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Emerging Threat to Patent Reforms at the USPTO

Posted in America, Patents at 4:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Make Patents Great Again

Summary: Our plan of returning to coverage of US patent affairs in the wake of powerful lobbies that pursue patent maximalism

TO our regret — but not to our surprise — there are increasingly dangerous development with the potential to undo a lot of positive progress at the USPTO. We have some upcoming news/analysis about the departure of Michelle Lee, the role played by David Kappos as a lobbyist along with AIPLA, and so much more (perhaps about 20 articles, some of them pretty long). We have been drafting these articles for quite a while, but did not find time to finalise these (maybe this weekend, hopefully).

“Microsoft’s patent trolls, moreover, get another cash infusion from Microsoft/Bill Gates.”Our focus on EPO seemed a lot more important, but right now we find that Trump the “Swamp” is moving fast(er), causing destruction to all sorts of older policies (see [1,2] from the news below).

Microsoft’s patent trolls, moreover, get another cash infusion from Microsoft/Bill Gates. It’s not limited to Intellectual Ventures and it poses a real threat to GNU/Linux.

It seems to be getting more urgent/important for Techrights to return to covering software patents, preferably before the meeting of the Administrative Council (when volume of EPO coverage grows two- or three-fold).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. White House Plan To Reduce Drug Prices… Is To EXTEND Patents?

    While Congress is still doing its thing to try to make the US healthcare system an even bigger laughingstock around the world, the White House is apparently considering an executive order targeting high drug prices. Of course, it handed this power over to Joe Grogan, a (very recent) former lobbyist for a giant pharma company, Gilead, that has been at the center of some controversy over its highly priced drugs. Grogan is apparently leading this effort despite not having an ethics waiver, which means he’s supposed to recuse himself from these discussions, rather than lead them. But, you know, that’s not happening in the swampy, swampy waters of Washington DC. So just what would Grogan suggest as a way to lower drug prices? How about extending pharmaceutical patents? Yes. Extending.

  2. STRONGER Patent Act introduced in US Senate to reform PTAB

    The STRONGER Patent Act would reform the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and address “the continual weakening of patent rights by the courts”, according to sponsors Senators Coons, Cotton, Durbin and Hirono

You Know That the Unitary Patent (UPC) is in Huge Peril When Its Biggest Fans Admit It’s Unlikely to Happen Even Next Year

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The long-sought reality distortion field is severely rattled

Unitary Patent expert teams
Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna’s paper on the entryism that helped advance UPC close to ratification

Summary: The tactics of Team UPC turn ugly as they personally target anyone who stands in their way, even a professor/judge who is courageous enough to state the obvious

THE tactics used by Team UPC and the EPO have become uglier. When they don’t simply ignore news which they deem inconvenient they attack those whom they don’t agree with and disseminate lies instead.

Team UPC is actually too polite a term; they deserve a label like the “UPC cult” because this is how they behave; they also eliminate/crush/delete opposing views. This week we are seeing gently-worded personal attacks or attempts to discredit Professor Siegfried Broß for saying the truth about the UPC. It’s stuff like this which reminds us why the UPC complaint was done anonymously. We can envision the sorts of nasty personal attacks which would ensue if the petitioner’s/s’ name/s became widely known and circulated in the German media.

Thankfully, some parts of Team UPC are giving up on the ‘party line’; We at Techrights genuinely think (based on informed analysis) that UPC would very bad for development of software in Europe. British businesses agree, but their collective voice often gets hijacked by a bunch of lawyers who pretend to represent them or their interests. The UPCA was designed by lawyers, it intends to actually harm the industry, and basically enrich these lawyers and their richest clients, which are often not European at all.

IAM ‘magazine’, which earlier this year spread fake news about Spain (repeatedly in fact, in spite of being constantly debunked), had organised pro-UPC events supported by the EPO and funded by the EPO’s PR firm. A change of tune is afoot, however, as this tweet and article from today say that “UPC will not get started in 2017 and don’t bet too much on it happening in 2018 either” (or ever!)

To quote:

It’s been a big political week in the UK. On Monday, David Davis, the government minister overseeing the Brexit process, finally had his first formal meeting with Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator for the EU27, so beginning the discussions around the country’s departure from the European Union. Then, yesterday, Parliament was opened by the Queen following the inconclusive 8th June election which saw the ruling Conservative government unexpectedly lose its overall majority and, therefore, the ability to control the narrative around Brexit and other legislative issues. With the clock ticking down to 29th March 2019 – the date when the UK is scheduled to stop being an EU member state – the country has an emasculated leader and no detailed Brexit strategy. It’s a mess.

Although the dysfunctionality at the heart of the UK political system and the trauma of the divorce from the EU is largely an issue for us Brits, it does have implications for any IP owners that hold assets here or might wish to do so in the future. There are now under two years until Brexit occurs and all the uncertainties around IP that existed on the day after Leave won the referendum continue to exist today – with no sign yet of them being solved. This has major implications for enforcement and for validity of rights granted by the EU IP Office, as well as those that will be granted over the course of the next 20 months.

Dr. Birgit Clark‏, a former ‘Kat’ whom we found reliable (thus far), has meanwhile taken note of a misleading Battistelli puff piece where his lies to the audience got amplified.

Quite rightly, she tagged it #believeitwhenIseeit and in response to this, Dr. Luke McDonagh wrote: “Major errors in this piece: in fact German ratification awaits a constitutional challenge + Italy&Netherlands both want UK’s #UPC division”

Obviously it was some kind of fake news and Battistelli had lied to a large audience of scientists.

Look what level the EPO has sunk to…

One comment at IP Kat, left earlier today, took note of the “Interview of Pr Bross in Juve.de on UPC hence Karlsruhe” — an interview to which Wouter Pors from Team UPC (he remains one of the chief propagandists for Unitary Patent) responded in another comment by shooting the messenger. Here is his comment:

To my understanding, the complaint relating to the ratification of the UPC Agreement is not based on arguments relating to the EPO Boards of Appeal. This means that the remarks of Prof. Bross with regard to the EPO issues are not relevant for this appeal. Further, I completely fail to see how issues with the EPO Boards of Appeal could affect the UPC, which does meet all the standards for an impartial and independent court.

On the other hand, if issues with regard to the EPO, which are brought forward in other complaints to the German Constitutional Court, would be relevant, that would relate to all European patents that cover Germany, not only to Unitary Patents. But still they would not relate to the UPC.

As the IPKat mentions and I have also understood, prof. Bross is involved in such actions on behalf of an applicant.

Wouter Pors
Bird & Bird The Hague

Pors was not alone in attacking the messenger. There was “damage control” from the other “deplorables” of UPCA, notably Christopher Weber and his employer. Earlier on he wrote about “Our report and commentary on @juveVerlag_MK’s interview with former constitutional judge Broß on the complaint against the #UPC…”

They actually issued a whole post in their official Web site in response to an article. How pathetic is that? Team UPC is currently very afraid of Broß and Mr. Weber wages a battle for his employer (with stakes in the UPC). He also wrote this tweet linking to his employer. They probably try to appease impatient clients to whom the firm gave bad advice regarding the UPC.

Also in Germany we now see this law firm pretending that it’s all just “Postponed”, even though there is no certainty about the UPC at all. Anywhere! The concluding part states:

According to reports published on 11 June 2017, the German Federal Constitutional Court has requested the Federal President of Germany to refrain from signing the law that is necessary to ratify the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC). The president has agreed to comply with this request. The president’s signing is the last step required for a law to come into force after it has already passed both legislative chambers in Germany.

At 1:30AM? With just 5% of the politicians present? The whole process has been full of mischief and foul play, nefarious tricks, and one might say political corruption. Now they pay the price for what they wrongly assumed nobody would notice.

More Than Six Human Casualties Under Battistelli at the EPO, But the Human Toll Can Become a Lot Worse

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Factory alleged to have ignored warnings
Reference: Factory alleged to have ignored warnings

Summary: The bigger or much broader picture detailing the high cost of autocracy and mental torture at the EPO, where lives are ruined not only when these are ended and some key buildings pose severe threat to a lot of workers

THE suicide count at the EPO isn’t the most important measure of Battistelli’s negative impact; as pointed out, using some older studies, many people's family life was negatively affected by Battistelli's regime. A career at the EPO is very detrimental to people’s health, morale, self worth, marriage, future career and so on.

“A career at the EPO is very detrimental to people’s health, morale, self worth, marriage, future career and so on.”With a pensions clawback, moreover, as well as the (mis)treatment of some staff as “invalid”, the latest suicide does not tell the full story. Insiders are not counting those who left or were pushed out, whereupon they became suicidal (and some of them did, in fact, commit suicide).

Earlier today we found this new comment which stated, “actually under Battistelli it is suicide nr 6 not nr 5. Only independent enquiries by competent local authorities could clear up the doubts about the impact of the working conditions on the dramatic act. [T]hese are of course systematically refused, EPO abusively hiding behind its immunity.”

“We are also aware of mental breakdowns, depressions, and truly heartbreaking stories of people whose life was ruined by the regime of Battistelli.”But the real number is more than 6. We don’t wish to go into the specifics, but by some criteria the number can be put at around 10. We are also aware of mental breakdowns, depressions, and truly heartbreaking stories of people whose life was ruined by the regime of Battistelli. Entire families were impacted by this.

The bottom line is, the human toll of Team Battistelli is more than half a dozen people (whose reasons for suicide may differ). There are thousands of people who suffer from Battistelli and many of them, at least hundreds, have had their life (not just lifestyle) ruined by him. Battistelli is also toxic to EPO stakeholders (outside the EPO) and is detrimental to Europe’s economic interests.

“There are thousands of people who suffer from Battistelli and many of them, at least hundreds, have had their life (not just lifestyle) ruined by him.”It’s truly a miracle — if not a cautionary tale — that owing to immunity such a destructive individual maintains his position and moreover misuses it to enrich himself, enrich his friends, and almost literally buy puff pieces about himself (at the expense of Office budget, of course), not to mention gag/muzzle those same publishers whom he pays.

In the midst of Battistelli’s sheer abuses we now see burned contractors whose budget is secretly diverted into Battistelli's personal project (his very own penthouse) and buildings that are allocated to ordinary EPO staff are fire hazards, akin to what was seen in Grenfell Tower earlier this month. We would like to remind readers of the following three articles of ours:

“Earlier today people voted on a strike and we’ll know the outcome on the vote soon.”Think of the human casualties such a tragedy would have at the EPO. Battistelli’s “scorched Earth” approach to the EPO (burning down the Office metaphorically) can one day become literal. Earlier today people voted on a strike and we’ll know the outcome on the vote soon.


EPO’s Elodie Bergot Calls Staff Suicide Just ‘Passing Away’, Pretends to Care

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All that these Battistelli cronies care about is their bank accounts

EPO on suicide

Summary: How the EPO continues to mislead if not lie to staff, even when staff commits suicide — a growing problem for Team Battistelli, whom some insiders hold accountable for these deaths

THERE have been many suicides associated with the EPO (more than the management cares to admit) and a televised programme already linked at least some of them to the reign of terror.

The EPO’s official “news” section, Battistelli’s “blog” and so on are mum on the latest incident, resorting instead to mass distraction. The EPO has been saying almost nothing substantial in Twitter for almost two days now! At all! This is atypical. It’s often active even during weekends (at a lower capacity). So what is going on?


“The EPO has been saying almost nothing substantial in Twitter for almost two days now!”Not only have they said nothing about the UPC barriers in Germany, but they are saying absolutely nothing about an important incident. Remember when someone jumped out the window during working hours? Well, the EPO’s management denied the national/local authorities even access to the site for investigation. One might expect this in Russia or in China, not rich cities in Germany or the Netherlands. Well, the puff pieces continue to flow in, distracting from the real news. See Wednesday’s “news” about the EPO [1, 2]. Despicable distraction, sometimes paid for by the EPO. What about legal press? Well, published in the German media was this new piece about the Constitutional complaint against the UPC. Siegfried Broß, a retired judge who famously compared — on German television and elsewhere — the EPO under Battistelli to Guantánamo Bay (a torture camp) and occasionally combats the UPC on Constitutional grounds, once again emerges.

“At the EPO, the above message was circulated by Elodie Bergot, the wife of Battistelli’s friend.”But nowhere can one find information about an untimely death. At the EPO, the above message was circulated by Elodie Bergot, the wife of Battistelli’s friend. She leaves out one very important detail: it was a suicide, the latest one of many. Lie by omission? That wouldn’t be the first from Team Battistelli.

Either way, we did not want to publish any personal details or something substantial about the incident, but the details are already trickling out through social media, comments, etc. That’s just the nature of the Internet nowadays. IP Kat had a comment posted yesterday, after people had sent messages to us and gave us more details (we chose not to publish these because of the grieving family). “New suicide at EPO: male examiner in his 50s, one kid,” said the first comment, soon to be followed by: “It seems that it was a UK national this time. Maybe the UK delegation will finally start to wake up…”

We assume many people already speak about this, so our wishes to suppress personal information would not be successful anyway. Elodie Bergot tactlessly named the person, telling all staff about what they already knew (or will soon know) was suicide.

To be fair, Sean Dennehey (head of the UK delegation until recently), unlike his predecessor, did antagonise Battistelli's proposals and we certainly hope that his successor, Tim Moss, will do the same next week and onwards. Battistelli has a lot of “blood on his hands” (so to speak) and he needs to go immediately. The man is acting like a gangster, not a charismatic boss, and his surname too is associated with the Mafia where he came from. Inside the Office he is treated like a leper to stay away from.

“Battistelli has a lot of “blood on his hands” (so to speak) and he needs to go immediately.”Take note of this latest that says, “as indicated earlier today, another of our colleagues committed suicide yesterday. This is the fifth colleague in a few years. How many of us will die or be ill for months or the rest of their life before this regime ends? When will the outside world firmly condemn what is happening? Merpel, that also means reporting on the situation to inform the public. Remaining silent when people die is not the best way to show support.”

Another one added: “IPKat fluff filter malfunction or is someone trying to suppress the fact that the most recent EPO suicide was a British national?”

As we pointed out several times so far this year (e.g. [1, 2]), post-Merpel IP Kat is actively helping Battistelli, not just with the UPC push.

“As experts have repeatedly pointed out, it can’t be excused as just routine or statistically normal; the number of suicides at the EPO is disproportionately high and it grew by about one order of magnitude under Battistelli.”For people who wish to know more details, we have blurred the above public message to protect identities. It shows how the EPO reported this to staff. What the EPO did not bother telling staff is that this examiner committed suicide (it happened in Munich, by jumping under a train).

Apparently that’s just the kind of effect the Battistelli regime may have on people. As experts have repeatedly pointed out, it can’t be excused as just routine or statistically normal; the number of suicides at the EPO is disproportionately high and it grew by about one order of magnitude under Battistelli. A tenfold increase is not ignorable. Given the mental torture which is prevalent under Battistelli and has been thoroughly documented over the years, culpability too may be provable (if there was no immunity).

The Administrative Tribunal of ILO Will Deliver EPO Judgments in Six Days

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

But don’t hold your breath or expect justice, mostly because ILO helps the EPO cover up abuses these days and moreover maintain immunity (which ILO too enjoys)

Human trafficking and forced labour: A criticism of the International Labour Organisation
ILO isn’t without its share of critics. The above paper is from the Journal of Financial Crime, more or less echoing concerns of EPO staff representatives about ILO not being effective, therefore providing a false sense of hope (recourse to justice).

Summary: Despite its old age (nearly a century), ILO’s tradition when it comes to enforcing the law is anything but sterling, yet one can hope that it will stop its unproductive cat-and-mouse game with the EPO, where compliance is rare and actual judgments (not deferrals/referrals) are even rarer

THE Tribunal’s next judgments will soon arrive. They will come at an unfortunate time/date. It’s a good opportunity or convenient time for the EPO‘s management to bury the news under the auspices of the AC meeting.

“Quite a few EPO employees are affected by these judgments, not just the complainants (directly), so we will cover these as soon as possible (shortly after they become publicly available).”ILO will also speak about these judgments (including on EPO, which takes up the lion’s share of their capacity) next week, in this 124th session that is described in ILO’s site as follows: “The Tribunal’s judgments will be announced in public on Wednesday, 28 June 2017 at 3pm at the ILO (Room XI, floor R2). Complainants, their counsels and the defendants’ agents may attend, but they are not required to do so. The texts of the judgments will be sent to the parties by post.”

“We rarely ever covered scandals where people’s lives were literally at stake.”Quite a few EPO employees are affected by these judgments, not just the complainants (directly), so we will cover these as soon as possible (shortly after they become publicly available). We recently became increasingly focused on the EPO because the situation at the EPO is still costing lives of people, as we last noted last night. We rarely ever covered scandals where people’s lives were literally at stake. ILO, as we noted a month ago, seems increasingly complicit [1, 2]. We are therefore very committed to continuing coverage (scrutiny).

It is meanwhile being reported to us (for a number of weeks now) that in some locations in Europe, other than the EPO’s ‘islands’ (operating outside the Rule of Law), our Web site is no longer accessible (some EPO people cannot reach the site even from home, irrespective of the device used and it’s a longterm problem). If any readers have experienced the same thing, please report this to us. We are trying to determine is some sort of cryptic censorship is gradually creeping in.

Links 21/6/2017: Red Hat’s Numbers Are Up, New Debian Being Studied

Posted in News Roundup at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Cloud Native Apps and Security: The Case for CoreOS Rkt and Xen

      CoreOS’s rkt started at the beginning of 2014 as a security-focused alternative to Docker. The project aimed to create a signature verification of cloud-native apps by default; the intention was to guarantee the integrity of the apps. It also stepped away from the central-daemon design of Docker, which requires root privileges for all operations. By contrast, the rkt process is short-lived, limiting the chances of being exploited, and some of rkt commands can be executed as unprivileged user.

    • U.S. Slips in New Top500 Supercomputer Ranking

      Tapwrit was the second favorite at Belmont, and Sunway TaihuLight was the clear pick for the number-one position on TOP500 list, it having enjoyed that first-place ranking since June of 2016 when it beat out another Chinese supercomputer, Tianhe-2. The TaihuLight, capable of some 93 petaflops in this year’s benchmark tests, was designed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) and is located at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China. Tianhe-2, capable of almost 34 petaflops, was developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), is deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, and still enjoys the number-two position on the list.

    • Linux vs. Windows Server OS Comparison [Ed: Worst article I saw today. A few characters cannot sum up the amount of nonsense in it.]
    • The evolution of scalable microservices

      Today’s enterprise applications are deployed to everything from mobile devices to cloud-based clusters running thousands of multi-core processors. Users have come to expect millisecond response times and close to 100% uptime. And by “user” I mean both humans and machines. Traditional architectures, tools and products simply won’t cut it anymore. To paraphrase Henry Ford’s classic quote: we can’t make the horse any faster, we need cars for where we are going.

  • Kernel Space

    • Using Kdump for examining Linux Kernel crashes

      The kexec mechanism has components in the kernel as well as in user space. The kernel provides few system calls for kexec reboot functionality. A user space tool called kexec-tools uses those calls and provides an executable to load and boot the second kernel. Sometimes a distribution also adds wrappers on top of kexec-tools, which helps capture and save the dump for various dump target configurations. In this article, I will use the name distro-kexec-tools to avoid confusion between upstream kexec-tools and distro-specific kexec-tools code. My example will use the Fedora Linux distribution.

    • China Is Driving To 5G And IoT Through Global Collaboration

      OPNFV is an initiative from the Linux Foundation that is working on the interoperability and integration of these virtual components, referred to as virtual network functions (VNFs), into a platform called network function virtualization (NFV).

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel KVMGT/XenGT GVT-g Updated For 2017-Q2

        Intel developers have issued their quarterly official update to their GVT-g graphics virtualization technology stack for Linux KVM and Xen virtualization.

      • Radeon Instinct Accelerators Get Ready To Ship

        Not only is AMD getting ready to take on Intel in the server space with their just-launched EPYC 7000 series, they are looking to battle NVIDIA now in the GPU server arena. Following their announcement at the end of last year, Radeon Instinct accelerators for GPU compute servers are getting ready to ship.

      • Intel Preps Another Batch Of Graphics Driver Updates For Linux 4.13

        Intel has queued up another round of feature changes slated for the Linux 4.13 kernel.

        Intel open-source developers had already queued up a fair amount of work already this cycle in DRM-Next while today’s pull request will likely be their last batch of real feature work with the DRM-Next window closing around this week.

      • OpenCL-Over-Vulkan Could Be Here Soon

        Khronos members have been working on code that could allow OpenCL code to be converted for execution by Vulkan drivers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KTechLab is coming back

        KTechLab, the IDE for microcontrollers and electronics has joined KDE. Below I’m summarizing its current status and plans.

      • KDE KTechLab Is Being Revived After Nearly A Decade Hiatus

        The KTechLab integrated development environment focused on micro-controller circuit design and simulation is back to being under development after not seeing a major release since 2009.

        KTechLab has been stalled for the better part of a decade: at the time of its last release, it was working to transition from Qt3 to Qt4. The good news though is development on this IDE for microcontrollers and electronics has been rebooted and is now officially a KDE project.

      • Calamares Testing

        My project for Blue Systems is maintaining Calamares, the distro-independent installer framework. Not surprisingly, working on it means installing lots of Linux distro’s. Here’s my physical-hardware testing setup, which is two identical older HP desktop machines and a stack of physical DVDs. Very old-school. Often I use Virtual Box, but sometimes the hum of a DVD is just what I need to calm down. There’s a KDE Neon, a Manjaro and a Netrunner DVD there, but the machine labeled Ubuntu is running Kannolo and sporting an openSUSE Geeko.

      • FOSSASIA SUMMIT 2017 and KDE

        I got an opportunity to represent KDE in FOSSASIA 2017 held in mid-March at Science Center, Singapore. There were many communities showcasing their hardware, designs, graphics, and software.

      • GSoC’17 : First Blog

        I’m glad to share this opportunity to be selected 2 times for Google Summer of Code project under KDE. It’s my second consecutive year working with DigiKam team.

        DigiKam is an advanced digital photo management application which enables user to view, manage, edit, organise, tag and share photographs under Linux systems. DigiKam has a feature to search items by similarity. This require to compute image fingerprints stored in main database. These data can take space on disk especially with huge collection and bloat the main database a lots and increase complexity to backup main database which include all main information for each item registered, as tags, label, comments, etc.

      • A tale of 2 curves

        As my first subject for this animation blog series, we will be taking a look at Animation curves.

        Curves, or better, easing curves, is one of the first concepts we are exposed to when dealing with the subject of animation in the QML space.

      • Pimping KRuler

        KRuler, in case you don’t know it, is a simple software ruler to measure lengths on your desktop. It is one of the oldest KDE tools, its first commit dating from November 4th, 2000. Yes, it’s almost old enough to vote.

        I am a long time KRuler user. It gets the job done, but I have often found myself saying “one day I’ll fix this or that”. And never doing it.

        Hidpi screen really hurt the poor app, so I finally decided to do something and spend some time during my daily commute on it.

      • Adding API dox QCH files generation to KDE Frameworks builds

        Things seemed to work okay on first tests, so last September a pull request was made to add some respective macro module to Extra-CMake-Modules to get things going and a blog post “Adding API dox generation to the build by CMake macros” was written.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Internationalization, part one

        The first part of internationalizing a Greek application, is, of course, translating all the Greek text to English. I already knew how to open a user interface (.ui) file with Glade and how to translate/save it from there, and mail the result to the developers.

        If only it was that simple! I learned that the code of most open source software is kept on version control systems, which fortunately are a bit similar to Wikis, which I was familiar with, so I didn’t have a lot of trouble understanding the concepts. Thanks to a very brief git crash course from my mentors, I was able to quickly start translating, committing, and even pushing back the updated files.

      • [Old] GNOME (et al): Rotting In Threes

        In the rush for Linux to become ‘popular’ and ‘make it into the desktop market’, maybe there is an unintended consequence. Not only are Windows users moving to Linux, but Windows devs seem to be arriving as well, bringing their diseases with them – corporate ‘kill off the competition’ mentalities that don’t serve Linux, merely exploit it.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Debian-Based Univention Corporate Server 4.2 Linux OS Gets First Point Release

        Univention GmbH’s Maren Abatielos is today informing us about the release and immediate availability for download of the first point release to the Debian-based Univention Corporate Server 4.2 server-oriented operating system.

        Being the first to be rebased on the Debian GNU/Linux 8 “Jessie” operating system series, Univention Corporate Server 4.2 launched in early April this year with increased binary compatibility with Debian, systemd as default init system for new installations, MBD3 support for the Univention Directory listener, and a new configurable web portal.

      • First point release of UCS 4.2 published

        With UCS 4.2-1 the first point release for Univention Corporate Server 4.2 is now available.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • A proud scion of name: OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 release

        After several months of hard work we are very proud and excited to announce OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 release today.
        We hope you will enjoy this release of OpenMandriva Lx, its range of cutting edge features, quick to boot, fast in use and which brings you all the latest software.

      • OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 Released

        OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 is now available as the latest version of this Mandriva/Mandrake-derived Linux distribution.

        OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 comes packing the Linux 4.11 kernel, systemd 233, KDE Frameworks 5.33 + Plasma 5.9.5 + Qt 5.8, X.Org Server 1.19.3 / Wayland 1.12, and Mesa 17.1.1 as offering a range of updated packages compared to its prior release.

      • OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 Released with Updated Wayland and X.Org Infrastructures

        OpenMandriva announced today the release and immediate availability of the second point release to the stable OpenMandriva Lx 3 series of the open-source computer operating system.

        After more than six months in development, OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 is finally here to update users to the most recent GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies. The release comes with the latest KDE software, including KDE Plasma 5.9.5 desktop environment, KDE Applications 17.04 software suite, and KDE Frameworks 5.35.0.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Upgrading to Debian Stretch

        I’ve done it. Our server and all but one of our clients have been dist-upgraded to Debian Stretch. The dist-upgrade went smoothly on all clients. The server was another matter. Oh, the dist-upgrade was smooth but web-applications were ripped by the migration from PHP 5 to PHP 7. It was trivial to convert my recipe application to PHP 7, just a handful of MySQL calls needed changing. phpBB, OTOH, does not support PHP 7 and since we rarely use it, I will just remove it. It was useful when I taught in schools but I don’t need it now in the era of smartphones in every pocket. People use FB or e-mail or “messaging” and carry on. Coppermine Photo Gallery has a double whammy. It’s no longer supported by anyone and so will not be upgraded by the FLOSS community, most likely. I have invested quite a bit of work annotating photos in the database so I don’t want to abandon CPG. I can put it in a virtual machine running Jessie forever. It’s on the LAN so security is not much of an issue. My local library of Gutenberg texts is another matter. The CGI script was written in PASCAL, so that’s not a problem but the SWISH-e PHP interface does not build against PHP 7. The SWISH-e plugin is ancient, about 2012, so it’s not clear whether it will ever work with PHP 7. I just don’t want to dig that deep. SWISH-e still works so I could rewrite everything in PASCAL and carry on, but I could also move this web-application to a virtual machine running PHP 5. This library also was very valuable when I taught in northern schools with shaky Internet connections but it’s less important now. I can also use SWISH-e from the commandline if necessary. phpMyAdmin worked smoothly. It’s from Debian’s repository, of course.

      • So, Stretch happened…

        Things mostly went very well, and we’ve released Debian 9 this weekend past. Many many people worked together to make this possible, and I’d like to extend my own thanks to all of them.

        As a project, we decided to dedicate Stretch to our late founder Ian Murdock. He did much of the early work to get Debian going, and inspired many more to help him. I had the good fortune to meet up with Ian years ago at a meetup attached to a Usenix conference, and I remember clearly he was a genuinely nice guy with good ideas. We’ll miss him.

        For my part in the release process, again I was responsible for producing our official installation and live images. Release day itself went OK, but as is typical the process ran late into Saturday night / early Sunday morning. We made and tested lots of different images, although numbers were down from previous releases as we’ve stopped making the full CD sets now.

      • Why I will not write a full-feature review of Debian 9

        Its codename is Stretch, which is yet another character from the Toy Story animated film.

        It is available for download in both Install and Live versions, and Live version is available in many flavours: GNOME, KDE, Xfce, Cinnamon, LXDE and so on.

        I hope you will read the review of Debian 9 somewhere else, but I will not feature it on my blog.

      • Debian 9 “Stretch” Download Links & Release Info
      • Derivatives

        • Re: [DNG] I have a question about libsystemd0 in devuan ascii

          As I see it, GNOME/Freedesktop.org/Red Hat/etc. are moving toward an
          Android model where everything else is all but officially excluded
          except for apps written specifically for their environment.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • My Ubuntu for mobile devices post mortem analysis

            Now that Ubuntu phones and tablets are gone, I would like to offer my thoughts on why I personally think the project failed and what one may learn from it.

            To recapitulate my involvement in the project: I had been using Ubuntu Touch on a Nexus 7 on an on-and-off-basis between its announcement in 2013 and December 2014, started working on Click apps in December 2014, started writing the 15-part “Hacking Ubuntu Touch” blog post series about system internals in January 2015, became an Ubuntu Phone Insider, got a Meizu MX4 from Canonical, organized and sponsored the UbuContest app development contest, worked on bug reports and apps until about April 2016, and then sold off/converted all my remaining devices in mid-2016. So I think I can offer some thoughts about the project, its challenges and where we could have done better.

            Please note that this post does not apply to the UBPorts project, which continues to work on the phone operating system, Unity 8 and other components.

          • Ubuntu Is Finally Looking At Shipping Accelerated Video Playback Support

            It’s 2017 and Ubuntu is finally looking at shipping GPU-accelerated video playback support out-of-the-box on the Ubuntu desktop.

            Various forms of video acceleration have been available if installing them from the archive on Ubuntu, but nothing has been available by default… But it’s looking like that may change, though their direction is a bit peculiar.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 To Fully Use Netplan By Default For Network Configuration

            One year after Ubuntu developers announced their Netplan project for consolidated networking configuration across platforms, they are now planning to use Netplan by default in Ubuntu 17.10 across all editions.

            Netplan has picked up many features in the year it’s been under development as a replacement to ifupdown. Netplan aims to handle all network configuration use-cases and can in turn generate configuration files for use by NetworkManager and systemd-networkd.

          • Netplan by default in 17.10

            Friday, I uploaded an updated nplan package (version 0.24) to change its Priority: field to important, as well as an update of ubuntu-meta (following a seeds update), to replace ifupdown with nplan in the minimal seed.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Continues Aiming For The Linux 4.13 Kernel

            Mentioned in the weekly Ubuntu Kernel Newsletter are the developers reiterating their plans to ship Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” with the Linux 4.13 kernel.

            They’ve previously expressed plans for shipping Ubuntu 17.10 Artful with Linux 4.13 and this week’s newsletter repeats those claims.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Is Finally Unifying and Cleaning Up the Networking Configuration

            Last year in August, Canonical’s Martin Pitt, the systemd maintainer for the Ubuntu Linux operating system at that time, announced the company’s plans to unify and clean up the networking configuration in Ubuntu Linux.

            They introduced netplan, a project that promised to centralize the network configuration for all Ubuntu Linux operating system versions, including Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core (Snappy) under a single file (e.g. /etc/netplan/*.yaml) instead of using /etc/network/interfaces files.

          • Former Ubuntu Phone Insider Shares His Thoughts on Why the Project Failed

            Former Ubuntu Phone developer, Simon Raffeiner, which many of you know as sturmflut, has written a detailed article on his blog to share his thoughts on why he thinks the Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Touch projects failed.

            Simon Raffeiner worked on the Ubuntu Touch operating system since its official announcement back in 2013, believing in the project’s goals and objectives. He worked for about three years, up until mid-2016, on various Ubuntu Phone-related things, including but not limited to Click apps, bug reports, and tutorials for others to start hacking on Ubuntu Touch.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • [Older] What was it like to be at Xerox PARC when Steve Jobs visited?

    A second important fact about the 1979 demo to Steve, was that he missed most of what we showed him. More than 15 years later he admits this in this interview:How Steve Jobs got the ideas of GUI from XEROX where he says that we showed him three things but he was so blinded by the first one (the GUI) that he missed both networking and real object-oriented systems programming.

  • Productivity or Efficiency: What Really Matters?

    “There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive,” warns Stephen Dubner in Freakonomics.

    Companies may be zeroing in on the wrong thing. Instead of looking at efficiency, corporate workers should be looking at productivity, writes Michael Mankin in the Harvard Business Review. The best companies are more than 40 percent more productive than the rest, which results in higher profits — operating margins 30–50 percent higher than industry peers — and faster growth.

    “Efficiency is about doing the same with less,” Mankin writes. “Companies most often improve labor efficiency by finding ways to reduce the number of labor hours required to produce the same level of output. This translates into savings because the company spends less on wages and other labor-related costs. Efficiency, then, is about shrinking the denominator — inputs (headcount, labor hours) — in an effort to improve profitability.”

  • Colorado dad gives sons smartphones, regrets it, now wants to ban preteen use

    Last year, Colorado father-of-five Tim Farnum gave his two youngest sons smartphones—and immediately regretted it. But he didn’t just take the phones away; he took the extra steps of forming a nonprofit called “Parents Against Underage Smartphones,” or PAUS, and drafting the nation’s first proposed measure that would ban smartphone use among preteens.

    The proposed measure, ballot initiative No. 29, would make it illegal in Colorado for mobile-phone retailers to sell smartphones to children under the age of 13 or to any person who intends to provide the phone (wholly or partially) to someone under the age of 13. Phone retailers would have to submit monthly reports to the Colorado Department of Revenue showing compliance. Those who fail to adhere would face a warning, then a $500 fine, if the proposal passes.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Never Trust Yellow Fruit

      You’ve probably heard about the WiFi Pineapple from Hak5. It’s a fascinating device that allows you to do some creepy pen testing. It’s the sort of tool that could be used for evil, but it’s also incredibly useful for securing networks.

      The hardware is fairly basic and resembles an off-the-shelf router. The multiple network interfaces really shine, however, when paired with the operating system. The WiFi Pineapple software creates a rogue, hidden access point that purposefully tricks clients into connecting to it instead of the AP they’re usually connected to.

    • Time to Patch: ‘Stack Clash’ Vulnerability Affects Wide Range of Unix-like OSes
    • Stack Clash Vulnerability Exploits Linux Stack Guard
    • What capabilities do I really need in my container?

      A few years ago the SELinux team realized that more and more applications were getting EPERM returns when a syscall requested some access. Most operators understood EPERM (Permission Denied) inside of a log file to mean something was wrong with the Ownership of a process of the contents it was trying to access or the permission flags on the object were wrong. This type of Access Control is called DAC (Discretionary Access Control) and under certain conditions SELinux also caused the kernel to return EPERM. This caused Operators to get confused and is one of the reasons that Operators did not like SELinux. They would ask, why didn’t httpd report that Permission denied because of SELinux? We realized that there was a growing list of other tools besides regular DAC and SELinux which could cause EPERM. Things like SECCOMP, Dropped Capabilities, other LSM … The problem was that the processes getting the EPERM had no way to know why they got EPERM. The only one that knew was the kernel and in a lot of cases the kernel was not even logging the fact that it denied access. At least SELinux denials usually show up in the audit log (AVCs). The goal of Friendly EPERM was to allow the processes to figure out why they got EPERM and make it easier for admin to diagnose.

    • Erebus Resurfaces as Linux Ransomware
    • Stack Clash vulnerability tears a hole in Linux and Unix OSes
    • Stack clash and OpenBSD

      On a related note; Does anyone know where can I order my Stack Clash t-shirts and mugs? I’m also really disappointed there is no clever flashy logo :-(.

    • 5.5 Million Devices Operating with WannaCry Port Open

      With all of the press the WannaCry ransomware exploit received last month, you might be excused for thinking that by now everyone would have battened down the hatches and locked down potentially dangerous ports — at least those that are vulnerable to this exploit. According to two separate reports, that’s not the case. And while it’s true that many of the vulnerable devices are in the hands of consumers who don’t know any better, it’s a good bet that the majority are servers running in data centers, under the care of sysadmins who should know better.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Secret Government Report: Chelsea Manning Leaks Caused No Real Harm

      In the seven years since WikiLeaks published the largest leak of classified documents in history, the federal government has said they caused enormous damage to national security.

      But a secret, 107-page report, prepared by a Department of Defense task force and newly obtained by BuzzFeed News, tells a starkly different story: It says the disclosures were largely insignificant and did not cause any real harm to US interests.

      Regarding the hundreds of thousands of Iraq-related military documents and State Department cables provided by the Army private Chelsea Manning, the report assessed “with high confidence that disclosure of the Iraq data set will have no direct personal impact on current and former U.S. leadership in Iraq.”

    • From WikiLeaks, a Glimpse Into Ram Nath Kovind’s Views on Discrimination Against Dalits

      Where does Ram Nath Kovind stand on issues related to prevalent caste discrimination against Dalits? This is a question that many have asked since the Dalit leader, a former parliamentarian and the current governor of Bihar, was nominated by the BJP as its presidential candidate.

      A report by US embassy interlocutors titled Socioeconomic future of Indian dalits remains bleak, published by WikiLeaks, which analyses the issues of discrimination on the basis of various theories, makes Kovind’s positions clear.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • 6 Places Around The World Where All Your Old Crap Ends Up
    • Rick Perry says carbon dioxide is not a primary driver of climate change

      In an interview with CNBC on Monday, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said that carbon dioxide emissions from human activities aren’t the primary driver of climate change. Instead, the former Texas governor responded that “most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

      It’s unclear how Perry envisions this “control knob” and how it works; a generous analysis of his answer would be that he misunderstood the question. Ocean waters absorb carbon dioxide and are changing, much like climate, because of it. And the oceans have short-term cycles that influence equally short-term temperature trends. But those cycles can’t drive the ever-upward trend in temperature.

    • Engineered algae puts half of its carbon into fats for biofuels

      There’s an inherent tension in convincing organisms to produce fuel for us. To grow and thrive, the organism has to direct its energy into a variety of chemicals—proteins, fats, DNA, and more. But for biofuels, we’re mostly interested in fats, which are long-chain hydrocarbons that already look a lot like our liquid fuels. Fat is easy to convert into biodiesel, for example.

      So how do we convince an organism to do what we want, rather than what it needs? There have been two approaches to this so far. One is to take an organism that we understand well and engage in genetic engineering to direct its metabolism toward fuel production. The second approach is to search for organisms that naturally produce lots of the chemicals we’re interested in.

    • Sweden commits to becoming carbon neutral by 2045 with new law

      Sweden has committed to cutting its net carbon emissions to zero by 2045, becoming the first country to significantly upgrade its carbon ambitions since the Paris accord in 2015.

      The law was drawn up by a cross-party committee and passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament by 254 votes to 41.

      The legislation establishes an independent Climate Policy Council and requires an action plan to be updated every four years.

      Sweden had previously committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. It already gets 83 per cent of its electricity from nuclear energy and hydropower, having met its 2020 target of 50 per cent renewable energy eight years ahead of schedule.

  • Finance

    • Zuckerberg or Gates? Billionaires Try Opposites Paths for Online Education in India

      Dozens of companies have rushed in.

    • Allen AI Joins Microsoft, Baidu to Help Empower Academic Searches

      Paul Allen’s artificial intelligence institute is putting together a coalition including Microsoft Corp., Google, Baidu Inc. and the Gates Foundation to share technology and ideas to help {sic} scientific researchers and academics find and take advantage of the latest discoveries and information.

    • Broadband ISP CenturyLink Accused Of Wells-Fargo-Esque Scam That Bilked Millions From Customers

      If there’s any real creativity in the broadband sector, it often has little to do with the actual products and services offered. More often than not, the real creativity in the sector involves finding ingenious new ways to bilk consumers out of additional money, or charge them significantly more money for the exact-same service. Whether talking about hidden below the line fees or arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps, the lack of real broadband competition has resulted in a gold rush — at least when it comes to creatively-misleading charges.

    • How to keep Amazon from eating your business, too

      It has become a truism that software is eating the world. Perhaps that now extends to Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. This purchase is surely funded in part by the astronomical growth of Amazon Web Services, which is estimated to have made $14 billion in revenue last year — just slightly more than the purchase price for the grocer.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Is Playing Into the Hands of the Saudi Regime

      Trump, who clearly knew nothing about the subject, accepted the Saudi move with alacrity and at face value. In his normal fashion, he even tried to take credit for it [...]

    • Are Millennials losing faith in democracy?

      This spring surveys suggested that young people are ambivalent towards freedom of speech. [...] Now, similar signals are reaching us when it comes to democracy as such.

    • Brazil: police claim to have evidence president Michel Temer received bribes

      The attorney general, Rodrigo Janot, said last month there were enough preliminary indications of wrongdoing for Temer to be investigated for corruption and obstruction of justice.

      The president is being investigated for three alleged crimes: corruption, obstruction of justice and being member of a criminal organization.

    • This Is How the Trump Administration Will Privatize Our Infrastructure

      Privatization backers, who use the more politically palatable phrase “public-private partnerships” (or P3s), counter that these arrangements operate more efficiently, saving taxpayers money. But even if that were true, privatization contracts can lock cities and states into inflexible long-term deals, straining local budgets and eating away at democratic control.

    • Donald Trump calls for ‘sweeping transformation’ of gov IT in meeting with tech CEOs

      Among the attendees was the leaders of Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, Adobe, Qualcomm, VMware, Accenture and Akamai, as well as leading investors from Silicon Valley at the White House.

    • New Finnish government survives first confidence vote

      The reconstituted coalition government led by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä survived its first confidence vote in Parliament Tuesday afternoon. The coalition — which now comprises Sipilä’s Centre Party, the National Coalition Party led by Finance Minister Petteri Orpo and the breakaway Finns Party faction Blue Reform — won the support of 104 MPs, while 85 opposed it.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • SLAPP Threats And The Grenfell Fire: Why We Must Stop Attacks On Free Speech

      You’ve probably heard about the horrific tragedy in the UK of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed many people. There are all sorts of awful stories related to the tragedy, but there is one that hits close to home: the use of SLAPP threats to silence residents who warned about fire dangers in the building.


      Yikes. There are many more similar blog posts as well. And apparently, the building management — the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) — decided years ago that the best way to deal with the blogging tenants… was to threaten them with a lawsuit if they kept blogging. In a letter posted to Twitter by a bunch of people (not sure who posted it first), back in 2013, the KCTMO threatened the bloggers with defamation lawsuits if they kept it up:

    • Coal CEO Threatens John Oliver With A SLAPP Suit

      This past weekend on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, he took on the issue of “coal” and some politicians’ obsession with coal jobs as the only true “American” jobs. The whole segment is interesting, but obviously not the kind of thing we’d normally write up. What we do frequently write about, however, is censorious threats, often from wealthy execs, designed to try to silence people from commenting on issues regarding those doing the threatening. And, it appears that’s exactly what happened with coal exec Bob Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, when he found out that John Oliver was doing a segment that included some bits about Murray.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Oversight Report Shows NSA Failed To Secure Its Systems Following The Snowden Leaks

      It appears the NSA hasn’t learned much since Ed Snowden left with several thousands of its super-secret documents. Agency officials were quick to claim the leaks would cause untold amounts of damage, but behind the scenes, not much was being done to make sure it didn’t happen again.

    • Leading European politicians call for “state-of-the-art” end-to-end encryption – and no backdoors

      It is not yet certain that the LIBE committee’s amendments will be accepted. Indeed, there is likely to be fierce lobbying against them by European governments, who will want exceptions for the usual things like national security and tackling serious crimes. But it is nonetheless significant that at least some politicians understand that it is not possible to undermine an encrypted communication channel without undermining the security and privacy of its users. That’s progress. It’s up to us to support these moves in an attempt to get across to governments around the world that weakening crypto is not the answer, and not an option.

    • Euro MPs back end-to-end encryption for all citizens

      A European Parliament committee is proposing that end-to-end encryption be enforced on all forms of digital communications to protect citizens.

      The draft legislation seeks to protect sensitive personal data from hacking and government surveillance.

      EU citizens are entitled to personal privacy and this extends to online communications, the proposal argues.

    • Using Texts as Lures, Government Spyware Targets Mexican Journalists and Their Families

      Mexico’s most prominent human rights lawyers, journalists and anti-corruption activists have been targeted by advanced spyware sold to the Mexican government on the condition that it be used only to investigate criminals and terrorists.

      The targets include lawyers looking into the mass disappearance of 43 students, a highly respected academic who helped write anti-corruption legislation, two of Mexico’s most influential journalists and an American representing victims of sexual abuse by the police. The spying even swept up family members, including a teenage boy.

    • Before You Hit ‘Submit,’ This Company Has Already Logged Your Personal Data

      During a recent investigation into how a drug-trial recruitment company called Acurian Health tracks down people who look online for information about their medical conditions, we discovered NaviStone’s code on sites run by Acurian, Quicken Loans, a continuing education center, a clothing store for plus-sized women, and a host of other retailers. Using Javascript, those sites were transmitting information from people as soon as they typed or auto-filled it into an online form. That way, the company would have it even if those people immediately changed their minds and closed the page. (It’s yet another way auto-fill can compromise your privacy.)

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Ten years in jail and 1,000 lashes: why we must defend Saudi blogger Raif Badawi

      It is, of course, the Saudi regime that is chiefly responsible for his suffering, and that has the power to release him, but the case also suggests how hollow are western commitments to so-called western values. Badawi believes in democracy, rationalism and freedom of speech. These are all ideas we are supposed to promote and applaud, but in places where their exercise is costly we are mostly silent.

    • [Older] Saudi Arabia: Release blogger Raif Badawi, still behind bars after five years

      “Blogging is not a crime. The harsh punishment of Raif Badawi shows the Saudi Arabian authorities’ blatant contempt for freedom of expression and the extent to which they are willing to go to crush all forms of dissent.”

    • Putin Accuses Russia’s Foes Of ‘Excessive Demonization’ Of Stalin

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the “excessive demonization” of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin “is one means of attacking the Soviet Union and Russia.”

      Putin made the comments in the last of four installments of a series of interviews that he gave to U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone, which was aired on June 15.

      Putin said Russia’s critics use Stalin’s legacy “to show that today’s Russia carries on itself some kind of birthmarks of Stalinism.”

      The Russian president did not elaborate on what he considered to be “excessive” criticism of Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953 and who was responsible for the deaths of 15 million to 30 million Soviet citizens through executions, labor camps, and avoidable famines.

    • Supreme Court Makes It Even More Difficult To Sue Federal Officials Over Rights Violations

      If you wanted even more leeway for government officials to bypass accountability, you’ve got it. Courtesy of the US Supreme Court, the immunity for federal officials has just been expanded. On a day when the court handed down two significant First Amendment victories, the court has dialed back an avenue of redress for people whose rights have been violated by federal employees.

      This case has its origins in the 2001 Twin Towers attack. In the wake of the attack, the government engaged in some questionable behavior (not unlike some of its World War II actions), rounding up undocumented Arab immigrants and detaining them under harsh conditions.

    • Supreme Court Says You Can’t Ban People From The Internet, No Matter What They’ve Done

      Going all the way back to 2002 (and many times after that), we’ve talked about courts struggling with whether or not it’s okay to ban people from the internet after they’ve committed a crime. The question comes up in many different cases, but most prevalently in cases involving child predators. While courts have struggled with this issue for so long, it’s only now that the Supreme Court has weighed in and said you cannot ban someone from the internet, even if they’re convicted of horrific crimes — in this case, sex crimes against a minor. The case is Packingham v. North Carolina, and the Supreme Court had to determine if it violated the First Amendment’s free speech clause and the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause, to make it a felony for convicted sex offenders to visit social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as was the case under a North Carolina law.

    • Case file in Philando Castile shooting released, dashcam video shows shooting [iophk: "ones so constantly in fear oughtn't be cops"]
    • Dashcam video shows killing of Philando Castile

      Yanez shot him seven times in front of his wife and child, later claiming that the smell of marijuana, and his inability to see what Castile was reaching for, justified the killing.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Amazon granted patent to restrict the open internet at in-store public WiFi hotspots

      Jeff Bezos’s Amazon has been granted a patent for a tool called “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” which helps brick and mortar locations control users’ online shopping experience when they are at the store and on the store’s WiFi network. If a customer searches for a product or competitor, Amazon would be able to “control” that online experience by redirecting, blocking, or otherwise tampering with your internet traffic.

    • Apple Alleges ‘Mounting Evidence’ Against Qualcomm

      Apple found “continuing — and mounting — evidence of Qualcomm’s perpetuation of an illegal business model that burdens innovation,” according to the filing. It claims some of the patents that Qualcomm wants to get paid for are invalid and that Qualcomm hasn’t fulfilled its obligation to charge fair and reasonable rates on patents related to industry standards.

    • What Patents Reveal About Who’s Behind Clean-Technology Innovation [Ed: No, these patents reveal who spends money blocking the competition, not who leads the market (necessarily)]

      Mark Muro (@markmuro1) is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Everybody knows the auto industry is a huge source of U.S. manufacturing employment. Now here’s a less-known fact: The auto sector is today also a prime driver of U.S. clean-tech development. Research my group at Brookings recently released shows that the focus of clean-energy innovation […]

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Law Shouldn’t Pick Winners

        When looking at a proposed policy regulating Internet businesses, here’s a good question to ask yourself: would this bar new companies from competing with the current big players? Google will probably be fine, but what about the next Google? In the past few years, some large movie studios and record labels have been promoting a proposal that would effectively require user-generated media platforms to use copyright bots similar to YouTube’s infamous Content ID system. Today’s YouTube will have no trouble complying, but imagine if such requirements had been in place when YouTube was a three-person company. If copyright bots become the law, the barrier to entry for new social media companies will get a lot higher.

      • Internet Provider Refutes RIAA’s Piracy Allegations

        Grande says that if they acted on these notices without additional proof, its subscribers could lose their Internet access even though they are using it for legal purposes.

      • US Embassy Threatens to Close Domain Registry Over ‘Pirate Bay’ Domain

        The US Embassy in Costa Rica has threatened to have the country’s domain registry shut down unless it suspends ThePirateBay.cr. The registry says it won’t comply without a court order and has written to the ICANN organization to complain about harassment and personal insults.


Another Suicide Reported at the EPO While the Paid-for Media Focuses on ‘European Inventor Award’ Charade

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The primary element of social control is the strategy of distraction which is to divert public attention from important issues and changes determined by the political and economic elites, by the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information.”

Noam Chomsky

Summary: Puff pieces for Benoît Battistelli published aplenty while the European media refuses to deal with the reality — not paid-for illusions — at the European Patent Office

TODAY, the media carried on with puff pieces about the EPO — the same media which completely and utterly (intentionally, obviously!) ignores EPO scandals. As we pointed out before, EPO budget is in circulation to facilitate this (literally millions of stakeholders’ money). Benoît Battistelli, having wasted millions of Euros on his publicity stunt (lobbying), writes about his favourite subject today; that subject is himself. Within just minutes, the PR team at EPO rushed to suck up to this ‘king’. Why did they rush to do this promotional nonsense? As quickly as they offer condolences to victims of terror attacks? What about victim of Battistelli's regime of terror? Was it not worth noting that there was another suicide at the EPO yesterday? Another one among many? We don’t want to go into specifics (which we have) but merely to point out what an insidious place the EPO has become — a place where terror attacks are exploited by Battistelli to spread lies and to gain more power while employees are crushed and their deaths covered up.

One knows that Battistelli has got the EPO’s PR team by the balls because they link to his blog within as little as 20 minutes (after publication) while never mentioning any bad news pertaining to the Office itself. Only a fool would, at this point in particular, choose to relocate for an EPO job.

Links 20/6/2017: Chuwi Lapbook, Linux 4.12 RC6, Mesa 17.1.3

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 13 reasons why you need Linux in your life

    It’s a busy monday morning. You’re working non stop on that overdue report. Meanwhile, you might even have a couple of episodes you missed being downloaded. Just when you’re about to finish things off, all of a sudden your screen goes off. The blue screen of death. Oh how I hate that wretched screen. If only there was a way around this. Sure you can scan for viruses and malfunctioning softwares. Worst case scenario would be to format your hard drive and reinstall Windows. But one fine day, I thought of going for an alternative. I decided to give Linux a try.

  • Is IoT the Future of Linux?

    With Canonical refocusing on becoming profitable and new technologies, some among us have found ourselves pondering where Linux is headed in the future and whether or not IoT (Internet of Things) is the future of Linux? This article aims to address both issues head on.

  • Desktop

    • How to install Linux on a Chromebook (and why you should)

      Chromebooks are one of the most secure devices you can give a non-technical end user, and at a price point few can argue with, but that security comes with a privacy trade off: you have to trust Google, which is part of the NSA’s Prism programme, with your data in the cloud.

      Even those who put their faith in the company’s rusty “don’t be evil” mantra may find Chromebook functionality limiting—if you want more than Google services, Netflix, some other Web apps, and maybe the Android app store, then you’re out of luck.

      Geeky users willing to engage in some entry-level hackery, however, can install Linux on their Chromebook and unleash the Power of Torvalds™.


      Crouton installed in less than half an hour on our 2016-era Acer Chromebook (buy here), and runs in a chroot side-by-side with Chrome OS.


      If running Linux in a chroot doesn’t do it for you, then Gallium OS is worth a look. Optimised for Chromebook hardware, Gallium is based on Xubuntu and includes integrated touchpad mouse drivers.

    • Chuwi Lapbook 12.3 Surfaces at GearBest

      The super-friendly folks at Chinese computer company Chuwi just poked me with news that the Chuwi LapBook 12.3 is now available on GearBest at a reduced price for a limited time only.

    • Top 3 Best Linux Laptops/Ultrabooks For 2017

      Nowadays, more and more laptops replace personal computers in everyday life. A laptop is that kind of a gadget, which fully replaces PC, but the one you can easily take with you on vacation, in the park, or to the office. Laptops are small, functional, high-powered, and low cost. The strong sides only. The market of technologies confirms the statement that laptops definitely win in this long-term battle with desktop computers. So, the winner is obvious. Now it is time to make a right choice only. So, if you want to avoid a sorry choice in 2017, pay attention to the new generation of Linux laptops.

    • How to choose the best Linux distro for your laptop

      The smart notebook user shouldn’t overlook Linux. The question is: which distro should you pick to run on your laptop?

      Experienced users may recommend Arch Linux for fast performance, Debian for stability and Ubuntu for its collection of user-friendly, pre-installed apps.

      If that’s not enough choice to make your head spin, Slackware is also very popular amongst people with older laptops, although it’s only really suitable for advanced users.

  • Server

    • The Evolution of the Standard COTS Server in Modern Data Centers [Ed: COTS is a buzzword that expands into two more buzzwords (that are in it); reject marketing slant that subjugates geeks and 'consumers']

      Standardization on x86 commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers within the data center has been a movement for some time because the architecture offers versatility, cost-savings, easier integrations, more attractive maintenance and management profiles, and, overall, a lower total cost of ownership than a proprietary hardware approach. But there are new requirements that are driving data center server choices these days, namely the need to support carrier virtualization, programmability, and the massive data sets that come with machine learning and advanced, real-time analytics.

    • Federated Kubernetes with on-prem Clusters and Juju

      In this post we discus our efforts to setup a Federation of on-prem Kubernetes Clusters using CoreDNS. The Kubernetes Cluster version used is 1.6.2. We use Juju to deliver clusters on AWS, yet the clusters should be considered on-prem since they do not integrate with any of the cloud’s features. The steps described here are repeatable on any pool of resources you may have available (cloud or bare metal). Note that this is still a work in progress and should not be used on a production environment.

    • [Older] CoreOS Brings Kubernetes-as-a-Service to Enterprise

      CoreOS today said it added features to its enterprise container-orchestration platform that include Kubernetes-as-a-service.

      The upcoming Tectonic 1.6.4 will allow enterprises to deploy and manage the latest version of upstream Kubernetes across bare metal, public-, private-, and hybrid-cloud environments. The container company says this gives enterprises the flexibility of running their applications on the cloud, without cloud vendor lock-in.

    • The 10 fastest supercomputers on the planet

      The United States and China continue to lead the pack in terms of total number of systems, with 169 and 160 respectively, though the US is no longer represented in the top three – the first time since 1996.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Development Release: Exo 0.11.3

      Xfce 4.14 development has been picking up steam in the past few months. With the release of Exo 0.11.3, things are only going to get steamier.

    • Xfce Settings 4.13.1 Released

      Xfce Settings 4.13.1 is the new release to talk about. Xfce Settings 4.13.1 is the project’s second release of the GTK3-based settings area. The update brings new settings, improved display settings around Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) connections, various fixes, and other code improvements.

    • Development Release: Xfce Settings 4.13.1

      The second release of the GTK+ 3 powered Xfce Settings is now ready for testing (and possibly general use). Check it out!

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Brooklyn 0.1 is out there: full Telegram and IRC support

        I’m so happy to announce that a first stable version of Brooklyn is released!

      • KDE Brooklyn Chat Bridge Sees Its First Release

        Brooklyn is a new project within the KDE camp that’s being developed this summer via Google Summer of Code.

        Brooklyn is being worked on this summer by Davide Riva via GSoC under the KDE umbrella. Brooklyn aims to be a protocol-independent chat bridge to/from various chat systems. So far Brooklyn supports Telegram and IRC while other platforms/protocols are to be supported by Brooklyn’s modular architecture.

      • Wayland Session Added to KDE Neon Unstable Developer Edition

        Wayland is installed by default in the latest builds of KDE Neon Developer Edition. The Ubuntu-based software stack — it doesn’t like to be called a distribution, remember — is shipping the next-gen display server protocol as part of the default install for the unstable branch of its developer edition…

      • New updates in KIO file ioslave
      • GSoC: Weekly Blog

        I started porting Cantor’s Qalculate backend to QProcess and during the first week I worked on establishing connection with Qalculate, for which we use qalc and some amount of time was spent parsing the output returned by qalc

      • Kdenlive – refactoring preview and news

        We are very happy to announce the first AppImage of the next generation Kdenlive. We have been working since the first days of 2017 to cleanup and improve the architecture of Kdenlive’s code to make it more robust and clean. This also marked a move to QML for the display of the timeline.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Improving the Search of Nautilus

        This summer I’m really glad to be working again on Nautilus as part of Google Summer of Code. This time, the goal of the project is to improve the Search. Currently, it misses some features that would make searching easier and there are also some performance issues.

        So far I worked on Full Text Search. This could be done until now, but from Desktop Search (tracker-needle). Since one of the main functions of Nautilus is searching files, it makes sense for it to include this feature.

      • Are You Using Gnome Desktop? Then Try T4G-V2 Theme And You Will Love It

        Gnome desktop is being accepted again by Ubuntu community after the announcement of Unity-8 is going to be buried. I am not going to talk about this new again since we already did and this post is about theme. T4G-V2 theme is created by a guy from gnome-look named “paulxfce”, this theme is heavily modified version of popular Arc theme but with transparency items. This theme is specifically targeting Gnome desktop and do not expect it to work on other desktops, if you are using Gnome 3.20 and up versions then you are lucky to have it on your desktop. It offers bigger header-bars, window-frameless, transparent elements (all gnome-3 window backgrounds have transparency), graphical elements redone (new option/check-buttons; switch-buttons), added shadows beneath the header-bars.

      • Redoing File Operation Management in Nautilus

        This will serve as a sort of introduction to my project, as well as being a progress update.

        Hi, I’m Ernestas and this summer I’m working on Nautilus as part of Google Summer of Code. The goal of the project is to have all I/O operations (i.e. file management, the cache, thumbnailing, searching) managed under a single entity with a capped worker thread count.

      • First Public Presentation of the Fedora + GNOME group

        A group of students from different universities have gathered together to learn Linux in deeply. We have started with the GNOME Peru Challenge on Fedora 25, that basically consists in fixing a bug. To achieve that, we have follow an empiric schedule that includes, installation of Fedora 25, use GNOME apps such as Pomodoro, Clock, Maps, and others such as GIMP, building some modules, working with Python to finally see GTK+.

      • GNOME Fractional (and multi-monitor) Scaling Hackfest, the report

        As previously announced, few days ago I attended the GNOME Fractional Scaling Hackfest that me and Red Hat‘s Jonas Ådahl organized at the Canonical office in Taipei 101.
        Although the location was chosen mostly because it was the one closest to Jonas and near enough to my temporary place, it turned out to be the best we could use, since the huge amount of hardware that was available there, including some 4k monitors and HiDPI laptops.
        Being there also allowed another local Canonical employee (Shih-Yuan Lee) to join our efforts!

        As this being said I’ve to thank my employer, for allowing me to do this and for sponsoring the event in order to help making GNOME a better desktop for Ubuntu (and not only).

      • The first weeks of GSoC

        Over the next 2 weeks I’ll be continuing migrating the cloud providers library to use gdbus-codegen as well as adding support for the cloud providers API to the GtkPlacesSidebar.

      • GNOME Tweak Tool 3.25.3

        Today I released the second development snapshot (3.25.3) of what will be GNOME Tweak Tool 3.26.

        I consider the initial User Interface (UI) rework proposed by the GNOME Design Team to be complete now. Every page in Tweak Tool has been updated, either in this snapshot or the previous development snapshot.

        The hard part still remains: making the UI look as good as the mockups. Tweak Tool’s backend makes this a bit more complicated than usual for an app like this.

      • GNOME Tweak Tool Now Lets You Move the GNOME Application Menu out of the Top Bar

        A new development snapshot of GNOME Tweak Tool is available to download, and it surfaces yet another really useful GNOME feature.

  • Distributions

    • [Older] This Week In Solus – Install #45
    • Reviews

      • Swimming with SharkLinux

        One project which caught my attention recently is SharkLinux, an Ubuntu-based distribution which claims to offer a number of interesting features. The distribution’s website reports that SharkLinux is built on Ubuntu’s 16.04 LTS release, but maintains a rolling release development cycle. SharkLinux ships with the MATE desktop and reportedly installs software updates automatically in the background. The project’s website also mentions that users can perform administrator tasks using the sudo command with no password requirement and common package management commands have been aliased to easy to remember short-cuts.

        This may seem like an unusual collection of features, or at least I thought so, but I believed I saw the potential in SharkLinux for a distribution I could give to less technical users. An operating system which automatically gets security updates, doesn’t need to be re-installed and which does not prompt for a password when performing configuration tasks seemed like a good idea for less technical relatives.

        I downloaded the 1.5GB ISO for SharkLinux and booted from it. The SharkLinux live disc brings up a MATE desktop with the application menu, task switcher and system tray placed at the bottom of the screen. The MATE wallpaper shows us a close up image of an open shark’s mouth and the project’s logo. An icon on the desktop can be used to launch the project’s system installer. The default theme is mostly dark blue and grey, reminding me of the Windows desktop environments of the 1990s.

      • [Older] Chakra Linux 2017 – See What’s new

        Chakra Linux 2017.03 “Goedel” is the latest release of Chakra Linux. As we know, Chakra GNU/Linux is an open-source operating system originally based on Arch Linux and the KDE Plasma desktop environment and implements a half-rolling release model for the repositories.

    • New Releases

      • TheSSS 22.0 Linux Server Out with Kernel 4.9.13, Apache 2.4.25 & MariaDB 10.2.6

        4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki is informing us today about the release and immediate availability for download of TheSSS (The Smallest Server Suite) 22.0 operating system.

        TheSSS (The Smallest Server Suite) is one of the smallest and lightweight Linux-based operating systems designed to be used as an all-around server system for home users, but it’s also suitable for deployment in small- and medium-sized businesses looking for a quick and painless way of distributing files across networks.

        Based on the upcoming 4MLinux Server 22.0 operating system, the TheSSS 22.0 release is here with an up-to-date LAMP (Linux, Apache, MariaDB and PHP) server suite that consists of the Linux kernel 4.9.13 LTS, Apache 2.4.25, MariaDB 10.2.6, and PHP 7.0.19 (PHP 5.6.30 is available as well as an alternative for those who need it) components.

      • New SparkyLinux Tool Notifies Users About New Updates Right on Their Desktops

        Users of the Debian-based SparkyLinux operating system have a new tool to play with, namely an in-house built utility that notifies them when new updates are available for their systems.

      • Manjaro 17.0.2-rc2 released (G,K,X)

        Manjaro Gellivara was a great release! Now we are proud to announce our second release candidate of v17.0.2, which fixes a lot of issues we had with our original release of Gellivara. It took us almost another two months to prepare this updated release. This time we ship ISO images of XFCE, KDE and our Gnome edition for 32 and 64 bit systems.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE release Container-as-a-Service Platform

        Unless you’ve been living under an SCO UnixWare server you know that Docker, and other container technologies, are taking over IT. SUSE, the major European Linux company, also saw this coming, so it’s releasing its all-in-one Linux and container platform: SUSE Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) Platform.

        SUSE’s not the first to try this approach. CoreOS Container Linux gets that honor. But CaaS is providing a solid SUSE Enterprise Linux Server (SLES)-based container platform for modern enterprises turning to containers for their IT needs.

      • Website About People of openSUSE Ends Hiatus

        Interviews with people involved in the openSUSE Project have returned and new pages will be added in the future highlighting individuals involved in the community project.

        The first interview to be posted after a five-year hiatus was posted in November of 2016 and highlights Dominique Leuenberger, who is at VLC contributor and release manager for openSUSE Tumbleweed.

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed now full of PIE
    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Edu 9 “Stretch” Released as a Complete GNU/Linux Solution for Schools

        The Debian Edu GNU/Linux distribution (also known as Skolelinux) has been updated today to version 9 based on Debian the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system.

        Debian Edu 9 “Stretch” comes hot on the heels of Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” and Debian GNU/Hurd 2017 releases, providing an out-of-the-box, stable and reliable environment of a fully configured school network. It’s designed to be deployed as a school server where users and machines can be added using the GOsa web-based interface, allowing them to have a desktop environment of their choice installed, along with access to over 60 educational apps.

        “The Debian Edu school server provides an LDAP database and Kerberos authentication service, centralized home directories, a DHCP server, a web proxy and many other services. The desktop contains more than 60 educational software packages and more are available from the Debian archive. Schools can choose between the desktop environments KDE Plasma, GNOME, LXDE, MATE and Xfce,” reads the release notes.

      • Debian GNU/Hurd 2017 Released, It’s Mostly Based on the Debian 9 Stretch Sources

        Debian GNU/Hurd maintainer Samuel Thibault was pleased to announce today the release and immediate availability for download of the Debian GNU/Hurd 2017 operating system.

        Mostly a snapshot of the Debian Sid (Unstable) development distribution, Debian GNU/Hurd 2017 is here to bring users pretty much the same stability and reliability that the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” offers. However, please note that this is not an official Debian release, but an official Debian GNU/Hurd port.

      • Debian 9 ‘Stretch’ is finally here — download the Linux-based operating system now

        Debian is a very popular Linux-based operating system, but its development does not exactly move at a breakneck pace. In other words, it tends to focus on stability rather than bleeding edge. In fact, the development of Debian 9 “Stretch” has been going on for over two years!

      • Debian9 release party in Tokyo

        We celebrated Debian9 “stretch” release in Tokyo (thanks to Cybozu, Inc. for the place).

      • Debian 9 KDE
      • Debian 9 Stretch Stable Is Released! Check Out The New Features

        Debian 9 Stretch has been released two years after the last major release Debian 8 codenamed Jessie. Before we see Debian 9 features, let me add an anecdote about those funny sounding code names.

      • Debian 9 ‘Stretch’ GNU/Linux Distro Released — Here Are The New Features And Download Links
      • Debian 9 Stretch operating system released
      • Debian devs dedicate new version 9 to the late Ian Murdock
      • Debian 9 released after 26 months of development
      • Debian 9 Edu (Skolelinux) Released — A Complete Linux Distro For Students And Schools
      • alioth needs your help
      • AIMS Desktop 2017.1 released

        The AIMS desktop is a Debian-derived distribution aimed at mathematical and scientific use. This project’s first public release, based on Debian 9, is now available. It is a GNOME-based distribution with a bunch of add-on software. “It is maintained by AIMS (The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences), a pan-African network of centres of excellence enabling Africa’s talented students to become innovators driving the continent’s scientific, educational and economic self-sufficiency.”

      • MariaDB replaces MySQL in new Debian release

        The Debian GNU/Linux Project has released version 9 of its Linux distribution, named Stretch, which will be supported for the next five years.

        The release came after 26 months of development. Debian releases are named after characters from the film Toy Story.

        A project statement said the release was dedicated to Debian founder Ian Murdock who died on 28 December 2015.

      • MariaDB Replaces MySQL as the Default in Debian 9

        “We are excited to see MariaDB Server as the default in Debian 9,” said Roger Bodamer, Chief Product Officer at MariaDB Corporation. “The MariaDB development team worked closely with the Debian community to make the transition from MySQL to MariaDB seamless, delivering the most stable and secure open source database possible. With Debian’s adoption of MariaDB as its default MySQL variant, we expect further growth and engagement from our global community, which now has a reach of more than 60 million developers.”

      • Debian GNU/Hurd 2017 released!
      • How to upgrade from Debian Linux 8 Jessie to Debian 9 Stretch using command line over ssh based session
      • PoC: use Sphinx for debian-policy
      • Debian 9 ‘Stretch’ Linux has arrived

        Since its start in 1993, Debian has been one of the most important Linux distributions. Fourteen years later, its developers has released its latest version, Debian 9 Stretch, to solidify its reputation as a top Linux.

        People have used Debian for so long for numerous reasons. The one that’s most important to free software fans is that the operating system, thanks to the Debian social contract, must be free software. More pragmatic users love it because of its stability. As a result, Debian is popular both for desktop users and server administrators. This stability has also led it to being the foundation of Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux distributions.

      • Debian 9 Stretches Linux Distribution Forward

        The new distribution has been dedicated to Debian’s founder Ian Murdoch, who passed away in December Debian2015. The Stretch release is the first major update for Debian since “Jessie” (Debian 8) was released in April 2015.

      • Derivatives

        • TeX Live 2017 hits Debian/unstable

          The last two changes are described together with other news (easy TEXMF tree management) in the TeX Live release post. These changes more or less sum up the new infra structure developments in TeX Live 2017.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Outs Major Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Linux Releases

            Canonical released major kernel security updates for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems patching up to eleven vulnerabilities across all of the supported architectures.

          • [Older] Testing Yunit on Debian Unstable ( Virtual machine )
          • Ubuntu 17.10 to Improve Secure Boot for Booting Windows from GRUB, Enable PIE

            Canonical’s Steve Langasek presented the first edition of the Ubuntu Foundations Team weekly newsletter with some exciting information about the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system.

            The first Alpha builds of Ubuntu 17.10 are almost here, due for release next week on June 29, 2017, for opt-in flavors, so the Ubuntu developers are working around the clock to add various new features, such as PIE (Position Independent Executables) support enabled by default for better security, as well as some other improvements in many areas of interest like Secure Boot.

            “PIE is now enabled across all architectures by default in Artful. Targeted rebuilds have been done of packages which would break reverse-build-dependencies due to not being compiled with PIE,” says Steve Langasek. “The rest of the archive will now pick up PIE support on i386, armhf, and arm64 over the development cycle with rebuilds.”

          • Mission Reports

            Well, taking just over 60 days to write again is not generally a good sign. Things have been incredibly busy at the day job. Finding out that a Reduction In Force is expected to happen in late September/early October also sharpens the mind as to the state of the economy. Our CEO at work is somewhat odd, to say the least. Certain acts by the CEO remain incredibly confusing if not utterly baffling.

            In UK-slang, I guess I could probably be considered a “God-botherer”. I’ve been doing work as an evangelist lately. The only product though has been the Lord’s Kingdom. One of the elders at church wound up with their wife in a local nursing home due to advanced age as well as deteriorating health so I got tasked with conducting full Sunday services at the nursing home. Compared to my day job, the work has been far more worthwhile serving people in an extended care setting. Sadly it cannot displace my job that I am apparently about to lose in about 90 days or so anyhow thanks to pending actions of the board and CEO.

          • Canonical Wants to Add Hardware Accelerated Video Playback by Default to Ubuntu

            In his latest report, Canonical’s Will Cooke reports on the efforts the Ubuntu Desktop team is making to enable hardware-accelerated video playback for the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) by default.

            According to Will Cooke, the team’s goal right now is to lay the groundwork for a solution that would enable hardware-accelerated playback of video files by default, with a focus on making it work on Intel graphics cards. Suppor for Nvidia and AMD Radeon GPUs should come at a later time thanks to Canonical’s new testing infrastructure.

          • More Unity Desktop Features Coming to Dash to Dock

            More features familiar to users of the Ubuntu Unity desktop could be making their way to Dash to Dock, a popular desktop dock GNOME extension.

          • Distributing KeePassXC as a snap

            KeePassXC, for KeePass Cross-Platform Community Edition, is an extension of the KeePassX password manager project that incorporates major feature requests and bug fixes. We are an active open source project that is available on all Linux distributions, Windows XP to 10, and Macintosh OSX. Our main goal is to incorporate the features that the community wants while balancing portability, speed, and ease of use. Some of the major features that we have already shipped are browser integration, YubiKey authentication, and a redesigned interface.

          • MAAS Development Summary – June 12th – 16th

            The purpose of this update is to keep our community engaged and informed about the work the team is doing. We’ll cover important announcements, work-in-progress for the next release of MAAS and bugs fixes in release MAAS versions.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Xen open source project: Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

    Under guidance of the Linux Foundation, the Xen project lives on as the hypervisor supporting major cloud providers and enterprises.

  • Open source design needs better collaboration tools

    Despite the rising awareness and acceptance of UX design, in particular on the web, it has failed to gain much traction in open source software. If for argument’s sake, we take UX design to have started in 1995 when Don Norman started work for Apple as a “user experience architect”, even though it has a longer history, then the fact that design has failed to make much impact in the open source world for over 20 years suggests that there are structural and systemic barriers that make design and open source development as compatible to each other as oil and water.

  • Why Open Source will Overtake Proprietary Software by 2020

    Is proprietary software dead? Maybe not entirely, but pretty soon, its place in the enterprise will be greatly diminished due to the rapid adoption of innovative open source alternatives. While proprietary tools often boast small, yet stable, customer bases, open source software can claim passionate, loyal followings that only keep growing.

  • Why the last thing open source needs is more corporate oversight

    That same survey, however, would have us believe that developers live in fear of open source, shuddering at open source vulnerabilities exposing their code, open source “infecting” proprietary software, and more.


    Get that? Open source is all about developers, and developers speak code, not corporate. This is why so many vanity foundations, set up as a facade for corporations to control code but appear not to, don’t end up succeeding. To succeed, open source needs to be about code, not the whims of a corporate sugar daddy.

    In short, open source continues to do amazingly well precisely because open source review boards aren’t stunting its growth. It’s thriving even as corporations can’t figure out efficient ways to monetize it directly. That’s the point. It’s always been a way for developers to get stuff done with minimal corporate bureaucracy. It’s time to celebrate that and not continue trying to shove it into a corporate cubicle.

  • Using open source tools to play Dungeons and Dragons

    Initially, I went back to the old pencil and paper tools, just like back in 1980, to prepare for gaming sessions. Quickly, though, my work as a sysadmin and open source user changed how I prepare and run my campaign, the series of play sessions run by a DM that create the world and the challenges the other player characters (PCs) confront in AD&D or the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

  • Univa Contributes Universal Resource Broker to Open Source Community

    The Universal Resource Broker is a software solution that allows distributed application frameworks written for Apache Mesos to run seamlessly on Univa Grid Engine. Making URB available as an open-source project opens the door to continued innovation, enabling community contributors to build adapters to additional workload managers and application frameworks. In addition to open-sourcing the project, Univa is extending URB to support Kubernetes clusters as well.

  • Chinese tech giant Alibaba joins key open-source cloud computing foundation

    Kicking off a week in which it plans to encourage American businesses to invest in China, Alibaba Group announced plans to give something back to the cloud computing community: Alibaba Cloud is now a member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

  • Events

    • Open Source Summit Bring Diverse Voices to Keynote Lineup

      As Jim Zemlin announced at last year’s LinuxCon in Toronto, the event is now called Open Source Summit. The event now combines LinuxCon, ContainerCon, and CloudOpen conferences along with two new conferences: Open Community Conference and Diversity Empowerment Summit. And, this year, the OSSummit will take place between September 11-14 in Los Angeles, CA.

      Traditionally, the event starts off with a keynote by Zemlin where he gives an overview of the state of Linux and open source, And, one highlight of the schedule is always a keynote discussion between Zemlin and Linus Torvalds, Creator of Linux and Git.

    • ODPi Webinar on DataOps at Scale: Taking Apache Hadoop Enterprise-Wide

      2016 was a pivotal year for Apache Hadoop, a year in which enterprises across a variety of industries moved the technology out of PoCs and the lab and into production. Look no further than AtScale’s latest Big Data Maturity survey, in which 73 percent of respondents report running Hadoop in production.

    • dgplug summer training 2017

      This is the 10th year of the training. Our goal is to bring in more upstream contributors to various FOSS projects. Through this training we show the path of becoming an upstream contributor. The training lasts for almost 3 months, sessions are generally at 19:00 IST onwards. This year there will be live view of terminals where participants will be able to see what the trainer is doing on the computer.

    • dgplug summer training 2017 is on
    • Call for Speakers Now Open for Percona Live Open Source Database Conference Europe 2017

      The conference theme this year is “Championing Open Source Databases,” with sessions on MySQL, MariaDB, MongoDB and other open source database technologies, including time series databases, PostgreSQL and RocksDB. The 2017 conference will feature a range of in-depth discussions and hands-on tutorials for three formal tracks — Developer, Business/Case Studies and Operations.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Have You Taken the LibreOffice Features Survey?

      A new survey aims to help LibreOffice learn which features of the popular open-source office suite users use the most.

    • Survey on LibreOffice features

      Due to its long history, LibreOffice has accumulated a staggering amount of features. Maintaining these features is not free, and having a massive amount of features may blur the focus of the software. In order to steer the development and to focus on the more important aspects we prepared a survey that investigates how often some features are used.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • News and e-press echos after EUPL v1.2 publication

      The publication of the new EUPL v1.2 has been echoed widely across Europe, starting with the official Europa.eu: “The European Commission has released a new version of the European Union Public Licence (EUPL), a tool for publishing any copyrighted work as open source. The licence is legally consistent with the copyright law of all EU countries and is especially well-suited for public administrations sharing IT solutions.”

      If the licence is especially suited for public sector, it is also widely used by the private sector. In fact, the majority of the 15.000 EUPL licensed works are distributed by economic actors, developers and enterprises.

      In Germany, the announcement was promptly commented by IfrOSS, the German Institute for legal questions on free and open source software (EU-Kommission veröffentlicht neue EUPL-Version). Pro-Linux.de focuses on the extended compatibility of the EUPL (i.e. with the GPL v3) and point out that in various European Member States like The Netherlands, France, Spain etc. the licence has been selected for distributing, when convenient and applicable, software applications made by governments.

    • Romania opens new procurement portal for testing

      A demo-version of Romania’s future eProcurement portal is available for testing by contracting authorities and companies. The purpose of the public test is to check the system’s performance and security, and get suggestions for improvements from users.

      The live-demo should let users become familiar with the new site and services, the country’s Agency for the Digital Agenda (AADR) and the Public Procurement Agency (ANAP) announced.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Metsä Wood Launches ‘Open Source Wood’

      Metsä Wood’s Open Source Wood initiative is a call to action to architects, designers and engineers to join forces, share innovation and contribute knowledge about large-scale, modular wood construction. By creating an open innovation platform around modular wood construction, Metsä Wood’s aim is to connect the local wood construction industry with global knowledge to facilitate collaboration and growth.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Access Policy In International Organisations

        Open access is “part of the DNA” of international intergovernmental organisations, Charlotte Beauchamp, head of editorial and design at the World Intellectual Property Organization, said during a workshop last week. Representatives of different international organisations described during the workshop the increasing use of an open access policy by their organisations.

        A workshop on International Organizations and Open Access was organised on 12 June during the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2017 (WSIS Forum 2017), which took place from 12-16 June.

  • Programming/Development

    • 3 great reasons to embrace rejection

      In 2006, I downloaded the Bazaar version control system and a bunch of Ubuntu code, made changes locally, then abandoned my project. Later, around 2009, Hibernate creator Gavin King gave a talk to our local Java User Group. I was interested in giving back to the project because we used it for work, but after downloading Hibernate’s source and looking at the bug repository, I found myself intimidated once again. I was worried the response to my code submission would fall along the lines of, “Who let this woman with the craptastic code ever think she should submit code to us?!?!” Then I imagined a banned list shooting across the open source community IRC channels with my name on it.

    • Not rebasing an old feature branch

      Ultimately, my aim was to provide an interface, at the code level, for developers (rather designers) to improve the GUI of video effects. GStreamer effects are very beautifully handled in Pitivi, the main focus was to use this existing underlying infrastructure on top of which a way of easily adding custom UI for effects had to be setup.

      One of the ways of stopping ‘duplication of effort’ in Open Source projects is to document everything, even failed/blocked attempts. Thanks to nekohayo (previous maintainer at Pitivi) opening task T3263, his work from 2013 towards providing such an interface is now up and running again.

    • Why Git Is Worth the Learning Curve

      Distributed version control systems like Git help developers collaborate and deploy faster and more easily. See why the learning curve is well worth it to use Git.

    • Resources for getting started with Python and machine learning

      Are you interested in machine learning and want to learn how to program? That’s why I started learning to code. In this article, I’ll share a few of the best resources that helped me advance from building my first program to building my first neural network.

    • PHP 7.2 Slated For Fedora 27

      A new feature proposal would ensure Fedora 27 ships with the latest PHP release at the time.

    • General Catalyst, Founder Collective fund the creators of open source programming language

      The creators of the programming language Julia, several of whom have connections to MIT and Harvard, have raised $4.6 million from General Catalyst and Founder Collective for a startup that aims to commercialize the open source code, a type of business that is becoming more common in the Boston area.

      Julia Computing builds professional software tools to make it easier for organizations, especially i


  • [Older] Why we’re betting against real-time team messaging [iophk: “many UIs designed for addiction not action. *cough* Microsoft *cough*”

    This post is the story of why we stopped using Slack. It’s also the story of how we had the (possibly) crazy idea that we could contribute something fundamentally different to an already cluttered team communication market. Something for teams like ours with the audacity to think that maybe there’s more to work than keeping up with group chat…

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • Intel: Joule’s burned, Edison switched off, and Galileo – Galileo is no more

      Intel has discontinued three of its offerings for the Internet of Things and embedded device markets.

      The chipmaker said in a series of low-key product updates that it would be killing off the Edison [PDF], Galileo [PDF] and Joule [PDF] compute modules and boards over the second half of the year.

      The notices mark an ignoble end for three lines that were once seen as key to Chipzilla’s IoT and connected appliance strategies.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Thousands of women were raped during Rwanda’s genocide. Now their children are coming of age

      Angel was 11 the last time her mother tried to kill her. She remembers the handful of rat poison pellets, the urging: “Take this”. She screamed until a neighbour rushed over and pulled her away. That was a decade ago, before the counselling, and now Angel’s mother is bending over her shoulder, pouring her a cup of black tea. They share a bed, a concrete house without electricity and a history that horrified the world.

      Over a hundred days in 1994, genocide devastated Rwanda, an East African country the size of Belgium. The assailants claimed roughly 800,000 lives and raped an estimated 250,000 women, which, according to one charity’s count, produced up to 20,000 babies.

      Angel is part of this generation in the shadows. These young people are now stepping into adulthood, coming to terms with an identity no parent would wish on a child. Yet they are defying expectations that tragedy would define their lives.

    • ‘Hero’ imam praises group that saved Finsbury Park suspect from angry crowd

      An imam hailed as a hero for preventing bystanders from attacking the suspected Finsbury Park mosque attacker has praised the “calm and collected” group who helped him keep the peace.

      Mohammed Mahmoud, an imam at the Muslim Welfare House, arrived shortly after the suspect was wrestled to the ground. “By God’s grace we managed to surround him and protect him from any harm,” Mahmoud said at a press conference in north London on Monday afternoon.

    • Guns kill nearly 1,300 kids in the US per year, and suicides are on the rise

      Nearly 1,300 children aged 0 to 17 are killed by gun shots each year in the US, and nearly 5,800 more suffer from non-lethal gunshot wounds, researchers estimate in a study published Monday in Pediatrics.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange cancels planned ‘special announcement’

      “Under advisement, he cancelled the announcement to assure negotiations proceeded in an open and constructive manner because it is essential there is a resolution as soon as possible to what the UN stated is illegal and arbitrary detention.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Three-quarters of the world’s population could face deadly heatwaves within next 80 years, scientists warn

      But they warned this figure could rise to an estimated 74 per cent by the end of the century if carbon emissions continued at high levels. And even the “most aggressive” programme of greenhouse gas reductions would still see more than 47 per cent of the population affected by deadly heatwaves by 2100, the researchers estimated.

    • How to Protect the Environment Where It’s Worked by Human Hands

      This region’s working landscapes have never been much associated with the loftiest ideals of environmentalism. Though John Muir, the eccentric wanderer and father of the conservation movement, trekked along the Mississippi Valley in his youth, he was ultimately more focused on protecting unpopulated Western wilderness than in places that were plowed, fished, mined, or otherwise heavily worked by human hands. But arguably, the ranching, farming, and fishing landscapes of Middle America, and the people who manage them, play as important a role in America’s environmental health as wide-open wilderness does.

    • Studies say ARPA-E, EPA programs have worked well, contrary to political rhetoric

      An independent review of ARPA-E and a graduate study program offered by the EPA has found that the two embattled, federally funded grant programs are necessary, contrary to claims made by Washington.

    • EPA chief Scott Pruitt met fossil fuel industry bosses but no environmentalists in first weeks in office

      Scott Pruitt, the climate science-denying head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, met with a string of fossil fuel industry representatives during his first weeks in office – but no environmental groups – according to a copy of his diary obtained under Freedom of Information laws.

    • Thin ice: Vanishing ice only exacerbates a bad, climate change-fueled situation

      Most people view our planet’s vanishing ice as a symptom of climate change. And if they pay a bit more attention, some people might even be aware of some of its effects, including sea level rise and the opening up of the Arctic to shipping. But ice is also an active player in the Earth’s climate—it doesn’t only respond to warming by melting. Changes in our planet’s ice are capable of feeding back on the climate system, creating further consequences for the globe.

      The regions of our planet where temperatures fall below the freezing point are characterized by ice and snow, lots of ice and snow. Across land masses, seas, and oceans, roughly 70 percent of the fresh water exists as ice. But now, in response to the warming of our planet, that entire system is changing.

    • Your spoiled kitty is descended from hard-working barn cats

      One answer comes from a paper published today in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. Researchers analyzed DNA extracted from the teeth and bones of over 200 cats. These remains span 9,000 years, and trace back to places from Viking graves to modern Angola. They found that cats spread in two waves — one from the Near East, and one from Egypt — traveling on ships to arrive in new places.

      Before Grumpy Cat and Maru, there were farmers in the Near East (areas like Iran and Turkey) who stored grain. Grain attracts rats, and rats attracted — well, not cats, exactly, but their wildcat ancestor, Felis silvestris lybica. These farmers, noticing that these wildcats were useful for keeping down the rat population, were probably the first to domesticate the felines, which then spread to Europe by 4400 BCE.

  • Finance

    • Media-Shy Tencent Billionaire Joins Debate on Hong Kong’s Future

      In an unusual move, Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s billionaire founder Pony Ma has chosen to convene a summit of government academics and business chieftains in Hong Kong days before the 20th anniversary of its return to China. The head of the country’s biggest corporation wants to fire up a debate about an issue that’s fomented protests and fears about Beijing’s agenda: how to entwine the self-run former British colony with the mainland.

    • Jack Ma Woos Mom and Pop Shops in U.S. Jobs Push

      Still, entrepreneurs like Wolf are the sellers Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma wants to woo when he arrives in Detroit this week for his company’s Gateway conference. The two-day event is drawing thousands of U.S. business owners, from farmers to managers of more established brands, to learn how to succeed in China through Alibaba. For Ma, it’s following through on a promise he made to U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year to create one million jobs in the U.S.

    • Apple world’s largest IT vendor with US$218 billion in revenue: Gartner

      Apple sits on top of a new global ranking list as the largest IT vendor with more than US$218 billion in IT revenue — approximately $79 billion larger than the number 2 vendor, Samsung Vendor Group — according to a newly published report.

    • Defence to move files from data centre after Chinese investment
    • Australian Defence files to be moved out of privately owned data hub after Chinese buy-in

      The Defence Department will terminate its relationship with a Sydney data centre in 2020 and move its secret files back into a government-owned hub, because a Chinese consortium bought half of the centre’s parent company.

    • Brexit: Whatever happened to the “row of the summer”?

      On Friday this blog asked whether there had been a UK government u-turn on “sequencing” in the Brexit negotiations, which started today.

      Sequencing is (or at least was) important for the UK.

      Article 50 envisages two agreements: an exit (or divorce) agreement, dealing with issues related to the departure, and an agreement on future relations, which for the UK essentially means trade.

      The UK want(ed) both to be negotiated together, in parallel.

    • Barclays Bank and former boss John Varley charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by SFO

      Barclays and four former directors including ex-chief executive John Varley have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud during the £11.8bn emergency fundraises the bank undertook to avert a bailout during the financial crisis.

      The Serious Fraud Office said that the bank, Mr Varley, former star banker Roger Jenkins, ex-wealth division head Thomas Kalaris, and former global co-head of finance Richard Boath had been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in the lender’s dealings with Qatari investors who backed a £4.5bn cash call undertaken in June 2008.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • President Trump wants a ‘sweeping transformation’ of government tech, he says at a White House meeting with execs [Ed: And he put former Microsoft in charge]

      Among the invitees Monday included the leaders of Adobe, Akamai, Amazon, Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and Qualcomm, as well as some of Silicon Valley’s leading investors, like Peter Thiel, who previously advised Trump during his presidential transition. Opening the day’s events, Jared Kushner — one of Trump’s top advisors — emphasized that the government’s tech troubles are legion.

    • Trump seeks tech’s help for government IT overhaul

      The meeting was the first of the American Technology Council, a group of tech CEOs whose goal is modernizing the government’s “technology infrastructure.” The meeting marked the beginning of the White House’s “technology week,” aimed at pushing Trump’s policies in that area.

    • Facebook and Twitter being used to manipulate public opinion – report

      Propaganda on social media is being used to manipulate public opinion around the world, a new set of studies from the University of Oxford has revealed.

    • Computational Propaganda Worldwide: Executive Summary

      The Computational Propaganda Research Project at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, has researched the use of social media for public opinion manipulation. The team involved 12 researchers across nine countries who, altogether, interviewed 65 experts, analyzed tens of millions posts on seven different social media platforms during scores of elections, political crises, and national security incidents. Each case study analyzes qualitative, quantitative, and computational evidence collected between 2015 and 2017 from Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Poland, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States.

    • LIVE: Naomi Klein on Winning the World We Need

      Watch live on Wednesday, June 21st at 10:30pm EST as Naomi Klein joins Brit Marling to discuss Klein’s latest book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need.

    • Trump Is Appointing Racist Fake-News Purveyors to the Federal Bench

      This was too much for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who made it clear he thinks Schiff was nominated because of his far-right views, particularly on the rights of corporations, which Schiff appears to think are near-absolute. “To have you say that that’s a door that you are closing, and that a whole new Damien Schiff is going to emerge in black robes, and all of the things you’ve said in the past don’t matter and aren’t things you can be held accountable for—when those are exactly the flags that you sent up that got you in that seat here in the first place,” Whitehouse said.

    • GOP Data Firm Left The Personal Data Of 198 Million American Voters On Openly-Accessible Amazon Server

      A GOP data firm has accepted responsibility for leaving the personal data of 198 million Americans (aka: most of the country’s voting populace) openly accessible on an Amazon server in the biggest voter data leak in global history. Deep Root Analytics, the owner of the data, has long been contracted by the Republican National Committee to measure voter opinions on a wide variety of issues, from health care to gun control. As part of their contract with the RNC, the group pulls voter information from a wide variety of sources, ranging from Reddit to the Karl Rove super PAC American Crossroads.

      This data, which includes religious affiliation and ethnicity, is then utilized to help craft PR efforts and other messaging, as well as to determine turnout and voter preferences. And, according to analysis of the data and previous profiles of the company like this one over at Ad Age, this firm was hugely influential in getting Donald Trump’s “populist” message out to voters during the last election cycle.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • After Terror Attacks, Britain Moves to Police the Web

      After deadly terrorist attacks and a nationwide election, Britain is once again focusing on a controversial plan: to regulate the internet.

    • Canada introduces Orwellian speech code on gender pronouns

      This is very interesting – and worrying. Many countries have hate speech laws stating what you can not say. But this is a law dictating what people must say! Truly Orwellian.

    • Google now actively works against extremist YouTube videos

      Google knows there’s a lot of extremist and hate-filled content on YouTube and it’s now doing more to stop those videos from gaining traction. In a blog post yesterday, Google laid out four new steps it will take to work against extremist videos on YouTube, and most of those steps expand on current systems the company has in place to identify, flag, demonetize, and essentially hide hate-filled videos.

    • Supreme Court Reminds US Government That Hate Speech Is, In Fact, Free Speech

      We’ve written a few times now about the case involving the band “The Slants” and their fight against the US Patent and Trademark Office concerning whether or not the band could trademark its own name (and, yes, this case is indirectly tied to the fight over whether or not the Washington Redskins can keep its team name trademarked). The key issue is a part of trademark law — §1052(a) — that says that the USPTO can deny trademarks if they “disparage… or bring into contempt or disrepute… persons, living or dead.” When we first came across this case, a few years back, I argued that this clause did not violate the First Amendment. My argument, originally, was that a failure to grant a trademark was not restricting speech in any way (in fact, it was the opposite — it was allowing more speech, since the registered trademark could no longer be used to block the speech of others).

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Czech Rep. to implement its ‘Data Boxes’ in schools

      The Czech Republic’s eDocument system Datove Schranky (Data Boxes) will be implemented for all schools, the country’s Interior Ministry has announced. The web-based system for secure access to government documents will be set up for all schools that do not already use the system.

    • There Is No ‘Going Dark’ Problem

      Former FBI Director James Comey made plenty of headlines with his insistence cellphone encryption would be the end of law enforcement as we know it. Comey’s assertions made it seem as though regular police investigative work was no longer of any use and that any and all evidence pertinent to cases resided behind cellphone passcodes.

      He insisted the problem would only get worse in the future. If not put to an end by legislated backdoors or smart tech guys coding up “safe” holes in device encryption, we may as well accept the fact that no criminal committing more than a moving violation would ever be brought to justice.

      Default encryption does pose a problem for law enforcement, but it’s nowhere near as insurmountable as Comey has portrayed it. Multiple FOIA requests handled through MuckRock have shown law enforcement still has several phone-cracking options at its disposal and doesn’t seem to be having many problems recovering evidence.

    • Man To Spend 180 Days In Jail For Turning Over Non-Working Password

      The protections of the Fifth Amendment are running up against technology and often coming out on the losing end. Court rulings have been anything but consistent to this point. So far it appears password protection beats fingerprints, but not by much.

      It all comes down to the individual court. Some view passwords as possibly testimonial in and of themselves, and side with defendants. Others view passwords as something standing in the way of compelled evidence production and punish holdouts with contempt of court charges.

      That’s what’s happening to a Florida man suspected of child abuse. He claims he’s given law enforcement his phone’s password already, but prosecutors claim the password failed to unlock his phone. They believe his phone holds evidence of the physical abuse alleged — a claim that seems a bit less believable than those made about child porn viewers and drug dealers.

    • The RNC Files: Inside the Largest US Voter Data Leak

      In what is the largest known data exposure of its kind, UpGuard’s Cyber Risk Team can now confirm that a misconfigured database containing the sensitive personal details of over 198 million American voters was left exposed to the internet by a firm working on behalf of the Republican National Committee (RNC) in their efforts to elect Donald Trump. The data, which was stored in a publicly accessible cloud server owned by Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics, included 1.1 terabytes of entirely unsecured personal information compiled by DRA and at least two other Republican contractors, TargetPoint Consulting, Inc. and Data Trust. In total, the personal information of potentially near all of America’s 200 million registered voters was exposed, including names, dates of birth, home addresses, phone numbers, and voter registration details, as well as data described as “modeled” voter ethnicities and religions.

    • GOP Data Firm Accidentally Leaks Personal Details of Nearly 200 Million American Voter

      Political data gathered on more than 198 million US citizens was exposed this month after a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee stored internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon servers.

    • The Scarily Common Screw-Up That Exposed 198 Million Voter Records

      A conservative data firm called Deep Root Analytics owns the database, and stores it on an Amazon S3 server. As Chris Vickery, cyber-risk analyst with security firm UpGuard, discovered earlier this month, all of that data was open to anyone who found it not because of clever hacking or complicated internet forces, but because of a simple misconfiguration. Think of it as leaving your valuables in a high-end safe with the door propped open.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • TSA Mouth Breathers Prove Their Worthlessness: Bag Starts Smoking In “Security” Line; TSA Workers Do Nothing

      Hilariously, oily liar Nico Melendez, the TSA spokesspinner, really shows his stuff — claiming that the TSA workers (they are not officers) “reacted immediately.”

      In fact, he said this: “…officers reacted as they’ve been trained, decisively and immediately.”

      I guess he didn’t realize they had tape revealing what an artiste du bullshit he is.

    • ‘Smoking bag’ at LAX checkpoint prompts TSA policy questions

      Passengers were making their way through an LAX checkpoint on Tuesday afternoon when they spot one bag that started to smoke!

      Those passengers left that checkpoint very concerned after they say that airport officials seemed confused about the whole thing.

      Now we’re asking questions about the airport and the response.

      Lucas Mroczkowski was at the checkpoint to catch a plane to the East Coast. At that time no one knows why the bag is smoking…and the way Mrosekowski describes it, no LAX official seemed too concerned about it either.

    • Did somebody illegally record Guantánamo legal meetings? Southcom investigates

      The commander of the U.S. Southern Command has ordered an investigation into claims that somebody was illegally recording attorney-client meetings at Guantánamo from September 2015 to April 2017, a discovery that prompted a general to warn war court defense attorneys that their privileged communications were at risk.

      The episode is the latest in a long string of defense lawyers’ complaints about government interference into their privileged work — from the CIA’s having the clandestine capacity to mute court audio to FBI agents trying to turn defense team members into informants to the discovery of listening devices that looked like smoke detectors in legal meeting rooms.

    • There’s a constitutional right to use social media, Supreme Court says

      The US Supreme Court on Monday declared as unconstitutional a 2008 North Carolina law barring registered sex offenders from accessing commercial social media sites where minors may become members or create personal pages or profiles.

      The justices ruled that the law, used to prosecute more than 1,000 registered sex offenders, was a breach of the First Amendment because “cyberspace” amounted to the “modern public square.” The court said the North Carolina law, which bars sex offenders from sites like Facebook and Twitter, “enacts a prohibition unprecedented in the scope of First Amendment speech it burdens.”


      The high court noted that a “fundamental principle”—even one available to convicted sex offenders, is the First Amendment right to access “places where they can speak and listen, and then, after reflection, speak and listen once more.”

      Those places, the court concluded, include “Cyberspace.”

    • South Carolina Sheriffs Less Interested In Enforcing Laws Than Taking Stuff

      It’s not like we need any more evidence showing asset forfeiture has almost nothing to do with enforcing laws or breaking up criminal organizations. But law enforcement agencies just keep generating damning data.

      The Charleston Post and Courier’s article on the subject runs under an innocuous title that seems to put the blame on the federal government for the asset forfeiture sins of local police, but the article tells a completely different story. The officers and officials quoted in the story make noises about taking down criminals, but the greedy devil is in the details.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cable lobby tries to stop state investigations into slow broadband speeds

      Broadband industry lobby groups want to stop individual states from investigating the speed claims made by Internet service providers, and they are citing the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules in their effort to hinder the state-level actions.

      The industry attempt to undercut state investigations comes a few months after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Charter and its Time Warner Cable (TWC) subsidiary that claims the ISP defrauded and misled New Yorkers by promising Internet speeds the company knew it could not deliver.

    • FCC net neutrality comments could publicise your email address

      “You are filing a document into an official FCC proceeding. All information submitted, including names and addresses, will be publicly available via the web.”

    • ‘Confusing’ FCC privacy policy exposes net neutrality commenters’ emails

      A conservative watchdog group used the loophole in the FCC’s privacy policy that makes commenters’ emails addresses public.

    • 80% Of Cord Cutters Leave Because Of High Cable TV Prices, But The Industry Still Refuses To Compete On Price

      A new study from Tivo (pdf) notes that nearly half of current pay TV subscribers are considering cutting the cord this year. That’s not particularly surprising given the fact that the first quarter set cord cutting records, and the second quarter is expected to be significantly worse. Similarly unsurprising is the fact that of these defecting customers, roughly 80% of those departing say they’re doing so because traditional cable TV service is simply too expensive…

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO TK Committee Agrees To Continue Work, But Real Outcome Depends On October Assembly

      A recommendation to continue the work of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on the protection of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and folklore is on its way to the organisation’s annual General Assembly in October. However, the details of the mandate are left for the General Assembly to discuss, such as the mandate and the work programme of the committee for the next two years.

    • Revised Articles Protecting Folklore Head To WIPO General Assembly, For Better Or Worse

      Delegations this week agreed on a revised set of draft articles aiming to protect traditional cultural expressions (folklore) from misappropriation, typically for commercial interests. However, several proposals made by the United States, some of which were supported by the European Union, were seen by others as defying the purpose of the potential treaty.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Roku Sales Banned in Mexico Over Piracy Concerns

        A Mexican court has ordered local retailers to stop importing and selling Roku media players, as these allow the public to access pirated content. In addition, several banks are prohibited from processing payments that are linked to piracy services on the Roku platform.

      • BPI Breaks Record After Sending 310 Million Google Takedowns

        The BPI has reached yet another landmark after ‘piracy’ takedowns sent to Google smashed through the 300 million barrier. The music industry group says that it has now sent more than 310 million requests to delist infringing URLs but informs TF that a takedown and staydown regime could really help to bring volumes under control.

      • Supreme Court turns down EFF’s “Dancing Baby” fair use case

        The Supreme Court has decided not to take up the case of Lenz v. Universal, a ten-year-old copyright lawsuit initiated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that helped determine the boundaries of “fair use.”

        Today’s order leaves standing an earlier ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. EFF called that ruling a “strong precedent,” while at the same time acknowledging it did not go far enough.

      • Supreme Court Won’t Hear Dancing Baby Case… Despite Gov’t Admitting ‘Serious Legal Error’

        Supreme Court Won’t Hear Dancing Baby Case… Despite Gov’t Admitting ‘Serious Legal Error’
        from the dancing-without-end dept

        Sometimes I think purgatory must be filing a lawsuit over a wrongful DMCA takedown notice. I’m pretty sure that’s how Stephanie Lenz feels. After all, she’s been fighting against Universal Music issuing a bogus DMCA takedown against her dancing baby, and I’m pretty sure that “baby” will be graduating high school before too long. Last we’d checked in, the Supreme Court was debating hearing the appeal in the case, and had asked the White House to weigh in. The White House responded last month with a truly bizarre argument, agreeing that the 9th Circuit’s ruling contained a “significant legal error” but said that this case was “not a suitable vehicle for correcting that mistake.”

        Whether it was for that reason or for no reason at all, the Supreme Court has now decided not to hear the appeal, meaning that the case is back (once again) in District Court, where it may actually go to trial to determine if Universal Music knew that the video was fair use when it issued the initial takedown.

        As we’ve discussed time and time again, this particular case is an important one, if Section 512(f) of the DMCA — the part that says you cannot file bogus DMCA takedowns — is to have any teeth. The problem, right now is that there are piles upon piles of abusive DMCA takedowns, targeting all sorts of content that is perfectly legitimate and non-infringing. Yet, because there is basically no punishment for issuing such takedowns, they continue. Unfortunately, this particular case keeps coming out with “mixed bag” rulings that probably won’t help very much in the long term. While we may have hoped that the Supreme Court would clear things up and make sure 512(f) actually does its job, it appears that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

      • Copyright Troll RightsCorp Ramps Up Its Efforts To Get ISPs To Push Its Payment Demands On Users

        Remember Rightscorp? This is the wannabe “friendlier” copyright troll, that sends smaller bills than the traditional copyright trolls. Over the years, it’s actually struggled to make any money… and has struggled with some of its more bizarre legal theories. Unfortunately, in late 2015, one of Rightscorp’s partners got a big ruling against Cox, arguing that Cox violated the DMCA by not properly terminating repeat infringers (as we noted at the time, this was based on a tortured interpretation of the law. The case is still winding its way through the appeals process, but Rightscorp and its partners have continued to push forward, using the ruling in that BMG v. Cox case to pressure others. At least one other ISP has already been sued.

      • The Pirate Bay Isn’t Affected By Adverse Court Rulings – Everyone Else Is

        The Pirate Bay has provoked more copyright lawsuits and adverse legal rulings than any other Internet platform yet it remains steadfastly online today. Somewhat amazingly, The Pirate Bay has never been seriously affected by any of these processes. The same cannot be said about everyone else.

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