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04.30.17

Links 30/4/2017: Linux 4.11 Ready Shortly, Unreal Engine 4.16 Preview, Kirigami 2.1 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Hands on with the Pinebook

      The Pine A64 was a 64-bit Quad-Core Single Board Computer which was kickstarted at the tail end of 2015 for delivery in the middle of 2016. Costing just $15, and hailed as a “Raspberry Pi killer,” the board raised $1.7 million from 36,000 backers. It shipped to its backers to almost universally poor reviews.

      Now they’re back, this time with a laptop—a 11.6-inch model for $89, or a 14-inch model for $99. Both are powered by the same 64-bit Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 as the original Pine A64 board, but at least Pine are doing a much better job this time around of managing user expectations.

    • Numix White Icons Looks Better On Dark Themes, Install In Ubuntu/Linux Mint Via PPA
    • Make Your Gnome Shell Kind Of Look Like Unity With United Gnome Theme

      Beside theme you can install these extensions to make desktop look more like Unity. Dash to dock: Enable panel mode and position it on the left; Dynamic Panel Transparency: The non-dark variant comes with a semi-transparent panel. Square icons used in the following screenshots.

    • Albatross Theme Forked From Shimmer Project For Ubuntu/Linux Mint

      It is glad to see that theme development is much faster now than past. Albatross theme is forked from Shimmer project team, they stopped the development long ago. If you want to keep your desktop simple, clean and elegant then for sure this theme is for you, it is specially targeting Gnome desktop and may work with Xfce. Currently this theme is compatible with Gtk 3.24+/3.22/3.20. If you intend to use this theme in the Xfce desktop then you must use xfwm4 from “Greybird/Adwaita” since that is not packed with this theme. Since this theme is in active development, if you encounter any bug or problem with this theme then report it to get it fixed. Obsidian-1 icons used in the following screenshot.

    • Pop Theme Suite: Make Your Ubuntu/Linux Look Like System76 Upcoming Desktop

      As I mentioned in my previous posts that lots theme development going on now but Linux community and a company is not even behind called “System76″. Well they designed theme and icons for their own computers that run Ubuntu but good news is that it is free and comes under GPL-V2 license that means anyone can copy, share or remake their theme suite.

    • Acer said to me: “do not use our products with Linux. Find another manufacturer”

      Last year, I bought an Acer notebook and it came with Windows 10.

      As I didn’t want spyware neither bloatware, I got Linux installed and asked for a refund of the OEM license. After a little of talking, they were wanting to charge me US$100 (to remove the license, which I already had wiped, as I got FDE Linux installed) to refund US$70 of the OEM license.

      This year, wondering to buy a new Acer notebook, I asked them again if they would refund me the OEM license without all the hassle (as they did pay me the US$70, without me having to pay the US$100).

    • Surface revenue does a U-boat, and dives

      Revenue generated by Microsoft’s Surface hardware during the March quarter was down 26% from the same period the year before, the company said yesterday as it briefed Wall Street.

      For the quarter, Surface produced $831 million, some $285 million less than the March quarter of 2016, for the largest year-over-year dollar decline ever.

  • Server

    • Scaleway Disruptive ARMv8 Cloud Servers

      In April 2015, we announced Scaleway, the first IaaS provider worldwide to offer a BareMetal ARM based cloud.

      For our 2nd anniversary, we’re excited to disrupt once again the hosting industry with the first ARMv8 SSD Cloud Servers for developers.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • New ARM Support Going Into The Linux 4.12 Kernel

      The ARM changes for the mainline Linux kernel are usually quite extensive each cycle and with the Linux 4.12 merge window likely opening on Sunday evening it will be no different this time around.

    • CloudLinux 6 Gets New Beta Kernel to Backport a Fix for R1Soft’s Backup Solution

      After announcing earlier this week the availability of a new Beta kernel for CloudLinux 7 and CloudLinux 6 Hybrid users, CloudLinux’s Mykola Naugolnyi is now informing us about the release of a Beta kernel for CloudLinux 6 users.

      The updated CloudLinux 6 Beta kernel is tagged as build 2.6.32-673.26.1.lve1.4.26 and it’s here to replace kernel 2.6.32-673.26.1.lve1.4.25. It is available right now for download from CloudLinux’s updates-testing repository and backports a fix (CKSIX-109) for R1Soft’s backup solution from CloudLinux 7′s kernel.

    • Linux 4.12 To Begin Supporting TrustZone CryptoCell

      The upcoming Linux 4.12 kernel cycle plans to introduce support for CryptoCell hardware within ARM’s TrustZone.

    • Linux 4.11 Set To Be Released Today

      After it was postponed last weekend, the Linux 4.11 kernel is set to be officially released in a matter of hours.

      As of writing, the Linux 4.11 codename remains the “Fearless Coyote”, but there is the possibility that Torvalds may rename it when tagging the official 4.11.0 release today.

    • USB Type-C Port Manager Coming To Linux 4.12

      Another feature to look forward to with the Linux 4.12 kernel for those using newer hardware featuring USB Type-C is a port manager.

      The “TCPM” driver is queued as a new staging driver via usb-next for entering the Linux 4.12 kernel in the next two weeks. This USB Type-C Port Manager driver implements a power delivery state machine for source/sink ports. This driver serves as a state machine while other USB Type-C drivers are responsible for the rest of the functionality.

    • Linux Kernel 3.18.51 Released with MIPS, ARM, and CIFS Changes, Updated Drivers
    • Linux Kernel 4.4.65 LTS Is a Small Patch with Networking and File System Fixes
    • Kernel explained
    • [Older] [Video] Audio on Linux: The End of a Golden Age?
    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU Gets More Fixes For Linux 4.12

        While the DRM-Next merge window is over for new feature material ahead of the Linux 4.12 merge window opening tomorrow, some AMDGPU fixes have been sent out for this next kernel cycle.

      • Mesa 17.0.5 Is Now Available With 40+ Fixes

        Mesa 17.0.5 is now available as the newest stable release on the Mesa 17.0 series.

      • DirectFB Is Back To Being Dormant

        Back in August of 2015, DirectFB disappeared with its project site and code vanishing. Last November DirectFB re-appeared along with a new site and renewed focus on the project. Unfortunately, it’s once again gone silent.

        With all the news this month about Ubuntu dropping Mir / Unity 8 and the continued work by many different desktop/compositor teams on Wayland, I was curious this weekend to check on how DirectFB is doing in 2017… Sadly, DirectFB.net as the new DirectFB site launched last November is now down again. The original DirectFB (dot) org web-site remains squatted. I’ve been unable to find any other “new” DirectFB website.

      • Sway Wayland Compositor Adding Proprietary NVIDIA Driver Support

        The Sway Wayland compositor that aims to be i3-compatible continues picking up new features.

      • State of Sway April 2017

        Development on Sway continues. I thought we would have slowed down a lot more by now, but every release still comes with new features – Sway 0.12 added redshift support and binary space partitioning layouts. Sway 0.13.0 is coming soon and includes, among other things, nvidia proprietary driver support. We already have some interesting features slated for Sway 0.14.0, too!

        Today Sway has 21,446 lines of C (and 4,261 lines of header files) written by 81 authors across 2,263 commits. These were written through 653 pull requests and 529 issues. Sway packages are available today in the official repos of pretty much every distribution except for Debian derivatives, and a PPA is available for those guys.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking Various Linux Distributions With Amazon’s EC2 Cloud In 2017

        After carrying out the recent Amazon EC2 Cloud benchmarks vs. Intel/AMD CPUs I also decided to run some Linux distribution tests in the Elastic Compute Cloud with not having done any such comparisons in a long time. So for those wondering how different Linux distributions compare in Amazon’s cloud, this article is for you.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kirigami 2.1 is Out [Ed: post removed, maybe temporarily/by accident]

        Kirigami UI lets you easily design and create convergent apps that work on desktop and mobile environments. Platforms supported by Kirigami UI include Windows, Android, and Linux. Kirigami is especially indicated for KDE’s Plasma Desktop and the upcoming Plasma Mobile platform, KDE’s graphical environment for mobile devices. Apps developed with Kirigami will probably also work on MacOS X and iOS with minimal tweaking, although these platforms are not officially supported yet.

        In fact, today’s release has benefited from the feedback from the Subsurface Mobile community — the most prominent users of Kirigami outside of KDE at the moment. The Subsurface app, originally created by Linux creator Linus Torvalds, has successfully been ported to both iOS and MacOS X.

        [...]

        To find out more about this release and learn more about Kirigami in general, visit our KDE techbase website. If you would like to get started developing your apps with Kirigami, visit the Kirigami2 API overview.

        You can also talk directly to the developers and become a part of the future of desktop/mobile convergence by visiting our forum, joining in the conversation on the Plasma IRC channel, or hanging out in our Telegram group.

      • KDE Kirigami 2.1 Released To Help Build Convergent Linux Apps

        While convergence may be dead at Ubuntu/Canonical, KDE developers continue working on Plasma Mobile and their convergence vision driven in part by the Kirigami user-interface framework.

      • Kirigami 2.1 Open-Source Framework for Convergent Mobile and Desktop UIs Is Out

        KDE’s Paul Brown announced the general availability of version 2.1 of the open-source Kirigami UI framework for producing convergent user interfaces for mobile and desktop environments.

        Kirigami 2.1 is here three and a half months after the launch of Kirigami 2.0 as the project’s most mature version to date. Prominent features include ItemViewHeader, a standardized title for ListViews, which can be customized with a background image that uses a parallax effect when scrolled and the header is adjusted accordingly. Multiple behaviors can be set for this component.

      • KDE vs. GNOME Design Philosophies

        The days are gone when the Linux desktop was dominated almost entirely by KDE and GNOME. However, the influence of their design philosophy remains, with KDE favored by a third of users, and many modern desktop alternatives, from GNOME itself to Linux Mint’s Cinnamon and MATE using applications originally designed for GNOME. Broadly speaking, KDE’s design philosopy can be described as completist, and designed for users of all levels of experience, while GNOME’s is minimalist, and aimed particularly at new users — although all levels of users can appreciate GNOME design as well.

        By “completist,” I mean that KDE applications try to include every function that could possibly be included in a task. Confusion is limited by the setting of intelligent defaults, but more functions are still visible than most everyday uses require. Perhaps the ultimate example of this design is digiKam, which over the year has calved new windows the way that polar ice caps calve glaciers.

        At the opposite end of the spectrum, GNOME applications tend to include only the features for the most common use-cases. This choice makes GNOME apps easy to use, but can leave users stranded if any problems emerge. A typical example is Simple Scan, which is so uncluttered that at first it can almost seem confusing.

      • KDE neon CMake Package Validation

        In KDE neon‘s constant quest of raising the quality bar of KDE software and neon itself, I added a new tool to our set of quality assurance tools. CMake Package QA is meant to ensure that find_package() calls on CMake packages provided by config files (e.g. FooConfig.cmake files) do actually work.

      • Aether Icon Theme
      • Krita 2017 Survey Results

        A bit later than planned, but here are the 2017 Krita Survey results! We wanted to know a lot of things, like, what kind of hardware and screen resolution are most common, what drawing tablets were most common, and which ones gave most trouble. We had more than 1000 responses! Here’s a short summary, for the full report, head to Krita User Survey Report.

      • Cutelyst 1.6.0 released, to infinity and beyond!

        Once 1.5.0 was release I thought the next release would be a small one, it started with a bunch of bug fixes, Simon Wilper made a contribution to Utils::Sql, basically when things get out to production you find bugs, so there were tons of fixes to WSGI module.

      • LaKademy 2017 just started!

        The Latin America KDE Summit, LaKademy, just started today in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The country is in the middle of a general strike, which I’m supporting, but the LaKademy couldn’t stop. We’ve been organizing this meeting for a year.

      • KDE Connect from the eyes of a newbie… What sorcery is this?

        Of course, I inferred it was something to connect a phone and a PC in some way and enabling the swapping of files in between the two devices, but I really did not care much about it. After all, that is what bluetooth is for, right?

        Today, I decided to give it a try on PCLOS.

      • 9 months of Atelier project, almost time to launch(or not) =D
      • Nextcloud Plugin for QuickShare

        So after a long hiatus I chose the Plasma QuickShare applet (which is sort of the Plasma5 replacement for the old Pastebin Plasmoid) as my point of re-entry into KDE code work. There was after all a deal of itches there I wanted scratched. It’s been quite a bit of fun figuring out the various interesting frameworks QuickShare is connected to at the backend. Anyways, some days ago I got a rudimentary Nextcloud plugin past review and pushed it, which should mean it’ll soon be coming to a 5.10-powered desktop near you :)

      • Performance regression testing of Qt Quick

        We recently added a new toy to The Qt Project, and I wanted to give an overview on what it is and how it can be used.

      • Qt World Summit 2017 Call for Presentations
      • Give us a proper mimetype name for OpenCL C files!

        KDevelop, your cross-platform IDE, since version 5.1 has initial OpenCL language support.

      • QNX as a desktop operating system

        On his spare time, Elad Lahav (a kernel developer at BlackBerry) built an experimental Qt-based desktop environment to try and see if he could use QNX as a desktop operating system. And it works!

      • QNX 7 Can Be Fitted With A Qt5 Desktop

        While QNX remains targeted as an operating system for mobile/embedded solutions, a BlackBerry developer in his spare time has fitted QNX 7 with a Qt5 desktop.

        QNX 6 and prior had a desktop option, but was removed in QNX 7, which was released this past March. QNX 7.0 also brought support for 64-bit (and maintaining 32-bit) Intel x86 and ARM platforms along with C++14 support. For those wanting to experiment with QNX 7, a BlackBerry kernel developer has been working on making this operating system more desktop friendly.

      • Building a BlackBerry QNX 7 Desktop

        Having Qt allowed me to port one of my favourite applications, SpeedCrunch. It was a simple matter of running ‘qmake’ followed by ‘make’. Next, I ported the QTermWidget library so that I could have terminal windows.

      • KDE Plasma 5.9 demo 2017
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.25.1 Released

        GNOME 3.25.1 is now available as the first development milestone in the road to this September’s GNOME 3.26.

      • GNOME’s JavaScript Component Will Be Seeing More Improvements For 3.26

        GJS — the GNOME JavaScript system that allows for GObject introspection and other capabilities via JavaScript on the desktop — is planning for further improvements with GNOME 3.26.

      • Show desktop icon in Gnome 3 – Where and how

        Despite my recently found liking for Gnome 3, largely because of Fedora 24 and Fedora 25, plus some rigorous work with extensions like Dash to Dock, it is still a highly inefficient desktop environment. The unnecessary touch emphasis is there, regardless of what anyone says, and it makes things difficult.

        For instance, Show desktop. This is an action slash widget in pretty much every other desktop, and despite occasional setbacks and regressions, it’s always been there, a loyal companion in the moment of need. Not so in Gnome 3. Not just hidden. Not there at all. And what if you want it? Far from trivial. Hence this tutorial.

      • There’s a script that makes the GNOME launcher a bit more organised

        I follow a great many sources for news and one that popped up in my feed is the ‘gnome-dash-fix’ script. It sorts out the mess that is the GNOME application launcher.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zaphod – Kawabuntu!

        Let us continue with the spring season distro testing. Next on the menu: Kubuntu. After many years of offering bland, emotionless releases, we had a cautiously reasonable Yakkety Yak edition, so me hopes are high for today.

        And for today, we will examine the latest Kubuntu, which officially bears the name of Zesty Zapus, but once again, like my recent Ubuntu review, my version of the distro’s name is totally better. So allow me to ask thee, what is the answer to Linux, multiverse and constant forking?

      • Kubuntu 17.04 – the next generation

        As usual, Kubuntu 17.04 does not give you any surprises. It is stable and reliable. It is reasonably resource-hungry. There are no wonders in this new release. Just a well-rounded distribution for everyday use.

        Yes, there are small bugs or inconveniences here and there, but they are not huge and can be easily fixed, replaced or lived with. The biggest of them for me, of course, is the lack of multimedia codecs. You can heal that easily.

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Linux: Reliable and Up to Date, Geekdom Optional

        Regular readers can pretty much ignore this one. We’ll be back to cartoons, O’s baseball and the usual inanity soon, tomorrow in fact. I just wanted to revisit my dedication to Linux, prompted by a recent mixed bag of experiences that left me feeling even more positive about a relative newcomer to the distro scene: Manjaro.

        It all started a few days ago, when I decided to finally try to update the eight remaining Linux installs on my main desktop PC. I’ve been using Linux Mint (18.1 Cinnamon) as my daily driver for several months, originally in an attempt to keep my bandwidth usage to a reasonable level, and then due to inertia/lack of issues. I could have gone with my trusty Debian stable install, my go-to for years up till then, but I guess I was just getting bored.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Antoine Beaupré: My free software activities, April 2017
      • Derivatives

        • Raspbian PIXEL Fork Lets You Install and Run the Operating System on a PC or Mac

          After announcing the availability of new builds of his AndEX Nougat 7.1.1 Android-x86 fork that lets users run Android 7.1.1 on their PCs, now Arne Exton released a custom build of Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Raspbian PIXEL image.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Won’t Ship with Upstart and CGManager as Unity 8 Is Being Dropped

            Canonical’s Dimitri John Ledkov informs the Ubuntu Linux and Ubuntu Touch communities that the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system will drop support for the Upstart init daemon and CGManager project.

          • Oh Snap – to boldly package where no one has packaged before

            One of the great disadvantages of the Linux desktop is its software distribution mechanism. While the overall concept of central software repos works great and has been adapted into powerful Stores in commercial products, deploying and using programs, delivered as packages, is a tricky business. It stems from the wider fragmentation of the distro ecospace, and it essence, it means that if you want to release your product, you must compile it 150 odd ways, not just for different distributions but also for different versions of the same distribution. Naturally, this model scares away the big game.

            Recently though, there have been several attempts to make Linux packages more cross-distro and minimize the gap between distributions. The name of the game: Snap, and we’ve tasted this app-container framework before. It is unto Linux what, well, Windows stuff is unto Windows, in a way. Not quite statically compiled stuff, but definitely independent. I had it tested again in Ubuntu 17.04, and it would appear that Snap is getting more and more traction. Let’s have another look.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • There won’t be a Replicant 6.0 SDK because there is already something better

        And you can help making it accessible to more GNU/Linux users!

        We have decided not to create a Replicant 6.0 SDK as part of the upcoming Replicant 6.0 release. For three previous Replicant versions (2.2, 4.0 and 4.2), a SDK was provided.

        Replicant offered its own SDK because the Android SDK released by Google is distributed under a non-free license and suggests installing non-free plug-ins such as the Google APIs. For a long time, Replicant has provided the only Android SDK that is available under a free license and that doesn’t offer to install non-free software.

      • Halium is in the air!

        Over the years, various efforts have been made to bring GNU/Linux to mobile devices (for example Maemo, Meego, Mer, SailfishOS, Ubuntu Touch, Plasma Mobile). They have either achieved their individual goals or are working in direction of achieving them.

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Good Game: A switch to Android not as difficult as anticipated

          It’s not quite like learning a new language or how to ride a bike, but at times it does feel a little bit like both.

          After nearly 10 years of faithful Apple consumption — listening to iTunes, watching an Apple TV, reading iBooks — I did something completely unexpected this month: I made the leap from the neatly walled garden of Apple’s smartphone, smart watch and tablet and into the wilds of the loosely controlled world of Android gadgets.

          I could blame the change on a variety of must-need wearable, quasi-smart doodads, or virtual reality, or even an edge-to-edge screened smartphone that looks like you’re carrying a piece of the sky around in your pocket. But the real culprit for my leap of consumer faith isn’t one single Samsung product; it was an ecosystem of them.

        • The 50 Essential Android Apps (2017)
        • This Custom Android-x86 Build Puts Android 7.1.1 on Your PC, with Linux 4.11 RC7

          GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton was happy to announce the release of a new build of his custom built Android-x86 project that lets uses runs the latest Android mobile operating system on their personal computers.

Free Software/Open Source

  • ETSI announces the latest release of its Open Source MANO

    The ETSI Open Source MANO group (ETSI OSM) has announced OSM Release TWO. The standards body says this new release of its management and orchestration (MANO) work brings significant improvements in terms of interoperability, performance, stability, security and resources footprint to meet operators’ requirements for trials and upcoming RFx processes.

  • Anonymous Open Source Projects

    He made it clear he is not advocating for this view, just a thought experiment. I had, well, a few thoughts on this.

    I tend to think of open source projects in three broad buckets.

    Firstly, we have the overall workflow in which the community works together to build things. This is your code review processes, issue management, translations workflow, event strategy, governance, and other pieces.

    Secondly, there are the individual contributions. This is how we assess what we want to build, what quality looks like, how we build modularity, and other elements.

    Thirdly, there is identity which covers the identity of the project and the individuals who contribute to it. Solomon taps into this third component.

  • Ostatic and Archphile Are Dead

    I’ve been meaning to write about the demise of Ostatic for a month or so now, but it’s not easy to put together an article when you have absolutely no facts. I first noticed the site was gone a month or so back, when an attempt to reach it turned up one of those “this site can’t be reached” error messages. With a little checking, I was able to verify that the site has indeed gone dark, with writers for the site evidently losing access to their content without notice. Other than that, I’ve been able to find out nothing.

    Even the site’s ownership is shrouded in mystery. The domain name is registered to OStatic Inc, but with absolutely no information about who’s behind the corporation, which has a listed address of 500 Beale Street in San Francisco. I made an attempt to reach someone using the telephone number included in the results of a “whois” search, but have never received a reply from the voicemail message I left.

    Back in the days when FOSS Force was first getting cranked up, Ostatic was something of a goto site for news and commentary on Linux and open source. This hasn’t been so true lately, although Susan Linton — the original publisher of Tux Machines — continued to post her informative and entertaining news roundup column on the site until early February — presumably until the end. I’ve reached out to Ms. Linton, hoping to find out more about the demise of Ostatic, but haven’t received a reply. Her column will certainly be missed.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Outs VirtualBox 5.1.22 and 5.0.40 Maintenance Releases to Fix ALSA Issues

      Oracle released two new maintenance updates of its open-source and cross-platform virtualization software, VirtualBox 5.1.22 and VirtualBox 5.0.40, for all supported operating systems, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Windows.

      Both VirtualBox 5.1.22 and VirtualBox 5.0.40 are bugfix releases that come about ten days after the launch of the previous updates, in this case VirtualBox 5.1.20 and VirtualBox 5.0.38. They include pretty much the same changes with small exceptions.

    • Nantes Métropole releases open source tool for LibreOffice transition

      The French city of Nantes (Nantes Métropole) has released an open source tool used to schedule its migration to LibreOffice. The shift from commercial software to the free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite started in 2013 and is intended to save the administration EUR 260 000 per year. The transition was finalised in April 2016.

    • LibreOffice the better Office, really?
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • A fully open source satellite, new resources from the Linux Foundation, and more news
    • This Week In Creative Commons History

      Since I’m here at the Creative Commons 2017 Global Summit this weekend, I want to take a break from our usual Techdirt history posts and highlight the new State Of The Commons report that has been released. These annual reports are a key part of the CC community — here at Techdirt, most of our readers already understand the importance of the free culture licensing options that CC provides to creators, but it’s important to step back and look at just how much content is being created and shared thanks to this system. It also provides some good insight into exactly how people are using CC licenses, through both data and (moreso than in previous years) close-up case studies. In the coming week we’ll be taking a deeper dive into some of the specifics of the report and this year’s summit, but for now I want to highlight a few key points — and encourage you to check out the full report for yourself.

    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • HardwareX journal on open source hardware in science launched

        Scientific publishing house Elsevier has just launched the first issue of HardwareX, an open access journal on the free and open-source design, building and customising of scientific infrastructure (hardware). The journal says it is open to input from all scientific, technological and medical disciplines.

  • Programming/Development

    • A serious bug in GCC

      This post is to inform you about a bug in GCC that may cause memory (or other resource) leaks in your valid C++ programs.

    • [Older] Supporting Bangladesh’s software industry with Indian cooperation

      It’s worth noting that the word “free” in free/open-source software implies not just free of cost, but also freedom from commercial dependence upon multi-national software vendors.

      To emphasise this, the biography of Richard Stallman, the founder of the free software movement which ultimately produced the Linux operating system, is titled Free as in Freedom.

      In fact, it is impossible to run a modern government without computers; so it should not be acceptable that sovereign nations like Bangladesh be forever dependent on foreign IT vendors, especially when the Linux alternative offers both freedom and zero-cost.

Leftovers

  • You can buy a 1,000 pack of beer if you live in the right country

    Anyone who’s struggled to schlepp a thirty-rack of Miller High Life home from the local beer joint might start to feel some phantom back pain when they drink in this picture of a 1,000 pack of the Finnish beer Keisari Lager.

    That’s right—for some insane reason, a 1,000-pack of beer is currently on sale in a store somewhere in Finland.

  • Hardware

    • Looking at the Netgear Arlo home IP camera

      Most of the functionality of the base station is provided by two daemons, xagent and vzdaemon. xagent appears to be responsible for registering the device with the cloud service, while vzdaemon handles the camera side of things (including motion detection). All of this is running as root, so in the event of any kind of vulnerability the entire platform is owned. For such a single purpose device this isn’t really a big deal (the only sensitive data it has is the camera feed – if someone has access to that then root doesn’t really buy them anything else). They’re statically linked and stripped so I couldn’t be bothered spending any significant amount of time digging into them. In any case, they don’t expose any remotely accessible ports and only connect to services with verified SSL certificates. They’re probably not a big risk.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto has violated the basic human right to a healthy environment and food

      The upshot of the judges’ opinion? Monsanto has engaged in practices that have violated the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food, the right to health, and the right of scientists to freely conduct indispensable research.

    • America’s Other Drug Problem

      Every week in Des Moines, Iowa, the employees of a small nonprofit collect bins of unexpired prescription drugs tossed out by nursing homes after residents died, moved out or no longer needed them. The drugs are given to patients who couldn’t otherwise afford them.

      But travel 1,000 miles east to Long Island, New York, and you’ll find nursing homes flushing similar leftover drugs down the toilet, alarming state environmental regulators worried they’ll further contaminate the water supply.

    • Independent Monitor Faults New York State for Delays in Aiding Mentally Ill

      New York state’s failures in moving hundreds of mentally ill residents into more humane living conditions are worsening, plagued by delays and a potentially suspect evaluation process, according to a court-appointed monitor.

      Under the terms of a landmark settlement, the New York State Department of Health in 2014 was ordered to assess and then relocate residents of many of the state’s scandal-scarred adult homes — facilities that had for years been warehousing the mentally ill in squalid and often violent conditions. An independent monitor was installed as part of the settlement to ensure the state met its obligations to move residents into safer and better-supported housing arrangements.

    • New York Times refuses to use term ‘female genital mutilation’ for being ‘culturally loaded’

      Several conservative news outlets have criticised the New York Times for their use of the term “genital cutting” rather than “female genital mutilation” (FGM), after the newspaper said it would stop .using the latter term because it is “culturally loaded”.

    • Activist finds silence on genital mutilation case depressing, predictable

      All of this, the application of a politically correct filter by The New York Times, the avoidance of the issue by the left, even the destruction of female sexuality by ancient cultures, is political.

      And who suffers? Political wits and activists don’t suffer. Girls suffer.

  • Security

    • HardenedLinux: The way to the Ark

      We’ve been sharing some of our works on security practices ( STIG-4-Debian, Debian GNU/Linux profiles, etc) for servers running in data center. PaX/Grsecurity is the corner stone to most of our solutions. Evidences have revealed that PaX/Grsecurity can defeat multiple public exploits w/o any patch fixes in critical scenarios for a long run. With PaX/Grsecurity, for the 1st time we believe that we can build the defense based on free/libre & open source software/firmware solution to prevent many threats from Ring 3/0/-1/-2/-3. HardenedLinux is going to continue develop solutions of defense based on PaX/Grsecurity. From our point of view, we see no other option. Please remember this date: Apr 26 2017. This is the day we lost our Ark.

    • It’s Official: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) Linux OS Reached End of Life

      Canonical, through Adam Conrad, informed us today that the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system is now officially dead, reaching end of life on April 28, 2017.

      If you’re still using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on your desktop or server systems, it’s time to upgrade to a newer, supported release. You can choose to upgrade to either Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), which will be supported for two more years, until April 2019, or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), supported until April 2021.

    • Is there any way to truly secure Docker container contents?

      All this adds up to a lot of work, which is not taken care of for you by default in Docker. It is no surprise that many Docker images are insecure, given this picture. The unfortunate reality is that many Docker containers are running with known vulnerabilities that have known fixes, but just aren’t, and that’s sad.

    • Compromise recovery on Qubes OS

      Occasionally fuckups happen, even with Qubes (although not as often as some think).

      What should we – users or admins – do in such a situation? Patch, obviously. But is that really enough? What good is patching your system if it might have already been compromised a week earlier, before the patch was released, when an adversary may have learned of the bug and exploited it?

      That’s an inconvenient question for many of us – computer security professionals – to answer. Usually we would mutter something about Raising the Bar(TM), the high costs of targeted attacks, attackers not wanting to burn 0-days, or only nation state actors being able to afford such attacks, and that in case one is on their list of targets, the game is over anyway and no point in fighting. Plus some classic cartoon.

      While the above line of defense might work (temporarily), it really doesn’t provide for much comfort, long term, I think. We need better answers and better solutions. This post, together with a recently introduced feature in Qubes OS 3.2 and (upcoming) 4.0, is an attempt to offer such a solution.

    • Top 5 Kali Linux Pentest tools for WiFi/network and exploits
    • Linux/Shishiga Malware Brute-Forces SSH Credentials

      A new strain of Linux malware has been detected. Dubbed Linux/Shishiga, the malware could transform into a dangerous piece of malware. Linux/Shishiga was officially discovered and examined by researchers at Eset.

    • Cybercriminals have taken notice of leaked government spying techniques
    • Microsoft Closes Word/Wordpad Hole—6 Months after Report
    • [Older] The Pentagon’s Bug Bounty Program Should Be Expanded to Bases, DOD Official Says [iophk: "any version of Windows at all is inappropriate"]

      “About 75 percent of the devices that are control systems are on Windows XP or other nonsupported operating systems,” said Daryl Haegley, program manager for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment.

      [...]

      “A lot of these systems are still Windows 95 or 98, and that’s OK—if they’re not connected to the internet,” Haegley added.

    • Don’t Info Op Until You See The Whites of Their Eyes
    • CFP P70

      This is the official CFP for P70.

    • VM escape – QEMU Case Study

      In this paper, we provide a in-depth analysis of CVE-2015-5165 (a memory-leak vulnerability) and CVE-2015-7504 (a heap-based overflow vulnerability), along with working exploits. The combination of these two exploits allows to break out from a VM and execute code on the target host. We discuss the technical details to exploit the vulnerabilities on QEMU’s network card device emulation, and provide generic techniques that could be re-used to exploit future bugs in QEMU.

    • CIA’s anti-leaking tool leaked as ‘whistleblowers watch the watchers’

      Former MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon and retired US Army Colonel Ann Wright, who is also a retired US State Department official, shared their views on these and other questions with RT.

      On Friday, WikiLeaks released a series of documentations on a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) project known as ‘Scribbles,’ which was allegedly created to allow ‘web beacon’ tags to be embedded “into documents that are likely to be copied.”

      WikiLeaks began publishing a huge cache of secret documents on the CIA named ‘Vault 7’ in March.

    • Vault 7: CIA tool to track people through Word docs released

      The documentation says: “Scribbles (SCRIB) is a document watermarking tool that can be used to batch process a number of documents in a pre-seeded input directory. It generates a random watermark for each document, inserts that watermark into the document, saves all such processed documents in an output directory, and creates a log file which identifies the watermarks inserted into each document.”

      It says the tool was successfully tested on Office 2013 (on Windows 8.1 x64), documents from Office versions 97-2016 (Office 95 documents will not work!) and documents that are not locked forms, encrypted, or password-protected.

      There is a limitation to the Scribbles system: if a document that has the watermarks in it and is opened in OpenOffice, LibreOffice the watermark images and URLs may become visible.

    • The US Takes On the World in NATO’s Cyber War Games

      Last year, Capt. Sean Ruddy and his team of operator-soldiers from the US Cyber Brigade entered a Locked Shields, a NATO-organized cyber-defense war game that pits teams from dozens of countries against “live-fire” attacks. It was their first time. And of the 19 countries represented, the US finished dead last. This week, they got their shot at redemption.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • UK Parliament attacker was waging jihad: Report

      UK security services have managed to decode the last message sent out by Khalid Masood before he rammed his high- speed car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and stabbed to death a police officer at the gates of Parliament on March 22.

      [...]

      Details of the method used cannot be disclosed for security reasons, but sources said they now have the technical expertise to repeat the process in future.

    • The Middle East needs more than a visit from the Pope to stop Isis’s genocide of Christians

      It’s now a year since UK Parliament unanimously voted to declare Isis violence against Christians and other ethnic minorities in the Middle East as genocide – and yet these crimes against humanity continue unchallenged due to the perceived inactiveness of world leaders — from 10 Downing Street to the White House, the Kremlin, the Elysee and the United Nations.

    • NYT’s ‘Impossible to Verify’ North Korea Nuke Claim Spreads Unchecked by Media

      Buoyed by a total of 18 speculative verb forms—five “mays,” eight “woulds” and five “coulds”—New York Times reporters David E. Sanger and William J. Broad (4/24/17) painted a dire picture of a Trump administration forced to react to the growing and impending doom of North Korea nuclear weapons.

    • The North Korean Danger

      Military technology has moved on since the Vietnam war. The defeat of the United States by an army employing basic artillery and machine guns supplemented by creative use of bamboo, has left an indelible impression on the western psyche. But it is in many ways a false one. Many trillions of dollars have been spent since on military technology, and the gap in resources between the USA and most potential opponents is enormous.

      The effect of this technology gap is plain to see in recent conflicts. In Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya the conventional fighting was won extremely quickly. In Iraq really substantial Iraqi conventional forces, technologically rather more advanced than North Korean, were wiped out while they inflicted almost no damage. The Falklands War was also a striking instance of the difference between the most advanced and middle ranking military technology. The gap has grown since. Modern western military aircraft technology is very little vulnerable to the air defence systems that can be deployed against it.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Daniel Ellsberg: Trump Threat to WikiLeaks Is the ‘Nuclear Option’ Against the First Amendment

      “Obama having opened the legal campaign against the press by going after the roots of investigative reporting on national security — the sources — Trump is going to go after the gatherers/gardeners themselves (and their bosses, publishers). To switch the metaphor, an indictment of Assange is a ‘first use’ of ‘the nuclear option’ against the First Amendment protection of a free press. (By the way, the charges they’re reportedly considering against him — conspiracy, theft, and violation of the Espionage Act — are exactly the charges I faced in 1971.)

    • There Are No Rape Charges Against Julian Assange in Sweden. There Are Espionage Charges Against Julian Assange in the USA.

      A few months ago I asked Julian whether he expected that Donald Trump would end the case against him in the United States. WikiLeaks had after all published the DNC and Podesta emails, which revealed the corruption at the heart of the Clinton campaign and the way the Democratic primaries had been rigged against Bernie Sanders.

      Julian replied that no, he expected the opposite to be true. Trump would feel the need to be openly active against Assange to show that there had been no relationship between him and WikiLeaks. Julian was of course right, and Trump’s Attorney-General has announced that the United States wants to extradite Assange on charges of espionage related to the Snowden revelations of mass illegal government surveillance.

      It is worth noting that this is not really new. The Obama administration was sitting on sealed indictments against Assange for years. Obama prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other President in history. Having come to power promising to take action against senior CIA figures for waterboarding, the only person his Administration prosecuted – and jailed – over it was John Kiriakou for blowing the whistle on waterboarding.

      [...]

      The sexual allegations against Assange in Sweden have always been risible when considered in detail. The physical evidence against Assange is faked. The condom he allegedly wore and furtively ripped during intercourse with Anna Ardin contains none of his DNA – a physical impossibility had he worn it.

      Assange’s DNA is present in another condom provided by Sofia Wilen, but there is no dispute the pair had consensual sex with that condom. What is alleged is that after drowsing off post-coitus, Assange initiated sex a second time while Wilen was still, in her own words “half asleep”, so she was not able to give fully informed consent. Assange adamantly denies this.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Toxic algae on the rise as our oceans warm

      Some types of algae naturally produce toxins. When these algae grow rapidly, they create a bloom that can kill off other species in the same ecosystem. A number of species (including Alexandrium fundyense and Dinophysis acuminate) produces toxins that accumulate in shellfish. People who eat these shellfish can experience paralytic or diarrhetic shellfish poisoning. So these blooms can hurt aquatic ecosystems, fisheries, and people.

    • India and the Agricultural Economy

      There was the idea that contract farming might be a solution but even that was corrupted by Multi-national companies such as Pepsi and others that the Government is showing movement to have a “model contracting law” . There are loads of stories on downtoearth magazine which deals with the above and all sorts of issues the farmer faces.

  • Finance

    • Germany’s Migrant Crisis: ‘By 2060 There Will Be No Germany as We Know It’

      Earlier this year, Germany’s Rheinische Post newspaper published excerpts from a secret government report, showing that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to bring about 1.5 million Muslim migrants into the country between 2015 and 2016 was not a humanitarian gesture, but a deliberate attempt to slow the decline of Germany’s population, and maintain the viability of the German welfare state.

    • Italian police say Amazon has evaded 130 million euros of taxes

      The allegedly unpaid taxes refer to the period between 2011 and 2015, when Amazon (AMZN.O) made revenues of around 2.5 billion euros in Italy, the source said.

    • Fangs: the lightning rise of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google

      Facebook, Amazon, Neflix and Google have been roaring away since the turn of this year. Their share prices have climbed so far, so fast, that together they are now worth an extraordinary $250bn more than just four months ago.

      [...]

      Together the four firms are now valued on Wall Street at more than $1.5tn, about the same as the Russian economy.

    • ‘Many Banks Are Problematic, but Wells Fargo Is the Worst’

      Recently executives of Wells Fargo were forced to give back some of the money they personally made by coercing employees to open and charge fees on some 2 million accounts for people without their knowledge—with, it should not be forgotten, a target on low-income and African-American communities. Millions of Americans are still struggling with the impact of these predatory measures and their like. And let’s not forget, either, the more than 5,000 low-level employees Wells Fargo fired, as though they’d come up with the hyper-aggressive cross-selling goals themselves.

    • ‘1 Percent of Taxpayers Receive More Than the Bottom 80 Percent’

      The group ProPublica has exposed how efforts to make paying your taxes easy and free with a pre-filled filing from the government, as is done in parts of Europe, have been repeatedly derailed by vigorous lobbying from H&R Block and the makers of TurboTax. It’s a kind of icing on the cake of a tax system that many suspect is unfair and slanted against the little guy. But while we complain about tax policy as bureaucratic or baroque, the impact of that policy goes well beyond irritation.

    • Gina Miller raises £300,000 for candidates to oppose hard Brexit

      Gina Miller, the campaigner behind the successful supreme court Brexit challenge, has raised £300,000 in crowdfunding to directly support up to 100 pro-Europe candidates in her tactical voting election initiative.

      Miller confirmed she would not be standing for election but said the money would be given directly to candidates believed to have a chance of defeating politicians supporting Theresa May’s hard Brexit strategy.

    • Government cuts leading to Finnish brain drain

      New statistics show that highly educated professionals are currently leaving Finland at a far greater rate than they are moving to the country. Published in the journal Acatiimi, the figures show that Finland suffered a net loss of over 1,000 such professionals between 2005 and 2015.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • German FM refers to ‘nepotism’ regarding Ivanka Trump’s role

      “For me there are things that remain strange, like for example the visit of his daughter to Germany which was treated almost like a world event, while the mix of politics with family and business reminds us instead of nepotism and would be unimaginable here,” he said.

    • The Washington Post has a lobbyist as a writer. Here are 12 times they didn’t disclose conflicts of interest

      The Washington Post has repeatedly failed to inform readers about major financial conflicts of interest in pieces by opinion writer Ed Rogers. Rogers is a leading Republican lobbyist who has used his Post column to advocate for the interests of his firm’s clients without disclosure in at least a dozen instances since the beginning of 2016.

    • Facebook, for the first time, acknowledges election manipulation

      Without saying the words “Russia,” “Hillary Clinton,” or “Donald Trump,” Facebook acknowledged Thursday for the first time what others have been saying for months.

      In a paper released by its security division, the company said “malicious actors” used the platform during the 2016 presidential election as part of a campaign “with the intent of harming the reputation of specific political targets.”

    • China’s Angriest Newspaper Doesn’t Speak for China

      The problem is, it wasn’t the Chinese government issuing these statements; it was a market-driven tabloid that strives for exactly this sort of attention.

      China is home to nearly 2,000 newspapers — many of them state-owned to some degree and all of them subject to increasingly tight censorship — but few come close to exerting the influence abroad that the Global Times does. Established under the ownership of the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship paper, the People’s Daily, in 1993, the nationally circulated daily claims a Chinese readership of several million. Since 2009, there has also been an English edition that shares editorial content with the Chinese flagship. It has earned attention — and notoriety — in China and abroad for its hawkish editorials and has been labeled by Western observers as “China’s Fox News.”

    • Trump Is Finally Almost Done Resigning From His Businesses

      At a press conference before he took office, then-President-elect Donald Trump said he had signed paperwork “turning over complete and total control” of his business empire to his sons. His lawyer said the more than 400 businesses would be placed in a trust by Inauguration Day.

      Now, nearly 100 days later, he’s nearly fulfilled this promise.

    • Former Director of Anti-Immigration Group Set to Be Named Ombudsman at U.S. Immigration Agency

      A former director of an anti-immigration group, Julie Kirchner, is expected to be named as ombudsman to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the pending appointment.

      Kirchner was from 2005 to 2015 director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that has advocated for extreme restrictions on immigration.

      The ombudsman’s office at USCIS provides assistance to immigrants who run into trouble with the agency, such as immigration applications that take too long to process or applications that may have been improperly rejected. The ombudsman also prepares an annual report for Congress in which they can issue audits and policy recommendations without consulting with USCIS in advance.

    • WaPo Can Identify ‘Far Right’ in France–but in White House, It’s ‘Conservative’

      There are no major ideological differences between White House strategist Steve Bannon and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Yet it seems that the Washington Post considers them to be very different. According to the Post, Bannon and his backers are “conservatives.” Le Pen and her National Front, meanwhile, are “far right.”

      Of course, the whole notion that Bannon is “conservative” is ludicrous on its face. A typical “conservative” would not boast of being a “Leninist” who “want[s] to destroy the state [and] … bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Imagine a conservative who provides a media “platform for the alt-right,” which includes white supremacists, xenophobes, and neo-Nazis. Conservatives generally don’t find compelling the writings of the notorious French antisemite and Nazi collaborator Charles Maurras, or the fascist Italian writer Julius Evola, who believed that Mussolini was too soft and should have ruled more like Adolf Hitler.

    • Here’s Why We Shouldn’t Laugh at Donald Trump’s 100-Day Faceplant

      I’d say it means that something has gone incredibly wrong with this country’s political system, that large numbers of us are desperate, and are willing to hand over power to absolutely anyone. That’s brings us to the peculiar reality that it’s not just Obama and Trump’s elections that had something significant in common, it’s likely their presidencies.

    • Theresa May’s Fake “Meetings”

      I was delighted that the Metro newspaper conducted a sober appraisal of my statement that Tory policies are identical in most important respects to the BNP manifesto of 2005, and found I was right. You might imagine that might cause May’s advisers at least to try to make her meetings not look like BNP gatherings. But evidently they have decided it is more important to continue to prioritise the racist vote. The are banking on it being all white on election night.

      May meets nobody except ardent Tories or those in no position to argue – employees of companies in their workplace or tenants. It is appalling abuse of power.

      May is simply refusing to participate in democracy – which involves candidates being open to question and debate. There is really little point in having an election of this kind. Which presumably explains this question being asked in YouGove’s current political poll.

    • At Reuters, ‘Not Refuting’ Is the Same as ‘Seeing’

      “I am not refuting that”? How does that translate into “General…Sees Russia Sending Weapons to Taliban”? If NASA tells Reuters that they can’t refute speculation that there might be life on Mars, will Reuters run a story headlined “NASA Sees Life on Mars”? That would be a scoop!

      Ali writes that Nicholson’s no-comment comments “are among the strongest suggestions yet that Moscow is providing arms to the Taliban.” Maybe next time Reuters could wait for a somewhat stronger suggestion—involving actual evidence, perhaps—before running a story that could inflame the new Cold War.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Snowden takes a bow for whistleblowing after NSA pulls back surveillance

      Before Friday, the NSA had a policy of sucking up texts and emails exchanged between Americans and people outside the U.S., with impunity, if those communications even mentioned non-American targets of NSA surveillance. The agency did not require a warrant to collect this information.

      But the NSA announced Friday that it would no longer participate in this form of collection. Snowden counted that as a win for whistleblowing.

      Snowden is the former NSA contractor who leaked documents about the agency’s spying programs and techniques to several journalists and news outlets in 2013.

    • NSA Is Cutting Major Surveillance Program

      The National Security Agency is set to halt one of its most controversial practices: the ability to track and read any email or text, from an American to someone overseas, provided it mentions an NSA target overseas.

      Instead, it will only track direct communications with that target, the agency said in a statement. And it “will delete the vast majority” of data already collected in such operations.

    • The End of the NSA’s ‘About’ Searches Is Just the Beginning

      The NSA is stopping its use of one controversial surveillance technique that impacts Americans’ privacy.

      Make no mistake. This is good news for anyone who wants government surveillance to follow the law. But there’s much more to be done to rein in unconstitutional spying.

      Initially reported by The New York Times today and confirmed by the agency itself, the NSA will no longer conduct “about” searches of the full content of Internet communications, including to and from innocent Americans, that are “about” — or mention — a foreign intelligence target’s email address or other identifier. The NSA said the changes were a result of “inadvertent compliance incidents,” or violations of court-imposed restrictions.

    • AFP admits illegally accessing journo’s phone records

      The Australian Federal Police has admitted that it illegally obtained the phone records of an unnamed journalist, thus violating the new metadata regime put in place by the Coalition government in 2015.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Wife of jailed Saudi blogger appeals to Merkel

      Badawi, 33, was arrested in 2012 for criticising the Saudi religious police in an online forum and was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.

      “I hope the chancellor will directly ask the Saudi leaders to pardon him,” Haider told DPA by phone from Canada, where she lives with the couple’s three children.

    • Saudi Arabia’s ‘Lavish’ Gift to Indonesia: Radical Islam

      Accompanied by a 1,500-strong entourage, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz arrived in Indonesia on March 1 for a nine-day gala tour. He was welcomed warmly not only as the monarch of one of the world’s richest countries, but as the custodian of Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina.

      While appearing to be taking a holiday rather than embarking on an official state visit — the 81-year-old sovereign spent six days at a resort in Bali — the king had some serious business to attend to. In what was advertised as an effort to promote “social interaction” between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia — with His Majesty announcing a billion-dollar aid package, unlimited flights between the two countries and the allotment of 50,000 extra spots per year for Indonesian pilgrims to make the hajj to Mecca and Medina – it seems as if the real purpose of the trip was to promote and enhance Salafism, an extremist Sunni strain, in the world’s largest Muslim country, frequently hailed in the West as an example of a moderate Islamic society.

    • Michigan lawmaker proposes bill banning Sharia Law [iophk: "Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn, is thus in favor of sharia"]
    • Philippines: Release and Protect “Secret Jail” Detainees

      Human Rights Watch research has exposed a damning pattern of unlawful police conduct in these killings, designed to paint a veneer of legality over summary executions. Many of the 3,271 killings the police attribute to “vigilantes” are in fact death-squad style extrajudicial executions by police and police agents.

    • [Older] Women in tightly-fitted clothes as dangerous as AIDS, says female cleric

      In a statement that is ought to stir a hornets’s nest, a Muslim woman cleric on Friday said that women who wear tightly-fitted clothes are like pollutants who cause harm to to the society. The cleric went on to blame ‘such women’ for increased incidents of rape in the country and said that such women are as dangerous to the society as is the disease of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

    • Malaysia: 11-year-old amputee dies after alleged abuse by school warden
    • Public defender lambastes judicial ruling to not fix flawed court software

      The public defender’s office in Alameda County, California, has recently appealed a local judge’s recent rejection of its demands to fix an upgraded court software. That software led to the unconstitutional and erroneous jailing of some of its clients.

      “These delays and errors violate Government Code § 69844’s express requirement that Superior Court clerks enter judicial orders ‘forthwith,’ as well as the constitutional right to a complete and accurate record on appeal and the Fourth Amendment prohibition upon unlawful arrests and illegal searches,” Charles Denton, an assistant public defender, wrote in his April 10 brief.

      Denton largely reprised many of the same arguments that his office made when he appeared before the Superior Court.

      As Ars reported in December 2016, the Alameda County Superior Court switched from a decades-old courtroom management software to a much more modern one on August 1, 2016. Known as Odyssey Court Manager, the new management software is made by Tyler Technologies.

      However, since then, the public defender’s office has filed approximately 2,000 motions informing the court that, due to its reportedly imperfect software, many of its clients have been forced to serve unnecessary jail time, be improperly arrested, or even wrongly registered as sex offenders.

    • Can whistleblowers be recognized as refugees?

      In early July 2013, just over a week after his arrival in Russia and less than a month after the first details of his revelations about mass government surveillance were published, Edward Snowden applied for asylum in 21 different countries.

      One of these applications was to Germany, whose government turned the whistleblower down on the grounds that the “preconditions” for asylum had not been met. The United States, after all, was a democratic country with a strong rule of law, then-Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said, and anyway Germany had an extradition agreement with it.

      But many German people felt differently, and within months campaigns had sprung up calling on the government to grant the former NSA contractor asylum. Tens of thousands of people even bought stickers for their front doors offering “a bed for Snowden,” should he make it to German soil.

    • EFF Urges Further Reforms for California’s Unfair Gang Databases
    • The ACLU Is at the UN Tomorrow to Testify on the Horrific Human Rights Record of US Private Prison Companies

      On April 13, private prison company GEO Group announced its first new contract to detain immigrants under the Trump administration: a 1,000-bed detention center that will be built in Conroe, Texas, just north of Houston and next door to an existing GEO Group detention center.

      The Conroe contract is only the beginning of what promises to be an enormous, multi-year boondoggle for private prison companies. Since Trump’s election, companies like GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America — which last year borrowed a tactic from the likes of Phillip Morris and Blackwater to rebrand itself CoreCivic — have seen their stock prices skyrocket.

    • Federal Court Calls Trump’s Threats to Defund Sanctuary Cities Unconstitutional

      For months, the Trump administration has tried to bully local communities into signing up to become extensions of the federal deportation system. That campaign of threats and public shaming based on flawed data — which has been mostly unsuccessful — suffered another major blow yesterday. A federal court in San Francisco ruled in two cases that the president’s threats were unconstitutional, and stopped the government from carrying them out anywhere in the country. The ruling vindicates the constitutional rights of cities, counties, and states to refuse to participate in deportations. And like the court orders halting the president’s Muslim ban, the ruling shows the crucial role that courts play in preventing presidential overreach.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai isn’t helping engineers or innovators by walking back net neutrality

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai casts the debate as “lawyers and bureaucrats” (evil) versus “engineers, technologists and businesses” (good). By lumping the latter three into a single category, he obscures the fact that the engineers and technologists largely support regulation of the businesses that have been stifling, not stimulating, advancement in Internet technology.

    • Here’s What Comes Next in the Fight to Save Net Neutrality

      Once Pai’s notice is approved, which is likely to happen at the FCC’s open meeting May 18, the public will have 60 days to file comments. Then people will have another 30 days to respond to the comments.

    • The Worst Lies From Yesterday’s Anti-Net Neutrality Speech

      Of all the points contained in Pai’s rant, four particularly egregious lies stood out to us.

    • The ‘Fix’ for Net Neutrality That Consumers Don’t Need

      While killing net neutrality may be rolled out with specious promises of “free video,” there is nothing here for ordinary people. Lowering prices is just not something that cable or phone companies will do except under pressure. Instead, the repeal of net neutrality will simply create ways for cable and phone companies to tax the web and increase your broadband bill. Raise your hand if that sounds enticing.

    • Gutting Net Neutrality Is A Win For Conservative Media

      With the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now in Republican hands, it has moved quickly to reverse rules that guarantee free and open access to the internet, giving conservative media outlets exactly what they have been asking for.

    • What happens when ‘Net Neutrality’ becomes ‘Pay-To-Play’? [iophk: "same warning goes for use of FB in place of e-mail to organize"]

      “Organizing the Women’s March on Washington would have been much harder without Net Neutrality. We may not even have been able to afford it.”

    • Ajit Pai Is Siding With the Oligarchy — and Misleading Trump’s Base

      I can go through all the ways in which Pai’s fanfare of dog-whistle blasts is completely inaccurate as a matter of both law and reality. (“The internet is the greatest free-market success story in history!” “Regulation has led to a decrease in investment!”) But I won’t reach anyone who doesn’t already agree with me. And I won’t persuade Pai, who seems determined to be a free-marketeer politician, poised to run for the governor of something, someday.

      So the only thing I can think to do that might make a difference is to tell you what happens in those small towns and poorer areas— the places Pai claims have been harmed by Title II — when no one in the federal government is brave enough to say that high-speed internet access should be subject to genuine government oversight and strong industrial policy, aimed at constraining and channeling the otherwise overwhelming power of private companies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

High Courts in the United States Still Neither Grappling/Interfering With PTAB Nor Overturning Alice

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In spite of massive efforts and relentless lobbying by the patent microcosm, things remain as they are

Dennis Crouch at the University of Houston Law Center
Photo credit: University of Houston Law Center

Summary: In spite of unprecedented pressure from Watchtroll, Dennis Crouch (above) and other prominent elements of the patent microcosm in the United States, software patents continue to enjoy no backing from the courts while the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) accelerates its crackdown on such patents

WHEN it comes to software patents, the US is no longer the place to be. China might be it and as the EPO mimics China — as disturbing as that may be also in the human rights aspect — patent law firms now openly say that it’s easier to get (and/or defend) software patents in Europe than it is in the US.

“…patent law firms now openly say that it’s easier to get (and/or defend) software patents in Europe than it is in the US.”Over the past 3 years we have been writing a lot about Alice — the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision that ended a lot of software patents in the US. For software patents to withstand a court’s scrutiny (the higher, the harder) has become the exception rather than the norm. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has just reaffirmed this position (late on Friday). There is still no sign — however remote — that SCOTUS will revisit a case like Alice, but sites like Watchtroll work hard lobbying for such a thing to happen. We last gave an example of that approximately one week ago. Just escalated up to SCOTUS were a bunch of cases that involve no software patents at all; there was also Sandoz v Amgen. Managing IP wrote that “[o]n April 26, the US Supreme Court got its first chance to hear arguments over the biosimilars patent dance.”

“Over the past 3 years we have been writing a lot about Alice — the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision that ended a lot of software patents in the US.”This case is important, but it doesn’t concern us because we tend to focus on abstract patents.

Meanwhile, at CAFC, it has become “more difficult for a patentee to obtain injunctive relief even after winning its infringement lawsuit,” Patently-O asserts. To quote:

The court here appears to shift this from a four-factor test to a four-element test. The result of this decision is that it becomes incrementally even more difficult for a patentee to obtain injunctive relief even after winning its infringement lawsuit and defending against validity challenges. I also expect that any analysis of the historical equitable factors (the approach suggested by eBay) will recognize that this holding is incorrect.

When it comes to CAFC, Patently-O‘s founder (Crouch) is still eager to slow things down. That’s just regressive. He does not like PTAB, as it eliminates many bogus patents that he and the microcosm make a living from. Patently-O recently found another way to waste time of CAFC and PTAB, exploiting a misleading headline and cherry-picking of cases (the headline is factually incorrect). “In this nonprecedential decision by Judge Chen,” Crouch wrote, “the Federal Circuit has partially-vacated and remanded – finding that the Board (PTAB) had failed to explain its obviousness decision.”

“When it comes to CAFC, Patently-O‘s founder (Crouch) is still eager to slow things down.”But this is the exception, not the norm. Crouch should amend his headline and ‘remand’… ;-)

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court gets mentioned by Patently-O in relation to CAFC’s dismissal of appeals. Parasites that can’t stop throwing crappy software patents at the system (even after Alice) are wasting everybody’s time and Patently-O continues to object by saying:

Certainly, if the PTAB had issued its judgment without opinion, the Federal Circuit would have immediately vacated that decision. However, the appellate court suggests that the rules of opinion writing should not be self applied.

The Federal Circuit (CAFC) has very limited resources, so dealing with thousands of appeals in an exhaustive fashion, e.g. with written determinations, would be impractical. There were some reports last year which said that CAFC had been flooded with a PTAB ‘scatterback’; not everything merits an opinion, especially when utterly dumb patents are subjected to scrutiny without the profit motive of the USPTO.

“The Federal Circuit (CAFC) has very limited resources, so dealing with thousands of appeals in an exhaustive fashion, e.g. with written determinations, would be impractical.”CAFC has far more important matters to look after. For instance, here is a new “report” from IAM that deals with the famous MedCo v Mylan case:

The Federal Circuit has reversed a decision that Mylan Inc’s proposed generic version of a drug infringed one of two patents owned by the Medicines Company (MedCo v Mylan, Fed Cir 2017). In doing so, it revised the district court’s claim construction to import a non-limiting example from the specification to define the pivotal term – ‘efficient mixing’ – based on its determination that the example provided the “only clear delineation” of the “scope of the term”.

In this case, what’s at stake is a large lawsuit that impacts lives (generics), not just reassessment by PTAB. It makes sense for PTAB to focus on cases such as these.

“Perhaps the moral of this whole story is that we need to protect PTAB’s functionality and allow CAFC to deal with oppositions quickly enough, typically reaffirming PTAB’s decision to invalidate (about 80% of the time, based on last year’s and this year’s statistics).”Another new IAM “report”, this one about the Canadian Supreme Court and Canada’s CIPO, says that the Canadian “Patent Office instructs examiners to disregard Supreme Court precedent…”

So it’s more or less like the USPTO, which continues to grant some software patents in spite of Alice, necessitating further scrutiny by PTAB or the courts (which typically invalidate these pretty quickly).

Perhaps the moral of this whole story is that we need to protect PTAB’s functionality and allow CAFC to deal with oppositions quickly enough, typically reaffirming PTAB’s decision to invalidate (about 80% of the time, based on last year’s and this year’s statistics).

“The demise of software patents is essential for the wellbeing of the US software industry, the businesses which actually employ programmers (except those who just prey on successful companies by suing them with software patents, e.g. IBM and Microsoft).”It’s not hard to understand why Patently-O keeps meddling and interfering in these processes. Just look who’s running the blog. It’s not an entirely objective person (far from it, yet he called his blog “the nation’s leading patent law blog”). The articles are vastly dominated by authors with law degrees and no industrial experience.

Citing the America Invents Act (AIA, which brought PTAB), here is Patently-O bemoaning CBM (covered business method) reviews. Just because patents on business methods are coming under growing scrutiny in the United States doesn’t mean there’s some injustice; quite the contrary. The US is finally — if not belatedly — cracking down on overpatenting (the same thing which happens at the EPO under Battistelli right now). Apparently the EFF has already weighed in as follows:

Two additional amicus briefs have also been filed supporting the petition. EFF argues (1) that the panel decision contorts the statutory text; and (2) ignored the consideration of deference to an agency’s interpretation of its governing statute. Clearing House Payments Company and Financial Services Roundtable joined together and argue (1) CBM institution rates are alredy down; and (2) the case allows artful claim drafting to effectively avoid CBM. (The artful drafting issue is largely moot since CBM will sunset in September 2020).

The key here is interpretation of Section 18(d)(1) of the America Invents Act that limits the scope of Covered Business Method Reviews to patents “that claim[] a method or corresponding apparatus for performing data processing or other operations used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service.” Does the statute require that the claim include the financial product or service use? Note here that the argument is not based upon a statute codified in the United States Code since it is only a temporary provision that will sunset after three more years.

2020 is the year of the next US election. We certainly hope that under Trump there will be no challenge made to Alice or a case like it (or Section 101). The demise of software patents is essential for the wellbeing of the US software industry, the businesses which actually employ programmers (except those who just prey on successful companies by suing them with software patents, e.g. IBM and Microsoft).

Hailo and Qualcomm Both Want to Profit From Software Patents Rather Than Actual Products

Posted in America, Apple, EFF, Patents at 5:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hailo lawsuits guaranteed

Hailo lawsuits

Summary: The (mis)use of software patents for “easy money” is being challenged and it does not look particularly encouraging to those who rely on such patents in 2017

THE resurgence of software patents in Europe, due to the EPO‘s abhorrent attitude (the management not obeying the law), is a very serious issue, but it’s one that we regularly cover. In the US, for example, the sheer abundance of software patents (granted before Alice) continues to feed patent trolls and other parasites. It’s destroying the industry.

The momentum against software patents may have been lost (albeit courts continue to squash these) and sometimes we see both software patents and patent trolls tackled at the same time. “Stupid Patents of the Month,” for instance, are now these patents which the EFF mentions as follows:

With all the attention ride-sharing has been getting lately, some might think Uber and Lyft were highly inventive apps. But according to at least one company, the apps are just highly infringing. Who’s right? Probably neither.

Hailo Technologies, LLC (“Hailo”) has recently sued both Uber and Lyft, alleging they infringed Hailo’s taxi dispatch patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,973,619 (“the ’619 patent”). The patent claims a method for a “computer system” that: (1) displays a list of transportation options; (2) asks the customer for a number of passengers; (3) shows destinations graphically; (4) displays the approximate fare; (5) calls a selected taxi company up for a ride; and (6) gives an estimated arrival time. A few months ago, Hailo also sued a few other companies for infringing a different patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,756,913 (“the ’913 patent”), which claims a method for keeping track of available taxis on the road. More specifically, it claims a method where a computer (1) determines if a taxi is free (i.e. currently has no rider); and if free (2) sends the current location of the taxi to the taxi dispatch server.

We looked up details about Hailo Technologies and found nothing except the above lawsuit and prior ones. As it turns out, Hailo has been around for a number of years (there are even puff pieces about it) and “Hailo Technologies” is its trolling alter-ego. The patent goes back to 1999 and is a software patent that’s not just obvious (see the EFF’s explanation) but is also meritless after Alice. The EFF says the patent is on “a method where a computer (1) determines if a taxi is free (i.e. currently has no rider); and if free (2) sends the current location of the taxi to the taxi dispatch server.”

This is the same thing taxi companies already did with or without a computer prior to the patent. Nothing innovative here…

We feel pretty safe to guess that Hailo walks on broken glass here. We predict these patents will be invalidated soon.

Qualcomm’s Glasses Shattered

The following chart is almost self explanatory. As soon as Apple said it would stop paying Qualcomm the following thing happened.

Hailo lawsuits

Notice the volume in this chart. There’s a massive panic.

Expect more of the above from Qualcomm, which is seeing erosion in 'protection' money. It’s already way below its 52-week high. Apple has apparently stopped paying, sending Qualcomm’s stock into a tailspin on Friday (down almost 5% in just one hour). Having sent Florian Müller a couple of links about it (also included in our daily links), yesterday he published “Qualcomm reduces quarterly forecast by $500 million as Apple stops license fee payments” and said:

Bloomberg reports that Apple confirms having “suspended [license fee] payments [via its contract manufacturers in China to Qualcomm] until the correct [fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory = FRAND] amount can be determined by the court” and that Qualcomm therefore has reduced its revenue forecast for the quarter ending June by $500 million. Given that the spring quarter is not the strongest one for mobile phones (the closest the next iPhone model is, the more customers wait until they buy), this indicates more than a $2 billion impact on Qualcomm’s annual revenue and profit.

Just like the analyst quoted by Bloomberg, I’ve previously described patent disputes as an “all-out war,” but I try to use the term sparingly. I’m not saying that’s not what it is. I just want to wait and see how the dispute unfolds. There can be no doubt, however, that the stakes are high.

The $500 million figure for a quarter that is not the strongest one of the year is not really inconsistent with what I recently estimated to be Qualcomm’s royalty demands.

Qualcomm is a parasite which we hope will lose even if we don’t generally support Apple. What’s at stake here is FRAND with software patents. Qualcomm needs to justify its existence by making actual products, not just taxing products.

“Spectator” and “The Patent Scam” (New Site/Movie) Tackle the Patent Trolls Epidemic

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Patent Scam

Summary: The mainstream criticism of patent trolls, culminating even in movies like “The Patent Scam” and others, might be enough to sway public opinion on the subject

FOR a number of months, especially since last year, we have mentioned that Singapore was already attracting a lot of patent trolls. One example was Creative, which made and sold products in the distant past and is now trying to convert almost-expired patents into cash. According to IAM, the Singaporean patent office (IPOS) wants more of the same, as one might expect from an office which wants to justify its operations and is apathetic towards industry (like the EPO, which took this to a whole new level, just like SIPO in China).

“Patent trolls have troubled just about everyone except the patent microcosm, as the patent microcosm profits from them. Team UPC, for example, happily promotes patent trolls. So do publishers like IAM, who even receive cash from patent trolls and organise whitewashing events for them.”Under its current leadership, the USPTO has managed to drive many patent trolls out of business. It’s not a coincidence; the epidemic of patent trolls visibly troubled Director Lee. She spoke about it. No wonder industry supports her, unlike the patent microcosm.

Patent trolls have troubled just about everyone except the patent microcosm, as the patent microcosm profits from them. Team UPC, for example, happily promotes patent trolls. So do publishers like IAM, who even receive cash from patent trolls and organise whitewashing events for them.

Spectator, which is widely read, published the article “Patent Trolls Don’t Care About the Law” a few days ago. This article was promoted by the publisher and by United for Patent Reform [1, 2, 3]. “An ugly cynicism underrides their bottom-feeding efforts to claim patent infringement,” the publisher said in the summary and a comparison is made to scum-sucking fish. See the accompanying photo. Here is a portion from this article:

Defense of today’s patent system can be a difficult job. At its best, the system can encourage innovation, protect the sacred rights of inventors, and do it highly effectively. At its worst, it falls prey to loopholes and day-to-day issues that make it fertile ground for abuse and negligence. Not to mention, it arguably is reliant on one of the least competent regulatory agencies in the entire federal bureaucracy and sometimes seems to provide more protection to trial lawyers, university administrators, and other infamous sucklers at the rent-seeking teat than it does to actual inventors.

Small wonder, then, that those trying to defend the system in an unreconstructed form usually resort to accusing their opponents (falsely) of being against patents, or even intellectual property altogether, as if this is a debate over first principles, rather than what sort of system can best serve those first principles, and how to tweak the current one in pursuit of that.

However, say this for the patent system’s most strident defenders: A good number of them do seem to care deeply about the first principles in law and policy they purport to champion. Sadly, this often fails to ennoble them, rather reducing them to unwitting apologists for people who share none of their deeply held moral, legal, or political views.

Why? Because the people who benefit most unjustly from the present patent system lack principles entirely. I refer to non-practicing entities (NPEs), known colloquially as patent trolls, a group of firms that exist purely to register patents and then accuse actual inventors of violating them, all while demanding that people who actually invented the things they claim to have patented should pay them for the privilege of doing what they were unable or unwilling to do. In other words, this is an industry that makes its money through the sleaziest mix of nuisance lawsuits, legal intimidation, and pervasive disingenuousness.

Patent trolls have thankfully become a widely-recognised issue, but the only downside is that many people lost sight of the problem which is software patents (that trolls tend to rely on).

“Patent trolls have thankfully become a widely-recognised issue, but the only downside is that many people lost sight of the problem which is software patents (that trolls tend to rely on).”There is a new site/movie called “The Patent Scam”. “Come watch a screening of the patent scam and join a policy discussion on patent trolls,” said a promotion from Engine, “hosted by Julie Samuels.” (its President; slightly modified quote).

Unified Patent Propaganda Courtesy of a Cabal of Firms That Constructed the UPC

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From IAM’s Web site, which promotes the UPC

IAM events

Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC), a proposed patent litigation system which would harm European industry for the benefit of law firms and their largest clients (abroad), is only being boosted by few selfish and patently dishonest stakeholders, including/enjoying the EPO's massive PR/lobbying budget (FTI Consulting)

THE UPC is not happening. It’s definitely not happening in the UK, which means that the whole thing as it stands cannot become a reality (Germany won't ratify). But with lobbying muscle, Team UPC believes, anything can be accomplished, even the impossible. By lying to politicians or intentionally misleading them about the law, Team UPC hopes they can be compelled to sign truly ridiculous things. Defiance of the law can be tolerated when the ends supposedly justify the means?

“By lying to politicians or intentionally misleading them about the law, Team UPC hopes they can be compelled to sign truly ridiculous things.”The “UPC [is] Delayed”, wrote the patent microcosm in Cologne, Germany. But why just “delayed”? For the time being it’s dead and there is no redemption. If the “unitary” effect (or patent) cannot happen in the UK, then they need to rewrite the whole thing, maybe even abandon it altogether. Team UPC knows that it needs to be rewritten, then rebranded. It’s already working on it. To be fair, the claim comes from “IP Fridays” which titled its latest episode “Interview with Jeannie Hill – SEO For Brand Owners – UPC Delayed – Important FCJ Decision Regarding Nullity Actions” and not too shockingly the claims of “delay” come from the patent microcosm. They still try hard to maintain the illusion of inevitability. There are deep vested interests.

“It’s like those apathetic politicians who outright dismissed the possibility of Brexit back in 2015.”Kingsley Egbuonu, writing for Managing IP from London, maintains the “progress report” headline in his periodic writings about the UPC. To him (like others inside the echo chamber), the very concept of UPC failing is unthinkable. It’s like those apathetic politicians who outright dismissed the possibility of Brexit back in 2015. Their assumptions say a lot about their smugness and confidence. This led them and many others to a total catastrophe.

The other day Managing IP mentioned the petition against UPC in the UK, whereupon I challenged their ridiculing tone. “We’re publicising the petition,” they told me. “And we’re not linked to Battistelli or lobbyists for UPC.” Well, they did a lot of puff pieces for and about Battistelli; they also helped organise many UPC echo chambers (we wrote about these many times). “Your coverage of the UPC never really explained the pitfalls of it,” I told them. “Never that I can recall…”

“Previously, UPC events from IAM were funded by the EPO’s PR firm and supported explicitly by the EPO.”They gave a list of articles from 2011 and 2014 that mentioned issues with the UPC. I then asked them: “What happened after that? Not seen any recently. All the recent ones are more like cheerleading dressed up as journalism. Not even the BoA/AMBA was allowed to speak about these matters; only Battistelli — repeatedly even.”

“Once UPC was agreed,” they responded. “we made a decision to focus on looking at practical issues, rather than re-hashing old arguments about its merits…”

I clarified that UPC was “agreed among few special interests in echo chamber-like events, not the public…”

“However,” they added, “we have also given space to voices critical of UPC & Unitary Patent, eg in Spain & Poland http://www.managingip.com/Article/3501282/Unitary-Patent-and-UPC-the-state-of-play.html …”

“We worry that a lot of the pro-UPC voices these days are disguised as journalists (or as “bloggers”) but are actually little more than self-serving lobbyists.”“It’s true that we have sought interviews with AMBA (not specifically on UPC),” they then said, “and permission was refused by the EPO president.” We have highlighted this separately because we deemed it very important. It’s rather troubling that Battistelli is now controlling the media like this. It serves to also demonstrate that Battistelli lies when he claims that BoA (or AMBA) have independence. He wants them redundant and muzzled at the same time.

“Well,” Managing IP concluded, “we do what we think is most appropriate & useful for our readers. Can’t speak for others.”

Well, the readers are the patent microcosm, so it’s not particularly shocking that there is pro-UPC bias there.

“Just because some false reports (factually incorrect) about it have emerged there recently (citing/quoting Team UPC) doesn’t mean it will become true…”Meanwhile, over at IAM (EPO-connected), it is made apparent that UPC jingoism continues to spread. “Another major development that could alter the risk landscape for Korean companies,” they wrote, is “the Unitary Patent and UPC system in Europe #IPBCKorea pic.twitter.com/epvcuMyzh1″ (that’s a photo right there).

The UPC isn’t happening as they claimed in this IAM event in Korea (Team Battistelli recently lied about it in Korea). Previously, UPC events from IAM were funded by the EPO's PR firm and supported explicitly by the EPO.

We worry that a lot of the pro-UPC voices these days are disguised as journalists (or as "bloggers") but are actually little more than self-serving lobbyists. It leads to somewhat of a bubble. A couple of days ago someone wrote: “Let’s hope that the CJEU does not act like this in references from the UPC. ”

“UPC is disturbing not just because of its intended effects on the economy but also its corrupting effect on media, politicians, and so on.”But the UPC isn’t happening, partly because of the CJEU. What’s so hard to grasp here? Here is Team UPC trying to shift attention from the deal-breaking UK and instead focus on the Isle of Man again, citing the same erroneous ‘report’ as before. Just because some false reports (factually incorrect) about it have emerged there recently (citing/quoting Team UPC) doesn’t mean it will become true, as we noted the other day. It’s self-referential.

UPC is disturbing not just because of its intended effects on the economy but also its corrupting effect on media, politicians, and so on. Firms like Bristows, for instance, seem to be manufacturing/relaying non-existent quotes and based on this new report from Managing IP, lies pay off because “UK IP firm Bristows has hired a team of nine IP practitioners from London rival Berwin Leighton Paisner.”

“…when it comes to UPC, we have learned, lies pay.”Do these new employees understand that their new employer is full of liars? They’re antidemocratic. They mislead. They cheat. How can they get away with it?

Well, when it comes to UPC, we have learned, lies pay. Aeschylus, the father of tragedy, said: “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

We’re here to correct that as no matter how many times Team UPC is told that it’s wrong, it will nonchalantly continue with the same lies, e.g. about SMEs.

Twitter Shadowbans Critics of the EPO Now?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Erdoğan and EPO

Summary: Criticise the EPO’s European Inventor Award 2017 (in a way that becomes visible), get shadowbanned by Twitter (rendering this criticism invisible)

THE EPO has long been censoring people. The EPO cannot tolerate criticism. It has been blocking Techrights for a number of years, it blocked IP Kat for criticism of the EPO (whereupon the criticism ended), it muzzled staff representatives many times, quarantined/deleted E-mails from the unions, sent me threatening letters (apparently it did this to others too), and as we showed yesterday, it also spiked a press interview with AMBA. How far does this censorship regime extend? It’s hard to tell. We suspect that censorship of media (like TV) has become routine, which makes the EPO a lot like Erdoğan, who is making headlines this weekend for even banning Wikipedia. Not a single reason is specified for this, so people can only speculate (maybe the Armenian genocide, unflattering information about Erdoğan and so on).

“How far does this censorship regime extend?”For a number of months I have been trying to figure out (it’s like reverse-engineering) what causes/entails a Twitter shadowban and at what point exactly. I wrote about it several times in my personal blog [1, 2, 3] and unwillingly I have become an ‘expert’ at Twitter shadowbans, which are mysterious because Twitter does not comment on the practice. We once explained/demonstrated the concept of shadowbans in relation to Reddit.

I only know two accounts in Twitter that belong to EPO staff and both, by their own admission, suffered shadowbans and openly complained about it. Some EPO observers said publicly last year (several times in fact) that I had been shadowbanned (I hadn’t even noticed myself at the time).

“Some EPO observers said publicly last year (several times in fact) that I had been shadowbanned (I hadn’t even noticed myself at the time).”Twitter had not done that to me for a while, but it did this to me 2 days ago when EIA 2017 was mentioned, shadowbanning me for 24 hours. So I wanted to assure myself it was definitely what triggered it; I tried again this morning. These two tweets got me shadowbanned by Twitter (for sure) [1, 2]. This is what I had to say for censorship to kick in and make everything I say (or said) invisible for at least 24 hours (that’s over a third of a million tweets gone!). I didn’t say anything extreme, but immediately afterwards I was shadowbanned. What can I conclude from this? I was able to reproduce the same thing which happened 2 days ago. Whether there is something going on behind the scenes or perhaps an algorithm alone invoked the ban it’s impossible to know. It’s widely known that Twitter neither explains nor acknowledges its shadowbanning practices/policy. In fact, it doesn’t want “users” (whom it uses) to even know about this silent censorship strategy.

What Twitter may or may not realise is that in this case it gags voices critical of human rights abuses. What does that say about Twitter? This is not obscenity or trolls or “hate speech” of however they wish to justify these things. It’s purely irrational censorship.

04.29.17

RecogniCorp v Nintendo is Another Nail in the Coffin of Software Patents in the United States

Posted in America, Patents at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last night’s pleasant surprise came from Nintendo

Nintendo

Summary: A precedential new decision against software patents is terrible news for the patent microcosm — something for them to spin or moan about for a long time to come

LAWSUITS against Nintendo have been covered here for a long time. The company has quite a lot of cash, so it’s an attractive target for opportunists and patent trolls.

“Maybe Watchtroll is trying to come up with a way to insult the judge/s — the same thing he did the last time it happened.”Yesterday, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) did something which will likely to change the debate for months to come, maybe even years. We have made a local copy of this decision [PDF] because it’s likely to be mentioned (cited) a lot in the future and we don’t wish to risk losing easy/free access to it a decade down the line. Here it is as animated GIF:

Opinion on Nintendo

This decision will no doubt annoy the patent maximalists. It’s a catastrophe to them because it’s precedential. Watchtroll does not seem to have said anything about it (not that ignoring it would make it go away) and is instead mocking PTAB as usual or promoting software patents on Blockchain — a subject we explored here many times before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4]. Maybe Watchtroll is trying to come up with a way to insult the judge/s — the same thing he did the last time it happened.

“This is a fantastic way to end the week (this decision was delivered late on a Friday).”Watchtroll could use “weekend” as an excuse, but his buddy, “Patent Buddy”, is visibly concerned with tweets like this: “Fed. Cir. Chips Away at McRO in Precedential Recognicorp v Nintendo”

Or even this: “RecogniCorp v. Nintendo, Decided Today by the Fed. Cir. Can Be Used to Kill Any Software Patent” (the word “kill” is a propaganda term of the patent microcosm, implying that patent invalidation is the moral equivalent of murder).

This is a fantastic way to end the week (this decision was delivered late on a Friday). It’s altogether very good news. CAFC has put out there quite a few precedential decisions against software patents recently. More on SCOTUS and CAFC will be published tomorrow (the less pressing/urgent news).

Battistelli is Busy Securing the Vote of Countries Whose Support and Tickets Are Easy to ‘Buy’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli spends a lot more time protecting himself (and enriching himself) than the patent office he claims to serve

Monaco and EPO

Summary: Battistelli’s banana republic politics and tricks are viewed as his ticket to endless ‘leadership’ (domination by sheer force) of a sinking patent office, whose rules he repeatedly breaks (including lack of eligibility to run it, for multiple reasons)

FIVE months ago Battistelli made a notable visit which we wrote about in [1, 2]. Monaco is a ‘country’ whose vote is rather cheap to buy. The EPO can control even rich countries, provided they’re small enough (like Monaco). It’s an evident, obvious design flaw when the vote of a country like Germany carries the same weight as Monaco’s.

A couple of days ago the EPO published (caution: link to the EPO’s Web site, which means the EPO can harvest IP addresses) something familiar. The Corsican in Chief can have a little chat in French and then take another photo op for perceived legitimacy. Photo ops of Battistelli with officials of tiny ‘nations’ (whose officials have been easy to ‘buy’ for their vote/support) have become quite a routine modus operandi.

Why does this matter (or does not matter?

As someone pointed out in a comment yesterday:

Did you see the puff piece about the agreement with the Monégasque patent office? Not one patent application was published by Monaco in 2016 and it looks like they average around three per year. Hardly worth the bother travelling to Munich for that but at least the ambassador got to visit the out of bounds floor of the EPO.

Another comment, prior to this, seemed to hint things had been going on which we need leaks about. To quote:

People, do not make yourself too many illusions! Battistelli has already announced that he intends to further prolong his mandate. He has the support of the small contracting states whose votes he buys with plenty of cooperation money (there is no control on this and plenty of money is available).
He will proceed this way: 1) make sure that the post is not timely announced; 2) make the sacrifice and accept to remain at the request of the majority of the small states. A very simple strategy.
The big contracting states will have to accept: France for the pride: UK does not exist; the Germans do not care; the Dutch will have their building; Italy is totally irrelevant etc.
A disaster for the EPO !

We are not familiar with evidence showing that “Battistelli has already announced that he intends to further prolong his mandate.” Is this something that someone can leak to us? Apparently, based on the following comment, Board 28 completed its meeting a few days ago. We don’t know what happened there; all we know is that SUEPO wrote a letter to the Members of the Board of the Administrative Council. Here is what the comment said:

So Merpel, not even curious what the B28 decided yesterday about the selection of the new EPO President? Which countries are in the running? Or is it extension time? Chances of a post or pre Brexit UK President?? Timed to encourage signing that UPC document? The possible machinations and plotting could be infinite. Maybe even not an AC member for the first time? An external CEO, but with little or no IP knowledge? Who knows?

Someone ended up responding to it this morning by saying: “Jog my memory if you will … but unless I’m mistaken Alain Pompidou wasn’t an AC member … The smart money is on the head honcho of the EUIPO …”

That’s Antonio Campinos, who some believed would replace Battistelli.

We clearly have some lapse/gap of information here. We would like to know what happened at the meeting of Board 28 and what Battistelli’s position is on the upcoming (one year from now) end of his term. It certainly looks like the Organisation has got an Erdoğan in its hands and unless something is done to stop this, patent applications will continue to diminish, rendering both the Organisation and the Office obsolete, harming all past EPs and harming the European economy. Kongstad, for the record, is very much complicit in this.

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