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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 12 min ago

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.

Links 19/10/2018: OpenBSD 6.4 and OpenSSH 7.9 Released

Friday 19th of October 2018 05:42:44 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Suddenly Linux runs in Android

    Yes, Android is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel. But once you’ve got Android running, you can utilize this app to get Linux running inside Android. But why, you might be asking – why would you want to do that? If you have to ask, you might just want to turn back now. With this app, users are able to run Debian or Ubuntu, games like Adventure or Zork, and Math systems like Gnuplot, Octave, and R.

    UserLand allows one Session at a time and can also monitor filesystems. If you’re looking for a graphical interface, and not just a command line system, you might want to take a peek at the operating system Android. In other words: This is mostly just for fun, and a sort of proof of concept – but it has so much potential!

  • Desktop
    • Love Microsoft Teams? Love Linux? Then you won’t love this

      Microsoft loves Linux. Unless you are a Linux user who happens to want to use Teams. In that case, you probably aren’t feeling the love quite so much.

    • Chrome OS Linux support to gain folder sharing, Google Drive, more

      Chrome OS has been shaping up to be the all-in-one system, combining the best of Google’s ecosystem, including Android apps, with the power of Linux apps. The latter is still in beta phase with improvements and new features in every update. Today we take a look at some of the features coming soon to Chrome OS Linux apps.

      Chrome OS first gained its Linux app support, also known as Crostini, with version 69. While it’s certainly not flawless, the support has been groundbreaking, enabling everything from full photo editors to Android Studio on Chrome OS. With upcoming versions of Chrome OS, Google is working to smoothen the rough edges of Crostini to make it easier to use.

  • Server
    • Google Cloud CTO Brian Stevens on using open source for competitive advantage in the public cloud

      As all three continue to vie for the affections of CIOs, how they market their respective public cloud propositions to enterprise IT buyers has subtly shifted over time.

      For evidence of this, one only has to look at how little fuss the big three now make about rolling out price cuts for their services compared to several years ago, when one provider announcing a price drop would not only make headlines, but prompt its competitors to publicly follow suit too.

      This in itself is indicative of the fact enterprises expect more from providers than just access to cheap commodity IT services these days, and that ongoing cost reductions are simply an accepted part of using cloud, Google Cloud CTO Brian Stevens, tells Computer Weekly.

  • Kernel Space
    • KUnit: A new unit testing framework for Linux Kernel

      On Tuesday, Google engineer Brendan Higgins announced an experimental set of 31 patches by introducing KUnit as a new Linux kernel unit testing framework to help preserve and improve the quality of the kernel’s code.

      KUnit is a lightweight unit testing and mocking framework designed for the Linux kernel. Unit tests necessarily have finer granularity, they are able to test all code paths easily solving the classic problem of difficulty in exercising error handling code.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Mesa 18.2.3 Coming This Week With Fixes/Workarounds For Several Steam Play Games

        Igalia’s Juan Suarez Romero as the Mesa 18.2 series release manager is putting the finishing touches on the 18.2.3 point release to benefit Steam Play / Proton / Wine games.

        This latest bi-weekly point release to the Mesa 18.2 stable series has over three dozen patches queued so far and several of them are for fixes/workarounds to different games. Those affected games include Rage, Yakuza, The Evil Within, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, ARMA 3, and No Man’s Sky.

    • Benchmarks
      • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 OpenCL, CUDA, TensorFlow GPU Compute Benchmarks

        Here are the first of our benchmarks for the GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card that launched this week. In our inaugural Ubuntu Linux benchmarking with the GeForce RTX 2070 is a look at the OpenCL / CUDA GPU computing performance including with TensorFlow and various models being tested on the GPU. The benchmarks are compared to an assortment of available graphics cards and also include metrics for power consumption, performance-per-Watt, and performance-per-dollar.

      • Intel Core i9 9900K Linux Benchmarks – 15-Way Intel/AMD Comparison On Ubuntu 18.10

        Intel sent over the Core i9 9900K as their first 9th Gen Coffeelake-S CPU hitting store shelves today. With the embargo on that now expired, let’s have a look at how well this eight-core / sixteen-thread processor performs under Linux.

        The Core i9 9900K is Intel’s new answer for competing with the likes of the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, but does come at a higher price point of $499 USD. While the Core i9 9900K is a Coffeelake refresh, rather than being six cores / twelve threads, they are matching AMD’s precedent set by the Ryzen 7 processors in having eight cores / sixteen threads. This 14nm 8C / 16T processor has a base clock frequency of 3.6GHz with a turbo frequency at 5.0GHz, a 16MB L3 cache and supports dual-channel DDR4-2666 memory.

      • Intel Core i9 9900K vs. AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Linux Gaming Benchmarks

        Complementing the just-published Intel Core i9 9900K Linux benchmarks with the launch-day embargo lift are the Linux gaming benchmarks… This article is looking at the Linux performance between the Core i9 9900K and AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X in a variety of native Linux games as well as comparing the performance-per-Watt. So if you are a Linux gamer and deciding between these sub-$500 processors, this article is for you.

        If you didn’t yet read the main article that features a 15-way CPU comparison on Ubuntu 18.10 with the Linux 4.19 kernel, here is a recap of this new Coffeelake refresh CPU. The Core i9 9900K is an eight-core / sixteen-thread processor with 3.6GHz base frequency and 5.0GHz turbo frequency. This 14nm CPU has a 16MB L3 cache, dual channel DDR4-2666 support, and a 95 Watt TDP. There is also the onboard UHD Graphics 630, but if you’re a gamer, that isn’t going to cut it. The Core i9 9900K is launching at $499 USD.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Kraft Version 0.82

        A new release of Kraft, the Qt- and KDE based software to help to organize business docs in small companies, has arrived.

        A couple of days ago version 0.82 was released. It mainly is a bugfix release, but it also comes with a few new features. Users were asking for some new functions that they needed to switch to Kraft with their business communication, and I am always trying to make that a priority.

        The most visible feature is a light rework of the calculation dialog that allows users to do price calculations for templates. It was cleared up, superflous elements were finally removed and the remaining ones now work as expected. The distinction between manual price and calculated price should be even more clear now. Time calculations can now not only done in the granularity of minutes, as this was to coarse for certain usecases. The unit for a time slice can now be either seconds, minutes or hours.

      • Working on QML Book

        Do you remember QML Book? It started as a project between me and Jürgen Bocklage-Ryannel where we tried to fix the problem that there is no QML book out there.

        Back in the Qt 5.2 days, we spent wrote about a year. Unfortunately, the project has mainly been sitting idle since then. I’ve poked at issues every now and then, and Jürgen has done various fixes as well.

        Thanks to The Qt Company, this is changing. This autumn, it sponsors me to work on the project. The current plan is to add a chapter to Qt Quick Controls 2, and to update the entire contents to Qt 5.12 and Qt Creator 4.8. By doing so, many of the remaining bug reports will be resolved.

      • Cleaning up the KDE Store

        In August of last year, i wrote a blog entry about my experience at Akademy 2017 in the amazing Almería, and in that blog entry, amongst many other things, i wrote about an effort which had been slowly brewing, conceptually, for about a year by then: Tagging support in the Open Collaboration Services API. Now, what does that have to do with the KDE Store, you might say? Well, that is the API used by the KNewStuff framework to interface with the store, and that in turn is what is used in the many various places in our software which show shiny, new content for downloading (or to put it in a different way: used by our software to let users Get Hot New Stuff).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Android Integration Extension For Gnome GSConnect v13 Stable Released

        The latest GSConnect v13, released today, is a rewrite with with changes to the architecture, settings and default behavior, and it requires Gnome Shell 3.28 or 3.30. The new version includes redesigned settings, Do Not Disturb mode, quick reply from notifications, and other features and improvements.

        GSConnect is a complete KDE Connect protocol implementation written in GJS for Gnome Shell, which integrates Android devices with your Gnome desktop. Using it, you can easily send files between your Gnome desktop and Android smartphone, sync the clipboard or notifications between the two devices, browse files wirelessly on your Android device from your desktop, and much more.

  • Distributions
    • IPFire Hardened Linux Firewall Distribution Is Now Available on Amazon Cloud

      IPFire maintainer Michael Tremer announced the availability of a new version of the open-source hardened Linux firewall distribution and intrusion detection and prevention system.

      IPFire 2.21 Core Update 124 is now available with Linux kernel, OpenSSH, and Unbound hardening. It ships with Linux kernel 4.14.72 LTS, a release that improves support for network adapters and enables built-in kernel security features to further harden IPFire against various attack vectors, and Unbound 1.8 DNS proxy hardened to reduce the load on DNS servers.

      This is also the first release of IPFire to add support for booting in EFI (UEFI) mode on x86_64 computers that support the standard. However, the developers noted the fact that to benefit of EFI support, users will have to reinstall IPFire.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • Tumbleweed Gets New Versions of KDE Applications, Krita, Apache Subversion

        Since last week’s openSUSE Tumbleweed update, there were two snapshots released that brought KDE users a newer version of Applications 18.08.2 and all Tumbleweed users could update to Linux Kernel 4.18.13.

        Last week brought newer versions of KDE’s Plasma 5.14 and Frameworks 5.50.0, and this week the arrival of Applications 18.08.2 came in snapshot 20181015. Applications 18.08.2 contained only bug fixes and translation updates. Among the key bug fixes was the dragging of a file in Dolphin that no longer accidentally triggers inline renaming; KCalc again allows both ‘dot’ and ‘comma’ keys when entering decimals and a visual glitch in the Paris card deck for KDE’s card games was fixed. Snapshot 20181015 had a few other updated packages like the open source painting program krita 4.1.5, which fixed a missing shortcut from the Fill Tool tooltip and a change of importing SVG files as vector layers instead of pixel layers. The ibus-table 1.9.21 update, which is an engine framework for table-based input methods, migrated IBusConfig to GSettings; non-gnome users have a Draw InputMode text instead of icon into panel. The 4.18.13 Linux Kernel was also included in the snapshot and fixed an unexpected failure of nocow buffered writes for Btrfs after snapshoting when a user is low on space; the newer kernel also added support for Apple Magic Keyboards. Python-jedi 0.13.1 removed Python 3.3 support. The Apache version-control package subversion 1.10.3 fixed conflict resolver crashes and endless scan in some cases.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian GSoC 2018 report

        One of my major contributions to Debian in 2018 has been participation as a mentor and admin for Debian in Google Summer of Code (GSoC).

        Here are a few observations about what happened this year, from my personal perspective in those roles.

        Making a full report of everything that happens in GSoC is close to impossible. Here I consider issues that span multiple projects and the mentoring team. For details on individual projects completed by the students, please see their final reports posted in August on the mailing list.

        [...]

        Google encourages organizations to put project ideas up for discussion and also encourages students to spontaneously propose their own ideas. This latter concept is a significant difference between GSoC and Outreachy that has caused unintended confusion for some mentors in the past. I have frequently put teasers on my blog, without full specifications, to see how students would try to respond. Some mentors are much more precise, telling students exactly what needs to be delivered and how to go about it. Both approaches are valid early in the program.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) released

            Codenamed “Cosmic Cuttlefish”, 18.10 continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition
            of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a
            high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at
            work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

            The Ubuntu kernel has been updated to the 4.18 based Linux kernel,
            our default toolchain has moved to gcc 8.2 with glibc 2.28, and we’ve
            also updated to openssl 1.1.1 and gnutls 3.6.4 with TLS1.3 support.

            Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 LTS brings a fresh look with the community-driven
            Yaru theme replacing our long-serving Ambiance and Radiance themes. We
            are shipping the latest GNOME 3.30, Firefox 63, LibreOffice 6.1.2, and
            many others.

            Ubuntu Server 18.10 includes the Rocky release of OpenStack including
            the clustering enabled LXD 3.0, new network configuration via netplan.io,
            and iteration on the next-generation fast server installer. Ubuntu Server
            brings major updates to industry standard packages available on private
            clouds, public clouds, containers or bare metal in your datacentre.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Officially Released

            It should come as no surprise, but the official release of Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” is now available with the announcement just hitting the wire.

          • Infographic: Snaps in numbers

            Coinciding with the release of Ubuntu 18.10 today, we have celebrated the exceptional adoption of snaps by sharing the infographic below. From popular snaps to daily installs, this infographic demonstrates where, when and why users are installing and adopting the secure, Linux application format. For more commentary around these numbers, check out this recent blog. Alternatively, start installing your chosen snaps.

          • Ubuntu 18.10:Multi-cloud,new desktop theme & enhanced snap integration

            Canonical today announced the release of Ubuntu 18.10, focused on multi-cloud deployments, AI software development, a new community desktop theme and richer snap desktop integration.

            “Ubuntu is now the world’s reference platform for AI engineering and analytics” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical. “We accelerate developer productivity and help enterprises operate at speed and at scale, across multiple clouds and diverse edge appliances.”

            This year, the financial services industry has engaged significantly with Canonical and Ubuntu for infrastructure efficiency on-premise and to accelerate their move to the cloud. The push for machine learning analytics and of fintech efforts around blockchain, distributed ledger applications and cryptocurrencies are current drivers of Ubuntu investments and deployments.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E32 – Thirty-Two Going on Spinster

            This week we interview Daniel Foré about the final release of elementary 5.0 (Juno), bring you some Android love and go over all your feedback.

            It’s Season 11 Episode 32 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

          • Canonical have released some statistics from the Ubuntu installer survey

            When installing Ubuntu 18.04, Canonical’s installer will offer to send some statistics to them. Canonical have now released some of this. One thing to note, is that this data does not include Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Core, cloud images or and any other Ubuntu derivatives that don’t include the report in their own installer.

            They’ve had some good results from it, with 66% of people sending them their data. It’s a nice start, but I think they really need to do some separation of physical and virtual machines, since it seems they’re merged together which will skew a bunch of the data I would imagine.

          • Ubuntu “User Statistics” Published, But It’s A Letdown To Data Junkies

            Canonical managed to announced on the same-day as the Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” debut their goal for this cycle of opening up their software/hardware survey results that began with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS desktop installations. Those initial results are now available but the available data and analytic capabilities are rather underwhelming.

          • Canonical Launch Ubuntu User Statistics Website

            Canonical has launched an official webpage to relay Ubuntu user statistics collected by the Ubuntu report tool.

            The company had shared a few early findings from its data collection tool earlier in the year, but we’ve had to wait until now to get the full set via a fancy-pants website.

            And they were worth the wait.

            All of the info that makes up the Ubuntu user statistics report was collated from non-identifiable system data that users who installed Ubuntu 18.04 LTS explicitly opted in to share.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish is now ready to download
          • 18 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’
          • Ubuntu 18.10 released, here’s our review of changes it brings
          • Ubuntu 18.10 released (new default theme, performance improvements)
          • Ubuntu Linux 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish is finally available for download!
          • Is this cuttlefish really all that cosmic? Ubuntu 18.10 arrives with extra spit, polish, 4.18 kernel
          • Ubuntu 18.10 Is Out With a New Theme and Snappier Desktop Performance

            Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” is now available. This releases features a shiny new theme named “Yaru,” which was originally scheduled for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. The new GNOME 3.30 improves desktop performance, too.

            Most of the improvements in Cosmic Cuttlefish are low-level things you can’t see. As usual, this means a lot of package upgrades. Ubuntu 18.10 features the Linux kernel 4.18, GNOME 3.30 desktop, and LibreOffice 6.1.2. Under the hood, this new release boasts a “state of the art toolchain” featuring various new versions of system software, from glibc 2.28 to GCC 8.2 and OpenSSL 1.1.1.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Released, Includes Gnome 3.30 And New Default Yaru Theme

            Ubuntu 18.10, codenamed Cosmic Cuttlefish, is available for download. This release will be supported for 9 months (after which you’ll have to upgrade), and brings improvements ranging from updated Gnome to version 3.30 to a new default Gtk and icon theme called Yaru.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” Due Out Today, Arm Launches IoT-Focused Mbed Linux, GitHub’s New Security Features, MongoDB Announces New Server Side License and Google to Charge for Apps on Android Handsets Sold in Europe

            Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” expected to be released today. According to Phoronix, the biggest change for users will be the revised default theme for the GNOME Shell experience, now known as “Yaru”. Ubuntu 18.10 will also have the Linux 4.18 kernel, “which means better hardware support, various performance improvements, and other optimizations compared to Ubuntu 18.04′s Linux 4.15″.

          • New Things on Ubuntu 18.10: GNOME 3.30, More RAM Friendly, Yaru Theme, and More

            Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” released today Thursday, 18 October 2018 with the new user experience and latest desktop technology, including, GNOME 3.30, GTK+3.30, and Yaru Theme. The most shocking, but pleasing thing is it got reduced in RAM usage down to only ~800MiB after freshly installed (already lower than 1GiB)! It brings the latest Snappy with the rapidly increasing and growing Snapcraft.io App Store platform. It comes as the most user friendly operating system for PC and laptop with 9-month support lifespan (October ’18-July ’19). This traditional welcome article sums up some details and information in brief about this latest version. Download, install, give it a try, and enjoy 18.10!

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

            Canonical announced today the general availability of Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish), the most recent version of the Linux-based operating system featuring all the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software products.

            Dubbed Cosmic Cuttlefish, Ubuntu 18.10 has been in development during the past six months, during which it received numerous improvements over previous releases. Ubuntu 18.10 features the latest GNOME 3.30 desktop environment and it’s powered by the most recent and advanced kernel, Linux 4.18.

            Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) will be supported by Canonical for the next nine months with software updates and security patches. It’s now available to download as Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Studio flavors.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 is Released. Here’s What’s New

            The Latest installment of Ubuntu – Cosmic Cuttlefish – 18.10 is released and available for download.

            Ubuntu 18.10 code named ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ is released after 6 months of development efforts. The latest release of Ubuntu comes with some major feature updates and latest software. This release is a short term release and would be receiving updates and security fixes till July 2019.

          • Snaps for Linux are a massive success

            One of the big knocks against Linux-based operating systems is lack of software. The truth is, there are countless excellent programs for both productivity and fun. One fair criticism, however, is fragmentation between distributions. For end users, it can be difficult installing an app that isn’t designed for their distro. And yeah, that has been a pain point for years.

            Thankfully, Canonical — maker of Ubuntu — aimed to alleviate that problem with Snaps. These containerized packages can be installed on pretty much any Linux distribution, making things easier for both users and developers. But has the organization’s standard been a success? Apparently, very much so. As a way to celebrate yesterday’s release of Cosmic Cuttlefish, Canonical shares the following infographic.

          • Canonical releases statistics showing “exceptional adoption of snaps”

            Canonical has revealed some statistics pertaining to its relatively new snap packages. The firm stated that there are now more than 4,100 snaps available, several of which we’ve reported on, they include the Opera web browser, PowerShell Core, Slack, the Kotlin programming language, Plex, Firefox Quantum, Microsoft’s VoIP client – Skype, the popular music streaming service – Spotify, and Visual Studio Code.

            Impressively, snaps are seeing 100,000 installs every day on cloud, server, container, desktop and on IoT devices, which works out to around three million installs each month. Of course, these statistics don’t only take into account snap installs on Ubuntu, but other distributions too. Canonical said that snaps are supported on 41 Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, Arch Linux, Fedora, and many more.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Released: All Flavors Download Links, Torrents, and Checksums

            Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” just released yesterday 18 October 2018. I wrote the short welcome review here, and now this article lists all download links of Ubuntu and 7 Official Flavors including torrents. I include a brief how to download below as well just in case it’s your first experience with Ubuntu. Last but not least, I list all MD5SUM values of them in the end so you can verify your downloads. Happy downloading, happy installing, and happy running with Ubuntu. Good luck!

          • 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.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ releases with focus on AI development, multi-cloud and edge deployments, and much more!

            Yesterday (on 18th October), Canonical announced the release of Ubuntu 18.10 termed as ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’. This new release is focussed on multi-cloud deployments, AI software development, a new community desktop theme, and richer snap desktop integration.

            According to Mark, the new release will help accelerate developer productivity and help enterprises operate at a better speed whilst being scalable across multiple clouds and diverse edge appliances.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Ubuntu Studio 18.10 Released

              The Ubuntu Studio team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu Studio 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish”. As a regular release, this version of Ubuntu Studio will be supported for 9 months.

              Since it’s just out, you may experience some issues, so you might want to wait a bit before upgrading. Please see the release notes for a complete list of changes and known issues.

            • Ubuntu MATE: Ubuntu MATE 18.10 Final Release

              Ubuntu MATE 18.10 is a modest, yet strategic, upgrade over our 18.04 release. If you want bug fixes and improved hardware support then 18.10 is for you. For those who prefer staying on the LTS then everything in this 18.10 release is also important for the upcoming 18.04.2 release. Oh yeah, we’ve also made a bespoke Ubuntu MATE 18.10 image for the GPD Pocket and GPD Pocket 2.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.10 is Now Available for the GPD Pocket Laptop

              Announced alongside the standard Ubuntu MATE 18.10 release, project lead Martin WImpress has unveiled a set of bespoke images built specifically for use with the GPD Pocket machines, in both their first and second-gen guises.

              The 7-inch crowdfunded portables have proven a big hit thanks to their canny combination of decent specs, high-res touch-screen, and intimately sized proportions.

            • Ubuntu 18.10 Flavors Released, Ready to Download

              Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish, the latest version of Ubuntu, is now available to download and so too are freshly spun images for it crop of community-based flavors.

              New stable versions of Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, Xubuntu and Kubuntu are ready to download, all based on Ubuntu 18.10.

              Read on to learn about the biggest changes these updates bring and to snag a download of them to try for yourself.

            • Kubuntu 18.10 is released today

              Kubuntu 18.10 has been released, featuring the beautiful Plasma 5.13 desktop from KDE.

              Codenamed “Cosmic Cuttlefish”, Kubuntu 18.10 continues our proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution.

              The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

              Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.18-based kernel, Qt 5.11, KDE Frameworks 5.50, Plasma 5.13.5 and KDE Applications 18.04.3

            • Kubuntu 18.10 Released with Snap Integration in Plasma Discover, KDE Plasma 5.13

              Kubuntu developer Rik Mills informs us on the general availability of the Kubuntu 18.10 release as part of the Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) operating system series launch by Canonical the other day.

              Continuing the project’s tradition to offer users the latest KDE technologies with every new major release, Kubuntu 18.10 ships with the KDE Plasma 5.13.5 desktop environment by default, along with the latest KDE Applications 18.04.3 software suite, KDE Frameworks 5.50 software suite, and Qt 5.11 software development framework.

              Just like Ubuntu 18.10, the Kubuntu 18.10 operating system is powered by the latest Linux 4.18 kernel by default, which provides better hardware support, especially for AMD users. Furthermore, Kubuntu 18.10 comes with Snap integration in the Plasma Discover graphical package manager.

            • Xubuntu 18.10 released!

              The Xubuntu team is happy to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 18.10!

              Xubuntu 18.10 is a regular release and will be supported for 9 months, until July 2019. If you need a stable environment with longer support time, we recommend that you use Xubuntu 18.04 LTS instead.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Braiins OS: An Open Source Alternative to Bitcoin Mining Firmware

    The company behind Slush Pool recently rolled out the initial release of its ASIC miner firmware: Braiins OS. The operating system is advertised as “the very first fully open-source, Linux-based system for cryptocurrency embedded devices,” an alternative to the factory-default firmware that comes with most popular mining hardware.

    Upon visiting the project’s website, visitors are greeted with a clear message, a mantra that resonates with its related industry’s ethos: “Take back control.”

  • Cryptoexchange Coinbase open sources its security scanner tool Salus

    The renowned United States-based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase always focuses on the security of its platform. Moreover, it has developed novel solutions to implementing security protocols to further strengthen their security. Furthermore, just recently, they announced that they are listing their security scanner execution tool, Salus as open source.

  • Crypto Exchange Coinbase Open-Sources Its Security Scaling Tool

    U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is making a recently developed automated security scaling tool available to the public.

    Called Salus, after the Roman the goddess of safety and well-being, the program can automatically choose to run and configure different security scanners and issue a report on the results, according to a Thursday blog post from Coinbase developer Julian Borrey.

    Available as an open-source tool on GitHub from today, Salus is said to offer the advantage of being able to centrally coordinate security scans across a large number of software storage repositories, avoiding having to configure a scanner for each different project.

  • Announce: dnsmasq-2.80

    I just published dnsmasq-2.80, available at

    http://www.thekelleys.org.uk/dnsmasq/dnsmasq-2.80.tar.gz

    Changelog attached below.[...]

  • To BeOS or not to BeOS, that is the Haiku

    Back in 2001, a new operating system arrived that promised to change the way users worked with their computers. That platform was BeOS and I remember it well. What I remember most about it was the desktop, and how much it looked and felt like my favorite window manager (at the time) AfterStep. I also remember how awkward and overly complicated BeOS was to install and use. In fact, upon installation, it was never all too clear how to make the platform function well enough to use on a daily basis. That was fine, however, because BeOS seemed to live in a perpetual state of “alpha release.”

  • HarfBuzz 2.0 Released For Advancing Open-Source Text Shaping

    The HarfBuzz open-source text shaping library that is used by GNOME, KDE, Firefox, LibreOffice, Chrome OS, Java, and countless other desktop applications has reached version 2.0.

  • 5 open source intrusion detection tools that are too good to ignore

    As cybersecurity professionals, we try to prevent attackers from gaining access to our networks but protecting perimeters that have grown exponentially with the rise of mobile devices, distributed teams, and the internet of things (IoT) is not easy. The unpalatable truth is that sometimes the attackers are going to get through and the cost of a data breach grows the longer it takes you to uncover the attack.

    By employing a solid intrusion detection system (IDS) backed up by a robust incident response plan, you can reduce the potential damage of a breach.

  • How Open Source Marketers Can Leverage Community For Success

    If you’re an open source marketer, you have some unique challenges to overcome. Not only does one of your primary audiences — developers — shy away from marketing, despite the fact open source needs it (as I wrote about previously), but you must let go of the traditional mindset that your job is to differentiate the product from its competitors. Products built on open source differentiate themselves, of course, but when you’re talking about the open core, that’s just not how it works.

  • Petter Reinholdtsen: Release 0.2 of free software archive system Nikita announced

    This morning, the new release of the Nikita Noark 5 core project was announced on the project mailing list. The free software solution is an implementation of the Norwegian archive standard Noark 5 used by government offices in Norway.

  • Events
    • Take Our Cloud Providers Survey and Enter to Win a Maker Kit

      The Linux Foundation has been commissioned to survey FOSS developers and users about their opinions, perceptions, and experiences with 6 top cloud solution and service providers that deploy open source software. The survey examines respondents’ views of reputation, levels of project engagement, contribution, community citizenship and project sponsorship by six major cloud product and services providers.

    • The top 13 Linux and open source conferences in 2019

      No matter how small your budget, there’s a Linux or open source conference you can afford—and should attend.

      By the end of 2018, I’ll have spent nine weeks at one open source conference or another. Now, you don’t need to spend that much time on the road learning about Linux and open source software. But you can learn a lot and perhaps find a new job by cherry-picking from the many 2019 conferences you could attend.

      Sometimes, a single how-to presentation can save you a week of work. A panel discussion can help you formulate an element of your corporate open source strategy. Sure, you can learn from books or GitHub how-tos. But nothing is better than listening to the people who’ve done the work explain how they’ve solved the same problems you’re facing. With the way open source projects work, and the frequency with which they weave together to create great projects (such as cloud-native computing), you never know when a technology you may not have even heard of today can help you tomorrow.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • WebRender newsletter #26

        Here comes the 26th issue of WebRender’s newsletter.

      • Getting serious about political ad transparency with Ad Analysis for Facebook

        Do you know who is trying to influence your vote online? The votes of your friends and neighbors? Would you even know how to find out? Despite all the talk of election security, the tech industry still falls short on political ad transparency. With the U.S. midterm elections mere weeks away, this is a big problem.

        We can’t solve this problem alone, but we can help by making it more visible and easier to understand. Today we are announcing the release of our experimental extension, Ad Analysis for Facebook, to give you greater transparency into the online advertisements, including political ads, you see on Facebook.

      • Introducing Spoke: Make your own custom 3D social scenes

        Today we’re thrilled to announce the beta release of Spoke: the easiest way to create your own custom social 3D scenes you can use with Hubs.

        Over the last year, our Social Mixed Reality team has been developing Hubs, a WebVR-based social experience that runs right in your browser. In Hubs, you can communicate naturally in VR or on your phone or PC by simply sharing a link.

        Along the way, we’ve added features that enable social presence, self-expression, and content sharing. We’ve also offered a variety of scenes to choose from, like a castle space, an atrium, and even a wide open space high in the sky.

      • Encrypted SNI Comes to Firefox Nightly

        Firefox Nightly now supports encrypting the TLS Server Name Indication (SNI) extension, which helps prevent attackers on your network from learning your browsing history. You can enable encrypted SNI today and it will automatically work with any site that supports it. Currently, that means any site hosted by Cloudflare, but we’re hoping other providers will add ESNI support soon.

      • If you build it (together), they will come…

        Mozilla and the Khronos Group collaborate to bring glTF capabilities to Blender

        Mozilla is committed to the next wave of creativity in the open Web, in which people can access, create and share immersive VR and AR experiences across platforms and devices. What it takes though is an enthusiastic, skilled and growing community of creators, artists, and also businesses forming a healthy ecosystem, as well as tool support for web developers who build content for it. To overcome a fragmented environment and to allow for broad adoption, we need the leading content format to be open, and frameworks and toolsets to be efficient and interoperable. Ensuring that tools for creation, modification and viewing are open to the entire community and that there aren’t gatekeepers to creativity is one of the main working areas for Mozilla’s Mixed Reality (WebXR) Team. Building on its “Open by Design” strategy Open Innovation partnered with that team around Lars Bergstrom to find neat, yet impactful ways to stimulate external collaboration, co-development and co-funding of technology.

      • Mozilla Productivity Tip: Managing try pushes

        I tend to do a lot of try pushes for testing changes to Gecko and other stuff, and by using one of TreeHerder’s (apparently) lesser-known features, managing these pushes to see their results is really easy. If you have trouble managing your try pushes, consider this:

        Open a tab with an author filter for yourself. You can do this by clicking on your email address on any of your try pushes (see highlighted area in screenshot below). Keep this tab open, forever. By default it shows you the last 10 try pushes you did, and if you leave it open, it will auto-update to show newer try pushes that you do.

      • Opus 1.3 Released – One Of The Leading Lossy Open-Source Audio Codecs

        Opus 1.3 features improvements to allow using SILK with bitrates down to around 5kb/s, wideband encoding down to 9kb/s, improved Ambisonics support, better security hardening, a new speech/music detector, and more.

      • Introducing Opus 1.3

        The Opus Audio Codec gets another major update with the release of version 1.3 (demo).

        Opus is a totally open, royalty-free audio codec that can be used for all audio applications, from music streaming and storage to high-quality video-conferencing and VoIP. Six years after its standardization by the IETF, Opus is now included in all major browsers and mobile operating systems. It has been adopted for a wide range of applications, and is the default WebRTC codec.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 6.2 Launches February 2019, May Drop Support for 32-bit Linux Builds

      The second major update to the LibreOffice 6 series, LibreOffice 6.2, is expected to arrive next year, in early February, and it may be the first release of the acclaimed and free office suite to drop support for 32-bit Linux builds. This means that 32-bit LibreOffice releases won’t be available on the Linux platform anymore.

      While The Document Foundation assures Linux users in the preliminary release notes for LibreOffice 6.2 that Linux x86 (32-bit) compatibility will not be removed from existing LibreOffice versions, the company noted the fact that no new builds will be produced for the Linux x86 platform starting with a future version.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • MidnightBSD Hits 1.0! Checkout What’s New

      A couple days ago, Lucas Holt announced the release of MidnightBSD 1.0. Let’s take a quick look at what is included in this new release.

    • OpenBSD 6.4 Released – Disables SMT/HT By Default, Updates Radeon DRM

      Adding to the exciting release day is Theo de Raadt releasing OpenBSD 6.4 as the newest version of this BSD operating system known for its security mindfulness.

      Exciting us from a technical standpoint and for anyone using OpenBSD on the desktop is a newer Radeon DRM display driver, but it’s still very dated compared to what is found in the mainline Linux kernel. Their Radeon DRM driver is now synced against the Linux 4.4.155 LTS upstream state that then provides mode-setting support for various GCN 1.0/1.1 graphics cards as a new feature to OpenBSD… But newer GPUs and the many other open-source AMD improvements past Linux 4.4 haven’t made their way into the OpenBSD world yet. Even still, Radeon graphics remain among the best supported options for what is available to OpenBSD users. The Radeon DRM code is also now available for 64-bit ARM OpenBSD users.

    • OpenBSD 6.4
    • OpenBSD 6.4
    • OpenBSD 6.4 Released

      Rather than reproducing the full list of new features here, we refer readers to the official OpenBSD 6.4 page.

      [...]

      Security enhancements include unveil(2), MAP_STACK, and RETGUARD. Meltdown/Spectre mitigations have been extended further, and SMT is disabled by default.

    • OpenBSD Foundation gets a second Iridium donation from Handshake!
    • Announce: OpenSSH 7.9 released

      OpenSSH 7.9 has just been released. It will be available from the
      mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Licensing/Legal
    • MongoDB introduces the Server Side Public License for open source

      Recently, a group of disgruntled developers and companies took to the Commons Clause as a way to protect their open-source work. However, this caused great controversy within the open-source industry because the clause added restrictions to open-source licenses, therefore violating the accepted definition of open source as well as the guidelines for the Open Source Initiative’s (OSI) approved open-source licenses, according to Vicky Brasseur, vice president of the OSI.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Access/Content
      • UTSA creates web-based open source dashboard of North Pole

        UTSA professors Hongjie Xie and Alberto Mestas-Nuñez examine images of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

        Xie along with Xin Miao at Missouri State University started working on the project five years ago. Now the National Science Foundation has given the green light in the way of funding to develop the online system which uses high resolution imaging either obtained on-site, via satellites, or via airborne monitoring.

        The system will allow the scientific community the ability to readily extract detailed information of various ice properties including submerged ice, ice concentration, melt ponds or ice edge—the boundary between an area of ice and the open sea. The on-demand database will be dynamic and allowed to include new algorithms as well as additional datasets as they become available. Currently, the cloud-based system holds about a terabyte of images but that number will surely grow. The earliest dataset is from 1998 from the Sheba expedition which conducted 13 flights over the Beaufort Sea. Now researchers will include close to 1760 declassified images.

      • Open Access Is the Law in California

        Governor Jerry Brown recently signed A.B. 2192, a law requiring that all peer-reviewed, scientific research funded by the state of California be made available to the public no later than one year after publication.

        EFF applauds Governor Brown for signing A.B. 2192 and the legislature for unanimously passing it—particularly Assemblymember Mark Stone, who introduced the bill and championed it at every step. To our knowledge, no other state has adopted an open access bill this comprehensive.

        As we’ve explained before, it’s a problem when cutting-edge scientific research is available only to people who can afford expensive journal subscriptions and academic databases. It insulates scientific research from a broader field of innovators: if the latest research is only available to people with the most resources, then the next breakthroughs will only come from that group.

        A.B. 2192 doesn’t solve that problem entirely, but it does limit it. Under the new law, researchers can still publish their papers in subscription-based journals so long as they upload them to public open access repositories no later than one year after publication.

  • Programming/Development
    • How to use Pandoc to produce a research paper

      This article takes a deep dive into how to produce a research paper using (mostly) Markdown syntax. We’ll cover how to create and reference sections, figures (in Markdown and LaTeX) and bibliographies. We’ll also discuss troublesome cases and why writing them in LaTeX is the right approach.

    • LLVM Continues Working On Its Transition From SVN To Git

      In addition to LLVM’s multi-year effort on re-licensing their code, some developers also remain hard at work on officially migrating the project from an SVN development workflow to Git.

      For the past few years LLVM has been wanting to move from SVN to Git. While there are read-only Git copies of the LLVM repositories already and it’s been that way for a while, officially moving over their code-bases to Git has proven to be a challenge for preserving all of the branches, keeping accurate commit messages, etc, for a sane transfer process. This is just like the complex process of moving the GCC compiler over to Git as well.

    • Enterprise Java caretakers float new rules of engagement for future feature updates

      The Eclipse Foundation, saddled with oversight of Java EE last year after Oracle washed its hands of the thankless business of community governance, wants to revise the process by which enterprise Java – rechristened Jakarta EE when Oracle declined to grant use of its Java trademark – gets improved.

      Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, on Tuesday posted a draft of the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process (EFSP), seeking community review and comment. The intent is to replace the Java Community Process (JCP), the current system for evolving the technical specifications related to Java technology, as least as it applies to the enterprise flavored brew of Java.

      The need to replace the JCP for Jakarta EE arises from intellectual property concerns. As software developer Richard Monson-Haefel observed over the summer, “Unfortunately, Oracle was not able to donate all of the Java EE 8 specification documents (e.g. JMS, EJB, Servlet) because these specifications were developed under the Java Community Process and included the efforts of hundreds of people, many of who are not Oracle employees.”

Leftovers
  • Did I Make a Mistake Selling My Social-Media Darling to Yahoo?

    I was working a day job at Morgan Stanley, so I couldn’t fix Del.icio.us during the day. I would go home to the Upper West Side, eat dinner, and then work on the site. I’d build a feature, think, That seems to work, and fall asleep and wake up, and I’d have rolled out a broken feature, so no one could save anything. It was very haphazard. I moved the site from one server to two servers over New Year’s Eve, when I figured there would be the lowest traffic. On New Year’s Eve, I was at my mother’s house and porting the site to new hardware. Good times.

    I went to Union Square Ventures in the beginning of 2005 to raise money. The site was coming apart at the seams. It was down for something like two out of every five minutes. I could not keep up with keeping it alive, and I had an inkling that I maybe had something bigger on my hands.

    We raised $1 million on $3 million in early 2005, and we just kept building. We were in a closet-size office in Union Square Ventures because landlords didn’t want to talk to us. We started to try to raise money again toward the end of the year, but it didn’t go well. People say VC is pattern matching, and we were so far out of the pattern that no one could really evaluate us. We got one or two term sheets, but they were small.

  • Science
    • ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

      There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. “Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says. “All of the time.”

      But those concerns are trivial compared with the devastating impact upon the political system that some of Rosenstein’s peers believe can be attributed to the rise of social media and the attention-based market that drives it.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • New US Law Requires Reporting Of Biologic, Biosimilar “Pay-for-Delay” Pacts

      The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act became effective in the United States on 10 October. Among other things, it extends to biologic and biosimilar products a 2003 law requiring drug manufacturers to notify US antitrust authorities of patent settlement agreements. The idea is to cut down on so-called “pay-for delay” tactics which can slow the introduction of cheaper medicines into the market.

  • Security
    • Open source web hosting software compromised with DDoS malware [Ed: CBS hired Catalin Cimpanu for him to have a broader platform with which to associate "Open Source" with security issues (does he say "proprietary" when it's proprietary, too?). Microsoft has long financed efforts to associate FOSS/copyleft with security issues and stigmatise it with licensing terror.]
    • Commission tried to hide details of ‘WiFi4EU’ glitch

      The European Commission has tried to hide information related to technical problems its free wifi fund portal suffered, by claiming that it was “out of scope”.

      It released documents to EUobserver following an access to documents request – but heavily redacted some of the key papers.

      However, one of the documents has been leaked and published online. A comparison between the leaked version and the one released by the commission clearly shows that the commission went too far with its redactions.

    • The Flawed System Behind the Krack Wi-Fi .Meltdown

      “If there is one thing to learn from this, it’s that standards can’t be closed off from security researchers,” says Robert Graham, an analyst for the cybersecurity firm Erratasec. “The bug here is actually pretty easy to prevent, and pretty obvious. It’s the fact that security researchers couldn’t get their hands on the standards that meant that it was able to hide.”

      The WPA2 protocol was developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which acts as a standards body for numerous technical industries, including wireless security. But unlike, say, Transport Layer Security, the popular cryptographic protocol used in web encryption, WPA2 doesn’t make its specifications widely available. IEEE wireless security standards carry a retail cost of hundreds of dollars to access, and costs to review multiple interoperable standards can quickly add up to thousands of dollars.

    • Security updates for Friday
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sues Ecuador for ‘violating his rights’

      Julian Assange is launching legal action against Ecuador, accusing its government of violating his “fundamental rights and freedoms”.

      It comes after Ecuador cut off communications for Mr Assange, who has been living inside the country’s London embassy for more than six years.

      Baltasar Garzon, a lawyer for WikiLeaks, has arrived in Ecuador to launch the case, which is expected to be heard next week in a domestic court.

      WikiLeaks claims Mr Assange’s access to the outside world has been “summarily cut off” and says Ecuador has threatened to remove the protection he has had since being given political asylum.

      The site said Ecuador’s government has refused to allow a visit by Human Rights Watch general counsel Dinah PoKempner and prevented several meetings with Mr Assange’s lawyers.

  • Finance
    • Trump’s Tax Law Failed to Kill Off Corporate America’s Prized Dodge

      U.S. corporations have largely abandoned the contentious deals that allowed them to shift their addresses abroad for a lower tax rate. Yet a key part of the transactions is continuing quietly even after President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul.

      The 2017 tax law was designed to stop traditional inversions, which had brought scrutiny and negative publicity for companies that moved their headquarters overseas, as well as to halt the flow of valuable intellectual property to low-tax countries. For companies that invert, the address change is generally the final step so they can more easily access the cash they’ve generated after years of shifting IP overseas.

      Most firms are continuing with business as usual when it comes to their IP since the law’s provisions aren’t enticing enough for them to keep it at home, according to interviews with eight tax experts who advise large public corporations. They disclosed the details of the conversations they’re having with companies, but declined to identify the specific clients.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Secretive Organization Quietly Spending Millions on Facebook Political Ads

      Over just two weeks in September, a limited-liability company calling itself News for Democracy spent almost $400,000 on more than 16 million impressions for a network of 14 Facebook pages that hadn’t existed until August. This represented the second-largest political ad buy on Facebook for the period, trailing only Beto O’Rourke’s Texas Senate campaign and substantially overshadowing the third-place spender, the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to an analysis by a team at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, led by Damon McCoy.

    • A new kind of dark money on Facebook is influencing elections

      How unknown parties are exploiting loopholes in Facebook’s ad archive

    • Twitter’s Dated Data Dump Doesn’t Tell Us About Future Meddling

      Twitter dropped an almost unfathomably large archive of tweets connected to two alleged influence campaigns on Wednesday. The trove included over 9 million tweets associated with 3,841 accounts connected to Russia’s notorious Internet Research Agency, or IRA, as well as more than a million tweets attributed to a network of 770 Iranian propaganda-pushing accounts. Twitter has never before released an archive of this size. But researchers tell WIRED that it says more about the past than it does about present or future threats Twitter should be wary of with important midterm elections less than three weeks away.

    • The Decline Of Congressional Expertise Explained In 10 Charts

      When Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify earlier this year, the world was shocked by Congress’s evident lack of basic technological literacy. For many, this performance illustrates the institution’s incompetence. After all, if our elected representatives have trouble understanding how Facebook works, how capable are they of understanding the complexities of the federal government, or crafting legislation across a range of technical subjects?

      For those of us who live and work in the “swamp,” the Zuckerberg hearings were no great surprise. Just this year, we’ve seen Congress struggle with technology issues such as quantum computing, cryptocurrencies, and the governance of online platforms. Indeed, it seems effectively incapable of tackling major technology policy issues such as the debate over online privacy, election cybersecurity, or artificial intelligence.

      This state of affairs is the product of decades of institutional deterioration, sometimes referred to as the “big lobotomy.” While scholars of American government may offer various books or white papers chronicling this decline, the pattern is evident from a few trends that this post will highlight.

    • Twitter Trolling Becomes Harder With This Change of Policy

      Social media is full of trolls but Twitter is a cesspool of toxic insects that attack anything and everything, It is a safe haven for toxic people but trolling on Twitter will be harder to do now when Twitter is changing some of its policy.

      Over the years Twitter has been highly criticized for the way it handles trolls, and other people who spread hate, harass. But since the start of 2017, Twitter has made efforts to deal with such issues. Through the policy update, rules changes, and better enforcement, the company is trying to create a safer space for all of its users.

    • Trump’s Tangled Relationship With Saudi Arabia — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra

      The disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate has brought renewed attention to what’s been true for years: The United States — and its president — has an important, and extremely complicated, relationship with Saudi Arabia.

      Trump has been doing business with Saudis for years, even bragging during his presidential campaign about the large amount of money Saudi buyers paid for his apartments.

      [...]

      In this “Trump, Inc.” podcast extra, WNYC’s Charlie Herman talks with The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold and Joe Nocera from Bloomberg Opinion about all the ways Saudi Arabia is intertwined with U.S. business interests, including those of the president himself.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Why we should all hate the hate-crime laws

      If a hate crime is about how hurt somebody feels, then how can the subjective reaction of one group be considered more important than another? It is surely not for you or I to deny the personal feelings of any man or woman, goth or grandmother. Equality demands that all must be protected from whatever they deem offensive or hateful.

    • [Old] Saudi Arabia bans journalist for criticising Donald Trump

      After Mr Khashoggi criticised Mr Trump’s Middle East policies at a Washington think-tank on 10 November, an official Saudi spokesman said he did not represent the Kingdom in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency.

    • [Old] Saudi journalist banned from media after criticising Trump

      Khashoggi’s weekly column in Al Hayat newspaper was not published this week, although it has appeared every Saturday for almost five years. His last tweet appeared on 18 November.

    • Journalist’s tweets caused irreparable loss to MJ Akbar’s reputation: Lawyer

      During the hearing, senior advocate Geeta Luthra, who represented Akbar in the court, referred to tweets of Priya Ramani and said the journalist’s tweets caused irreparable loss to MJ Akbar’s reputation built over 40 years.

      “Articles in international and national media quoted these defamatory tweets. Tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything,” Luthra told the court adding “Priya Ramani has tweeted defamatory tweets against complainant. Her second tweet was clearly defamatory and liked by 1200 people. “

    • UK porn law’s latest guidelines fail to answer critics

      “The policy is completely full of holes,” Jim Killock, executive director of the UK’s Open Rights Group, told The Verge. “It puts too much power in the hands of companies, [and] if teenagers in particular have any incentive to get around these controls, they will.”

    • Big Tech Snuffing Free Speech; Google’s Poisonous ‘Dragonfly’

      If the big social media companies choose what to publish and what not to publish, they should be subject to the same licensing and requirements as media organizations.

    • As Predicted, Australian Government Looks To Creep Site Censorship Into Search Censorship

      Earlier this year, we discussed Australia’s Department of Communications asking for feedback on the effectiveness of its site-blocking policy after it had been in place for several years. The copyright industries both local and foreign leapt at the chance, making two divergent claims. Claim one: site-blocking is working really, really well and should be continued. Claim two: site-blocking is being vastly undermined by, you guessed it, Google, and the government should extend site-blocking into search-blocking as a result. We made the point at the time that this type of thing occurs like clockwork: you open the door to some censorship and those cheering it on will attempt to expand it further.

      Well, after collecting its feedback, the Australian Department of Communications has come out with proposed amendments to Australian copyright law that would, you guessed it again, force search engines to censor links to so-called “pirate sites.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ‘The Media Continue to Promote a Narrative of Dependency’ – CounterSpin interview with Teresa Basilio on Puerto Rico communications

      Advocates and activists are calling on FCC chair Ajit Pai to appoint an independent commission to examine the causes for communications failures in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, just over a year ago. Over 95 percent of cell sites were knocked out of service, hindering rescue and recovery efforts. Days after the storm, no TV and only a handful of radio stations could function. And the restoration has been painfully slow.

      The coalition of groups also urged the agency to convene public hearings in Puerto Rico, so that commissioners could “hear directly from Puerto Ricans on how their lives were impacted” by the lack of a resilient communications infrastructure.

    • Meet Edward Blum, the Man Who Wants to Kill Affirmation Action in Higher Education

      Activist Edward Blum has been trying to destroy race-conscious college admissions for a long time.

      In a federal lawsuit that went to trial this week, the organization Students for Fair Admissions is challenging Harvard University’s admissions practices, arguing that the consideration of race in the process violates the Equal Protection Clause.

      So what’s at stake in this case? A lot.

      Just two years ago, in Fisher v. the University of Texas, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the consideration of race as part of a holistic admissions process, a practice known as affirmative action, is consistent with the Equal Protection Clause. The district court already dismissed this claim citing Fisher.

      But make no mistake about it — the engineer behind this litigation is intent on sowing divisiveness amongst communities of color in an effort to dismantle diversity programs and civil rights protections that benefit all people of color. Students for Fair Admissions is the creation of Edward Blum. Blum is not a lawyer, but he has a long history of crafting legal attacks on civil rights.

      After losing a congressional election in the early 1990s, Blum, who is white, challenged the Texas redistricting process as discriminating in favor of African-American and Latinx voters. While his success in that case, Bush v. Vera, was limited to particular districts, among his other challenges to the voting rights, Blum was behind Shelby v. Holder. That case gutted important protections in the Voting Rights Act with drastic effects for voters of color. His attacks on laws and policies designed to promote the equality of people of color are not limited to voting rights. Blum also crafted the unsuccessful challenge to race-conscious college admissions programs in Fisher v. University of Texas.

    • Louisiana Court Declares State’s Non-Unanimous Jury Verdict Scheme Unconstitutional, Motivated By Racial Discrimination

      A district court in Louisiana ruled the state’s use of non-unanimous juries is unconstitutional and violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.

      The court found the “non-unanimous jury verdict scheme in Louisiana was motivated by invidious racial discrimination.”

      “All cases that are currently pending trial and all cases on direct review must now be adjudicated subject ot a unanimous jury requirement,” the court ordered. However, prior cases and convictions may not be challenged.

      According to the state’s constitution and a section of the state’s criminal code, cases involving capital punishment require a unanimous decision by jurors.

      But in cases where the punishment is “necessarily confinement at hard labor,” only 10 of 12 jurors are required to find a defendant guilty. Cases where imprisonment is only a possible outcome require an even lower threshold—six jurors.

      The ruling comes as Louisiana residents vote on Amendment 2, a ballot initiative that would “require the unanimous agreement of jurors, rather than just 10 of 12 jurors, to convict people charged with felonies.”

    • DOJ Rings Up Another Leaker, Nailing Financial Investigation Official For Handing Docs To Buzzfeed

      So much for going dark. Presumably the information obtained with the pen register order was enough to secure a warrant to search a cellphone and flash drive owned by Edwards. “Reporter-1″ is likely Jason Leopold, who wrote or co-wrote every article named in the DOJ complaint. This also means the DOJ likely has a whole bunch of conversations between a journalist and his source, although obtaining them from the source makes it far less of a First Amendment issue.

    • In a Case that Rocked Alabama, a Man With Intellectual Disability Is Spared Death

      Almost a decade after his death sentence, the state agreed Lam Luong could not be executed and joined the defense in asking to change the sentence.

      This week, in one of the highest profile cases in Alabama history, longtime ACLU client Lam Luong was resentenced to life in imprisonment without parole, nine years after he was sentenced to death. Luong’s life was spared because experts hired by both the state of Alabama and the defense agreed that he met the criteria for intellectual disability.

      Luong, born during the Vietnam War to a Vietnamese woman and a Black American serviceman, was convicted and sentenced to death in the spring of 2009 for the murder of his four young children on the Dauphin Island Bridge in Alabama.

      In 2002, the Supreme Court held in Atkins v. Virginia that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the execution of persons with intellectual disabilities. There was no question that Luong met the criteria. Almost a decade after his original conviction and death sentence, the state finally agreed that Luong could not be executed and joined the defense in asking to change his sentence.

    • Ohio Prisons Uphold Year-Long Communications Ban Against Incarcerated Activist Who Supported National Prison Strike

      Ohio state prison officials denied an appeal by Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan against the one-year restriction placed on his phone and email use after he spoke publicly in support of the 2018 prison strike.

      The restrictions—and the case that led to them—are yet another example of the lengths prison officials will go to police the political speech of prisoners and punish those who express support for protest, particularly the prison strike movement.

      Shadowproof repeatedly requested phone transcripts the prison’s administrative disciplinary body cited as evidence that Hasan was fomenting a riot. Ohio prison officials categorically refused to provide them, even in redacted form, citing exemptions in state open records laws.

      Hasan is prohibited from making phone calls or using email until August 13, 2019, unless the warden intervenes.

      He is currently on death row in connection with the 1993 rebellion known as the Lucasville Uprising, which began as a protest by Muslim prisoners against an attempted forced medical procedure by prison officials that violated their religious beliefs. As such, he is already subject to significant isolation. By forbidding him from using phone and email—his two primary connections to the outside world—that isolation will intensify.

      Hasan denied the charges against him, rebutting them and criticizing the disciplinary process in an appeal filed August 22. He maintained the restrictions will not deter him from speaking out for human rights for incarcerated people and exercising his right to speech and protest.

    • Louisiana’s Infamous Angola Prison Goes on Trial

      Angola prison is home to horrific constitutional violations that threaten the health and welfare of people incarcerated in the facility.

      In November 2012, Shannon Hurd, who was serving a life sentence for stealing $14, began losing weight and experiencing flu-like symptoms. His symptoms worsened, and he developed a pain in his side. But doctors at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as “Angola,” repeatedly dismissed his medical complaints.

      He did not receive medical care in the weeks that followed. He did not receive medical care in the months that followed. And as he waited for basic medical care, a disease was spreading in his system.

      In the end, Hurd waited three devastating years before he was finally tested and diagnosed with kidney cancer. At that point, the tumors had already spread to his brain. Kidney cancer is generally treatable if it’s caught early. This was not the case here. By the end of 2015, Shannon had lost over 60 pounds. He was often numb in his fingers and feet.

      Denied medical parole requests by prison officials, Shannon died in prison in March 2017. He was just 42 years old.

    • Mississippi Law Enforcement Performed $200,000 Worth Of Illegal Forfeitures Because It ‘Didn’t Realize’ Law Had Changed

      Now, this could be a legitimate excuse. But not for a narcotics director who probably had plenty to say about the impending demise of the most profitable part of the state’s asset forfeiture program. He could not have been completely “unaware.” After all, here he is announcing the roll out of a website listing state forfeiture actions as mandated by the same law Dowdy now claims he didn’t know much about.

      It might be a legitimate excuse for a federal official who may not know the legislature included a sunset provision that gave legislators a chance to kill the passed law before it went into effect. Some efforts were mounted to roll back the reforms, but they both died without moving forward.

      Because law enforcement can’t follow the law, lots of people will be getting their stuff back. The Tampa Bay Times article says the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics is offering to return $42,000 worth of property it illegally seized — a phrase that makes its effort sound far more magnanimous than the reality: relinquishing stolen property.

    • FBI Whistleblower Who Disclosed Documents On Profiling And Informant Recruitment Is Sentenced To Four Years In Prison

      Former FBI special agent Terry Albury was sentenced to four years in prison for retaining and releasing documents to a media outlet on the FBI’s racial profiling, surveillance, and informant recruitment practices.

      He accepted an agreement in April, where he pled guilty to two counts of violating the Espionage Act. Both offenses are felonies.

      Albury was the only black agent in the region for most of the time that he worked for the FBI’s terrorism squad in Minnesota. He was a special agent in the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office from 2012 to August 28, 2017.

      His defense attorneys asserted Albury’s unauthorized disclosures to the Intercept were an “act of conscience, of patriotism, and in the public interest.” They were made for “no personal gain whatsoever.”

      “The documents at issue advanced the discourse necessary in a free society about how to maintain the delicate balance between freedom and security,” his attorneys added. “He was endeavoring to resolve what for him became an insurmountable moral conflict between his role as an FBI agent sworn to uphold the written law and his personal commitment to social justice and human rights.”

      The federal court in Minnesota was urged to approve a sentence, where Albury was placed on probation.

    • Explore Racial Disparities in Hundreds of Illinois Schools and Districts

      This week, ProPublica launched “Miseducation,” an interactive database where you can search, examine and compare racial disparities in thousands of schools and school districts across the United States. The tool — based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection program — measures these disparities in four ways: enrollment in advanced classes, student discipline, gaps in academic achievement and level of segregation at the district and state level.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • U.S. Patent Damages

      For most patent owners, the amount of recoverable damages for patent infringement is a primary driver when deciding when to bring, defend, or settle patent litigation. The potential damages from litigation also drives (offensive and defensive) licensing decisions and freedom-to-operate analyses (when balancing design-around costs). US patent law guarantees a prevailing patent owner at least “a reasonable royalty.”1 However, determining the potential damages (both before and during litigation) can prove complex, particularly for the multi-component products common in today’s global marketplace. is because courts seek to compensate patent owners for the value of the patented improvement, which is oft en less than the value of the overall product.2Difficulty arises when attempting to determine the value attributable to a subcomponent instead of the whole product, especially when there is no established market for just the infringing subcomponent.3To address this, courts require patent owners to apportion the value of the patented feature relative to the overall product to avoid overcompensating a patent owner for an invention that contributes only a portion of the overall value of a final product.

    • Trademarks
      • SLCC/FanX Gets A Stay On $4 Million In Legal Fees For SDCC Pending Appeal

        The whole saga of the trademark dispute between the famous San Diego Comic-Con comics convention and the smaller Salt Lake Comic Con has been a long and stupid one. Despite everyone with a working brain knowing that the term “comic-con” is both generic and descriptive, SDCC has a trademark on the term that it managed to wield like a legal sword attempting to slay SLCC. While a jury trial returned only a $20k judgement, the court then awarded $4 million in legal fees in favor of SDCC, arguing that SLCC’s legal team attempted to jam up the trial process and timeline with its tactics. After all of this, SLCC changed its name to FanX, a whole bunch of other conventions proactively changed their own names, and FanX promised to appeal everything.

        But it was an open question if SLCC/FanX would survive long enough for the appeal to take place. A $4 million dollar payout to SDCC, according to SLCC, would simply have crippled it and put it out of business altogether. This was the argument made to the appeals court, in which SLCC/FanX asked for a stay on the payments pending the appeal process. Fortunately, the court agreed to delay the attorney’s fees payments.

    • Copyrights
      • Streaming Exclusives Will Drive Users Back To Piracy And The Industry Is Largely Oblivious

        As you probably have noticed, there’s a growing tide of streaming video services popping up to feed users who want a cheaper, more flexible alternative to traditional cable. By and large this has been a very good thing. It’s finally driving some competition for bumbling apathetic giants like Comcast, forcing them to at least make a feeble effort to improve customer service. It also reflects a belated admission by the broadcast industry that you need to compete with piracy (instead of say, suing the entire planet and hoping it goes away) by offering users access to cheaper, flexible viewing options.

        But the gold rush into streaming has come with a few downsides. Studies have suggested that every broadcaster on the planet will likely have their own streaming service by 2022. In a bid to drive more subscribers to their service, said broadcasters are increasingly developing their own content, or striking their own content exclusivity deals, and then locking that content in an exclusivity silo. For example, if you want to watch Star Trek: Discovery, you need to shell out $6 a month for CBS All Access. Can’t miss House of Cards? You’ll need Netflix. Bosch? Amazon Prime. The Handmaid’s Tale? Hulu.

        Again, on its face this impulse makes perfect sense: you want the kind of content that drives users to your platform. And at first it wasn’t all that noticeable, because there were only a handful of services. Even if you subscribed to four of them, you still probably were saving money over your traditional cable bill.

        The problem is, as more and more companies jump into the streaming market, users are being forced to subscribe to an ocean of discordant services to get access for the content they’re looking for. As users are forced to pony up more and more cash for more and more services, it’s going to start defeating the purpose of ditching over-priced, traditional cable. But instead of going back to cable, back in March we noted how users are just as likely to consider piracy.

      • CJEU rules that family life does not trump copyright protection

        The owner of an internet connection used for copyright infringement through file-sharing cannot escape liability by naming a family member who may have used the connection, the CJEU holds

      • Bell and Rogers Ask Government to Simplify Site Blocking and Criminalize Streaming

        Earlier this month, Canadian telco regulator CRTC denied a controversial site blocking proposal put forward by the FairPlay coalition. This came as a major disappointment to Bell and Rogers, two of the main proponents of the plan, who are now trying to tackle various piracy issues through a revision of the Copyright Act.

      • Accused Pirate Can’t Escape Liability By Pointing at a Family Member Without Detail

        The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that the right to a private family life doesn’t shield accused file-sharers form potential liability. This means that an accused pirate can’t hide behind other family members who may have committed the infringements, without providing more detail. Doing so would harm the fundamental rights of copyright holders.

Ingve Björn Stjerna Has Just Warned That If Team UPC and the European Patent Office Rigged the Proceedings of the German Constitutional Court, Consequences Would be Significant

Friday 19th of October 2018 08:54:50 AM

Summary: The EPO is back to mentioning the Unified Patent Court and it keeps making it abundantly clear that it is only working for the litigation ‘industry’ rather than for science and technology (or “innovation” as they like to euphemise it)

EUROPE’S patent system is under attack. It’s under attack from lawyers, who try to hijack the system, taking it away from scientists and technologists (the same thing, incidentally, has been happening at the USPTO, partly due to Trump's awkward appointment this year). Underhanded tactics have been used by a cabal of lawyers to basically undermine the very purpose of patent systems. All they want is lots and lots of lawsuits; for that (litigation galore) they need lots and lots of low-quality — even invalid — patents to be granted and circulated, e.g. among patent trolls.

“There are pressures to grant even software patents in Europe, irrespective of the EPC (the founding document).”It has already become incredibly hard to be a potent patent examiner at the EPO. There are pressures to grant even software patents in Europe, irrespective of the EPC (the founding document).

Regarding “Inventiveness of the cocktail,” a new IP Kat comment said last night (the comments are as usual better than the posts): “According to an English translation of the German description: “Surprisingly, it has been found that this cocktail obtained in this way has a very rounded, mild fruity taste that meets the taste of many”. The EPO Examiner did not raise an inventive step objection, or ask for evidence of the technical effect.”

Blaming the examiners… as if EPO examiners still have time to properly examine patent applications under their corrupt management. They don’t have quality; they just have targets (quantified not in terms of quality). The EPO is basically ‘fast-tracking’ justice and putting it under the control of people who mock and attack justice. People like Battistelli and António Campinos, whose financial past offers room for speculations about whether they belong behind bars.

Last night the EPO again promoted software patents, this time in its Web site rather than its Twitter account (warning: epo.org link). For the first time in a while they’re promoting “computer-implemented inventions” (software patents) and UPC. To quote one paragraph:

EPO staff gave presentations on the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, Patent Cooperation Treaty Strategy, projects being undertaken by the IP5 (the forum of the five largest intellectual property offices), substantive patent law harmonisation, standard essential patents, Early Certainty and computer-implemented inventions (CII) in view of developments relating to Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. The US members updated Office staff on current developments in US patent legislation and litigation.

Instead of meeting with scientists they meet a bunch of US lawyers. The EPO is a rogue institution that digs its own grave. It keeps showing who it really works for and it’s not scientists.

IAM and a partner law firm have meanwhile paid to repost a celebratory post about EPO pushing fake patents on software under the guise of “AI”. They must be excited by the prospect of all those abstract patents that are null and void (yet are still being granted by the EPO).

The best these people can hope for now is someone corrupt like Battistelli taking over the UPC and overriding all of Europe’s patent courts. Can that happen? Well, never underestimate what criminals from the EPO (with a proven history of serious crime) can accomplish. Not even the Alexandre Benalla scandal can hold them accountable, so what can?

Is UPC dead? “Maybe, maybe not (so quickly),” one reader told us this morning, taking note of the latest ‘paper’ (PDF) from Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna. Published in English and German, the introduction says:

This article tries to provide answers to some of the questions raised in relation to the constitutional complaint against the ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court in Germany.

Never underestimate team UPC’s ability to totally corrupt the political system (basically buying outcomes in Germany).

According to the last couple of paragraphs from the author, Germany might be face a true crisis if Team UPC corrupted the courts like it did the German political system. To quote:

After all, is the outcome of the proceedings already know in certain circles, even before the BVerfG has announce its decision? If this were the case, the significance of the ensuing state political implications could hardly be overestimated. Or are all these just once more astonishing “coincidences”, as they have already been repeatedly observe in the context of the European patent reform?

You be the judge.

If they ever get their way, they hope that Battistelli will be the (chief) judge.

Links 18/10/2018: New Ubuntu and Postgres

Thursday 18th of October 2018 06:27:16 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • New Details On System76′s Open-Source Hardware Plans Come To Light

      Longtime Ubuntu/Linux PC vendor System76 has been teasing their efforts around an “open-source computer” and other open-source hardware efforts now that they are in the home stretch of setting up their own US-based manufacturing facility. Some new details on their initial aspirations are now out there.

      The “open-source computer” speculations have fueled speculation quite wide ranging from some thinking system76 is working on RISC-V or ARM designs to others thinking they may be doing a Coreboot effort for Intel x86 CPUs… Harris Kenny of system76 shed some light on their open-source hardware journey a few days back on Twitter. System76 founder Carl Richell also chimed in with some additional details.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.18.15
    • Linux 4.14.77
    • Linux 4.9.134
    • What’s a CPU to do when it has nothing to do?

      It would be reasonable to expect doing nothing to be an easy, simple task for a kernel, but it isn’t. At Kernel Recipes 2018, Rafael Wysocki discussed what CPUs do when they don’t have anything to do, how the kernel handles this, problems inherent in the current strategy, and how his recent rework of the kernel’s idle loop has improved power consumption on systems that aren’t doing anything.

      The idle loop, one of the kernel subsystems that Wysocki maintains, controls what a CPU does when it has no processes to run. Precise to a fault, Wysocki defined his terms: for the purposes of this discussion, a CPU is an entity that can take instructions from memory and execute them at the same time as any other entities in the same system are doing likewise. On a simple, single-core single-processor system, that core is the CPU. If the processor has multiple cores, each of those cores is a CPU. If each of those cores exposes multiple interfaces for simultaneous instruction execution, which Intel calls “hyperthreading”, then each of those threads is a CPU.

    • New AT_ flags for restricting pathname lookup

      System calls like openat() have access to the entire filesystem — or, at least, that part of the filesystem that exists in the current mount namespace and which the caller has the permission to access. There are times, though, when it is desirable to reduce that access, usually for reasons of security; that has proved to be especially true in many container use cases. A new patch set from Aleksa Sarai has revived an old idea: provide a set of AT_ flags that can be used to control the scope of a given pathname lookup operation.

      There have been previous attempts at restricting pathname lookup, but none of them have been merged thus far. David Drysdale posted an O_BENEATH option to openat() in 2014 that would require the eventual target to be underneath the starting directory (as provided to openat()) in the filesystem hierarchy. More recently, Al Viro suggested AT_NO_JUMPS as a way of preventing lookups from venturing outside of the current directory hierarchy or the starting directory’s mount point. Both ideas have attracted interest, but neither has yet been pushed long or hard enough to make it into the mainline.

    • Some numbers from the 4.19 development cycle

      The release of 4.19-rc6 on September 30 is an indication that the 4.19 development cycle is heading toward its conclusion. Naturally, that means it’s time to have a look at where the contributions for this cycle came from. The upheavals currently playing out in the kernel community do not show at this level, but there are some new faces to be seen in the top contributors this time around.

      As of this writing, 13,657 non-merge changesets have found their way into the mainline for 4.19.

    • The modernization of PCIe hotplug in Linux

      PCI Express hotplug has been supported in Linux for fourteen years. The code, which is aging, is currently undergoing a transformation to fit the needs of contemporary applications such as hot-swappable flash drives in data centers and power-manageable Thunderbolt controllers in laptops. Time for a roundup.

      The initial PCI specification from 1992 had no provisions for the addition or removal of cards at runtime. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, various proprietary hotplug controllers, as well as the vendor-neutral standard hotplug controller, were conceived and became supported by Linux through drivers living in drivers/pci/hotplug. PCI Express (PCIe), instead, supported hotplug from the get-go in 2002, but its embodiments have changed over time. Originally intended to hot-swap PCIe cards in servers or ExpressCards in laptops, today it is commonly used in data centers (where NVMe flash drives need to be swapped at runtime) and by Thunderbolt (which tunnels PCIe through a hotpluggable chain of converged I/O switches, together with other protocols such as DisplayPort).

    • PCI Peer-To-Peer Memory Support Queued Ahead Of Linux 4.20~5.0

      With the upcoming Linux 4.20 kernel cycle (that given past comments by Linus Torvalds might be renamed to Linux 5.0), a new PCI feature queued ahead of the upcoming merge window is peer-to-peer memory support.

      This peer-to-peer (P2P) PCI memory support has been in the works for a while now. What this functionality is fundamentally about is supporting PCI (Express) devices that have memory mapped within their BAR space (Base Address Register) for peer-to-peer transactions. The new kernel code provides the necessary interface so other kernel subsystems can find/allocate portions of this memory as for peer-to-peer memory via P2P DMA. Peer-to-peer memory can help reduce pressure on the system RAM as memory is exchanged directly between PCIe devices.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Coreboot’s Flashrom Working On Radeon GPU Flashing Support

        Former RadeonHD driver developer Luc Verhaegen is back at the AMD Radeon GPU reverse-engineering game. He’s now pursuing Radeon firmware flashing with the Coreboot Flashrom utility.

      • Mesa VCN JPEG Decode Patches Posted For AMD Raven Ridge

        With the imminent Linux 4.19 kernel release there is VCN JPEG decode support within the AMDGPU DRM driver for use with Raven Ridge APUs. The accompanying user-space patches for the Radeon Gallium3D code have now been posted for making this functionality work on the Linux desktop with these Zen+Vega APUs.

        Now that the kernel-side bits for accelerated JPEG decoding using the “Video Core Next” block are in place, the Mesa/Gallium3D patches were posted today for getting this functionality enabled and working for Raven Ridge. VCN as a reminder is the new unified video encode/decode block with Raven that succeeds the UVD video decoding and VCE video encoding blocks on the GPU.

      • Open-Source Qualcomm Graphics Support Continues Flourishing With Freedreno

        When it comes to open-source ARM graphics drivers, the Raspberry Pi / VC4 effort and Freedreno continue to be the two best examples of fully open-source graphics driver coverage including 3D support. Freedreno has been attracting contributions from Qualcomm / CodeAurora in what started out as solely a community reverse-engineered effort and with the latest-generation Adreno 600 series hardware the open-source support is in great shape.

      • Advances in Mesa continuous integration

        Continuous integration (CI) has become increasingly prevalent in open-source projects over the last few years. Intel has been active in building CI systems for graphics, both for the kernel side and for the Mesa-based user-space side of the equation. Mark Janes and Clayton Craft gave a presentation on Intel’s Mesa CI system at the 2018 X.Org Developers Conference (XDC), which was held in A Coruña, Spain in late September. The Mesa CI system is one of the earliest successful CI initiatives in open source that he knows of, Janes said. It is a core component of Mesa development, especially at Intel.

        Like many companies, Intel is a large organization with an “old school development model”. He likened it to a Roman army, where there are legions that are made up of smaller groups, each of which has procedures for all of its activities; tents are set up and arranged the same way each time. When Intel first encountered Mesa development, it was something of a shock. There were no architects in the group, but the Mesa developers were simply running right through the Intel army.

      • A status update for virgl

        At the 2018 X.Org Developers Conference, Elie Tournier gave an update on the state of the Virgil (or virgl) virtual 3D GPU for QEMU. He looked at the project’s history along with what has happened with it over the last year or so. As is usual in a status update talk, he finished with some thoughts about future plans for virgl. For the last year, Tournier has been working on virgl for Collabora.

        Virgil began as a Dave Airlie side project four or five years ago. Tournier recommended a YouTube video of a 2014 linux.conf.au talk that Airlie gave as a good starting point. It is meant to be a way for guests running in a virtual machine (VM) to access the host GPU using OpenGL and other APIs. It is based on Gallium3D, because Airlie was familiar with that architecture, Tournier said. It has reached the stage where it is ready for use in products. A company is currently building a project using it; in addition, QEMU is using virgl to allow Windows guests to access the GPU. Overall, virgl is in pretty good shape, he said.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDE neon 16.04 EOL on Monday

        Upgrades to 18.04 are working well but maintaining twice as many builds as normal is taking its toll on our time and team of guinea pig packagers. Neon on 16.04 (xenial) base will reach End of Life on Monday. Please update to 18.04 base to continue receiving updates.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • A pango update

        Pango development has been slow in the last few years, while most of the work on the text rendering stack has moved to harfbuzz. But recently, Behdad and I got together for a pango work day, and made some plans, which we want to share. The underlying goal of these changes is to ensure that GTK+ and GNOME continue to have a competitive text rendering stack, and to avoid pango becoming a roadblock for this.

      • GNOME Developers Are Looking At Sprucing Up Pango

        GNOME developers want to make sure they have a competitive text rendering stack with other platforms and as such are looking to make some modernization improvements to Pango.

        Pango as a refresher is the text layout library used by GTK+ as well as other applications and works in hand with the HarfBuzz shaping engine for the display/placement of text.

      • Stylish Gtk Themes Makes Your Linux Desktop Look Stylish

        There are plenty of nice themes available for Gnome desktop and many of them are in active development. Stylish theme pack is one of the great looking pack around since 2014 and constantly evolving. It offers stylish clean and flat design themes for Gtk-3 and Gtk-2, including Gnome shell themes. Stylish theme pack is based Materia theme and support almost every desktop environment such as Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce, Mate, Budgie, Panteon, etc.
        We are offering Stylish themes via our PPA for Ubuntu/Linux Mint. If you are using distribution other than Ubuntu/Linux Mint then download this pack directly from its page and install it in this location “~/.themes” or “/usr/share/themes”. Since Stylish theme pack is in active development that means if you encounter any kind of bug or issue with it then report it to get fixed in the next update.

      • Delft: Another Great Icon Pack In Town Forked From Faenza Icons

        In past, you may have used Faenza icon theme or you still have it set on your desktop. Delft icons are revived version of Faenza and forked from Faenza icon theme, maybe it is not right to say ‘revived’ because it looks little different from Faenza theme and at the same time it stays close to the original Faenza icons, it is released under license GNU General Public License V3. The theme was named after a dutch city, which is known for its history, its beauty, and Faenza in Italy. The author who is maintaining Delft icons saw that Faenza icons haven’t been updated from some years and thought to carry this project. There are some icons adopted from the Obsidian icon theme.
        Delft icon pack offer many variants (Delft, Delft-Amber, Delft-Aqua, Delft-Blue, Delft-Dark, Delft-Gray, Delft-Green, Delft-Mint, Delft-Purple, Delft-Red, Delft-Teal) including light and dark versions for light/dark themes, you can choose appropriate one according to your desktop theme. These icons are compatible with most of the Linux desktop environments such as Gnome, Unity, Cinnamon, Mate, Lxde, Xfce and others. Many application icons available in this icons pack and if you find any missing icon or want to include something in this icon pack or face any kind of bug then report it to creator.

      • Give Your Desktop A Sweet Outlook With Sweet Themes Give Your Desktop A Sweet Outlook With Sweet Themes

        It is feels bit difficult to describe this theme we are going to introduce here today. Sweet theme pack looks and feel very different on the desktop but at the same time make the Linux desktop elegant and eye catching. Maybe these are not perfect looking themes available but it lineup in the perfect theme queue. You may say, I don’t like it in screenshots, let me tell you that you should install it on your system and if you don’t like then you already have option to remove it. So there is no harm to try a new thing, maybe this is next best theme pack for your Linux desktop.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • 2nd New MakuluLinux Release Offers Flash and Substance

        The MakuluLinux Flash distro is splashy and fast with a spiffy new look and new features.

        MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer on Thursday announced the second of this year’s three major releases in the Series 15 distro family. The Flash edition follows last month’s LinDoz edition release. The much-awaited innovative Core edition will debut between the end of November and mid-December.

        MakuluLinux is a relatively new Linux OS. Its positive reputation has been developing since 2015. The three-year growth spurt involved a variety of desktop environments.

        Its small developer team has delivered a surprisingly efficient and productive desktop distribution in a relatively short time period. It is unusual to see a startup rise so quickly to offer an innovative and highly competitive computing platform.

        Series 15 is not an update of last year’s editions. This latest release introduces some radical changes that were under development for the last two years. The Series 15 releases of LinDoz and Flash include a complete rip-and-replace rebuild on top of an in-house developed computing base. LinDoz and Flash have been reworked completely from the ground up.

      • A Bright Spotlight on elementary OS 5.0

        It’s really bright. elementary OS 5.0 is the best release so far by mainly it’s AppCenter uniqueness and richest of desktop features ever among the prior releases. The thing I love the most is the fact that elementary OS developers contribute greatly to our community which we didn’t see anything like that before: they created a new software distribution platform similar to what we previously saw on Apple macOS, except it’s for free/libre open source software, by allowing app developers to get paid directly by the users (with the so-called “pay-what-you-want” system). elementary OS is popular, as you may see on Distrowatch, so we can expect bright future for the health of its apps market (and hope more developers getting attracted to join).

        The desktop is really usable, the shortcut keys are visible (by pressing Super key) and customizable, its enhanced with parental control as well as Night Light, the apps are plenty and still growing in numbers, plus it’s compatible with Ubuntu 18.04 so you can install thousands of packages if you wish right now.

        I can run it really smooth on an Intel 967 CPU with 4GB RAM (Intel Graphics). I hope it will be smoother on your systems. I wish this quick review of mine helps you a lot to get attracted to elementary OS and soon be a happy user.

    • New Releases
      • Elementary OS Juno Released! Here’s What’s New

        Elementary OS team delivers again with a shiny and powerful OS.

        After a two year long development and testing elementary team announced the release of elementary OS version 5.0 code named “Juno”. This release brings some of the iconic changes as well as it has bumped the version number from previous release which was 0.4 “Loki”.

      • elementary OS 5.0 Juno Review: A New Polished Experience

        elementary OS is a Linux distribution which aims to be a modern, fast & beautiful replacement for Windows and macOS. It also tries to mimic a lot of design decisions from the latter, it’s very similar to macOS in terms of UI and usability, and is used by millions of beauty lovers around the world.

        Yesterday, the elementary OS team released version 5.0 codenamed “Juno” of its operating system. Bringing tons of updates and improvements to both its core software and shape.

        Here’s our review for the latest release and what you can expect from it. You may grab the release from the elementary’s official website while reading our review, TL;DR: It’s worth it.

      • 30 Things to do After Fresh Installation of Elementary 5 Juno

        Here comes Elementary OS 5 Juno which is built with ultimate care for better user experience. This time it comes with Linux 4.15 (based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS) which brings improved hardware support and performance. Read the official release announcement and know about the added features in details.

        If you already downloaded & installed elementary Juno then I will show things to do after installing elementary OS Juno for better user experience.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • KDE and openSUSE: Plasma 5.14, Qt 5.12 and more

        Plasma 5.14 was released with many improvements.

        It was planned to have it in a released in a Tumbleweed snapshot on the same day, but openQA issues prevented snapshot 20181008 from getting published. Instead, Tumbleweed users got it with snapshot 20181009 on Thursday morning. Currently, 5.14.1 is staged to be accepted in Tumbleweed.

        To get it on Leap 15 (and even 42.3 with restrictions), you can add https://en.opensuse.org/SDB:KDE_repositories#KDE_Frameworks_5.2C_Plasma_5_and_Applications. Note that those are not part of the official distribution and therefore not as well supported.

      • OpenSUSE Begins Preparing For Leap 15.1 (15 Service Pack 1)

        As part of some brief openSUSE news today, some early details concerning Leap 15 Service Pack 1 (Leap 15.1) were shared.

        The main user-facing changes of the forthcoming openSUSE Leap 15.1 is that with this first service pack release Qt WebKit is being removed from the default installation. On the desktop side it will be shipping KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS in its latest point release at the time. It will also be shipping with the very latest KDE Applications and KDE Frameworks packages.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 18.10: What’s New? [Video]

            But how do you follow up the brilliant Bionic Beaver?

            It’s far from being an easy task and, alas, the collected changes you’ll find accrued in the ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ are of the “down-to-earth” variety rather than the “out-of-this-world” ones you might’ve been hoping for.

            But don’t take our word for it; find out yourself by watching our Ubuntu 18.10 video (and it’s best watched with headphones because, ahem, I can level sound properly).

            In 3 minute and 18 seconds we whizz you through everything that’s new, neat and noticeable in Ubuntu 18.10.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Set For Release Today With Some Nice Improvements

            It’s Cosmic Cuttlefish day! Assuming no last minute delays, Ubuntu 18.10 and its downstream flavors will be out today with their newest six-month non-LTS releases to be supported through July of 2019.

            With Ubuntu 18.10 on the desktop the most user-facing change is the revised default theme for the GNOME Shell experience. The theme formerly known as “Communitheme” and now known as “Yaru” turned out fairly nice for Ubuntu 18.10 as the default appearance. While on the topic of GNOME Shell, Ubuntu 18.10 is defaulting to the X.Org Server based session like Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and they are not yet back to riding the Wayland session — but it can be easily still toggled at log-in time for those wishing to help vet the GNOME Wayland stack.

          • How to Upgrade to Ubuntu 18.10 from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            But although it’s easy to upgrade to Ubuntu 18.10 from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS there are a number of reasons why you might not want to.

            As a Long Term Support (LTS) release 18.04 boasts 5 years of ongoing support, critical fixes and updates. Regular releases, including the latest one? Yeah, not so much; updates for 9 months.

            But if, for you, the benefits of upgrading, like fresher software, updated packages, and a newer Linux kernel, are too tempting to resist, here’s what you need to do.

          • Updating firmware on Dell XPS 13 With Pop!_OS 18.04
          • Ubuntu Plans To Make Updating Graphics Drivers Much Easier For Gamers

            The state of installing newer graphics drivers for AMD and Nvidia cards on Ubuntu is a mixed bag. While it’s undeniably faster than Windows, it’s not intuitive for new users who need bleeding edge beta drivers to play the newest games. Or for those of us who want to enjoy Windows games on Linux courtesy of Steam Play. Fortunately, Canonical plans to make this process much easier in the next version of Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Is Now Available to Download

            After six months in development, Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) is now finally here, and you can download the ISO images right now for all official flavors, including Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Studio, for 64-bit and 32-bit architectures (only Lubuntu and Xubuntu).

            The Ubuntu Server edition is also out and it’s supported on more hardware architectures than Ubuntu Desktop, including 64-bit (amd64), ARM64 (AArch64), IBM System z (s390x), PPC64el (Power PC 64-bit Little Endian), and Raspberry Pi 2/ARMhf. A live Ubuntu Server flavor is also available only for 64-bit computers.

          • Ubuntu Linux 18.10 arrives
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Financial Services Embracing Open Source to Gain Edge in Innovation

    By now, it’s pretty much a cliché to say that all companies should be technology companies. But in the case of banks and financial services these days, it’s true.

    Many finance companies are early adopters of new technologies such as blockchain, AI and Kubernetes as well as leaders in open source development. And as they seek an edge to retain customers and win new ones, they are not afraid to try new things.

    At the Linux Foundation’s inaugural Open FinTech Forum here last week, attendees got a chance to discuss the latest state of open source adoption and the extent that open source strategies are changing financial service businesses.

    The fact is, banks really do have tech businesses inside of them. Capital One’s DevExchange boasts several products that it has developed for internal use and also made available as open source, including the Cloud Custodian DevOps engine and the Hydrograph big data ETL tool.

  • Why the Open Source Enterprise Search Trend Will Only Accelerate

    Enterprise search has been going through a dramatic shift as of late. We’ve watched as some of the leaders in search, those platforms usually found in the upper right quadrant on Gartner reports, have fallen off through acquisition or from simply not keeping up with the market.

    But behind the scenes an even bigger shift is taking place: from proprietary kernels to core technologies based on open source projects.

    Some, like Lucidworks, have always been based on the open source Apache Solr project. Others, like Coveo, have joined the open source movement by offering the choice of using its traditional proprietary kernel or licensing the Coveo user experience built on top of the Elastic kernel.

  • Bentley Systems Releases Open-Source Library: iModel.js
  • Bentley Releases iModel.js Open-Source Library

    Bentley Systems, Inc., the leading global provider of comprehensive software solutions for advancing the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure, today announced the initial release of its iModel.js library, an open-source initiative to improve the accessibility, for both visualization and analytical visibility, of infrastructure digital twins. iModel.js can be used by developers and IT professionals to quickly and easily create immersive applications that connect their infrastructure digital twins with the rest of their digital world. iModel.js is the cornerstone of Bentley’s just-announced iTwin Services that combine iModelHub, reality modeling, and web-enabling software technologies within a Connected Data Environment (CDE) for infrastructure engineering.

  • Software Heritage Foundation Update

    I first wrote about the Software Heritage Foundation two years ago. It is four months since their Archive officially went live. Now Roberto di Cosmo and his collaborators have an article, and a video, entitled Building the Universal Archive of Source Code in Communications of the ACM describing their three challenges, of collection, preservation and sharing, and setting out their current status: [...]

  • 4 open source alternatives to Microsoft Access

    When small businesses, community organizations, and similar-sized groups realize they need software to manage their data, they think first of Microsoft Access. That may be the right choice if you’re already paying for a Microsoft Office subscription or don’t care that it’s proprietary. But it’s far from your only option—whether you prefer to use open source alternatives from a philosophical standpoint or you don’t have the big budget for a Microsoft Office subscription—there are several open source database applications that are worthy alternatives to proprietary software like Microsoft Access or Apple FileMaker.

    If that sounds like you, here are four open source database tools for your consideration.

  • The case for open source classifiers in AI algorithms

    Dr. Carol Reiley’s achievements are too long to list. She co-founded Drive.ai, a self-driving car startup that raised $50 million in its second round of funding last year. Forbes magazine named her one of “20 Incredible Women in AI,” and she built intelligent robot systems as a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University.

    But when she built a voice-activated human-robot interface, her own creation couldn’t recognize her voice.

    Dr. Reiley used Microsoft’s speech recognition API to build her interface. But since the API was built mostly by young men, it hadn’t been exposed to enough voice variations. After some failed attempts to lower her voice so the system would recognize her, Dr. Reiley enlisted a male graduate to lead demonstrations of her work.

  • How an affordable open source eye tracker is helping thousands communicate

    In 2015, while sat in a meeting at his full-time job, Julius Sweetland posted to Reddit about a project he had quietly been working on for years, that would help people with motor neurone disease communicate using just their eyes and an application. He forgot about the post for a couple of hours before friends messaged him to say he’d made the front page.

    Now three years on Optikey, the open source eye-tracking communication tool, is being used by thousands of people, largely through word of mouth recommendations. Sweetland was speaking at GitHub Universe at the Palace of Fine Art in San Francisco, and he took some time to speak with Techworld about the project.

    [...]

    Originally, Sweetland’s exposure to open source had largely been through the consumption of tools such as the GIMP.

    “I knew of the concept, I didn’t really know how the nuts and bolts worked, I was always a little blase about how do you make money from something like that… but flipping it around again I’m still coming from the point of view that there’s no money in my product, so I still don’t understand how people make money in open source…

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Searchfox in Phabricator extension

        Being able to search code while reviewing can be really useful, but unfortunately it’s not so straightforward. Many people resort to loading the patch under review in an IDE in order to be able to search code.

        Being able to do it directly in the browser can make the workflow much smoother.

        To support this use case, I’ve built an extension for Phabricator that integrates Searchfox code search functionality directly in Phabricator differentials. This way reviewers can benefit from hovers, go-to-definition and find-references without having to resort to the IDE or without having to manually navigate to the code on searchfox.org or dxr.mozilla.org. Moreover, compared to searchfox.org or dxr.mozilla.org, the extension highlights both the pre-patch view and the post-patch view, so reviewers can see how pre-existing variables/functions are being used after the patch.

      • Searching Made Faster, the Latest Firefox Exploration

        earch is one of the most common activities that people do whenever they go online. At Mozilla, we are always looking for ways to streamline that experience to make it fast, easy and convenient for our users.

        Our Firefox browser provides a variety of options for people to search the things and information they seek when they’re on the web, so we want to make search even easier. For instance, there are two search boxes on every home or new tab page – one is what we call the “awesome bar” also known as the URL bar, and the other is the search box in the home/new tab pages.

        In the awesome bar, users can use a shortcut to their queries by simply entering a predefined keyword (like @google) and typing the actual search term they are seeking, whether it’s the nearest movie theater location and times for the latest blockbuster movie or finding a sushi restaurant close to their current location. These Search Keywords have been part of the browser experience for years, yet it’s not commonly known. Here’s a hint to enable it: Go to “Preferences,” then “Search” and check “ One-Click Search Engines”.

      • Dweb: Decentralised, Real-Time, Interoperable Communication with Matrix

        Matrix is an open standard for interoperable, decentralised, real-time communication over the Internet. It provides a standard HTTP API for publishing and subscribing to real-time data in specified channels, which means it can be used to power Instant Messaging, VoIP/WebRTC signalling, Internet of Things communication, and anything else that can be expressed as JSON and needs to be transmitted in real-time over HTTP. The most common use of Matrix today is as an Instant Messaging platform.

      • This Week in Rust 256
  • SaaS/Back End
    • Fission open source serverless framework gets updated

      Platform9 just released updates to Fission.io – the open source, Kubernetes-native Serverless framework, with new features enabling developers and IT Operations to improve the quality and reliability of serverless applications.

      Other new features include Automated Canary Deployments to reduce the risk of failed releases, Prometheus integration for automated monitoring and alerts, and fine-grained cost and performance optimization capabilities. With this latest release, Fission offers the most complete set of features to allow Dev and Ops teams to safely adopt Serverless and benefit from the speed, cost savings and scalability of this cloud native development pattern on any environment – either in the public cloud or on-premises.

  • Databases
    • PostgreSQL 11 released

      The PostgreSQL Global Development Group today announced the release of
      PostgreSQL 11, the latest version of the world’s most advanced open
      source database.

      PostgreSQL 11 provides users with improvements to overall performance of
      the database system, with specific enhancements associated with very
      large databases and high computational workloads. Further, PostgreSQL 11
      makes significant improvements to the table partitioning system, adds
      support for stored procedures capable of transaction management,
      improves query parallelism and adds parallelized data definition
      capabilities, and introduces just-in-time (JIT) compilation for
      accelerating the execution of expressions in queries.

    • PostgreSQL 11.0 Released With Better Robustness, Performance Improvements
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GCC 9 Feature Development Is Ending Next Month

      There is just three weeks left for GNU toolchain developers to finish landing new feature material in GCC 9.0 ahead of next year’s GCC 9.1 stable release.

      Richard Biener of SUSE announced today that GCC’s “stage 1″ development will shift to “stage 3″ on 11 November. This marks the point at which open feature development is over and will then focus on bug-fixing… No new features are generally allowed in during this stage. On 6 January 2019 is when they intend to begin their final period of only working on regression fixes and documentation updates.

    • GCC’s Test Suite To Begin Testing C++17 By Default

      GCC’s test suite will soon begin testing the C++17 standard as part of its C++98/11/14 standard tests by default… This doesn’t affect the default C++ standard used by the GCC G++ compiler at this point, but at least will help eliminate any lingering C++17 bugs as well as helping to stop regressions in the future.

      With the GCC test suite’s test cases having cleared through the last of the C++17 issues, Marek Polacek of Red Hat sent out the patch today to begin testing C++17 by default when running its test suite. C++17 is tested in addition to the earlier C++98, C++11, and C++14 standards.

    • GCC 9 Compiler Adds -std=c2x And -std=gnu2x For Future C Language Update

      With GCC 9 feature development ending in a few weeks, it’s now a mad dash by developers to land their last minute additions into this annual open-source compiler update — including a look ahead for what is coming down the pipe in the compiler space.

      Joseph Myers of CodeSourcery landed on Wednesday the initial C language standard compiler switches for the upcoming C2X standard. This update that for now is just dubbed C2X is currently in a draft standard with feature development still happening for this next C programming language update. In preparing for that, to GCC 9 he has added support for the -std=c2x and -std=gnu2x (for the GNU C dialect of C2X) switches so developers can specify using this newer version of C.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Open-source hardware could defend against the next generation of hacking

        Imagine you had a secret document you had to store away from prying eyes. And you have a choice: You could buy a safe made by a company that kept the workings of its locks secret. Or you could buy a safe whose manufacturer openly published the designs, letting everyone – including thieves – see how they’re made. Which would you choose?

        It might seem unexpected, but as an engineering professor, I’d pick the second option. The first one might be safe – but I simply don’t know. I’d have to take the company’s word for it. Maybe it’s a reputable company with a longstanding pedigree of quality, but I’d be betting my information’s security on the company upholding its traditions. By contrast, I can judge the security of the second safe for myself – or ask an expert to evaluate it. I’ll be better informed about how secure my safe is, and therefore more confident that my document is safe inside it. That’s the value of open-source technology.

  • Programming/Development
    • Announcing: Thorntail 2.2 General Availability

      Today Red Hat is making Thorntail 2.2 generally available to Red Hat customers through a subscription to Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR). RHOAR provides application developers with a variety of application runtimes running on the OpenShift Container Platform.

      Thorntail is the new name for WildFly Swarm, and bundles everything you need to develop and run Thorntail and MicroProfile applications by packaging server runtime libraries with your application code and running it with java -jar. It speeds up the transition from monoliths to microservices and takes advantage of your existing industry standard Java EE technology experience.

    • The history and future of OpenJDK

      In the second half of 2017, a number of major changes were announced in the Java ecosystem that have the potential to force a reassessment of Java roadmaps and vendor selection for enterprise Java users. Some of the changes are happening in the upstream OpenJDK (Open Java Development Kit) community, and some of the changes are happening in proprietary commercial distributions of Java. Red Hat anticipates that many of our customers will need to review their current Java plans and we want to take this opportunity to review the history of our relationship with the OpenJDK community, discuss the changes in the Java ecosystem, and describe Red Hat’s Java offerings. Subsequent posts will cover the ecosystem changes and Red Hat’s plans going forward.

    • LLVM 7 improves performance analysis, linking

      The developers behind LLVM, the open-source framework for building cross-platform compilers, have unveiled LLVM 7. The new release arrives right on schedule as part of the project’s cadence of major releases every six months.

      LLVM underpins several modern language compilers including Apple’s Swift, the Rust language, and the Clang C/C++ compiler. LLVM 7 introduces revisions to both its native features and to companion tools that make it easier to build, debug, and analyze LLVM-generated software.

    • wlc 0.9

      wlc 0.9, a command line utility for Weblate, has been just released. There are several new commands like translation file upload or repository cleanup. The codebase has been also migrated to use requests instead of urllib.

    • Code Review–an Excerpt from VM Brasseur’s New Book Forge Your Future with Open Source

      Even new programmers can provide a lot of value with their code reviews. You don’t have to be a Rockstar Ninja 10x Unicorn Diva programmer with years and years of experience to have valuable insights. In fact, you don’t even have to be a programmer at all. You just have to be knowledgable enough to spot patterns. While you won’t be able to do a complete review without programming knowledge, you may still spot things that could use some work or clarification.

      If you’re not a Rockstar Ninja 10x Unicorn Diva programmer, not only is your code review feedback still valuable, but you can also learn a great deal in the process: Code layout, programming style, domain knowledge, best practices, neat little programming tricks you’d not have seen otherwise, and sometimes antipatterns (or “how not to do things”). So don’t let the fact that you’re unfamiliar with the code, the project, or the language hold you back from reviewing code contributions. Give it a go and see what there is to learn and discover.

Leftovers
  • Why Google wants to sell its gadgets in Goop stores [iophk: "Google buys into pseudo science"]

    We really don’t have to look that closely. It’s an example of mutual corporate back-scratching that incorporates two of consumerism’s favorite buzzwords: “wellness” and “luxury.”

  • Think global: How to overcome cultural communication challenges

    What does it mean to be a high- or low-context culture? In the United States, children learn to communicate explicitly: “Say what you mean; mean what you say” is a common principle of communication. On the other hand, Japanese children learn to communicate effectively by mastering the ability to “read the air.” That means they are able to read between the lines and pick up on social cues when communicating.

    Most Asian cultures follow the high-context style of communication. Not surprisingly, the United States, a young country composed of immigrants, follows a low-context culture: Since the people who immigrated to the United States came from different cultural backgrounds, they had no choice but to communicate explicitly and directly.

  • Science
    • What do we actually know about the risks of screen time and digital media?

      Recently, PNAS took a look at what we actually know about these risks, publishing a series of papers focused on “Digital Media and Developing Minds.” Collectively, this work explores the current state of research on this broad question lingering in the back of many minds: what impact do screens have on our brains, especially the developing noggins of everyone from children to young adults?

    • Tesla patents new type of cable easier to manipulate by robots in move to automate production

      Tesla has made some missteps in its attempt to drastically automate vehicle production, but it has now launched new initiatives to get it right for its next-generation ‘Alien Dreadnought’ factory.

      [...]

      Tesla’s solution consists of having a “structural element” inside the cable with the goal being “manipulated into place by a robotic arm as part of an automated process while providing reliable data connections to its desired location.”

  • Health/Nutrition
    • GOP Senator Pushed VA to Use Unproven “Brainwave Frequency” Treatment

      Sen. Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican, pushed doctors at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Reno to adopt an experimental mental health treatment marketed by a company with ties to his office.

      On a Friday night last December in his Reno office, Heller, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced VA officials to representatives from a health care startup called CereCare. The company markets an “off-label” method of treating addiction and post-traumatic stress, using electromagnetic brain stimulation.

      The meeting came about because two of CereCare’s partners had a business connection to Heller’s senior aide in Reno. “We’ve known her for years,” one of the partners, Nino Pedrini, said of the aide, Glenna Smith. Pedrini and his partner have a separate joint venture with Smith’s former employer. “This was Glenna reaching out to us, knowing what we were doing, saying we think there’s a fit here where you folks can help our veterans,” Pedrini said.

    • Research Group Identifies Over-Patenting Of Pharmaceuticals In India, Calls For Patent Reform

      The tricontinental research group “accessibsa” has found that while the Indian Patent Office rejects 40 percent of pharmaceutical patent applications, it should be rejecting 90 percent of applications to comply with Indian patent law, according to the results of its recent study of Indian patent data.

    • U.S. appeals court upholds ruling that canceled Teva Copaxone patents

      A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling that canceled patents owned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd on its blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

  • Security
    • DMARC Email Security Adoption Soars as US Government Deadline Hits
    • ShieldX Integrates Intention Engine Into Elastic Security Platform

      ShieldX announced its new Elastic Security Platform on Oct. 17 providing organizations with Docker container based data center security, that uses advanced machine learning to determine intent.

      At the core of the Elastic Security Platform is a technology that ShieldX calls the Adaptive Intention Engine that automatically determines the right policy and approach for security controls across multicloud environments. The intent-based security model can provide network microsegmentation, firewall and malware detection capabilities, among other features.

    • Spectre V2 “Lite” App-To-App Protection Mode Readying For The Linux Kernel

      We are approaching one year since the Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities shocked the industry, and while no new CPU speculative execution vulnerabilities have been made public recently, the Linux kernel developers continue improving upon the Spectre/Meltdown software-based mitigation techniques for helping to offset incurred performance costs with current generation hardware.

    • Another Massive Credit Reporting Database Breached By Criminals

      Lots of companies like gathering lots of data. Many do this without explicit permission from the people they’re collecting from. They sell this info to others. They collect and collect and collect and it’s not until there’s a problem that many people seem to feel the collection itself is a problem.

      The Equifax breach is a perfectly illustrative case. Lenders wanted a service that could rate borrowers quickly to determine their trustworthiness. This required a massive amount of data to be collected from numerous creditors, along with personally-identifiable information to authenticate the gathered data. The database built by Equifax was a prime target for exploitation. That this information would ultimately end up in the hands of criminals was pretty much inevitable.

      But Equifax isn’t the only credit reporting service collecting massive amounts of data but failing to properly secure it. TransUnion not only collects a lot of the same information, but it sells access to cops, lenders, private investigators, landlords… whoever might want to do one-stop shopping for personal and financial data. This includes criminals, because of course it does.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • LibSSH Flaw Allows Hackers to Take Over Servers Without Password
    • This iPhone Passcode Bypass Allows Hackers To View And Share Your Images

      If you look at the video, the iOS vulnerability can be seen as part of running accessibility features on the device. He used the iPhone VoiceOver feature and the Siri assistant to access the Photo Library, open photos and send them to another device chosen by the attacker.

    • Windows PCs Vulnerable To RID Hijacking; Grants Full System Access To Attackers
    • RELPOLINES: A New Spectre V2 Approach To Lower Overhead Of Retpolines

      Nadav Amit of VMware has announced their (currently experimental) work on “dynamic indirect call promotion” or what they have dubbed “RELPOLINES” — not to be confused with the traditional Retpolines for “return trampolines” as one of the Spectre Variant Two software-based mitigation approaches. Relpolines is designed to have lower overhead than Retpolines.

    • Security updates for Thursday
  • Defence/Aggression
    • UAE Contracted An American Hit Squad to Kill Political Figures And More in Yemen
    • A Middle East Monarchy Hired American Ex-Soldiers To Kill Its Political Enemies. This Could Be The Future Of War.

      Cradling an AK-47 and sucking a lollipop, the former American Green Beret bumped along in the back of an armored SUV as it wound through the darkened streets of Aden. Two other commandos on the mission were former Navy SEALs. As elite US special operations fighters, they had years of specialized training by the US military to protect America. But now they were working for a different master: a private US company that had been hired by the United Arab Emirates, a tiny desert monarchy on the Persian Gulf.

    • Dramatic drone video shows US mercenaries act as ‘murder squads’ to assassinate high-profile politicians and clerics in the Middle East

      Video captured by military drones shows armed American mercenaries take part in an operation to assassinate a prominent cleric in Yemen, a Buzzfeed News investigation has revealed.

      Two former Navy SEALs were among the fighters working for Spear Operations Group, a private US company that was hired by the United Arab Emirates to carry out an assassination in war-torn Yemen on December 29, 2015.

    • Terror at the Moria refugee camp

      Anyone who doesn’t toe the line or is in the way can expect physical violence or even death threats. The perpetrators often cite Sharia law as their justification. More and more graffiti glorify IS. The Greek authorities take no action.

    • ISIS sympathisers dominate Greek refugee camp: “If you are not Muslim I can rape you” [Ed: More unsavoury sites take it even further]

      The video is titled: “Terror in Camp Moria”. DW reporters attached spy cameras on former inmates of the camp, and the images they got described a living hell.

      Former inmates described Moria as the worst camp of Europe. More than 8000 people are living under miserable conditions inside this camp, which was initially designed to host about 2500 people. And they give a SHOCKING statement in front of the camera.

    • ‘Islamic State Recruiter’ Allegedly Runs Free School In Sweden [iophk: “Free in that context means Private”

      While no formal charges have been brought against him, El Nadi (53) is considered one of the reasons for the rise of Islamist extremism in Gothenburg, which produced about a third of Sweden’s roughly 300 jihadists (or “foreign fighters,” to use the official parlance), Doku reported.

    • The multiculturalism umbrella: Made in Islam wool [Ed: Right wing media in Israel is inflaming the far right in Europe (also below)]

      Why do US citizens miss the wool being pulled over their eyes? Because Americans are conditioned to be tolerant and compassionate, to embrace multiculturalism and respect each other’s beliefs, ideals and values. Islam, however, does not reciprocate.

    • When is church vandalism just high jinks? When Muslims are involved

      Swedes, especially Christians, remain on edge as their new Muslim neighbours who refuse to assimilate continue to get a pass on hateful behaviour, and the Swedish media continues to cover it up.

    • It is game over for Europe

      Charlotte d’Ornellas, a journalist for the French weekly magazine Valeurs Actuelles, has just explained it in different words: “When you go to Château-Rouge, there is a cultural Africanization, when we go to certain areas, where all the women are veiled, there is an Islamization of the landscape”.

    • Iranian pseudo anti-imperialism

      Anti-imperialism comes in various shapes and forms in Iran, ranging from hard-nosed to soft-bellied. However, with the rise of reactionary forces, the history of anti-imperialism in post-revolutionary Iran has been the triumph of the latter. The 1979 Revolution in which the religious forces seized the power and tried to redirect the anti-imperialist discourse, brought the long-term Iran-America honeymoon to an end. It led to a misconception among western intellectuals that the Iranian government is at the forefront of resistance against American imperialism. There were also some people among the secular Iranian intellectuals who endorsed this anti-imperialism – most importantly Tudeh Party (Party of the People) that was the admirer of imperialist discourse of the Islamic Republic, until the regime imprisoned and executed its main leaders in 1983.

      The hostage crisis in 1979 marked a turning point in Iran-United States relations. It derailed the leftist anti-imperialist discourse and turned it into shallow rhetoric against the so-called Great Satan with the unifying slogan ‘Down with America’.

      Thirty years later, when Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad took power, even some western intellectuals fell for a misleading vision that considered him a leftist fighting against the dominant global system.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Ecuador Rejects Reports on Assange but It Admits New Protocol

      Ecuador on Wednesday rejected reports about pressure from UN officials on the government, regarding the situation of Julian Assange, but it accepted to implement a new Special Protocol to maintain his asylum status.

      ‘The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador rejects with indignation such stories and underlines that the president of the Republic did not even discuss the issue of Mr. Assange’s asylum with the United Nations high commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, or with the United Nations special rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, David Kaye,’ an official statement said.

      According to the press release, the fake reports aim to maintain that UN officials pressured Ecuador to make the decision to issue a Special Protocol with regulations on the minimum conditions of the asylum seeker’s stay at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

    • Ecuador warns Assange to obey rules or lose asylum

      Ecuador officials have told WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been in asylum in the country’s British embassy for six years, to obey house rules or lose asylum.

    • Leading US House Democrat demands that Ecuador’s president “hand over” Julian Assange

      The US is increasing its pressure on Ecuador to evict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from its London embassy, where he took political asylum in June 2012. He would then be arrested immediately by British police and subjected to extradition proceedings to face trumped-up espionage charges in the US that could see him jailed for life or even executed.

      On Wednesday, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee sent a threatening letter to Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno insisting that he “hand over” Assange to the “proper authorities” as a precondition for improving relations with the United States.

      In a bipartisan letter, Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, and former Foreign Relations Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, declared: “We are very concerned with Julian Assange’s continued presence at your embassy in London and his receipt of Ecuadorian citizenship last year.”

    • In Illinois Governor’s Race, Rauner and Pritzker See a Clear Need to Promise Transparency

      Since he first entered politics as a candidate five years ago, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has pledged his commitment to open government.

      As he put it during a debate last week with challenger J.B. Pritzker before the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board: “Transparency is great.”

      As he fights for re-election, making the declaration is a great move on Rauner’s part — and an easy one. Voters are demanding more and more information about what their governments are doing with their tax money, and every candidate at every level is wise to speak in favor of sharing it with them.

      But what Rauner means when he vows to be transparent isn’t so clear, given his administration’s habit of fighting against the release of information. The governor’s office won’t even disclose how often it blocks the release of records sought by the public.

    • TMID Editorial: The state broadcaster and Julian Assange

      It is a small detail, but it is very much symptomatic of the rather large problem of media imbalance that we are facing, and which we have been facing for years, in Malta.

      Yesterday, a group of the world’s leading proponents of freedom of speech, expression and media gave a press conference in which they delivered an extremely grave assessment, from an outsider’s point of view, on how those rights are, or, rather, are not, espoused in Malta.

      [...]

      That PBS is little more than a tool in the hands of the government of the day has been a reality for a long time but this government has pushed that envelope to all new abysmal levels. This in itself is a most damning indictment and is symptomatic of a far deeper rot that has taken hold of this country.

      Funnily enough, that completely out of place question came just after the organisations’ assessment on the state of the country’s media pluralism, which was not complimentary at all. The journalist was politely reminded that it was not the time or place for such questions, and was invited to speak about Assange after the press conference about Malta.

      The national broadcaster, after all, is meant to be the standard bearer when it comes to objectivity, fairness and neutrality, but so many times, more often than not, it very selectively chooses to completely ignore the news of the day when it is not complimentary to the government.+

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Company that sucks CO2 from air announces a new methane-producing plant

      It’s been a banner week for hydrocarbons made from waste gases. Earlier this week, a company announced that it had delivered 4,000 gallons of jet fuel made from steel-plant waste gases to Virgin Atlantic. Now, Swiss company Climeworks has announced the opening of a new plant in Italy that will collect carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air and pair it with renewably made hydrogen (H2) to make methane fuel that would add little or no CO2 to the atmosphere.

    • Report: Action Needed Now in Climate Crisis
    • We Need Massive Change to Avoid

      To correct course and avoid 1.5 C, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, we’ll need to cut emissions by half before 2030, and go carbon-neutral by 2050, the report says. That gives us three decades to transform our energy production into something unrecognizable, with renewable energy galore combined with carbon capture techniques like the bolstering of forests, and maybe even sucking the stuff out of the atmosphere and trapping it underground. We’ll have to change our behavior as individuals, too. Meaning, we’re looking at unprecedented change, what is essentially the restructuring of civilization.

    • Why the next three months are crucial for the future of the planet

      This time, the scientists will attempt to answer whether and how the world can meet the “aspiration” set in the Paris agreement of 2015 to hold warming to no more than 1.5C, beyond which many low-lying states and islands are likely to face dangerous sea level rises.

      When the scientists deliver their verdict, the onus will pass to politicians to translate their advice into concrete action. Already in recent weeks, global initiatives have begun aimed at doing so: the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last month spurred protests, and dozens of local governments and multinational companies to make pledges; the second One Planet Summit saw advances in climate finance; while at the UN General Assembly, secretary general António Guterres urged world leaders to step up, calling climate change “the defining issue of our time”.

    • We Can Still Do A Lot To Slow Climate Change. But Will We?
    • Why Half a Degree of Global Warming Is a Big Deal

      The report also highlights the possibility that even modest amounts of warming may push both human societies and natural ecosystems past certain thresholds where sudden and calamitous changes can occur.

    • ‘a guardian’ film shows how drone technology can save animal lives in africa

      director andy fackrell has launched a guardian, a 90-second film that highlights that surprising role of drone technology in the war against poaching. produced for los angeles–based charity over and above africa, the all-drone shot movie presents a series of swooping aerial shots of animal groups, each titled with the respective collective nouns – a pride of lions, a wobble of ostrich, an implausibility of gnu, etc. – before tracking ‘a gang’ of poachers on the drone’s night vision camera.

  • Finance
    • We have the answers to Brexit’s causes

      The seaside town had one of the highest leave votes in the country. Image: Teresa Dapp/DPA/PA ImagesWe should have seen the referendum result coming. For millions the status quo isn’t working. Life is unstable, unfulfilling and unfair. And given the option to send a message to Westminster – or, as Russell Brand would have it, to press a bright red button that said “F off establishment” – it’s not surprising that so many people took it.

      Too many people spend too many hours working in insecure jobs to pay rocketing rents. The cost of living continues to rise, while average earnings remain almost £800 a year lower than they were ten years ago. As a nation, we are £19 billion in debt on our everyday bills.

    • Brexit is showing the urban middle classes the real Britain

      Back in July, I rang the Met. Britain’s elections watchdog had just referred another major Leave campaign to the cops, for suspected crimes committed during the knife-edge Brexit campaign. This was the second referral in three months (the first related to Arron Banks’s controversial pro-Brexit outfit, Leave.EU). I assumed the Metropolitan Police had done nothing about either case. After all, if Britain’s police forces took the crimes of rich white people seriously, London wouldn’t be the world centre for money laundering. But it’s always important to check your assumptions.

      When the police finally got back to me, they confirmed my suspicions. They hadn’t opened an investigation into any of the cases referred to them by the Electoral Commission. I mentioned this in a broader story about regulators (noting “you can be fined more for touting football tickets than you can for subverting Britain’s democratic process”). And then I popped a reminder in my diary for a fairly random date a few months thence, saying “check whether Met still haven’t opened investigation”.

      Last week, we published the result of that diary entry. No, the Met still hadn’t opened an official investigation, citing “political sensitivities”. When I tweeted the piece, it was carried across the internet on a wave of FBPE fury. Some said they were angry, but not surprised. But the reaction from most seemed to be shock. Shock that politics might interfere with policing; astonishment that London’s police force might not be policing the laws of our democracy as vigorously as they do many other rules of our society.

    • Brexit is taking our food policy in the wrong direction

      The decision around the food that we eat is among the most intensely private that we can make. Children express extremely strong preferences from the earliest ages – and these can last a lifetime. The choice about food has a direct, causal impact on our health. There is growing awareness for example that refined sugar is addictive, and is contributing to an obesity crisis.

      We assume that the food that we buy is not poisonous, even if extravagances are ultimately unhealthy. We expect responsible companies to sell products that are not extremely bad for our children.

      But we have a problem. There can be a conflict of interests between the producer of foods and the customer. The producer needs to sell as much food at as low a price as possible. If the ill effects are immediate and significant then customers will notice and most will stop buying the food. But if the effects are less direct and take longer, then this is not so clear.

      We therefore want governments to ban hidden ingredients that will cause cancer, or otherwise make us sick. We want to go about our lives with an assurance that our food will not kill us. So who influences government decisions: is it us, or the corporations?

      Take the use of growth hormones in the raising of beef for slaughter. The synthesised hormone causes the animal to grow more meat, resulting in higher profits for the company concerned – and more protein going into the human diet. The European Union has considered evidence that some hormones can cause cancer and has therefore banned their use as growth promoters, and also banned meat from other countries where hormones have been used for that reason.

    • What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit

      You’d think that the 100th anniversary of the sinking of a Royal Mail ship – torpedoed in the Irish Sea in 1918 with the loss of 569 lives – would cause a few ripples in Brexit Britain. Most of the 771 passengers aboard were British soldiers heading back to the Western Front to fight for France. One of the engineers came from Birkenhead, a ship’s trimmer from Holyhead. There were Americans, Canadians and New Zealanders among the dead. So revolted was US president Woodrow Wilson by the sinking – for the RMS Leinster was also carrying more than a hundred civilians – that he delayed replying to a German request for an armistice.

      The Leinster, the regular daily ferry to Holyhead, was sunk 100 years and a day ago, the greatest ever disaster in the Irish Sea, and scarcely a month before the end of the First World War. But yesterday in Britain, only a mention in the Welsh press, a local BBC report and a minute’s silence at the Holyhead cenotaph commemorated the event. Obversely, the nation which suffered the greatest loss of life aboard the Leinster hardly bothered to remember its sinking until recent years. And the reason is simple. For most of the British soldiers aboard were Irishmen and the ship was a Dublin vessel and the 22 postal sorters killed were Irish and it sank less than an hour after it left the Irish port of Kingstown which is now called Dun Laoghaire.

      And this has produced an extraordinary irony of both history and politics. An independent Ireland which deliberately erased its First World War history after its brutal war for freedom from Britain – then a civil war within its 26 county borders – has only in recent decades felt able to acknowledge its people’s sacrifice in British uniform on the Somme, Flanders and at Gallipoli. And aboard the Leinster. And so it was that yesterday morning, led by the Irish naval service patrol ship Orla, a small flotilla of boats set sail from Dun Laoghaire – once a great royal navy port – so that descendants of the dead could scatter wreaths only a hundred feet above the wreckage of the Leinster. The Irish Times devoted a whole page to the disaster. Irish national television carried a prime time documentary on the Leinster.

      [...]

      For weeks, bodies washed up in Ireland, Scotland and Wales; one of them a young, unidentified woman came ashore near Holyhead. So did rumours: that soldiers threatened the passengers in the panic to abandon ship, that firearms were used – Sinn Fein would use this in its forthcoming election campaign. A few days later, the German U-boat U-123 was lost with all hands when it struck a mine in the North Sea.

      The local council at Dun Laoghaire has just produced a fine volume on the sinking of the Leinster in which the lord mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha, refers to the 1914-18 war as “futile” and adds – truthfully – that “our country was brought into it without … a democratic, independent government which was denied to us by the British government.” The mayor of Holyhead, Ann Kennedy, regards the Leinster tragedy – again, correctly – as “part of the history of Holyhead and Ireland” and speaks of “the friendships that have developed between Wales and Ireland”. She does not mention Britain. The British ambassador in Dublin, Robin Barnett, concludes rather prissily that the commemorations allow us “to remember our forbears in a respectful and inclusive (sic) manner”.

      But the German ambassador to Ireland, Matthias Hopfner, gets it spot on. Peace, he says, is inextricably linked to the European Union. “Europe is not only an answer to the past. It is an answer to the future.” In other words, this is not about “inclusivity” – how I am beginning to hate that smug word – but about history. Wales, alas, voted for Brexit – although there are signs it would not do so again if given a second referendum.When Ireland “did a Brexit” by leaving the British empire after 1921 – and the Commonwealth in 1949 – it buried some of its recent history. Through pride or prejudice? But its EU membership surely encouraged Ireland to see itself as a free and confident European country which could re-examine that history. Hence yesterday’s commemorations above the 1918 wreck of the Leinster. In those days, of course, British soldiers on leave from the Western Front in France could be given a free ticket to London or Dublin. No hard borders then.

    • Why a people’s vote on Brexit is democratic

      Britain is not used to referendums. Which is why the view that a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal – which thousands will be taking to the streets of London to demand this weekend – is somehow ‘undemocratic’ has gained traction.

      But it is actually quite usual to have a second vote on really big decisions that will have longterm impacts. For example, Ireland had two referendums on the Nice Treaty, first in June 2001, then in October 2002, before ratifying the Nice Treaty. Denmark also had two referendums on Maastricht, in June 1992 then May 1993.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Why Do the Media Keep Parroting Trump’s Falsehoods?

      The circle of lies begins with Trump, continues through Fox News, and ends up in the mainstream media.

    • Here Are the Trump Projects Where Ivanka and Her Dad Misled Buyers

      A pattern of deception ran through the Trumps’ real estate deals since the mid-2000s. Not only were the Trumps more than the mere licensors they claimed to be, extracting millions in fees from nearly every facet of these projects, but they often misled buyers and investors on key information — such as the level of sales and the Trumps’ role and investment in the deals. (Read our full investigation.) The Trump Organization did not respond to our questions, and the White House didn’t have a comment.

    • Facebook’s Purge Of Political Pages Fuels Delusion Of Insurgent Threats To Democracy

      Facebook’s purge of more than 500 pages and 250 accounts ahead of midterm elections in the United States represents a massive trend to police social media activity in ways that put freedom of expression at risk.

      This trend effectively discourage users from engaging in radical politics and may be viewed as part of a counterinsurgency effort by a powerful social media company to assure a passive majority of Americans that they are properly guarding a widely used platform from alleged threats to democracy.

      On October 11, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, and Oscar Rodriguez, the company’s product manager, published a press release about the purge.

      “We’re removing 559 pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Gleicher and Rodriguez stated. “Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of groups and pages to drive traffic to their websites.”

      According to Gleicher and Rodriguez, these techniques were used by groups and pages to make content “appear more popular” than it truly was on Facebook.

      Both suggested some of the pages and accounts were “ad farms” that misled users into believing they were “forums for legitimate political debate.”

    • Facebook Accused of Hiding Inflated Ad Metrics Back in 2015

      Facebook Inc. knew in early 2015 that it misled advertisers about the average time users spent viewing online video clips — and then lied about it, according to a lawsuit.

      The owner of the world’s largest social network acknowledged in September 2016 that it had inflated the metric for marketers, and said it fixed its calculations. Crowd Siren, the online marketing agency that sued over the misrepresentations, now claims that Facebook knew as early as 2015 that it was over-reporting the figures.

      Crowd Siren added fraud claims and a request for punitive damages against the company in an amended complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Oakland, California.

    • Facebook Sued By Advertisers For Hiding Ad-Metrics Error For More Than A Year

      After going through 80,000 pages of internal Facebook records that were obtained as a part of court proceedings, they found that that the company recognized the miscalculations in the year 2015.

    • Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections

      On October 11, Facebook announced the removal of 559 pages and 251 accounts from its service, accusing the account holders of “spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

      The purged users stand accused of posting “massive amounts of content … to drive traffic to their websites” with suspicious “timing ahead of US midterm elections.”

      Facebook admits to “legitimate reasons” for such behavior — “it’s the bedrock of fundraising campaigns and grassroots organizations.” Not to mention the operations of CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and a bunch of other users/pages which weren’t purged.

      Facebook also admits that it has previously “enforced this policy against many Pages, Groups and accounts created to stir up political debate …”

    • Twitter Publicly Shames Russian Troll Accounts: Publishes 10 Million Tweets

      Since the 2016 US election meddling went under the nose of Twitter, the company has become very diligent towards catching any troll accounts. Now, the company is publicizing troll tweets in order for people to understand the situation in a better way.

      The social media website has published datasets comprising 10 million tweets which includes text, images, GIF, videos from Russia and Iran affiliated accounts.

      The data set is made up of 3,841 accounts from the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, 770 accounts potentially from Iran. It also includes 2 million GIFs, videos and recorded Periscope live streams. Some data even dates back to 2009.

    • Twitter publishes tweet archive of Russian and Iranian state-run [astroturfer] farms

      The Russian set is 1.24GB of tweets, with nearly 300GB of media. The Iranian one is 168MB, with 65GB of media.

    • Enabling further research of information operations on Twitter

      These large datasets comprise 3,841 accounts affiliated with the IRA, originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran. They include more than 10 million Tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts, including the earliest on-Twitter activity from accounts connected with these campaigns, dating back to 2009.

    • Why Coverage of Indigenous Issues Is So Lousy

      Long ago and far, far away, in a Canadian prairie city and a prior life as a local and regional reporter for TV news, I wondered why we covered Indigenous issues so badly. I presented this question to reporters, editors and producers in print and broadcast newsrooms, including my own, throughout the city. This in a city where roughly one-quarter of the local population was Indigenous, living literally on the other side of the tracks.

      Not a single person I interviewed argued against my premise. Everyone agreed our coverage was “lousy,” and got worse throughout the province, the further away from the city you were. Most gave me the usual excuses: We didn’t have enough time or people to do better, given tight deadlines; didn’t have adequate resources or people, given tighter budgets; and we worried about accusations of racism if we did a story about the problems, and accusations about racism if we painted over the problems.

      One producer in TV news said something different. She didn’t agree with what she called easy excuses. She said it was about money—advertising. Poor people in poor neighborhoods didn’t buy advertising, as a rule. Indigenous peoples, often the poorest of the poor, not only didn’t buy ads, but didn’t pay attention to ads or buy newspapers, a major source of stories and ideas for local broadcasting newsrooms. To her, Indigenous peoples got the coverage they paid for: no money, no coverage.

      Put simply—we weren’t considered part of the audience or readership.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Facebook accused of censorship after hundreds of US political pages purged

      And those who have built their livelihoods around the power of Facebook to drive traffic to their websites are wondering what to do next.

    • UK gov ploughs on with plans for mandatory porn age checks

      The regulation will be left for Parliament to poke to see if it becomes enshrined into law, and if it does, the regulation would force any website with porn content to force age checks before access is granted to a site.

      But things get murky to how the law could be applied. While sites that directly provide porn and charge for it or serve adverts to visitors will need to have age checks in place. But apps and services that have less than a third of their content rammed with porn won’t have to have the checks in place.

    • Why Trump’s Stormy Daniels Tweet Wasn’t Defamation

      Defamation is hard to prove in the United States — and that’s a good thing for political debate.

      On Monday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, against Donald Trump alleging that he defamed her on Twitter. While Trump’s bullying and name-calling, particularly targeting women, are abhorrent and vulgar, it’s not surprising that Clifford’s suit was unsuccessful. Defamation is relatively hard to prove in the United States — and that’s a good thing.

      The case was about Clifford’s assertion that in 2011, as she was considering going public with information about an affair she had with Trump, she was confronted by a stranger in a parking lot who told her to “leave Trump alone.” In April 2018, Clifford released a sketch of the person who she says confronted her. Trump responded by tweeting that the alleged encounter didn’t happen and the whole story was a “con job.” Clifford then sued Trump for defamation, among other legal actions she has taken against him and his coterie.

      To prove defamation, a plaintiff must essentially show three things: that the published statement in question was provably “false” and not just an opinion, that the defendant knew it was false and published it with the intent to cause harm, and that the plaintiff suffered demonstrable injury from the published falsehood.

    • PEN America Sues Donald Trump For 1st Amendment Violations In Attacking The Press

      PEN America, the well known human rights group that focuses on protecting freedom of expression for writers has now sued President Trump for a bunch of different attacks on the First Amendment — using Trump’s repeated tweets and threats as the key evidence in making these claims. The complaint lists out a bunch of different statements and actions by the President that PEN America argues all violate the 1st Amendment. There are four separate actions by the President described in the lawsuit, and let’s go through them one by one.

      First up is the President issuing an executive order about raising postal rates in retaliation against Jeff Bezos and Amazon, because Bezos (not Amazon) owns the Washington Post, and the Washington Post has been doing pretty strong reporting in revealing all sorts of Presidential misdeeds.

    • The Good Censor Document Shows Google Struggling With The Challenges Of Content Moderation

      Last week, the extreme Trump-supporting media sites went positively ballistic when Breitbart released a leaked internal presentation entitled “The Good Censor.” According to Breitbart and the other Trumpkin media, this is somehow “proof” that Google is censoring conservatives, giving up on free speech and planning to silence people like themselves. To put this into a context those sites would understand, this is “fake news.” I finally had the time to read through the 85 page presentation and, uh, it paints a wholly different picture than the one that Breitbart and such sites have been painting.

      Instead, it pretty clearly lays out why content moderation is impossible to do well at scale and that it will always result in decisions that upset a lot of people (no matter what they do). It also discusses how “bad actors” have effectively weaponized open platforms to silence people.

      It does not, as some sites have suggested, show a Google eager to censor anyone. Indeed, the report repeatedly highlights the difficult choices it faces, and repeatedly highlights how any move towards increased censorship can and will be abused by governments to stamp out dissent.

    • Chinese Professor Argues Google Should Launch A Censored Search Engine In China

      There’s been quite a lot of reasonable uproar over the leaked plans for Google to re-enter the Chinese market with a censored, locked down search engine. There’s a lot of history there, but giving in to the authoritarian government’s desire to block access to all sorts of content would seem to go very much against Google’s stated focus on helping provide access to information around the globe. There have been numerous recent reports of Google employees protesting this decision internally, and even some employees have quit Google to put an exclamation point on just how against this idea they are. Recently an opinion piece in the South China Morning Post from a Chinese professor started making the rounds, arguing that “even a censored Google search engine would be better” for people in China than its current main search engine, Baidu.

      [...]

      That’s really throwing in the towel entirely, though. The entire argument is based on the idea that Google hoped that leaving China would prompt some change in its unhealthy censorship policies. But, if true, that would entrust to Google a lot more power than I think even the biggest Google booster thinks the company has. It didn’t pull out of China to try to force China’s hand. It pulled out of China because it believed China’s censorship and surveillance campaigns were simply wrong. That hasn’t changed, and that’s why Google shouldn’t give in here. It’s not about some big calculus about what’s better for whom. It’s about not censoring content at the behest of an authoritarian censorship-happy government.

    • The Benton’s ‘Dangerous Art and Censorship’ forum brings much needed discourse on art’s impact in our world

      On Friday, The William Benton Museum of Art held a forum on the topic of dangerous art and censorship, directly tying into the museum’s latest exhibit, “What’s the Alternative? Art and Outrage of the 1960s Underground Press.” The panel showcased Dwayne Booth (also known as Mr. Fish), cartoonist and curator of the aforementioned exhibit, Molly Land, professor of law and associate director of UConn’s Human Rights Institute and Christopher Vials, associate professor of English and director of American studies. The forum was moderated by Brendan Kane, associate professor of history and assistant director of public humanities. The conversation lasted just over an hour and a half.

    • Saudi Arabia Threatens Anyone Spreading ‘Fake News’ Online with 5 Years in Prison, Heavy Fines

      Saudi Arabia is threatening to give 5-year prison terms and heavy fines to anyone caught spreading “fake news” online, a warning to those discussing the suspected murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The threat, published over the weekend in the Saudi Gazette, echoes one of President Trump’s favorite phrases to demean any journalism that he finds unfavorable to his regime.

      The Saudi Gazette cited Article 6 of the Saudi Arabia’s cybercrimes regulations which makes it against the law to breach “public order, religious values, public morals and privacy.” The law makes no distinction between Saudi citizens and foreign nationals found to be in violation of the draconian rules.

    • Facebook’s purge of left-wing media: A frontal assault on freedom of speech

      On Thursday, Facebook carried out a mass purge of left-wing political pages as part of an ongoing conspiracy by the state and the technology monopolies to censor the internet.

      Over 800 pages and accounts, with a combined following in the tens of millions, were summarily removed. The banned pages include highly popular postings by groups opposing and publicizing incidents of police violence such as Police the Police, Cop Block and Filming Cops, as well as prominent left-wing news pages such as Anti-Media, Reverb Press, Counter Current News and Resistance.

      The removal of these pages is an unconstitutional assault on freedom of speech and expression. Facebook, acting in coordination with the US government, is violating the most fundamental rights of the American population.

    • Ambassador to France criticized over censorship attempt

      Israeli Ambassador to Paris Aliza Bin-Noun, demanded that French television channel France 2 reconsider airing a news report about Palestinians who were wounded by the IDF, calling it “unbalanced” and asserting that it will cause incitement against Jews in the country.

      The French media was outraged at Bin-Noun’s request and protested it via various media channels. It was seen as an Israeli attempt to censor and undermine freedom of speech.

    • Supreme Court To Hear Case That Could Possibly (But Not Really) Impact Social Media Content Moderation

      This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal in a case called Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, which some are arguing could have a major impact on whether or not social media sites are barred from moderating content because they’re quasi state actors and the 1st Amendment blocks them from moderating content.

      Let’s be clear on this: while something could go completely wacky and sideways (it is 2018, after all) the chances of this ruling directly impacting social media platforms is very, very, very, very, very, very, very small. That does not mean whatever ruling won’t be cited by various plaintiffs to make bizarre arguments — as we’ve seen repeatedly with people misinterpreting the Packingham decision. However, given both the facts of this case, and the way the Supreme Court works, I would be shocked if this ruling has any significant impact at all.

      This case involves a public access channel, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, where two producers — DeeDee Halleck and Jesus Melendez — were apparently fired for making critical comments about the network. They sued, claiming their First Amendment rights were violated, because the city and the network — as a state actor — were punishing them based on the content of their speech. The city has been dismissed from the case as it has basically nothing to do with any of this. The question at issue is whether or not this public access channel is a “traditional public forum,” in which even a private operator can be judged to be a de facto representative of the government and subject to the limits on the state — such as the First Amendments ban on suppression of speech.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Secret Government Report Shows Gaping Holes in Privacy Protections From U.S. Surveillance

      The Trump administration released a report from federal privacy watchdog after the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

      On Tuesday, in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, a federal privacy watchdog released an important report about how the U.S. government handles people’s personal information that it sweeps up in its surveillance. Despite requests from Senator Ron Wyden and the European Union, the Trump administration had refused to make the report public — until now. The report addresses government agencies’ implementation of “PPD-28,” President Obama’s 2014 policy directive on government spying and the treatment of “personal information,” which includes communications like emails, chats, and text messages.

      [...]

      This new report is yet more evidence that the future of the central U.S.–EU data-sharing agreement — known as Privacy Shield — is in doubt.

      Privacy Shield allows American tech firms operating in Europe to easily and lawfully transfer data to the United States, and it’s predicated on the idea that the U.S. “adequately” protects Europeans’ communications. The European Commission approved Privacy Shield in part because it believed that Obama’s directive provided meaningful protection. PPD-28 recognized that “all persons have legitimate privacy interests in the handling of their personal information” — and it explicitly extended some very modest privacy protections to non-Americans abroad.

      Although the directive was a step in the right direction, we’ve explained elsewhere why it does not provide adequate protection for EU persons’ data and is too weak to serve as the legal basis for Privacy Shield. This report makes it even clearer that the directive fails to cure the fundamental problems with U.S. surveillance law.

      In short, the U.S. government is exploiting the personal information it gathers using these spying activities more broadly than ever, but the report reveals just how anemic PPD-28’s protections are in practice. It also raises serious questions about whether the directive has been implemented fully and consistently across the intelligence community.

    • ABA Issues Opinion on Lawyers’ Obligations after Electronic Data Breach

      ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 483 (Oct. 17, 2018) is here. Like many ABA opinions, it provides a useful roadmap to the issues and how to respond to them (and, in this opinion, some good proactive advice). The opinion addressed the narrow issue of a data breach which results in disclosure of, or destruction of, client confidences as opposed to “ransomware” attacks and the like, where access is denied but the data is not compromised, or access to data is otherwise inhibited or delayed.

      The first take away is an obligation to “employ reasonable efforts to monitor” for unauthorized access to client confidences, whether at the office, through vendors, or otherwise.

      The second is that the lawyer must act reasonably promptly to stop any breach and mitigate, or rectify, the consequences. In this regard, the opinion suggests creating an “incident response plan with specific plans and procedures” to do so.

      Third, the opinion states that the lawyer must determine what, with reasonable care, was compromised, deleted, or misappropriated. And, again, it suggested these be part of the “incident response plan.”

    • Just As Expected: GDPR Has Made Google Even More Dominant In Europe

      Oh, the EU, will you ever learn? Over the last few years, the EU has been screaming about the awfulness of evil large tech companies in the name of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (sometimes called “GAFA”), though in reality, their biggest concerns are focused almost entirely on Google and Facebook. The EU keeps popping up with ridiculous laws, all of which are designed to hit Google and Facebook. The GDPR was a big one, and the latest is the EU Copyright Directive. And there are more as well. Some of us keep pointing out to the EU that if these laws are designed to go after Google and Facebook, they’re going to miss their target quite a bit, because they’ll mostly serve to lock in those companies as the dominant providers. That’s because they’re big enough to manage the regulatory burden, whereas startups and smaller competitors will not be able to and will suffer.

      The first bit of data is in on the GDPR and of course it shows that the big winner under the GDPR is… Google. The biggest losers? Smaller competitors to Google. A bit surprisingly, Facebook did see its adtech marketshare decline (while Google’s grew), but relative to everyone else, Facebook sill beat out all other competitors.

    • Facebook lied: its in-home “Portal” cameras will collect your data

      Portal will spy on you continuously while you use it and that data will be used to target Facebook ads at you later.

    • It turns out that Facebook could in fact use data collected from its Portal in-home video device to target you with ads

      Facebook announced Portal last week, its take on the in-home, voice-activated speaker to rival competitors from Amazon, Google and Apple.

      The biggest question surrounding the device: Why should anyone trust Facebook enough to put Facebook-powered microphones and video cameras in their living room or kitchen? Given Facebook’s year of privacy and security issues, privacy around the device — including what data Facebook collects and how it’s used — has been an important part of the story surrounding Portal.

    • Turns Out Putting a Facebook Camera in Your House Might Be a Privacy Issue

      Right after getting hacked a few weeks back, Facebook announced the Portal, a smart video calling device for your home that they said would respect your privacy. Turns out they didn’t really mean your privacy. Somebody’s privacy might get respected though.

      The Facebook Portal has a camera and microphone, and is meant to be used to talk to your relatives, watch videos from social media, and listen to music. It’s supposed to be the new communication portal with the rest of the world, using Facebook and Messenger to communicate with friends and family.

    • Ten Legislative Victories You Helped Us Win in California

      Your strong support helped us persuade California’s lawmakers to do the right thing on many important technology bills debated on the chamber floors this year. With your help, EFF won an unprecedented number of victories, supporting good bills and stopping those that would have hurt innovation and digital freedoms.

      Here’s a list of victories you helped us get the legislature to pass and the governor to sign, through your direct participation in our advocacy campaigns and your other contributions to support our work.

    • Atlanta airport launches America’s first “biometric terminal”

      On October 15th Delta Air Lines launched what it called America’s first “biometric terminal”, in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Once the programme is fully implemented, passengers will be able to use facial-recognition technology to check in, pass through security and board flights without having to scan a passport or boarding documents. The technology started to be used at boarding gates on October 15th and will be expanded throughout the airport’s international terminal by December 1st.

    • Public funds support proposal to remove Zuckerberg as Facebook chairman

      “Facebook plays an outsized role in our society and our economy. They have a social and financial responsibility to be transparent – that’s why we’re demanding independence and accountability in the company’s boardroom,” Stringer said in a statement.

    • Major Shareholders Propose To Remove Zuckerberg From Facebook’s Chairman Position

      2018 is certainly one of the worst years for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. After successive data breaches leading Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress, now several shareholders are pushing to dethrone him from his position as Chairman of the board.

      On Wednesday, state treasurers of Rhode Island, Illinois, and Pennsylvania raised signed a proposal issued by Trillium Asset Management in June. The proposal suggests that Mark Zuckerberg should be removed as the Chairman for mishandling several high profile scandals.

    • Are Consumers Worried Enough to Buy a Personal Computer Server?

      Longer term, Privacy Labs wants Helm to be a private digital-identity hub for everything people do online. Instead of Google and Facebook Inc. storing all your information in their data centers and selling ads based on it, consumers would control the data and [I]nternet companies would have to ask for access, according to Chief Executive Officer Giri Sreenivas.

    • Meet Helm, the startup taking on Gmail with a server that runs in your home

      “I think more and more people are learning that what they get for free is not actually free,” Giri Sreenivas, cofounder and CEO of Helm, told Ars. “They’re learning that they give up their data, and companies like Google and companies like Facebook and others are figuring out anything and everything they can do under the sun to make money with that data and the corresponding online behaviors. This rising awareness is driving people to ask questions like ‘How do I own my data? How do I own my online identity?’”

    • Facebook faces GDPR probe as watchdog confirms breach hit three million EU users

      Facebook confirmed earlier this week that one million accounts had no, and 14 million lost what Facebook calls basic contact information – a name and an email address or phone number.

      The remaining 15 million got the worst of it: basic information, plus extra data which may include gender, religion, relationship status, education, work, location, device information and the 15 most recent searches they had done at the time.

    • Facebook hack [sic] affected 3 million in Europe, creating the first big test for privacy regulation there

      Approximately 3 million Europeans were affected by a September Facebook security breach in which users’ personal information was stolen, the Irish Data Protection Commission told CNBC on Tuesday.

    • EU General Court confirms that there is no general presumption of confidentiality in clinical study

      The circumstances in which clinical data concerning authorised medicinal products can be disclosed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), continues to generate debate. In the recent case of Amicus Therapeutics v European Medicines Agency (EMA) (Case T-33/17), the General Court (Second Chamber) of the European Union has confirmed that there is no general presumption of confidentiality of certain categories of documents submitted in the context of a marketing authorisation application, and in particular clinical study reports.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • NY Prosecutors Sue to Stop Misconduct Watchdog

      New York prosecutors sued Governor Andrew Cuomo and others Wednesday to block a new law that made the Empire State the first in the country to put its district attorneys under the scrutiny of an oversight panel.

    • How the Ongoing Prison Strike is Connected to the Labor Movement

      The striking prisoners of today have released a list of ten demands, which calls for improvements to the current living conditions in prisons, increased rehabilitation programs, educational opportunities, and specific policy goals. This essentially articulates the idea of non-reformist reforms, a central plank of prison abolition. By illuminating the barbarity of the current prison system and calling for its abolishment while advocating for an improvement in current conditions, they are—to paraphrase French socialist André Gorz—asking not for what can be achieved within a current system, but for what should be possible.

    • A Confederate Portrait, Racial Bias, and the Death Penalty in Virginia

      A portrait of Robert E. Lee on display in a Virginia court where a Black man faces the death penalty reveals an abhorrent racial injustice.

      In Louisa County, Virginia, a Black man stands trial for his life. When he looks around to see who is presiding over his trial he will see the picture of another man besides the judge staring down at him from above— Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

      This isn’t the post-war South of the late 19th century or even the first six decades or so of the 20th century. This is Virginia in 2018. And this is the court where the defendant, Darcel Murphy, is expected to receive justice under the portrait of a man who fought to keep his ancestors enslaved. This week, Murphy’s lawyers filed a motion asking for the trial to be held in a courtroom free of Confederate symbols, memorials, and iconography.

      Although it should not need to be stated, a man whose picture is etched on Stone Mountain, the Mount Rushmore of white supremacy, should not be on the wall in a court of law in America. The fact that the portrait is speaks volumes about how America has historically and continues to minimize its racist legacy.

    • ‘Their Policies Toward Indigenous People and Toward the Land Need to Change’

      The second Monday of October has passed, and listeners may have noticed that there was less “In fourteen-hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” than they might remember from the past. More and more cities, states and colleges have officially changed the day’s name to Indigenous Peoples Day, in acknowledgment that Columbus’s legacy of mass murder, rape, invasion and enslavement is nothing to celebrate.

      Challenging the glorification of someone who did such horrific harm is welcome. But changing the name of the holiday might give some the impression that that harm—which is ongoing—has been addressed. And that wouldn’t be just untrue, but unhelpful.

      Our next guest is among those asking that, even should the whole country go along, we think more deeply about declaring Indigenous Peoples Day a completed intervention.

    • With 19 Days to Midterms, Georgia Is Rejecting Ballots Over Handwriting

      Georgia’s signature-match laws deprive voters of due process. We’re suing.

      Early voting in Georgia for the 2018 general election just kicked off on Monday, but already the state has rejected close to 600 absentee ballots or applications for an absentee ballot.

      One culprit?

      State laws that require election officials to reject all absentee ballots and absentee ballot applications if they believe that signatures within the voter’s paperwork do not match each other.

      The elections’ officials making these determinations do not have any formal education or training to analyze people’s handwriting, and are not given any unifying instructions on what should constitute a mismatch. It’s left entirely up to them, a layperson. Georgia does not notify voters before their ballots are rejected nor does it provide them an opportunity to contest the determination.

      To throw out someone’s ballot — without any prior notice or chance to appeal — is a clear due process violation. That’s why we, with the ACLU of Georgia, are suing Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and all county registrars on behalf of the Georgia Muslim Voter Project, an organization that will have to divert voter turnout resources into educating the public about the risk of being disenfranchised over handwriting.

    • ‘See Something Say Something’ Sends Philly Counter-Terrorism Unit After A Local Journalist Over A Harmless Facebook Post

      But they were. Philly police insisted on speaking personally to Owens about his post. He met them at the unit’s headquarters the next day. Once there, the officers said stuff about “see something, say something” and proceeded to question Owens about gun ownership, bomb-making ability, and any plans he might have to harm anyone else. After answering these questions, the police told Owen he was “cleared” and free to go. The officers also told him this was standard procedure police follow when criminal activity is reported.

    • Philly Police counterterrorism unit interrogated journalist over Facebook comment

      Ernest Owens, the LGBTQ editor at Philadelphia Magazine, tends to be provocative when writing about racism and homophobia. But he had no idea that a social media comment about racial tensions in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood would get him a call from the Police Department’s counterterrorism unit.

      That’s what happened last December, after someone complained to the police about what he wrote on Facebook. “I was just shocked,” Owens, 27, said two weeks ago. Being questioned by detectives in an interrogation room in South Philadelphia left him shaken, he said, and factored into his decision not to cover the January 2018 Mummers Parade, as he had in the past.

    • Even in Philadelphia, One of the Most Determined Sanctuary Cities, Refuge Is Elusive

      A small, impish grin spread across Jeff Sessions’ face. It was a sun-drenched June afternoon in Scranton, a northeastern Pennsylvania town a few generations removed from its coal-mining heyday, and the U.S. attorney general was ensconced in a window-lined university hall, preaching to cops, prosecutors and police cadets about the importance of President Donald Trump’s war on illegal immigration. Outside, protesters jeered.

      Sanctuary cities, Sessions said, reject the law, reward criminals and put U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in peril. Then he smiled and began attacking Jim Kenney, Philadelphia’s Democratic mayor.

      Philadelphia had emerged as one of the largest thorns in the Trump administration’s side. It wore its sanctuary reputation like a badge of honor, and its leaders, including Kenney and District Attorney Larry Krasner, continued to find creative ways to outmaneuver ICE’s enforcement efforts. Just a week earlier, Philadelphia won a federal lawsuit that Kenney filed against the Department of Justice. At risk had been a $1.6 million law enforcement grant, and the critical question of whether Philadelphia — and, by implication, cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco — could limit cooperation with ICE without being penalized by the federal government.

    • AIMPLB to advise women: Settle marital disputes within family, avoid police & courts

      Avoid approaching the police or a court against your husband, try and settle marital disputes within the family under Sharia law, know your rights under Sharia law — this is the advice the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is planning to give Muslim women through a series of workshops across the state.

    • Girl killed, mother wounded over marriage dispute
    • Iran: Victim of domestic and sexual violence, arrested as a child, is executed after unfair trial

      “After the murder of her husband, Zeinab Sekaanvand said she was interrogated under torture by male police officers without a lawyer present. During her final trial session, where she was allowed a lawyer for the first time, she retracted her earlier ‘confession’ that she had murdered her husband, saying that she had been coerced to make it. Despite this, the judge refused to order a further investigation and instead sentenced her to death.

    • Despite Pleas, Iran Executes Female Juvenile Offender

      According to religious law, Iran considers girls as young as nine criminally liable and the age for boys is 15, based on a notion of when children reach puberty.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • New York Attorney General Expands Inquiry Into Net Neutrality Comments

      Most strikingly, many comments on net neutrality were falsely submitted under the names of real people, in what amounted to mass acts of virtual identity theft. Some comments used the name of dead people. Ms. Underwood’s investigators have estimated that almost half of all of the comments — more than nine million — used stolen identities.

    • NY’s AG Is Trying To Tie Major ISPs To Those Bogus Net Neutrality Comments

      Last year you might recall that the New York AG’s office began investigating who was behind all of those bogus comments that flooded the FCC’s website during the net neutrality repeal. As we noted then, “somebody” paid a proxy organization to flood the FCC comment period with a myriad of fake comments. Some of those comments hijacked the real identities of real people (like myself). Others utilized a bot to post a myriad of fake support for Ajit Pai using a hacked database of some kind. Some of the most enthusiastic supporters of Ajit Pai’s policies were, interestingly enough, dead.

      When the AG’s office reached out to the FCC for help getting to the bottom of who was behind the fake comments, the FCC completely stonewalled them, rejecting nine requests for data between June and November of last year. The FCC has subsequently stonewalled numerous FOIA requests regarding who used the necessary APIs to submit the fraudulent comments in bulk, resulting in a lawsuit by journalist Jason Prechtel. A court recently ruled in Prechtel’s favor, demanding the FCC release at least some data (in a month or two) that could identify the culprits.

    • Up to 9.5 million net neutrality comments were made with stolen identities

      The New York attorney general’s office is widening an investigation into fraudulent net neutrality comments, saying it estimates that up to 9.5 million comments were submitted using stolen identities.

    • YouTube Is Down Across The World; Company Working On The Fix

      There is no word on what caused the massive outage and for a Google-operated service like this, such a serious downtime for YouTube is quite rare. The pages have begun loading a few minutes back but trying to watch a video still throws up an error message.

      [...]

      But the most interesting one came from Philadelphia police requesting residents not to call 911 to complain about YouTube’s downtime!

    • Pakistan causes YouTube outage for two-thirds of world

      Most of the world’s Internet users lost access to YouTube for several hours Sunday after an attempt by Pakistan’s government to block access domestically affected other countries.

      The outage highlighted yet another of the Internet’s vulnerabilities, coming less than a month after broken fiber-optic cables in the Mediterranean took Egypt off line and caused communications problems from the Middle East to India.

      An Internet expert explained that Sunday’s problems arose when a Pakistani telecommunications company accidentally identified itself to Internet computers as the world’s fastest route to YouTube. But instead of serving up videos of skateboarding dogs, it sent the traffic into oblivion.

      [...]

      The block was intended to cover only Pakistan, but extended to about two-thirds of the global Internet population, starting at 1:47 p.m. ET Sunday, according to Renesys Corp., a Manchester, N.H., firm that keeps track of the pathways of the Internet for telecommunications companies and other clients.

      The greatest effect was in Asia, were the outage lasted for up to two hours, Renesys said.

      YouTube confirmed the outage on Monday, saying it was caused by a network in Pakistan.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Did Uber Steal Google’s Intellectual Property [sic]?

      Levandowski, for his part, has been out of work since he was fired by Uber. It’s hard to feel much sympathy for him, though. He’s still extremely wealthy. He left Google with files that nearly everyone agrees he should not have walked off with, even if there is widespread disagreement about how much they’re worth. Levandowski seemed constantly ready to abandon his teammates and threaten defection, often while working on an angle to enrich himself. He is a brilliant mercenary, a visionary opportunist, a man seemingly without loyalty. He has helped build a technology that might transform how the world functions, and he seems inclined to personally profit from that transformation as much as possible. In other words, he is an exemplar of Silicon Valley ethics.

    • Stark’s broad WesternGeco application tees up damages issue for Federal Circuit

      Delaware’s chief judge ruling in Power Integrations v Fairchild Semiconductor means the Federal Circuit may soon rule on the scope of the Supreme Court’s WesternGeco decision on patent damages for foreign sales

      District of Delaware Chief Judge Leonard Stark on October 4 ruled that the US Supreme Court’s WesternGeco v Ion decision has broad implications for patent damages for foreign sales.

    • Germany: Filtern digitaler Videobilder, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 90/15, 23 May 2017

      This decision by the FCJ confirms that the cited prior art should, generally, provide concrete suggestions, hints or at least provide other reasons beyond the recognizability of the technical problem to seek the solution of a technical problem in the way presented in the patent.

    • China’s Supreme Court Clarified the Doctrine of Prosecution History Estoppel

      In China, a patent owner’s statements made during prosecution or invalidation may give rise to prosecution history estoppel (or prosecution disclaimer), which precludes the patent owner from recapturing subject matter that was relinquished during prosecution or invalidation in subsequent infringement actions. To invoke the doctrine of prosecution disclaimer, such statements must constitute a clear and unmistakable surrender of claim scope.

      Prior to 2016, China’s standard of prosecution disclaimer was not clear in that, whether a patentee is bound by the arguments that it made before the examiner or the Board regardless of whether the examiner or the Board adopted such argument for allowance.

      In 2016, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in a judicial interpretation introduced an exception to prosecution history estoppel if a patentee’s narrowing statements are expressly rejected by the examiner during prosecution or by the Paten Reexamination Board (PRB) during invalidation proceedings.

    • Court of Appeal gives Ice-World the cold shoulder

      On 10 October 2018 the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the matter of Icescape Limited v Ice-World International BV & Ors*. Three discrete issues were considered by the Court and, although the decision of the Lord Justices of Appeal ultimately did not change the effect of the first instance judgment, the opinions given on Priority, Infringement (further to the supreme court decision in Actavis v Eli Lilly**), and Threats are worthy of note.

    • Equitable Servitudes and Post-Sale Restrictions

      I have continued to find the issue of post-sale restrictions vexing. On the one hand, I think that there are sound economic reasons for them. On the other hand, I really don’t like them, especially when they limit what should otherwise be reasonable and free activities.

      The Supreme Court’s recent cases in this area have made it more difficult to enforce such restrictions, but they have done so in a way that leaves open the possibility that some restrictions might apply while also not giving much guidance about when.

    • USA: Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 2017-1575, 12 October 2018

      Concluding that the asserted claims of patents relating to dosing and administration of the drug Copaxone used to treat multiple sclerosis are obvious, the U.S. Court of Appeals the Federal Circuit has affirmed a decision by the federal district court in Delaware invalidating the patents, handing a major victory to generic drug manufacturers.

    • Proportional Restraints in Horizontal Patent Settlements

      When rivals settle a patent dispute, they prefer to preserve monopoly profits, even if the patent is very likely invalid or noninfringed. Antitrust has come to embrace a policy that requires horizontal settlements to restrain competition by no more than the expected result of counterfactual patent litigation. But this creates serious difficulties in practice, and has only been effectively applied to one type of settlement. However, we show that a settlement’s design necessarily determines how “proportional” private bargaining outcomes will be: how closely their competitive effects will compare to the expected result of litigation. Using our approach, one can identify settlement designs that will always induce bargaining outcomes generating the same profits — and greater consumer welfare — than litigation would provide in expected value. More generally, our approach enables one to discern any settlement’s proportionality (or lack thereof) without having to estimate the expected outcome of counterfactual patent litigation.

    • Extraterritoriality and Proximate Cause after WesternGeco

      The Supreme Court’s decision WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp. appeared to be a narrow case about a rather obscure patent law provision. In reality, however, it had the potential to reach into a number of trans-substantive areas, including the nature of compensatory damages, proximate cause, and extraterritoriality. Instead of painting with a broad brush, the Supreme Court opted to take a modest, narrow approach to the issue of whether lost profits for foreign activity were available to a patent holder for infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(2). In addressing this issue, the Court utilized its two-step framework for assessing the extraterritorial reach of U.S. law adopted in RJR Nabisco Inc. v. European Community. The Court skipped step one, but its analysis of step two confirmed that the territorial limits of damages is tied to the corresponding liability provision. Ultimately the Court allowed the damages for the relevant foreign activity.

      This decision clarified a few things about the extraterritorial application of US law. By skipping step one, the Court made it clear that the presumption against extraterritoriality is distinct from the focus analysis of step two. The Court passed on the opportunity to further elaborate on step one and to answer definitely whether the presumption applies to remedial provisions. The Court also elaborated on step two and embraced a methodology that tied extraterritorial reach of a general remedy provision to the corresponding liability provision.

      The Court’s decision also leaves a number of questions open. Specifically, it remains unclear whether the Federal Circuit’s Power Integrations and Carnegie Mellon decisions survive WesternGeco. I contend that they do, in disagreement with other professors. The Court also failed to explore the important role that proximate cause may play in future patent cases, particularly those involving global theories of damages, and issue that I take up here. The Federal Circuit could – and should – embrace a narrower conception of proximate cause to limit these types of global theories of patent damages.

    • How To Avoid Having A Worthless Patent

      This summer, the United States Patent & Trademark Office issued patent number 10 million with great fanfare. But most of those patents are worthless, I’m afraid. Few patented inventions recoup the cost of filing and maintaining patent protection. There isn’t a single definitive figure. But it’s safe to say probably fewer than 10% do.

      The question of why so many patented inventions never make it to market is one I’ve been asking myself for years.

    • Considering the Value of Patents in African Countries

      Many African countries have strict exchange control requirements that govern the flow of capital into and out of their economies. For a global company doing business in Africa, expatriating profits made from their African operations may not be a simple matter. Local officials may carefully scrutinise cross-border licence agreements and query the royalty rates charged.

      Transfer pricing principles must be applied when supplies are made between related entities within a corporate group structure. In particular, when royalties are paid by a local subsidiary to a foreign parent company, the royalty charged must be aligned with what would be charged on an arms-length basis between unrelated parties.

    • Practice Note: Don’t Send Drugs to the Federal Circuit

      The cannabis attachment was apparently intended to create subject matter jurisdiction in the case. I don’t fully understand the Schirripa’s flow chart, but it appears to be a boot-strap version a catch-22 for the court — the type of argument that you might figure out while high.

    • Trademarks
      • ISU Student Groups Changing Names En Masse To Protest School’s Ridiculous New Trademark Policy

        You will recall that over the past few years, we have been discussing how Iowa State University essentially did everything wrong concerning an alumni group running a pro-marijuana organization that made use of school symbols and iconography. After initially approving the group’s use of school trademarks, several members of the state’s conservative legislature got involved, leading to the school rescinding that authorization. NORML, the name of the group, sued the school, claiming all of this was a violation of their free speech rights. The courts agreed, eventually to the tune of a $600k judgement, meaning that school wasted over half a million dollars of taxpayer money to fail at trademark bullying.

        You might have expected that this would serve as a delightful education for the school as to the reasons why they don’t want to be a trademark bully. You would be wrong, of course. Instead, the school’s next step was to immediately rewrite its trademark use policy, making it laughably restrictive and essentially attempting to give the school broad oversight over all uses of its iconography by student groups. This, predictably, has led to a full on revolt both by many of the school’s student organizations and its student government.

    • Copyrights
      • Italian Supreme Court holds that an unauthorized derivative work may be both infringing and protectable

        In 1979 Ralph Carey created what would become the mascot of the Western Kentucky University (WKU) basketball team, a red character named Big Red. In 2009 he brought proceedings before the Milan Court of First Instance against broadcasters RTI and Mediaset and the creator of well-known TV programme Striscia La Notizia, claiming that the likeness of mascot/TV character Gabibbo (‘operating’ since 1990) would infringe copyright in Big Red.

      • Advertisement distributed by Swedish ISP held to be sexually discriminatory

        Readers who have been following the EU copyright reform saga may be familiar with the argument that the new directive, if adopted, would make it impossible to share GIFs and memes in Europe due to the requirements under Article 13.

        But can a meme be pulled also on other grounds than what, quite scarily, copyright has been accused – rightly so or not – of?

        This is indeed what happened in what frankly looks like a bizarre decision of the Board of the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman(the Board) a few weeks ago.

        According to the Board’s decision, the well-known Distracted Boyfriendmeme (a stock image come to fame) used for advertisement would be sexually discriminatory and should be consequently banned.

        [...]

        In response to the negative attention, Bahnof attempted to publicly apologize on Facebook. It stated that it was attempting to use the Distracted Boyfriend meme to visualize the application process in a humouristic fashion. It depicts – albeit in a sarcastic style – jealousy and longing – for something better than what the employee currently has. The spirit is that the advertiser is an attractive workplace that can lure you into breaking your relationship with the current employer.

        [...]

        In light of the above, the Board found that the advertisement was in breach of Article 4 of the ICC Marketing and Advertising code.

        Beware memes!

      • 20 Best Legal Alternatives To Sites Like Pirate Bay, KAT, Yify, 123movies, Putlocker

        I am sure many of you remember the golden days of torrents when it was easily accessible and offered really good content. However, in recent years, due to crackdown on torrents like KickassTorrents, several file-sharing websites have been shut down. While there are mirror sites to substitute the original ones, they come with their share of risks like malware or adware.

        But there are several legal alternatives to torrents and illegal streaming sites like Pirate Bay, KAT, Yify, 123movies, Putlocker. Such legal websites offer free movies, TV shows, music, anime, ebooks, cracked software, etc. So in this article, I have listed them according to the content they provide best. So do check out all the sections to find exactly what you need.

      • Australia Targets Google With Tough New Anti-Piracy Law

        Australia already has laws to enable the blocking of overseas sites that facilitate piracy but the content industries want more. New legislation unveiled today will give copyright holders new tools to force Google and other search engines to delete search results that link to infringing sites.

      • Court: ISP’s Lack of Terminations Didn’t Lure Pirating Subscribers

        There is no evidence that Internet provider Grande Communication’s lack of repeat infringer terminations acted as a draw to pirating subscribers. US District Court Judge Lee Yeakel has adopted the recommendations of the Magistrate Judge, which means that the RIAA labels must now limit their case to the contributory infringement claim.

      • Roku to Go Back on Sale in Mexico After Copyright Victory

        Popular streaming device Roku will go back on sale in Mexico after a ruling by a court in Mexico City. The device has been off the shelves for more than a year following an initially successful copyright complaint by TV company Cablevision. However, that ruling has now been overturned and Roku declared legal, paving the way for a full return to the streaming market in Mexico.

It’s Almost 2019 and Team UPC is Still Pretending Unitary Patent (UPC) Exists, Merely Waiting for Britain to Join

Thursday 18th of October 2018 12:24:07 PM

Amplifying those two lies (twisting facts) still

Summary: Refusing to accept that the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) has reached its death or is at a dead end, UPC proponents — i.e. lawyers looking to profit from frivolous litigation — resort to outright lies and gymnastics in logic/intellectual gymnastics

EUROPEAN patent courts don’t quite tolerate software patents in Europe. National courts have pretty clear laws (excepting or excluding abstract things), so the António Campinos-run EPO hopes to bypass/replace these courts with UPC, which rumours say Battistelli still wants to manage. IAM keeps him in the loop, as does CEIPI.

Earlier this week Womble Bond Dickinson LLP’s Patrick Cantrill, Rose Smalley and Tim Barber spoke about UPC. They clarify that everything is conditional although they stop short of saying it’s dead. To quote:

The current membership of the EPO numbers 38 countries, i.e. a far greater number than the current 28 Member States of the EU. Therefore, as far as the EPO, EPC and UK patent profession are concerned, it is business as usual. To put into context this continuation of the UK in the operations of the EPC and the EPO, it may be recalled that UK patent attorneys comprise one-fifth of the total number of professionals across the EPO signatory states, and they handle one-third of all of the European patent (“EP”) applications. Moreover, of the 40,000 EPs filed last year by UK patent attorneys, 90% originated from outside the UK. Consequently, the prosecution of EP applications, whether at the EPO or through the Patent Cooperation Treaty, will not change. New and pending applications will continue to designate the UK and as before, at the grant stage, the applicant will be able to opt for national protection in the UK and other countries, exactly as they do at present.

However, there will be some ramifications following Brexit in such areas as Supplementary Protection Certificates (“SPCs”); Community Plant Variety Rights (“CPVRs”); and the proposed Unitary Patents (“UPs”) and Unified Patents Court (“UPC”).

Moreover, if the UP system is to come into existence, there is a query as to the extent to which the UK can participate, an issue which this note addresses in greater detail below, along with the issue as to whether, and if so how, patentees might wish to opt out of UPC system.

[...]

The establishment of the UPC has been stalled by a challenge brought before the German Constitutional Court, which is not due to be heard until the autumn of 2018. Even if this challenge were to be overcome, the UPC is now unlikely to open its doors until the middle of 2019 at the earliest, after the date for Brexit.

It has nevertheless been stated by the UK Government that, regardless of Brexit, the UK wishes to participate in the UPC. With this in mind, the UK ratified the UPC Treaty on 26 April 2018. However, as aspects of the UPC will be subject to EU law, the UK’s participation post-Brexit will require an amendment to the UPC Treaty, as its provisions only cover ‘Member States’. Encouragingly, there appears to be willingness on all sides that such an accommodation will be made in order to allow the UK to participate.

If the UK is unable (or unwilling) post-Brexit to participate in the UP system, a UP will cover only those EU Member States within the EPC system that have ratified the UPC Treaty. As at the date of publication, 16 Member States had ratified and three more are on track to have ratified by the time that the UP system commences (if such should occur in mid-2019). If the UK does not join, it will continue to be possible to validate ‘classical’ EP application in the UK as is the case today.

They are leaping quite a few steps because there are additional barriers (other than Germany’s challenge) and opposition can be leveraged — if necessary — in all sorts of other ways. The truth is, UPCA is nothing but a collusion of law firms. They strive to change the law to better suit the litigation ‘industry’. It’s bad for Europe and good for foreign patent trolls.

IPPro Patents’ Ben Wodecki has meanwhile mentioned some nonsense from a “LIPS panellist” (they promote patent maximalism in this event). The UPC is virtually dead, but facts don’t seem to matter because Team UPC keeps lying about it in its behind-closed-doors lobbying events. Here’s what the new report said:

The UK does not need to sign a new treaty to remain part of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), according to Francesco Macchetta, intellectual property advisor and former director of IP at Bracco Imaging.

In a panel discussion at the London IP Summit on intellectual property post-brexit, Macchetta said that, in his opinion, no new treaty would be necessary for the UK to remain in the UPC as “the UK ratified when it was an EU member as required by the legislation”.

Pierre Véron, honorary president of the European Patent Lawyers Association, agreed, showing the audience the Lamping-Ullrich paper, which suggests that the UK should not be allowed to be part of the UPC post-brexit.

This is the same European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW) which recently mocked the paper using anonymous sockpuppets. These people are downright crazy and they’re growingly miserable.

Last but not least we have this new article by Dorsey & Whitney LLP. “The Unified Patent Court (‘UPC’) has not yet been established as it is still needs ratification by Germany (the timing of which, vis-à-vis Brexit, is unknown),” it says. Timing? Not even the outcome is known!

But that doesn’t matter, does it?

They’d have their target audience believe that the outcome is already known and judges are just some ‘nuisance’ in the face of inevitability. From their article:

As much of patent law has a basis in UK domestic legislation, the existing systems (including conditions, legal requirements and application processes) will remain in place but will operate independently from the EU. EU legislation relevant to patents and supplementary protection certificates will be retained in the UK law and will form the UK’s own supplementary protection certificate regime on exit. Any existing rights and licences in force in the UK will remain in force after exit day.

The Unified Patent Court (‘UPC’) has not yet been established as it is still needs ratification by Germany (the timing of which, vis-à-vis Brexit, is unknown). The UPC is intended to be a single international forum established by 25 EU countries to provide businesses with a streamlined process for enforcing patents. The UK government has stated that it wishes to remain part of the UPC and unitary patent system on exit day if possible. If the UPC is ratified and comes into force, the UK will explore whether it would be possible to remain within the UPC and unitary patent systems following Brexit. Following Brexit it may be that staying within the UPC and unitary patent system is unworkable. To do so would mean that the UK has to accept the supremacy of European law in these matters and this is most likely not acceptable to certain UK political circles who regard the supremacy of any form of outside law and of forum as objectionable.

Pretty much all the above is a salad of lies and wishful thinking, i.e. what sums up pretty much everything that comes out of the mouths of Team UPC nowadays. Time has probably run out for them already, but they refuse to give up. They’re delusional.

IAM and IP Kat Are Still Megaphones of Battistelli and His Agenda

Thursday 18th of October 2018 11:00:55 AM

(The ‘new’ IP Kat (after Merpel 'died'), the one which deletes comments about Battistelli and António Campinos)

Summary: IAM reaffirms its commitment to corrupt Battistelli and IP Kat maintains its stance, which is basically not caring at all about EPO corruption (to the point of actively deleting blog comments that mention such corruption, i.e. ‘sanitising’ facts)

THE EPO said “goodbye and good riddance” to Battistelli almost 4 months ago. He has since then maintained a low profile except when French media approached him as he may be criminally liable but immune nonetheless.

Joff Wild of IAM, where the corrupt Battistelli writes on occasions (promoting software patents in Europe), is still whitewashing this man. This is the man IAM does revisionism for even in October. See the screenshot above.

Curiously enough, not only was the above behind paywall (which makes it harder for Battistelli’s critics to assess). It only appeared in searches more than a fortnight late. Why?

On the same day (Tuesday) Annsley Merelle Ward (Bristows LLP), who dominated IP Kat last year, returned for a change to carry on cheering for patent trolls in the UK. “One of the key issues on appeal from Mr Justice Birss’ decision,” she said, is basically whether companies can use their proxy patent trolls to shake down the competition.

“In conclusion, IAM is still (more than 3 months later) grooming Battistelli and IP Kat has no interest whatsoever in EPO scandals (which carry on by the way).”So a firm involved in the case uses IP Kat for its own purposes; “The IPKat team [i.e. Bristows staff quoting other Bristows staff] will be back next week to report on the key findings of the Court of Appeal, with analysis to follow,” she said.

What has IP Kat become? Aside from the fact that it doesn’t write as much as it used to (and several writers very recently left), watch what it published on the same day about “blockchain” (the usual patent hype) and then in “Standards and Patents annual conference returns to London”. IP Kat actively promotes an event in London that lobbies for software patents under the guise of “AI”, “FRAND” and other nonsense (even software patents inside standards).

Later in the same day IP Kat started celebrating patents on food; the comments are better than the post. Last but not least, on the same day IP Kat mentioned the EPO (at long last). But remember this is the Kat which deleted the thread (about 40 comments) about António Campinos, whose friends he already brings to the EPO (just like Battistelli did). What did the blog write about the EPO? Nothing. It just plugged in the EPO’s press release: “The Administrative Council of the EPO has appointed the next vice-presidents of the EPO: Stephen Rowan (UK), Christoph Ernst (Germany) and Nellie Simon (Austria). Find out more about the new vice-presidents here.”

In conclusion, IAM is still (more than 3 months later) grooming Battistelli and IP Kat has no interest whatsoever in EPO scandals (which carry on by the way). This cat got neutered…

The EPO Under António Campinos Relaxes the Rules on Software Patenting and the Litigation ‘Industry’ Loves That

Thursday 18th of October 2018 10:20:29 AM

Easier to tax coders, whose projects will be undermined or never come to fruition in the first place (due to fear of lawsuits)

Summary: EPO management, which is nontechnical, found new terms by which to refer to software patents — terms that even the marketing departments can endorse (having propped them up); they just call it all AI, augmented intelligence and so on

THE EPO seems eager to handicap Europe’s software industry. What does it care anyway? All it wants to do is grant as many patents as possible and get a pat on the back from litigators. António Campinos has taken this lunacy to new levels as the EPO under his leadership constantly promotes software patents in Europe. It does so not only every day but several times per day. Campinos recently saw the need to write a blog post about it.

“…now that nontechnical people (promoted based on loyalties rather than merit) run the EPO they’re more easily swayed by law firms and marketing departments, not scientists.”Not everyone is upset about this abomination. Some people make a living not from creation but from destruction; put another way, they sue things out of existence. Like patent trolls do…

Patent law firms, unlike patent trolls, win irrespective of the courts’ outcomes. It doesn’t matter if European Patents are nowadays presumed invalid; all that matters is that lawyers are needed…

We recently wrote about the leveraging of "AI" as a byword or surrogate for software patents. Philip Naylor (Carpmaels & Ransford LLP) took note of that too; writing in IAM, the EPO’s propaganda rag, Naylor said this:

The EPO has updated its official guidelines to include a specific section on how the office is likely to assess patent applications directed towards artificial intelligence (AI). A preview of the update can be found on the EPO website and will come into force on 1 November 2018.

The update to the guidelines provides further clarity on how the EPO’s existing legal framework will be applied to AI inventions. Generally, the update confirms that the same rules that are applied to all computer-implemented inventions will apply to inventions involving AI. The rules stipulate that mathematical methods per se are “devoid of technical character” and thus are not patentable when considered in isolation. However, inventions that use mathematical methods remain patentable if they provide a technical solution to a technical problem. The EPO’s guidelines now state that AI and machine-learning algorithms are considered to be mathematical methods. Therefore, an invention that uses AI or machine learning must solve a technical problem in order to be patentable, in the same way as any other computer-implemented invention.

So they’re adding tricks for software patenting, knowing that these are not allowed. They tell applicants to say “AI” and at the same time instruct examiners to almost ‘rubber-stamp’ all this “AI” stuff. Never mind if the concept is rather nebulous, much like the concept of “cloud”. The litigation industry rejoices and helps this agenda, based on another new article that says:

Jennings is in the camp that believes that AI “augments humans”. He said he was “very happy to see that the European Patent Office (EPO) stresses AI as augmented intelligence”.

The EPO published its preliminary update of its guidelines for examination in early October, which included changes for provisions relating to the patentability of AI and machine learning.

So software can be patented “per se” and “as such”; just make sure the application says “AI” in it.

Eamon Robinson (Haseltine Lake LLP) has also just published this article about the EPO cutting corners for shallower or faster examination:

A European patent or a patent application may not be amended to contain subject matter extending beyond the application as filed. This section of the Guidelines provides guidance on when replacing or removing features from a claim results in unallowable added subject matter.

The Guidelines describe a three step test to determine if such amendments result in added subject matter. The updated Guidelines clarify that an amendment will fail the test, and thus add matter, if at least one criterion of the test is failed.

[...]

The changes to the Guidelines emphasise the importance of this “gold standard” over the above three step test. The “gold standard” should therefore, be considered when making amendments to the claims of a patent or application, in particular when removing or replacing features. Furthermore, the change to the first step of the test may make it easier for objections to be raised to amendments. The previous Guidelines stated that it was enough for a skilled person to recognise that a feature is explained as essential, whereas, the updated Guidelines require that the feature must be objectively explained as essential.

In summary then, the EPO’s advice to examiners in relation to removal of features would seem to be getting stricter.

Decisions are already being made a lot faster, at the very least in order to meet quotas/targets. Maybe some time soon Campinos will just use so-called ‘AI’ (algorithms) to assess patent applications with the term “AI” in them.

It should be noted that this whole “AI” hype doesn’t deal with novelty; the term “AI” was reintroduced a lot in the media last year. A lot of it boils down to marketing. In the broadest sense of the term the concept of AI dates back to the dawn of computing. But now that nontechnical people (promoted based on loyalties rather than merit) run the EPO they’re more easily swayed by law firms and marketing departments, not scientists.

Links 17/10/2018: Elementary OS 5.0 “Juno” Released, MongoDB’s Server Side Public Licence

Wednesday 17th of October 2018 04:29:35 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Hedera Hashgraph Distributed Ledger Technology Shares New Open-Source SDK [Ed: Hedera needs to delete GitHub, however, as the new head of GitHub killed Java projects like Hedera’s]

    Hedera Hashgraph, one of the DApp facilitators within the blockchain industry recently announced that it has released its Software Development Kit (SDK) in Java.

  • Service Providers Should Adapt to Open Source World

    Finding differing opinions on open source with the telecom industry isn’t hard to do, especially where orchestration is concerned. That’s why a panel discussion on open source and MANO at the Light Reading NFV-Carrier SDN event in Denver seemed an odd place to find such outspoken agreement on that topic, but there it was.

    Four smart guys, none shy with their opinions, all seemed to agree on key points around open source, the need for standards, the role of vendors and the lack of internal software skills. But they also agreed that telecom service providers are struggling a bit to understand how to proceed in an open source world and still need some fundamental internal changes.

  • Renaming the Bro Project

    More than 20 years ago I chose the name “Bro” as “an Orwellian reminder that monitoring comes hand in hand with the potential for privacy violations”, as the original Bro paper put it. Today that warning is needed more than ever … but it’s clear that now the name “Bro” is alas much more of a distraction than a reminder.

    On the Leadership Team of the Bro Project, we heard clear concerns from the Bro community that the name “Bro” has taken on strongly negative connotations, such as “Bro culture”. These send a sharp, anti-inclusive – and wholly unintended and undesirable – message to those who might use Bro. The problems were significant enough that during BroCon community sessions, several people have mentioned substantial difficulties in getting their upper management to even consider using open-source software with such a seemingly ill-chosen, off-putting name.

  • We already have nice things, and other reasons not to write in-house ops tools

    When I was an ops consultant, I had the “great fortune” of seeing the dark underbelly of many companies in a relatively short period of time. Such fortune was exceptionally pronounced on one client engagement where I became the maintainer of an in-house deployment tool that had bloated to touch nearly every piece of infrastructure—despite lacking documentation and testing. Dismayed at the impossible task of maintaining this beast while tackling the real work of improving the product, I began reviewing my old client projects and probing my ops community for their strategies. What I found was an epidemic of “not invented here” (NIH) syndrome and a lack of collaboration with the broader community.

  • Open Source Program Benefits Survey Results

    There are many organizations out there, from companies like Red Hat to internet scale giants like Google and Facebook that have established an open source programs office (OSPO). The TODO Group, a network of open source program managers, recently performed the first ever annual survey of corporate open source programs and revealed some interesting findings on the actual benefits of open source programs.

  • Web Browsers
    • Browsing the web with Min, a minimalist open source web browser

      Does the world need another web browser? Even though the days of having a multiplicity of browsers to choose from are long gone, there still are folks out there developing new applications that help us use the web.

      One of those new-fangled browsers is Min. As its name suggests (well, suggests to me, anyway), Min is a minimalist browser. That doesn’t mean it’s deficient in any significant way, and its open source, Apache 2.0 license piques my interest.

    • Chrome
      • CTL’s New CBX1 Chromebox is a Powerhouse at a Great Price

        Chromeboxes are really great desktops for users who have moved their workflow into a web browser, especially at lower prices. You don’t need higher specs inside a Chromebox for it to work well, but it can help.

        For those who want a supercharged Chromebox on the cheap, Oregon-based CTL has just the thing for you. Its new Chromebox—the CBX1—has all the high-end parts you could want, at a comparatively low price.

      • How to Install Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in Chrome

        Chrome 70, available now, lets you install “Progressive Web Apps,” or PWAs, on Windows. When you visit a website with a PWA, like Twitter or Spotify, you can now “install” it to make it behave more like a normal desktop application.

      • How to Stop Chrome From Automatically Signing You Into the Browser

        With Chrome 69, Google began automatically signing you into the Chrome browser whenever you signed into a Google website like Gmail. Chrome 70, available now, has a hidden option to disable this feature.

        We don’t think most Chrome users will care about this. But, if you do care, Google now gives you a choice. And that’s good news.

      • Chrome 70 released with Windows web app support and option to disable controversial login

        Chrome 70, the latest version of Google’s browser, is rolling out now on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. The update sees Google reverse some of the controversial changes it made with the last version, by allowing users to stop the browser from automatically signing into their Google account after logging into one of the search giant’s apps. Chrome 70 also brings support for Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, on Windows.

      • elementary OS Juno Released, Plasma 5.14.1 Is Out, Chrome 70 Now Available, Docker Raises New Funding and New Badges for Firefox Users

        Chrome 70 is now available. This release removes the controversial change from the last version, and now allows users to stop the browser from automatically signing in to their Google accounts after logging in to one of its apps, The Verge reports. You still need to opt-out and specifically change this setting, however. Other changes include support for progressive web apps on Windows. See the “New in Chrome 70″ post for more information on this release.

      • Chrome 70 Now Officially Available With AV1 Video Decode, Opus In MP4 & Much More

        Google’s Chrome/Chromium 70 web-browser made it out today for Linux users as well as all other key supported platforms.

        Chrome 70 is notable for shipping with preliminary AV1 video decoding support granted rather limited and only CPU-based decoding at this stage after the AV1 video decode support was dropped from Chrome 69.

      • Raptor Computing Systems Is Working On Bringing Up Chrome’s POWER Support

        With Raptor Computing Systems’ Talos II Lite and especially the forthcoming Blackbird positioning the POWER architecture in a prime spot for use by libre Linux users who want a system that’s open-source down to the firmware, they’ve been trying to make sure the Linux desktop stack is in order. The latest area they’ve been working on is browser coverage.

        At the moment for 64-bit POWER little-endian (PPC64LE), there isn’t a modern browser with JavaScript JIT support available upstream… Obviously that is a problem for more Linux desktop users in 2018. But fortunately Raptor has been committing resources to changing that. They have gotten a patched version of Chrome working well on their POWER9 hardware complete with JIT support.

    • Mozilla
      • Going from New Laptop to Productive Mozillian

        My old laptop had so many great stickers on it I didn’t want to say goodbye. So I put off my hardware refresh cycle from the recommended 2 years to almost 3.

        To speak the truth it wasn’t only the stickers that made me wary of switching. I had a workflow that worked. The system wasn’t slow. It was only three years old.

        But then Windows started crashing on me during video calls. And my Firefox build times became long enough that I ported changes to my Linux desktop before building them. It was time to move on.

      • Show your support for Firefox with new badges

        Firefox is only as strong as its passionate users. Because we’re independent, people need to make a conscious choice to use a non-default browser on their system. We’re most successful when happy users tell others about an alternative worth trying.

      • At MozFest, Spend 7 Days Exploring Internet Health

        Workshops that teach you how to detect misinformation and mobile trackers. A series of art installations that turn online data into artwork. A panel about the unintended consequences of AI, featuring a former YouTube engineer and a former FBI agent. And a conversation with the inventor of the web.

        These are just a handful of the experiences at this year’s MozFest, Mozilla’s annual festival for, by, and about people who love the internet. From October 22-28 at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Ravensbourne University in central London, more than 2,500 developers, designers, activists, and artists from dozens of countries will gather to explore privacy, security, openness, and inclusion online.

      • Using requestIdleCallback for long running computations

        One of the ways developers have tipically tried to keep a smooth web application, without interfering with the browser’s animation and response to input, is to use a Web Worker for long running computations. For example, in the Prism.js (a library for syntax highlighting) API there’s an async parameter to choose “Whether to use Web Workers to improve performance and avoid blocking the UI when highlighting very large chunks of code”.

      • These Weeks In Servo 115

        In the past three weeks, we merged 181 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

        Our Windows nightlies have been broken for several months for a number of reasons, and we have now fixed all of the known breakage. If you’re a Windows user, give our latest builds a try! You can visit arbitrary URLs by pressing Ctr+L.

        The Android Components project added a component to use Servo in any Android app.

  • SaaS/Back End
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • DragonFlyBSD Continues Squeezing More Performance Out Of AMD’s Threadripper 2990WX

      DragonFlyBSD 5.4 should be a really great release if you are a BSD user and have an AMD Threadripper 2 box, particularly the flagship Threadripper 2990WX 32-core / 64-thread processor.

      The project leader of this long ago fork from FreeBSD, Matthew Dillon, has been quite outspoken about the Threadripper 2990WX since he purchased one earlier this summer. This prolific BSD developer has been praising the performance out of the Threadripper 2990WX since he got the system working on the current DragonFlyBSD 5.3 development builds.

      Since getting DragonFlyBSD running on the Threadripper 2 hardware in August, he’s routinely been making performance tuning optimizations to DragonFly’s kernel to benefit the 2990WX given its NUMA design.

    • Absolute FreeBSD now shipping!

      Grab an ebook/print bundle direct from No Starch Press. NSP coupon code ILUVMICHAEL gives you 30% off any NSP purchase and puts a few extra bucks in my pocket, so that’s cool. And there’s Amazon. There’s always Amazon, the company we all love to loathe.

    • LLVM Still Proceeding With Their Code Relicensing

      It’s been three years since the original draft proposal for relicensing the LLVM compiler code was sent out and while there hasn’t been a lot to report on recently about the effort, they are making progress and proceeding.

      Since 2015 LLVM developers have been discussing relicensing to an Apache 2.0 license to help motivate new contributors, protect users of LLVM code, better protect existing contributors, ensure that LLVM run-time libraries can be used by both other open-source and proprietary compilers.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Automotive Software Governance and Copyleft

      The Software Freedom Law Center is proud to make available a whitepaper by Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, Ltd., and Eben Moglen, Founding Director of the Software Freedom Law Center and Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. The whitepaper shows how new capabilities in the free and open source software stack enable highly regulated and sensitive industrial concerns to take advantage of the full spectrum of modern copyleft software.

      Software embedded in physical devices now determines how almost everything – from coffee pots and rice cookers to oil tankers and passenger airplanes – works. Safety and security, efficiency and repairability, fitness for purpose and adaptability to new conditions of all the physical products that we make and use now depend on our methods for developing, debugging, maintaining, securing and servicing the software embedded in them.

    • SFLC: Automotive Software Governance and Copyleft

      The Software Freedom Law Center has announced the availability of a whitepaper [PDF] about automotive software and copyleft, written by Mark Shuttleworth and Eben Moglen. At its core, it’s an advertisement for Ubuntu and Snap, but it does look at some of the issues involved.

    • Bradley M. Kuhn: Toward Community-Oriented, Public & Transparent Copyleft Policy Planning

      More than 15 years ago, Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) community activists successfully argued that licensing proliferation was a serious threat to the viability of FLOSS. We convinced companies to end the era of “vanity” licenses. Different charities — from the Open Source Initiative (OSI) to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) to the Apache Software Foundation — all agreed we were better off with fewer FLOSS licenses. We de-facto instituted what my colleague Richard Fontana once called the “Rule of Three” — assuring that any potential FLOSS license should be met with suspicion unless (a) the OSI declares that it meets their Open Source Definition, (b) the FSF declares that it meets their Free Software Definition, and (c) the Debian Project declares that it meets their Debian Free Software Guidelines. The work for those organizations quelled license proliferation from radioactive threat to safe background noise. Everyone thought the problem was solved. Pointless license drafting had become a rare practice, and updated versions of established licenses were handled with public engagement and close discussion with the OSI and other license evaluation experts.

      Sadly, the age of license proliferation has returned. It’s harder to stop this time, because this isn’t merely about corporate vanity licenses. Companies now have complex FLOSS policy agendas, and those agendas are not to guarantee software freedom for all. While it is annoying that our community must again confront an old threat, we are fortunate the problem is not hidden: companies proposing their own licenses are now straightforward about their new FLOSS licenses’ purposes: to maximize profits.

      Open-in-name-only licenses are now common, but seem like FLOSS licenses only to the most casual of readers. We’ve succeeded in convincing everyone to “check the OSI license list before you buy”. We can therefore easily dismiss licenses like Common Clause merely by stating they are non-free/non-open-source and urging the community to avoid them. But, the next stage of tactics have begun, and they are harder to combat. What happens when for-profit companies promulgate their own hyper-aggressive (quasi-)copyleft licenses that seek to pursue the key policy goal of “selling proprietary licenses” over “defending software freedom”? We’re about to find out, because, yesterday, MongoDB declared themselves the arbiter of what “strong copyleft” means.

    • Fed up with cloud giants ripping off its database, MongoDB forks new open-source license

      After Redis Labs relicensed the modules it developed to complement its open-source database, from AGPL to Apache v2.0 with a Commons Clause, the free-software community expressed dismay.

      And, inevitably, some responded by forking the affected code.

      Today, the maker of another open source database, MongoDB, plans to introduce a license of its own to deal with the issue cited by Redis: cloud service providers that sell hosted versions of open-source programs – such as Redis and MongoDB database servers – without offering anything in return.

      “Once an open source project becomes interesting or popular, it becomes too easy for the cloud vendors to capture all the value and give nothing back to the community,” said Dev Ittycheria, CEO of MongoDB, in a phone interview with The Register.

      Ittycheria pointed to cloud service providers such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Yandex. Those companies, he claims, are testing the boundaries of the AGPL by benefiting from the work of others while failing to share their code.

    • MongoDB switches up its open-source license

      MongoDB is a bit miffed that some cloud providers — especially in Asia — are taking its open-source code and offering a hosted commercial version of its database to their users without playing by the open-source rules. To combat this, MongoDB today announced it has issued a new software license, the Server Side Public License (SSPL), that will apply to all new releases of its MongoDB Community Server, as well as all patch fixes for prior versions.

      Previously, MongoDB used the GNU AGPLv3 license, but it has now submitted the SSPL for approval from the Open Source Initiative.

    • MongoDB license could push open source deeper into cloud: Is this what industry needs?

      Things just got serious in open source land. Despite the occasional Commons Clause or Fair Source licensing attempt to change the meaning of the words “open source” to include “the right for a private company to make money from its open source efforts,” we’ve stuck to the Open Source Definition, and it has served us well. Open source communities have become the center of the innovation universe, giving us exceptional code like Linux, Kubernetes, Apache Kafka, and more.

    • It’s MongoDB’s turn to change its open source license

      The old maxim that the nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from could well apply to open source licensing. While now nearing a couple years old, the last WhiteSource Software survey of the top 10 open source licenses found close competition between the GPL, MIT, and Apache licenses. While the commercial-friendly Apache license has dominated the world of big data platforms and AI frameworks, MIT and GPL (which has “copyleft” provisions requiring developers to contribute back all modifications and enhancements) continues to be popular. GPL and variants such as the AGPL have been popular amongst vendors that seek to control their own open source projects, like MongoDB.

    • Matthew Garrett: Initial thoughts on MongoDB’s new Server Side Public License

      MongoDB just announced that they were relicensing under their new Server Side Public License. This is basically the Affero GPL except with section 13 largely replaced with new text, as follows:

      “If you make the functionality of the Program or a modified version available to third parties as a service, you must make the Service Source Code available via network download to everyone at no charge, under the terms of this License. Making the functionality of the Program or modified version available to third parties as a service includes, without limitation, enabling third parties to interact with the functionality of the Program or modified version remotely through a computer network, offering a service the value of which entirely or primarily derives from the value of the Program or modified version, or offering a service that accomplishes for users the primary purpose of the Software or modified version.

      “Service Source Code” means the Corresponding Source for the Program or the modified version, and the Corresponding Source for all programs that you use to make the Program or modified version available as a service, including, without limitation, management software, user interfaces, application program interfaces, automation software, monitoring software, backup software, storage software and hosting software, all such that a user could run an instance of the service using the Service Source Code you make available.”

      MongoDB admit that this license is not currently open source in the sense of being approved by the Open Source Initiative, but say:”We believe that the SSPL meets the standards for an open source license and are working to have it approved by the OSI.”

      At the broadest level, AGPL requires you to distribute the source code to the AGPLed work[1] while the SSPL requires you to distribute the source code to everything involved in providing the service. Having a license place requirements around things that aren’t derived works of the covered code is unusual but not entirely unheard of – the GPL requires you to provide build scripts even if they’re not strictly derived works, and you could probably make an argument that the anti-Tivoisation provisions of GPL3 fall into this category.

    • MongoDB issues new open source license

      MongoDB has submitted the SSPL, which is replacing the previous GNU APGLv3 license, for approval from the Open Source Initiative.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Arm Launches Mbed Linux and Extends Pelion IoT Service

        Politics and international relations may be fraught with acrimony these days, but the tech world seems a bit friendlier of late. Last week Microsoft joined the Open Invention Network and agreed to grant a royalty-free, unrestricted license of its 60,000-patent portfolio to other OIN members, thereby enabling Android and Linux device manufacturers to avoid exorbitant patent payments. This week, Arm and Intel kept up the happy talk by agreeing to a partnership involving IoT device provisioning.

        Arm’s recently announced Pelion IoT Platform will align with Intel’s Secure Device Onboard (SDO) provisioning technology to make it easier for IoT vendors and customers to onboard both x86 and Arm-based devices using a common Peleon platform. Arm also announced Pelion related partnerships with myDevices and Arduino (see farther below).

      • Arm doodles server, comms CPUs in public before they leak out in open-source code…

        Japanese chip designer Arm has lightly sketched out in public its future processor designs that are aimed at powering internet servers and infrastructure.

        Think CPU cores, chip interconnects, memory subsystems, and so on, for semiconductor manufacturers to use in silicon brains for data center systems, edge devices, and networking and telecommunications gear. Arm really wants to nuzzle its way into server and telecoms racks, tiptoeing past Intel Xeons and AMD Epycs, and so here’s the intellectual property it hopes will do the trick.

        And we’re not joking when we’re say lightly sketched: the biz has only shown off a roadmap of codenames and process nodes. Arm is going public with these plans partly because source code supporting these future chip designs will soon be trickling into the Linux kernel and other open-source projects referencing said codenames, so it may as well spill some beans now to head off speculation.

  • Programming/Development
    • How to Use Git Version Control System in Linux [Comprehensive Guide]

      Version Control (revision control or source control) is a way of recording changes to a file or collection of files over time so that you can recall specific versions later. A version control system (or VCS in short) is a tool that records changes to files on a filesystem.

      There are many version control systems out there, but Git is currently the most popular and frequently used, especially for source code management. Version control can actually be used for nearly any type of file on a computer, not only source code.

    • 5 Things Your Team Should Do to Make Pull Requests Less Painful

      A user story is a short description of a unit of work that needs doing. It’s normally told from the perspective of the user, hence the name. The journey towards a good pull request starts with a well-written user story. It should be scoped to a single thing that a user can do in the system being built.

    • More GitHub workflow automation

      The more you use computers, the more you see the potentials for automating everything. Who doesn’t love that? By building Mergify those last months, we’ve decided it was time bring more automation to the development workflow.

    • Automating upstream releases with release-bot

      Good news: We have developed a tool called release-bot that automates the process. All you need to do is file an issue into your upstream repository and release-bot takes care of the rest. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, let’s look at what needs to be set up for this automation to happen. I’ve chosen the meta-test-family upstream repository as an example.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Doc charged with involuntary manslaughter in Flint crisis wins top health award

      Health officials in Michigan this week honored Dr. Eden Wells with the state’s top award for an eminent career in public health—despite that Wells is currently facing several charges in connection with the Flint water crisis, including involuntary manslaughter.

    • Finnish hospitals see more babies born to mothers with FGM

      It was only last year that Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) began recording births by circumcised women in Finland, and other major hospitals have also failed to keep detailed records. [...]

    • ‘The world is against them’: new era of cancer lawsuits threaten Monsanto

      The Johnson v Monsanto trial was groundbreaking before it even began, because a judge allowed the plaintiff’s attorneys to present research and expert testimony on glyphosate and health risks – scientific evidence that the jury ultimately found credible and compelling.

    • Antimicrobial Resistance At The World Investment Forum: UNCTAD, WHO Join Forces

      The third panel gathers governments and civil society, he said, and will look into the need for antibiotic stewardship. For example, he said, a representative of the Swedish Public Health Agency will talk about its strategy to incentivise companies to keep existing antibiotics on the market despite their low prices.

      UNCTAD and WHO are expecting a good debate and some clarification of how stakeholders see the needs for the future, Spennemann said. The two UN organisations seek to informally bring together small companies, and potentially interested investors, and launch an informal debate.

  • Security
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #181

      Another brief reminder that another Reproducible Builds summit will be taking place between 11th—13th December 2018 in Mozilla’s offices in Paris. If you are interested in attending please send an email to holger@layer-acht.org. More details can also be found on the corresponding event page of our website.

    • A mysterious grey-hat is patching people’s outdated MikroTik routers

      A Russian-speaking grey-hat hacker is breaking into people’s MikroTik routers and patching devices so they can’t be abused by cryptojackers, botnet herders, or other cyber-criminals, ZDNet has learned.

      The hacker, who goes by the name of Alexey and says he works as a server administrator, claims to have disinfected over 100,000 MikroTik routers already.

    • Chrome, Edge, IE, Firefox, and Safari to disable TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 in 2020

      Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla announced plans today to disable Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.0 and 1.1 support in their respective browsers in the first half of 2020.

    • Canonical Announces Partnership with Eurotech, the Big Four to End Support of TLS 1.0 and 1.1, Sony Using Blockchain for DRM, NETWAYS Web Services Launches IaaS OpenStack, Grey Hat Patching MikroTik Routers and Paul Allen Dies at 65

      Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla all announce the end of support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 standards starting in 2020, ZDNet reports. Chrome and Firefox already support TLS 1.3, and Microsoft and Apple will soon follow suit.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • libssh 0.8.4 and 0.7.6 security and bugfix release

      libssh versions 0.6 and above have an authentication bypass vulnerability in the server code. By presenting the server an SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_SUCCESS message in place of the SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_REQUEST message which the server would expect to initiate authentication, the attacker could successfully authentciate without any credentials.

    • Trivial authentication bypass in libssh leaves servers wide open

      There’s a four-year-old bug in the Secure Shell implementation known as libssh that makes it trivial for just about anyone to gain unfettered administrative control of a vulnerable server. While the authentication-bypass flaw represents a major security hole that should be patched immediately, it wasn’t immediately clear what sites or devices were vulnerable since neither the widely used OpenSSH nor Github’s implementation of libssh was affected.

    • A Cybersecurity Weak Link: Linux and IoT [Ed: Blaming "Linux" for companies that put default passwords on all their products? Windows has back doors.]
    • Undetectably bypass voting machines’ anti-tamper mechanism with a bit of a soda-can

      But University of Michigan grad student Matt Bernhard has demonstrated that he can bypass the tamper-evident seals in seconds, using a shim made from a slice of a soda can. The bypass is undetectable and doesn’t damage the seal, which can be resecured after an attacker gains access to the system.

    • Security Seals Used to Protect Voting Machines Can Be Easily Opened With Shim Crafted from a Soda Can

      Bernhard, who is an expert witness for election integrity activists in a lawsuit filed in Georgia to force officials to get rid of paperless voting machines used in that state, said the issue of security ties and seals came up in the lawsuit earlier this year when Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron told the court that his Georgia county relies on tamper-evident metal and plastic ties to seal voting machines and prevent anyone with physical access to the machines from subverting them while they sit in polling places days before an election.

      [...]

      He noted that defeating ties and seals in non-tamper-evident ways isn’t the only method to wreak havoc on an election in Michigan. The state has a unique law that prohibits ballots from being used in a recount if the number of voters doesn’t match the number of ballots cast at a precinct or if the seal on a ballot box is broken or has a different serial number than what it should have. Someone who wanted to wreak havoc on an election or alter an election outcome in Michigan could purposely tamper with ballot box seals in a way that is evident or simply replace them with a seal bearing a different serial number in order to get ballots excluded from a recount. The law came into sharp relief after the 2016 presidential election when Green Party candidate Jill Stein sought to get a statewide recount in Michigan and two other critical swing states and found that some precincts in Wayne County couldn’t be recounted because the number of voters who signed the poll books—which get certified with a seal signed by officials—didn’t match the number of ballots scanned on the voting machines.

    • Facebook’s ex-security chief will start a new center to bring Washington and Silicon Valley together
    • Most government domains adopt program to prevent sending of fake emails

      The Department of Homeland Security announced last October that all federal agencies had until Oct. 16, 2018, to adopt the email authentication process, known as domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance (DMARC), which blocks fake or spoofed emails being sent from a government domain.

    • 21-year-old who created powerful RAT software sentenced to 30 months

      When Grubbs was first charged, he claimed LuminosityLink was a legitimate tool for system administrators, and he never intended for it to be used maliciously. He reversed course in a plea agreement he signed in July 2017. In that document, he admitted for the first time that he knew some customers were using the software to control computers without owners’ knowledge or permission. Grubbs also admitted emphasizing a wealth of malicious features in marketing materials that promoted the software.

    • What To Do If Your Account Was Caught in the Facebook Breach

      Keeping up with Facebook privacy scandals is basically a full-time job these days. Two weeks ago, it announced a massive breach with scant details. Then, this past Friday, Facebook released more information, revising earlier estimates about the number of affected users and outlining exactly what types of user data were accessed. Here are the key details you need to know, as well as recommendations about what to do if your account was affected.

      30 Million Accounts Affected

      The number of users whose access tokens were stolen is lower than Facebook originally estimated. When Facebook first announced this incident, it stated that attackers may have been able to steal access tokens—digital “keys” that control your login information and keep you logged in—from 50 to 90 million accounts. Since then, further investigation has revised that number down to 30 million accounts.

      The attackers were able to access an incredibly broad array of information from those accounts. The 30 million compromised accounts fall into three main categories. For 15 million users, attackers access names and phone numbers, emails, or both (depending on what people had listed).

    • GNU Binutils read_reloc Function Denial of Service Vulnerability [CVE-2018-18309]
  • Defence/Aggression
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • A court ruling knocks another hole in Swiss banking secrecy

      DURING his decade-long legal battle with the Swiss authorities, Rudolf Elmer, a bank whistleblower, endured 48 prosecutorial interrogations, spent six months in solitary confinement and faced 70 court rulings. None, though, was more important than the decision by Switzerland’s supreme court on October 10th, which set strict limits on the country’s famous bank-secrecy laws.

      Mr Elmer had leaked data from Julius Bär after being sacked by the Cayman Islands affiliate of the Zurich-based bank. The court, dismissing an appeal by prosecutors, ruled that because he was employed by the Cayman outfit, not its parent, he was not bound by Swiss secrecy law when he handed data to WikiLeaks in 2008. The 3-2 ruling followed a rare public debate among the judges, held in only 0.3% of supreme-court cases, underlining the national importance of the issue.

    • Pacifica stands with Wikileaks and Julian Assange

      If you’re opposed to war, how can you not love Julian Assange? Peace has been his overarching goal ever since he hacked into Pentagon computers at age 17, and he still has hope. In 2011, he told RT:

      “Nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been the result of media lies. The media could have stopped it. If they hadn’t reprinted government propaganda, they could’ve stopped it. But what does that mean?

      “That means basically that populations don’t like wars. And populations have to be fooled into war. Populations don’t willingly and with open eyes go into war. So if we have a good media environment, then we’ll also have a peaceful environment.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Devastating UN Report: CO2 Emissions Must Go to Zero By 2050 to Avoid Worst Effects of Climate Change

      Carbon dioxide emissions must reach net zero by 2050 in order to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius according to the “1.5 Degree Report,” compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a coalition of climate scientists working for the United Nations. For perspective, we emitted over 32 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide last year (a gigatonne is one billion metric tonnes.) The report also claims that national pledges from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord are not enough to meet these targets.

    • Coal Is Killing the Planet. Trump Loves It.

      Scientists issued a new alarm on the devastating impacts of continued burning of fossil fuels. But the Trump E.P.A. keeps propping up coal.

    • Why Catastrophic Climate Change is Probably Inevitable Now

      So now let’s connect all the dots. Capitalism didn’t just rape the planet laughing, and cause climate change that way. It did something which history will think of as even more astonishing. By quite predictably imploding into fascism at precisely the moment when the world needed cooperation, it made it impossible, more or less, for the fight against climate change to gather strength, pace, and force. It wasn’t just the environmental costs of capitalism which melted down the planet — it was the social costs, too, which, by wrecking global democracy, international law, cooperation, the idea that nations should work together, made a fractured, broken world which no longer had the capability to act jointly to prevent the rising floodwaters and the burning summers.

    • Denmark to label food according to effect on climate

      Food products will be marked with stickers showing their environmental impact, according to a proposal expected to be included in a new climate package to be presented by the government this week.

    • We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero or face more floods

      Even 1.5C of warming would have brutal consequences, according to the report. Poor people, in particular, would suffer as the threat of food and water shortages increase in some parts of the world.

      But the report makes clear that allowing warming to reach 2C would create risks that any reasonable person would regard as deeply dangerous.

    • A major climate report will slam the door on wishful thinking

      According to the drafts, the report finds that it would take a massive global effort, far more aggressive than any we’ve seen to date, to keep warming in line with 1.5°C — in part because we are already en route to 3°C of warming. And even if we hit the 1.5°C goal, the planet will still face massive, devastating changes. So it’s pretty grim.

    • Earth’s climate monsters could be unleashed as temperatures rise

      As a UN panel prepares a report on 1.5C global warming, researchers warn of the risks of ignoring ‘feedback’ effects

  • Finance
    • Budget Deficit Jumps Nearly 17% in 2018

      The federal budget deficit swelled to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the Treasury Department said on Monday, driven in large part by a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues after the Trump tax cuts took effect.

      The deficit rose nearly 17 percent year over year, from $666 billion in 2017. It is now on pace to top $1 trillion a year before the next presidential election, according to forecasts from the Trump administration and outside analysts. The deficit for the 2018 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, was the largest since 2012, when the economy and federal revenues were still recovering from the depths of the recession.

      Administration officials attributed the deficit’s rise to greater federal spending, including the military and domestic budget increases that President Trump approved this year, not the $1.5 trillion tax cut.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Peter Thiel associate named as ambassador to Sweden
    • Taibbi: Why Aren’t We Talking More About Trump’s Nihilism?

      Now comes this Linda Blair-style head turn. The NHTSA report deftly leaps past standard wing-nut climate denial and lands on a new nihilistic construct, in which action is useless precisely because climate change exists and is caused by fossil fuels.

      The more you read of this impact statement, the weirder it seems. After the document lays out its argument for doing nothing, it runs a series of bar graphs comparing the impact of various action plans with scenarios in which the entire world did nothing (labeled the “no action” alternative).

    • The Trump administration knows the planet is going to boil. It doesn’t care

      The news in that statement is that administration officials serenely contemplate that 4C rise (twice the last-ditch target set at the Paris climate talks). Were the world to actually warm that much, it would be a literal hell, unable to maintain civilizations as we have known them. But that’s now our policy, and it apparently rules out any of the actions that might, in fact, limit that warming. You might as well argue that because you’re going to die eventually, there’s no reason not to smoke a carton of cigarettes a day.

      Meanwhile, reporters also discovered that the administration has set up what can only be described as a concentration camp near the Mexican border for detained migrant children, spiriting them under cover of darkness from the foster homes and small shelters across the nation where they had been staying.

    • Voter Purges: What Georgians Heading to the Polls Need to Know

      Charges of voter suppression have been levied in the governor’s race in Georgia in recent weeks, pitting the secretary of state and GOP candidate Brian Kemp against critics, including his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams, who say that he’s using his perch as the chief election official to benefit his own candidacy.

      The race, which the Cook Political Report currently lists as a toss-up, has received national attention. The controversy has raised questions about whether some Georgians will be turned away at the polls.

      Here’s what’s happened so far, and what voters need to know.

      In 2017, Georgia passed a new “exact match” law, supported by Kemp, which requires that voter registration applications precisely match information on file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.

    • Voter Registration Around Austin Smashed Records. That May Be a Problem.

      Travis County, Texas — the home of Austin — has experienced a massive spike in voter registrations this cycle, which officials there attribute to the heightened interest in the state’s competitive Senate race. The county received around 35,000 registrations on the final day to submit them — that’s 10,000 more than on the same day in 2016.

      While the increase in voter participation is good news, the recent surge is complicated by the fact that the registrations were submitted on paper. Texas is one of only 13 states not to have online voter registration. About a dozen county employees are now sifting through thousands of applications, verifying them and entering them into the state’s voter rolls by hand.

      Of the 35,000 registrations received on Oct. 9, 25,000 have yet to be processed. Early voting starts Monday. County officials recognize that the haste required to process that many applications is likely to lead at least some voters to experience problems at the polls.

    • Washington Post Saudi Link; Assange Has Partial Wi-Fi; Harvard Lawsuit

      Lazare joins us to discuss a recent Intercept article, “The Washington Post, as it Shames Others, Continues to Pay and Publish Undisclosed Saudi Lobbyists and Other Regime Propagandists,” by Glenn Greenwald. It questions the Washington Post grieving one of its journalists while at the same time continuing ties with the Saudi regime: “In the wake of the disappearance and likely murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, some of the most fervent and righteous voices demanding that others sever their ties with the Saudi regime have, understandably, come from his colleagues at that paper… addressing unnamed hypothetical Washington luminaries who continue to take money to do work for the despots in Riyadh, particularly Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, or ‘MbS’ as he has been affectionately known in the Western press.” But Greenwald says Post writers should ask those question of themselves, given the paper’s history of favorable reporting on Saudi Arabia’s government. What do we make of these headlines?

    • Pump and Trump

      Donald Trump claims he only licensed his name for real estate projects developed by others. But an investigation of a dozen Trump deals shows deep family involvement in projects that often involved deceptive practices.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Jokes can spark threats

      I feel that as a woman, people will give you hell just because they can. If it is very nasty, I tend to ignore it. Somedays, when I am in a really bad mood, I may give it back to them in the same vein though. When asked which video of hers received a lot of flak, Saadiya recounts, “There was a video of mine on Muslims; nothing derogatory, I was just making fun of my own people. That ticked off a lot of Muslims. I also speak of topics that are hardcore feministic and this doesn’t go down well with a lot of people.

      “The threats range from I should get raped or killed to asking me to put out my address if I was that brave because they wanted to teach me a lesson. A lot of these people don’t even understand jokes, sarcasm or satire. They pick some words, form their own ideas and get offended. Now how is this my fault?”

    • Stand up for journalists and the free press by opposing the Future Investment Initiative!
    • Political correctness: an elite ideology

      So if it is not ethnic minorities clamouring for PC censorship, who is? The Hidden Tribes researchers identified a section of society which it labelled ‘progressive activists’. This group includes those most wedded to political correctness: only 30 per cent see it as a problem. It is characterised as being young, cosmopolitan and liberal. But it makes up just eight per cent of the US population. They are also disproportionately white: 80 per cent of the ‘progressive activists’ surveyed were white compared with 69 per cent of those surveyed overall. They are also overwhelmingly better-off: so-called progressive activists are three times as likely to have a postgraduate education and twice as likely to be earning over $100,000 a year.

    • Google CEO speaks out about controversial Chinese search engine plans

      He was also quick to defend the project, which human rights groups have suggested will likely to be complicit in human rights violations and would allow for far more detailed tracking and profiling of people’s behaviour.

    • Lawsuit Seeking to Unmask Contributors to ‘Shitty Media Men’ List Would Violate Anonymous Speakers’ First Amendment Rights

      A lawsuit filed in New York federal court last week against the creator of the “Shitty Media Men” list and its anonymous contributors exemplifies how individuals often misuse the court system to unmask anonymous speakers and chill their speech. That’s why we’re watching this case closely, and we’re prepared to advocate for the First Amendment rights of the list’s anonymous contributors.

      On paper, the lawsuit is a defamation case brought by the writer Stephen Elliott, who was named on the list. The Shitty Media Men list was a Google spreadsheet shared via link and made editable by anyone, making it particularly easy for anonymous speakers to share their experiences with men identified on the list. But a review of the complaint suggests that the lawsuit is focused more broadly on retaliating against the list’s creator, Moira Donegan, and publicly identifying those who contributed to it.

      For example, after naming several anonymous defendants as Jane Does, the complaint stresses that “Plaintiff will know, through initial discovery, the names, email addresses, pseudonyms and/or ‘Internet handles’ used by Jane Doe Defendants to create the List, enter information into the List, circulate the List, and otherwise publish information in the List or publicize the List.”

      In other words, Elliott wants to obtain identifying information about anyone and everyone who contributed to, distributed, or called attention to the list, not just those who provided information about Elliot specifically.

      The First Amendment, however, protects anonymous speakers like the contributors to the Shitty Media Men list, who were trying to raise awareness about what they see as a pervasive problem: predatory men in media. As the Supreme Court has ruled, anonymity is a historic and essential way of speaking on matters of public concern—it is a “shield against the tyranny of the majority.”

    • Will Donald Trump Support A Federal Anti-SLAPP Law Now That It’s Helped Him Win Stormy Daniels’ Defamation Suit?

      And it’s that tweet that Daniels/Avenatti sued over. Again, this was clearly going nowhere. That tweet is not at all defamatory under the 1st Amendment. In his defense, Trump, who was represented by Charles Harder*, filed an anti-SLAPP motion, arguing that Trump was protected under Texas’ anti-SLAPP law, that the case should be dismissed, and that Trump should be awarded attorneys’ fees. And the court easily agreed.

      [...]

      He and Daniels will almost certainly lose this appeal and Trump will almost certainly win. But the real question is whether or not this helps Trump recognize the value of strong anti-SLAPP laws. It seems like now would be a good time for Congress to finally move on the federal anti-SLAPP law, while reminding Trump that it may have just saved him a bunch of money…

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Massachusetts Supreme Court Looking To Define Where The Fifth Amendment Ends And Compelled Decryption Begins

      Another case attempting to define the contours of the Fifth Amendment as it pertains to cellphones and passwords has arrived in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The case involves sex trafficking allegations and a phone seized from the defendant at the time of his arrest. Testimony from a person who said she was trafficked suggested the phone seized belonged to the defendant Dennis Lee Jones. The state sought to compel Jones to unlock the seized phone, but this motion was denied by the trial court, resulting in the state’s appeal.

      While the lower court did express some concern that unlocking devices can result in the production of evidence to be used against the person unlocking it, the standard for compelled password production has nothing to do with the eventual recovery of evidence. All the state* needs to reach is a reasonable certainty the defendant knows the password to the seized device. This is called a “foregone conclusion” — the defendant “telling” the state what it already “knows:” that the phone belongs to him and he can unlock it. The potential evidence held inside the phone may eventually be used against the defendant, but the Fifth Amendment question isn’t about this evidence, but rather the simple act of producing a password, which isn’t considered testimonial if the government can tie the phone to the accused.

    • Report: Your Browser’s “Do Not Track” Isn’t Respected by Twitter, Facebook and Other Major Players

      Right now, if you head to the privacy settings of your browser, there is a feature called “Do Not Track.” If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a feature that sends a message to every website you visit asking them to not track your digital footprint.

      Websites use tracking to study your behavior and serve you ads accordingly to boost online sales revenue. We often fall for it, one minute you are looking at an expensive Jacket you want but you can’t afford it, the next minute you visit Facebook and there it is again, 20% off. And more often than not we end up buying the products.

    • Canadian Privacy Commissioner Goes To Court To Determine If Canada Can Force Google To Delete History

      Canada has been stumbling towards an EU-style “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) for quite some time now. There was a big case last year that not only said Google can be forced to remove links to certain information, but that it could be forced to do so globally (i.e., outside of just Canada). That was as a result of a specific lawsuit about specific information, but this year, a bigger exploration of the RTBF concept has been underway, as some have argued that Canada’s PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) meant that Google should be forced to “de-link” articles on certain people’s name searches upon request (just like the EU’s RTBF).

      A report from the Canadian Privacy Commissioner earlier this year argued that PIPEDA already provided such a right and the Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has been stumping for this ever since. Google has — for obvious reasons — been expressing its position that this is ridiculous, saying that PIPEDA does not apply to de-linking individuals’ names from news articles, and further argued that requiring such a result would be unconstitutional.

    • The ‘Donald Daters’ Trump Dating App Exposed Its Users’ Data

      Alderson pointed Motherboard to the apparently misconfigured database which contains the Donald Daters user information. To verify the data did come from Donald Daters, Motherboard created an account on the app, searched for users mentioned in the exposed data, found these through the app itself, and confirmed the profile photos and names matched up.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Checkpoint Nation

      Increasingly, Padilla’s description applies to CBP as well. It turns out that the legal definition of “the border” is troublingly broad. Some 200 million people — nearly two-thirds of all Americans — live within the “border zone,” which is defined by the Justice Department as the area up to 100 air miles from any U.S. land or coastal boundary. Nine of the country’s 10 largest cities lie within the zone. It touches 38 states and encompasses all of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

    • Innocent man ‘intimately searched’ and ‘called a paedo’ by police in brutal arrest paid £35k damages

      The force confirmed it had settled the case without liability, meaning it made no formal admission of wrong-doing, although the settlement including a letter of apology.

    • China disappearances show Beijing sets its own rules

      The recent disappearances of two high-profile Chinese citizens have once again focused international attention on China’s legal system and its use of secret detentions.

    • The Spirit of 1968 Lives on Today in Athletes like Colin Kaepernick

      Tommie Smith and John Carlos staged a stunning protest at the ’68 Summer Olympics. Fifty years later, rampant racial discrimination remains.

      In 1968, rage over the United States’ treatment of Black America was boiling over. It culminated that year in a protest at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City that shocked the world. But perhaps the lid blowing off the kettle shouldn’t have been so surprising.

      In May of 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. admitted that his “dream” of 1963 had “turned into a nightmare.” The uprisings later that summer reflected long-festering racial inequality. And as 1968 dawned, poverty was rampant in Black America.

      In Memphis, striking sanitation workers made about a dollar an hour. The Kerner Report, which was released in March of 1968, sounded ominous:

      “What white Americans have never fully understood — but what the Negro can never forget — is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”

      Less than one month later, King was shot down in Memphis supporting those very sanitation workers.

      1968 also saw continued protests over the Vietnam War, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, and the live broadcast across the nation of the Chicago Police beating demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention. As the 1968 Olympics Games began, track athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith made a decision. Something had to be said to the world about the promise of America going up in smoke.

    • Police Reform Is Coming to New York City, but Will the NYPD Follow the Law?

      Police reform legislation will go into effect this week in New York City, but the law depends on the NYPD acting in good faith.

      In December 2017, the New York City Council passed two police reform measures, collectively known as the Right to Know Act, which aimed to improve communication and transparency during police stops and searches. On Friday, both bills will take full effect, and the New York Police Department will be tasked with implementing the council’s mandate to become more transparent and accountable. But there are good reasons to be skeptical that the NYPD will implement the law faithfully.

      The first measure requires the NYPD to develop a policy that instructs officers to let people know when they have the right to refuse to be searched. Under the consent-to-search law, if an officer wants to search someone, her home, her vehicle, or her property without a warrant or a legally recognized exception under the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, the officer must ask if the person voluntarily agrees to be searched.

      The law also requires the officer to explain that no search will happen if the individual stopped says no, and it requires the officer to double check that the person stopped understands that explanation. If the person has limited English proficiency, the officer must use interpretation services so that the person understands what’s being asked of her.

      If the officer has a body-worn camera, the encounter will be recorded, and the officer will be required to let the person know how to request a copy of that footage. The NYPD will also have to start keeping track of these encounters and publicly report how many searches are happening and, perhaps most importantly, the demographics of the people being asked to let an officer search them.

    • Facebook’s Latest Fake News ‘Purge’ Terminates Several Accounts Known For Their Criticism Of Law Enforcement

      Moderating at scale is a nightmare. Anything you do will be wrong. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to criticism. Just be aware every move you make will cause unintended collateral damage. Making everyone happy is impossible. Making everyone angry is inevitable.

      [...]

      Maybe so, but the vanishing of a handful of cop accountability-focused pages isn’t exactly what comes to mind when someone’s talking about Russian interference. Encouraging platforms to engage in further moderation may seem innocuous, but the reality of the situation is there is constant pressure — applied by people like Senator Warner — for platforms to do more, more, more because some speech they don’t care for can still be found on the internet.

      The more politicians push for action, the more collateral damage they will cause. They may feel there’s no Constitutional problem since they’re not directly mandating moderation efforts. But they are harming free speech, if only indirectly at this point.

    • How America Systematically Fails Survivors of Sexual Violence

      #MeToo exposed the widespread silencing and dismissal of survivors and the need for our institutions to do better.

      Before there was Christine Blasey Ford, there was Recy Taylor, an African-American woman who was raped by six white men in 1944 and fought for justice with the help of Rosa Parks. And in between the two of them, there was Anita Hill, Tarana Burke, Alyssa Milano, Lupita Nyong’o, Tanya Selveratnam, Aly Raisman, and many, many more.

      For centuries, women have experienced violence and harassment, and many have spoken out. #MeToo brought us to a new phase in building the movement to end gender-based violence, magnifying and connecting thousands of voices as they shared their stories. Despite women’s achievement of formal equality, #MeToo exposed how common such violence is, the widespread silencing and dismissal of survivors, and the myriad ways violence undermines survivors’ security, dignity, and opportunities.

      The President and Senate Judiciary Committee are far from the only powerful people and institutions that limit investigations, disbelieve survivors, and fault people for coming forward. Discrimination against survivors infiltrates all aspects of life, including the responses of law enforcement, employers, housing providers, and schools, to name a few. Speaking out about violence is a crucial step. But law enforcement, employers, housing providers, and schools must also step up and acknowledge how their policies and practices contribute to violence.

      “Why didn’t you report?” is the refrain so many survivors face when they disclose violence for the first time. But too often, police dismiss survivors who go to law enforcement. This attitude results in governments’ decisions not to test thousands of rape kits in cities like Detroit, Albuquerque, and Washington DC, based on officers’ assumptions that there was no sexual assault. It also explains why one in three survivors feel less safe after contacting police.

    • From Canada to Argentina, Security Researchers Have Rights—Our New Report

      EFF is introducing a new Coders’ Rights project to connect the work of security research with the fundamental rights of its practitioners throughout the Americas. The project seeks to support the right of free expression that lies at the heart of researchers’ creations and use of computer code to examine computer systems, and relay their discoveries among their peers and to the wider public.

      To kick off the project, EFF published a whitepaper today, “Protecting Security Researchers’ Rights in the Americas” (PDF), to provide the legal and policy basis for our work, outlining human rights standards that lawmakers, judges, and most particularly the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, should use to protect the fundamental rights of security researchers.

      We started this project because hackers and security researchers have never been more important to the security of the Internet. By identifying and disclosing vulnerabilities, hackers are able to improve security for every user who depends on information systems for their daily life and work.

    • For Wearing Tampon, Virginia Woman Says She’s Barred From Prison Visits

      A Virginia woman says state prison officials terminated a visit with her husband and accused her of attempting to smuggle drugs with a tampon days after the state suspended a policy that would have banned women from wearing the feminine hygiene product to visits.

      Weeks later, according to the woman, her visits were unofficially suspended indefinitely as officials continue to investigate the package.

      The woman, who asked not to be named out of fear of retaliation from prison officials, said a Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) administrator told her she was one of several women who had their visits terminated that day (although a friend who was in the visitation room with her said she did not see anyone else dismissed). She told Shadowproof she felt like she was targeted because she was on her period.

      The Virginia DOC did not return requests for comment on the alleged incident and visitation privileges. It posted a vague tweet on October 3 about drugs being found in the bathroom of one of its facilities but a spokeswoman did not disclose further details on the statement.

      The confrontation marked the latest incident in which officials used contraband to exert their power over incarcerated women and visitors’ periods.

    • FBI Releases Guidelines On Impersonating Journalists, Seems Unworried About Its Impact On Actual Journalists

      The FBI’s impersonation of journalists raised questions about its investigative activities, none of which the FBI felt like addressing. An Inspector General’s investigation of FBI investigations using this tactic found that it was generally a bad idea, but not an illegal or unconstitutional one. Prior to the investigation, the FBI apparently had no clear policies governing this form of impersonation, which it used to snare a school-bombing suspect.

      Following the report, a policy was put in place that added some additional layers of oversight but didn’t indicate the obvious downside of impersonating journalists: that the people the FBI wants to investigate are going to do a lot less talking to anyone they don’t know, which includes journalists attempting to document newsworthy events that might contain criminal activity.

      The FBI blew it with one of its other impersonation efforts. As Camille Fassett reports for the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a more recent effort may have put a serious damper on its fake news(person) efforts.

    • 16-year-old gets 4.5 years in prison for kissing 13-year-old

      The case concerns the 16-year-old A.K. and 13-year-old S.Ö. who have hugged and kissed each other on the school premises of the latter. The incident however was taken to the judiciary when a schoolmate of the 13-year old S.Ö. (known with initials A.Ş) took the video of the two kissing and shared it with friends. Once the relevant video was seen by the school management, a lawsuit was opened at the Antalya 6th Heavy Penalty Court against the middle schooler A.Ş. for “using children in the production of inappropriate images” and the high schooler A.K. for “sexual assault.”

    • Australians should sign Muslim peace contract or be executed, witness tells court

      He was questioned about his support for Islamic State, the caliphate and Sharia Law, which he believed should be implemented in Australia for all Muslims and non-Muslims.

      “They would have to sign a contract to live with, amongst Muslims in peace,” he said.

      “Whoever does not sign the contract either leaves the country or is executed.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Comcast complains it will make less money under Calif. net neutrality law

      Comcast submitted its filing on October 3 as part of the broadband industry lawsuit that seeks to overturn California’s net neutrality law (SB 822), which is slated to take effect on January 1, 2019 unless the court grants a stay halting implementation. Comcast’s filing is meant to support the industry’s request for an injunction that would halt enforcement of the law while litigation is pending.

    • 99.7% Of Original Comments Opposed FCC Repeal Of Net Neutrality

      A new study has once again confirmed that the vast, vast majority of the public opposed the FCC’s ham-fisted repeal of net neutrality.

      Like most government proceedings, the FCC’s net neutrality killing order’s public comment period was filled will all manner of comments (both in favor and against) generated by automatic letter-writing campaigns. Like most government proceedings in the post-truth era, the net neutrality repeal was also plagued by a lot of shady gamesmanship by companies trying to disguise the fact that the government was simply kissing the ass of giant, unpopular telecom monopolies. But what happens if you eliminated all of the letter-writing campaign and bogus bot-comments?

      A new report from Stanford University (pdf) did just that. It eliminated all automated or form-generated comments and found just 800,000 Americans willing to take the time to put their own, original thoughts on the net neutrality repeal into words.

    • 99.7 Percent of Unique FCC Comments Favored Net Neutrality

      After removing all duplicate and fake comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission last year, a Stanford researcher has found that 99.7 percent of public comments—about 800,000 in all—were pro-net neutrality.

    • DOJ Continues To Point Out A Mega-Merged AT&T Will Jack Up Prices On Everybody

      AT&T recently defeated the DOJ’s challenge to their $86 billion merger with Time Warner thanks to a comically narrow reading of the markets by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon. At no point in his 172-page ruling (which approved the deal without a single condition) did Leon show the faintest understanding that AT&T intends to use vertical integration synergistically with the death of net neutrality to dominate smaller competitors.

      In fact, net neutrality was never even mentioned by the DOJ at the multi-week trial. Likely in part because the DOJ didn’t want to highlight how the Trump FCC was screwing everybody over with one hand, while the Trump DOJ was allegedly suing AT&T to “protect consumers” with the other (some argue that Trump’s disdain for CNN and adoration of Rupert Murdoch were the more likely motivators). But if you ignore the fact that AT&T plans to use its monopoly over many broadband markets (from residential to cellular tower backhaul) combined with the death of net neutrality to make life difficult for consumers and competitors alike, you’re not paying any attention to history or to AT&T’s repeated nods in that general direction.

  • DRM
    • Security Updates Are Even Breaking Your Printer (On Purpose)

      Printer manufacturers hate third-party ink cartridges. They want you buying the expensive, official ones. Epson and HP have issued sneaky “updates” that break these cheaper cartridges, forcing you to buy the expensive ones.

      HP pioneered this technique back in 2016, rolling out a “security update” to its OfficeJet and OfficeJet Pro printers that activated a helpful new feature—helpful for HP’s bottom line, at least. Now, before printing, the printer would verify you’re using new HP ink cartridges. If you’re using a competitor’s ink cartridge or a refilled HP ink cartridge, printing would stop. After some flaming in the press, HP sort-of apologized, but not really.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Microsoft’s Peace Treaty With the ‘Linux System’

      “The only reason you don’t sign the OIN license is because you want to reserve the right to sue on core Linux,” he said.

      Taking Microsoft on as a member creates something of a public relations problem for OIN, which is not without detractors in the open source community. The opposition primarily centers on the widespread belief in open source circles that software shouldn’t be patentable, mostly because software is already covered under copyright law. In a recent article on Microsoft’s joining OIN, Roy Schestowitz, publisher of the software patent-focused Techrights website, called OIN “an IBM-centric group that favors software patents” and has said the organization’s model works against patent reform because it supports the legitimacy of patents.

      “We don’t feel that we’re legitimizing them,” Bergelt said. “We’re recognizing that they exist. It’s a matter of pragmatism to say that whether we believe they should exist or shouldn’t exist doesn’t matter — they do exist. My view is we’re recognizing reality and dealing with it in a determined way, and I disagree with those who believe it’s a validation.”

    • Germany: Feuerfeste Zustellung einer Gießpfanne, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 44/16, 13 March 2018

      The Federal Court of Justice held that the purpose of determining the technical problem (objective) in invalidity proceedings is to locate the starting point of skilled efforts to enrich the state of the art without knowledge of the invention, in order to assess, in the subsequent and separate examination of patentability, whether or not the solution proposed for this purpose was rendered obvious by the state of the art. Accordingly, it does not have the function to make a preliminary decision on the question of patentability. Therefore, it is neither permissible to take into account elements belonging to the solution according to the patent in the formulation of the problem nor may it be assumed without further ado that it was appropriate for the person skilled in the art to deal with a particular problem.

    • Why would the Federal Trade Commission snatch defeat from the jaws of victory over Qualcomm?

      This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post on Judge Lucy H. Koh’s decision to deny a joint administrative motion by the Federal Trade Commission and Qualcomm asking her not to rule on a motion for partial summary judgment on the obligation to extend standard-essential patent (SEP) licenses on FRAND terms to rival chipset makers (such as Intel).

      I didn’t want to jump to conclusions from a case management decision, but in purely probabilistic terms it’s a fact that Judge Koh’s order increases the likelihood of summary judgment being granted. There’s no harder-working judge than her, and she wouldn’t have decided to cancel the hearing and take this motion (as well as several other, less important motions) under submission if there had been any questions left to ask. However, if she had been inclined to deny the actual motion, she might just have given the parties four weeks to work out a settlement–the sole remaining plausible explanation would be that she wanted to make it clear her court is nobody’s tool, much less a restaurant that serves litigation à la carte where you can put one motion on hold while letting the process continue on the same schedule in all other respects.

      This antitrust litigation has been going very, very well for the FTC for a long time. It wouldn’t make sense to let Qualcomm off the hook now that there is a near-term opportunity (with respect to the summary judgment motion, “near-term” is actually a gross understatement) to restore fair competition in the market for baseband chipsets and with respect to cellular SEP licensing.

      There’s probably a lot of fighting going on in DC behind the scenes, inside and outside the FTC. Prior to the latest twist I had already tried to find out about where the current five commissioners stand on FRAND, but haven’t found any information that would enable me to predict the outcome of a vote on a hypothetical settlement proposal tantamount to the agency’s surrender. In the past, the positions of Commissioners Maureen Ohlhausen and Joshua D. Wright were well-known (I mentioned Mrs. Ohlhausen on several occasions, and in 2013 I dedicated a blog post to Mr. Wright’s stance), but they aren’t in office anymore. So I extended my search for clues to high-ranking FTC officials. It turns out that two of them–Alden Abbott (the FTC’s General Counsel) and Bruce H. Kobayashi–have a certain proximity to Qualcomm and are sympathetic to Qualcomm’s unFRANDly positions to a degree that is clearly a minority opinion in the legal community. While I don’t have the slightest indication of any impropriety, there is a conspicuous lack of impartiality.

    • Copyrights
      • 9th Circuit Led Zeppelin ruling introduces new copyright infringement framework

        The Ninth Circuit’s Stairway to Heaven decision on September 28 offers a better application of the inverse ratio rule, according to one observer

        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.

      • Art, AI & Infringement: A Copyright Conundrum

        The trademark claim rests solely on the name of the file including Chamandy’s full name. It’s a silly argument for trademark infringement as the whole point of including the name is to weigh the new art piece against her specific work, which necessarily involves anyone viewing these pieces being informed that they are not the work of the original author. The whole purpose of the validation process is to show what differentiation remains between the new piece and the human-made example. That’s not trademark infringement. It’s not really even close.

        As for the copyright portion of this, it’s important that you not be fooled by the percentage the machine setup notes in the validation process. You might think that an 85% match would mean the two images are very similar and would share a ton of features that would link the two in the viewer’s mind. That’s not even close to being the case, as you can see just how different the two images are below.

      • Can’t Wish Away The Mistakes In The Original ‘Stairway To Heaven’ Verdict

        Last time, I explained why I thought the Ninth Circuit’s recent vacating and remanding of the jury verdict in Led Zeppelin’s favor was, long-term, a good thing for copyright law (even if I kind of liked the verdict and am genuinely sorry for Led Zeppelin). The reason is that the reversal gave one panel of the Ninth Circuit an opportunity to try to fix the Ninth Circuit’s unhelpful legal framework for determining copyright infringement.

        But that isn’t why the panel reversed. While the panel did make some suggestions about how to present the “inverse-ratio” rule to the jury, the way it was presented to the original jury isn’t what merited reversal. What merited reversal was the lack of another jury instruction about a basic and uncontroversial principle of copyright law that the parties agreed should have been there in some form. In short, the case is being reversed — and the Ninth Circuit is getting a chance to fix its own weird copyright law — because of what appears to have been a brain fart.

      • Vodlocker Hammers Streaming Sites with JavaScript-based DDoS

        Vodlocker.to offers a handy video embed tool which several smaller pirate streaming sites have grown to rely on. Starting recently, however, the site also appears to have become the source of a rather nasty JavaScript-based DDoS campaign, which uses the unwitting viewers of these embedded videos to take out several pirate streaming sites.

      • Court Orders Swedish ISP Telia to Block The Pirate Bay & FMovies

        Sweden’s Patent and Market Court has ordered a local ISP to block access to several large torrent and streaming platforms. The interim ruling, which comes into force at the end of October, requires Telia to block The Pirate Bay, Dreamfilm, FMovies, and NyaFilmer following a complaint from Hollywood and local studios.

      • High Court overturns ruling of breach of privacy in Kim Dotcom case

        At the four-day appeal hearing last month, the lawyer for the Attorney-General, Victoria Casey told the High Court at Wellington the transfer of the requests was “orthodox and sensible”, and that the Tribunal had taken the wrong approach to deciding whether the requests were vexatious.

      • Kim Dotcom loses court battle over information requests