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07.30.15

Links 30/7/2015: Apache Spark on Z System, Elive 2.6.8 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • CoreOS CEO: Security is fundamental

      In an interview, CEO Alex Polvi claims his company invented the cloud-native OS category and discusses how CoreOS’s update strategy differs from the likes of Red Hat

    • IBM Promises Apache Spark for Linux on Z Systems

      Expanding the z Systems ecosystem means data scientists can use Apache Spark’s common programming framework and get the full use of the mainframe’s advanced analytics capabilities – without having to get sidelined by any specific format for data.

    • IBM to Deliver Apache Spark for Linux on Z System Mainframes

      IBM has announced support for Apache Spark for Linux on z Systems, as part of its effort to expand the reach of its mainframe platforms. Among other benefits, the z Systems will now have a lot of appeal for data scientists that can leverage Apache Spark’s advanced analytics capabilities–all running on Linux.

    • Why Docker is Not Yet Succeeding Widely in Production

      Docker’s momentum has been increasing by the week, and from that it’s clearly touching on real problems. However, for many production users today, the pros do not outweigh the cons. Docker has done fantastically well at making containers appeal to developers for development, testing and CI environments—however, it has yet to disrupt production. In light of DockerCon 2015’s “Docker in Production” theme I’d like to discuss publicly the challenges Docker has yet to overcome to see wide adoption for the production use case. None of the issues mentioned here are new; they all exist on GitHub in some form. Most I’ve already discussed in conference talks or with the Docker team. This post is explicitly not to point out what is no longer an issue: For instance the new registry overcomes many shortcomings of the old. Many areas that remain problematic are not mentioned here, but I believe that what follows are the most important issues to address in the short term to enable more organizations to take the leap to running containers in production. The list is heavily biased from my experience of running Docker at Shopify, where we’ve been running the core platform on containers for more than a year at scale. With a technology moving as fast as Docker, it’s impossible to keep everything current. Please reach out if you spot inaccuracies.

    • A New SysAdmin Pledge in Honor of SysAdmin Day

      In fact, history is filled with examples of great people declaring a holiday for themselves. Take Christopher Columbus, for example. Upon discovering “The New World”, Columbus immediately declared the second Monday in October to be “Columbus Day” (to be celebrated with cake… and balloons… and confetti). It took a year or two to catch on, but before the decade was through, most of the world was already celebrating this new holiday. It’s true. Look it up.

    • 10 Job Interview Questions for Linux System Administrators

      SysAdmins of all experience levels, then, can benefit from brushing up on their job interview skills if they want to find and land a great new job.

  • Kernel Space

    • Systemd Is Launching Its Own Conference

      Lennart Poettering today announced systemd.conf 2015, its inaugural conference devoted to the future of systemd.

    • AllSeen Alliance Welcomes Philips as Premier Member

      The AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry collaboration to advance the Internet of Things (IoT) through an open source software project, today announced that Philips has joined as a premier member. Philips joins more than 170 members of the AllSeen Alliance, including premier members Canon, Electrolux, Haier, LG, Microsoft, Panasonic, Qeo (a Technicolor company), Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., Sharp, Silicon Image (a Lattice Semiconductor company) and Sony.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE at FISL 16

        Many of you already know that FISL (The International Free Software Forum) is one of the biggest FLOSS conferences in the world. From 8 to 11 July 2015, 5281 free software passionate people met in Porto Alegre (South Brazil) for the 16th FISL edition, enjoying activities such as talks, panels, hackathons, workshops, and community meetings. All kinds of FLOSS-related topics were in place: development, translation, artwork, education, robotics, entrepreneurship, audio-visual, women and gender, politics, academia and research … Phew! that’s tiring :) KDE has a long and memorable history at FISL and it wasn’t different this year.

      • Busy is fun!

        The beginning of the day was reading some social media in the morning with breakfast catching up with the times. While going though my Google+ feed I saw a post that I seen before about the a bug with a krunner plugin. The plugin in question was this which Riddell, Dan and I debugged to find some more info about the bug such as that is effects Kubuntu, Arch and openSUSE so it is upstream related.

      • Akademy Day Trip
      • KDE Akademy 2015 Videos Are Now Appearing Online
      • Akademy 2015

        The organising team have done a fantastic job: we’ve had free busses running from our accommodation to the venue, video recording of talks (which I’m sure someone will post about soon), easy to access food, two parties and people always on-hand to provide information.

      • The Failure of KDE Activities

        KDE Activities are multiple desktops. While easy to understand, they open up the possibility of new methods of workspace organization as well as new ways to layout the desktop. They deserve to be recognized as an innovation as important as tabbed browsing, and should be a part of every desktop environment, yet most users have only vaguely heard of them, and even fewer have tried them.

        When a feature so elegant is ignored, something has clearly gone wrong — but what, exactly?

        One thing is certain: Activities are one of the least unpublicized features on any desktop. From their introduction in KDE 4.0 to their implementation in Plasma 5, Activities have never had any online help. If you go to the desktop toolkit, you can click on Activities, but nothing suggests why you should bother. How to create an Activity is reasonably obvious with a little exploration, but why you would want to is never explained.

      • KDE Plasma Goes Mobile

        While FOSS Force gave you a look at setting up KDE Plasma on the desktop in Don Parris’ article last week, KDE recently jumped into the mobile fray by announcing KDE Plasma Mobile at their Akademy conference this week in Spain.

        While it joins an already crowded field, with the likes of Android, Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS and others already in the mobile OS space, Plasma Mobile “offers a free — as in freedom and beer — user-friendly, privacy-enabling, customizable platform for mobile devices,” wrote Sebastian Kugler, a lead architect, on KDE’s website. “Plasma Mobile is currently under development with a prototype available providing basic functions to run on a smartphone.”

      • KDE Started Working At Fiber, A New QML-Based Internet Browser
      • Fiber Update

        The original plan was to allow an extension to handle the more crazy form-factors, but as I was blueprinting the APIs on paper I quickly found the tab-bar becoming a nightmarish monster which would have made custom tab extensions painful. Ultimately as a shortcut until a nice API can be made (and many more critical APIs can be rolled out) I’ll be adding sidebar tabs as a native feature. I may look at some sort of button form-factor as well, such as the ones commonly seen in mobile browsers.

      • Porting Qt applications to Wayland

        During Akademy I hold a session about porting applications to Wayland. I collected some of the general problems I saw in various KDE projects and want to highlight them in this blog post, too.

      • Evolving KDE – survey results
  • Distributions

    • Zorin OS, consider me a Linux fan for life

      After what now seems forever on a Windows based OS (most recently, XP and 7 for desktops, Vista for laptop), I decided to move away from XP and install Zorin OS 8 core. Although I am still on a learning curve, I cannot stress enough how much I love the OS and have not had a moment of wanting to go back to any Windows version.

    • New Releases

      • Elive 2.6.8 beta released

        Beta versions are not so optimized as the Stable ones due to debug flags and developer profiles, you can encounter errors and incomplete things, if you want a more polished system try the Stable version instead.

      • Webconverger 31 Kiosk OS Is Now Using Firefox 39

        Webconverger is a Linux distribution used for deployment in places like offices or Internet cafes, which provides users only with web applications. A new important upgrade has been made available and is now ready for download.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat augments presence in Malaysia

        Senior director and general manager, ASEAN, Damien Wong Yok Weng said Malaysia was an important market for the company and it had much potential for the adoption of open source technology across industries.

        Speaking to reporters at the official announcement of the subsidiary here, Wong said in terms of expansion strategy, Red Hat had looked at all the surrounding factors in the information technology (IT) industry.

      • Zacks Rating on Red Hat, Inc.
    • Debian Family

      • Parsix 8.0 Test 2 Is Based on Debian Testing and GNOME 3.16

        Parsix GNU/Linux, a live and installation DVD based on the testing packages from the Debian project that’s using GNOME as the desktop, is now at version 8.0 Test 2 and is ready for download and testing.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Says Ubuntu-Based Docker Images Are Not a Copyright Violation

            Canonical said through the voice of Dustin Kirkland that you can use Ubuntu with Docker without violating any copyright policy, contradicting what Matthew Garrett said in a blog post just a week ago.

          • Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 Gets a Second Stable Release

            A second Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 iteration has been released by Canonical, and the new version comes with a reworked boot logic for BeagleBone Black, among other features.

          • Ubuntu Touch Finally Gets a Regression Fix for Nexus 4 and Aquaris Phones

            Canonical has recently released a new OTA update for Ubuntu Touch and it brought a large number of new features and improvements, but also a nasty regression that caused the telephony function to fail on BQ phones and Nexus 4. That fix has finally landed.

          • Review: Ubuntu 15.04

            Perhaps that’s a sign that it’s time for Canonical to take the opposite tack to Microsoft and move to less frequent releases, or at least less arbitrarily timetabled ones. Ubuntu is stable enough now not to need constant updating, and in this case waiting on the Linux 4 kernel would have made for a much more compelling release. Canonical’s engineers, meanwhile, could benefit from spending more time working on long-promised upgrades, and less time patching and polishing half-baked versions of things for a biannual release.

            If you’re looking for a free, friendly and powerful OS for desktops and servers, Ubuntu is still an easy Linux distribution to recommend. But even for established Ubuntu users this update is neither practically nor emotionally compelling. If Canonical seriously wants Ubuntu to make more of a mainstream impact, Ubuntu 15.04 – a barely necessary update rolled out to serve a timetable rather than a strategy – is precisely the sort of thing it needs to stop releasing.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 On The Tegra X1 Yields Even Better Results, More Benchmarks

            Earlier this week I posted some initial benchmark figures for the NVIDIA Tegra X1 on Ubuntu Linux. Those results showed much promise for this 64-bit ARM big.LITTLE SoC that also bears a Maxwell GPU, but that wasn’t tested for the initial comparison. Here are a few more benchmark results from this Tegra X1, including an Ubuntu 15.04 installation to show the difference against the Tegra X1 on Ubuntu 14.10.

          • Canonical’s Alan Pope Proved That Porting HTML5 Games To Ubuntu Touch Is Easy

            Alan Pope, or Popey, Ubuntu’s new Community Manager of Engineering at Canonical has proven in this article that porting HTML5 Games to Ubuntu Touch is not such a difficult task after all.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu MATE Will Offer a Choice Between Ubuntu Software Center and App Grid

              Ubuntu MATE devs recently decided to remove the Ubuntu Software Center from the default installation. The decision was met with some resistance, but a lot of users expressed their support for the removal of the Ubuntu Software Center. Now, the team has explained what are they putting in its place.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Carrier adds Arduino and MCU hooks to Zynq ARM/FPGA COM

      Avnet released a carrier board for its Linux-driven, FPGA-enabled MicroZed COMs featuring an Arduino shield interface and hooks to an optional MCU board.

      The MicroZed Carrier Card Kit for Arduino extends Avnet’s SBC-like MicroZed computer-on-module with Arduino and MCU expansion. The $89 kit is designed for Internet of Things applications such as industrial control, remote sensing, and embedded vision.

    • i.MX6 hacker board features M.2 and wide-range power

      SolidRun has revamped its line of sandwich-style, community-backed HummingBoard single board computers, adding a new high-end HummingBoard Edge model. Like the other HummingBoards, it runs Linux on swappable “MicroSOM” computer-on-modules running various Cortex-A9 based Freescale i.MX6 SoCs. SolidRun’s open-spec HummingBoard placed 21st out of 53 Linux- and/or Android-friendly hacker SBCs in our recent SBC reader survey.

    • Phones

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • 5 Reasons I Lost $9,000 On An iPhone Game

    If you’ve watched television recently, you’ve probably noticed that Kate Upton’s tits really want you to play a smartphone game called Game Of War: Fire Age. That ad campaign cost approximately 40 million dollars, or about 5 million more than the entire development cost of Borderlands 2. They can afford their “it’s like Game Of Thrones, but, somehow, even more sexual!” marketing because, as we write this, Game Of War is raking in more than a million dollars each day. Jason Croghan has spent several thousand dollars on it, and he told us all about how games like Fire Age sink their claws into you — and don’t let go.

  • SAP CRM problems prompts 95% loss in British Gas operating profit

    British Gas Business has suffered a 95 percent loss in operating profit during the first half of this year, following a transition to a new SAP billing and CRM system.

    The utility firm said in its profit announcement this morning: “British Gas Business was impacted by issues following the implementation of a new billing and CRM system in 2014, which has resulted in significant delays to issuing customer bills.

  • Hardware

    • The case against SSDs

      Flash-based SSDs have revolutionized enterprise storage. But SATA SSDs have serious problems that show that after more than 50 years of disk-based storage, our ancient I/O stack must be rebuilt. Here’s why.

  • Security

    • Get root on an OS X 10.10 Mac: The exploit is so trivial it fits in a tweet

      Yosemite, aka version 10.10, is the latest stable release of the Mac operating system, so a lot of people are affected by this vulnerability. The security bug can be exploited by a logged-in attacker or malware on the computer to gain total unauthorized control of the Mac. It is documented here by iOS and OS X guru Stefan Esser.

      It’s all possible thanks to an environment variable called DYLD_PRINT_TO_FILE that was added in Yosemite. It specifies where in the file system a component of the operating system called the dynamic linker can log error messages.

      If the environment variable is abused with a privileged program, an attacker can modify arbitrary files owned by the powerful user account root – files like the one that lists user accounts that are allowed administrator privileges.

    • Secure Server Deployments in Hostile Territory, Part II

      There are a few other general security practices I put in place. First, as I mentioned before, because each host has a certificate signed by an internal trusted CA for Puppet, we take advantage of those certs to require TLS for all network communications between hosts. Given that you are sharing a network with other EC2 hosts, you want to make sure nobody can read your traffic as it goes over this network. In addition, the use of TLS helps us avoid man-in-the-middle attacks.

    • Hackers Can Disable a Sniper Rifle—Or Change Its Target

      At the Black Hat hacker conference in two weeks, security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger plan to present the results of a year of work hacking a pair of $13,000 TrackingPoint self-aiming rifles. The married hacker couple have developed a set of techniques that could allow an attacker to compromise the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection and exploit vulnerabilities in its software. Their tricks can change variables in the scope’s calculations that make the rifle inexplicably miss its target, permanently disable the scope’s computer, or even prevent the gun from firing. In a demonstration for WIRED (shown in the video above), the researchers were able to dial in their changes to the scope’s targeting system so precisely that they could cause a bullet to hit a bullseye of the hacker’s choosing rather than the one chosen by the shooter.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Michael Moore film to attack US government’s state of ‘infinite war’

      Michael Moore’s new film, Where to Invade Next, explores how the US government maintains a state of “infinite war”, according to the Oscar-winning documentary film-maker.

      Moore revealed rough details of the project, which he has been making “in secret” since 2009, in his first Periscope broadcast. He answered questions from fans posted on Twitter and started by saying he’d like to “say ‘Hello!’ to my NSA friends that are watching right now”. He’s been a vocal critic of the agency’s mass surveillance practices – revealed by the Guardian in 2013 – and called whistleblower Edward Snowden “the hero of the year”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • PacifiCorp Superficial Climate Change Effort

      PacifiCorp and Berkshire Hathaway Energy should really consider a much more loftier goal but ultimately these companies are at the beck and call of shareholders so making large investments will reduce short term profits and that is why they are not going bigger. Another thing in addition to increasing these goals that PacifiCorp could do and should be doing across its grid is replacing transmission infrastructure with a smart grid where power can be stored when capacity exceeds demand. This in turn would reduce emissions significantly but also they could take steps like installing smart meters at all ratepayer locations (which PacifiCorp is behind on and only rolled out in a few small markets).

  • Finance

    • I went to Athens to see what economic catastrophe looks like on the ground — and what I saw shocked me.

      Like many other proud Greek-Americans, I’ve visited the country of my ancestors many times over the years. I even lived in Athens for two years while working for the U.S. government.

      I recently returned to Athens for a week to help the Greek government draft a new whistlebIower protection law. It was my first trip to the country in nine years — and suffice it to say, a lot’s changed.

      I followed the news of Greece’s financial collapse as closely as anyone. I’d heard the numbers — I knew that 40 percent of Greeks now live in poverty, for example, and that half of all young people in the country are unemployed. Seeing it in person was something else entirely.

    • Prof. Wolff and Cornel West talk about Capitalism and White Supremacy on GRITtv

      A conversation about capitalism with two brilliant minds, Cornel West and Prof. Wolff, together in a rare joint appearance.

    • British Gas owners Centrica to axe thousands of jobs

      British Gas owner Centrica is axing up to 6000 jobs despite reporting that profits were up 44 per cent to £656 million during the first half of 2015.

      Profits were boosted by higher household gas usage because of colder weather and the falling price of wholesale gas. Centrica nonetheless decided to slash its interim dividend by 30 per cent and aim to cut costs by £750 million in the next five years.

    • Prince George’s £18,000 birthday gift speaks volumes about Britain’s widening wealth inequality

      Normal children would be excited by a low roofed plastic wendy-house to hide away in and stew pretend tea. Some privileged toddlers may dream of a more stable wooden playhouse – big enough to host non-imaginary guests and less likely to blow away in a gust of wind. But no child other than Prince George could conceivably be the owner of a magnificent £18,000 cottage on wheels.

      The royal tot was given a luxury Victorian-style outhouse as a second birthday present from Dorset based company Plankbridge that started up with the help of The Prince’s Trust. It is positioned on the edge of the Prince of Wales’s wildflower meadow at Highgrove, probably in the hope that scenic views will inspire George to inherit his grandfather’s love of botany.

      While you’d expect the average wendy-house to be cluttered with plastic chairs and bowls of fake fruit, this one is fitted with a wood-burning stove, oak floors and a day bed. To make matters more laughable the souped-up shed is known as “The Shepherd’s Hut”, a title which carries with it connotations of rural poverty and humbleness.

    • For NYT, US Labor Abuses Abroad Are a Thing of Decades Past

      Usually investing in other countries is thought to both increase returns to the country doing the investment and diversify risks, since it is unlikely that foreign countries will be subject to the same problems that may be hitting China (or the US) at the same time. It is interesting that the New York Times seems to hold the opposite perspective.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Corporate lobbying expense jumps as U.S. trade debate rages

      Washington lobbying by companies and groups involved in global trade boomed in the past nine months, records show, as Congress debated a landmark trade pact proposed by President Barack Obama, the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

      Lobbying expenditures by members of a pro-TPP coalition increased to $135 million in the second quarter of 2015, up from $126 million in the first quarter and $118 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to Senate Office of Public Records reports reviewed by Reuters.

    • The Attack on Planned Parenthood, a View from Inside ALEC

      When I went to work for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) in 2003 as their legislative director, I was unprepared for the attacks this organization experiences on a routine basis. There are organizations solely dedicated to shutting Planned Parenthood down, and more pop up every day. Even before the 2010 tea party takeover in state Capitols around the country, including ours, the relentless legal and political attacks on Planned Parenthood were unending.

    • On The O’Reilly Factor, Sarah Palin Accuses Planned Parenthood Of Targeting Minority Women
    • Media Activism Wins

      We’ve had a lot of recent success at getting the corporate media to respond to criticism, in great part due to your letters and emails. The fact that this correspondence is individually generated by you makes it all the more effective.

    • NY Times Echoes Judith Miller’s Iraq War Excuse By Blaming Sources, Not Reporters

      One of the most baffling elements to The New York Times botched story about a fictional “criminal” investigation bearing down on Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email account is the seemingly shrug-of-the-shoulders response from the Times editors who are ultimately responsible for the newsroom’s black eye.

  • Censorship

    • BBC forced out team behind Savile exposé, says ex-Newsnight journalist

      BBC journalists will be afraid of speaking out about the next big BBC scandal after seeing how those who tried to expose Jimmy Savile were forced out, according to the former head of investigations at Newsnight.

      Merion Jones said the way he and other journalists who complained about the way the BBC handled the scandal were pressured to leave.

      “We were told at the time that you won’t be sacked but over a year or two years you’ll realise you are being treated as an outsider, that you will never be trusted because you blew the whistle, and you will find yourself leaving,” he said. “I didn’t believe that, but I started watching what was going around me.

    • 500 and counting: websites blocked by order of UK courts

      Darren, who currently sits as a Deputy District Judge and holds the title of Managing Associate with law firm Simmons & Simmons, has blown the dust of his abacus and actually totted up how many websites British browers aren’t supposed to be able to reach any more.

    • David Cameron calls to shut down porn sites without age-restricted controls

      Open Rights Group has responded to David Cameron’s call to shut down porn sites that don’t have age-restricted controls.

    • The O’Reilly Open Source Convention Was a Twitter Disaster

      O’Reilly media’s social media manager Josh Simmons further inflamed the situation by installing “GGAutoblocker,” a mass-blocking tool developed by Harper, onto the convention’s official Twitter account. The tool has been criticised in the past for labeling a vast number of innocent Twitter users as “harassers.”

      This criticism is supported by peer-reviewed research on the autoblocker, which found that just 0.66% of users blocked by the tool can be accused of genuine harassment. The autoblocker operates on the basis of guilt by association, with users automatically added to the blocklist based on who they follow.

  • Privacy

    • Google: Lock up your Compute Engine data with your own encryption keys

      Google will now let enterprise customers of one of its Cloud Platform services lock up their data with their own encryption keys, in case they’re concerned about the company snooping on their corporate information.

    • The Crypto Wars Have Gone Global

      Recently, Congress heard testimony about whether or not backdoors should be introduced into encryption technologies, a technically problematic proposal that would fundamentally weaken the security of the Internet, according to a recent report written by eleven of the world’s leading cryptographers. But while Congress is reliving these debates from the nineties (we hear they’re in these days), the Crypto Wars are very much alive and well in other parts of the world.

      The United Kingdom, Netherlands and Australia have gone farther than the proposals put forward by the FBI by introducing new regulations that seek to weaken and place limits on the development and use of encryption. These efforts, made ostensibly to protect citizens against terrorism, are likely to have severe economic, political and social consequences for these nations and their citizens, while doing little to protect their security.

      According to the cryptographers’ report, encryption in fact has a critical role to play in national security by protecting citizens against malicious threats. The harm to the public that can be presented by lax digital security has been illustrated a number of times over recent months: data breaches such as the hack of the Office of Personnel Management compromised the personal information of tens of millions of Americans, while weak or flawed cryptography led to vulnerabilities such as Logjam and FREAK that compromised the transport layer security protocols used to secure network connections worldwide. Encryption is not only essential to protecting free expression in the digital age—it’s also a critical part of national security.

    • Peru’s Ministries of Health and Commerce at Odds Over TPP Data Protection Rules

      In Peru, there is an internal confrontation between ministries due to the data protection provisions of the TPP. The Ministry of Health opposes to the extension on data protection due to the effects than it can have on access over medicines for Peruvians, as many international organizations such as Medicos Sin Fronteras have claimed. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Commerce, in a document published puts this statement in doubt. The document contains 105 questions about TPP. Regarding access to medicine the document raises a question: will the TPP affect public health? Then the document states that the same concern was made during the Peru-U.S. FTA negotiation, but that to the moment those concerns have not been rejected or accepted by the Ministry of Commerce.

    • Even the Former Director of the NSA Hates the FBI’s New Surveillance Push

      The head of the FBI has spent the last several months in something of a panic, warning anyone who will listen that terrorists are “going dark”—using encrypted communications to hide from the FBI—and insisting that the bureau needs some kind of electronic back door to get access to those chats.

      It’s an argument that civil libertarians and technology industry executives have largely rejected. And now, members of the national security establishment—veterans of both the Obama and Bush administrations—are beginning to speak out publicly against FBI Director Jim Comey’s call to give the government a skeleton key to your private talks.

    • NSA Will Destroy Archived Metadata When Program Stops

      Four months from now, at the same time that the National Security Agency finally abandons the massive domestic telephone dragnet exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, it will also stop perusing the vast archive of data collected by the program.

      The NSA announced on Monday that it will expunge all the telephone metadata it previously swept up, citing Section 215 of the U.S.A Patriot Act.

    • After Two Years, White House Finally Responds to Snowden Pardon Petition — With a “No”

      The White House on Tuesday ended two years of ignoring a hugely popular whitehouse.gov petition calling for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to be “immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon,” saying thanks for signing, but no.

      “We live in a dangerous world,” Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s adviser on homeland security and terrorism, said in a statement.

    • Senate majority whip: Cyber bill will have to wait until fall

      Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday said the upper chamber is unlikely to move on a stalled cybersecurity bill before the August recess.

      Senate Republican leaders, including Cornyn, had been angling to get the bill — known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) — to the floor this month.

      But Cornyn said that there is simply too much of a time crunch in the remaining legislative days to get to the measure, intended to boost the public-private exchange of data on hackers.

      “I’m sad to say I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he told reporters off the Senate floor. “The timing of this is unfortunate.”

    • Surveillance of all citizens: French government has now carte blanche

      On 23th July, the French Constitutional Council adopted a historical decision, standing out by its disregard for individual freedoms, right to privacy and freedom of speech. The “elders” have decided to avoid a real analysis of the proportionality of the new surveillance laws, and have shown their will to not stand in the way of the political game, becoming a mere rubber-stamping chamber.

    • Does the Kremlin Have a New Way of Hacking the West?

      A highly-capable Russian hacker group with links to Russian intelligence and that is known for going after high-profile foreign and corporate targets is deploying a powerful new data theft tool against Western systems, according to a new report by a prominent American cybersecurity firm.

    • New report: Scotland can ensure its data sovereignty with new ‘national open source transition plan’ after repeal of spying ban on MSPs

      A REPORT published today by Common Weal proposes a new plan to ensure Scottish data security and sovereignty after the revelation in the Daily Record on 24 July that the UK Government had revoked the spying ban on devolved parliaments, leaving MSPs at Holyrood open to hacking of communications by GCHQ.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • You wouldn’t steal a car: Criminalisation of IP

        Criminalisation throws up a number of questions. Do existing laws cover the area to be criminalised? (For example, trade secret theft in the US is often covered by wire fraud laws.) Will criminalisation have the desired effect on incentives? Is it an appropriate use of police and public resources? Does harm exist? Is there a victim? How do magnets work?

      • Answers needed from the Copyright Police

        The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been the subject of controversy following take-down notices sent to overseas domain registrars. We believe they need to strengthen their commitments to due process, independence and transparency.

      • RIAA and Friends Accuse CNET of Hosting ‘Pirate’ Software

        Several prominent music groups including the RIAA, A2IM and ASCAP have accused CNET of hosting infringing apps on Download.com. In a letter sent to the CEO of parent company CBS, the groups urge the company to reconsider whether it’s wise to offer “ripping” software.

Microsoft’s Mouthpiece Mary Branscombe Tries to Shoot Down Free Software, But Fails Miserably

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: At the CBS-owned ZDNet, which is Free/Open Source software-hostile, new FUD surfaces, but the FUD is so flawed that a full rebuttal is easy and almost imperative

Microsoft still chronically hates Free/libre software (especially classic copyleft) and it is desperately craving for some ‘dirt’ on it, no matter how hard it is to find. Microsoft propagandist (for nearly a decade now, or at least half a decade, both at CBS and at IDG) Mary Branscombe decided to pick on Free/libre software. The result is laughable. It’s a terrible piece. ZDNet, part of CBS, published this nonetheless. The editor (probably Larry) was apparently OK with that.

With fair use in mind, we are going to deconstruct everything in Branscombe’s article and show that it’s just a pile of baloney. Let’s start with the headline:

“Open source: Free as in speech, beer – or puppy?”

Not even original. Sun’s old CEO used this analogy (“puppy”) a very long time ago, before Sun defected to Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and got a new CEO. Branscombe is just copying or even ‘stealing’ the analogy without any attribution.

“It’s hard to give developers more control over how their work is used and still keep it open source.”

That’s an insane talking point. It’s like saying that the needs of the developers to oppress the users outweigh the needs and the interests of users. Branscombe encourages and advocates user-subjugating software. How ethical does it make her seem? Moreover, as we shall explain later, this affects all types of software, including proprietary software. It’s not a FOSS issue at all.

“When you put your code out under an open source licence, how much control can you expect over what it’s used for?”

Free software developers are developing because they want people to use their software. If Branscombe had spoken to any developers (even those of proprietary software), she would quickly realise that exercising control over the users is not the goal of these developers. Exploiting users is often the job (or the goal) of non-technical managers, who sometimes share users’ data with marketers, spies, etc.

“Open source has often been described as ‘free as in speech, rather than free as in beer’. Yes, it’s software that’s free to use, but the lack of a price tag isn’t always the main point.”

That’s quoting Richard Stallman without naming him. But to say that free software means “free to use” is to show lack of comprehension of his points. Free/libre software isn’t about “free to use”; the four freedoms which Stallman speaks about are what it’s really about.

“For some it’s about not being encumbered by limiting commercial licences or patents and royalties, for others it’s about the importance of being able to see and modify the source code of what they’re running (or distributing source so users can see it).”

By “commercial licences” she means proprietary licences. That’s a different thing. Regarding “patents and royalties”, this may inadvertently refer to software covered by the terms described under the text of the GPLv3.

The point about “distributing source so users can see it” is bizarre because visibility alone does not make software “Free software” or even “Open Source”. That’s just how Microsoft fraudulently openwashes a lot of its software. Branscombe helps this villainous mirage.

Now comes some of the more horrid stuff, as Branscombe probably believes that she kindly introduced FOSS in a fair and balanced fashion.

“And as I’ve long said, open source can also be ‘free as in puppy’; you take on the responsibility of care and keeping when you start to depend on open source software.”

Right, because nobody ever comes to depend on proprietary software? Whose stewardship and maintenance are both monopolised by people whose agenda differs from yours? This, if anything, is a point against proprietary software.

“You can run into problems if the project is no longer developed, or pulled suddenly when the company is bought by Apple and you discover you were using open source components that depended on a closed source core like FoundationDB, and that core is no longer available.”

Because proprietary software companies never get bought? Or discontinue a product? Oh, wait, they do. And often. If it’s Free software, then you can at least take charge or rely on others to take charge (e.g. forks or newly-created successors). Again, if anything, this is a point against proprietary software. Branscombe twists a problem with proprietary software as one exclusive to Free software. We saw other examples of that shameless spin very recently, as recently as one week ago.

“That makes it vital to always look carefully at the licence for open source software, especially if your business is involved (that’s part of the care and keeping of the free puppy).”

Right, because proprietary software licences never change? Or the EULA (see how Vista 10 trashes privacy this week)? You don’t even get to vote on or reject those. If a Free software project diverges from a licence in a way that people are opposed to, they can then fork while maintaining the more desirable licence. This, in turn, puts more pressure on the developer to obey the needs of the users. It keeps developers honest and obedient to their users; they cannot merely ‘occupy’ and thereby mistreat users. Isn’t that a positive thing in a moral society?

“But for some software developers, the free speech comparison is getting more relevant.”

The example she thus provides is irrelevant to free speech:

“Take the GIMP project, which stopped using SourceForge to distribute the Windows installer for its open source image editor in 2013, because of the ads that started appearing on the site featuring download buttons for alternative versions of the software.”

Advertising is not a matter of free speech and denying advertising is not a matter of free speech, either.

“GIMP left the site up because there were so many links to it online, but stopped updating the installers there. SourceForge deemed the product abandoned and started mirroring the releases from GIMP, but it also ‘experimented’ with wrapping the GIMP installer with adware.”

Therein lies the problem. Adware. It’s not just about ads on a page. It’s proprietary garbage that is not wanted and is improperly bundled.

“The GIMP team wasn’t happy (and SourceForge stopped wrapping the installer, although it didn’t stop mirroring it). But because GIMP is under the GPL and LGPL licences SourceForge did nothing wrong: those licences allow software to be repackaged.”

Nobody ever alleged that SourceForge had violated any software licences, so it’s unclear where Branscombe is going with this. No point is being made except the fact that developers can revoke endorsement (not distribution) of some piece of software if inappropriately packaged. GIMP developers packed up and moved. That’s a good thing. Some call it “free market”.

“Android tool developer Collin Mulliner was equally upset to discover that Hacking Team (an Italian company that sells surveillance tools to governments) had used his Android framework to build their Android voice call monitoring software.”

That is a licence violation. So what’s her point?

“”For the future I will use a license for all my software that excludes use for this kind of purpose,” he said in the blog he wrote to make it clear that he didn’t work on the Hacking Team tool. But that might be hard: writing a licence that lets people use your code freely means they can use the code for anything they want.”

But Hacking Team violated the terms of the GPL. Therein lies the main issue. Proprietary software would not have done any better at preventing use for malicious purposes, so how is this even relevant?

“Douglas Crockford famously added a line to his licence for JSON that said it couldn’t be used for evil (and just as famously said that IBM had asked for a variation because they couldn’t guarantee that their customers wouldn’t use it for evil).”

Is that a bad thing?

“Yes, the GPL has repeatedly been used in court, but mostly to force companies to comply with the rules about open sourcing their own code if they’ve published software based on GLP-licenced code.”

The typo/bad English aside (the verb has an “s” in it, but maybe this poor pieces was composed in a rush), is Branscombe trying to insinuate that honouring a licence is a bad thing?

“Commercial use is easier to police, but anyone who is going to use open source code for evil is unlikely to pay much attention to licences that say they can’t, and having people use your code for purposes you don’t approve of is pretty much the definition of free speech.”

Proprietary software (commercial software as Branscombe calls it) has exactly the same issues, so what is her point anyway? Where is that “free puppy” point ever coming into play?

“It’s going to take some careful writing of licences to give developers more control over how software they open source is used in the ways they want, without stopping the open uses they want to enable.”

Again, nothing to do with “Open Source” (Free software) at all. Branscombe takes an issue that applies to all software and frames it as one pertaining to Free software. But why? Just look at Branscombe’s history of badmouthing Microsoft’s competitors.

People of New Zealand Must Rise Up to Defend Sovereignty and Stop Software Patents

Posted in Australia, Law, Patents at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corporations rely on people remaining ignorant, apathetic and docile like sheep

Sheep

Summary: The TPPA serves to override (launder) the law of New Zealand, allegedly legalising patents on software in the process

MUCH of the software patents debate in New Zealand happened 2 years ago and about 5 years ago. We also wrote about it the other day, having noticed revisionism in the media.

Well, software patents are now being pushed from the back door (bypassing public debate), as today’s ZDNet article serves to remind us:

Negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement appear likely to undo New Zealand’s ban on software patents.

[...]

The president of the New Zealand Open Source Society is “livid” that New Zealand’s Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiating team appears to have already conceded the country’s newly-minted ban on software patents.

[...]

Lane said leaks of the negotiating position show that at one point only Mexico was holding the line on software patents and New Zealand appeared to have already conceded.

The implication is New Zealand’s new software patent law, passed just two years ago, will need to be reversed if the TPPA is inked.

“I think it would be fair to say that I haven’t seen any indication that there is anything positive for New Zealand in this at all,” Lane said. “The only motivation that I’ve been able to discern for taking part in the process is the somewhat dogmatic idea that if we are not part of this then we are going to miss out on something.”

It is clear that corporations and plutocrats always get what they want unless people fight back. We encourage people in New Zealand, not just software developers, to rise up and resist this injustice. It’s a nonviolent coup attempt.

Microsoft Illegally Evades Billions of Dollars in Tax, Says IRS

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The criminal enterprise known as Microsoft finds itself embarrassingly exposed in the courtroom, for the IRS belatedly (decades too late) targets the company in an effort to tackle massive tax evasions

AT the end of last year we wrote about the IRS setting its sight on Microsoft, in spite of Microsoft’s influence in the United States government. Microsoft then attacked the IRS using its lawyers, for merely investigating Microsoft (i.e. doing its job), thus wasting taxpayers money in the courts. Can anyone not see the sheer arrogance of Microsoft? Having already been caught engaging in serious financial fraud (reported to the authorities by an insider) and despite being notorious for taxation/tax violations, Microsoft thinks it has moral ground and believes it can sue the IRS for merely investigating a criminal. Criminal companies with the “God complex” apparently believe that they don’t need to pay tax (because they are very politically-connected) and if you say that they do, they threaten you and bully you. It’s a form of SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation). Microsoft already loses billions of dollars and it sued the IRS for alleging that Microsoft owes billions of dollars to US citizens (easily provable).

This new article from The Register, based on legal documents, reveals the latest in this saga:

The ongoing squabble between Microsoft and the US Internal Revenue Service is heading to court, beginning with a hearing to take place in a Seattle federal court on Tuesday.

The case is gearing up to become one of the largest-ever legal battles between tax authorities and a US corporation over the practice of shifting assets to overseas subsidiaries as a way of avoiding US tax.

The IRS has alleged that deals Microsoft struck with subsidiaries in Bermuda and Puerto Rico between the years of 2004 and 2009 have potentially cost the US Treasury billions in tax revenue. But Redmond thinks the top tax agency’s snooping has gone on long enough and it should either produce a hard figure or drop the whole matter.

Microsoft also claims the IRS acted improperly when it hired two outside law firms to help it in its investigation, which the software giant describes as improperly delegating a government function to a private firm.

Microsoft has filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to see documents exchanged between the IRS and the law firms it contracted, including Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Boies Schiller & Flexner. The IRS has provided some such documents but Microsoft thinks it should be compelled to produce more.

Even if Microsoft goes bankrupt (it suffers losses already), people like Bill Gates, who became rich owing to the company’s criminal activities, should be able to (if not forced to) pay what was looted from the public. More of the corporate media should have the courage to cover the above news, but seeing how Microsoft uses SLAPP against the messengers, maybe the media chooses to stay silence and let only official documents (buried behind paywalls) speak.

“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.”

Bill Gates

Vista 10 Very Buggy Upon Release, Just as We Have Repeatedly Warned for Weeks

Posted in Vista 10, Windows at 6:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is how buggy Vista 10 is (source)

Vista 10 bugs

Summary: Vista 10 is prematurely pushed out the door (in order to meet a deadline), way ahead of it being stable, even remotely polished, let alone supported by hardware companies (there is a serious drivers issue)

Based on what developers from Microsoft whispered to us (loyalty to Microsoft is down even inside Microsoft), Vista 10 is very buggy (critically even, with fatal crashes) and was definitely not ready for release. Microsoft’s management was too shy to postpone the release, having just announced billions in losses, layoffs, and other bad news. When Microsoft developers sort of blow the whistle over the common carrier it definitely speaks volumes about the severity of the issue.

Microsoft now pays the price for releasing a semi-baked pig that maintains the testers' privacy-infringing antifeatures, as even Microsoft's friend Tim Anderson acknowledges the huge problems. The editor chose the headline “MORE Windows 10 bugs!”

An issue with the new Windows 10 Start menu means that those with more than 512 application shortcuts will have missing entries.

In Windows 10, the Start menu includes an All Apps list, which you can search for quick access to installed applications.

Start menu shortcuts are still shortcut files placed in the same special locations as previous versions of Windows, but the Start menu app appears to be driven by a database on which some optimistic Microsoft coder has placed a limit of 512 entries.

Based on what people are saying online (real people, mostly in forums, including in our IRC channels), Vista 10 is a mess which is possibly even worse than Vista. It may be hard to encounter such reports in the corporate media because Microsoft pays a lot of money to continuously flood this media with puff pieces and 'prepared' articles from well-paid (by Microsoft) PR agencies.

Microsoft is now trying to push people to ‘upgrade’ to Vista 10 for ‘security’ (despite universal back doors in it (see this wiki page for many examples) and two days ago we saw this report that can help convince Windows XP users to rush into Vista 10. “Next month at DefCon in Las Vegas (August 8),” says this report, “a group of security researchers say they’ll demonstrate how to crack one of Brink’s CompuSafe digital safes in under 60 seconds.” The title of the article is “Brinks has a safe that runs Windows XP and hackers say they can crack it in 60 seconds”, but would any other version of Windows do any better?

Windows is not secure. It was never designed to be secure. Microsoft deliberately lets crackers get in, e.g. via NSA back doors. What reason would anyone ever have for ‘upgrading’ to such a buggy platform with so much more surveillance (the very opposite of security)?

Surveillance Machine With a Keylogger: Vista 10 Will Spy on the User (Over the Internet) Even While Playing Games

Posted in Vista 10, Windows at 5:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“David Smith commented that Gartner will not bash MS if MS chooses to slip Vista.”

Jamin Spilzer, Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft is making it clear that even playing a simple game like Solitaire on Vista 10 will make one subjected to spying (for targeted ads); other serious violations of privacy revealed upon release

TECHRIGHTS does not wish to cover Vista 10 too much (we significantly reduced such focus in 2010), but it’s inevitable, since Microsoft pays a lot of companies to flood the Web with Vista 10 spam, that we should feel the need to respond.

Over at ZDNet, part of CBS, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes that Microsoft is now trying to make money from Solitaire, making it just spyware like the rest of the stack (studying the users for ads delivery), unless one ‘upgrades’ it. To quote the original: “Microsoft is once again bundling Solitaire with Windows, but if you want an ad-free experience then that’s going to cost you.”

So if you ‘upgrade’ (for ‘free’) to Vista 10, you will lose access to ‘free’ Solitaire, which now spies on everyone (for ads). Based on recent reports, Microsoft does not give people the ability to block surveillance through ads, unless they install an alternative Web browser (one that is not bolted into Windows). As The Register put it, one can “forget about extending the browser in any way, at least at first.” “Norton Antivirus doesn’t want you to use Microsoft Edge because it currently lacks extensions,” says this headline from a Microsoft advocacy site. So basically, Vista 10 is optimised for maximal surveillance.

But wait, it gets worse. A lot of articles were written upon the release of Vista 10, making it clear that Microsoft, despite the NSA leaks, made Windows even more privacy-hostile. Here are some examples from the news:

- Just remember folks…

Just remember folks – upgrading to Windows 10 – Asimov/CEIP/WER (MS’ real time telemetry system built into W10 to collect data on your usage patterns) will be running.

Until someone comes up with a tool to remove it or stop it then, literally everything you do is reported back to MS.

Microsoft said that it would be removed during release-to-manafacturing (RTM) – and it wasn’t so upgrade with this in mind (or wait).

- Disable KeyLogger Windows 10

Install Windows 10

Press Shift + F10 on the loginscreen to open commandprompt

Input the following commands:

sc delete DiagTrack

sc delete dmwappushservice

echo “” > C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Diagnosis\ETLLogs\AutoLogger\AutoLogger-Diagtrack-Listener.etl

- Windows 10: Here are the privacy issues you should know about

Windows 10 has just arrived and there’s a new Privacy Policy and Service Agreement from Microsoft coming swiftly in its wake.

The new policies take effect on 1 August and there are a few unsettling things nestling in there that you should be thinking about if you’re using the company’s services and software.

The Privacy Statement and Services Agreements combined come to 45 pages. Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, Horacio Gutierrez wrote that they are “straightforward terms and polices that people can clearly understand.” The reality is, you’re probably not going to read them. So I did…

And, like so many other companies, Microsoft has grabbed some very broad powers to collect things you do, say and create while using its software. Your data won’t be staying on your computer, that much is for sure.

Data syncing by default

Sign into Windows with your Microsoft account and the operating system immediately syncs settings and data to the company’s servers. That includes your browser history, favorites and the websites you currently have open as well as saved app, website and mobile hotspot passwords and Wi-Fi network names and passwords.

- Microsoft’s new small print – how your personal data is (ab)used

Microsoft has renewed its Privacy Policy and Service Agreement. The new services agreement goes into effect on 1 August 2015, only a couple of days after the launch of the Windows 10 operating system on 29 July.

The new “privacy dashboard” is presented to give the users a possibility to control their data related to various products in a centralised manner. Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, Horacio Gutierrez, wrote in a blog post that Microsoft believes “that real transparency starts with straightforward terms and policies that people can clearly understand”. We copied and pasted the Microsoft Privacy Statement and the Services Agreement into a document editor and found that these “straightforward” terms are 22 and 23 pages long respectively. Summing up these 45 pages, one can say that Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties. The company appears to be granting itself the right to share your data either with your consent “or as necessary”.

A French tech news website Numerama analysed the new privacy policy and found a number of conditions users should be aware of:

By default, when signing into Windows with a Microsoft account, Windows syncs some of your settings and data with Microsoft servers, for example “web browser history, favorites, and websites you have open” as well as “saved app, website, mobile hotspot, and Wi-Fi network names and passwords”. Users can however deactivate this transfer to the Microsoft servers by changing their settings.

This was also foreseen a year ago. See this article from 2014, warning about privacy violations as per the preview:

Controversy has erupted around Microsoft’s Windows 10 preview. More specifically, questions are being raised about the amount of tracking – and the depth of tracking – that was built into the preview.

The Windows 10 technical preview goes so far as to monitor your typing, potentially crossing the line from instrumentation of alpha-level software into creepy corporate surveillance.

Truth be told, I honestly don’t think anyone but the extreme nutter fringe had, or has, a problem with being tracked in the preview. When you download the preview it is pretty upfront about the fact that it will monitor everything it can find to monitor.

The problem is that both Microsoft and the US government have lost the trust of the general populace. Discovering borderline technologies incorporated into Windows 10′s technical preview (like the built-in keylogger of ultimate controversy) simply serves as a catalyst for concerned citizens to ask the questions that have been bothering them for some time.

How much of this instrumentation will be in the release version? What are the specifics of the type and quantity of data being collected during the preview and – far more critically – what data will our Redmondian overlords be collecting on us in the release version of the operating system?

There are many more articles about privacy violations in Vista 10, but we don’t wish to focus too much on Windows, which is a dying/rotting platform.

This has become quite so horrible that Windows is now a huge risk of espionage for any corporation, let aside governments (fewer of them than corporations). There’s no longer a legal violation required for the NSA (e.g. cracking, warrantless access to datacentres)). The spies are able to gain access to sensitive data (as fine-level as keylogging, which means passwords too), using just a secret, wide-ranging warrant or ‘lawful’ interception of Microsoft data transmissions (probably with bogus/weak ‘encryption’ or none at all). No sane person who is aware of these conditions (effectively legal waivers) should allow Vista 10 to be used. It’s not an “upgrade”, it’s not “free”, it’s just “sellout” (of oneself).

07.29.15

Links 29/7/2015: Akademy 2015 Ends, NetBSD 7.0 RC

Posted in News Roundup at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Technology Week looks at potential of open-source tech

    Experts from industry and academia gathered in Cambridge at the weekend to discuss just that as part of the city’s first Open Technology Week.

    Open technology refers to items for which the source code or designs are available free of charge for users to use and modify.

  • Intel to shift Hillsboro engineers to Texas for open source project

    Intel Corp. engineers from Portland will play a role in the development in a new tech development center that’s opening in San Antonio.

    As the San Antonio Business Journal reports, Intel announced a significant investment with Rackspace in a new OpenStack Innovation Center that will be based at Rackspace’s headquarters in San Antonio.

  • 10 tips for better documentation

    Last July, after a full week at OKFestival, I managed to find enough energy to attend the Write the Docs EU Berlin Unconference. I only managed to attend one day of the event, but it was worth it because Paul Adams, a free software advocate and Director of Engineering at KDAB, led a discussion in which we came up with rules for helping documentation teams be more productive:

  • This is why your open source project is failing

    At OSCON this year, Red Hat’s Tom Callaway gave a talk entitled “This is Why You Fail: The Avoidable Mistakes Open Source Projects STILL Make.” In 2009, Callaway was starting to work on the Chromium project—and to say it wasn’t a pleasant experience was the biggest understatement Callaway made in his talk.

  • NPR releases open source social media tools for newsrooms

    The helpful folks at NPR have released a collection of fully customisable, open source tools to help journalists create visually engaging images for social media.

    The tools – called Quotable, Factlist and Waterbug – were announced last night by Brian Boyer, editor of the NPR visuals team, as an easy way “for you to create those fashionable social graphics for your news organisation”.

  • Growing pains: Open source ubiquity raises ownership, governance issues

    Overlapping scope and membership can confuse users, Miniman warns. Unlike the rules produced by standards committees, foundations don’t guarantee interoperability between implementations. IT organizations need to develop an understanding of how open communities operate, how different licensing models work and how they can become actively involved in shaping open source software.

  • Open source software is the only way to keep up

    Between 2005 and 2010, software development accelerated so quickly that some said open source had won the corporate market. But it didn’t stop there. In 2015, surveys showed that companies were using, supporting, and creating more open source software.

    If we look at this pattern, then we can see open source will just keep growing. It’s not going anywhere. If you’re not using, contributing, or supporting it, then you’re going to be left behind.

  • DHI Group plans to sell off Slashdot and Sourceforge

    DHI Group—formerly known as Dice Holdings Incorporated prior to this April—announced plans this morning to sell the combination of Slashdot and SourceForge. The announcement was made as part of DHI’s 2Q15 financial results, which were mostly positive, with DHI showing an increase in revenue over the same period last year (totaling $65.8 million) and a net income of $5.7 million.

  • Move over Skype, Facetime, Hangouts. Here comes Spreedbox, a fully open source, secure videoconferencing solution

    Following the trend of privacy-respecting products and projects coming out of Europe (e.g., ownCloud, Kolab, and Plasma Mobile), German firm struktur AG has started a Kickstarter project called Spreedbox, which aims to offer a secure audio video conferencing service. According to the project page, “The Spreedbox is a unique device for secure audio/video conferencing, text and video messaging and file sharing. The Spreedbox is your own conferencing, meeting and file exchange service on the Internet and puts the control and security of your data into your own hands.”

  • Open Source Is Going Even More Open—Because It Has To

    Open source foundations are nothing new. Linux Foundation has been around since 2007, and other major projects like the Eclipse code editing tool and the Apache web server have been governed this way for even longer. Many of the most important open source projects in recent years, such as the Hadoop big data crunching platform and the database system Cassandra, are managed by the Apache Foundation. But it’s unusual to see so many new foundations created so quickly.

  • Student researchers collaborate virtually with help of open-source software

    A typical summer research program—the institute’s Nanobio Research Experience for Undergraduates, for example—brings students together to one host university, where they work in different laboratories on various projects. In the new pilot training program on Computational Biomolecular, students use an open-source software called Rosetta to work together on problems in computational biology and are mentored by faculty who are part of a global collaborative team known as the Rossetta Commons. The software gives users the ability to analyze massive amounts of data to predict the structure of real and imagined proteins, enzymes, and other molecular structures.

  • Dice Selling Slashdot and Sourceforge

    FS tells me that Ars Technica reports that Dice is selling the Slashdot and Sourceforge sites. The company in their second quarter earnings announcements stated they have “not successfully leveraged the Slashdot user base to further Dice’s digital recruitment business”, and are planning to divest this business.

  • Events

    • Tips for how to plan an open source event

      Step 1 is very clear: Document your event. This way you have shared document that all organizers can refer to as the event progresses. We started with a sample document Kara and Francesca provided. The document is broken down is to several sections and you’re free to copy the document and use it to plan your own event. I’ll review some of the sections in more detail below.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • DreamHost CEO Details OpenStack Customer Use Cases [VIDEO]

      DreamHost has made a name for itself over the years as being a friendly, yet low-cost hosting provider, offering both shared hosting as well as virtual private servers (VPS). DreamHost is also a major backer of the open source OpenStack cloud platform and now offers the DreamCompute cloud server as well.

  • Databases

    • Amazon’s MySQL database challenger Aurora exits preview

      Following three years of development and nine months of testing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Tuesday announced that its Aurora database engine is now generally available to customers.

      AWS first debuted Aurora during its re:Invent conference in November 2014, positioning the database as a lower cost, higher performance alternative to the widely used open source MySQL database and other similar commercial offerings.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • loop optimizations in guile

      Sup peeps. So, after the slog to update Guile’s intermediate language, I wanted to land some new optimizations before moving on to the next thing. For years I’ve been meaning to do some loop optimizations, and I was finally able to land a few of them.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source runs Croatia’s geospatial services platforms

      Croatia’s Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection has become one of the country’s major users of open source solutions. The software is making possible two geospatial service platforms on biodiversity and environmental protection, unveiled in May.

    • Western Greece switches to using open source GIS

      The Decentralized Administration of Peloponnese, Western Greece and the Ionian is recommending the use of open source software solutions for its Geographic Information Systems. A memo from the IT department wants all public administrations to start using Qgis.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Amazon proposes drones-only airspace to facilitate high-speed delivery

    Amazon is proposing that a pristine slice of airspace above the world’s cities and suburbs should be set aside for the deployment of high-speed aerial drones capable of flying robotically with virtually no human interference.

    The retail giant has taken the next step in its ambition to deliver packages via drone within 30 minutes by setting out in greater detail than ever before its vision for the future of robotic flight. It envisages that within the next 10 years hundreds of thousands of small drones – not all of them Amazon’s or devoted to delivery – will be tearing across the skies every day largely under their own automated control.

  • Science

    • New study into lack of women in Tech: It’s NOT the men’s fault

      A new study into causes of the scarcity of women in technical and scientific fields says that it is not discrimination by men in the field keeping the ladies away. Nor is it a repugnance felt by women for possibly dishevelled or unhygienic male nerds.

      No, the reason that young women don’t train in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) areas – and thus, don’t find themselves with jobs at tech companies, in IT etc – is quite simply that they mostly don’t know enough maths to do those courses.

      “It is all about the mathematical content of the field. Girls not taking math coursework early on in middle school and high school are set on a different college trajectory than boys,” says economics prof Donna Ginther.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • QEMU Vulnerability Exposes The Host Through Emulated CD-ROM Drive

      Back in May was the big “VENOM” security vulnerability affect QEMU whereby VM security could be escaped through QEMU’s virtual floppy disk drive. In June was a PCNET controller buffer overflow allowing a guest to escape to have host access. Today there’s a similar security vulnerability going public about its virtual CD-ROM drive.

    • Websites, Please Stop Blocking Password Managers. It’s 2015

      Rather than fancy zero-day exploits, or cutting-edge malware, what you mostly need to worry about when it comes to security is using strong, unique passwords on all the sites and services you visit.

      You know that. But what’s crazy is that, in 2015, some websites are intentionally disabling a feature that would allow you to use stronger passwords more easily—and many are doing so because they wrongly argue it makes you safer.

    • The Ashley Madison hack — this time it’s personal

      Last week I argued that requiring backdoors in strong encryption would result in the effective end of encryption and provide a veritable buffet of sensitive data to both the government and those with malicious intents. Encryption with backdoors is not encryption at all.

    • Malware on Linux – When Penguins Attack

      Regular Naked Security readers will know that some security topics cause more friction that others.

      Lately, artificial intelligence has provoked its fair share of excitement.

      Surveillance and privacy are other topics that draw out some very varied viewpoints.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Zimbabwean officials: American man wanted in killing of Cecil the lion

      The man suspected in Cecil’s death is Walter James Palmer of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, according to Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.

    • Dentist who killed Zimbabwe’s Cecil the lion hires PR firm amid global backlash

      A picture of Palmer posing with another lion he had killed on a previous hunting trip was widely circulated in the media yesterday after it emerged that he paid £32,000 to take part in a big game hunt in Zimbabwe.

    • Zimbabwe: American being sought for killing of protected lion named Cecil

      Zimbabwean police said Tuesday they are searching for an American who allegedly shot a well-known, protected lion with a crossbow in a killing that has outraged conservationists and others.

      The American allegedly paid $50,000 to kill the lion named Cecil, Zimbabwean conservationists said. Authorities on Tuesday said two Zimbabwean men will appear in court for allegedly helping with the hunt. The American faces poaching charges, according to police spokeswoman Charity Charamba.

      [...]

      Palmer, 55, pleaded guilty in 2008 to making false statements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about a black bear he fatally shot in western Wisconsin outside of the authorized hunting zone, according to court documents.

      [...]

      If convicted, the men face up to 15 years in prison.

    • Cecil the lion’s killer revealed as American dentist
    • Cambridge professor ‘claims three leading climate scientists may have been assassinated’

      A Cambridge professor has reportedly claimed three scientists investigating the effect of global warming upon melting Arctic ice may have been assassinated.

      According to The Times, Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics, said Seymour Laxon of University College London, Katherine Giles also at UCL and Tim Boyd of the Scottish Association for Marine Science had been murdered, after all three died within a few months of each other in 2013.

  • Finance

    • Trillion-dollar world trade deal aims to make IT products cheaper

      A new global trade agreement that eliminates tariffs on more than 200 kinds of IT products should result in lower prices to technology buyers around the world as it is implemented over the next three years.

    • Trillion euro technology trade deal could cut the cost of consoles

      A EUROPEAN TECHNOLOGY TRADE DEAL worth trillions of euros has been agreed between Europe, China and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

      The deal follows negotiations between the above parties and sees an accord reached on things like customs duties on items including games consoles, semiconductors and digital media.

    • TPP Undermines User Control and That’s Disastrous for Accessibility

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) threatens all users’ ability to access information and participate in culture and innovation online, but it’s especially severe for those with disabilities or who otherwise depend on content in accessible formats. That’s because it doubles down on broken policies that were heavily lobbied for by Hollywood and other major publishers that impede the distribution of accessible works.

    • The creepy reason banks want us all to have ‘tap and pay’ cards… even though they’re a godsend to fraudsters

      Are any words in the English language more abused than ‘for your convenience’? As soon as you read them you know that it’s not your convenience an organisation has in mind, but its own.

      Last week, my bank sent me a contactless debit card. If you don’t have one yet, the chances are you soon will have.

      It looks like any other credit or debit card, but contains a tiny radio receiver which – when it is waved within a couple of inches of a ticket machine or terminal at a shop checkout – can be used to make a payment.

  • Censorship

    • Lifting jokes on Twitter: no laughing matter?

      An example is a tweet by freelance writer Olga Lexell (whose Twitter account is now private) – “saw someone spill their high end juice cleanse all over the sidewalk and now I know god is on my side” – which a number of Twitter users have republished without any attribution to her as the author of the original tweet.

      Ms Lexell decided to submit a DMCA takedown request. Apparently not just God, but also Twitter was on her side. The micro-blogging platform decided in fact to withhold the allegedly infringing tweets. However (and incidentally), as IPKat readers can see here there is still a number of tweets that reproduce her joke in its entirety.

    • Donald Trump’s Clueless Lawyer Threatens Press, Says It’s Ok To Rape Your Spouse

      A few weeks ago, we wrote about the absolute ridiculousness of Donald Trump’s “lawsuit” against Univision, which made some bizarre claims about the First Amendment and defamation that clearly did not apply. While there may be a legitimate contractual dispute hidden somewhere in all that mess, there was so much fluff that it made you wonder who is actually advising the entertainer (pretending to be a politician) on legal issues. Apparently, it’s some guy named Michael Cohen, who isn’t just out of his depth on stuff, but he appears to be actively making things worse. In an astounding article over at The Daily Beast, which was initially over claims of “rape” by Donald Trump’s ex-wife Ivana during their divorce proceedings, Cohen not only claimed that you can’t rape a spouse, but also threatened to ruin The Daily Beast if they published an article. Lawyering by bullshit threats, apparently.

  • Privacy

    • Internet Australia and EFA support ALP call for Data Retention Act review

      Internet Australia and EFA have given their support to the Labor Party’s call for a review of the Data Retention Act legislation which it helped bring into law.

    • LinkedIn Just Changed This Very Popular Feature — and People Are Complaining

      LinkedIn is dealing with some very unhappy users after making it more difficult for them to export contacts.

      Business Insider reports that users can still download their contacts for the site, but it now takes longer. As of Thursday, LinkedIn users had to get an archive of their data to do the procedure, and that can reportedly can take up to 72 hours. Before, users could download user contact information immediately.

    • LinkedIn brings back contact export feature after user backlash
    • A simple developer error is exposing private information on thousands of websites

      Git is a developer’s best friend… except when it’s not used properly and exposes a site’s security.

      The tool is used for version control. It tracks changes to code over time, so that multiple developers can work together efficiently and roll back if they need to.

      Git is also the core tool used to contribute to social coding site GitHub, though they aren’t the same thing.

      It’s a glorious tool and fairly straightforward to use, but has a steep learning curve, as most of the interactions you’ll have with it are through the command line.

    • NSA ordered to destroy phone records it collected illegally

      In case you were worried the National Security Agency was still probing around your phone records, soon enough they will be deleted.

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced that the “bulk collection” of phone data the NSA illegally collected under Section 215 of the Patriot act will be locked away starting November 29, 2015.

      The data will effectively be out of reach from agency employees ad infinitum, effectively making it unusable in anti-terrorism or national security investigations. The only exception will be a three-month period, in which “technical personal” can check the data for the sole purpose of verifying records produced under the new USA Freedom Act.

    • Peru Adopts Data Retention Decree: Declares Location Data No Longer Protected

      The Peruvian President today adopted a legislative decree that will grant the police warrantless access to real time user location data on a 24/7 basis. But that’s not the worst part of the decree: it compels telecom providers to retain, for one year, data on who communicates with whom, for how long, and from where. It also allows the authorities access to the data in real time and online after seven days of the delivery of the court order. Moreover, it compels telecom providers to continue to retain the data for 24 more months in electronic storage. Adding insult to injury, the decree expressly states that location data is excluded from the privacy of communication guaranteed by the Peruvian Constitution.

    • Michael Chertoff Makes the Case against Back Doors

      One of the more interesting comments at the Aspen Security Forum (one that has, as far as I’ve seen, gone unreported) came on Friday when Michael Chertoff was asked about whether the government should be able to require back doors. He provided this response (his response starts at 16:26).

    • Jim Comey Finally Has a Dastardly Criminal Who Made His Texts Unavailable
    • Nope, White House won’t pardon Snowden

      Unsurprisingly, the White House formally announced Tuesday that it will not be granting a pardon to Edward Snowden anytime soon.

      Immediately after Snowden was formally charged in 2013 with espionage, theft, and conversion of government property, supporters began petitioning the White House to pardon the famed former National Security Agency contractor.

    • Is it possible to permanently delete a social media profile?

      Put it online and it will live forever (Image: Aldo Sperber/picturetank)

      They thought they could get away with it. The 37 million people who put nude photos and intimate details of their sexual fantasies on the Ashley Madison website (which has the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair”) had a get-out clause.

      Ashley Madison, like some other sites, offers a hard delete – a guarantee that for a certain amount of money, your data will be scrubbed from all of its internal records. To permanently destroy all traces of your affiliation with the adultery social network costs £15 in the UK.

      However, a hacker collective called Impact Team has revealed that customers’ details aren’t entirely deleted. Compliance with auditing requirements means that the credit card details and name used to scrub the account remain in Ashley Madison’s database, rather defeating the point.

    • DOJ To Court: Hey, We’re Shutting Down Section 215, So We Can Probably Stop Arguing About The Legality Of Bulk Collection

      Just as James Clapper’s office was officially announcing the death of the bulk phone metadata program (ending November 29th, with three months of post-wind-down wind-down for data analysts), the DOJ was filing a motion in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals basically arguing that its finding that the program was illegal really doesn’t matter anymore.

  • Civil Rights

    • Amal Clooney launches Supreme Court appeal on behalf of Chagos islanders

      Almost a decade ago, Britain’s High Court and Court of Appeal ruled that they and their descendants could return to some of the 65 islands, though not to Diego Garcia. Those decisions were challenged by the government and overturned in 2008 by the Law Lords, then Britain’s highest court.

    • Letter to the Telegraph: End “distressing” exile of Chagossians

      In 1985, I called at Saloman Atoll, which is about 100 miles north of Diego, when crossing by yacht from Darwin to Aden. The abandoned houses and roofless church, together with the overgrown pathways were distressing to see. It is to our shame that we treated these islanders so cruelly and it is high time we made amends and repatriated them.

    • In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me.

      I got home from the bar and fell into bed soon after Saturday night bled into Sunday morning. I didn’t wake up until three police officers barged into my apartment, barking their presence at my door. They sped down the hallway to my bedroom, their service pistols drawn and leveled at me.

      It was just past 9 a.m., and I was still under the covers. The only visible target was my head.

      In the shouting and commotion, I felt an instant familiarity. I’d been here before. This was a raid.

    • Eight Years After Bogus Expulsion Over Supposed ‘Threat,’ Former Student Obtains $900k Settlement From University

      It’s taken former Valdosta State University (VSU) student Hayden Barnes most of a decade and two trips to the 11th Circuit Appeals Court, but his efforts to hold the school accountable for its abusive behavior have finally paid off.

    • The Wheels of Justice Turn Slowly

      On the evening March 14, 2013, a heavily-armed police force surrounded my home in Annandale, Va., after responding to a phony hostage situation that someone had alerted authorities to at our address. I’ve recently received a notice from the U.S. Justice Department stating that one of the individuals involving in that “swatting” incident had pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge.

    • White House Finally Answers Snowden Pardon Petition: The Only Good Whistleblowing Is Punished Whistleblowing

      The White House has finally responded — more than two years later — to a petition asking for a pardon of Edward Snowden. The petition surfaced soon after Snowden went public with his identity. Less than three weeks later — June 25, 2013 — it had passed the 100,000-signature threshold.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA Wants Domain Registrar to Expose ‘Pirate Site’ Owner

        The RIAA has obtained subpoenas from a federal court in Columbia ordering domain name registrar Dynadot to hand over the IP and email addresses and all other identifying information related to the operator of the unauthorized music service Soundpiff. In addition, the RIAA notes that the registrar may want to disconnect the site due to its repeated infringements.

      • Happy Birthday Copyright Bombshell: New Evidence Warner Music Previously Hid Shows Song Is Public Domain

        Last minute evidence that completely turns a legal case on its head doesn’t come about all that often — despite what you see in Hollywood movies and TV shows. The discovery process in a lawsuit generally reveals most of the evidence revealed to everyone pretty early on. And yet… in the high profile lawsuit over the copyright status of the song “Happy Birthday,” the plaintiffs “Good Morning to You Productions” (who are making a documentary about the song and are arguing that the song is in the public domain) have popped up with a last minute filing, saying they have just come across evidence that the song is absolutely in the public domain.

        And, here’s the real kicker: they discovered this bit of evidence after two questionable things happened. (1) Warner/Chappell Music (who claims to hold the copyright for the publishing, if it exists) suddenly “found” a bunch of relevant documents that it was supposed to hand over in discovery last year, but didn’t until just a few weeks ago, and (2) a rather important bit of information in one of those new documents was somewhat bizarrely “blurred out.” This led the plaintiffs go searching for the original, and discover that it undermines Warner Music’s arguments, to the point of showing that the company was almost certainly misleading the court. Furthermore, it definitively shows that the work was and is in the public domain.

      • Filmmakers fighting “Happy Birthday” copyright find their “smoking gun”

        The “smoking gun” is a 1927 version of the “Happy Birthday” lyrics, predating Warner/Chappell’s 1935 copyright by eight years. That 1927 songbook, along with other versions located through the plaintiffs’ investigations, “conclusively prove that any copyright that may have existed for the song itself… expired decades ago.”

      • WordPress Rejects 43% Of All ‘Piracy’ Takedown Notices

        WordPress has published new data on the number of piracy takedown notices the company receives. During the first half of the year copyright holders sent close to 5,000 requests to the blogging platform. Of these takedown notices a surprisingly high percentage was rejected due to inaccuracies or plain abuse.

      • So far, WordPress denied 43% of DMCA takedown requests in 2015

        This week WordPress released the latest edition of its recurring transparency report, revealing 43 percent of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests it received have been rejected in the first six months of 2015. It’s the lowest six-month period shown in the report, though it only dates back to 2014. However, WordPress said this headline figure would be even higher if it “counted suspended sites as rejected notices.” That change in calculation would bump the WordPress DMCA denial rate to 67 percent between January 1 and June 30, 2015.

07.28.15

MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

Posted in Patents at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH

THERE ARE many reasons to be concerned about the Apple- and Microsoft-backed patent troll known as MPEG-LA. In the fight against peace and justice, there are various strategies which maximise collateral damage (usually harming the majority of people for the benefit or profit of war-loving monopolies). Some are rooting for DAESH, but MPEG-LA is now rooting for something called “DASH”, only a week after the HEVC Advance press release and news coverage (very similar to MPEG-LA).

Here is the press release, a puff piece titled “MPEG LA issues call for DASH technology patents”, and another early article that says: “Just when Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions are making HTML5-based video playback a reality, DASH royalties threaten to derail it.” (the headline says “An Unhappy Surprise: MPEG LA Is Forming a Patent Pool for DASH”)

We are definitely going to hear more about it in days, weeks, months and perhaps years to come. It’s an assault on everyone; it’s a cartel that strives to tax everyone. This is also an assault on Google with WebM, not just Free software codecs such as the Ogg family. Google has had no effective response to it so far (trying to appease MPEG-LA by paying or cooperating, just like Mozilla, makes the problem worse), other than improving prior art search and relying on publicity stunts, claiming to be giving some patents away to fight trolls (MPEG-LA is technically a troll, one that is backed and funded by Apple and Microsoft, among other giants).

We have finally found one good article about Google’s publicity stunt. It is a new article by Jeff John Roberts, published yesterday to say: “The other big reason the Google giveaway won’t mean much for startups is that those patents – or any other patents – won’t stop the trolls. That’s because patent trolls, unlike productive companies, are just shells without real assets or business operations, meaning they’re not vulnerable to counterclaims in a patent case. As it stands, for now, the trolls will continue to plague startups and big companies alike unless Congress musters the will to pass proposed laws to undercut their business model.”

A publicity stunt is all that is, just like IBM et al. with OIN, which cannot combat patent trolls at all. Today we learn that DataCentred joins OIN. The media calls it “open source alliance” even though it is little or nothing to do with Open Source, except perhaps the covered software. The British media says that DataCentred “joins the Open Invention Network to protect Linux users against software patent aggression.

“DataCentred has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN) to leverage the use of open source and protect users of the Linux OS against software patent aggression.”

What has OIN ever done to protect GNU/Linux? There are hardly even any examples of deterrence. OIN may be good for IBM, but what about Free software developers who have no patents and can hardly join the OIN at any meaningful level of capacity?

Big companies like IBM — much like patent trolls — are not vulnerable to patent counterclaims, let alone claims. If you are a small software company, IBM will find something on you and be able to drive you out of business using legal fees. The same goes for Microsoft.

The very idea that patents can help protect the ‘little guy’ (or girl) is ludicrous. Vast software patent troves make everything potentially (and likely) infringing, so everyone is rendered vulnerable. The frantic rush to stop patent trolls rather some particular kinds of patents is due to them being a ‘hack’. When fighting against patent trolls, software giants like IBM or Microsoft cannot make counterclaims. Large patent aggressors (like trolls, but with known brand) such as Apple, IBM, HP and Microsoft hate trolls because they’re essentially a loophole. But they are happy to create or feed their own (loyal) trolls such as MOSAID, CPTN, Intellectual Ventures, and even MPEG-LA. Lobbyists in the US push hard for ‘reform’ only when it comes to patent trolls simply because that’s what mega-corporations want. There is a besieged government, which in turn becomes a government of occupation (against the people), where patents are just a corporate tool.

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