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06.25.14

Links 25/6/2014: A Lot of Android News, Peppermint Five

Posted in News Roundup at 7:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • LinuxQuestions.org Turns Fourteen
  • Server

    • OpenStack chair: Linux at the cutting edge of the cloud

      The cloud-dominated world of modern IT is the perfect breeding ground for the spread of Linux in particular and open-source software in general, according to the man responsible for guiding one of the most important open-source projects.

    • The People Who Support Linux: Systems Engineer Teaching Himself Python

      Systems engineer Renault Ellis started using Linux five years ago when he was enrolled in a security and forensics program. He was studying IP tables and read the C Programming Language manual by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie along with Cliff Stoll’s The Cuckoo’s Egg.

      “I was hooked,” Ellis said via email. “I knew then I wanted to be a Linux Engineer.”

      Ellis is now a Senior Linux and Unix Engineer at electronics distributor Premier Farnell in Chicago, Illinois, where he creates, tests and deploys scripts in an eCommerce environment. He works with Apache and several different monitoring tools, both open source and commercial, and leads a lot of the DR (disaster recovery) and PCI (payment card industry) processes in their Unix environment.

    • Linux dominates supercomputers as never before

      For years, Linux has ruled supercomputing. So, it came as no surprise to anyone at the Linux Enterprise End-User Summit near Wall Street that once again the Top500 group found in its latest supercomputer ranking that Linux was the fastest of the fast operating systems.

      [...]

      In the latest contest, not only did Linux dominate, but Linux showed that is slowly pushing out all its competitors. In the June 2014 Top 500 supercomputer list, the top open-source operating system set a new high with 485 systems out of the fastest 500 running Linux. In other words 97 percent of the fastest computers in the world are based on Linux.

    • Linux Domination, Ubuntu Uncertainty, and Nerdy Enlightenment
    • Smooth like btrfs: Inside Facebook’s Linux-powered infrastructure

      Facebook engineer Chris Mason is unequivocal about the primacy of Linux in Facebook’s storage infrastructure.

      “If it runs on a computer, and it’s storing important data,” he said, “it’s running Linux.”

      Mason, speaking at the Linux Enterprise End-User Summit on Monday in New York, joined Facebook just six months ago in order to spearhead the social network’s move to btrfs (usually pronounced “butter eff ess.”), the Linux-based file system that he created in 2008 while working at Oracle.

    • Why Linux on Power?
  • Kernel Space

    • The OpenStack and Linux developer communities compared

      The kernel has roughly twice as fast of a release cycle as OpenStack. In the kernel’s case, there are roughly 2-3 month release cycles containing a two week merge period with six to ten week of stabilization work. OpenStack’s cycle is six months, made up by a four week planning window, 14 weeks of code merger, and six weeks dedicated to stabilization. The result? Faster releases for the kernel, but perhaps less significant changes per release.

    • Linux 3.16: Deadline I/O Scheduler Generally Leads With A SSD

      There’s been numerous requests lately for more disk I/O scheduler benchmarks on Phoronix of the Linux kernel and its various scheduler options. Given that there’s routinely just speculation and miscommunication by individuals over the best scheduler for HDDs/SSDs, here’s some fresh benchmarks for reference using the Linux 3.16 kernel.

      This early Linux 3.16 testing was just some simple and straight-forward tests I got done with a spare system I maintained access to while in Russia. Once returning to the US this week and then settling into the new Phoronix office I’ll run some more Linux 3.16 benchmarks using the latest Git snapshot at the time and use both hard drives and solid-state drives.

    • Linus Torvalds to developers: Make it personal

      “It’s not that Linux was new from a technical standpoint. It was new because it was done differently,” says Linus Torvalds in his interview with the IEEE Computer Society. “Linux made it clear how well open source works, not just from a technical standpoint, but also from a business, commercial, and community standpoint.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Celebrating 30 Years of the X Windows System

        Where were you when you first learned about open source software? If you’re under, say, the age of 40, your answer will probably be, “Come again? I’ve always known about it!” But if you’re older, you may recall the first time you ever heard the phrase. Maybe it was when Netscape announced it was going to “open source” its Navigator Browser, or perhaps when you heard the name Richard Stallman for the first time. It may also be the case that it was some time before you really got your arms around what open software (or Stallman’s Free and Open Software) really meant in all of its various connotations – license-wise, commercial and community.

        Or maybe you got involved before the phrase “open source software” had even been coined (in 1998, by Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond) to describe what it was they were doing.

        That’s what happened in my case, when one day I got a call from one of the great unsung heroes of the open source movement – Bob Scheifler, of MIT. Bob is not only a wizard with code, but he did for the X Window System – the code that enabled the GUI for the then dominant non-desktop operating system (UNIX) and is still used in Linux today – what Linus Torvalds later did with Linux itself.

      • Intel Broadwell Graphics Names Revealed Via Linux Driver

        For what it’s worth, the marketing graphics product names for Intel’s upcoming Broadwell processors have been revealed.

      • Mesa 10.2.2
      • Mesa 10.1.5 & Mesa 10.2.2 Released
      • Drawing Tablet Support Being Figured Out For Wayland

        Chandler Paul has published a draft specification of wl_tablet that covers support for drawing tablets (i.e. Wacom-like tablets) to the Wayland protocol. Tablet support is already present within libinput as the common, abstracted input library but now it’s time to add the necessary support to the Wayland protocol.

      • Wayland’s libinput 0.4.0 Released
      • XWayland GLAMOR & DRI3 Support Added In Mainline X.Org Server
    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Qt 5.3.1 Released

      I am happy to announce that today we released Qt 5.3.1. Qt 5.3.0 has been well received with over 500.000 downloads in the first 5 weeks of release. I believe this new patch release is even better offering many improvements over Qt 5.3.0. As a patch release, it does not add new features, but various improvements and fixes. Qt Creator version 3.1.2 also released today, is packaged into the installers. For Qt Enterprise users we are providing a fully supported Qt Quick Compiler 1.0.0, as well as updates for Data Visualization (version 1.1) and Charts (version 1.4).

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • [Calligra] My new feature- Highlight changes in the cell
      • Porting plasmate to kdevplatform

        Plasmate’s goal is to help people create/test and deploy plasma packages. Originally in KDE4 we offered a clear way on how to use the plasma tools like the embedded plasmoidviewer. But we were aware that people might not want to use plasmate and instead use the plasma tools as standalone applications like they used to before the release of plasmate so we were still offering the option of using another IDE and the plasma tools. Also for every single new feature that we added to plasmate(like the kconfigxteditor) we also provided a standalone application because we wanted to give people the option to continue use their favorite IDE and the new plasma tools. In my opinion the purpose of a software application is to make the life of its users(people) easier. For the ones who don’t use plasmate if we didn’t offer those tools as standalone applications we wouldn’t fulfill our purpose. But it can also get better

      • Linux Gaming Benchmarks With Plasma-Next, KDE Frameworks 5
      • Kdenlive at Randa

        Further integration of the refactored code. The plans to rework our codebase were first discussed in 2011. In 2012 thanks to your generous donations major parts of the code could be rewritten. However they are still not being used in a released version of Kdenlive since since then developer activity was unfortunately rather low. In Randa we want to work out a plan to continue the efforts step by step and start implementing it.

      • Neptune 4.0 Wants to Be the Best KDE-Based OS

        ZevenOS-Neptune 4.0 has been dubbed “It’s all about you” and is the first release in a new series. The last update for a Neptune Linux distribution was made all the way back in October 2013, but the developers have made some great progress since then.

        “This version is aimed for creating a fast running Linux Live System for USB Sticks and offering the best out of the box experience for hard drive installations. Therefore we developed easy to use applications like USB Installer aswell as a Persistent Creator that allows you to store changes to your system on your live usb stick.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • New icon browser tool for GTK+ developers in development

        As someone that has dabbled from time to time making small GTK applications for Fedora, one of the pain points when making an interface was just figuring out what specific icons were named, and what they looked like. My previous workflow was to open up /usr/share/icons/ in Files, and search for the icon and the icon name.

      • Touchscreen Support Added To GNOME’s Mutter On Wayland

        With today’s release of Mutter 3.13.3, GNOME on Wayland has support for touchscreen support.

        The Mutter 3.13.3 release brings touch support on Wayland along with improved behavior of window buttons with comoositor menus, updated window shadows, support for keeping windows on the preferred output and various bug fixes.

      • Whats that icon ?
      • GNOME Shell 3.13.3 Features Improved Behavior of Window Buttons

        This is the second update for GNOME Shell in the current 3.13.x development cycle, and it looks like some interesting changes have been made, although there is no major feature to be observed.

        According to the changelog, closing windows with attached modals is no longer allowed, GNOME Shell is no longer self-restarting on OpenBSD, and the behavior of window buttons with compositor menus has been improved.

        Also, a workaround has been implemented for an atspi-related performance regression, numerous smaller bugs have been fixed, and a handful of translations have been updated…

      • Help Test New Font Manager Vala/GTK3 Alpha Version

        The application is not new and you’ll find it in the Ubuntu (and Fedora, etc.) repositories but it hasn’t been updated in about 4 years. Recently, the Font Manager developer started working on a new GTK3/Vala version and he needs you to test it and post feedback.

      • GNOME’s Orca Screen Reader Receives Major Changes and Improvements

        Orca works with applications and toolkits that support the Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface (AT-SPI), which is the primary assistive technology infrastructure for Linux and Solaris.

        The developers are making some very big changes to Orca and it looks like GNOME 3.14 will feature several important new features. This is the second major overhaul done by the Orca devs, but they are not stopping here.

      • GNOME Control Center 3.13.2 Finally Gets HiDpi Support

        The GNOME Control Center allows users to configure various components of their system using a vast collection of tools. It’s the hub for all the major settings that can be done in a GNOME environment, so it’s easy to see why any update for it might be considered important.

        In fact, the GNOME Control Center didn’t see many changes in the previous GNOME 3.12 release, besides the regular updates and new features. Some changes have been made, but nothing really stood out.

      • GTK+ 3.13.3 Now Features Adwaita Theme by Default
  • Distributions

    • Black Lab Linux 5.1 Alpha Ditches Mac OS Look

      Black Lab Linux is a distribution designed for general desktop and power users that comes with a lot of applications and features. In the past, the developers tried to market this distribution as a replacement for Windows and Mac OS X systems and they even tried to make it look like those OSes.

      It turns out that users didn’t really go for that look, so the makers of Black Lab Linux had to change gears and make some important modifications. The current build of this Linux distribution looks very different from the previous editions, but that might turn out to be a good thing…

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Closes OpenSSL Regression in All Supported Ubuntu OSes

            Canonical has published details about an OpenSSL regression in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 13.10, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS operating systems.

          • NEW CINNAMON STABLE UBUNTU PPAS [UBUNTU 14.04 AND 12.04]

            If you use Ubuntu 12.04, use the second (Cool PPA below. For Ubuntu 14.04, you can use any of the two PPAs below.

            [•••]

            Tsvetko’s stable Cinnamon PPA provides the latest Cinnamon for Ubuntu 14.04 (2.2.13) and Cinnamon 2.0.14 for Ubuntu 12.04 (that’s because newer Cinnamon versions don’t work in Ubuntu 12.04) as well as all the required packages like Nemo, cinnamon-screensaver, etc.

          • Canonical: A company in dire need of a clear objective

            Who remembers the Ubuntu Netbook Edition or UNE (formerly Ubuntu Netbook Remix)? At about 2009/10, netbooks were all the rage. The technology produced, low powered, low cost, and extremely portable PCs. The netbook (and Microsoft marketing) would eventually drive hardware vendors to produce the Ultrabook. Many distribution spins were created to accommodate this netbook market and that included Ubuntu. Canonical would even work closely with Dell, to deliver a Moblin flavored distribution. As soon as it appeared, it disappeared, although all was not lost. The fundamental design for the UNE would inspire Unity.

          • My new feature- Highlight changes in the cell
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint KDE 17 review; is this the Plasma you were looking for?

              The Linux Mint team has announced the release of the Plasma Desktop edition of the popular GNU/Linux based operating system – Linux Mint KDE 17. Being a Plasma user myself, and since I keep a close eye on what this team is doing, I was obviously interested in testing it out.

            • Resurrect Your Old Computer with Emmabuntüs 1.08

              The Emmabuntüs distribution is intended to be sleek, accessible, and equitable, but above all, it’s designed for old computers.

              “It was designed to make the refurbishing of computers given to humanitarian organizations easier, especially Emmaüs communities (which is where the distribution’s name comes from), and to promote the discovery of GNU/Linux by beginners,” reads the official announcement.

            • Peppermint Five is Live
            • Peppermint Five released
            • Peppermint OS Five [screenshots]
            • An Everyday Linux User review of Lubuntu 14.04

              This is one of those reviews that should be really easy to write. Just last week I wrote an article listing 5 reasons why Lubuntu would be good for Windows XP users. Therefore with this in mind you might think that this review would list all of Lubuntu’s good points and paint a positive picture.

              Unfortunately it isn’t that simple. As far as I am concerned Lubuntu 14.04 feels like a step backwards when compared to Lubuntu 13.10.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • My first Linux based robot
    • I just got my BeagleBoard Black, now what?
    • Automation controller taps Raspberry Pi Compute Module

      Techbase has designed a Raspberry Pi Compute Module into a Linux-based “ModBerry” automation computer backed by an “iMod” cloud platform for remote control.

      The computer-on-module version of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, which began shipping this week, was anticipated by many, but perhaps nowhere so acutely as in Poland. First, we heard about A Sherlybox private cloud storage device based on the module from Polish startup Sher.ly, and now Gdansk-based industrial computer manufacturer Techbase has opened pre-orders for an automation computer called the ModBerry 500 based on the COM.

    • This is the Gear Live, Samsung’s $199 Android Wear Smartwatch

      Wearables were everywhere today at Google I/O, but there was only one truly new product announced: the Galaxy Live, Samsung’s Android Wear-running smartwatch. And we’ve had a chance to spend a few minutes playing with a demo unit — it’s only able to do a few things right now, but we have our best sense yet of what Android Wear hardware and software will look like. This is one of the key devices for Android Wear, one of the watches being given to all attendees of the conference, and at first glance it’s quite nice.

    • Tizen Samsung Z Unpacked Event – Russia July 10, 2014
    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google I/O Offers Devs Big Bonanza

          Google on Wednesday kicked off its I/O conference in San Francisco, presenting devs with a dizzying array of possibilities: a new design language for Android L; a boatload of new apps, APIs and SDKs; and expanded support for a variety of architectural and hardware configurations. “If I were a developer, I would feel real good about opportunities today,” said ABI analyst Jeff Orr.

        • Windows wars? The Android and Chrome OS Alliance

          Linux may rule in most places — supercomputers, mobile, and Wall Street to name a few — but the Windows empire has still held on to the desktop, despite Windows 8.x’s failure to grab marketshare quickly. Now there’s new hope: At Google I/O, Sundar Pichai, Google’s head of Chrome and Android, said during the opening keynote that Google will be giving Chrome OS the power to run Android apps.

        • Android TV hands-on: Google makes a new play for the living room

          Google hasn’t exactly been successful at taking over the living room — Chromecast aside, its previous efforts have failed to capture much consumer interest. However, during the I/O 2014 keynote today, the company showed that it is ready to start fresh with Android TV. It’s a new platform that combines live TV via your cable box or even an over-the-air antenna along with Android apps and services like Google Play to offer up a more simplified way to get content to your TV than the older Google TV model.

        • Android boss envious of Apple, but says open source is best

          What Pichai didn’t say was that Cook was at all wrong. Android’s variety naturally leads to issues in various areas, security being one of them. It’s also why popular chipset maker Qualcomm has come on so strongly with their Snapdragon series. Though they’ve varying degrees of prowess, Snapdragon chipsets all have the same basic security layers intact.

        • Exclusive: Sundar Pichai, Head of Google’s Android, on Apple, Samsung, and Amazon
        • Quit the madness, iOS is not more secure than Android!

          The misconception that Apple’s products are somehow more secure has carried from Macbooks to iPhones. This may sometimes be a true statement, but it’s usually due to external factors, not actual security procedures or OS advantages. Such has been found to be the case with iOS when compared to Android, according to Marble Security Labs.

        • Cyanogen Expands Team in Push for Open Android

          Cyanogen is a for-profit business built around the CyanogenMod project, which is used by hobbyists to unlock their phones in order to get quicker updates and remove the types of interfaces installed by their device maker and carrier. It offers its own flavor of Android — one designed to offer users more choice while at the same time remaining fully compatible with the official Google version.

        • Last Nexus 6 coming later this year with a 5.5-inch screen

          A source within Google tells Ausdroid that “a new Nexus phone is definitely in the works, with the big feature of the new Nexus phone tipped to be a very LG G3 sized 5.5″ screen. While the screen size matches, no mention was made of whether the resolution of the panel would be equal to the QHD display on the LG flagship.”

        • Android and New Device Types to Share Spotlight at Google I/O

          The Google I/O conference begins today, and it’s already clear from advance notice on the sessions and discussion topics that Android and new device types for Google’s platforms will share the spotlight at the event.

        • Huawei Honor 6 Review: new flagship smartphone with Kirin 920 octa-core processor

          After we’ve covered the news about the official lauching about the new flagship smartphone, the Huawei Honor 6, is now we have a review about the phone. The new Huawei Honor 6 is packs with 5 inch screen, 3GB of RAM and this is the first smartphone that powered by Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 920 octa-core processor made of four A15 cores and 4 A7 cores which Huawei thinks compares to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset.The Huawei Honor 6 has officially release in Beijing on June 24th, 2014. Before now, the Huawei Honor 6 has spread as a rumors, and now this phone is come to the market and ready to beat the other flagship smartphone, such as Samsung Galaxy S5.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Analyst Unveils Open Source Model for NFV-SDN Management

    In short, the CIMI Corp. president is essentially trying to provide a path to deployment for NFV and SDN, believing strongly that without high-level orchestration and management and an operations framework, virtualization in the telecom sector could be spinning its wheels for some time to come.

  • Use Software Defined Networking to optimize your IaaS

    Explore Software Defined Networking (SDN) — network management via software abstraction layers — as a method to enhance and optimize your Infrastructure as a Service in the areas of interoperability, user and provider expectation management, developer and administrator requirements, and effective risk mitigation.

  • 5 assistive technology open source programs

    Assistive technology software is any program or operating system feature designed to let a user with cognitive, sensory, or physical impairments use a computer system. Innovations in assistive technology software can make a huge difference in the daily lives of these people.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox and GTK+ 3

        The issue we had to solve is that GTK+ 2 and GTK+ 3 cannot be loaded in the same address space. Moving Firefox from GTK+ 2 to GTK+ 3 isn’t a problem, as only GTK+ 3 gets loaded in its address space, and everything is fine. The problem comes when you load a plugin that links to GTK+ 2, e.g. Flash. Then, GTK+ 2 and GTK+ 3 get both loaded, GTK+ detects that, and aborts to avoid bigger problems.

      • Mozilla Delivers Built-in HTML5 App Development Tool for Firefox

        If you work with web content at all, you’re probably familiar with doing debugging and content editing directly from within a browser. If you’re a Firefox user, you may also be very familiar with tools such as Firebug, which lets you do extensive debugging and development from within Firefox.

      • HDMI-stick runs Firefox OS, acts like Chromecast
      • Mozilla to cram a full web-dev IDE inside Firefox browser

        All of the major web browser vendors now ship developer tools with their products, but Mozilla is planning to go whole hog by building a full integrated development environment (IDE) for web apps right into its Firefox browser.

      • Firefox Release Engineering

        Recently, the Mozilla Release Engineering team has made numerous advances in release automation for our browser, Firefox. We have reduced the requirements for human involvement during signing and sending notices to stakeholders, and have automated many other small manual steps, because each manual step in the process is an opportunity for human error. While what we have now isn’t perfect, we’re always striving to streamline and automate our release process. Our final goal is to be able to push a button and walk away; minimal human intervention will eliminate many of the headaches and do-overs we experienced with our older part-manual, part-automated release processes. In this article, we will explore and explain the scripts and infrastructure decisions that make up the complete Firefox rapid release system, as of Firefox 10.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Deeper, Better, Farther: Growing the Community & Improving LibreOffice

      There is something truly comforting in observing vibrant communities such as the one of LibreOffice. The project is growing, not just in developers but in adoption as well: more users as well as more localizations are a visible sign inside the project. All this is not only thanks to our good name and reputation; it is because as we are well into our fourth year of existence, it is important to realize that communities scale as much as their production and communication infrastructure is able to grow and perform its duties. Two words are of peculiar importance here: Production & Communication. In a Free and Open Source Software project, these two functions are tightly connected. The project enables the software production at the same time it enables communications between its members. Conversely, you cannot have a developers, users, or QA mailing list for instance, without relying on an existing code repository of some sort, otherwise you’re only doing vapourware (and vapourware only needs a database of press contacts, but no real mailing list).

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 5 myths about working collaboratively

      I’m a big believer in collaboration. It’s one of the main tenets of the open source way and a huge part of the design process. When done right, collaboration is about finding the right and diverse mix of people, collectively defining the problem and goals, and then collectively doing the work: researching, listening, thinking, sharing, tinkering, doing more research, more thinking, more tinkering, and more sharing until you get to a strategy that has conviction and truth.

    • Open Hardware

      • Intel Corporation (INTC) Futurist Brian David Johnson Demonstrates 3D-Printed Open Source Jimmy Robot
      • Printrbot Begins Putting Their 3D Printer Files Up on YouMagine for Free Download

        Open source, you either love the idea or you hate it. It it weren’t for the open sourcing of 3D printer files, the industry would not be nearly where it is today. It allows for individuals and companies to take someone else’s ideas and designs, improve upon them, use them, and redistribute them. When done in a truly open source manner, this creates an exponential rate of innovation, whereas there could be thousands of people improving a design, only to have a thousand more come along and do the same to their own. We’ve seen 3D printers evolve at tremendous rates over the past couple years, and a large part of the credit belongs to the open source movement that a great deal of the designers and manufacturers have supported.

      • Meet the M-One, the latest open source SLA 3D printer

        Stereolithographic 3D printers, which use light to harden liquid resin into 3D objects, are dropping in price. And their price tag will likely continue to fall after two open source printers enter the market this year, one of which went up on Kickstarter today.

  • Programming

    • Eclipse Creates Working Group for Open Source Science Research Software

      The Eclipse Foundation’s annual Release Train will be in the spotlight later this week, but first a bit of that metaphorical illumination should fall on a new Foundation project. Announced on Monday, the newly organized Eclipse Science Working Group (SWG) is being described as “a global collaboration for scientific software.” It aims to bring together groups from academia, industry and government to create open software that can be used in basic scientific research.

    • The New asyncio in Python 3.4: Servers, Protocols, and Transports

      In a previous article on the new asyncio module introduced in Python 3.4, I explained simple use of event loop functions that register, execute, and delay or cancel calls. In this article, I demonstrate more-advanced examples that explore asyncio’s support for server and client programming, protocols, and transports.

Leftovers

  • Fifteen Months Later

    Unfortunately, when you have been accused of rape — even provably falsely as I have been — there’s no way to “win”. For the rest of my life, when someone searches my name on the internet, the word “rape” will appear somewhere among the results. And that person will always wonder whether or not I was capable of such a heinous act.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Scary New Congressional Bill Would Force Medication on Some Mentally Ill People

      According to a Sunlight Foundation analysis of the NRA’s proposals a year later, “the initial fervor for increasing armed security in schools has died down” and the video game industry has “been upping its political profile with significant campaign contributions to Democratic members and a seven-figure lobbying budget”. While those two areas were stuck in the mud, “the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that a years-long trend of diminishing budgets for mental health had reversed in 2013, citing Newtown as a key mitigating factor”. The trend spread to more than budgets: Nevada and Nebraska established programs to provide for more screening and mental health training for children. Despite successes on the state front, the NRA still struggled: a quick search of it’s press releases show it mostly playing defense on a variety of bills, and it’s NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013 (a direct attempt to create the “active national database” LaPierre spoke of) went nowhere.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Time on Iraq War: What Did We Do to Deserve This?

      We offered them the spirits of cooperation and liberty and the modern heart, and this is the thanks we get. It’s almost as if some people don’t appreciate being invaded.

    • An appeal to the Quartet on the Middle East to sack Tony Blair

      In reality, the invasion and occupation of Iraq had been a disaster long before the recent gains made by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The sectarian conflict responsible for much of the war’s reprehensible human cost was caused in part by the occupying forces’ division of the country’s political system along sectarian lines.

    • Paul: ISIS emboldened after US armed its allies in Syria

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that the Sunni militants taking over Iraq have quickly gained power because the United States armed their allies in Syria.

      “I think we have to understand first how we got here,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think one of the reasons why ISIS has been emboldened is because we have been arming their allies. We have been allied with ISIS in Syria.”

      Paul was asked whether the U.S. should shift its focus to Syria.

      “We have been fighting alongside al Qaeda, fighting alongside ISIS,” he said. “ISIS is now emboldened and in two countries. But here’s the anomaly. We’re with ISIS in Syria. We’re on the same side of the war. So, those who want to get involved to stop ISIS in Iraq are allied with ISIS in Syria. That is real contradiction to this whole policy.”

    • Judge who ordered Saddam’s death executed by ISIS
    • Gas Prices ‘Skyrocketing’? You’d Better Duck

      You’re not supposed to talk about oil and Iraq–but corporate media can’t stop talking about oil and Iraq.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • German Gold Stays in New York in Rebuff to Euro Doubters

      Surging mistrust of the euro during Europe’s debt crisis fed a campaign to bring Germany’s entire $141 billion gold reserve home from New York and London. Now, after politics shifted in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, the government has concluded that stashing half its bullion abroad is prudent after all.

    • Judge Baugh to vandal: Get a ‘real job’ and repay victims

      A Billings judge on Monday sentenced a 21-year-old man for a 2012 vandalism spree and suggested he replace his fast-food job with a “real job” so he can better pay restitution to his victims.

      District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Brandon Daniel Turell to 10 years in custody of the state department of corrections, with five years suspended, and ordered him to pay about $13,600 in restitution.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • US Embassy In Berlin Offering Cold, Hard Cash For People To Create Pro-TAFTA/TTIP Propaganda

      We’ve been writing about the big US/EU “free trade” agreement negotiations (which aren’t really about free trade at all), variously named TAFTA or TTIP (negotiators prefer TTIP, to avoid comparisons to NAFTA) for quite some time now. If it were really about free trade, there might be some interesting elements to it, but it’s much more about the standard issues like providing corporate sovereignty over national sovereignty, and other things like ratcheting up copyright and patent laws in secret. All this “democracy” is all done very much behind closed doors that won’t be opened until many years after the agreement is already reached.

    • Murdoch Tabloid Editor Found Guilty In UK Phone Hacking Trial

      Andy Coulson, a former editor of the now-shuttered Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid News of the World, was found guilty of conspiring to intercept communications, concluding a lengthy trial focused on criminal activity at the British paper. According to the Associated Press, fellow News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Stuart Kuttner were acquitted.

    • WSJ Upset Supreme Court Didn’t Destroy Class Action Lawsuits In Halliburton

      Contrary to right-wing media misinformation, corporate fraud on the stock market remains a real problem that class actions continue to correct through restitution and deterrence.

    • Rebekah Brooks Escapes Jail, but Questions Linger for Murdoch

      Rebekah Brooks likes to tell this story about herself. How, as a junior reporter on Rupert Murdoch’s London tabloid The Sun, she stuffed her flaming red hair under a head scarf, dressed up as a cleaner and smuggled herself into the offices of the Sun’s stablemate, The Sunday Times. When all the Times’s editorial staff had gone home, she sat herself at a computer and calmly stole their scoop.

    • The (not so) secrets of promoted Tweets and Twitter accounts

      Putting aside that the “Business Twitter” page can’t spell “someone”, in light of there being no opt out feature, I don’t know what else to do. I’m fed up with having to block these accounts. Twitter may make money from adverts, but no product that promotes its tweets gets business from me – its a point of principle. A product invades “my space” – I boycott that product. There are many other users who think the same way.

  • Privacy

    • It’s Official. SCOTUS Considers Small Cheap Computers As Computers

      The Supreme Court has just ruled that smartphones and other electronic gadgets are worthy to require search warrants to search just like real computers. Their big issue is the depth, breadth and volume of data stored on smartphones but that is just one function of a smartphone. The Supremes also mention browsing histories, and “apps”, all providing information about people to police just like other evidence.

    • ‘Get a warrant’ – Supreme Court rules against cell phone searches in ‘big win for digital privacy’

      The Supreme Court of the United States said Wednesday that police officers must have a warrant before searching the cell phone contents of an individual under arrest.

      In a unanimous ruling announced early Wednesday, the high court settled two cases surrounding instances in which law enforcement officials scoured the mobile phones of suspects in custody and then used information contained therein to pursue further charges.

    • Supreme Court limits police right to search cell phones

      The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that police officers usually need a warrant before they can search an arrested suspect’s cellphone.

    • Theresa May Calls For More Surveillance Powers

      Theresa May has used the annual Lord Mayor’s Defence and Security Lecture to call for changes to the law to give new powers of surveillance to the government. Despite the extensive coverage given to broad range of programmes revealed in by Edward Snowden, she claimed the UK’s lack of technological capability presented a “great danger”.

  • Civil Rights

    • Detroit has cut off the water supply to thousands of residents – and now activists have taken their fight to the UN

      Activists angered by the closing of water accounts for thousands of people behind in their payments have taken their fight to the United Nations.

    • App turns power button into panic button for activists at risk

      Amnesty international has launched an open-source ‘Panic Button’ app designed to help human rights activists at risk from attack, kidnap or torture.

    • A SWAT team blew a hole in my 2-year-old son (UPDATE)

      After our house burned down in Wisconsin a few months ago, my husband and I packed our four young kids and all our belongings into a gold minivan and drove to my sister-in-law’s place, just outside of Atlanta. On the back windshield, we pasted six stick figures: a dad, a mom, three young girls, and one baby boy.

    • Aaron Swartz Wanted to Change the World, Says Director

      When news broke early last year that Internet activist Aaron Swartz had been found dead, filmmaker Brian Knappenberger was already deeply immersed in the hacking and computer programming world. Fresh off the release of a documentary about the Anonymous movement, We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, the filmmaker had been following the ongoing lawsuit against Swartz, who faced charges related to illegal access of the JSTOR academic-article service.

    • Stinking Hypocrisy

      The BBC thus seeks to square the circle of supporting the release of Peter Greste and at the same time taking the British government line of supporting the Egyptian dictatorship’s elimination of its political opponents.

      The truth is that Peter Greste is only superficially the victim of an Egyptian dictator. At root he is the victim of a western foreign policy that believes the interests of Israel outweigh all other interests in the Middle East.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • European roaming charges to plummet 50 percent from 1 July

      ROAMING CHARGES across Europe will drop more than 50 percent from 1 July, as the European Union (EU) works towards eliminating roaming charges altogether.

      Following similar price cuts that took place this time last year, the European Commission (EC) announced on Tuesday that in its effort to put an end to roaming charges, prices are set to drop by “over 50 percent” from 1 July.

    • 5 Bullshit Lies Cable Companies Are Feeding You Right Now

      As you may have heard, the nation’s cable companies have suddenly found themselves cast as villains, simply because of that little “trying to kill the Internet” thing. They’re working hard to get rid of net neutrality, the basic principle that they can’t charge extra to sites or services to make them load at a non-infuriating speed. But don’t worry: In order to clear their good names, Verizon, Comcast, and their ilk are doing their best to address their customers’ concerns … by using the time-honored tradition of feeding us bullshit.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Patent Lawyers Fail to Grasp That Software Ideas Rather Than Code Are Abstract and Hence Cannot Endure a Proper Court’s Test

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, Patents at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The LLP echo chamber

Businessman

Summary: Heaps of editorials and analyses from patent-centric firms pretend that nothing has changed after the Supreme Court abolished patents on “abstract ideas” (as opposed to working implementations)

POTENTIALLY substantial patent changes are afoot, especially owing to a decision from SCOTUS. A new article by Timothy B. Lee chastises this court for not understanding technology, which is a typical problem with judges. “The Supreme Court doesn’t understand software, and that’s a problem,” says Lee. “Patent litigation has become a huge problem for the software industry. And on Thursday, the Supreme Court could have solved that problem with the stroke of a pen. Precedents dating back to the 1970s place strict limits on software patents. The court could have clearly reiterated that those old precedents still apply, and that they rule out most patents on software.

“Instead, perhaps fearing the backlash from invalidating billions of dollars worth of patents, the court took an incremental approach. It ruled that the specific patent at issue in the case was invalid. But it didn’t articulate any clear rules for software patents more generally. In effect, the court kicked the can down the road, leaving a huge question mark floating over most software patents.”

SCOTUS can hardly distinguish between UML, pseudo code, and source code. The ambiguities left behind are already being exploited by patent lawyers and here is a new example from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, another from Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C., and one from Choate Hall & Stewart LLP, to name just three (these flood the media these days, day after day). Well, at first came lots of media reports (written by journalists) declaring a lot of software patents dead and later came (and still comes) the flood of “analyses” by lawyers, rewriting the history to assure their clients that it is worth patenting software and that nothing has really changed.

In recent days we found more examples from Proskauer Rose LLP, saying that “Applying this rationale, the Court found that the claims at issue recited computer steps that are “purely conventional” and a “basic function[] of a computer.”15 The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the Federal Circuit and held the claims were ineligible under § 101.”

The SCOTUS decision was too weak in some sense and law firms are spinning it in their favour. Here is an example where the title says “Supreme Court silent on general eligibility of software patents” (not entirely true). Cooley LLP , Fenwick & West LLP, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Lathrop & Gage LLP also try to assure their clients that patenting more algorithms is OK, as if nothing has changed. “Although the Court’s decision provides some clarity concerning the inventive effect of reciting computer implementation within patent claims,” says the last analysis, “there remains some ambiguity concerning how courts will define “abstract ideas” moving forward (indeed, the Court stated that it “need not labor to delimit the precise contours of the ‘abstract ideas’ category in this case”).”

Code is already copyrighted, so one might argue that patenting anything but code would be patenting “abstract ideas”. Suffice to say, this is not what greedy patent lawyers are going to tell customers for whom they produce useless papers that the USPTO almost blindly stamps for approval.

Patent lawyers continue to rely on the ignorance or gullibility among judges (who are themselves lawyers and are rarely technical enough to grasp programming). Perhaps any court that deals with patents should have an imperative to be technical. CAFC, for example, needs to be abolished for being corrupt and also utterly dumb on technology.

Facebook and Microsoft Openwashing Alert

Posted in Microsoft at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Incredible Hulk and Facebook

Summary: Countering the very disturbing marketing illusion that Facebook and its (in part) owner Microsoft are warming up to FOSS while in reality they hoard patents and use them offensively

Surveillance giant and meta-advertising company Facebook has been running an effective campaign to openwash its data centres, hardware, programming tools, and software, despite the fact that Facebook is proprietary and very malicious. Facebook is also partly owned by Microsoft and passes its data to Microsoft, which uses people's data against them. Facebook, like Microsoft, is close to the NSA and we noted in daily links, there is a high-profile European court case dealing with it.

Facebook not only started with misappropriation of source code (Mark Zuckerberg took over people’s work that they had paid him for) but also with unoriginal ideas. There were sites like Facebook before it (far less privacy-infringing), well before Zuckerberg scraped people’s faces off Web sites to make his first controversial site that got him in a lot of disciplinary trouble.

There is a patent case underway, potentially showing Facebook’s lack of originality. The plaintiff is a Dutch programmer, not a patent troll. It is going to be interesting to see how it ends up, not just because it involves darn patents but because it may teach Facebook, which hoards patents, a lesson about the harms of software patents. While Facebook tries to openwash its operations it is a usually patenting a lot of basic software ideas and also using these to sue companies. How ‘open’ is that? Patent extortion, just like Microsoft.

“Facebook is also partly owned by Microsoft and passes its data to Microsoft, which uses people’s data against them.”The UBM-run Dr. Dobbs continues its campaign of openwashing of Microsoft, especially courtesy of Mono and .NET booster Andrew Binstock (he is the Executive Editor of the site). Here he is paying lip service to Microsoft again, giving it much needed help it by using the “.NET section” of a news site to openwash .NET. “How far the company has come from its early dismissal of open source,” says Binstock, but has he really paid attention? The very fact that Andrew Binstock is the Executive Editor should say a lot about whose agenda is served at Dr. Dobbs these days (after the acquisition).

Microsoft’s Android pretense, as mentioned the other day, is that it is actually a backer while in reality it extorts Android and runs a program for ‘licensing’ Android (which is not a Microsoft product). When Microsoft ‘tips’ an Android phone it should not be shocking because it is part of the plan to legitimise extortion, pretending (e.g. to regulators) that Microsoft is not a hostile actor. At the same time as this article there is an unusually high volume of articles with Microsoft revisionism along those lines.

Overall, these campaigns of openwashing and especially the efforts from Microsoft boosters like Binstock ought to remind us to keep our eyes open and our brains working. There is a deception endeavour going on. In some internal documents that came out through legal action Microsoft speaks very explicitly of the needs for such endeavours.

Financial Perspective of Patents Misses the Reality of Patent Monopolies

Posted in Patents at 10:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Obsession with shares instead of sharing

Stocks

Summary: Deviation from the mentality which says ideas should be patented and ‘protected’ (meaning that others are prevented from using similar ideas) based on new examples from the media

THE world of MBAs is vastly different from that of engineers. When all that matters is oneself (financially), then the notion of sharing makes little sense, as long as one can exploit or hoard others’ work (the selfish approach). This is why, despite engineers’ spirit of sharing (wanting to show their achievements), many companies continue to embrace secrecy and isolation.

Bloomberg (Wall Street-friendly press) gives its press platform to a famous patent troll, Jay Walker. This grooming piece is highly disturbing as it helps the likes of Walker (patent trolls) and the USPTO make patents seem almost synonymous with innovation (classic lie). Monopoly and protectionism are being spun as a wonderful thing. That’s what corporate media likes to do. It’s repeated so often that many people actually believe it without questioning.

“Monopoly and protectionism are being spun as a wonderful thing.”We recently countered the marketing nonsense that associated/conflated de-weaponising patents with becoming “open source”. Tesla did not open up designs of cars and make them downloadable or anything, but the corporate press sure helps Tesla’s marketing by stating that “Tesla founder has given away patents on electric car technology” (not given away actually). This is shameless PR for reasons that we highlighted before. “Elon Musk took the decision to invest heavily in patent protection. Without patents, Tesla won’t have any control over the commercial opportunities of its inventions,” says this generally poor coverage from the financial press (equating patents with currency). A Red Hat site did yet another article about this, saying that “Elon Musk and crew at Tesla Motors made some big waves last week. In case you missed this recent news roundup, it was announced that Tesla is effectively relinquishing their patent portfolio—particularly around charging stations.”

Here is a VC (venture capitalist) who opposes software patents (Fred Wilson is one of several) weighing in again. To quote: “If you did a topic analysis on AVC over the past 10+ years that I’ve been blogging, I suspect patent reform would rate highly. I’ve been advocating for eliminating software patents and cutting back patent protection broadly as loudly and frequently as I can. I believe that sharing intellectual property will lead to way more innovation than hoarding and protecting it. I’ve seen a huge amount of pain and agony inflicted on innovative companies by trolls and “inventors” who never did anything other than write their ideas down on paper. Having ideas is not innovation. Making something new and different and putting it into the market is innovation.”

So basically, several VCs too want to see a society that shares ideas. Patents may not be needed at all. Even investors can reject them. Patents are a threat when counterparts and trolls use them. Here is a post titled “What If Drug Patents Were Written Like Software Patents?” To quote: “Not happening, that one, and it’s a good thing. But stuff nearly that vague and idiotic is all over the software patent landscape. Such patents list a superficially impressive amount of detail about how their “invention” is to be implemented, but all too often, that scheme turns out to mean something like “Someone uses a computer to contact a web server” or “Someone turns on their mobile phone”. It would be as if we in the drug industry could enable our compounds by citing a few synthetic organic chemistry textbooks – that’s how you make ‘em, right there!”

In general, much of the whole patent hype is inherently bad, as it encourages isolation. Tesla is at least realising this after it wasted a lot of money patenting a lot of stuff. For that Tesla deserves some credit. It acknowledges its wasteful mistakes now, grasping a culture of sharing instead. The lesson we should learn from Tesla is not patents giveaway; we should learn from Tesla’s error and avoid this error by never patenting stuff in the first place. Tesla merely gave back what it took away.

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