 October Update Once Again Plagued By Another File Management Bug

      Since the announcement of Windows 10 October update 2018, things have been going pretty bad for Windows users. At first, it was the file deletion which caused a lot of inconvenience to Windows users, and later the driver issues.

      Now, people have come across another Windows 1809 bug which appears to be another File Explorer issue. Several users on Reddit and Ask Woody have reported an unusual activity while extracting files.

      The primary issue revolves around the prompt which should technically appear during the process of un-zipping a file on Windows 10; however, it does not, leading to data loss.

    • GitHub Website Is Down For Everyone Due To Data Storage Issues

      GitHub’s website went down roughly 6 hours ago and it still remains broken after a data storage system failed.

      Based on location, users across the world are facing issues related to speed, on using resources, login error, etc. Some users even complained that the commits of the last of 4-5 hours are not reflected on the site.

    • Review: System76 Oryx Pro Laptop

      I should start by saying that although I’m definitely no newbie to Linux, I’m new to the world of dedicated Linux laptops. I started with Linux in 1996, when Red Hat 4.0 had just adopted the 2.0 kernel and Debian 1.3 hadn’t yet been released. I’ve run a variety of distros with varying degrees of satisfaction ever since, always looking for the Holy Grail of a desktop UNIX that just plain worked.

      About 15 years ago after becoming frustrated with the state of Linux on laptop hardware (in a phrase, “nonexistent hardware support”), I switched my laptops over to Macs and didn’t look back. It was a true-blue UNIX that just plain worked, and I was happy. But I increasingly found myself frustrated by things I expected from Linux that weren’t available on macOS, and which things like Homebrew and MacPorts and Fink could only partly address.

      My last MacBook Pro is now four years old, so it was time to shop around again. After being underwhelmed by this generation of MacBooks, I decided to take the risk on a Linux laptop again.

    • Linux Apps Coming To MediaTek-Powered Chromebooks Like The Acer R13

      Google made no mention of Linux apps on Chrome OS at last week’s hardware event in New York. I was a little surprised considering the fact that the Pixel Slate and Chrome OS saw nearly as much stage time as the Pixel phone that brought most of the media to Manhattan.

      [...]

      Unfortunately, the Chromebook R13 was quickly overshadowed by new flagships from Samsung and ASUS that featured more powerful processors and various features that made them more appealing to consumers. It was a sad happenstance for the Acer Chromebook because honestly, it is still a great device two years later. Seeing Google bring Linux apps to this device could breath much-needed new life into this model.

    • Linux app support coming to MediaTek-based Chromebooks

      Linux apps have arrived in the Chrome OS stable channel, but not all Chromebooks have access to them. The Linux container requires some kernel features that won’t be backported to several models, but now Google is bringing the feature to a handful of MediaTek-based Chromebooks.

      Chrome Unboxed discovered a commit that enables Linux app support for the “oak” platform, which a number of Chromebooks were based on.

    • Linux apps on Chrome OS: An easy-to-follow guide

      The software that started out as a strictly web-centric entity — with everything revolving around the Chrome browser and apps that could operate inside it — is now one of modern computing’s most versatile operating systems. Contemporary Chromebooks still run all the standard web-based stuff, of course, but they’re also capable of connecting to Google’s entire Play Store and running almost any Android app imaginable. And if that isn’t enough, many models have recently gained the ability to run Linux apps as well.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.19

      Hi everyone!

      It’s been a long strange journey for this kernel release…

      While it was not the largest kernel release every by number of commits,
      it was larger than the last 3 releases, which is a non-trivial thing to
      do. After the original -rc1 bumps, things settled down on the code side
      and it looks like stuff came nicely together to make a solid kernel for
      everyone to use for a while. And given that this is going to be one of
      the “Long Term” kernels I end up maintaining for a few years, that’s
      good news for everyone.

      A small trickle of good bugfixes came in this week, showing that waiting
      an extra week was a wise choice. However odds are that linux-next is
      just bursting so the next -rc1 merge window is going to be bigger than
      “normal”, if there is such a thing as “normal” for our rate of
      development.

      And speaking of development, there’s that other thing that happened this
      release cycle, that ended up making it such that I’m the one writing
      this instead of Linus. Allow me the guilty pleasure of taking a few
      minutes to talk about that….

      I’ve been giving my “How the kernel is developed” talk all around the
      world for over a decade now. After the first year or so, I was amazed
      that it kept needing to be given as surely everyone knew how we did this
      type of thing, right? But my wife, someone much smarter than I, then
      told me, “Every year there is a new kindergarten class.”

      And we all need to remember that, every year new people enter our
      community with the goal, or requirement, to get stuff done for their
      job, their hobby, or just because they want to help contribute to the
      tool that has taken over the world and enabled everyone to have a solid
      operating system base on which to build their dreams.

      And when they come into our community, they don’t have the built-in
      knowledge of years of experience that thousands of us already do.
      Without that experience they make mistakes and fumble and have to learn
      how this all works. Part of learning how things work is dealing with
      the interaction between people, and trying to understand the basic
      social norms and goals that we all share. By providing a document in
      the kernel source tree that shows that all people, developers and
      maintainers alike, will be treated with respect and dignity while
      working together, we help to create a more welcome community to those
      newcomers, which our very future depends on if we all wish to see this
      project succeed at its goals.

      And that goal we all share is the key here. We _ALL_ want to create the
      best kernel that we possibly can. We can disagree on lots of different
      things in other parts of our lives, but we do share this one thing. And
      we should focus on that shared goal as it has pulled us all together in
      a way that has enabled us to create something that no other company or
      group of people has ever been able to accomplish.

      We used to joke that our goal was “Total World Domination”, but it
      really wasn’t a joke. We achieved that goal, Linux really does rule the
      world. All companies use it, contribute to it, and it has ended up
      making the world a much better place because of all of us working on it.

      In these talks I give, I also say that “the only thing that can stop us
      is ourselves, it is up to us to mess this up.” And that’s truer now
      than when I first started saying that a decade ago. There is no other
      operating system out there that competes against us at this time. It
      would be nice to have something to compete against, as competition is
      good, and that drives us to do better, but we can live with this
      situation for the moment

      These past few months has been a tough one for our community, as it is
      our community that is fighting from within itself, with prodding from
      others outside of it. Don’t fall into the cycle of arguing about those
      “others” in the “Judean People’s Front” when we are the “We’re the
      People’s Front of Judea!” That is the trap that countless communities
      have fallen into over the centuries. We all share the same goal, let us
      never loose sight of that.

      So here is my plea to everyone out there. Let’s take a day or two off,
      rest, relax with friends by sharing a meal, recharge, and then get back
      to work, to help continue to create a system that the world has never
      seen the likes of, together.

      Personally, I’m going to take my own advice. I’ll be enjoying this week
      in Edinburgh with many other kernel developers, drinking some good
      whiskey, and taking some time off of reading email, by spending it with
      the great friends I have made in this community.

      And with that, Linus, I’m handing the kernel tree back to you. You can
      have the joy of dealing with the merge window

      thanks,

      greg k-h

    • Linux 4.19 Improves Containers, Latency and Networking for the Long Term

      The Linux 4.19 kernel was released on Oct. 22, bringing with it a host of new features for servers large and small.

      Linux 4.19 is the fifth major Linux kernel released in 2018 and follows the 4.18 kernel which became generally available on Aug. 12. The Linux 4.19 release cycle was a bit more dramatic than the other four releases in 2018 as Linux creator Linus Torvalds stepped away from the release during the development cycle to work on his own interpersonal behavior and conduct. As such, the final release was made by Linux stable branch maintainer, Greg Kroah-Hartman.

      “While it was not the largest kernel release every by number of commits, it was larger than the last 3 releases, which is a non-trivial thing to do,” Kroah-Hartman wrote in his release message. “After the original -rc1 bumps, things settled down on the code side and it looks like stuff came nicely together to make a solid kernel for everyone to use for a while, and given that this is going to be one of the “Long Term” kernels I end up maintaining for a few years, that’s good news for everyone.”

    • Linux Kernel 4.19 Released, Plus Updates to Google Chrome, LightWorks + More

      With new Linux kernel releases, distro updates, and new software constantly being released, it’s a tough ol’ task trying to stay on top of it all.

      Which is why like to write these Linux Release Roundup posts that gather together all of the pertinent software, package and kernel releases from the past 7 days in one, easy-to-read article.

    • The 4.19 kernel is out

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has released the 4.19 kernel. Headline features in this release include the new AIO-based polling interface, L1TF vulnerability mitigations, the block I/O latency controller, time-based packet transmission, the CAKE queuing discipline, and much more.

    • Greg KH Releases Big Linux 4.19 Kernel, Codenamed “People’s Front”

      Greg Kroah-Hartman went ahead and released the Linux 4.19 kernel.

      When releasing the Linux 4.19 kernel, he quietly changed the codename to “People’s Front” — a nod to the Code of Conduct happenings and more that have shook the kernel community the past several weeks.

      Greg did note that Linux 4.19 is larger than the past three kernel releases. In terms of why it’s so big, see our Linux 4.19 feature overview.

    • ​Linus Torvalds is back in charge of Linux

      At Open Source Summit Europe in Scotland, Linus Torvalds is meeting with Linux’s top 40 or so developers at the Maintainers’ Summit. This is his first step back in taking over Linux’s reins.

      A little over a month ago, Torvalds stepped back from running the Linux development community. In a note to the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML), Torvalds said, “I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development entirely. I am going to take time off and get some assistance on how to understand people’s emotions and respond appropriately.”

    • Linus Torvalds is back at the helm of Linux

      Linus Torvalds is back in charge of Linux, following a self-imposed break from his duties pertaining to the open source operating system.

      His temporary replacement, Greg Kroah-Hartman, announced the return of Torvalds in a post which detailed the release of Linux kernel 4.19, and the various tweaks and adjustments therein.

      As Betanews spotted, Kroah-Hartman wrote: “Linus, I’m handing the kernel tree back to you. You can have the joy of dealing with the merge window.”

      The release notes clarify that this wasn’t the largest kernel release going by the number of commits, but that it was larger than the past three releases, and a trickle of ‘good bug fixes’ came in during the past week, which showed that waiting an extra week was a sensible choice.

    • Linus Torvalds is back in charge as Linux kernel 4.19 is released

      After taking some time out from the Linux community to “change some of [his] behavior”, Linux Torvalds is back. In a post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.19, Greg Kroah-Hartman — his temporary replacement — handed back the reins.

      After writing about the changes to be found in the latest release, Kroah-Hartman signed off by saying: “Linus, I’m handing the kernel tree back to you. You can have the joy of dealing with the merge window :)”.

    • Great News! Linus Torvalds is Back in Charge of Linux

      Good news Linux folks. Linus Torvalds is back in charge of Linux.

      To refresh your memory a bit, a few weeks back Linus Torvalds announced that he is taking some time off from Linux Kernel development to improve his behavior.

      This announcement came right after he signed off the controversial Linux code of conduct.

      He was scheduled to speak at the Open Source Summit in Edinburgh but his talk was removed after he took the sudden temporary break.

    • Linux Kernel 4.19 “People’s Front” Released; Linus Torvalds Back For 4.20 Development

      The incidents that preceded (and accompanied) the Linux kernel 4.19 development cycle have has been one of the most critical ones faced by the Linux community. In order to bring some major changes to the community, Linus Torvalds took a break from kernel development and passed the baton to Greg Kroah-Hartman. A new Code of Conduct was also adopted.

      Now, after eight release candidates, Greg has released the Linux kernel 4.19. Underlining the ongoing challenges, he wrote in the release post: “It’s been a long strange journey for this kernel release…”

    • [Old] With Linux’s founder stepping back, will the community change its culture? [Ed: Bill Gates-connected site really sticking it in to Torvalds. Just watch carefully who wants him out and why. LF kicked community members out of the Board, gave seats there to Microsoft. So Microsoft now has more influence over the future/direction of Linux than community members (i.e. not large corporations).]
    • Intel’s IWD Linux Wireless Daemon Out With Version 0.10

      IWD continues maintaining a very small footprint in order to be suitable for embedded/IoT use-cases with having minimal dependencies though supporting networkd/NetworkManager/ConnMan if present on the system. With the new IWD 0.10 release is support for using an external Embedded Linux Library (ELL). The ELL library is another open-source Intel project providing low-level functionality for Linux system daemons and having no dependencies in turn other than the Linux kernel and C standard library. ELL can scale up from embedded to desktop systems and more while providing a lot of features around D-Bus, signal handling, crypto, and other tasks.

    • ​Revised Linux Code of Conduct is now officially part of Linux

      Some organizations might not include their Code of Conduct in the software source code tree, but the Linux developers aren’t your ordinary group. In the Linux 4.19 announcement, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux’s leader for this release and maintainer of the stable branch, added in the Code of Conduct and some minor changes.

    • Hwmon Updates Sent To The Kernel Finally Complete AMD Excavator Temperature Readings

      Following this morning’s Linux 4.19 release announcement, one of the first pull requests sent in of feature updates for the next 4.20~5.0 feature cycle is the hardware monitoring “hwmon” updates.

      The hwmon subsystem updates as usual include the various monitoring driver improvements. Most notable though is including the patch we talked about back in September for finally reporting CPU temperatures for all AMD Excavator CPU cores. That patch didn’t end up getting sent in as a “fix” during Linux 4.19 development but is now sent in for this next kernel cycle.

    • Facebook Developing “OOMD” For Out-of-Memory User-Space Linux Daemon

      While the Linux kernel has its own out-of-memory (OOM) killer when system memory becomes over-committed, Facebook developers have been developing their own user-space based solution for handling this situation.

      [...]

      Facebook’s Daniel Xu will be talking about OOMD at the Open-Source Summit Europe tomorrow in Edinburgh. But if you can’t make it there are the slides (PDF) already available. The OOMD project is hosted on GitHub under the GPLv2 license.

    • I3C Subsystem Appears Ready For Possible Inclusion Into Linux 4.20~5.0

      There is already a lot of features slated for the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel with its development cycle officially having gotten underway this morning. Adding to that lengthy list of expected work is the possible introduction of the I3C subsystem.

      Back in January 2017 MIPI announced the I3C sensor interface specification as an improvement over the widely-used I2C. With I3C the focus was on combining the best of the I2C, SPI, and UART specifications while tailoring it so it’s suitable for use by IoT devices.

      Going back to shortly after the specification’s debut, there have been an in-development I3C subsystem for enabling drivers and these devices to be supported by the mainline Linux kernel.

    • Btrfs To Ship Multiple Performance Improvements In The Next Linux Kernel

      Adding to the excitement around Linux 4.20~5.0 are now multiple performance improvements to the Btrfs file-system to be presented for this next Linux kernel release.

      Btrfs offers a lot of features not readily available by other in-tree Linux file-systems, but even with all of the features like SSD optimizations, its performance hasn’t been all that staggering (in part because, yes, it is copy-on-write by default that does hurt some workloads). But come Linux 4.20~5.0, there should be multiple speed-ups to Btrfs.

    • Linux Foundation
    • Graphics Stack
      • NVIDIA Developers Express Interest In Helping Out libc++/libstdc++ Parallel Algorithms

        NVIDIA developers have expressed interest in helping the open-source GCC libstdc++ and LLVM Clang libc++ standard libraries in bringing up support for the standardized parallel algorithms.

        C++17 brings parallelized versions for some of the algorithms exposed by the C++ standard library, but sadly GCC’s libstdc++ and LLVM’s libc++ do not yet support these parallel algorithms while the rest of their C++17 support is in great shape. Going back over a year Intel has been interested in contributing parallel support code to these C++ standard libraries that could be shared by both projects. The Intel path builds in abstractions for supporting different underlying thread/parallelism APIs.

      • The Rust-Written Kazan Vulkan Driver Lights Up Its Shader Compiler

        This week the Kazan project (formerly known as “Vulkan-CPU”) celebrated a small but important milestone in its trek to having a CPU-based Vulkan software implementation.

        As a refresher, Kazan is the project born as Vulkan-CPU during the 2017 Google Summer of Code. The work was started by student developer Jacob Lifshay and he made good progress last summer on the foundation of the project and continued contributing past the conclusion of that Google-funded program. By the end of the summer he was able to run some simple Vulkan compute tests. He also renamed Vulkan-CPU to Kazan (Japanese for “volcano”).

      • Sway 1.0 Beta Released – Offers 100% Compatibility With i3 Window Manager

        The Sway Wayland compositor inspired by X11′s i3 window manager is now up to its beta ahead of the big 1.0 release.

        Sway 1.0 Beta offers “100%” compatibility with the i3 window manager. The Sway 1.0 release has also been working on many other changes including improved window handling, multi-GPU support, virtual keyboard protocol, real-time video capture, tablet support, and many other changes.

      • Panfrost Open-Source GPU Driver Continues Advancing For Mali GPUs

        The Panfrost open-source, community-driven, reverse-engineered graphics driver for ARM Mali graphics processors continues panning out pretty well.

        Alyssa Rosenzweig has provided an update this weekend on the state of Panfrost for open-source Mali 3D support. The developers involved have been working out some texture issues, various OpenGL / GLES issues around GLMark2, and support now for running Wayland’s Weston reference compositor.

      • Coreboot’s Flashrom Moves On To Flashing AMD GPUs Up Through Polaris

        Last week I wrote about new patches adding Coreboot Flashrom support for Radeon GPUs for being able to re-program the SPI blocks on AMD graphics processors. Initially that was for old Radeon HD 2000 through HD 6000 series hardware but now it’s moved onto the GCN world.

        That reverse engineering work for bringing Radeon support to Flashrom is being done by longtime open-source developer Luc Verhaegen who was involved with the RadeonHD driver effort a decade ago. He’s continued working on this SPI chip flashing support in his spare time and has got the code working for GCN hardware now — most Southern/Sea Islands hardware and even now Polaris. Last week I wrote about new patches adding Coreboot Flashrom support for Radeon GPUs for being able to re-program the SPI blocks on AMD graphics processors. Initially that was for old Radeon HD 2000 through HD 6000 series hardware but now it’s moved onto the GCN world.

        That reverse engineering work for bringing Radeon support to Flashrom is being done by longtime open-source developer Luc Verhaegen who was involved with the RadeonHD driver effort a decade ago. He’s continued working on this SPI chip flashing support in his spare time and has got the code working for GCN hardware now — most Southern/Sea Islands hardware and even now Polaris.

      • AMD FreeSync 2 HDR Coming To The Linux Kernel In 2019

        Next year is when all of the pieces of the open-source puzzle for fully supporting FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync/VRR displays with AMD graphics cards should be in place for allowing out-of-the-box support.

        While the Linux 4.20 kernel (possible being re-branded as Linux 5.0) will kick off its development cycle today following the Linux 4.19 stable release, these FreeSync / variable rate refresh bits aren’t found in the kernel… There is the AMDGPU DC bits within this open-source AMD kernel driver, but not yet the common Direct Rendering Manager bits for exposing the “VRR” properties to user-space.

      • Vulkan 1.1.89 Released As A Small Spec Update

        After the big Vulkan 1.1.88 update earlier this month that brought transform feedback and other new extensions, Vulkan 1.1.89 is now available.

    • Benchmarks
      • The Performance & Power Efficiency Of The Core i7 990X vs. Core i9 9900K

        With my initial Core i9 9900K benchmarks out there following Friday’s embargo expiration, for some weekend benchmarking fun I decided to pull out the old Core i7 990X to see how it compares to the new 9900K… The Gulftown and Coffeelake processors were compared not only on raw performance but also overall power consumption and performance-per-Watt.

        The Core i7 990X was the Extreme Edition processor back from 2011 codenamed “Gulftown” (Westmere microarchitecture), the 32nm generation before Sandy Bridge. Granted the announced but not yet released Core i9 9900X X-Series CPU will be more akin for comparison to the 990X, and I will at such time that it is available, but just for some extra benchmark runs over the weekend I was curious to see how the 990X and 9900K compare…

      • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Linux Gaming Benchmarks

        Last week following the launch of the RTX 2070 Turing graphics cards, I carried out some initial RTX 2070 compute benchmarks including of TensorFlow and more common OpenCL/CUDA workloads. The GPU compute performance for this $499+ Turing GPU was quite good and especially for INT16 test cases often beating the GTX 1080 Ti. Available now are the Linux gaming benchmarks for the GeForce RTX 2070 compared to an assortment of other NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards on Ubuntu 18.10.

        As a quick recap, the GeForce RTX 2070 has 2304 CUDA cores, 1410MHz base clock, 1620MHz boost clock, and is capable of 42T RTX-OPS and 6 Giga Rays/s for ray-tracing, granted it will likely be some time before seeing any serious Linux games with RTX/ray-tracing support. The GeForce RTX 2070 graphics cards rely upon 8GB of GDDR6 video memory yielding 448GB/s of memory bandwidth.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Linux and systemd updates, with Plasma 5.13.5, Applications 18.08.1 and Frameworks 5.50 by KDE now available to all Chakra users

        This time we have been a bit late, as many of our contributors were busy over the last couple of months, but we hope we can soon get back to normal delivery times.

        Better late than never though, so we are happy to inform you that on your next system upgrade you will receive newer versions of KDE’s Plasma, Applications and Frameworks, in addition to updates to important packages such as the linux kernel and systemd. The latest Plasma 5.14 2 series should follow soon.

      • MIT licensed KSyntaxHighlighting usage

        With the KDE Frameworks 5.50 release, the KSyntaxHighlighting framework was re-licensed to the MIT license.

        This re-licensing only covers the actual code in the library and the bundled themes but not all of the syntax highlighting definition data files.

        One of the main motivation points was to get QtCreator to use this, if possible, instead of their own implementation of the Kate highlighting they needed to create in the past due to the incompatible licensing of KatePart at that time (and the impossibility to do a quick split/re-licensing of the parts in question).

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 41
      • KDE Will Now Set Scale Factor For GTK Apps, Plasma Gets Other Scaling & UI Polishing Too

        KDE developer Nate Graham is out with his weekly recap of interesting development activities impacting Plasma, Frameworks, and the Applications stack.

        When the display scaling factor for KDE is set to an integer, KDE will now export that as well to the GNOME/GTK environment variables of GDK_SCALE/GDK_DPI_SCALE, for helping out GTK applications running on the KDE desktop so they should still scale appropriately. The Wayland behavior was already correct while this should help out GTK X11 applications. The GNOME/GTK scaling though only supports scaling by integer numbers.

      • Latte Dock, new painting is coming…

        In the video you can see the upcoming coloring mechanism of Latte’s next version. Even though I am using plasma 5.14 and I love it, it is also the reason I am already expecting impatiently plasma 5.15 this January!! This functionality can be supported only with plasma 5.15 .

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • libxmlb now a dependency of fwupd and gnome-software

        I’ve just released libxmlb 0.1.3, and merged the branches for fwupd and gnome-software so that it becomes a hard dependency on both projects. A few people have reviewed the libxmlb code, and Mario, Kalev and Robert reviewed the fwupd and gnome-software changes so I’m pretty confident I’ve not broken anything too important — but more testing very welcome.

      • Christian Hergert: Glade Support for Builder

        One of the things we’ve wanted in Builder for a while is a designer. We’ve had various prototypes in the past to see how things would have worked out, and mostly just punted on the idea because it seemed like Glade served users better than we would be able to directly.

        Last week, Juan Pablo, Matthias Clasen and I met up in San Francisco to see what we could do in the short term. We discussed a couple of options that we have going forward.

        Integrate glade 3 into Builder using libgladeui.
        Integrate glade 3 using the external Glade application and use D-Bus to inter-operate.
        Like all projects, we have some constraints.

      • Daniel Espinosa: Vala state: October 2018

        While I think maintainability could be improved, adding to history commits from contributions, apart from the ones coming from current Maintainer. Actually, there are some lot of commits not in history coming from authors outside current ones. Hope with new GitLab GNOME’s instance, this will reflect the correct situation.

        Behind scenes, Vala has to improve its code base to adapt to new requirements like to develop a descent Vala Language Server and more IEDs supporting Vala. At least for me, even GEdit is productive enough to produce software in Vala, because the language itself; write a Class, an Interface and implement interfaces, is 10 times faster in Vala than in C.

        Vala has received lot of improvements in last development cycles, like a new POSIX profile, ABI stability, C Warnings improvements and many other, to be reported in a different article.

        Look at Vala’s repository history, you will see more “feature” commits than “bindings” ones, contrary to the situation reported by Emmanuel, while should be a good idea to produce a graphic on this, but resent improvements could tell by them self the situation has been improved in recent release cycles.

        Lets look at repository’s chart. It reports 2000 commits in the last 3 months, 1.1 average per day, from 101 contributions as for October 19, 2018. Me at 10 commits from the last year, so I’m far to be a core contributor, but push ABI stability to be a reality. My main contributions are to communicate Vala advances and status.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Linspire 8.0 RC1 Released

        Today we are pleased to release RC1 of Linspire 8. As we approach our December release, huge strides in stability and functionality have been made with the release candidate. Even so, it should be used for testing only, not on production systems

      • Linspire 8.0 RC1 Released With Apple iMac Pro Support, Uses MATE 1.20 + Linux 4.15

        The Linspire Linux distribution that was rebooted earlier this year is preparing for its next installment, Linspire 8.0.

        Linspire 8.0 release candidate 1 was issued this weekend as the new company developing this Linux distribution that originated almost two decades ago as “Lindows” prepares for the next OS update. Linspire 8.0 is expected to be officially released in December and continues to be commercial-focused.

      • Linux Kernel 4.19 Released, Linus Torvalds Is Back, Linspire 8.0 RC1 Is Out, IPFire 2.21 Now Available and Recently Discovered Apache Vulnerability

        Linspire 8.0 RC1 was released over the weekend. The stable release is expected in December (don’t use this release in production environments), and RC2, which should be more feature-complete, is expected in November. Among other changes, in this version, iMac Pro support has been improved and Oracle Java is now in the repositories. It uses the MATE 1.20.1 desktop, kernel 4.15 and Chrome 69.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat underpins the growing importance of Linux and open source

        While you may not spend a lot of time thinking about this, the role Linux plays in the technology that we all use everyday is growing quite significantly. In an effort to more fully appreciate this, I had an opportunity to speak with the new vice resident and general manager of Red Hat’s RHEL Business Unit — Dr. Stefanie Chiras — and ask about her vision for RHEL and Linux in general. She was very enthusiastic — not just for Red Hat, but for the open source movement overall and the rising importance of Linux.

        Chiras started with Red Hat in July — not quite four months ago — and already describes herself as a “true Red Hatter.” She explained that she has had a serious focus on Linux for the last six years or more. As she points out, we all do development differently these days because of the open source movement. The changes in just the last five years have moved us to very different ways of doing things whether we’re working on public or private clouds, containers, or bare metal.

      • Open Bank Project collaborates with Red Hat to Deliver Next Generation Open Banking Solutions
      • Tech firm Red Hat bets on telecom, BFSI in India, eyes smaller cities

        Open source software provider Red Hat sees huge opportunities in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) as well as telecom sectors in India, with the government’s push for financial inclusion through providing affordable digital banking solutions. The company is also looking to expand its services to tier-II and-III cities in the country.

        Most core banking systems across the globe run on Red Hat architecture in some form or the other, including Indian platforms like Infosys’ Finacle, said Benjamin Henshall, country manager (India and South Asia) and Director (Sales and Financial Services) of APAC, at Red Hat. After opening its first office in India in 2000, Red Hat has now expanded to five offices in the country.

      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OpenShift 3.11 Release Update with Scott McCarty (Red Hat)

        In this briefing, Red Hat’s Scott McCarty and numerous other members of the OpenShift Product Management team gave an in-depth look at Red Hat’s OpenShift’s latest release 3.11 and some insights in to the road ahead.

      • Awards roll call: Red Hat awards, June to October 2018

        Depending on the weather in your region, it’s safe to say that the seasons are changing so it’s a good time to look back at what was a busy few months for Red Hat, especially when it came to industry awards for our technical and product leadership. In recent months, Red Hat products and technologies took home twenty awards, highlighting the breadth and depth of our product portfolio as well as the expertise that we provide to our customers. In addition, Red Hat as a company won five awards recognizing its growth and culture as a leader in the industry.

      • More advice from a judge – what it takes to win a Red Hat Innovation Award

        Last year I penned the below post to provide insight into what the judges of the Red Hat Innovation Awards are looking for when reviewing submissions. Looking back, I would give almost the identical advice again this year…maybe with a few tweaks.

        With all the stellar nominations that we receive, the question I often get is, “how can we make our entry standout?” There’s no magic formula for winning the Red Hat Innovation Awards, but there are things that the other judges and I look for in the entries.

        Overall, we’re looking for the project that tells a compelling story. It’s not just about sharing what Red Hat products and services you used, we want to hear the full narrative. What challenges did you face; how you implemented the project; and ultimately, what was the true business impact and transformation that took place? Submissions that are able to showcase how open source culture and values were key to success, or how the project is making a difference in the lives of others, are the entries that most often rise to the top.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • RPM-OSTree Bisecting Helps Track Down Boot Timeout Issue

          Recently a user reported an issue where their system was seeing timeouts on boot. They determined that if they removed the resume=/dev/mapper/fedora-swap argument from the kernel command line then the system would boot without timing out on the swap device (i.e. an extra 90 seconds added to boot time).

          This was interesting because the behavior was actually introduced during the Fedora 28 cycle (i.e. it was not present in the first release of Fedora 28 Atomic Host, but showed up sometime over the life of Fedora 28 Atomic Host). I decided to dig in and do some investigation. Along the way I realized, admittedly later than I than I should have, that I could use rpm-ostree-bisect to help determine exactly where this problem was introduced.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Kernel 4.19 Test Day 2018-10-25
    • Debian Family
      • BGP LLGR: robust and reactive BGP sessions

        On a BGP-routed network with multiple redundant paths, we seek to achieve two goals concerning reliability:

        A failure on a path should quickly bring down the related BGP sessions. A common expectation is to recover in less than a second by diverting the traffic to the remaining paths.

        As long as a path is operational, the related BGP sessions should stay up, even under duress.

      • Measuring the speaker frequency response using the AUDMES free software GUI – nice free software

        My current home stereo is a patchwork of various pieces I got on flee markeds over the years. It is amazing what kind of equipment show up there. I’ve been wondering for a while if it was possible to measure how well this equipment is working together, and decided to see how far I could get using free software. After trawling the web I came across an article from DIY Audio and Video on Speaker Testing and Analysis describing how to test speakers, and it listing several software options, among them AUDio MEasurement System (AUDMES). It is the only free software system I could find focusing on measuring speakers and audio frequency response. In the process I also found an interesting article from NOVO on Understanding Speaker Specifications and Frequency Response and an article from ecoustics on Understanding Speaker Frequency Response, with a lot of information on what to look for and how to interpret the graphs. Armed with this knowledge, I set out to measure the state of my speakers.

        The first hurdle was that AUDMES hadn’t seen a commit for 10 years and did not build with current compilers and libraries. I got in touch with its author, who no longer was spending time on the program but gave me write access to the subversion repository on Sourceforge. The end result is that now the code build on Linux and is capable of saving and loading the collected frequency response data in CSV format. The application is quite nice and flexible, and I was able to select the input and output audio interfaces independently. This made it possible to use a USB mixer as the input source, while sending output via my laptop headphone connection. I lacked the hardware and cabling to figure out a different way to get independent cabling to speakers and microphone.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Screenshot Tour | What’s New

            Here we are going to take a screenshot tour of the latest release Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish). Let’s go through the recent changes since the earlier long term support release Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver).

            Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) introduces major user interface changes and more mature interface since Canonical decided ditching Unity desktop environment. Cosmic release ships with Gnome Shell 3.30.1 desktop environment for its main Desktop release and there are more variants of desktop environments you could choose from, check the release notes for further information.

            The default desktop and login screen “GDM” features the Cuttlefish background with the usual color scheme for Ubuntu desktop releases. It comes with multiple colorful and cheering desktop backgrounds. I will leave a link down below if you are interested to download the default Wallpapers for Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish).

          • Canonical and Ubuntu – user statistics

            Then you arrive at the story of Canonical and Ubuntu and things aren’t quite so clear anymore, lines are blurred. Ubuntu appears everywhere, sometimes accompanied by Canonical, but frequently not. Then sometimes Canonical tries to make an appearance alone and everyone is left asking ‘what is Canonical?’
            Well, no more. No more shall wondering what Canonical is be akin to a quiz question of who was the fourth Destiny’s Child. (Answer at the end)
            We all know Ubuntu, it’s the most popular open source operating system (OS) in the world, loved by developers for a multitude of reasons, it’s where innovation happens, and it’s everywhere.
            Canonical is described by Wikipedia (let’s face it that’s where your Google search takes you) as a UK-based, “privately held computer software company founded and funded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu and related projects.”
            Well, that’s pretty accurate, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. You see, Canonical is passionate about Ubuntu. We love it. We all use it and we want everyone else to use the OS because we think it’s the best around and it’ll make your lives a lot easier.
            Canonical is full of people working on improving and adding to Ubuntu, from the OS to things that rely on the OS at the core but are more related to things such as Kubernetes, yes we really do Kubernetes, or OpenStack, AI/ML, and a whole host of technologies related to the internet of things (IoT).

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish is officially out. Here’s what you need to know

            It is late October and Ubuntu’s xx.10 release is here, this year; Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish. The previous release, Ubuntu 18.04 was an LTS version meaning it will get security patches and support for the next 4 years, and has since enjoyed really good reviews. 6 months later, Cosmic Cuttlefish is here, hoping to one-up that legacy. But does it have what it takes to do so? What does it bring to the table?

          • Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC And Ubuntu Linux 18.10 Are Perfect Together

            In general, Linux kernel 4.18 seems to offer vast improvements for Hades Canyon NUC and specifically AMD’s Radeon Vega M graphics hardware. I’ve seen reports of success from Arch and Fedora users who’ve upgraded, so it’s wonderful news that slick devices like the Hades Canyon NUC — and by extension future products featuring Radeon Vega M graphics — should be well supported going forward.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Review: elementary OS 5.0

              I found a lot to like about Juno. The release announcement is detailed and shows lots of examples and screen shots. The operating system is easy to install, thanks to Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer and there is a nice collection of default software that will likely appeal to inexperienced users.

              The Pantheon desktop and icons are beautiful. I sometimes ran into sluggish moments with the desktop, but usually only when the disk was under load or I had a video playing. I was really impressed by how Pantheon was put together and I like a lot of the little convenience features. The picture-in-picture preview and the shared edge window resizing are great. I also love that tapping the meta key will show a list of desktop short-cuts. It is little details like these which give the distribution a polished, friendly feel.

              I already mentioned the icons look good and it bears repeating. Minimal icon design drives me mildly mad. I don’t like functions represented by vague dots or arrows, I want a detailed icon and (preferably) text to let me know what a button does. elementary does a good job of making icons distinct, clear in purpose and typically accompanied by a text label or tooltip.

              There were a few problems. Some of them were fairly minor, like Epiphany using high CPU load, especially in the virtual machine, or X11 gobbling CPU cycles on my workstation. There were other little touches like the release notes link in the installer not working, that are perhaps only worth mentioning because the rest of the experience was generally so polished and showed a lot of attention to detail.

              My few serious complaints were with user accounts. Specifically, there appears to be a guest account enabled, but I could not find any way to sign into it. It is not a big deal to set up another account for guests, but it makes me wonder if the enabled (and hidden) account could be exploited. I also found it disappointing the parental controls did not work to block application access or forbidden websites.

              On the other hand, I think Pantheon includes some great features and I like that it is fairly flexible in its look and behaviour. The flexible notification area and the quick switching between application menu styles were welcome features.

              Generally speaking, I think elementary OS looks and feels professional. I hope it gets picked up by more hardware sellers, like System76, as I think Juno feels polished and looks good. I think it will especially appeal to less experienced users, but many of the features and the Code tool will likely be useful to more advanced users and developers too.

            • elementary os 5 Juno – For The Record

              elementary os 5 Juno first look. What’s working, what’s not and what happens to be brand new with elementary os. This first look at elementary os 5 Juno includes some things to make upgrading a little easier, suggestions for the next release and list of features I think are simply fantastic.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • How to be an effective and professional member of the Samba user and development Community

    For many years we have run these lists dedicated to developing and promoting Samba, without any set of clear guidelines for people to know what to expect when participating. What do we require? What kind of behavior is encouraged?

  • Blockcerts Updates Open Source Blockchain Architecture

    Learning Machine is making changes to its Blockcerts Credential Issuer, Verifier and Wallet to enable native support for records issuance and verification using any blockchain. Blockcerts was launched by Learning Machine and MIT Media Lab in 2016 as new way to allow students to receive digital diplomas through an app, complementing a traditional paper degree.

    Blockcerts was originally designed to be blockchain-agnostic, which means that open standards can be used to anchor records in any blockchain. The Blockcerts Universal Identifier recognizes which blockchain is being used and verifies accordingly. Currently, the open source project has added support for bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains, but anyone can add support through the project’s GitHub page.

  • First full featured open-source Ethereum block explorer BlockScout launched by POA Network
  • Amsterdam-based ING Bank Introduces Open-Source Zero Knowledge Technology
  • ING Bank Launches Open Source Privacy Improvement Add-On for Blockchains
  • Imec tool accelerates DNA sequencing 10x

    As a result, in a typical run, elPrep is up to ten times faster than other software tools using the same resources.
    It is designed as a seamless replacement that delivers the exact same results as GATK4.0 developed by the Broad Institute. elPrep has been written in the Go programming language and is available through the open-source GNU Affero General Public License v3 (AGPL-3.0).

  • On the low adoption of automated testing in FOSS

    A few times in the recent past I’ve been in the unfortunate position of using a prominent Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) program or library, and running into issues of such fundamental nature that made me wonder how those issues even made it into a release.

    In all cases, the answer came quickly when I realized that, invariably, the project involved either didn’t have a test suite, or, if it did have one, it was not adequately comprehensive.

    I am using the term comprehensive in a very practical, non extreme way. I understand that it’s often not feasible to test every possible scenario and interaction, but, at the very least, a decent test suite should ensure that under typical circumstances the code delivers all the functionality it promises to.

    [...]

    Most FOSS projects, at least those not supported by some commercial entity, don’t come with any warranty; it’s even stated in the various licenses! The lack of any formal obligations makes it relatively inexpensive, both in terms of time and money, to have the occasional bug in the codebase. This means that there are fewer incentives for the developer to spend extra resources to try to safeguard against bugs. When bugs come up, the developers can decide at their own leisure if and when to fix them and when to release the fixed version. Easy!

    At first sight, this may seem like a reasonably pragmatic attitude to have. After all, if fixing bugs is so cheap, is it worth spending extra resources trying to prevent them?

  • Web Browsers
    • Colibri – A Browser Without Tabs

      Almost all browsers are competing with each other in terms of functionality, speed, and performance. Though I did recently settle for Firefox as my default browser, I am still looking for better options. And this quest of mine took me to Colibri – A Browser without Tabs. And I was really interested in finding out what this meant. How could a browser be without tabs? It’s like a car without wheels. So here is a review of Colibri.

    • Chrome
      • Chrome for Linux, Mac, and Windows Now Features Picture-in-Picture by Default

        Chromium evanghelist at Google François Beaufort announced today that Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support is now enabled by defualt in the Google Chrome web browser for Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms.
        Google’s engineers have been working for months to add Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support to the Google Chrome web browser, but the long-anticipated feature is finally here, enabled by default in the latest version for Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems. The feature lets you detach a video in a floating window so you can watch it while doing something else on your computer.

    • Mozilla
      • WebAssembly’s post-MVP future: A cartoon skill tree

        People have a misconception about WebAssembly. They think that the WebAssembly that landed in browsers back in 2017—which we called the minimum viable product (or MVP) of WebAssembly—is the final version of WebAssembly.

        I can understand where that misconception comes from. The WebAssembly community group is really committed to backwards compatibility. This means that the WebAssembly that you create today will continue working on browsers into the future.

        But that doesn’t mean that WebAssembly is feature complete. In fact, that’s far from the case. There are many features that are coming to WebAssembly which will fundamentally alter what you can do with WebAssembly.

        I think of these future features kind of like the skill tree in a videogame. We’ve fully filled in the top few of these skills, but there is still this whole skill tree below that we need to fill-in to unlock all of the applications.

      • Firefox 63.0 Available With WebExtensions On Linux Now Run In Their Own Process

        Ahead of the expected official release announcement tomorrow, Firefox 63.0 is now available from the Mozilla servers.

        Firefox 63.0 is notable for Linux desktop users in that WebExtensions now run in their own processes. There are a number of other changes though that benefit exclusively macOS and Windows users.

      • Mozilla Firefox Starts Testing 3rd-Party VPN Service

        It seems like Mozilla is following the footsteps of Opera. A German website reports that Mozilla will start testing commercial VPN for a few users in the USA, starting from today.

        Unlike Opera that offers its own VPN service, Mozilla is partnering with Swiss VPN provider ProtonVPN to use their networking resources for a more, advanced level of security.

      • Mozilla Future Releases Blog: Testing new ways to keep you safe online

        Mozilla has long played an important role in the online world, and we’re proud of the impact we’ve had. But we want to do even more, and that means exploring ways to keep you safe beyond the browser’s reach. Across numerous studies we’ve consistently heard from our users that they want Firefox to protect their privacy on public networks like cafes and airports. With that in mind, over the next few months we will be running an experiment in which we’ll offer a virtual private network (VPN) service to a small group of Firefox users.

        This experiment is also important to Mozilla’s future. We believe that an innovative, vibrant, and sustainable Mozilla is critical to the future of the open Internet, and we plan to be here over the long haul. To do that with confidence we also need to have diverse sources of revenue. For some time now Mozilla has largely been funded by our search partnerships. With this VPN experiment which kicks off Wednesday, October 24th, we’re starting the process of exploring new, additional sources of revenue that align with our mission.

  • Servers and Databases
    • 5 tips for choosing the right open source database

      So, your company has a directive to adopt more open source database technologies, and they’ve recruited you to select the right direction. Whether you are an open source technology veteran or a newcomer, this is a daunting and overwhelming task.

      Over the past several years, open source technology adoption has steadily increased in the enterprise space. With its popularity comes a crowded marketplace with open source software companies promising that their solution will solve every problem and fit every workload. Be wary of these promises. Choosing the right open source technology—especially a database—is an important and difficult decision you can’t make lightly.

    • PASE Versus ILE: Which Is Best For Open Source?

      Open source has emerged as a driver of innovation in the past 20 years, and has greatly accelerated technological innovation. The proprietary IBM i platform has also benefited from this trend, thanks in large part to the capability to run Linux applications in the PASE runtime. But some members of the IBM i community are concerned that the fruits of the open source innovation have not tasted quite as sweet as they do on other platforms.

      Linux was the original breakout star in open source software, and so it should be no surprise that the vast majority of software developed with the open source method is designed to run on the Linux operating system and associated open source componentry, including the Apache Web Server, MySQL database, and PHP, the so-called LAMP stack (although you can substitute other pieces, like the Postgres and MariaDB databases and languages like Perl, Python, and Node.js to create other clever acronyms).

      The IBM i operating system can run Linux applications through PASE, the AIX runtime that IBM brought to OS/400 so many years ago. Getting Linux applications to run on PASE requires that they’re first ported to AIX, which is often not too much work, since Linux is a variant of Unix, just like AIX.

    • How Instagram is scaling its infrastructure across the ocean

      To prevent quorum requests from going across the ocean, we’re thinking about partitioning our dataset into two parts: Cassandra_EU and Cassandra_US. If European users’ data stores are in the Cassandra_EU partition, and U.S. users’ data stores are in the Cassandra_US partition, users’ requests won’t need to travel long distances to fetch data.

      For example, imagine there are five data centers in the United States and three data centers in the European Union. If we deploy Cassandra in Europe by duplicating the current clusters, the replication factor will be eight and quorum requests must talk to five out of eight replicas.

      If, however, we can find a way to partition the data into two sets, we will have a Cassandra_US partition with a replication factor of five and a Cassandra_EU partition with a replication factor of three—and each can operate independently without affecting the others. In the meantime, a quorum request for each partition will be able to stay in the same continent, solving the round-trip latency issue.

    • Two software companies, fed up with Amazon, Alibaba and other big cloud players, have a controversial new plan to fight back

      Every year, large cloud companies like Amazon rake in billions of dollars— but some of their most popular cloud services comes from repackaging software projects created by other, smaller companies.

      Amazon is repackaging what’s known as “open source” software, which is software that is given away for free, meaning Amazon has every legal right to use it in this way. For instance, since 2013, Amazon had been offering the open-source database Redis as part of a popular cloud service called ElastiCache.

    • Running Your Own Database-as-a-Service with the Crunchy PostgreSQL Operator

      One reason why enterprises adopt open source software is to help free themselves from vendor lock-in. Cloud providers can offer open source “as-a-service” solutions that allow organizations to take advantage of open source solutions, but this in turn has can create a new type of trap: infrastructure lock-in.

      Many organizations have adopted Kubernetes to give themselves flexibility in where they can deploy their services in the cloud, without being locked into one provider. Some people express concerns that this instead creates “Kubernetes lock-in,” but because Kubernetes is open source and has both widespread support and active development, it should be no different than adopting Linux as your operating system.

  • Education
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Announcing the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines

      Announcing the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines

      The GNU Kind Communication Guidelines, initial version, have been
      published in https://gnu.org/philosophy/kind-communication.html. On
      behalf of the GNU Project, I ask all GNU contributors to make their
      best efforts to follow these guidelines in GNU Project discuaaions.

      In August, a discussion started among GNU package maintainers about
      the problem that GNU development often pushes women away.1 Clearly this is
      not a good thing.2

      Some maintainers advocated adopting a “code of conduct” with strict
      rules. Some other free software projects have done this, generating
      some resistance.3 Several GNU package maintainers responded that they
      would quit immediately. I myself did not like the punitive spirit of
      that approach, and decided against it.

      I did not, however, wish to make that an excuse to ignore the problem.
      So I decided to try a different approach: to guide participants to
      encourage and help each other to avoid harsh patterns of
      communication. I identified various patterns of our conversation
      (which is almost entirely textual, not vocal) that seem likely to
      chase women away — and some men, too. Some patterns came from events
      that happened in the discussion itself. Then I wrote suggestions for
      how to avoid them and how to help others avoid them. I received
      feedback from many of the participants, including some women. I
      practiced some of these suggestions personally and found that they had
      a good effect. That list is now the GNU Kind Communication
      Guidelines.

      The current version not set in stone; I welcome comments and
      suggestions for future revision.

      The difference between kind communication guidelines and a code of
      conduct is a matter of the basic overall approach.

      A code of conduct states rules, with punishments for anyone that
      violates them. It is the heavy-handed way of teaching people to
      behave differently, and since it only comes into action when people do
      something against the rules, it doesn’t try to teach people to do
      better than what the rules require. To be sure, the appointed
      maintainer(s) of a GNU package can, if necessary, tell a contributor
      to go away; but we do not want to need to have recourse to that.

      The idea of the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines is to start guiding
      people towards kinder communication at a point well before one would
      even think of saying, “You are breaking the rules.” The way we do
      this, rather than ordering people to be kind or else, is try to help
      people learn to make their communication more kind.

      I hope that kind communication guidelines will provide a kinder
      and less strict way of leading a project’s discussions to be calmer,
      more welcoming to all participants of good will, and more effective.

      1. I read that the fraction of women in the free software community
      overall is around 3%, whereas in the software field overall it is over
      10%.

      2. I disagree with making “diversity” a goal. If the developers in a
      specific free software project do not include demographic D, I don’t
      think that the lack of them as a problem that requires action; there
      is no need to scramble desperately to recruit some Ds. Rather, the
      problem is that if we make demographic D feel unwelcome, we lose out
      on possible contributors. And very likely also others that are not in
      demographic D.

      There is a kind of diversity that would benefit many free software
      projects: diversity of users in regard to skill levels and kinds of
      usage. However, that is not what people usually mean by “diversity”.

      3. I’m not involved in those projects, even if in some cases I use the
      software they release, so I am not directly concerned about whatever
      internal arrangements they make. They are pertinent here only as
      more-or-less comparable situations.

    • Richard Stallman Announces GNU Kind Communication Guidelines

      Richard Stallman has announced the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines. The GNU founder hopes these guidelines will encourage women to get involved in free software development and be more kind in project discussions.

      The GNU Kind Communication Guidelines is an effort to “to start guiding people towards kinder communication.”

      The GNU Kind Communication Guidelines differ from a Code of Conduct in that it’s trying to be proactive about kindness around free software development over being rules with possible actions when breaking them.

    • Linus Torvalds is back at Linux while GNU’s Stallman unveils a “kindness” policy

      Linus Torvalds is apparently back at the helm of the Linux operating system he created in the early 1990s, after taking roughly a month off after complaints about his brusque, often vulgar communications style.

      “The fact that I then misread people and don’t realize (for years) how badly I’ve judged a situation and contributed to an unprofessional environment is not good,” he wrote in a public September 16 email to a Linux kernel developer list, just days before a New Yorker article highlighted how his style turned away women from contributing to the popular operating system.

      In announcing version 4.19 of the software on Monday, Linux temporary leader Greg Kroah-Hartman wrote “Linus, I’m handing the kernel tree back to you” and called for the Linux community to be both more welcoming and more united. He codenamed the version “People’s Front” in a reference to ineffectively divided activist groups in the satirical Monty Python movie Life of Brian.

    • Richard Stallman suggests GNU Kind as Code of Conduct alternative

      In September, elements of the Linux kernel community managed to introduce a Code of Conduct into the project and the new document was formally adopted with the release of Linux 4.19 which occurred today. The text attracted criticism from some quarters and praise from others, now Richard Stallman has put forward the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines for the GNU Project after he announced he didn’t like aspects of a code of conduct proposal.

      Writing in the announcement on the GNU mailing list, Stallman said that some maintainers had suggested a code of conduct which would introduce strict rules. Stallman wrote that he “did not like the punitive spirit of that approach, and decided against it.” Other GNU package maintainers said that they would quit from their positions immediately if a code of conduct was enacted.

    • Decentralized Authentication for Self-Sovereign Identities using Name Systems

      The GNU Name System (GNS) is a fully decentralized public key infrastructure and name system with private information retrieval semantics. It serves a holistic approach to interact seamlessly with IoT ecosystems and enables people and their smart objects to prove their identity, membership and privileges – compatible with existing technologies.

      In this report we demonstrate how a wide range of private authentication and identity management scenarios are addressed by GNS in a cost-efficient, usable and secure manner. This simple, secure and privacy-friendly authentication method is a significant breakthrough when cyber peace, privacy and liability are the priorities for the benefit of a wide range of the population.

      After an introduction to GNS itself, we show how GNS can be used to authenticate servers, replacing the Domain Name System (DNS) and X.509 certificate authorities (CAs) with a more privacy-friendly but equally usable protocol which is trustworthy, human-centric and includes group authentication. We also built a demonstrator to highlight how GNS can be used in medical computing to simplify privacy-sensitive data processing in the Swiss health-care system. Combining GNS with attribute-based encryption, we created ReclaimID, a robust and reliable OpenID Connect-compatible authorization system. It includes simple, secure and privacy-friendly single sign-on to seamlessly share selected attributes with Web services, cloud ecosystems. Further, we demonstrate how ReclaimID can be used to solve the problem of addressing, authentication and data sharing for IoT devices.

      These applications are just the beginning for GNS; the versatility and extensibility of the protocol will lend itself to an even broader range of use-cases.

      GNS is an open standard with a complete free software reference implementation created by the GNU project. It can therefore be easily audited, adapted, enhanced, tailored, developed and/or integrated, as anyone is allowed to use the core protocols and implementations free of charge, and to adopt them to their needs under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License, a free software license approved by the Free Software Foundation.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • MongoDB Changes License

      MongoDB has revamped its open source license type in an attempt to prevent commercial organizations in Asia using the database commercially without sticking to the open source rules.

      The problem MongoDB has had is that some cloud service providers have been offering the Community Edition of its database as a service to clients. In a bid to prevent this happening, the database company has issued a new software license called the Server Side Public License (SSPL). This will apply to all new releases of its MongoDB Community Server, as well as all patch fixes for prior versions. Until now, MongoDB has been using the GNU AGPLv3 license.

      In practical terms, this doesn’t make a lot of difference to most users as the changes to the license terms don’t apply to them. The changes are only designed to apply to companies who want to run MongoDB as a publicly available service.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Can You Build An Open Source Pocket Operator?

        Toys are now musical instruments. Or we’ll just say musical instruments are now toys. You can probably ascribe this recent phenomenon to Frooty Loops or whatever software the kids are using these days, but the truth is that it’s never been easier to lay down a beat. Just press the buttons on a pocket-sized computer.

        One of the best examples of the playification of musical instruments is Pocket Operators from Teenage Engineering. They’re remarkable pieces of hardware, and really just a custom segment LCD and a few buttons. They also sound great and you can play real music with them. It’s a game changer when it comes to enabling musicianship.

        Of course, with any popular platform, there’s a need for an Open Source copy. That’s where [Chris]’ Teensy Beats Shield comes in. It’s a ‘shield’ of sorts for a Teensy microcontroller that adds buttons, knobs, and a display, turning this into a platform that uses the Teensy’s incredible audio system designer.

      • Open Source 3D Printing: Exploring Scientific and Medical Solutions

        3D Printing is not a new thing to hear about. It is a very popular industry right now that began in the early 80s. But how different is Open Source 3D Printing from proprietary designs? How does this affect its applications in Science and Medicine? Let’s read on.

      • Finally, An Open Source MIDI Foot Controller

        MIDI has been around for longer than most of the readers of Hackaday, and you can get off my lawn. In spite of this, MIDI is still commonly used in nearly every single aspect of musical performance, and there are a host of tools and applications to give MIDI control to a live performance. That said, if you want a MIDI foot controller, your best bet is probably something used from the late 90s, although Behringer makes an acceptable foot controller that doesn’t have a whole bunch of features. There is obviously a need for a feature packed, Open Source MIDI foot controller. That’s where the Pedalino comes in. It’s a winner of the Musical Instrument Challenge in this year’s Hackaday Prize, and if you want a MIDI foot controller, this is the first place you should look.

      • Make: an open source hardware, Arduino-powered, 3D-printed wire-bending machine

        How To Mechatronics has pulled together detailed instructions and a great video explaining how to make an Arduino-powered, 3D-printed wire-bending machine whose gears can create arbitrary vector images out of precision-bent continuous lengths of wire.

  • Programming/Development
    • RApiDatetime 0.0.4: Updates and Extensions

      The first update in a little while brings us release 0.0.4 of RApiDatetime which got onto CRAN this morning via the lovely automated sequence of submission, pretest-recheck and pretest-publish.

      RApiDatetime provides seven entry points for C-level functions of the R API for Date and Datetime calculations. The functions asPOSIXlt and asPOSIXct convert between long and compact datetime representation, formatPOSIXlt and Rstrptime convert to and from character strings, and POSIXlt2D and D2POSIXlt convert between Date and POSIXlt datetime. This releases brings asDatePOSIXct as a seventh courtesy of Josh Ulrich. All these functions are all fairly useful, but not one of them was previously exported by R for C-level use by other packages. Which is silly as this is generally extremely carefully written and tested code.

    • 6 JavaScript books you should know

      If there was ever the potential for a giant book list it’s one based on our favorite Javascript books. But, this list is short and easy to digest. Maybe it will help you get started, gently. Plus, check out three of our top Javascript articles with even more books, resources, and tips.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • First thing we do, let’s kill all the experts

      Climate scientists may suffer from an extreme example of this sort of vilification, but they’re hardly alone. The US has had a long history of mistrust in highly educated professionals, but we seem to have shifted to a situation in which expertise has become both a disqualification and a reason for attack.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • How an NHS Trust adopted ‘virtual workers’ to process GP referrals

      Working with UK vendor Thoughtonomy, the initial trial is a piece of automation software which reads and routes incoming referrals from the national GP Electronic Referral Service (eRS) 24 hours a day. It has been running since July, and is the first of its kind within the NHS.

    • One Key Congressman’s Bold Plan to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Next Year

      Last week, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) unveiled a plan for a Democratically-led House to push through federal marijuana legalization by the end of 2019. In aneight-page memo to the House Democratic leadership laid out his roadmap to ending Reefer Madness.

      Blumenauer isn’t just any old congressman. The longtime stalwart marijuana reformer is the founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and a leading voice in the fight to bring marijuana out of the shadows. And he’s ready to do it once Congress gets back to work in January.

      “Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis,” Blumenauer wrote in the memo, citingpolling showing 69% of registered voters support legalizing marijuana. “We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November. There’s no question: cannabis prohibition will end.”

    • Don’t Fall for the GOP’s Cheap Tricks on Preexisting Health Conditions

      The Republicans, who are famous for telling us that tax cuts for the rich pay for themselves, are tossing us another one from their cheap trick bag this election season. They tell us that they want to guarantee that people with preexisting conditions can get health care.

      This is exactly the opposite of the policies they are pursuing. The Republicans are doing everything they can to make it so that people with serious health problems pay more for their health insurance.

      The basic point is very simple. There is an enormous skewing of health care costs based on people’s health. Most of us are lucky enough to be in reasonably good health most of our lives. That means we can generally count on facing low health costs in any given year.

      Insurers love healthy people for the simple reason that they don’t cost them any money. A person in generally good health is essentially just sending the insurer a check every month for nothing.

      On the other hand, they really hate the people who have health problems like heart conditions, epilepsy, cancer, etc. These people cost them lots of money.

  • Security
    • Hack [sic] on 8 adult websites exposes oodles of intimate user data

      A recent [crack] of eight poorly secured adult websites has exposed megabytes of personal data that could be damaging to the people who shared pictures and other highly intimate information on the online message boards. Included in the leaked file are (1) IP addresses that connected to the sites, (2) user passwords protected by a four-decade-old cryptographic scheme, (3) names, and (4) 1.2 million unique email addresses, although it’s not clear how many of the addresses legitimately belonged to actual users.

    • Professors discuss election security, voting systems at panel

      Amid questions of election security and potential system hacking in the upcoming midterm elections, Engineering prof. J. Alex Halderman spoke at the University of Michigan Alumni Center Thursday night about vulnerabilities in U.S. voting systems. Last June, Halderman appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to testify about such.

      [...]

      “If an attack takes place, we won’t necessarily see the physical evidence,” Halderman said. “The physical evidence that it took place is a discrepancy between what’s written on a piece of paper and what a computer total of that paper says. Because elections are so complicated, they’re so noisy, because the [crackers] can hide their traces in various ways, we won’t necessarily see when something like this happen for the first time. We’ve got to be ready.”

    • Apache Access Vulnerability Could Affect Thousands of Applications

      A recently discovered issue with a common file access method could be a major new attack surface for malware authors.
      Vulnerabilities in Apache functions have been at the root of significant breaches, including the one suffered by Equifax. Now new research indicates that another such vulnerability may be putting thousands of applications at risk.

      Lawrence Cashdollar, a vulnerability researcher and member of Akamai’s Security Incident Response Team, found an issue with the way that thousands of code projects are using Apache .htaccess, leaving them vulnerable to unauthorized access and a subsequent file upload attack in which auto-executing code is uploaded to an application.

    • ACMA probe of triple zero failure finds Telstra in breach

      An ACMA investigation into the lack of provision of a triple-zero service by Telstra after an outage in May has found the telco in breach of a rule that requires it to ensure that such calls go to the emergency call service operator.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 119 – The Google+ and Facebook incidents, it’s not your data anymore
    • Security updates for Monday
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Death from above? How we’re preparing for a future filled with weaponized drones

      It’s a capacity crowd at the 2019 Super Bowl, and 80,000 football fans have gathered inside Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to watch the game. The weather is crystal-clear, so naturally the retractable roof is open. As the halftime show gets underway, a wave of excited chatter rolls through the crowd — a flock of a dozen drones has just dramatically dropped into the stadium, immediately above the headline musical act. Even though none of the early rumors about the halftime show included mentions of a drone element, no one is concerned. After that crazy drone display at the last Olympics, aerial shows like this one seem par for the course.

    • Khashoggi’s Murder and Saudi War Crimes in Yemen Were Facilitated by US

      The alleged torture, dismemberment and killing of Saudi citizen and US permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul has triggered justifiable outrage throughout the United States and around the world. But amid the outcry over Khashoggi’s death, many media and public figures still fail to acknowledge the war crimes Saudi Arabia is committing in Yemen with US assistance.

      Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had written critically about the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Post reported that Mohammed had recently attempted to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia in an operation resembling an extrajudicial “rendition,” where a person is forcibly removed from one country and taken to another for interrogation. Bloomberg reported that the United States knew the Saudis planned to seize Khashoggi because US intelligence services had intercepted communications between Saudi officials discussing the plan. According to Turkish sources, participants in Khashoggi’s killing and dismemberment were Saudi operatives.

    • Feigning moral outrage, the Times’ Thomas Friedman comes to the defense of the Saudi killer regime
    • Anniversary of Afghan Invasion Passes With Little Attention

      We’re already two years past the crystal anniversary and eight years short of the silver one, or at least we would be, had it been a wedding — and, after a fashion, perhaps it was. On October 7, 2001, George W. Bush launched the invasion — “liberation” was the word often used then — of Afghanistan. It was the start of the second Afghan War of the era, one that, all these years later, still shows no signs of ending. Though few realized it at the time, the American people married war. Permanent, generational, infinite war is now embedded in the American way of life, while just about the only part of the government guaranteed ever more soaring dollars, no matter what it does with them, is the U.S. military.

      This October 7th marked the 17th anniversary of that first of so many still-spreading conflicts. In league with various Afghan warlords, the U.S. military began moving into that country, while its Air Force launched a fierce campaign, dropping large numbers of precision munitions and hundreds of cluster bombs. Those were meant not just for al-Qaeda, the terror outfit that, the previous month, had dispatched its own precision air force — hijacked American commercial jets — to take out iconic buildings in New York and Washington, but the Taliban, a fundamentalist sect that then controlled most of the country. By early 2002, that movement had been ejected from its last provincial capital, while Osama bin Laden had fled into hiding in Pakistan. And so it began.

    • An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis

      Honduran and other Central American immigrants are refugees and therefore should be treated as such by U.S. immigration law, border patrol and ICE as well as the Mexican government. Many are escaping weak neoliberal and militaristic governments, such as the one in Honduras, where narcotrafficking and narcomenudeo have thrived under the U.S.-backed Juan Orlando Hernandez’ regime and his military police.

      Juan Orlando Hernandez and the Nationalist party have stolen millions from public service agencies, such as Social Security Administration, to run their campaigns against the opposition and now people are suffering. His presidency cannot provide jobs, healthcare, safety in their neighborhoods, and food. Eating in Honduras is a luxury. For instance, minimum wage is under $400 dollars a month, but electricity, water and food, costs well over $500 a month for a household. Maquiladoras, agro-export companies are benefiting from free trade laws which maintain the minimum wage below the governments minimum wage laws and do not allow unions to organize and protect workers.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Assange presses Ecuador to grant basic rights under asylum
    • Human rights violation: Assange files legal action against Ecuador
    • Wikileaks founder Assange launches legal action against Ecuador
    • Human rights violation: Assange files legal action against Ecuador
    • Assange presses Ecuador to grant basic rights under asylum
    • WikiLeaks founder sues Ecuador for violating ‘fundamental rights’
    • Key GOP Operative with Ties to Trump Campaign May Have Had ‘Advance Knowledge’ of WikiLeaks’ Email Dumps: Report

      Smith, who died shortly before the Journal first began reporting on his actions in 2017, was conducting a wide-ranging effort in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election to track down Hillary Clinton’s emails. Along the way, he developed a relationship with disgraced Trump campaign aide and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

      And now, the Journal says there is evidence that could tie Smith to WikiLeaks’ dispersal of stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Chair John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee.

    • Report: Mueller Investigates WikiLeaks’ Ties to Conservative Activists
    • Mueller Probes WikiLeaks’ Contacts With Conservative Activists

      Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Julian Assange should be thanked – not smeared – for Wikileaks’ service to journalism

      Twelve years ago this month, WikiLeaks began publishing government secrets that the world public might otherwise never have known. What it has revealed about state duplicity, human rights abuses and corruption goes beyond anything published in the world’s “mainstream” media.

      After over six months of being cut off from outside world, on 14 October Ecuador has partly restored Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s communications with the outside world from its London embassy where the founder has been living for over six years.

      The treatment – real and threatened – meted out to Assange by the US and UK governments contrasts sharply with the service Wikileaks has done their publics in revealing the nature of elite power, as shown in the following snapshot of Wikileaks’ revelations about British foreign policy in the Middle East.

    • WikiLeaks & the Espionage Act

      The charges were dismissed against Ellsberg five months after they were levied in 1973. He has since become an outspoken advocate for whistleblowers and the practice of whistleblowing and has supported Assange as well as Edward Snowden and Chelsea (Bradley) Manning.

    • Judge Says FOIA Isn’t Battleship; Requesters Don’t Need To Score Direct Hits To Obtain Documents

      Government agencies will eventually follow the letter of FOIA law. It usually takes a lawsuit to push things forward, but even losing in court seldom prompts above-and-beyond service from the government. The spirit of the law is ignored in favor of obfuscation, foot-dragging, and blatant antipathy.

      Certainly the government shouldn’t be expected to compose FOIA requesters requests for them if they send vaguely-worded requests. On the other hand, the government shouldn’t demand specificity from requesters who don’t know what documents an agency has on hand or how the search will be conducted.

      The CIA once told a requester he needed to know exactly which parties were involved in communications about the agency’s FOIA portal outage — information that could only be gleaned from the emails the CIA was refusing to look for until it had more information. This is the normal level of being dicked around that requesters can expect when dealing with our more reticent public agencies.

      “Vagueness” was the CIA’s excuse to not perform its FOIA duties. The DHS, on the other hand, has decided specificity in requests can also be used against requesters. A FOIA lawsuit filed by the Government Accountability Project contends the agency did a deliberately lousy job searching for records related to border phone searches and ideological assessments performed by border security personnel.

    • The Guardian’s petty war on Julian Assange continues

      Though many of the most decadent features of the Alan Rusbridger-era Guardian have gone – not least Rusbridger himself – one obsession remains: their petty war against Julian Assange. The latest manifestation of this is a giggling, peekaboo report around a memo of understanding between the Ecuadorian government and Assange, still currently seeking asylum in the country’s embassy. The guts of the report suggests that Ecuador’s government has simply set out the conditions under which Assange lives there, including medical visits and the care of his cat. But the construction of it is in the form The Guardian loves: Assange as a naughty teenager.

      Honestly, haven’t they had enough of this by now? The Rusbridger regime never got over the fact that WikiLeaks hadn’t simply handed over the Cablegate files, and let them get on with it, and instead wanted an ongoing role in their distribution. The Guardian’s pique was, at root, an awareness that they needed WikiLeaks to innovate mass exposes, in a manner that they hadn’t been able to develop themselves. Since then, mass releases that have dropped into The Guardian’s lap, such as the Panama Papers, have been because the WikiLeaks flood of material established the paper as a place for that sort of journalism.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Red tide movements mysterious and troublesome

      Except when one lives where there is red tide.

      Over the past three weeks, the Treasure Coast, Space Coast and Palm Beaches have been experiencing a sampling of what Florida’s Gulf Coast has now been living with for just over a year.

      Call me thin-skinned, but I hate it. As far as I’m concerned, the Gulf Coast can keep its red tide.

      Somehow, the fish-killing phenomenon has swept around the horn of Florida and found its way onto the beaches of the Atlantic Coast. And it could not have come at a worse time.

      Sure, we were already slogging through another dirty water summer complete with toxic blue green algae — in actuality, a brain-eating form of cyanobacteria — and another tedious and contentious election year that seems like it will never actually end. But fall is here, kind of, and it’s supposed to be a time of transition in nature.

      It’s time for the mullet run. It’s time for the fall migration of dolphin and blackfin tuna offshore, and bluefish, pompano, tarpon and Spanish mackerel along the beaches.

    • We need an ecological civilization before it’s too late

      Meanwhile, the world’s current policies have us on track for a more than 3° increase by the end of this century, and climate scientists publish dire warnings that amplifying feedbacks could make things far worse than even these projections, and thus place at risk the very continuation of our civilization. We need, according to the IPCC, “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” But what exactly does that mean?

      Last month, at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, luminaries such as Governor Jerry Brown, Michael Bloomberg, and Al Gore gave their version of what’s needed with an ambitious report entitled “Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century by the New Climate Economy.” It trumpets a New Growth Agenda: through enlightened strategic initiatives, they claim, it’s possible to transition to a low-carbon economy that could generate millions more jobs, raise trillions of dollars for green investment, and lead to higher global GDP growth.

    • Action Alert: USA Today Says Climate Apocalypse Promises a Balmy Winter

      The federal Climate Prediction Center foresees an El Niño system, a band of warm water that periodically appears in the Pacific Ocean, developing in time for this upcoming winter. This in turn means that 2019 will likely be the hottest year for the planet in recorded history, since we’re already at near-record temperatures (2018 is on track to be the fourth-hottest year) and El Niño gives a predictable boost to global temperatures.

      So how did USA Today (10/18/18) report this latest harbinger of the climate apocalypse? In the print edition (10/19/19), the headline was, “Forecasters Say El Niño Will Keep Cold Under Control.”

      The online headline (10/18/18) wasn’t much better: “Winter Forecast: Warmer-Than-Average Temps Expected for Most of USA, Thanks to Developing El Niño.” Actually, mostly “thanks” to the hundreds of gigatons of carbon dioxide humans have released into the atmosphere since 1850–but they say don’t mention it.

      The story, by Doyle Rice, twice mentions that El Niño is a “natural climate pattern” or a “natural climate cycle”–but never mentions that it’s occurring in the context of highly unnatural human-caused climate change.

  • Finance
    • Six arguments against a #PeoplesVote

      Let’s get it over with, stay close to the EU or rejoin – and let us never – ever – have a UK-wide referendum again.

    • The forward march of Remain? It still hasn’t got out of the starting blocks

      I voted ‘Remain’. But sheer bloody uselessness of both the original campaign and now the doomed ‘People’s Vote’ / second referendum, needs accounting for, and then some. Forward march? Remain never even got out of the starting blocks – not for the Referendum, and despite their big march, not now either.

      Back in 2016 “Labour says R-E-M-A-I-N” said it all. The campaign started off bad, got worse and has never recovered. It is not the job of Labour to ever be in the business of remain, don’t change, everything’s fine as it is. Leave that to the Tories, that’s their niche appeal (the clue is in the name; Conservative).

      Corbyn’s “remain but reform” stance during the referendum campaign was quite right. It could have chimed with millions, most of whom wouldn’t drape themselves in an EU flag in a million years. But – besieged by opposition from his own MPs and the party bureaucracy – Corbyn left the Labour Remain campaign in the clutches of Alan Johnson. Alan writes half-decent memoirs but in the crucial capacity of leading Labour’s Referendum campaign he was a spectacular flop (even his own constituency voted Leave by a large majority). Corbyn should have grabbed control of the campaign and steered it in the direction he was following himself, but he wasn’t in a powerful enough position to do so. The caution killed dead Labour’s chance of swinging a large part of its working class Eurosceptic vote. The PLP ‘chicken coup’ of the summer of 2016 then justified itself mainly by the make-believe idea that Remain losing was all down to Jeremy. Seeing off ultra-Remainer Owen Smith in the second leadership challenge and doing better than expected in the 2017 General Election strengthened Corbyn – but too late to save that vote for Europe.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Saudis’ Image Makers: A [Astroturfer] Army and a Twitter Insider Image

      This portrait of the kingdom’s image management crusade is based on interviews with seven people involved in those efforts or briefed on them; activists and experts who have studied them; and American and Saudi officials, along with messages seen by The New York Times that described the inner workings of the troll farm.

      Saudi operatives have mobilized to harass critics on Twitter, a wildly popular platform for news in the kingdom since the Arab Spring uprisings began in 2010. Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed who was fired on Saturday in the fallout from Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, was the strategist behind the operation, according to United States and Saudi officials, as well as activist organizations.

    • NYTimes report shows how Twitter, McKinsey were complicit in helping Saudi Arabia silence critics

      The Saudi Arabian government enlisted a Twitter army to silence its critics online. It groomed a Twitter employee in the United States to try to get him to spy on certain accounts. And an American-based consultancy company helped the government identify and target dissidents on Twitter who were later punished and silenced.

      Katie Benner, Mark Mazzetti, Ben Hubbard, and Mike Isaac at the New York Times on Saturday detailed the efforts of the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to quiet dissenters in the country and around the world. The report lands amid increased scrutiny on the Saudis and MBS over the disappearance and murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

    • Fox News Host Dismantles Trump’s ‘Preposterous’ Claim That Democrats Are Behind Migrant Caravan

      Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Friday dismantled Donald Trump’s theory that Democratic operatives are behind a migrant caravan headed for the United States, calling the idea “preposterous.”

      “Let me say first of all the idea that the Democrats were somehow behind this caravan coming from Honduras of these women and children is preposterous and there’s been no evidence offered on that any more than there was evidence that the protestors on Capitol Hill during the Kavanaugh hearings were paid protestors,” Wallace said. 


    • After all, Iraq’s ethno-sectarian quota remains

      So long as the ethno-sectarian quota exists, a political class that serves foreign interests will continue to determine Iraq’s political and economic destiny.

    • Inside a Trump Project that Failed. Spoiler: The Trumps Still Won.

      In November 2007, The Wall Street Journal infuriated Donald Trump with an article that dissected his recent real estate setbacks. Headlined “Stalled Condo Projects Tarnish Trump’s Name,” the report raised doubt about what the mogul treasured — and banked on — most in business: the value of his personal brand.

      Trump responded with a 512-word letter to the editor. Calling the story “one of the most ridiculous I have read in many years,” he complained that it ignored his “tremendous successes with massive projects” and instead focused on “small jobs” in the Florida cities of Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. He dismissed both as licensing deals “for which I am not responsible for development.”

      Trump’s reaction offers another capsule of his habit of twisting the truth regarding his real estate deals — one of the patterns explored in detail in “Pump and Trump,” which focused on a deal in Panama. That article concluded that, contrary to the Trumps’ longtime claims that they merely licensed their name, they were deeply involved in their deals.

    • Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?

      The Saudi “investigation” into the Khashoggi murder, conducted on the demand of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is not yet complete. But preliminary conclusions have been announced in the Saudi media. Turns out (surprise, surprise!) Khashoggi died while in a choke-hold following a fist-fight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in a botched effort to detain him.

      Asked Saturday in Arizona if he found the Saudi account credible, Donald Trump said that he did, praising the investigation as “a very important first step and it happened sooner that people thought it would happen”—as though its timing had not been determined by Pompeo’s pressure.

      “I think it’s a good first step, it’s a big step,” the president repeated (as the world sighed). “Saudi Arabia has been a great ally,” he added, like that was relevant. Then in an interview with the Washington Post he indicated that he felt Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman may have learned of the murder only after the fact. He went out of his way to praise the prince—his son-in-law Jared’s good buddy. He actually said he’d “love it” if the prince was not responsible.

      This raises the real prospect of the administration—which according to the Post demands a “mutually agreeable explanation” from Riyadh—signing on to a narrative radically different from that provided by Turkish police. According to the latter, the Saudi court ordered the gruesome murder in the consulate on Oct. 2. It dispatched 15 assassins including members of MbS’s personal security detail and the kingdom’s top forensic doctor equipped with a bone-saw to execute the deed. Turkish sources provide a detailed account of a seven-minute process of apprehending Kashoggi, cutting off his fingers (to punish him for his writing), followed by more torture, murder, dismemberment, and the transport of the body-parts to the nearby Saudi consul’s home where they were dissolved in acid.

      Turkish sources say the bone-saw was used before Khashoggi died and that the supervisor of the effort urged the team to listen to music on their earphones during their work (because that’s how he always does it). They report how the Saudi ambassador to Washington stated implausibly that there was no video of his exit from the consulate because the consulate’s CCTV is only live feed and not recorded.

    • Auschwitz and anti-racism: the past (and racism) is another country

      It is in the here and now that racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, far-right and mainstream, are situated, embedded, and do harm. It should be tackled, not displaced and denied.

      On 11 October 2018, it was reported that Chelsea Football Club has proposed sending supporters accused of anti-Semitism and racism to Auschwitz-Birkenau as an alternative to banning orders. That action was being taken by the club came as good news for those concerned about the issue in football and particularly at Chelsea, where some of their supporters are known for anti-Semitic chanting and making the ‘hissing’ sound of gas chambers when playing the traditionally Jewish supported Tottenham Hotspur and other teams.

    • Rick Scott’s Administration Lied About State Officials’ Role In Deadly Bridge Collapse: Report

      After March’s tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University that killed six people and injured nine others, and subsequent federal fines of contractors over “serious” safety violations, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was quick to absolve itself of blame.

      According to the governor’s office, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) played no role in approving the bridge other than issuing traffic permits, and furthermore the engineer who could have inspected the bridge was out of the office at the time the contractors left him a message about the giant cracks that were forming in the structure.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Walmart Files Patent For Carts That Track Your Heart Rate

      Does that 20 percent discount on Pringles give you heart palpitations? Do you fume when presented with a long bottleneck at the checkout counter? Walmart’s shopping carts might one day sense those bodily sensations and alert staff.The grocery chain filed a patent in August for a shopping cart that monitors various biometric signals, like a customer’s body temperature, heart rate and tightness of grip on the handle. According to the patent titled System And Method For Biometric Feedback Cart Handle, the data would be transmitted to a server and used to alert staff when shoppers might need help or medical assistance. Or when Black Friday stampedes give way to a holiday fracas.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • DHS Seized Aftermarket Apple Laptop Batteries From Independent Repair Expert Louis Rossman

      Last month, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized a package containing 20 Apple laptop batteries en route to Rossman’s store in New York City. The laptop batteries were en route from China to Rossmann Repair Group—a NYC based repair store that specializes in Apple products. “Apple and customs seized batteries to a computer that, at [the Apple Store], they no longer service because they claim it’s vintage,” Rossmann, the owner and operator of Rossmann Repair Group, said in a YouTube video. “They will not allow me to replace batteries, because when I import batteries that are original they’ll tell me the they’re counterfeit and have them stolen from by [CBP].”

    • Saudis groomed Twitter employee to spy on accounts of dissidents: report

      Saudi Arabia is suspected of having groomed a Saudi employee at Twitter to help the country’s leadership by spying on the accounts of dissidents, according to a new report.

      The New York Times reported Saturday that Western officials told Twitter in 2015 that one of their employees, Ali Alzabarah, was being groomed to spy on the accounts.

    • Tech giant faces crucial decision over Saudi ties

      The company has been relying heavily on Saudi money to help finance its $100 billion investment fund for U.S. tech startups.

      The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), directed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with its $45 billion commitment, is the single largest contributor toward SoftBank’s Vision Fund.

    • Here’s Why the Blue Wave Runs Through Texas — And White Evangelical Women

      Eyes are locked on Texas. And deep in its heart are white evangelicals who could be part of a blue wave many hope will wash over that red state to carry Ted Cruz far out to sea. In tight race between Cruz and his energetic Democratic Party opponent Beto O’Rourke, New York Times reporter Elizabeth Dias suggests that white evangelical women could be open to Democratic candidates. Her interviews with long-time Republican voters point to an increasing disenchantment that could temper the unwavering evangelical support that Republican incumbents and candidates view as their inalienable birthright.

      White evangelical women from Texas, Dias explains, are not poised en masse to bolt from the Republican Party. But Trump’s leadership has down-ticket implications even for Cruz, his bitter opponent in 2016. In this competitive U.S. Senate race, even a slightly depressed turnout among the Republican base combined with a healthy number of party-switching voters could make a decisive difference. The evangelical women whom Diaz interviewed see a “stark moral contrast” between Trump and O’Rourke. They view Trump’s policies and behavior, including banning Muslim refugees, separating children from their parents at the border, and Trump’s disrespect of women, as “fundamentally anti-Christian. ”. When an older white evangelical man said to one of Diaz’s interviewees, Tess Clarke, that she couldn’t be a Christian and vote for O’Rourke, Clarke responded: “I keep going back to who Jesus was when he walked on earth. This is about proximity to people in pain.”

    • Israeli Human Rights Group Slams Country’s New Zero Tolerance Policy at UN

      Shortly after Israel announced a new “zero tolerance” policy toward demonstrations in Gaza, some 130 Palestinians were injured Friday while protesting ongoing Israeli occupation and demanding the right of return. Four paramedics and 25 children were among the injured. Ten thousand protesters gathered along Israel’s heavily militarized separation barrier with Gaza as part of the weekly Great March of Return protests that began March 30. Since then, Israeli forces have killed at least 170 Palestinians, including more than 30 children, and injured thousands more. We speak with Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. He was in New York last week testifying before the UN Security Council officially for the first time.

    • Arkansas Police Department Has Been Engaging In Illegal Drug Raids For Years

      The War on Drugs seems to bring out the worst in law enforcement. Wiretap abuse, asset forfeiture, flashbang grenades tossed into toddlers’ cribs, internal corruption… these are all aspects of law enforcement’s drug-related police work.

      Radley Balko has uncovered more abuse and Constitutional violations, this time stemming from the Little Rock PD’s anti-drug efforts. The wrongs detailed in Balko’s investigation include false statements on warrant requests, abuse of no-knock warrants, “reliable” confidential informants who are anything but reliable, and a handful of destroyed lives left in its wake.

      It opens with the story of Roderick Talley, whose apartment was raided by a Little Rock (AR) SWAT team. The team used explosives to remove his door, sending it flying onto the couch where Talley was sleeping. The raid was predicated on an informant’s supposed controlled buy. But Talley’s own security cameras — which also captured the raid itself — showed the informant didn’t do what police said he did.

    • How Billionaires Bought Kavanaugh’s Seat on the Supreme Court

      In the 1970s, a revolution began. It was a deliberately hidden revolution, concealed so well that it is unknown to most Americans, even though it has profoundly and forever changed the nation. This ongoing revolution has brought us a Grand Canyon of inequality, Donald Trump — and now, Brett Kavanaugh. To understand what happened, we must go to the beginning.

      It was 1971, and US corporations had a problem. The economies of Europe and Asia, previously devastated by WWII, had recovered and were knocking on our door with their cars, consumer electronics, appliances and other goods. US corporate profits fell like wet laundry.

      Not only were US companies under pressure from abroad — they were also under pressure domestically. According to corporate attorney Lewis Powell, the politics of the ’60s had emboldened “Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries,” who were now joined by “the college campus, the pulpit, the media … the arts and sciences, and … politicians” in critiquing corporate power. US business, accustomed to doing well without having to do much political work, seemed to have neither the stomach nor the muscle to fight back.

    • Mississippi Sentences Man to Eight Years in Prison for Medical Marijuana He Purchased Legally in Another State

      Patrick Beadle, a 46-year-old father and musician, received an eight-year prison sentence in Mississippi for possessing 2.89 pounds of marijuana. If his sentence stands, he would spend nearly a decade behind bars for possessing a substance that is legal in nine states and now all of Canada. Such a severe, inhumane sentence speaks volumes about the inanity and heartlessness of our criminal justice system. But this story gets worse.

      Mr. Beadle says he bought the marijuana legally in Oregon, where he is a resident and a medical marijuana patient. Oregon is one of 30 states that have legalized medical marijuana and one of the nine states in which recreational use is also legal.

      Mr. Beadle said that the marijuana in his possession was solely for his personal use. Prosecutors in Mississippi, where he was charged for violating the state’s drug trafficking law, have admitted that they had no evidence to prove that Mr. Beadle was involved trafficking. But Mississippi doesn’t have the third highest incarceration rate in the world for no reason.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Broadband Industry Sues Vermont For Daring To Protect Consumers, Net Neutrality

      As we’ve made pretty clear, the broadband industry is successfully obliterating most meaningful federal and state oversight of their broken, largely uncompetitive broadband monopolies. They’ve had great success in convincing the Trump administration to effectively neuter the FCC, driving any piddly, remaining enforcement authority to an FTC that’s ill-equipped for the job. At the same time, the federal government and ISPs like Comcast are also waging a not-so-subtle and completely coordinated war on state authority to step in and fill the consumer protection void.

      Earlier this month, the entire broadband industry, hand in hand with the Trump DOJ, filed lawsuits against the state of California for passing a net neutrality law the majority of the public supports. This week broadband industry lobbying organizations like US Telecom (primarily funded and directed by AT&T) filed suit against the state of Vermont (pdf), again claiming that the state’s new net neutrality law is prohibited by the legally dubious “pre-emption” language embedded in the FCC’s net neutrality repeal at direct telecom lobbyist request.

    • Consumer Groups Say FCC Deregulatory Fever Harming Hurricane Michael Recovery

      By now Techdirt readers should be fairly keyed into FCC head Ajit Pai’s schtick: kill most meaningful oversight over the telecom sector at the industry’s direct behest (including net neutrality and modest privacy rules), then proudly proclaim you’ve unleashed a tidal wave of innovation, investment, and competition. When you look a little closer however, you’ll generally find that the justifications for such moves not only ignore the will of the public and engineering expertise, but are often based entirely on evidence free lobbying claims from the industry itself. You’ll also find the promised competition and innovation never materializes.

      Consumer groups say this same, evidence-optional, industry-cozy approach has fueled the FCC’s attempts to hold telecom operators accountable for lagging post-hurricane repairs.

      You might recall that Verizon used Hurricane Sandy as cover to effectively stop upgrading huge swaths of its fixed-line networks. Countless customers on traditional copper voice and DSL lines were suddenly left without service or repairs, with Verizon claiming that capped, expensive, frequently unavailable and oft-congested wireless service was a “good enough” replacement for them (those users disagreed). That, in turn, resulted in the previous FCC passing some rules saying that if you’re going to kill off landline service, you need to replace it with something at least equal in quality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Grading Patent Remedies: Dependent Claims and Relative Infringement

      Patents define an inventor’s exclusive rights by reciting essential aspects of the invention in sentences called claims. The claims are drafted in varying degrees of technical specificity, such that each claim is legally distinct—some may be valid or infringed while others are not. Most commonly, this variation is accomplished by using a combination of “independent” and “dependent” claims. Independent claims stand alone, while dependent claims incorporate by reference all the features recited in the independent claims but go on to add further features or details. The result is a range of potential infringing activity that triggers liability, from the broadest, most conceptual claims to the narrowest, most concrete claims.

      Yet when it comes time to remedy infringement, this range of infringement is treated as essentially meaningless. Parties rarely bother to distinguish between claims when assessing damages or injunctive relief. And courts hold, for example, that damages owed for infringing one claim is no different than the damages for infringement of any other claim in the patent. This is not consistent with the law or common sense. Not every claim is of equal technological or societal value, nor is infringement of every claim equally harmful to the patent owner. Parties and courts should start paying more attention to the relative significance of the patent claims involved.

      This article focuses on dependent claims as a particularly useful vehicle for evaluating relative patent remedies between claims. Any two patent claims can be compared, though their relative scopes can be debatable when, for example, two claims are directed to alternative embodiments. But dependent claims are, by definition, narrower in scope than their base independent claims. Dependent claims also are commonly employed to expressly cover commercial products or preferred embodiments of inventions. As a result, dependent claims often encompass the core and most detailed disclosures of the patent specification, which is also often occupying the most important competitive space to the patent owner. The relative value of those claims to patent owners, infringers, and the public, should be evaluated as part of any sound patent remedies assessment.

    • Abusive Filing of IP Rights

      Today, there are many situations for which the possibility of applying competition law to intellectual property rights (IPRs) is recognized. However, there is considerable dispute when it comes to the originary acquisition of IPRs. Are IP registration procedures a topic for competition law, or should they be left to the correction mechanisms provided for in IP law itself? The strongest argument in favor of the parallel application of competition law is the fact that already the existence of IPRs has an impact on competition, and not only the later exercise of these rights. If the IPR has been granted due to misleading representations before the patent office, the economic effects are not compatible with the ideal of competition on the merits. Even in the absence of misleading information, the filing of blocking patents may, in exceptional circumstances, enter into conflict with competition law. If there is no perspective whatsoever to use or commercialize the patent in question, to support other innovations or to pursue further legitimate interests, and if the purpose of the patent is solely to block the development of other firms, the acquisition of that patent is abusive.

    • Monopolistic Pricing Power for Transgenic Crops When Technology Adopters Face Irreversible Benefits and Costs

      Pricing of biotechnology innovation under a patent grant is reconsidered in a model with uncertain returns and irreversible costs and benefits. Past results on restricted monopoly pricing in the presence of competing technologies showed that pricing power is reduced. The timing of adoption of an innovation is delayed and the pricing power of the restricted monopolist is further reduced when uncertainty and irreversibility is considered. The presence of irreversible benefits results in increased willingness-to-pay for the innovation, accelerating adoption, and increasing the innovator’s restricted monopolist pricing power. Using Monte-Carlo simulation, the quantitative effects were approximated by a linear function through the hyper-plane.

    • Trademarks
      • Canada: Court decision reflects effort to streamline trade mark disputes

        A recent decision of Canada’s Federal Court reflects a trend towards streamlining the resolution of trade mark disputes in Canada, helping to minimise delays in enforcing trade mark rights in the country. In C.C. Jentsch Cellars Inc. v O’Rourke Family Vineyards Ltd. et al, (2018 FC 875), the court dismissed the respondent’s motions for production of documents, the late introduction of an expert survey, and a request to convert the proceeding into an action. The decision demonstrates the court’s commitment to ensuring court proceedings are “expeditious and proportionate” (C.C. Jentsch, para 29).

        Trade mark rights traditionally had to be enforced in Canada through a claim advanced by an action. In an action, both parties must produce all their relevant documents, make a representative available for an oral examination for discovery, and proceed to a trial that might take one to four weeks, depending on the number of witnesses. The process routinely takes more than two years.

    • Copyrights
      • Court Tells Georgia It Can’t Charge People to Read the Law

        In a victory for the people of Georgia, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the state can no longer charge individuals hundreds of dollars to see the laws that govern them.

        To get there, the court relied on a central tenet of American democracy: The government works on behalf of the public.

        Quoting the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit wrote, “The concept of popular sovereignty is deeply rooted in our politics, our law, and our history. The seminal statement of America’s political creed boldly proclaims that ‘[g]overnments … deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed.’”

      • Rapidvideo Responds to MPAA’s Piracy Claims: “We’re Totally Legal”

        Every year the major Hollywood studios report a list of the most notorious pirate sites to the US Government. While the listed targets usually don’t respond, there is some serious pushback recently. After CDA.pl dismissed the piracy claims against it earlier this week, RapidVideo follows suit today, stressing that it has already taken several voluntary measures, including an upload filter to prevent pirated content from being reuploaded.

      • OpenVPN CEO: “Choose a VPN That Doesn’t Allow BitTorrent”

        OpenVPN is one of the biggest names in the VPN industry. Many providers use the trusted protocol and open source software which have been around for nearly two decades. Despite the good reputation, OpenVPN Inc’s CEO came out with a rather surprising statement this week, stressing that it’s “essential to choose a VPN that doesn’t allow the use of BitTorrent.”

      • Steam Bans All Links to TorrentFreak News as “Potentially Malicious”

        Steam users who want to keep up with the latest news in the file-sharing, copyright, and game cheating lawsuit arenas are not currently free to do so via Steam. For reasons best known to the gaming platform, all links to TorrentFreak.com news articles posted by users are banned by the platform and wrongfully labeled as “potentially malicious”.

      • Operator of YouTube Rippers Should Stand Trial in the US, Major Labels Say

        Several major labels including Universal, Warner Bros, and Sony, are squaring off with the Russian operator of YouTube-ripping sites FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com. The latter has filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming he lacks sufficient ties to the US, but the RIAA labels clearly disagree.

Lack of Patent Quality Means Lack of Patent Validity and Lack of Legal Certainty

Sunday 21st of October 2018 11:43:32 PM

Why Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) actually help improve justice, whereas embargoes based on bogus patents are a grave injustice


“Not sure about the quality”

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — like the European Patent Convention (EPC) on the Grant of European Patents — stresses patent quality and scope; will patent offices get things right before it’s too late or too expensive to undo?

THE USPTO is supposed to have narrowed patent scope, owing for the most part to court rulings at higher levels. But has much really changed? At the Office rather than court? Well, the USPTO continues to grant a very high number of patents.

Over at Lexology, Maria Reilly (AWA) wrote the usual nonsense a few days ago, conflating patents with innovation. China grants notorious patents, which can barely be understood by outsiders because of the language. Recent reports suggest that some patents are so bad that renewals fees aren’t even being paid to maintain these.

“Recent reports suggest that some patents are so bad that renewals fees aren’t even being paid to maintain these.”Imagine what would happen if anyone could open a patent office at home. Just certify that office of John or Jane (or give them accreditation from WIPO or whatever). One could write a computer program or a script to just grant a billion computer-generated patents per minute and call that “innovation” (by virtue of these patents’ existence, no matter their merit or lack thereof). I am not against patents and certainly not against these offices; like many examiners I am for patent quality, which is another thing altogether. If we grant a monopoly on any conceivable thing (10 million things in the US and about a million things per year in China) we reward crap, not innovation. Days ago the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article titled “His customers wanted a new sound for their electric guitars, so he patented one” (so we can assume patents on sounds are also a ‘thing’ now).

Windows Central, a pro-Microsoft site, wrote about a new Microsoft patent. There’s plenty of prior art all over this one, but Microsoft relies on nobody actually testing its patents. It’s about flinging/bundling/suing using as many bogus ones as possible in bulk. It’s about quantity, not quality.

That now brings us to underlying laws. Daniel Winston and Bryana McGillycuddy try to give lawyers tricks for manipulating courts into tolerating patents that are obvious, thus bunk. Days ago they wrote this:

Secondary considerations, or objective indicia of nonobviousness, can be a useful tool for patent owners attempting to overcome an obviousness challenge under 35 U.S.C. § 103.

Patent Docs has meanwhile (earlier today) advertised a “Webinar on Obviousness Standard” and Watchtroll complained that the “Supreme Court Denies Cert in Two-Way Media v. Comcast, Refuses Another 101 Case” (so SCOTUS is consistent at the very least regarding Alice).

Watchtroll, writing about Comcast again on the same day, said that “Comcast Invalidates Rovi Patents at PTAB that Previously Secured Limited Exclusion Order at ITC” (as a reminder, ITC just ignores Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) rulings as though embargo is above the
rule of law and burden of proof/presumption of innocence exists no more).

That case just proves that ITC is out of control. To quote:

In recent weeks the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has issued a series of final written decisions terminating inter partes review (IPR) proceedings where Comcast Cable Communications petitioned patents owned by technology developer Rovi Guides. In each of the final written decisions the PTAB determined that Comcast proved the invalidity of all challenged claims. These latest skirmishes relate to an ongoing patent war between the two companies over Rovi patents on remote scheduling services. A little more than ten months ago Rovi had the upper hand, winning a favorable ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).

Two days prior to this Watchtroll complained about PTAB doing its job when it said: “In early October, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted a series of covered business method (CBM) reviews on patents owned by American stock exchange Nasdaq. The CBM reviews were petitioned by trading platform provider Miami International Holdings (MIAX) and challenge the validity of patents which Nasdaq has asserted against MIAX in U.S. district court.”

James Korenchan, looking for some way to twist PTAB news, wrote in his summary: “PTAB Affirms Patent Eligibility of Claims for Using Dwell Time to Rank Search Results” (technically true, but rather abnormal).

By cherry-picking the exception rather than the norm, e.g. Ex parte Bolivar, the patent maximalists dwell or obsess over something that’s not even a patent but a mere application. This is all they’ve got now. Laughable.

To quote: “The claims had been rejected under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as being directed to an abstract idea. [...] In the briefing, the Appellants attempted to argue that the Examiner did not establish a prima facie case of patent-ineligibility, but the Board disagreed. [...] While welcome, this decision is further evidence of the Board’s inconsistent patent-eligibility determinations. One could imagine a different panel reaching the opposite decision. Still, the bar for patent-eligible improvements to computer technology is often set too high, and this decision is a refreshing entry that lowered the bar.”

These people do anything they can to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101 and/or suppress PTAB’s application of it. Watchtroll has a new article entitled “Writing a Software Patent Application” and another (from yesterday) entitled “Patent Drafting Basics (how to fool examiners).

What these people neglect to say is that even when USPTO grants software patents the courts later reject these so the victory (grant/award) is a Pyrrhic one. Software patents are a losing game now.

How about those VoIP patents brought up by Watchtroll some days ago when it wrote: “On October 1st, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments in an appeal of a patent infringement case decided in favor of Sprint Communications and against Time Warner Cable. The appeal to arose from a jury verdict in the District of Kansas, which awarded Sprint reasonable royalty damages of $139.8 million for Time Warner’s infringement of patents related to voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technologies developed by Sprint.”

With software patents on their demise, the technology sector is happy. CCIA’s Josh Landau (representing CCIA members, which are technology companies) wrote the following 3 days ago under the headline “IPR And Alice Appear Responsible For Reduced Patent Litigation Costs”:

The AIPLA data illustrates the change in median cost of various forms of IP litigation over time. The blue line, representing the cost of patent lawsuits with over $25 million at risk, shows a general increase from 2005 to 2013, and then significant declines over the next two years. While IPR became available in 2012, the first impacts of IPR on litigation tactics weren’t seen until the beginning of 2013 when merits decisions in IPRs began to issue. And Alice was handed down in 2014, with a similar lag until district courts began ruling on Alice motions. The data illustrates a slower decline from 2013-2015 after IPR became available, and then a steeper decline in the 2015-2017 period with the impact of both IPR and Alice, consistent with the decline being attributable at least in part to IPR and Alice. (As IPR cost estimates are around $350,000 median cost, the increased cost required to file an IPR is more than overcome by the reductions in litigation cost—to the tune of more than $2 billion.)

However, it’s possible that the litigation cost declines seen in patent litigation could have been due to external factors unrelated to changes in the patent landscape like IPR and Alice. In order to control for this, we can compare costs to other areas of intellectual property law that haven’t seen the same major impacts. Using copyright and trademark litigation with similar amounts at risk as a control, the data illustrates that while there have been cost reductions in the 2015-2017 time frame for all three areas of litigation, the reduction has been most pronounced in patent litigation.

This is a much-needed improvement, which the EPO could learn from; in recent years it viciously attacked its appeal boards (similar to PTAB in Europe) — to the point where they constantly complain about lack of independence.

President of the Austrian Patent Office Mariana Karepova, speaking to Neil Wilkof of IP Kat, has just made it implicitly clear that Austria is “currently contemplating a Patent Office copyright or software register” instead of software patents. To quote the relevant passages:

IP in the software domain. The new industrial revolution as well as the Internet of Things entail a preponderance of software in practically all innovations. However, neither Austria, nor Europe more generally, is presently able to provide patent protection for this aspect of an innovation. This is an extremely unsatisfactory situation. In order to rectify this, we’re currently contemplating a Patent Office copyright or software register, which would provide companies with a robust legal instrument enabling them to enforce their rights with a greater chance of success. At least that’s what we’re discussing right now in Austria.

Unlike the EPO, they do not tolerate software patents in Europe, i.e. pretty much the same as in every other member state. Sadly, the EPO quit caring about patent quality altogether. It’s all about quantity now, even in clear defiance of the EPC.

Data Engine Technologies (DET) Just One Among Many Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls That Pick on Microsoft’s Biggest Competitors

Sunday 21st of October 2018 10:57:47 PM

Summary: Lawyers’ articles/blog posts continue to obscure the fact that Data Engine Technologies is merely a satellite or unit (one among many) of patent trolling giant Acacia Research Corp., connected to Microsoft and sporting a long history of lawsuits against GNU/Linux

As covered in an earlier post last weekend, potential ‘satellites’ of Microsoft are still attacking Microsoft’s biggest rivals using software patents.

Michael Borella (McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP) wrote about a patent troll connected to Microsoft through Acacia, but like many others he overlooked or missed out the Acacia connection, having published his detailed analysis in a couple of places to say:

Data Engine Technologies (DET) filed an infringement suit against Google in the District of Delaware contending infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,590,259, 5,784,545, 6,282,551, and 5,303,146. Google responded with a Rule 12(c) motion arguing that the patents are directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The District Court agreed and invalidated the patents. DET appealed.

In Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, the Supreme Court set forth a two-part test to determine whether claims are directed to patent-eligible subject matter under § 101. One must first decide whether the claim at hand is directed to a judicially-excluded law of nature, a natural phenomenon, or an abstract idea. If so, then one must further decide whether any element or combination of elements in the claim is sufficient to ensure that the claim amounts to significantly more than the judicial exclusion. But generic computer implementation of an otherwise abstract process does not qualify as “significantly more,” nor will elements that are well-understood, routine, and conventional lift the claim over the § 101 hurdle.

[...]

I have to agree with PatentlyO, which viewed as “fairly questionable” the reasoning under which the notebook tab was the linchpin for patent-eligibility. And if you contrast the surviving Tab Patent claims with the claims that were held ineligible, this case certainly seems to equate claim breadth with patent-ineligibility – perhaps confirming that, as many of us suspect, an “abstract idea” is simply a really broad idea. In any event, decisions like this highlight the not-infrequent anomaly that claims can survive novelty and obviousness challenges, but fail on patent-eligibility. And as we saw here, the present court’s analysis, stripped down to what it really was, had a lot to do with obviousness.

Dozens of long paragraphs about this decision from Judges Reyna, Bryson, and Stoll (with opinion by Judge Stoll) and Acacia not mentioned even once? It already sued major GNU/Linux companies several times after it had hired from Microsoft. Now it goes after Google, specifically the biggest rival to Microsoft’s cash cow, Microsoft Office.

This same case was mentioned by Charles Bienema, who also overlooked the connection when he focused on patent scope:

Some claims directed to a computer spreadsheet are patent-eligible, while others are not, said the Federal Circuit in Data Engine Techs. LLC v. Google LLC (Fed. Cir. 2018) (precedential). The District of Delaware had granted a Rule 12 judgment on the pleadings of 35 U.S.C. § 101 invalidity of claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,590,259; 5,784,545; 6,282,551; and 5,303,146; the Federal Circuit thus reversed-in-part, affirmed-in-part, and remanded.

The three surviving patents (with the exception of one independent claim which had a patentable dependent claim), the ’259, ’545, and ’551) were dubbed the “Tab Patents.” The Tab Patents purportedly solved the problem that “complex commands” were required by “prior art three-dimensional or multipage electronic spreadsheets.” The patent-eligible solution was “a notebook-tabbed interface” to provide users with easy navigation through three-dimensional spreadsheet. Why? Because the notebook tab “allowed computers, for the first time, to provide rapid access to and processing of information in different spreadsheets, as well as easy navigation in three-dimensional spreadsheets.”

A widely-spread article [1, 2] by Joseph Saphia and Bonnie L. Gaudette (Haug Partners) said this:

On October 9, 2018, the Federal Circuit added to its growing collection of favorable Alice step one rulings1 by reversing portions of a decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware concerning an invention aimed to streamline the technology of electronic spreadsheets—a technology that has been around for twenty-five years. See Data Engine Technologies LLC v. Google LLC, No. 2017-1135, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28412 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 10, 2018). The Federal Circuit’s decision may be viewed as a not-so-gentle reminder to patent applicants and drafters alike to continue to draft software patent claims narrowly and with specificity if they wish to survive patent eligibility challenges under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Alice step one.

The court commenced its opinion with a robust overview of Data Engine’s patents-at-issue: U.S. Patent Nos. 5,590,259; 5,784,545; and 6,282,551 (the “Tab Patents”) and U.S. Patent No. 5,303,146 (the “’146 Patent”). See Data Engine, at *2-12. The Tab Patents are entitled “System and Methods for Improved Spreadsheet Interface With User-Familiar Objects.” Id. at *1-2. In its detailed review of the Tab Patents, the court noted that they claim “systems and methods for making complex electronic spreadsheets more accessible by providing familiar, user-friendly interface objects—specifically, notebook tabs—to navigate through spreadsheets while circumventing the arduous process of searching for, memorizing, and entering complex commands.” Id. at *2. In essence, the Tab Patents aim to overcome some of the challenges users encountered when navigating electronic spreadsheets due to complex menu systems that “diminished the utility and ease of use of this technology.” Id. at *3. In an attempt to offer a solution to the challenges of prior art multipage electronic spreadsheets, the Tab Patents are directed to “implementing a notebook-tabbed interface, which allows users to easily navigate through three-dimensional electronic spreadsheets” and “conveniently flip through several pages of notebook to rapidly locate information of interest.” Id. at *4-5. The ’146 Patent is entitled, “System and Methods for Improved Scenario Management in an Electronic Spreadsheet” and is directed to tools that permit “electronic spreadsheet users to track their changes” automatically, as opposed to manually, when testing a multitude of modeling scenarios. Id. at *10-11.

Yes, patents on user interfaces are still being tolerated in the US, at least in the Federal Circuit. Charles Bieneman classifies these as “Software Patents” and recalls a related albeit older case on which he says: “Claims directed to an “information management and real time synchronous communications system for configuring and transmitting hospitality menus” were held patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice abstract idea test in Ameranth, Inc. v. Pizza Hut, Inc., No. 3-11-cv-01810 (S.D. Cal. Sept 25, 2018). The court thus granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment that U.S. Patent No. 8,146,077 is unpatentable.”

“This is a problem. It impacts LibreOffice, OpenOffice etc. because these too have tabbing.”“The patent owner,” he later added, “tried to rely on two Federal Circuit decisions, Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. v. LG Electronics, Inc. (2018), and Visual Memory LLC v. NVIDIA Corp. (2017), as well as a recent district court case. But these cases were distinguishable…”

We covered this before. The above comes from a blog that advocates software patents. Generally speaking, software patents are the joke of all jokes. Not innovation at all. But lobbying from patent law firms has made the unthinkable reality. Bieneman accepted defeat when he wrote about another more neglected case (because it’s a district court): “Agreeing that patent claims “are directed to the abstract idea of facilitating cross-marketing relationships and fail to add any inventive concept” under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo abstract test, Delaware’s Judge Stark granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a complaint alleging infringement of claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,768,760. DiStefano Patent Trust III, LLC v. LinkedIn Corp., C.A. No. 17-1798-LPS-CJB (D. Del. Sept. 28, 2018).”

“OIN cannot do anything about such a racket.”Why was such a ridiculous patent granted in the first place? The headline should be a “duh” moment: “Linking Web Pages to Each Other Not Patent-Eligible” (based on prior art too, not just obviousness and abstractness).

As the above (main) story shows, however, merely adding tabs to spreadsheets is still considered innovative. The high court considers or determines this to be patent-eligible. This is a problem. It impacts LibreOffice, OpenOffice etc. because these too have tabbing. Will the troll go after them too while Microsoft claims to have reached a “truce” and looks the other way? The only known ‘cure’ is buying Microsoft ‘protection’ in the form of “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] — a racket that extends to trolls Microsoft can control. OIN cannot do anything about such a racket.

Alice/Mayo and Hatch-Influenced US Patent Office

Sunday 21st of October 2018 10:11:40 PM

Older: Orrin Hatch, Sponsored the Most by the Pharmaceutical Industry, Tries to Make Its Patents Immune From Scrutiny (PTAB)

Summary: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seems to be serving those who pay the most to define the scope or limits of patenting; this means that even nature and life are being ‘privatised’ (or turned into someone’s “intellectual” property)

In the wake of Mayo the USPTO is supposed to limit patents on life. SCOTUS wasn’t ambiguous about it and then there’s also Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.

In politics in the US money buys legislation, laws, outcomes of proposed bills, and even results in elections. It also helps put ‘in charge’ (Congress, departments of government etc.) the ‘right’ people, hence the image above. Those two people seem to have ‘earned’ their job by working with the 'right' companies. So here we are in 2018 and life/nature can still be treated like an "invention". Ridiculous. Long title of the legislation (Hatch-Waxman) is: “An Act to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to revise the procedures for new drug applications, to amend title 35, United States Code, to authorize the extension of the patents for certain regulated products, and for other purposes.” As Wikipedia points out: “The FDA has been slow to adopt regulations for the introduction of generic versions of biopharmaceutical drugs (known as “biosimilars”) because the manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals is so much more complicated than small molecule drugs. Innovator companies have emphasized those complications while generic companies, insurance companies, and consumers have advocated for the FDA to finalize their process.”

Notice Patent Docs with its latest “PTAB Life Sciences Report” by Bryan Helwig (IAM has similar reports). “Life Sciences” is one of those terms that in general ascribe to discoveries that typically exist in nature (already) the same attributes of actual inventions — i.e. things which constitute new ideas.

Patent Docs earlier today advertised “European Biotech Patent Law Webinar”. Authored/posted by Pei Wu today was this piece about patenting “biotech”. Guess where it was published. Watchtroll.

“This month we highlight the possibility that the Supreme Court will consider the standard for adequacy of written description and a Federal Circuit exposition on the relationship between “blocking patents” and objective indicia of nonobviousness,” Morrison & Foerster LLP wrote in a new article that also covers Hatch-Waxman (yes. the Hatch above). Takanori Abe (ABE & Partners) wrote about “biosimilar patent litigation” in Japan and referring to 35 U.S.C. § 102 we have a dispute over prior art; belatedly, as is usual for this blog, Mike McCandlish wrote about the printed publication conundrum in relation to prior art or more specifically Section 102 — a subject recently revisited by the Federal Circuit:

The Federal Circuit held that there was an insufficient record to qualify the reference “IsoMed Constant-Flow Infusion System (“IsoMed”) as publicly accessible and therefore a printed publication under 35 U.S.C §102(b), and remanded for additional fact finding in C.R. Bard, Inc., Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc., v. Angiodynamics, Incorporated(Fed. Cir. Sept. 28, 2018.)

In all of these cases the prior art is sometimes nature itself. But that doesn’t matter, does it? All that matters is that a lot of patents get granted, giving the illusion of innovation soaring. Under the “Life Sciences” umbrella we nowadays see lots of patents granted on genetics, i.e. the ‘code’ of life. Looking at Hatch’s face (above), we certainly can tell how excited he is by this prospect. Enthusiastic as much as an emotionless zombie. Happy Halloween.

Funded by the Public to Prey on the Public: The Absurdity of Patent Sales and ‘Enforcement’ by Government

Sunday 21st of October 2018 09:34:47 PM

Also seeNASA: Funded by the Public to Feed Patent Trolls

Summary: Government or US Government-funded entities are looking to tax private companies using patents that were actually funded by the public; in practice this helps private firms or insiders (individuals) personally gain from something that the public subsidised and should thus be in the public domain

EVIL patents are patents that harm the very people who sponsor them. We have written a great deal about such patents (e.g. the above-mentioned from NASA) and here they go again: “Even though only 130 of the thousands of technologies spun-off by NASA are included in the website, the breadth of technological development represented by even that small number is pretty remarkable. But how exactly does space exploration research result in the commercialization of items like more nutritious baby formula or precision coffee makers?”

It comes at a cost however. They make licensing agreements, i.e. ask for payments. The common euphemisms are “Technology Transfer” or “Licensing Agreements”, as today’s advertisement of a webiner put it. It’s grotesque because those who were funded by taxpayers take it all private and look to gain privately from patents (funded by the public). Consider the recent example from Wisconsin. It’s about Apple’s dispute with the proxy from Wisconsin. It is academics operating through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation for the purpose of ‘monetising’ patents, never mind who sponsored this work, even if it’s the public, in which case seeking to pursue a private monopoly is quite dubious a practice from an ethical point of view. Mark St. Amour put it as follows: “In Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation v. Apple, No. 2017-2265 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 20, 2018), the Federal Circuit construed a pair of claim terms under their plain and ordinary meaning in reversing summary judgment that Apple was not entitled to a pre-trial finding of non-infringement of U.S. Patent 5,781,752, while affirming a summary judgment that the ‘752 patent was not anticipated.”

They believe that because Apple is a company with plenty of cash in store it should pay for patents that were likely sponsored by taxpayers. Why? Does that even make sense? Will the Federal Circuit take this into account?

Lockpath Patents Demonstrate That the US Patent Office — Unlike US Courts — Keeps Ignoring 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice

Sunday 21st of October 2018 08:29:25 PM

Hello? Anybody there to pay attention to the law?

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn’t being entirely followed by examiners of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); in fact, evidence suggests that mathematics are still becoming monopolies of private firms — something which should never happen

THE corruption at the EPO may mean that examiners who reject software patents in Europe can nowadays lose their job. But are there excuses for US examiners, who have clear rules by which to reject software patents in the US? There have, over the years, been formal complaints about these rules not being followed (we covered some examples).

The US litigation ‘industry’ (Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C. in this latest case) keeps moaning about software patents and other dumb/abstract things not being patent-eligible (or, if granted, not being valid anymore). They mention “inventions “against public morality” or “against Sharia law”.” They explore possibilities outside the US.

To quote:

As evidenced recently in the United States, it may be difficult to tell what categories of inventions are eligible for patent protection in foreign jurisdictions. To further complicate issues, standards of eligible subject matter can differ from country to country. What follows is a survey of patent eligible subject matter in various jurisdictions.

A sampling of subject matter eligibility outside of the US is provided below. Certain categories of subject matter are excluded as patent ineligible in all countries discussed, such as scientific discoveries, purely intellectual activities, laws of nature, and mathematical equations; other categories are excluded as culture-specific, such as inventions “against public morality” or “against Sharia law”. Microorganisms can be claimed in all of the jurisdictions included here, and are therefore excluded, as are certain categories of subject matter mentioned in only one foreign jurisdiction, such as the explicit exclusion of methods of horticulture and agriculture in India and personal skills in Japan.

No matter what the highest court (SCOTUS) said, examiners in the US apparently grant patents quite carelessly. Lockpath has just mentioned a new patent on “Formula Engine, which allows customers to easily create risk calculations” (this is clearly abstract, maths, or software patents i.e. bunk). So the USPTO failed to do its job again and to quote the press release:

Lockpath, a leading provider of integrated risk management solutions, today announced the receipt of two newly issued patents related to its Keylight Platform. The patents were granted for the Keylight Formula Engine, which allows customers to easily create risk calculations, and the Dynamic Content Framework, Keylight’s scalable and flexible content engine.

Was this granted just to make money?

The Eastern District of Texas and Its Patent Trolls Affinity Not a Solved Issue

Sunday 21st of October 2018 07:42:25 PM

Summary: The American patent system continues to distribute monopolies on algorithms and some of these cause litigation to reach courts that are notorious for intolerance of 35 U.S.C. § 101, resulting in unnecessary payments to lawyers and patent trolls

IN THE WAKE of TC Heartland (last summer) it was hoped that the courts in the Eastern District of Texas would see little or no more patent lawsuit filings. The effect of TC Heartland was profound, but it didn’t go far enough. When will judges follow the law down there? There are signs that they begrudgingly and only belatedly do so.

Meanwhile, there are new Dallas (the east of Texas) patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Some of these seem to have been wrongly granted based on 35 U.S.C. § 101. Those will possibly lead to frivolous lawsuits or at least shakedowns.

The patent maximalist Matthew Bultman says that the Federal Circuit insists Apple should be on trial in a court that advertises being lax to plaintiffs like patent trolls with abstract patents. Never mind if Apple isn’t based in Texas. In Bultman’s words (that aren’t behind paywall):

The Federal Circuit on Tuesday allowed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. over patents covering a communication system to move forward in the Eastern District of Texas…

Based on the above, it’s likely a software patent and the action may have been initiated by a troll (hard to tell because of the paywall).

Speaking of trolls, they nowadays issue press releases in prominent sites; they try to warp the narrative. The spammy Associated Press (press releases as a section) writes nonsense for a patent troll Avanci (we wrote about it before) or rather publishes lies for it, as did other sites. Lies like these: “The Avanci platform simplifies the way companies share technology by licensing intellectual property from many different patent holders in a single transaction. Avanci’s licenses are offered to all competitors in an industry at the same fair, flat rates that will not increase over the term of the license no matter how many patent owners join the platform.”

Avanci is a patent troll that pretends to be “licensing”; we already wrote about its origins. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) would likely not shield against this troll because the number of patents at hand is too large to handle exhaustively by IPRs.

To properly tackle the issue we probably ought to push harder for all examiners — like most courts and judges — to respect and uphold 35 U.S.C. § 101. A lot of software patents are still being granted and some form the basis of lawsuits, as we shall explain in later posts (later tonight).

More ‘Blockchain’ Nonsense in Pursuit of Bogus, Nonsensical Software Patents

Sunday 21st of October 2018 05:36:33 PM

The chaining of software developers

Summary: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is still granting abstract software patents because words like “blockchain” get mentioned in the applications; companies that do this hope to shield themselves from disruptive technology and possibly facilitate future patent blackmail

BOTH the EPO and USPTO have piggybacked the blockchain hype; they are chaining together a bunch of buzzwords like “AI” and “4IR” to come up with excuses to grant software patents in Europe and even in the US, in defiance of 35 U.S.C. § 101. We wrote a couple of articles about this very recently [1, 2] and Mastercard's role was last mentioned earlier this year (also in prior years).

Big banks are entrapping the market with bogus, abstract software patents whose likely purpose is to fence away disruptive technology, by means of lawsuits or threats thereof. A few days ago Stephen O’Neal wrote:

On October 9, American financial services giant Mastercard was granted a patent for a method to partition a blockchain so that it can store multiple transaction types and formats. The filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reveals the details of the new system — not the first of the kind for Mastercard.

Why are such abstract patents being granted? More of that same hype we wrote about before?

Not only big banks are doing this; large technology companies have been doing the same thing, notably IBM. There was this article about it (crossposted in other sites) which spoke about it as follows:

The adoption of blockchain technology is slowly taking shape across a multitude of industries. At the forefront of the amalgamation of payment systems and logistics is US tech giant International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), which has established itself as a leader in terms of blockchain-based products and offerings.

The latest developments aim at the logistics sector – but IBM has been keen on blockchain for over 5 years that reveals a slow and steady approach to the adoption of enterprise-scale blockchain solutions.

If you have an Internet company or merely a Web site, then just remember that IBM has a long and well-documented history of blackmailing such companies/sites under the false pretense of ‘invention’ (rather, having a large pile of bogus software patents). They just wait until the target has enough money. It’s an ambush. What we have here is patent bully and software patents lobbyist carrying on patenting software, knowing these bogus software patents won’t be tested in court (they can be used for blackmail instead).

As another new article makes clear, IBM isn’t alone (Microsoft is in this too, as usual). Proprietary software giants strap patent barbwire — even if those are bunk software patents — to entrap and demolish rivals. These are like submarine patents.

“Big hitters like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others,” said this article a few days ago, “have stepped up technology investments in the past 18 months, largely through R&D labs and participation in open source software bodies including the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project…”

Remember that the Linux Foundation is not against software patents; it’s into the OIN approach. The problem, however, is that it doesn’t guarantee peace or cooperation, except perhaps among sponsors of the Linux Foundation (i.e. very large companies with seats on the Board).

A Warning About MPEG-G, the Latest Software Patents Trap That Threatens Innovation Everywhere

Sunday 21st of October 2018 04:59:54 PM

Last year: Patent Troll MPEG-LA Expands From Software Patents to Patents on Life While USPTO is Virtually Headless

Summary: Combining patents on software and on life, MPEG-G assembles a malicious pool with malignant ramifications for bioinformatics

“You might find it interesting,” a reader told us some days ago, pointing to this article and corresponding comments about MPEG-G, which relates to what we’ve been writing about the MPEG cartel.

We didn’t see this before, at least not under this name, which helps distance the perpetrators from the legacy of trolling and blackmail (amassing pools of USPTO-granted patents). Here are the core arguments against it:

I ended the last blog with the statement “history is resplendent with battles where a good PR campaign won the day”. I truly wish this wasn’t a battle. I engaged with MPEG-G from the moment I heard about it, submitting ideas to improve it, despite being instrumental in recent CRAM improvements. I had hopes of a better format.

I bowed out after a while, making rather weak excuses about work loads. However the honest reason I disengaged was due to the discovery of patent applications by people working on the format. I wanted nothing to do with helping others making profits, at the expense of the bioinformatics community. I regret now that I helped make the format that little bit better. I am guilty of being hopelessly naive.

I am not against commercialisation of software. I use plenty of it daily. Indeed I once worked on software that was sold on a semi-commercial basis, from which I personally benefited.

A commercial file format however is a different beast entirely. It touches everything that interacts with those files. Programs that read and write the format need to be licensed, adding a burden to software developers

I’m also not against patents, when applied appropriately. I can even see potential benefits to software patents, just, although the 25 year expiry is far too long in computing. 25 years ago the Intel Pentium had just come out, but I was still using an 8MB Intel 486 PC. It seems ludicrous to think something invented back then would only just be opening up for others to use without having to pay royalties. Holding a patent for that long in such a fast moving field is extreme – 5 to 10 years max seems more appropriate.

Read on and see the comments.

“The “benevolent monopoly” model obviously has advantages for open source–because the company bankrolls R&D by monetizing something else,” it says, “it can afford to release the results of the research for everyone to use. But it’s not sustainable without the sponsor (and we know this, because open source has been around for a long time, and there is little precedent for a high-performance video codec designed by an independent group of open source developers).”

“Much worse,” told us the reader, “are [patents] for machine learning – if granted, they will paralyze this field…” [1, 2, 3]

MIT and the Prior Art Archive Perpetuate Existing Problems

Sunday 21st of October 2018 04:37:17 PM

There’s a reason why similar initiatives perished in the past


Strata Center MIT

Summary: Large companies with many tens of thousands of patents (each) would have us believe that broadening access/reach of prior art (e.g. to patent examiners) would solve the issues; This may very well work for these large companies, but it overlooks the broader picture

COMPANIES like Apple, Microsoft and IBM — large companies that cross-license among themselves — don’t fear the USPTO or even patents in general (not even the EPO where they have a lot patents of their own). The patent system has, with few exceptions, served them well. It protects them. It’s a form of protectionism.

20 years after its foundation Google has already joined this ‘club’; instead of reforming things Google is adapting and so does Red Hat. To companies like these, which use GNU/Linux extensively, OIN and the likes of it represent a solution. Google backs LOT Network, which is similar.

Recently, together with a bunch of other large companies (Cisco, Dell, Intel, AT&T, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce are named below), Google pushed the “Prior Art Archive”; MIT’s self-promotional new piece about it gives a rather foggy idea; it even quotes MIT staff and no critics/sceptics. It doesn't help much when they focus on prior art rather than patent scope and obviousness (among other things). To quote MIT’s own site:

Two years later, a company applies for a patent on your invention. Once the application is granted, the company not only begins profiting from your device, but launches a lawsuit against you, the inventor, for infringing their patent.

This is the danger faced by researchers and developers alike, because the limits of existing content repositories means it is often a struggle for patent examiners to find what they call prior art — evidence that an invention is already known — relating to an application. That means that some applications that should be rejected are wrongly approved.

[...]

Cisco has already uploaded 165,000 documents into the archive, and a number of companies have committed to take part in the initiative, including Dell, Intel, AT&T, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce. Google has also assisted the project with classification technology that will be used in the system.

As we explained earlier this month, this serves to distract from other efforts and put examination efforts in the hands of the public, essentially outsourcing or crowdsourcing the work (for corporate gain). When examiners use the archive they may get a false sense of search exhausion.

Links 20/10/2018: Mesa 18.2.3 Released, FreeBSD 12.0 Beta 1

Saturday 20th of October 2018 11:50:36 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Mostly Hotly Sought-After Linux Skills

    The 2018 Open Source Technology Jobs Report shows rapid growth in the demand for open source technical talent, with Linux skills a must-have requirement for entry-level positions.

    The seventh annual report from The Linux Foundation and Dice, released Wednesday, identifies Linux coding as the most sought-after open source skill. Linux-based container technology is a close second.

    The report provides an overview of open source career trends, factors motivating professionals in the industry, and ways employers attract and retain qualified talent. As with the last two open source jobs reports, the focus this year is on all aspects of open source software and is not limited to Linux.

    This year’s report features data from more than 750 hiring managers at corporations, small and medium businesses, and government organizations and staffing agencies across the globe. It is based on responses from more than 6,500 open source professionals worldwide.

    Linux skills rank as the most sought-after skills in the 2018 report, with 80 percent of hiring managers looking for tech professionals with Linux expertise.

    Linux is required knowledge for most entry-level open source careers, likely due to the strong popularity of cloud and container technologies, as well as DevOps practices, all of which typically are based on Linux, according to the report.

  • Desktop
  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Destination Linux EP92 – Elementary My Dear Distro

      On this very special episode of Destination Linux, we are joined by 2 friends of the show. Unfortunately, Zeb was sick this week so we needed a last minute guest host, thankfully Gabriele Musco of TechPills stepped up to help out. If that wasn’t special enough, Daniel Foré from elementary joined us for a segment to discuss the latest release of elementary OS 5.0 (Juno). This episode we discuss a ton of hot topics in the Linux world including Microsoft making 60,000 patents available to the Open Invention Network (OIN), Plex joins the universal package format game with a new Snap, Google+ announces it is shutting down after a security bug debacle, there were some patches proposed to the Linux kernel’s new Code of Conduct. All that and much more including our Tips, Tricks and Software Spotlight picks!

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.18.16
    • Linux 4.14.78
    • Linux 4.9.135
    • Linux 4.4.162
    • When the Problem Is the Story

      That’s because Linux has achieved the world domination it longed for in the early years.

      Yes, Linus as a character got interesting for a few minutes last month (top results in a Google News search for “Linus Torvalds” range from 22 to 29 days old), but that story is too stale to be interesting now, even though the issues around it still matter.

      And that’s my point here. Lots of subjects matter that stories do a lousy job of telling.

      But to journalism, and to the human beings journalism addresses, stories matter more than anything. Stories are clearly the base format of human interest.

    • A Look At The Many Features On The Table For The Upcoming Linux 4.20~5.0 Kernel

      If all goes as planned, tomorrow will mark the availability of the Linux 4.19 stable kernel. That is also expected to mark the return of Linus Torvalds from his retreat where he was working on his empathy skills and politeness. The 4.19 stable release will then kick off the merge window for the next kernel cycle.

      It’s still not set in stone yet whether the next kernel release will be Linux 4.20 or Linux 5.0. Linus Torvalds previously communicated — and what he did in going from Linux 3.19 to 4.0 — was that when otherwise hitting the x.20 release is time to bump the major kernel version number. So it’s likely the next kernel cycle will be Linux 5.0, but we’ll see if the new-and-improved Torvalds has different feelings now over the versioning scheme.

    • New Linux Code of Conduct Revisions: CoC Committee Added Plus Interpretation & Mediator

      The Linux Code of Conduct introduced last month that ended up being quite contentious will see some revisions just ahead of the Linux 4.19 stable kernel release. Greg Kroah-Hartman has outlined the planned changes as well as a new Code of Conduct Interpretation document.

      In the weeks since the Linux kernel CoC was merged, various patches were proposed but none merged yet. It turns out Greg KH was working in private with various kernel maintainers/developers on addressing their feedback and trying to come up with solutions to the contentious issues in private.

    • Some kernel code-of-conduct refinements

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has posted a series of patches making some changes around the newly adopted code of conduct. In particular, it adds a new document describing how the code is to be interpreted in the kernel community.

    • Systemd Adds Feature To Fallback Automatically To Older Kernels On Failure

      Systemd’s latest feature is the concept of “boot counting” that will track kernel boot attempts and failures as part of an automatic boot assessment. Ultimately this is to provide automatic fallback to older kernels should a newer kernel be consistently failing.

      The feature was crafted over the past few months by Lennart Poettering himself to provide a way when making use of systemd-boot on UEFI systems it can automatically fallback to an older kernel if a newer kernel is consistently causing problems. This is treated as an add-on to the Boot Loader Specification. The systemd boot assessment is designed that it could also be used by non-UEFI systems and other boot platforms.

    • Linux Foundation
    • Graphics Stack
      • mesa 18.2.3

        Mesa 18.2.3 is now available.

        In this release we have:

        Different patches for the DirectX9 and DRI state trackers.

        Several fixes and workarounds for different games, inlcuding RAGE, Yakuza and
        The Evil Within, Wolfenstein The Old Blood ARMA 3, or No Mans Sky.

        A bunch of fixes for different drivers, including r600, nouveau, radeonsi, anv,
        radv, virgl, i965, nvc0 or nv50. Worth to mention a fix for GPU hangs in
        Radeonsi.

        State Trackers also get different fixes and corrections.

        Finally, fixes for GLSL and NIR are also in this queue.

      • Mesa 18.2.3 Released With Latest Driver Workarounds For Steam Play / Proton

        Mesa 18.2.3 is out today as the latest point release to the Mesa 18.2 stable series. Notable to this point release are several bug fixes and workarounds to benefit Steam Play / Wine (and the Valve downstream Proton) and various new games being brought up there thanks in part to DXVK.

        The games with workarounds in Mesa 18.2.3 are Rage, Yakuza, The Evil Within, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, ARMA 3, and No Man’s Sky. These workarounds are added to the common Mesa DRIRC for toggling certain features as opposed to driver-specific hacks.

      • AMDVLK Radeon Vulkan Driver Updated With A Slew Of Additions

        It had been more than two weeks since the last time AMD developers updated their public source trees making up the official AMDVLK Vulkan driver but fortunately that has now changed. Given the time since the last commit, there is a lot of goodies with this new AMDVLK driver refresh.

      • Intel KVMGT 2018-Q3 Released As Their Latest Open-Source GPU Virtualization Bits

        Intel developers today announced the release of KVMGT 2018-Q3 (also known as Intel GVT-g for KVM) as well as the accompany Xen hypervisor tailored XenGT 2018-Q3 update.

        These are the latest quarterly updates to the Intel technology stack for allowing GPU virtualization of their HD/UHD/Iris Graphics hardware with mediated pass-through on Linux systems. This GPU virtualization support continues working with Intel 5th Gen Core/Xeon “Broadwell” processors and newer with guest operating systems being Linux as well as Windows 7 or newer.

      • XRGEARS: Infamous “Gears” Now On VR Headsets With OpenHMD, Vulkan

        Well, the virtual reality (VR) demo scene is now complete with having glxgears-inspired gears and Utah teapot rendering on VR head mounted displays with the new XRGEARS.

        Kidding aside about the gears and teapot, XRGEARS is a nifty new open-source project with real value by Collabora developer Lubosz Sarnecki. XRGEARS is a standalone VR demo application built using the OpenHMD initiative for tracking and Vulkan for rendering. XRGEARS supports both Wayland and X11 environments or even running off KMS itself. This code also makes use of VK_EXT_direct_mode_display with DRM leasing.

      • Arcan versus Xorg – Approaching Feature Parity

        This is the first article out of three in a series where I will go through what I consider to be the relevant Xorg feature set, and compare it, point by point, to how the corresponding solution or category works in Arcan.

        This article will solely focus on the Display Server set of features and how they relate to Xorg features, The second article will cover the features that are currently missing (e.g. network transparency) when they have been accounted for. The third article will cover the features that are already present in Arcan (and there are quite a few of those) but does not exist in Xorg.

      • Arcan Display Server Is Nearing Feature Parity With The X.Org Server

        The Arcan display server, which started off years ago sounding like a novelty with being a display server built off a game engine in part and other interesting features, is nearing feature parity with the X.Org Server.

        While most hobbyist display server projects have failed, Arcan has continued advancing and with an interesting feature set. Recently they have even been working on a virtual reality desktop and an interesting desktop in general. Arcan is getting close to being able to offering the same functionality as a traditional X.Org Server.

        If you are interested in a lengthy technical read about the differences between Arcan and X.Org, the Arcan developers themselves did some comparing and contrasting when it comes to the display support, windowing, input, font management, synchronization, and other areas.

  • Applications
    • What is your favorite Linux screen capture tool?

      The ability to take screenshots in Linux is something that I find really useful when composing how-tos and training materials for students or readers. But there are many different ways to do this.

      My own personal favorite is Gnome Screenshot. Typically I use Linux on a desktop or laptop and the training materials even those on those that feature the command line can be easily captured by Gnome Screenshot. I like it because it provides some options that make later use of those screen grabs easy to use. The need for additional editing of the screen grabs is precluded when you can easily tailor each screen grab to exactly what you are trying to capture. Your options include grabbing the whole screen, grabbing just the current window, or selecting an area to grab. Screenshot also provides an option to time the delay of the screen grab.

    • Essential System Tools: inxi – CLI system information tool

      This is the fifth in our series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems. The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities.

      The first tools under the spotlight were ps_mem, a small utility that accurately reports memory consumption of software, and gtop, a system monitoring dashboard. The third tool we showcased was pet, a simple command-line snippet manager. We then covered Alacritty, an innovative graphical utility.

    • translation-finder 0.1

      Setting up translation components in Weblate can be tricky in some cases, especially if you lack knowledge of the translation format you are using. Also this is something we wanted to automate from the very beginning, but there were always more pressing things to implement. But now the time is coming as I’ve just made first beta release of translation-finder, tool to help with this.

    • Weblate 3.2.2

      Weblate 3.2.2 has been released today. It’s a second bugfix release for 3.2 fixing several minor issues which appeared in the release.

    • Kiwi TCMS 6.1

      We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 6.1! This release introduces new database migrations, internal updates and bug fixes. It is a small release designed to minimize the number of database migrations by squashing them together. You can explore everything at https://demo.kiwitcms.org.

      NOTE: there is the 6.0.1 release which resolves an upgrade problem caused by non-applied migrations which have been later squashed and released in the same release! It is best to jump through the intermediate releases to ensure a smooth upgrade!

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Wine or Emulation
      • Wine Developers Plot Their Path For Integrating FAudio As The XAudio2 Reimplementation

        A few days back Linux game porter/developer Ethan Lee joined CodeWeavers to work on Wine/Proton for Valve. In particular, he’s going to be focusing on his FAudio project as a Windows XAudio(2) re-implementation. CodeWeavers appears to be eager on getting FAudio merged into upstream Wine.

        FAudio is part of Ethan Lee’s FNA-XNA project as a re-implementation of the Microsoft XNA Game Studio libraries. FNA and FAudio has already helped game developers port their code to more platforms and now FAudio is being hooked up in Wine to help Windows games run on Linux. FAudio has been developed as an accurate DirectX Audio run-time libraries including XAudio2, X3DAudio, and other components. FAudio is cross-platform itself and only depends on SDL2.

    • Games
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KaOS Linux Gets the KDE Plasma 5.14 Treatment, October Release Is Out Now

        The development team behind the KaOS Linux distribution announced the availability of the October 2018 snapshot with the latest version of the KDE Plasma desktop environment and numerous other updated components.

        Powered by the latest Linux 4.18 kernel, KaOS 2018.10 ships with the recently released KDE Plasma 5.14 desktop environment by default, along with the latest KDE Frameworks 5.51.0 and KDE Applications 18.08.2 software suites, all built against the Qt 5.11.2 open-source and cross-platform software development framework.

        KaOS 2018.10 also updates the toolchain, which is now based on GNU C Library (Glibc) 2.27 and GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 7.3.1. Numerous packages were rebuilt in this release due to the Boost, Protobuf, ICU (62.1), Qt, x265, and Net-SNMP core components being updated as well to their latest versions in this new snapshot.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Daniel Espinosa: Vala Scripting?

        I’m working with a library called GNOME Vala Language Server (GVls), as a proof of concept for a server that will serve autocompletion, syntax highlighting and that kind of stuff, but found something interesting by accident.

        I’ve added an interface called Client, may is not it final name, but it allows to locale a symbol in a already parsed file, along with some goodness from other interfaces and implementations, I’ll talk about in another article.

      • GNOME Foundation Hackfest 2018

        This week, the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors met at the Collabora office in Cambridge, UK, for the second annual Foundation Hackfest. We were also joined by the Executive Director, Neil McGovern, and Director of Operations, Rosanna Yuen. This event was started by last year’s board and is a great opportunity for the newly-elected board to set out goals for the coming year and get some uninterrupted hacking done on policies, documents, etc. While it’s fresh in our mind, we wanted to tell you about some of the things we have been working on this week and what the community can hope to see in the coming months.

  • Distributions
    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat Awards Crossvale Commercial Application Platform Partner of the Year.

        Crossvale was presented with the 2018 North America Commercial Application Platform Partner of the Year award by Red Hat. The announcement was made at the Red Hat North America Partner Conference held in Maryland on October 10th.

      • [Podcast] PodCTL #52 – OpenShift 3.11 and OpenShift Container Engine

        Last week Red Hat announced the general availability of OpenShift Container Platform 3.11. This is an important release because it incorporates the first wave of technology from the CoreOS acquisition. This includes new visibility for Operations teams through the Cluster Console and integrated Prometheus monitoring and Grafana dashboards. It also added support for a number of Operators, both from Red Hat and ISV partners (supporting the Operator Framework). This is important, as Operators will continue to play a more critical role in both the OpenShift platform, as well as for applications running on OpenShift. Finally, we discussed the recently released OpenShift Container Engine, and how it offers flexibility for customers that want Enterprise Kubernetes from OpenShift, but may want flexibility in certain areas of their deployments.

      • Knative: Building your Serverless Service

        In the Part-1 of Knative Serving blog series, you were introduced on how to build and deploy your first serverless service using Knative Serving. In this blog you will be introduced to another Knative component called Knative Build.

      • Agile Integration: Enterprise integration from a necessary evil to building competitive advantage

        Business success can be increasingly based on an organization’s ability to react to change. As new disruptive players enter markets and technology upends what consumers expect, organizations often need to change plans in shorter cycles. Modern software architectures and processes can help make organizations more effective at dealing with this change and emerge as leaders in their markets.

        “Planning as we know it is dead,” was the keynote message delivered by Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat president and CEO, at the 2017 Red Hat Summit. “Planning harder in a less-known environment just isn’t the answer.” In today’s world, the pace of innovation and disruption is accelerating in business. With that comes change, which can jar or break plans quickly and, in some instances, be extremely costly. Hence, the ability to react to change quickly can be a necessity. Enterprise integration can be at the heart of an organization’s IT architecture. It may be necessary. But it is often a bottleneck.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Happy 14th Birthday, Ubuntu!

            Bust out the bunting and start cooking a cake because it’s Ubuntu’s birthday!

            Yes, fourteen feature-filled years have flown by since Mark Shuttleworth sat down to share news of the very first Ubuntu release.

            Ubuntu 4.10 ‘Warty Warthog’ was thrust into the world on Wednesday October 20, 2004.

          • Canonical publishes user statistics that it collected during Ubuntu 18.04 LTS cycle

            Canonical has published the user statistics information that it collected during the first six months of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS cycle. The page was posted following the release of Ubuntu 18.10 yesterday and it reveals quite a lot of information about installations including computer details, the languages used, the country of the install and much more.

            With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Canonical began collecting information of users who decided to opt-in. According to the firm, 66% of users decided to do so. It found that clean installs made up 80% of the total installations, while upgrades made up for 20%. The firm also derived the location of Ubuntu users using the time zone and location options in the installer, rather than an identifiable IP address; surprisingly some of the countries Ubuntu was used a lot included Mexico, Brazil, Angola, Egypt, Afghanistan, South Korea, and Australia. They found English was the most popular language with 59%.

          • What’s Your Ubuntu 19.04 Codename Prediction?

            It’s that really fun part of the release cycle where we get you to try and guess the name of the next Ubuntu release!

            it could, at this point, be literally anything — but what do think the codename of Ubuntu 19.04 will be?

            Ten years on since Ubuntu 9.04 ‘Jaunty Jackalope’, the first release this site covered, plenty has changed.

            But so entrenched is that particular release that my muscle memory is still programmed to type 9.04 instead of 19.04 — so if you see a lot of errant 1s in future posts, you know why!

          • Canonical: Snaps Are Used Worldwide, over 3M Installs Monthly and 100K Daily

            To celebrate the release of the Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) operating system, Canonical published a new infographic to show us how well its Snap universal package format is doing lately.

            Entitled “Snaps in numbers,” the new infographics focuses on how widely spread are Snaps, Canonical’s universal binary format that makes it easier to distribute applications across multiple Linux-based operating systems. Initially called Snappy, the technology provides secure, rolling updates to your favorite apps.

            “Coinciding with the release of Ubuntu 18.10 today, we have celebrated the exceptional adoption of snaps by sharing the infographic below,” said Canonical. “From popular snaps to daily installs, this infographic demonstrates where, when and why users are installing and adopting the secure, Linux application format.”

          • Mark Shuttleworth Details Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish Linux Release

            The Ubuntu 18.10 Linux release became generally available on Oct 18, providing new capabilities for desktop, server and cloud users.

            On the desktop there is a new theme called “Yaru” that provides a different look and feel than what was provided by default in the prior 18.04 LTS release. Unlike 18.04, the 18.10 update is not a Long Term Support (LTS) release and will not get five years of support, instead it will only have nine months of support.

            On the server side, Ubuntu 18.10 benefits from an updated Linux 4.18 kernel as well as support for TLS 1.3 encryption. The Ubuntu Server 18.10 integrated the OpenStack Rocky release, providing users with a stable version of the most recent open source OpenStack cloud platform release.

          • Welcome Ubuntu Desktop 18.10

            The Cosmic Cuttlefish has arrived. Ubuntu 18.10 is out and represents the first step on the road to the next LTS in April 2020. This release of Ubuntu comes with 9 months of support and brings the latest update to the GNOME stack, improvements to the snap experience on the desktop, some new features and usability improvements, and a fresh new theme developed by the awesome Yaru developer community.

          • Ubuntu events in November

            November is just around the corner, winter jumpers are being dug out from the back of the wardrobe and it’s now acceptable to put the heating on.

            Although many may be considering hibernation, the Ubuntu team here at Canonical will be out and about around the world at a number of big events.

            So if you want to know where you can catch up with the Ubuntu team at Canonical and learn about the latest developments then you can find us here:

          • Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” Has Been Released and More Linux News
          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Has Been Released | Download

            The latest stable release Ubuntu 18.10 with a code name (Cosmic Cuttlefish) has been released. Ubuntu 18.10 comes with 7 different flavours, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Mate, Ubuntu Studio, Xubuntu, and the main release Ubuntu with Gnome desktop environment.

          • SD Times news digest: Datalore 1.0, MIT’s smarter homes, and Ubuntu 18.10

            Ubuntu 18.10 has been released, and has several updates that make it optimized for multi-cloud deployments and AI software development. It features a new community desktop theme, adding fingerprint unlock functionality for compatible PCs.

            It also has a richer snap desktop integration, and now allows native desktop control to access files on the host system.

          • Canonical Eyes FinTech With Ubuntu Server 18.10
          • You’ll Love Ubuntu 18.10 If You’re Tired Of Endless Tantrums Of Windows 10

            Just recently Microsoft open sourced its vast portfolio of patents in order to make sure that Linux and other open source projects don’t become a target of IP lawsuits. That was a really nice gesture. However, there’s no denying the fact that Microsoft’s Windows 10 is facing competition from constantly improving Linux-based operating systems.

            Talking about Linux, just earlier this week, we witnessed the release of elementary OS 5.0. elementary is known for its beautiful and user-friendly interface and it’s the most ambitious release from its developers. It was soon followed by the latest release of Ubuntu — the most popular desktop open source operating system out there.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Is New Ubuntu 18.10 Worth Installing?

              The new Ubuntu release “Cosmic Cuttlefish” has hit the OS market after 6 months of development. I’ve been using it since it came out and now here is what I have to say about it. In this article, I’ll talk about the new things it brings in and also if it’s the release worth upgrading to. So let’s go.

            • There’s an official Ubuntu MATE 18.10 build for GPD Pocket devices

              Canonical released Ubuntu 18.10 this week. But Ubuntu isn’t just a single operating system: there are also a bunch of official and unofficial flavors.

              So this week we also got Kubuntu 18.10, Lubuntu 18.10, Ubuntu MATE 18.10, and Ubuntu Budgie 18.10, just to name a few. They include core Ubuntu updates plus a group of additional changes that are specific to the desktop environment and apps used by each of these projects.

            • Ubuntu 18.10 released with new desktop theme

              Canonical released a new version of the organization’s Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution; Ubuntu 18.10, called Cosmic Cuttlefish, comes with a new community desktop theme, improved snap desktop integration, multi-cloud computing optimizations and other improvements.

              Ubuntu 18.10 will be supported for nine months; organizations and users who require long term support should stay with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS instead which is supported for five years.

            • GPD Pocket devices get special Ubuntu MATE 18.10 Linux image

              Just yesterday, Ubuntu 18.10 was released. “Cosmic Cuttlefish,” as the operating system is called, is available in several flavors featuring various desktop environments other than the stock GNOME — Xfce (Xbuntu), KDE (Kubuntu), and more.

            • See what changes have been orbiting Pop!_OS!

              Your favorite Pop!_erating system has leveled up with Pop!_18.10. Most of the new updates will also be rolled into Pop!_18.04. Here’s what we’ve been working on since our last Pop!_OS announcement:
              New kernel, graphic stack, and GNOME desktop environment for Pop!_18.10

            • System76 Pop!_OS Updated Against Ubuntu 18.10, Adds In Extra Changes

              In addition to System76 being busy finishing up work on their new PC build factory in Denver and making their first foray into open-source hardware, they also continue working on Pop!_OS as their downstream of Ubuntu Linux with various features added in.

              While System76 has been shipping Ubuntu-loaded laptops and desktops for more than a decade, they have been trying to differentiate themselves on the hardware and software front. The Pop!_OS effort has come a long way over the past year and out now is their 18.10 release based upon the newly-minuted Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish.

            • Lubuntu Blog: Lubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Released!

              Thanks to all the hard work from our contributors, Lubuntu 18.10 has been released! With the codename Cosmic Cuttlefish, Lubuntu 18.10 is the 15th release of Lubuntu and the first release of Lubuntu with LXQt as the default desktop environment, with support until July of 2019. Translated into: español What is Lubuntu?

            • Lubuntu 18.10 Is Out, First Release to Ship with the LXQt Desktop by DefaultI

              Lubuntu developer Simon Quigley inform Softpedia today about the general availability of the Lubuntu 18.10 operating system, the first to ship with the LXQt desktop environment by default, as part of Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish).
              After many trials and tribulations, and a lot of hard work, the Lubuntu team finally managed to ship a release with the LXQt desktop environment by default instead of LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment), which was used by default on all Lubuntu releases from the beginning of the project.

              We also believe LXQt is the future of the LXDE desktop environment, which uses old and soon deprecated technologies, so we welcome Lubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) with its shiny LXQt 0.13.0 desktop environment by default, built against the latest Qt 5.11.1 libraries and patched with upstream’s improvements.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • cairo release 1.16.0 now available

    After four years of development since 1.14.0, version 1.16.0 of the cairo 2D graphics library has been released.

  • Cairo 1.16 Released With OpenGL ES 3.0 Support, Colored Emojis

    It’s been four years since the debut of the Cairo 1.14 stable series and today that has been succeeded by Cairo 1.16. Cairo, as a reminder, is the vector graphics library for 2D drawing and supports back-ends ranging from OpenGL to PDF, PostScript, DirectFB, and SVG outputs. Cairo is used by the likes of the GTK+ tool-kit, Mozilla’s Gecko engine, Gnuplot, Poppler, and many other open-source projects.

  • Open source MDM offers flexibility, with challenges

    Open source platforms may require more effort from IT than commercial products do, but they can also address an organization’s specific requirements — if the company is willing to invest in the necessary resources.

    The open source mobile device management (MDM) market is very limited, but there are a few options. If organizations determine that an open source platform is worth the effort, then they can weigh a few different options for open source MDM tools.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Don’t rely on the shape of (Native)Error.prototype.message
      • The Rust Programming Language Blog: Update on the October 15, 2018 incident on crates.io

        A user called cratesio was created on crates.io and proceeded to upload packages using common, short names. These packages contained nothing beyond a Cargo.toml file and a README.md instructing users that if they wanted to use the name, they should open an issue on the crates.io issue tracker.

        The rate at which this user uploaded packages eventually resulted in our servers being throttled by GitHub, causing a slowdown in all package uploads or yanks. Endpoints which did not involve updating the index were unaffected.

      • Three-Year Moziversary

        Another year at Mozilla. They certainly don’t slow down the more you have of them.

        For once a year of stability, organization-wise. The two biggest team changes were the addition of Jan-Erik back on March 1, and the loss of our traditional team name “Browser Measurement II” for a more punchy and descriptive “Firefox Telemetry Team.”

  • Databases
    • Some Initial PostgreSQL 11.0 Database Benchmarks

      Among other software releases, yesterday brought the debut of the PostgreSQL 11.0 database server. Given it has possible performance enhancements and the new (non-default) LLVM-based just-in-time compilation ability, I decided to run some benchmarks on the powerful Dell PowerEdge EPYC 2P server.

      PostgreSQL 11.0 is a big update for this popular database server. Those unfamiliar with its changes can find the details via the release notes. Details on the LLVM JIT back-end can be found via the in-tree documentation. The just-in-time compilation support didn’t get enabled by default with PostgreSQL 11.0 due to open performance issues, but can be manually enabled for those wishing to run experiments or happen to be running a lot of complex queries where the JIT capability is likely to pay off.

    • Citus Data donates 1% equity to non-profit PostgreSQL orgs

      There’s open source and there’s open source.

      There’s genuine free and open source software (FOSS) and then there’s largely locked down proprietary non-dynamic library open source that is generally supplied as a commercially supported version of an open source kernel base that doesn’t see whole lot of real world code commits — and, no, there’s no acronym for that.

      Then, there’s other ways of evidencing real open openness such as non-technical contributions (could be language translation/localisation etc.) and then there’s plain old contributions.

      Scale-out Postgres database technologies ​​​​Citus Data is donating 1 percent of its equity to non-profit PostgreSQL organisations in the US and Europe.

  • CMS
    • Pagely NorthStack Makes WordPress Serverless

      WordPress is getting the serverless treatment, thanks to a new effort from managed WordPress hosting provider Pagely.

      The new NorthStack platform disaggregates the usual stack that WordPress requires into a series of services that largely run on serverless infrastructure at Amazon Web Services (AWS). The NorthStack effort is an attempt to lower the fixed costs and infrastructure needed to deploy and run WordPress.

      “WordPress itself is based on 12-year-old code. It does not want to be in a serverless environment,” Joshua Strebel, CEO of Pagely, told eWEEK. “WordPress wants to live on one AWS EC2 node up next to its database with everything all contained in it.”

  • Healthcare
    • Why Open Source Healthcare is Vital for Innovation

      Dana Lewis’ story is far from being a rarity. The diabetes industry is one of the worst offenders for overcharging or price gouging medication and equipment for patients. This is leading many individuals to take the same path as Dana Lewis.

      Open source platforms like OpenAPS, GitHub pages, and social media offer DIYers step-by-step instructions on how to build their own artificial pancreas tools.

      Kate Farnsworth built a DIY monitor device that keeps blood sugar levels of her diabetic daughter in constant check

      This tool, that has dramatically improved the life of a 15-year-old Sydney, cost her mom just $250.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • The EU has approved Microsoft’s $7.5 billion GitHub acquisition

      Microsoft’s upcoming $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub has cleared another major hurdle: the EU has approved the deal after determining that there are no antitrust concerns in Microsoft buying the popular open-source software repository, via the Financial Times.

    • EU watchdog waves through Microsoft’s GitHub takeover

      The EC noted that, in making its decision, it probed whether Microsoft would leverage the popularity of GitHut to boost sales of its own DevOps tools and cloud services, and looked into whether Microsoft would have the ability and incentive to further integrate its own DevOps tools and cloud services with GitHub while limiting integration with third parties’ DevOps tools and cloud services.

    • Microsoft’s $7.5BN GitHub buy gets green-lit by EU regulators

      The Commission decided Microsoft would have no incentive to undermine the GitHub’s openness — saying any attempt to do so would reduce its value for developers, who the Commission judged as willing and able to switch to other platforms.

    • EU clears Microsoft acquisition of GitHub
  • BSD
  • Public Services/Government
    • Doing your civic duty one line of code at a time

      When it comes to doing our civic duty in today’s technologically driven world, there is a perception that we don’t care like older generations did. History teaches us that in the early 20th century’s New Deal, Americans stepped up to the nation’s challenges on a wide range of government-financed public works projects. Airport construction. Infrastructure improvements. Building dams, bridges, hospitals. This was more than just individuals “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps” but, by design, performing incredible civic duties. Quite an amazing feat when you think about it.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Kickstarting the Makerphone: an open-source hardware phone kit, programmable with python and Scratch

        Circuitmess’s fully funded Makerphone kickstarter is raising money to produce open source hardware smartphone kits to teach kids (and grownups) everything from soldering to programming.

        The Makerphone is a pretty sweet-looking gadget, and it comes ready to be programmed with Scratch and python, providing a good progression from a fully graphic programming environment to a command-line language that’s still beginner-friendly.

        $94 gets you a kit and the tools to assemble it; $99 gets you an assembled phone. The project’s runners have previously delivered on kickstarted open source hardware kits, which bodes well for getting something for your money.

  • Programming/Development
    • So I wrote a basic BASIC

      So back in June I challenged myself to write a BASIC interpreter in a weekend. The next time I mentioned it was to admit defeat. I didn’t really explain in any detail, because I thought I’d wait a few days and try again and I was distracted at the time I wrote my post.

    • LLVM C++14/C++17 BoF
    • LLVM’s Codebase Will Likely Move To C++17 Next Year

      While LLVM’s Clang compiler already supports C++17, what this change is about is the LLVM code itself and for sub-projects like Clang can begin making use of C++17 code itself. This in turn ups the requirements for being able to compile the code-base.

      As it stands now LLVM requires C++11 for being able to build the compiler stack, but at this week’s LLVM Developers’ Meeting in San Jose they discussed upping that requirement. While they could move to C++14, the unofficial consensus is they should just move directly to C++17. This enables LLVM developers to take advantage of all these modern C++ features.

Leftovers
  • Three pillars of the European Legislation Identifier implemented for Flemish Legal Codex

    A proof-of-concept ELI implementation of the Flemish Legal Codex has just been completed, where information is published as Linked Open Data using the ELI ontology.

  • Science
    • The space race is dominated by new contenders
    • What impact do government grants have on small tech firms?

      Most academic writing on direct government spending as an innovation policy tool focuses on how this mechanism compares with other policies rather than on the policy choices within the “direct spending” box. For example, in Beyond the Patents–Prizes Debate, Daniel Hemel and I considered a single category of “government grants—a category that includes direct spending on government research laboratories and grants to nongovernment researchers”—with a focus on the similarities among these direct spending mechanisms, and what makes them all different from the other tools in our four-box framework (R&D tax incentives, patents, and inducement prizes).

      But we noted that there is variation within each policy box, and that in practice the boxes form a spectrum rather than discrete choices. And it is certainly worth diving within each of the four boxes of our framework from Beyond to dissect these policy tools. There is of course an extensive literature already on optimizing within the “patent” mechanism, but legal innovation scholars pay far less attention to the other boxes, including grants.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • St. Luke’s in Houston Replaces Heart Transplant Surgical Director After Program Loses Medicare Funding

      Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center announced Friday that it has hired two new cardiac surgeons to lead its embattled heart transplant program as it works to regain Medicare certification.

      The surgeons, Dr. Kenneth Liao and Dr. Alexis Shafii, will together take over leadership posts previously held by Dr. Jeffrey Morgan, the heart program’s surgical director since 2016. A St. Luke’s spokeswoman said Morgan is still a member of the medical staff at St. Luke’s, but she did not directly answer whether he will continue performing transplants.

      Morgan declined to comment through a representative, and the hospital did not make Liao or Shafii available for interviews.

      The staffing announcement comes two months after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cut off funding for heart transplants at St. Luke’s, long regarded as one of the nation’s top hospitals for cardiac care. The federal agency concluded that the Houston hospital had not done enough to correct problems that led to a high rate of patient deaths following transplants in recent years.

    • G77+China Plan To Take UN TB Declaration Forward: Increased Resources, Access To Medicines

      The statement delivered by the G77 and China supported these commitments to funding and action, and called for “increased resources and means of implementation by the international community towards developing countries in most need, as well as increasing affordable access to medicines, diagnostics, vaccines and other medical tools, scaling up investments in research and development and delinking its costs from the price and sales volumes of new medical tools,” according to a South Centre press release.

      “Furthermore,” it says, “the statement stresses the need to ensure affordability and access to existing and new medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and other medical tools, including through the use to the fullest extent of the flexibilities provisions in the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.”

    • US: Generic use abroad does not mean generic use in US
  • Security
    • U.S. CMS says 75,000 individuals’ files accessed in data breach
    • CMS Responding to Suspicious Activity in Agent and Broker Exchanges Portal

      At this time, we believe that approximately 75,000 individuals’ files were accessed. While this is a small fraction of consumer records present on the FFE, any breach of our system is unacceptable.

    • New Security Woes for Popular IoT Protocols

      Researchers at Black Hat Europe will detail denial-of-service and other flaws in MQTT, CoAP machine-to-machine communications protocols that imperil industrial and other IoT networks online.
      Security researcher Federico Maggi had been collecting data – some of it sensitive in nature – from hundreds of thousands of Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) servers he found sitting wide open on the public Internet via Shodan. “I would probe them and listen for 10 seconds or so, and just collect data from them,” he says.

      He found data on sensors and other devices sitting in manufacturing and automotive networks, for instance, as well as typical consumer Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets.

      The majority of data, Maggi says, came from consumer devices and sensors or was data he couldn’t identify. “There was a good amount of data from factories, and I was able to find data coming from pretty expensive industrial machines, including a robot,” he says.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Are Drones the ‘Perfect Assassination Weapon,’ or an Overblown Threat?
    • Saudi Arabia Finally Admits Jamal Khashoggi Is Dead — But Its Response Is Still Deeply Troubling

      In a major new development, the government of Saudi Arabia has officially confirmed that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after entering a Turkish consulate on October 2, has been killed.

      The news came at a curious moment; it was just past 1 a.m. Saudi time when a prosecutor from the kingdom made the announcement on state TV.

      Reuters reports that the Saudi government is blaming Khashoggi’s death on a fight that “broke out between Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate,” and so far 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested in connection with the killing.

    • Saudi-Loving Corporate Media Pundits Run for Cover in the Wake of Jamal Khashoggi Outrage

      No one thinks Thomas L. Friedman, the lead foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, has an easy job. I wouldn’t want it. Like his closely allied counterpart at the Washington Post, David Ignatius, Friedman stands astride the interlocked pinnacles of two powerful American institutions: the mainstream media and the national security establishment. He has unparalleled access to the innermost thoughts of the latter, and serves as the moralizing voice of the former. All of that comes at a price, perhaps best exemplified in Friedman’s use of a mysterious, pseudo-royal first-person plural.

      Consider Friedman’s tormented column this week about how the United States should respond to the apparent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by forces close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, now known around the world as MBS. This is the same prince, of course, whom Friedman lauded last November in a column he would surely love to scrub from the internet. Back then he praised MBS as the leader of an “Arab Spring, Saudi-style,” quoted lines from “Hamilton” at him during their lengthy late-night conversation in the prince’s “ornate adobe-walled palace,” and pronounced: “I, for one, am rooting for him to succeed in his reform efforts.”

    • Famine in Yemen: long announced, now on our screens

      Almost two years after the UN first told the world that the war in Yemen was about to cause famine, we are informed that 14 million are at risk of dying from starvation and that the earlier figure of 8 million was an underestimate. The increase is explained by the dramatic collapse of the Yemeni riyal in the last two months.

      Wasn’t such a currency crisis predictable? The country is still described as being ‘on the brink’ of famine, simply because statistical verification of death rates, which would fit official definitions, is not available. These figures are mind boggling beyond imagination, and represent millions suffering the psychological, physical, agony of watching loved children, parents, siblings and partners, dying before their eyes… Many people are expecting the same fate themselves, some of them probably even looking forward to death, as it would end the pain. So the famine is here, with or without official definition!

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
  • Finance
    • Why CEOs Love Basic Income

      Basic income? Conservative? While this might seem to be an odd characterization, it actually exposes the ideological foundation of the Ontario pilot. Far from helping us along to a post-work, automation-driven society, the pilot entrenched the status quo.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • A President Who Believes He Is Entitled to His Own Facts

      Mr. Trump’s approach has profound consequences for the credibility of the presidency and the boundaries of acceptable political discourse. It also has serious ramifications for his advisers, as well as people who hear the president’s words outside the United States. And, according to Mr. Hayden, it particularly affects the intelligence officials whose job it is to present Mr. Trump with the information he needs to make critical national security decisions.

    • ‘That’s My Kind of Guy,’ Trump Says of Republican Lawmaker Who Body-Slammed a Reporter

      “To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it,” said John Mulholland, the editor of The Guardian U.S. “In the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats.”

    • This is what a Facebook election security charm offensive looks like

      Facebook is working very hard right now to prove it can be trusted to protect users from malicious fake news, political disinformation, and cyberattacks intended to throw the 2018 midterms. What Facebook is not doing: providing details.

    • Facebook has a fake news ‘war room’ – but is it really working?

      One study, however, found that out of 50 of the most widely shared political images on WhatsApp in the lead-up to the election in Brazil, only 8% were considered fully truthful, and many were false, misleading or unsubstantiated. There has also been a growing problem of fake news videos, which don’t face the same scrutiny as articles.

    • Joint Statement from the ODNI, DOJ, FBI and DHS: Combating Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections

      Foreign interference in U.S. elections is a threat to our democracy; identifying and preventing this interference is a top priority of the Federal Government. We believe the greatest strength of our society is an engaged and informed public. Adversaries target U.S. elections to divide America along political lines and influence key policy decisions that are in their national interest.

    • Exclusive: Twitter pulls down bot network that pushed pro-Saudi talking points about disappeared journalist

      Twitter became aware of some of the bots on Thursday when NBC News presented the company with a spreadsheet of hundreds of accounts that tweeted and retweeted the same pro-Saudi government tweets at the same time.

      The list was compiled by Josh Russell, an Indiana-based information technology professional who has previously identified foreign influence campaigns on Twitter and Reddit.

    • Twitter publishes dump of accounts tied to Russian, Iranian influence campaigns

      The archive of the IRA’s tweet metadata alone is 5.4GB of comma-separated data when expanded. In many cases, the user ID and screen name of many accounts—those with fewer than 5,000 followers—have been concealed with hash values to “reduce the potential negative impact on real or compromised accounts,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement on the data archive. The hash values still allow individual accounts to be analyzed without exposing the actual names associated with them.

      Ars is currently pulling the post data into a database for analysis—with that many records, it might take a while—but an initial look at the data shows that the IRA accounts targeted both domestic and foreign audiences. They used a mix of tools to post, ranging from official Twitter Web and Android clients to third-party clients (Sociable, TweetDeck, etc.) to custom-coded “bot” clients with Slavic names—including “rostislav,” “bronislav,” and “iziaslav.” And they aimed for audiences across the political spectrum.

    • Russian woman charged with interfering in midterm elections

      The timing of the complaint, which was unsealed as U.S. intelligence officials issued a warning on foreign influence campaigns, sends a dire message to voters on the scope of the efforts to sway U.S. opinion, even as no evidence points to interference with U.S. election infrastructure.

    • Russian [Astroturfers] Are Still Playing Both Sides—Even With the Mueller Probe

      The charges, though, made clear that Project Lakhta operatives were equal opportunity political opportunists—weighing in on both sides of political divisions and even, earlier this year, tweeting about Mueller’s indictment of their 13 IRA colleagues, writing, in part, “Still think this Russia thing is a hoax and a witch hunt? Because a lot of witches just got indicted.”

    • Russian woman charged with managing budget for US election interference plot

      The complaint states that Khusyaynova kept “detailed financial documents” that outlined payments for activities meant to undermine US elections. An itemized budget covering the year leading up to January 2017, for instance, listed expenses for Instagram, Facebook, and VKontakte ads. It also included budget lines for “bloggers,” “developing accounts” on Twitter, and funding online videos. Between January and June of 2018, she submitted expenditures of roughly $60,000 for Facebook ads, $6,000 for Instagram ads, and $18,000 for bloggers and Twitter accounts. In its press release, the Justice Department thanked Facebook and Twitter for “exceptional cooperation” during the investigation.

    • Why Is Russiagate Rumbling Into the 2018 Midterms?

      The November 6 midterms are fast approaching, yet much of the media is still looking back to the 2016 elections, and specifically the alleged Russian interference in them.

      The New Yorker (10/1/18) published a 7,000-word article headlined “How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump.” Considering other explanations for Trump’s victory and Clinton’s loss, such as her tactical campaign errors, gerrymandering, vote suppression, racism and the actions of James Comey for only a paragraph, it quotes one expert claiming, “It stretches credulity to think the Russians didn’t” win it for him.

      Meanwhile, the New York Times (9/20/18) released an intensive 10,000-word history and analysis of the Trump/Russia story, explaining to its readers that it was Putin’s “seething” ambivalence towards the West and his “nostalgia for Russia’s lost superpower status” that were the driving forces behind Russia’s nefarious actions.

    • How to “Follow the Money” When It Comes to Political Campaigns

      For the times when it is, we have campaign finance laws. A quick history lesson: After the Watergate scandal (which, in addition to a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, involved campaign funds used toward the scheme), Congress passed a law requiring federal campaigns to report their political contributions and spending to the Federal Election Commission. This was designed as a check against corruption but also to empower voters and keep you reasonably informed about money in politics.

      Let’s take a look at what money does in a campaign. Seeing where a candidate’s money comes from, as well as which groups are spending on behalf of (or against) their campaign, helps you understand their beliefs, the advice they’re getting and the kinds of policies they’re likely to support.

    • Revealed: Met Police ignored Brexit campaign evidence for months

      The Metropolitan Police Service ignored potential criminal evidence gathered by the Electoral Commission on three key pro-Brexit campaign groups for four months, openDemocracy can reveal.

      Responding to widespread public criticism after openDemocracy revealed that the Met has not even begun an official investigation into Vote Leave, Arron Banks’s Leave.EU and Darren Grimes’s BeLeave campaign, Scotland Yard this week told London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, that it had only recently “received” the Electoral Commission’s evidence and therefore has had only weeks to assess its importance.

      However, we can reveal that the Met was informed by the Commission in both May and July that evidence was ready to be picked up.

      Although the Brexit timetable was reaching critically important stages, Scotland Yard officers then took till late August before asking the Commission for its files, and took a further three weeks to pick them up.

      In normal London traffic, the distance between Scotland Yard’s Embankment headquarters and the Commission’s office in Bunhill Row in the City is around 15 minutes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • UK Refreshes Stupid Porn Filter Law, Making It Fresher But No Less Stupid

      The UK government is still polishing its porn filtering law. The latest updates to the law show there’s been some effort put forth to make the law less stupid, but even these additions don’t make the law (or its implementation) much better.

      There are still threats of fines and other governmental pressure should sites fail to “voluntarily” adopt the measures recommended by the UK government when the law goes live next year. One noticeable change is that the responsibility of deciding what is or isn’t porn will be placed in the hands of the UK’s film classification board, the British Board of Film Classification. If it’s anything like the MPAA, it won’t necessarily know porn when it sees it, but it will know what it doesn’t like and regulate along those lines.

      The updated guidelines [PDF] try to blend suggestions and mandates into something cohesive and palatable, all while removing as much government accountability as possible. The updates recognize collecting personally-identifiable info on British porn filters creates a juicy target for malicious actors. It also notes this data collection must somehow comply with the UK’s tangle of privacy laws, meaning companies should put some sort of protections in place, but not so much they undermine positive identifications.

    • We’re Telling a Court (Again) That President Trump and Other Government Officials Can’t Block People on Twitter For Disagreeing With Them

      President Donald Trump and his lawyers still believe he can block people on Twitter because he doesn’t like their views, so today we’ve filed a brief telling a court, again, that doing so violates the First Amendment. We’re hopeful that the court, like the last one that considered the case, will side with the plaintiffs, seven individuals blocked by Trump who are represented by the Knight First Amendment Institute. As we explain in the brief, the case has broad implications for the public as social media use by the government becomes more and more ubiquitous.

      Trump lost the first round of the case when a judge sided with the plaintiffs, who include a university professor, a surgeon, a comedy writer, a community organizer, an author, a legal analyst, and a police officer. The judge agreed with the Knight Institute, which argued that the interactive spaces associated with the @realDonaldTrump account are “public forums” under the First Amendment, meaning that the government cannot exclude people from them simply because it disagrees with their views. In a brief filed in round one, we argued governmental use of social media platforms to communicate to and with the public—and allow the public to communication with each other—is now the rule of democratic engagement, not the exception. As a result, First Amendment rights of both access to those accounts and the ability to speak in them must apply in full force.

    • Facebook and Twitter coordinate once more over censorship
    • ‘Big Brother’ Facebook Shuts Down Hundreds of Political Sites Weeks Before Crucial Election
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facebook hires former deputy PM Nick Clegg as head of global affairs

      No, this isn’t an early April Fool’s. The Financial Times reports that Clegg’s recruitment comes after “months of wooing” by Facebook leader Mark Zuckerberg, and will see him move to Silicon Valley in January to join the company’s leadership team.

    • Facebook reportedly has more plans for cameras in the home

      If this all sounds a bit familiar, it’s because it apparently uses the same technology as the recently announced Portal video chat device. What little enthusiasm there was for the hardware lasted just nine days, at which point Facebook revealed that the device will collect information on you in exactly the same way its main product does.

    • Weekend Reading: Tor and Tails
    • DNS-over-HTTPS is RFC 8484

      The protocol we fondly know as DoH, DNS-over-HTTPS, is now officially RFC 8484 with the official title “DNS Queries over HTTPS (DoH)”. It documents the protocol that is already in production and used by several client-side implementations, including Firefox, Chrome and curl. Put simply, DoH sends a regular RFC 1035 DNS packet over HTTPS instead of over plain UDP.

      I’m happy to have contributed my little bits to this standard effort and I’m credited in the Acknowledgements section. I’ve also implemented DoH client-side several times now.

    • Vietnam Expands Decades Long Effort To Crack Down On Any Dissent Online By Demanding Data Be Kept In The Country

      It’s no secret that the Vietnamese government is no fan of the open internet. All the way back in 2002 we wrote about the government requiring people to register just to create a website. That same year we were writing about people being arrested for posting criticism of the government. In 2008, we wrote about the Vietnamese government banning “subversive” blogs as well. With the rise of social media, Vietnam has shifted its focus there. In 2013, it banned news reporting on social media, saying it should be for personal use only. In 2014, we wrote about how the government was abusing Facebook’s own reporting tools to shut down dissenters from using the site. And at the beginning of this year, we wrote about how the government now employed around 10,000 people whose only job was to monitor the internet for dissent.

      And now it’s going to get even worse — to a degree that might even lead some of the big internet companies to leave Vietnam entirely. And we have the NSA (partially) to blame. Ever since the revelation of the Snowden documents, describing how the NSA was getting access to all sorts of data and metadata on foreigners by compelling various private companies to cough up their data, there’s been a big push among some for data localization. Some of that push has come from privacy activists themselves, arguing in other countries that their data shouldn’t be allowed to go to the US where the NSA has so much access — but much of it has simply been using the NSA revelations as a stalking horse to get what they want: which is the ability to snoop locally on all of that data. That’s why countries like Russia has been a huge proponent of data localization.

    • Encryption bill: Consultation? What consultation, asks CA’s Stanton

      Communications Alliance chief John Stanton has questioned the Federal Government’s claims about having consulted widely before drafting its encryption bill, pointing out during a parliamentary hearing that he had had just a single meeting with a representative of the attorney-general’s office in the run-up to the release of the public draft of the bill.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Tina Vasquez on Child Separation, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard on Protest Suppression

      This week on CounterSpin: The horror stories are real—about migrant children pulled from their parents at the US/Mexico border, sometimes locked in cages, sometimes given up for adoption while ostensibly waiting to be reunited with families the government had no plan for reuniting them with. But when corporate media tell the story through the White House’s cruel prism—even if they criticize it—they’re obscuring ideas and actors that are moving things in a more humane direction. We’ll talk about why it matters who you talk to with Tina Vasquez, senior immigration reporter at Rewire.News.

    • Don’t Board Our Buses Without Probable Cause or a Warrant

      The president of the Greyhound bus drivers’ union urges management to stand up to Trump’s deportation machine.

      When I first started working at Greyhound 28 years ago, I was told that I would never be able to drive a bus. I’m a woman of color. But I got trained, and I became a bus driver. Soon after, I joined Local 1700 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, and today I am the local’s president.

      Local 1700 represents 3,500 Greyhound drivers, mechanics, and terminal workers. My job, as the president, is to advocate on behalf of our members for fair pay, safety, and wellbeing. But today, I’m advocating for our customers. by urging Greyhound management to stand up for our passengers and tell the U.S. Border Patrol that it cannot board our buses without probable cause or a warrant.

      With greater frequency over the past two years, Border Patrol agents across the country have been boarding our buses and asking our passengers, especially customers of color, to show their papers. Passengers who are unable to provide documentation showing that they are authorized to be in the United States are then taken off the bus and processed for possible deportation.

    • Amid Protest in Liberia, Its Vice President Gets List of Demands About More Than Me

      A large group of protesters marched on Thursday through Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, delivering a list of demands to top government officials, international organizations and the country’s vice president, including that the government revoke the accreditation of More Than Me and strip the American charity of its ability to run 19 schools in the country.

      The Liberian Feminist Forum, in conjunction with other groups, organized the “We Are Unprotected” protest in response to a ProPublica investigation published last week in collaboration with Time magazine. The report revealed how the charity missed opportunities to prevent the rapes of girls by key employee Macintosh Johnson and did not test all of his potential victims for HIV when word got out that he had AIDS.

    • TSA Announces Plans To Subject Domestic Travelers To Biometric Screening

      As promised/threatened, the DHS is moving forward with expanded use of biometric scanning at airports, including facial recognition and fingerprint matches. What was touted as a way to combat international terrorism and illegal immigration will now include those on the home front, as the tech spreads to include US citizens on domestic flights. But the TSA doesn’t see this as an unwanted incursion into the lives of innocent citizens. Instead, it pitches it as a useful tool to speed up security screening at TSA checkpoints.

    • It’s No Trick — These Virginia Cities Are Criminalizing Halloween

      Local ordinances are taking all the fun out of Halloween through excessive age and time restrictions.
      In Chesapeake, Virginia, trick-or-treaters over 12 years old can be punished for trick-or-treating with a fine of “not less than $25.00 nor more than $100.00 or by confinement in jail for not more than six months or both.” The potential penalty for asking for candy after 8 p.m., regardless of age? A maximum fine of $100, up to 30 days in jail, or both. Other Virginia cities, including Norfolk, Hampton, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach, have comparable age and time limitations on trick-or-treating, as do other localities across the country.

      Some of Virginia’s local ordinances are even more restrictive. For instance, in Newport News, “no accompanying parent or guardian shall wear a mask of any type.” This local restriction runs counter to the exception created by the Virginia Legislature, which permits masks worn as part of “traditional holiday costumes.” This is an exemption to a state law that makes it a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in jail, for any person over the age of 16 to “wear any mask, [or] hood… to conceal the identity of the wearer.” Now, that is scary.

      The Virginian-Pilot traced some of these laws back to concerns over “hoodlums” committing “mayhem” back in the late 1960s, but let’s creep it real: These Halloween restrictions are batty for a host of reasons.

    • Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End

      From the early days of the Trump administration, the White House and Justice Department have obsessively sought to separate asylum-seeking parents from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border. The American people and the courts have mounted fierce resistance to this sadistic practice, but Trump’s men will not be deterred.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Entire broadband industry sues Vermont to stop state net neutrality law

      The lawsuit was filed yesterday in US District Court in Vermont by mobile industry lobby CTIA, cable industry lobby NCTA, telco lobby USTelecom, the New England Cable & Telecommunications Association, and the American Cable Association (ACA), which represents small and mid-size cable companies.

      CTIA, NCTA, USTelecom, and the ACA also previously sued California to stop a much stricter net neutrality law, but they’re now expanding the legal battle to multiple states. These lobby groups represent all the biggest mobile and home Internet providers in the US and hundreds of smaller ISPs. Comcast, Charter, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile US, Sprint, Cox, Frontier, and CenturyLink are among the groups’ members.

    • Stop building websites with infinite scroll!

      TL;DR: While infinite scroll does provide a solution in some cases, it can be less than ideal for users.

      Infinite scroll can be disorienting, uncontrollable, and can cause your users stress.

      In this article, we will explain why you need to stop building websites with infinite scroll. But to start, let’s look at a brief history of scrolling.

  • DRM
    • It’s Repair Day: No One Should Be Punished for “Contempt of Business Model”

      Repair is one of the secret keys to a better life. Repairs keep our gadgets in use longer (saving our pocketbooks) and divert e-waste from landfills or toxic recycling processes (saving our planet). Repair is an engine of community prosperity: when you get your phone screen fixed at your corner repair shop, your money goes to a locally owned small business (my daughter and the phone screen guy’s daughter go to the same school and he always tut-tuts over the state of my chipped and dented phone at parent-teacher nights).

      Fixing stuff has deep roots in the American psyche, from the motorheads who rebuilt and souped-up their cars, to the farmers whose ingenuity wrung every last bit of value out of their heavy equipment, to the electronics tinkerers who are lionized today as some of the founders of Silicon Valley.

      Repairs are amazing: they account for up to 4% of GDP, create local jobs (fix a ton of electronics and generate 200 jobs, send a ton of electronics to a dump to be dismantled and recycled and you create a measly 15 jobs, along with a mountain of toxic waste – reuse is always greener than recycling), and they generate a stream of low-cost, refurbished devices and products that are within reach of low-income Americans.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Germany: Acylphosphane, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 48/16, 21 March 2017

      The Federal Court of Justice confirmed that the value of the matter in dispute can be amended on appeal, including retroactively for the first instance, if new facts are divulged that command such an amendment.

    • Broad Application of WesternGeco Leads to Increased Patent Damages in Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int’l, Inc.

      As the WesternGeco case wound its way up to the Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit again confirmed the Power Integrations result, calling Power Integrations “[t]he leading case on lost profits for foreign conduct.” WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., 791 F.3d 1340 (Fed. Cir. 2015). The Federal Circuit then relied on Power Integrations to deny lost profits for worldwide sales in the WesternGeco case—but the Supreme Court reversed. The Court seemed impressed by a hypothetical posed during oral argument involving a French tourist in Washington, D.C. If that tourist was injured by a negligent driver and had to stay in the U.S. for medical treatment, would her damages include her lost wages because she was unable to return to her job in France? Because the lost wages are reasonably foreseeable, a court would award them, even though they accrue in France, because the tort, the car accident, happened in the U.S.

    • Rule 36 Affirmances at the Federal Circuit – Week of October 8, 2018

      During the week of October 8, 2018, there were five cases involving patents that were decided without an opinion as a result of Rule 36 affirmances at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Three of those cases were issued by panels including Chief Judge Sharon Prost. In two cases, the Federal Circuit upheld district court invalidations of asserted patents whereas another two affirmed rejections of applicants claims by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The last case was a summary affirmance of a victory by German drugmaker Erfindergemeinschaft UroPep over Eli Lilly in the Eastern District of Texas.

    • ITC Final Initial Determination: Apple Devices Infringe Qualcomm Patent but No Exclusion Order

      Several weeks ago, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued a notice regarding final initial determination and recommended determination in a Section 337 patent infringement investigation filed by San Diego, CA-based semiconductor developer Qualcomm against Cupertino, CA-based consumer gadget giant Apple. Although the notice, signed by administrative law judge (ALJ) Thomas Pender, found that accused products imported for sale by Apple infringed upon infringed upon a patent claim asserted by Qualcomm, ALJ Pender recommended against issuing a limited exclusion order for those infringing products.

      ALJ Pender’s initial determination in the Section 337 investigation found that certain mobile electronic devices and radio frequency and processing components thereof marketed by Apple infringed upon asserted claim 31 of U.S. Patent No. 9535490, titled Power Saving Techniques in Computing Devices. Claim 31 of this patent covers a mobile terminal comprising a modem timer, a modem processor configured to hold modem processor to application processor data until expiration of the modem timer, an application processor configured to hold application processor to modem processor data until the modem processor pulls data from the application processor, and then an interconnectivity bus communicatively coupling the application processor to the modem processor. The invention covered by this patent enables the use of faster internal buses in mobile devices to handle high data rates while addressing issues with excessive power consumption leading to shorter battery life.

    • Copyrights
      • Modernizing Copyright Registration

        The US Copyright Office (a branch of the Library of Congress) has published a Federal Register notice seeking comments on ways to improve (“modernize”) its copyright registration system:

        The U.S. Copyright Office is building a new registration system to meet the demands of the digital age. As the Office develops a new technological infrastructure for this system, it is considering several legal and policy changes to improve user experience, increase Office efficiency, and decrease processing times. The Office is seeking public comment to inform its decisions on how to improve the regulations and practices related to the registration of copyright claims.

      • Led Zeppelin ruling may help plaintiffs in other music copyright suits

        The Ninth Circuit’s Stairway to Heaven opinion has already been cited in an Ed Sheeran dispute. Copyright practitioners discuss its impact and issues to watch in the retrial

        The Ninth Circuit recently vacated in part the district court’s judgement that Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven did not infringe Spirit’s 1960s instrumental track Taurus.

      • CJEU weighs on liability of owner of internet connection used to infringe copyright

        What can be the nature of the penalties and measures to be taken in copyright infringement cases? More specifically: Is it compatible with EU law to provide that the owner of an internet connection, through which copyright infringements have been committed, may escape liability thereof by indicating, without the need to provide any further details, a family member who has also had access to such connection?

      • Appeals Court Says Of Course Georgia’s Laws (Including Annotations) Are Not Protected By Copyright And Free To Share

        Phew. The 11th Circuit appeals court has just overturned a lower court ruling and said that Georgia’s laws, including annotations, are not covered by copyright, and it is not infringing to post them online. This is big, and a huge win for online information activist Carl Malamud whose Public.Resource.org was the unfortunate defendant in a fight to make sure people actually understood the laws that ruled them. The details here matter, so let’s dig in:

        For the past few years, we’ve been covering the fairly insane situation down in Georgia, where they insist that the state’s annotated laws are covered by copyright. This is not quite the same thing as saying the laws themselves are covered by copyright. Everyone here seems to recognize that Georgia’s laws are not covered by copyright. But here’s where the problem comes in. The state of Georgia contracts out with a private company, LexisNexis, to “annotate” the law basically giving more context, and discussing the case law interpretations of the official code. The deal with the state is that LexisNexis then transfers whatever copyright it gets from the creation of the annotations back to the state. Finally, the only “official” version of Georgia’s state laws is in the “annotated” version. If you want to look up the official law of Georgia you are sent to the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” (OCGA), and it’s hosted by LexisNexis, and it has all sorts of restrictive terms of service on top of it. Indeed, every new law in Georgia literally says that it will amend “the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,” which certainly suggests that the OCGA — all of it — is the law in Georgia. And the state insisted that part of the law was covered by copyright.

      • Yandex Under Fire Again, This Time For Linking to Blocked RuTracker

        Russian search giant Yandex is under fire again, this time for linking to previously blocked sites including RuTracker. A law passed last year forbids search engines from linking to sites previously blocked on the orders of the Moscow City Court, so a group of book publishers is now demanding fines and even a potential ISP blockade of Yandex in a first-of-its-kind action.

      • Pirate Bay Founder’s ‘Njalla’ Criticized For Protecting Pirate Sites

        In 2017, Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde announced the launch of a new privacy-oriented startup. The Njalla domain name service offers site owners enhanced levels of privacy but not everyone is happy with the product. In a submission to the Japanese government, a powerful anti-piracy group complains that the service helps to shield pirate site operators from action.

Unified Patents Demolishes Some More Notorious Patent Trolls and Offers Bounties to Take Down More of Them

Saturday 20th of October 2018 09:08:10 PM

Older: Unified Patents Puts $2,000 Bounties on Prior Art, Seeking to Defang Texan Patent Trolls That Are Active In Spite of TC Heartland

Summary: Even though the new management of the US patent office treats patent trolls as a non-issue, groups that represent technology firms work hard to improve things (except for the litigation zealots)

THE epidemic of patent trolls in the US has slowed down and suffered some blows in recent years (TC Heartland being more recent and pretty major because it’s a SCOTUS ruling). But the epidemic or this plague isn’t a done deal. It’s not over yet.

“This is Iancu speaking about patents amassed not only by the millions (in the US alone) but as much as 10 million, with the majority of these granted in recent decades when the system lost sight of its original goal/s.”Trump-appointed (likely due to nepotism) USPTO “Director Andrei Iancu lauds risk takers, calls patent troll narrative ‘Orwellian doublespeak’,” Watchtoll wrote in yesterday’s headline, which sort of quote-mines a speech to the patent microcosm in which he also said: “This is 10 million patents in just over 200 years. And this is not just a number. Though sure enough, 10 million is a nice, round number. But more importantly, 10 million is the accumulation of creativity of such magnitude and concentration the likes of which humanity has never seen.”

This is Iancu speaking about patents amassed not only by the millions (in the US alone) but as much as 10 million, with the majority of these granted in recent decades when the system lost sight of its original goal/s. “10 million is the accumulation of creativity of such magnitude and concentration the likes of which humanity has never seen,” says a lawyer. Actually, a patent represents monopoly, not necessarily innovation and creativity (which as a lawyer he cannot recognise).

Either way, the above statement demonstrates that the current Director — unlike his predecessor — has no problem with trolls. Like Watchtroll, he refuses to recognise that they exist or that they’re a problem.

Let’s remember that Iancu is not a judge, however, so the more he deviates from what courts are saying (or keep saying), the steeper the decline in US patent certainty and therefore the value of pertinent US patents.

The EFF meanwhile presses on with its fight against patent trolls, having just mentioned AlphaCap again.

Daniel Nazer calls them “Patent troll AlphaCap Ventures” (mentioned here before several times last year) in yesterday’s post of his at the EFF’s Web site. To quote:

Patent trolls know that it costs a lot of money to defend a patent case. The high cost of defensive litigation means that defendants are pressured to settle even if the patent is invalid. Fee awards can change this calculus and give defendants a chance to fight back against weak claims. A recent decision [PDF] from the Federal Circuit has overturned a fee award in a case involving an abstract software patent on crowdsourcing. This disappointing ruling may encourage other patent trolls to file meritless cases.

Patent troll AlphaCap Ventures claimed that its patent covered various forms of online equity financing. It filed suit against ten different crowdfunding platforms. Most of the defendants settled quickly. But one defendant, Gust, fought back. After nearly two years of litigation in both the Eastern District of Texas and the Southern District of New York, AlphaCap Ventures dismissed its claim against Gust. The judge in the Southern District of New York ruled that AlphaCap Ventures’ attorneys had litigated unreasonably and ordered them to pay Gust’s attorneys’ fees. Those lawyers then appealed.

A disgusting thug and patent troll known as Global Equity Management (SA) Pty Ltd (GEMSA) also surrenders at last, having already trolled a lot of companies and SLAPPed the EFF. The patent was later thrown out and the EFF sued it back/reciprocally after SLAPP. Watch what Unified Patents has just accomplished:

On October 17, 2018, the Board issued an order terminating IPR2017-01467 pursuant to a joint settlement request filed by Unified Patents and Global Equity Management (SA) Pty. Ltd. (“GEMSA”) (an NPE). U.S. Patent 6,690,400, directed to a graphical user interface (GUI) displaying graphics representing various partitioned storage devices in a computer, has been asserted in multiple district court cases, 35 of which were pending at the time of settlement.

Unified Patents is looking for information, notably prior art, which can help thwart some more patent trolls. This time there’s a $1000 award to those who can show basis for demolishing the patent troll Express Mobile:

On October 18, 2018, Unified added a $1,000 contest to PATROLL seeking prior art for US Patent No. 9928044, the latest patent asserted in a wave of litigation filed by Express Mobile Inc. (an NPE). The ’044 patent generally relates to a method and system for displaying a website on a mobile device. The contest will expire on January 18, 2019.

Another new bounty stands at $2000 (yes, two thousand bucks) for anyone who can help demolish a patent troll that was paid a lot by Microsoft (Uniloc). To quote:

On October 15, 2018, Unified added a $2,000 contest to PATROLL seeking prior art for US Patent No. 6470345, owned and asserted by Uniloc USA, a well-known NPE. The ’345 patent, titled “Replacement of substrings in file/directory pathnames with numeric tokens,” generally relates to a system and method for a file directory system. The contest will expire on January 14, 2019.

Uniloc has been suing Apple quite a lot lately. We wrote about it quite a few times. This troll, Uniloc, keeps flinging more lawsuits and patents at Apple and based on some new reports HP patents have just landed on some troll’s lap, which is suing:

  • Apple sued over FaceTime technology

    Granted to Hewlett-Packard Development Company in 2013, U.S. Patent No. 8,539,552 for a “System and method for network based policy enforcement of intelligent-client features” details techniques for controlling services in packet-based networks. Described in the IP’s main claims are methods for messaging policy enforcement including signaling, authentication and routing to correct services based on stored information.

  • Patent trolls sets sights on Apple with FaceTime lawsuit

    The patent in question, AppleInsider reports, covers intelligent-client features in IP telephony networks and more specifically relates to how a pair of devices can communicate with one another on a packet-based network.

These are patents based on old work of HP, but they’re being used/leveraged by trolls. It’s not possible for Apple to sue HP to deter/discourage such action. Therein lies the nasty nature of trolls and they need to be stopped, no matter what Iancu thinks. Unified Patents works for the interests of the Unified States, whereas Iancu (born in Hungary) works for the interests of patent lawyers’ unions.

The Identity Crisis of the European Patent Office, Wrongly Believing It Exists to Serve Lawyers and Patent Trolls Outside Europe

Saturday 20th of October 2018 08:12:46 PM

Whose interests does António Campinos represent?

Summary: The European Patent Office doesn’t even feel like it’s European anymore; it’s just an international patent office that happens to be based (primarily) in Munich; insiders and outsiders alike need to ask themselves what these ‘European’ officials (employing firms outside Europe) have turned the Office into

THE European Patent Office, once a source of pride for Europe, no longer seems to work for Europe (except maybe some law firms that happen to also have branches in Europe). This is a problem and there are legitimate reasons for examiners’ dissatisfaction. Those are European scientists, unlike their managers (who are nowadays very rarely scientists; some totally lack any scientific background and experience, qualifications, education etc.) that keep pushing software patents in Europe.

“This is a problem and there are legitimate reasons for examiners’ dissatisfaction.”“The last panel discussion at our Patenting AI conference dealt with societal and liability aspects of #AI, computational inventiveness, inventorship and entitlement issues,” the European Patent Office (or Organisation; the username and name are in conflict as we noted here before) wrote before the weekend. The EPO found a new name/trick for software patents — one that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) too increasingly piggybacks to dodge 35 U.S.C. § 101. It didn’t take long for the EPO to start greenwashing software patents, having written this shortly afterwards: “Is artificial intelligence the ‘new frontier’ in green technology? Join the discussion at this event…”

We have meanwhile learned, based on this CoinGeek article, that software patents are still being granted to nChain. Shame on the EPO for granting such patents. Shame on nChain for pursuing these. To quote:

According to a blog post published by the firm, nChain has been awarded a new patent by the European Patent Office (EPO). The latest patent—the sixth to be awarded by the EPO—covers a system that uses a trusted device to secure content on another device or computer server. The patent extends the invention covered by nChain’s Deterministic Key Generation patent, which was previously approved by the EPO.

The patent, entitled “Personal device security using elliptic curve cryptography for secret sharing, and numbered European Patent 3257006, details how two personal devices can communicate with each other securely using a “common secret” but without requiring that any sensitive private-key information be exchanged. Instead, the technique uses digital signatures to create the common secret each time data needs to be exchanged.

To better understand why the EPO has stooped so low pay attention to who’s being consulted: "Consisting of representatives of IP special-interest groups and IP sections of (US) State Bar associations," according to the EPO itself. They tweeted about this too: “The 34th annual meeting of the US Bar-EPO Liaison Council took place at the EPO’s Munich headquarters.”

So the US decides on how the EPO should be run? Do European politicians also tell the USPTO how to run? If not, why not? Need we assume the supremacy of special interests in the US? Even in Europe? What about China?

Automated translations of technical documents were then mentioned by the EPO just at the week’s very end: (warning: epo.org link)

With 25 000 daily users, Espacenet is now one of the most frequently accessed patent information services. The EPO continually works to develop and improve its offerings as users’ needs evolve. For example, to address the language barriers inherent in the system as the database grew to contain patent documents in ever more languages, the EPO developed Patent Translate, a tool for automated patent translation. Launched in 2012, the service provides free, “on-the-fly” machine translation of patents for 32 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. In 2017 the EPO incorporated neural machine translation technology into Patent Translate to provide even more accurate translations, and the service currently sees 20 000 requests for translation every working day.

This is part of a bunch of tweets that said: “On this day 20 years ago, the EPO launched a free #patent search tool that would change how patent information is accessed across the world. [] A walk down memory lane: On #Espacenet’s 20-year anniversary, here are some of the earlier interfaces. See if you remember them! [] 20 years ago #Espacenet was born.

More in Tux Machines

Security Leftovers

Ubuntu Mir's EGMDE Desktop Getting Experimental XWayland

Ubuntu's little known EGMDE example Mir desktop that is mostly a proving grounds for Mir development is now receiving support for XWayland for being able to run X11 applications within this example environment. Lead Mir developer Alan Griffiths posted about initial XWayland support for EGMDE but that it is "highly experimental, and can crash the desktop." This support is available via the "edge" EGMDE Snap. Read more

Devices: Coreboot, Toradex and Digi, Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+

  • Another Micro-ATX Haswell Era Motherboard Working With Coreboot But Needs Tiny Blob
    There are many Sandy Bridge era motherboards that have been freed by Coreboot while if you are looking for more options on something (slightly) newer, a micro-ATX Haswell-era motherboard from ASRock now works under this open-source BIOS implementation. The ASRock H81M-HDS is the latest motherboard port now mainline in Coreboot. The ASRock H81M-HDS supports Haswell Core and Xeon CPUs, supports two DDR3/DDR3L DIMMs, one PCI Express x16 slot, onboard display outputs, four SATA ports, and multiple USB3/USB2 ports. This motherboard can be found refurbished still from some Internet shops for about $70 USD.
  • Toradex and Digi launch i.MX8X-based Colibri and ConnectCore COMs
    Toradex and Digi have released Linux-friendly i.MX8X-based modules via early access programs. The Colibri iMX8X and Digi ConnectCore 8X each provide WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.2. NXP’s i.MX8X SoC has made quite a splash this week. Eight months after Phytec announced an i.MX8X-based phyCORE-i.MX 8X module, Variscite unveiled a VAR-SOM-MX8X module and then Congatec followed up with the Qseven form-factor Conga-QMX8X and SMARC 2.0 Conga-SMX8X. Now Toradex and Digi are beginning shipments of i.MX8X based modules for early access customers.
  • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ launched for only $25

Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome: Net Neutrality Stance, Mozilla, a VR Work, Firefox Monitor and 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity

  • Mozilla Fights On For Net Neutrality
    Mozilla took the next step today in the fight to defend the web and consumers from the FCC’s attack on an open internet. Together with other petitioners, Mozilla filed our reply brief in our case challenging the FCC’s elimination of critical net neutrality protections that require internet providers to treat all online traffic equally. The fight for net neutrality, while not a new one, is an important one. We filed this case because we believe that the internet works best when people control for themselves what they see and do online. The FCC’s removal of net neutrality rules is not only bad for consumers, it is also unlawful. The protections in place were the product of years of deliberation and careful fact-finding that proved the need to protect consumers, who often have little or no choice of internet provider. The FCC is simply not permitted to arbitrarily change its mind about those protections based on little or no evidence. It is also not permitted to ignore its duty to promote competition and protect the public interest. And yet, the FCC’s dismantling of the net neutrality rules unlawfully removes long standing rules that have ensured the internet provides a voice for everyone. Meanwhile, the FCC’s defenses of its actions and the supporting arguments of large cable and telco company ISPs, who have come to the FCC’s aid, are misguided at best. They mischaracterize the internet’s technical structure as well as the FCC’s mandate to advance internet access, and they ignore clear evidence that there is little competition among ISPs. They repeatedly contradict themselves and have even introduced new justifications not outlined in the FCC’s original decision to repeal net neutrality protections.
  • Virtual meeting rooms don’t have to be boring. We challenge you to design better ones!
    Mozilla’s mission is to make the Internet a global public resource, open and accessible to all, including innovators, content creators, and builders on the web. VR is changing the very future of web interaction, so advancing it is crucial to Mozilla’s mission. That was the initial idea behind Hubs by Mozilla, a VR interaction platform launched in April 2018 that lets you meet and talk to your friends, colleagues, partners, and customers in a shared 360-environment using just a browser, on any device from head-mounted displays like HTC Vive to 2D devices like laptops and mobile phones. Since then, the Mozilla VR team has kept integrating new and exciting features to the Hubs experience: the ability bring videos, images, documents, and even 3D models into Hubs by simply pasting a link. In early October, two more useful features were added: drawing and photo uploads.
  • New Raspbian Update, Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 Released, Firefox Monitor Now Available in More Than 26 Languages, Chrome OS Linux Soon Will Have Access to Downloads Folder and Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 Long-Term Support
    Firefox Monitor, the free services that tells you whether your email has been part of a security breach, is now available in more than 26 languages: "Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh." Along with this, Mozilla also announced that it has added "a notification to our Firefox Quantum browser that alerts desktop users when they visit a site that has had a recently reported data breach". See the Mozilla blog for details.
  • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity That You Should Use In 2019
    Google is the most popular browser around and supports a vast number of extensions as well. Since there are a lot of Chrome addons available in the Chrome Web Store, picking the best Google Chrome extension can be quite a task. Also, it is quite easy to get distracted on the web and lose track of time. Thankfully, several good extensions for productivity are available that can help you focus on your tasks, save time by prioritizing them and skillfully manage your to-do list. So here is a list of excellent Google Chrome extensions for productivity for the year 2019 that will assist you in your work in.