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01.13.15

Links 13/1/2015: Galaxy A7, Linux Mint 17.1 Reviews

Posted in News Roundup at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source software platform released by Lockheed Martin

    Lockheed Martin software engineers have created a platform for easing big data analysis for developers and non-developers and are open sourcing the project on GitHub, a well-known web-based hosting service.

  • 6 excellent open source network monitoring tools

    There are tools that notify users when problems occur as well as when problems have been solved. And others are very good at spotting just about anything out of the ordinary or providing analysis of trends.

  • Three Pillars Of Open Source Governance

    Open source software has morphed from its underground DIY roots to become a common tool that runs essential parts of many businesses. In turn, commercial companies have sprung up around open source projects. These companies make money offering updates, support, and services.

    The intersection of open source and commercial interests raises questions about authority, authenticity, and culture.

    Is the project driven by the commercial sponsor or outside contributors? Will commercial interests trump the wishes of the community? How and where do you draw lines between a commercial entity and the open source community?

  • Top 5 open source project management tools in 2015

    Last year, I covered five of the best open source project management tools, like ProjectLibre and OpenProject. The article struck a chord with readers and continues to prove valuable. So, this year I revisited the tools mentioned in last year’s article, taking into account comments and suggestions from readers, and provided an update on where they are today. Next, I share five new open source project management tools for 2015. All in all, this article will give you a good look at 11 of the top open source project management tools out there.

  • Events

    • Free embedded computing conference posts agenda

      “Tomorrow’s Internet of Things will be built as an orchestration of hardware and software platforms, many of which will be built on Linux,” states the RTC Group in its RTECC event announcement. Attendees will have the opportunity to grab a copy of the most recent free RTC Magazine, featuring a cover that asks: “Linux: Can it run everywhere?”

    • Consumer Electronics Show 2015: Open source highlights

      The 48th annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has come and gone, bringing with it some exciting new open source platforms and products. While it’s difficult to capture every open source announcement and unveiling that happened last week, let’s take a look at a few of the highlights:

    • Linux.Conf.Au 2015 Kicks Off In Auckland

      This year’s LCA 2015 keynotes include Linus Torvalds, Bob Young, and Eben Moglen. For those not down under attending the conference, at least there’s usually top-notch videos of the keynotes and various sessions that are available in the weeks ahead. I’ll also be monitoring for the slides and other presentation assets to analyze and share on Phoronix.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Announcing the Mozilla Science Lab Fellowship Program

        With generous support from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, we are excited to announce the Mozilla Science Lab’s first Open Science fellowship program. The grant is one of the first investments by the Trust’s new funding program dedicated to collaboration, reproducibility, and infrastructure in biomedical sciences.

      • Firefox 35 Is Ready For Release, Available For Download Now

        In usual Mozilla fashion, Firefox 35.0 is scheduled to be released tomorrow but if you’re so tempted to upgrade to the latest release of this open-source web-browser you can do so tonight.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Project Releases

    • rfoaas 0.1.1

      A brand new and shiny version of rfoaas is now on CRAN. The rfoaas package provides an interface for R to the most excellent FOAAS service–which provides a modern, scalable and RESTful web service for the frequent need to tell someone to f$#@ off.

    • Early Preview Release Of Git 2.3

      Beyond announcing Git v2.2.2 on Monday with various bug-fixes, Junio Hamano announced the release of Git 2.3.0-rc0 as a preview release towards Git 2.3.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Meet the open access dinosaurs of the year

        As we enter 2015, it’s a good time to reflect on the state of paleontology and the state of open access. Because I’m a dinosaur paleontologist (my apologies to the other 99% of life that ever lived), this post will of course address that clade in particular!

        Thirty-eight new genera or species of dinosaur were announced in 2014 (according to my count based on a list at Wikipedia and the dinosaur genera list), spanning everything from sauropods to tyrannosaurs to horned dinosaurs. Seventeen of these were published in open access or free-to-read journals. This works out to around 45%.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Hardware Advances Science,Technology

        On June 12, 2014 Elon Musk caused a stir by announcing Tesla’s decision to open its patents. To many, Tesla’s bold move signaled the beginning of an era and an open call for open source.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • making it work

      Linus recently noted that many-core (1000+ core) computing will never happen because software doesn’t work with it. Fortunately for us, Linus is a man of limited vision and is wrong about the inevitability of that outcome because he makes a flawed assumption: we will continue writing software the way we currently do. He is right that if we keep writing software the way we do, many-core will not happen. Even multi-system will run into limits, particularly on the client side. However, we don’t need to keep writing software the way we do.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fall in life expectancy raises alarm amid fears that cuts and pressure on NHS may be to blame for earlier deaths

      Health officials are investigating a “statistically significant, sustained” decline in life expectancy among elderly people in some parts of England, amid warnings that cuts to social care and pressures on the NHS may be contributing to earlier deaths.

    • EU lawmakers pass controversial GMO food law

      EU lawmakers on Tuesday approved controversial legislation to allow EU member states to decide for themselves whether to allow cultivation of Genetically Modified foods after years of bitter dispute.

      “This agreement will ensure more flexibility for member states who wish to restrict the cultivation of the GMOs in their territory,” said Liberal Democrat MEP Frederique Ries who steered the legislation through the assembly.

      For some of the 28 European Union nations such as France, GMO foods are a potential threat to public health and the reputation and integrity of its famed agricultural produce.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Centcom ‘hack’ that wasn’t

      Hackers claiming links to the Islamic State have hijacked several social media accounts belonging to U.S. military’s Central Command. The hacking group, which calls itself “CyberCaliphate,” is tweeting out what the group claims are U.S. military PowerPoints and data on retired Army personnel — seemingly sensitive files that have no business being publicly aired. The images are meant to show that the hackers have penetrated the Pentagon’s network. But the chances of this actually having happened appear rather slim. Here’s why.

    • Manipulation of Terror

      Nationalists are spreading hate, fanatics are attacking Muslims, governments are capitalizing on this tragedy.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks: not perfect, but more important than ever for free speech

      The secret CIA files appeared just before Christmas. One detailed how CIA operatives could maintain cover, using fake IDs, when travelling through foreign airports. Israel’s Ben Gurion airport was said to be one of the hardest to trick.

      The other document, from 2009, was an assessment of the CIA’s assassination program. It raised doubts about the effectiveness of the program in reducing terrorism. Likewise with Israel’s killing of Palestinians.

      In Afghanistan, the CIA discovered that murdering Taliban leaders could radicalise the militants, allowing even more extreme actors to enter the battlefield. The Obama administration ignored this advice and unleashed “targeted killings” in the country. Unsurprisingly, the insurgency is thriving.

  • Privacy

    • David Cameron’s internet surveillance plans rival Syria, Russia and Iran

      What David Cameron thinks he’s saying is: “We will command all the software creators we can reach to introduce back doors into their tools for us.” There are enormous problems with this: there’s no back door that only lets good guys go through it. If your WhatsApp or Google Hangouts has a deliberately introduced flaw in it, then foreign spies, criminals, crooked police (such as those who fed sensitive information to the tabloids who were implicated in the phone-hacking scandal – and like the high-level police who secretly worked for organised crime for years) and criminals will eventually discover this vulnerability. They – and not just the security services – will be able to use it to intercept all of our communications, from the pictures of your kids in your bath you send to your parents to the trade secrets you send to co-workers.

    • WhatsApp and iMessage could be banned under new surveillance plans

      David Cameron could block WhatsApp and Snapchat if he wins the next election, as part of his plans for new surveillance powers announced in the wake of the shootings in Paris.

    • UK government could ban encrypted communications with new surveillance powers

      Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, is calling for new surveillance powers in the wake of the recent shootings in Paris. Speaking at a public event in the UK this morning, Cameron outlined the government’s stance on secure communications that can’t be read by police or government agencies. “In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which […] we cannot read?” he asked, comparing letters and phone conversations to encrypted communications used online, adding that “we must not” allow a means of communication where individuals can communicate in secret over the internet.

    • David Cameron Should Worry You

      It should have come as a surprise to nobody that leaders around the world are jumping on the Charlie Hedbo attacks in Paris as a means to justify increased warrantless surveillance.

      What you should take away from his statement is that he’s willing to encroach on the civil liberties of millions of British people in a misguided attempt to increase national security. We know from leaked NSA slides (see left) that this has always been the desire of the surveillance arms of the UK and US governments. Now, they’re using the fear that Paris generated to pass legislation.

    • Max Hastings embraces ‘der Deutsche Blick’

      It is concerning that, in the midst of citing the “coherent doctrine[s]” of Nazism and the Eastern Bloc, Hastings advocates their “everything about everyone” methods of domestic surveillance. The NSA’s term is “collect it all”. Apparently, Hastings is blind to the danger of history repeating, a history that includes MI5 finding itself with “very little to do” by the early 1970s, and turning (in the 1980s) on the people it was supposed to protect (see: DS19, and F branch) – surveilling for the first time with data banks and networks. By the 1990s, whistleblowers were reporting that Hastings’ “few mavericks, [...] who abuse such power” were a majority within positions of power, and broadly ignoring the Act of Parliament (1989) meant to curtail the agency’s excesses. Without oversight, institutions are as likely to devolve as reform, and Hastings’ outdated deference creates the space for further abuses.

    • U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron Proposes Banning End-to-End Encryption
    • What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry

      What David Cameron thinks he’s saying is, “We will command all the software creators we can reach to introduce back-doors into their tools for us.” There are enormous problems with this: there’s no back door that only lets good guys go through it. If your Whatsapp or Google Hangouts has a deliberately introduced flaw in it, then foreign spies, criminals, crooked police (like those who fed sensitive information to the tabloids who were implicated in the hacking scandal — and like the high-level police who secretly worked for organised crime for years), and criminals will eventually discover this vulnerability. They — and not just the security services — will be able to use it to intercept all of our communications. That includes things like the pictures of your kids in your bath that you send to your parents to the trade secrets you send to your co-workers.

      [...]

      Cameron is not alone here. The regime he proposes is already in place in countries like Syria, Russia, and Iran (for the record, none of these countries have had much luck with it). There are two means by which authoritarian governments have attempted to restrict the use of secure technology: by network filtering and by technology mandates.

    • Why MI5 does not need more surveillance powers after the Paris attacks

      Soon after the attacks in Paris last week, the director general of MI5, Andrew Parker, said of the jihadi threat: “Whenever we lose visibility of what they are saying to each other, so our ability to understand and mitigate the threat they pose is reduced.”

      Few would disagree with this sentiment, or in any way underestimate the enormous responsibility counter-terrorist agencies face after the killings, but the coded suggestion that MI5 needs further sweeping surveillance powers to track down terrorists is more controversial, because it doesn’t take into account the facts.

    • George Brandis still struggling with metadata

      While it is perhaps unsurprising, the Attorney-General’s latest attempt to use the Sydney siege and recent events in France as justifications for the government’s mandatory data retention laws is as distasteful as it is misleading.

    • What new snooping powers do PM and MI5 want – and what are the concerns?
    • In wake of Paris attacks, French surveillance gets a closer look

      French President Francois Hollande chaired an emergency meeting Monday morning with key cabinet ministers and heads of police and security services to discuss how persons known to the country’s intelligence community were still able to coordinate violent raids in Paris. But just days before the attacks on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo left 12 dead and wounded another 11, a controversial new law, broadly expanding the French government’s surveillance powers, went into effect.

    • MI6 forced to show how it may snoop on privileged lawyer-client exchanges

      MI6 has been forced to reveal documents detailing how it may access legally privileged communications between solicitors and their clients, even if the lawyers are suing the government.

      Policy guidance handed over to the civil liberties organisation Reprieve shows how the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) is attempting to regulate its mass surveillance practices and demonstrate compliance with the law.

      The revelations have emerged from a case brought by lawyers for two Libyans, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi, who, along with their families, were abducted in a joint MI6-CIA operation and sent back to Tripoli to be tortured by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2004.

      Their complaint about illegal monitoring is being heard before the investigatory powers tribunal and a full trial of the issues is expected this spring.

      Exchanges between lawyers and their clients enjoy a special protected status under UK law. Following exposure of widespread monitoring by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, Belhaj’s lawyers feared that their exchanges with their clients could have been compromised by GCHQ’s interception of phone conversations and emails.

    • After Paris: More Intelligence, not More Surveillance

      This is the extraordinary thing about mass surveillance. Every time it fails, its supporters use it as evidence that we must have more (even though blanket surveillance is no longer possible in the EU.) If something doesn’t work, you shouldn’t do more of it, but something different and more effective. One of the striking things to emerge from the report on intelligence matters relating to the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, which I wrote about back in November, was that the UK intelligence services simply didn’t have enough people to follow up all the leads they had. So the idea that we need *more* surveillance data, more false positives, more leads to follow up, is clearly folly.

    • What you ‘like’ on Facebook gives away your personality

      Be careful what you “like” on Facebook. You’re opening a small window on your soul.

      A machine-learning algorithm can now predict human personality types using nothing but what people like on the Facebook social media site. A team at Stanford University in California and the University of Cambridge used data from a questionnaire filled out by 86,000 people that identified their “big five” personality traits. The results were correlated with their Facebook activity.

      On the basis of between 100 and 150 Facebook likes, the team’s algorithm could determine someone’s personality more accurately than could their friends and family, and nearly as well as their spouse.

    • Ever liked a film on Facebook? You’ve given the security services a key to your soul

      Why on earth does David Cameron feel the need to call for new digital powers for the security services when they are only beginning to use the ones they already have? Suppose you wanted personality profiles of a quarter of the population of England? Turns out you can mine them from Facebook with publicly published algorithms. About half the adult population of England uses Facebook at least once a month. About a quarter of us have “liked” more than 250 things there. So it’s really disconcerting to discover that completely banal acts on Facebook can add up to a quite detailed psychological profile.

  • Civil Rights

    • Risen finally off hook in leak trial

      New York Times reporter James Risen won’t be called to the witness stand at a leak trial for one of his alleged sources, but jurors may hear some of the words he uttered at a pre-trial hearing last week, according to lawyers and the judge overseeing the case.

    • Feds want Risen out of leak trial

      Federal prosecutors who have decided after a seven-year legal battle not to call New York Times reporter James Risen in the leak trial of one of his alleged sources are now intent on making sure the defense in the case can’t call Risen either—or even talk about the government’s decision not to call him.

    • Psychologists provided legal cover for US torture programs in exchange for status and power, book shows

      James Risen’s new book “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War” spells out how the American Psychological Association and the US security apparatus worked together, towards mutually beneficial aims, to cloak the government’s torture programs in a mask of legality. Essentially, the APA gave the military what it wanted—claims that the torture programs were medically sound—in exchange for power and prestige.

      The story is simultaneously pathetic and horrifying.

      Risen describes how in 2002, the APA changed its ethical guidelines to allow members to do things that violate the APA code of ethics, as long as the psychologists were following the law or what they called “governing legal authority.” As long as the US government said it was ok, the APA’s members could engage in torture—its own ethics rules be damned. As Risen observes, the “change introduced the Nuremberg defense into American psychology—following lawful orders was an acceptable reason to violate professional ethics.” Always a bad sign when one begins to take legal cues from Nazis.

    • “Insider Threat” Program Lags Behind Schedule

      Currently, the anticipated achievement of an Initial Operating Capability for insider threat detection by January 2017 is “at risk,” according to a new quarterly progress report. Meanwhile, the date for achieving a Full Operating Capability cannot even be projected. See “Insider Threat and Security Clearance Reform, FY2014, Quarter 4.”

    • The Corrupt Philanderer Who Built the CIA’s Black Sites

      Democratic deliberation rests on the premise that ideas, once exposed to the public—unfolded, challenged, tested, and disputed—will stand or fall on their own merit. The bureaucratic drive for secrecy rests, in many cases, on a need to keep information out of the hands of individuals who could use it to harm the bureaucracy. The bureaucrat will invariably say that an enemy could use the information to harm the country, but more often than not the real concern originates with the bureaucrat personally or the office where he or she works.

    • America’s over-policing bombshell: How new data proves “stop & frisk” critics were right all along

      People are talking about the police a lot these days. The killing of unarmed residents. The killing of cops. Disputes between New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and rank-and-file officers over issues of respect. And yet, a policing issue that totally consumed and divided New York and the nation in recent years now garners little mention: the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.

      One big reason, of course, is that the tactic is used much less now. But another is that, while few have announced it, the debate over the once hotly divisive practice is effectively over. As new data this week confirmed, when it comes to whether a city can reduce crime without stopping-and-frisking enormous numbers of its residents of color, one side was right and one was wrong.

    • The VICE News Interview: Joseph Hickman

      According to the US government, three detainees — all imprisoned as part of the global war on terror — hung themselves in their cells that night. But Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman, who was on guard that night at Camp Delta, came to believe something very different: that the three men were murdered in a secret CIA black site at Guantanamo.

    • Hotter Than Lava

      Every day, cops toss dangerous military-style grenades during raids, with little oversight and horrifying results.

    • Politicians apply double standard in support of David Petraeus amid FBI leaks inquiry

      Though under investigation by the FBI for unauthorized disclosure of classified information related to an affair with his biographer, David Petraeus counts among his defenders a host of prominent politicians who typically denounce security leaks.

      The former US army general and CIA director has deep ties to a bipartisan host of political heavyweights, from potential Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to former Republican presidential nominee John McCain, and a well of media support stemming from his stewardship of the 2007-08 Iraq troop surge. Many have raced to support Petraeus in the days since word emerged that the most acclaimed military officer of his generation might face felony charges.

    • Obama & Counterterror: The Ignored Record

      Torture, paradoxically, has been the area where Obama’s policy has been both the firmest and the most qualified. By all available evidence, use of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” has stopped. Obama also prohibited further use of secret detention facilities where suspects had “disappeared” in CIA custody for torture. (To be fair, Bush by the end of his presidency seemed to have ended both too.)

    • Guantanamo Bay: A ‘Battle Lab’ Where Personnel Experimented on Prisoners to Develop Torture Techniques

      On the thirteenth anniversary of the first prisoners brought to Guantanamo Bay, a report from the Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research examines how the United States government used the facility as a “battle laboratory.”

      Prisoners were treated like “test subjects” as personnel, including medical officers, engaged in experiments to develop new interrogation techniques. Numerous detainees were drugged upon arrival to help interrogators break them. One prisoner, Mohammed al-Qahtani, was treated like a “lab rat” and monitored closely by medical personnel to determine if his body could continue to be tortured.

    • “Circus of Hypocrisy”: Jeremy Scahill on How World Leaders at Paris March Oppose Press Freedom

      An estimated 3.7 million people rallied across France on Sunday in response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings and ensuing attacks that left 17 people dead. More than a million people marched in Paris, making it the largest demonstration in French history. More than 40 world leaders traveled to Paris to help lead the march. “What we saw on display on the one hand was very heartening, to see so many people come into the streets,” says Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept. “But on the other hand, this is a sort of circus of hypocrisy when it comes to all of those world leaders who were marching at the front of it. Every single one of those heads of state or representatives of governments there have waged their own wars against journalists.”

    • The Intercept Found Serial’s Elusive Jay, but Can It Find a Profitable Future? [UPDATED]
    • Consent of the Governed

      Recent polling data confirms that a majority of Americans — in some cases a vast majority — have very low levels of trust in our ruling institutions. Only about a fifth of the population has a lot or great deal of trust in big business. Americans have an all-time historic low level of trust for the US Congress — a minuscule 7 percent — and distrust in the government as a whole is at an historic high: 81 percent. Though these numbers are abysmal, the troubling aspect of the reporting is that the numbers continue to trend in the wrong direction. Meaning, it will likely get worse without corrective action. This condition is more serious than some realize.

    • I Helped Create Gitmo. Now I Want It Shut Down.

      Thirteen years ago this month, I arrived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the commander, Joint Task Force 160, charged with constructing and operating a detention facility to hold Taliban and al Qaeda detainees. Today the detention facility at Guantanamo is a blight on our history, and it should be closed.

    • Nigeria’s Horror in Paris’s Shadow

      Why a 10-year-old suicide bomber isn’t front-page news

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Dutch MEP Dennis De Jong, Criticising Battistelli and Topić, Calls for Action Against EPO Management

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dennis De Jong

Summary: Even politicians, not just from France but also from the Netherlands, now add their voices to large-scale complaints about intimidation, nepotism, waste and corruption at the EPO

A FORTNIGHT ago we wrote that the European Parliament had declined to intervene in the affairs of the corrupt EPO. Thankfully it’s not over because the latest news from the EPO involves intervention by a Dutch MEP (member of the European Parliament).

“Thankfully it’s not over because the latest news from the EPO involves intervention by a Dutch MEP (member of the European Parliament).”“It seems that following the dismissal of the Petition filed with the European Parliament,” tells us a source, “the Dutch MEP Dennis de Jong (from the Socialist party) has criticised the decision of the Petitions Committee and is pressing for an investigation of the situation at the EPO.

“He recently published an article about EPO matters on his “Weeklog” and since it’s all in Dutch we need to rely on automated translations. Google Translate allowed us to get the gist of it and here is an automated translation (we have made minor changes to make the text more coherent):

WEEKLOG: UNREST AT EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE

There may be days that go by when you do not think of the EPO (European Patents Office, EPO), but it’s worth keeping the news of this European organization in mind. Officials who work there have rebelled. Their actions are directed against — in their eyes — the dictatorial rule of the Director of EPA, Benoit Battistelli. Soon I’ll speak with staff representatives. Whether EPO is or is not an EU institution, the EU wants to do business with them or go for a new kind of European patent. Then we wish to hear that there are no situations where workers’ rights are trampled and there is the smell of nepotism in appointments and dismissals.

Like their colleagues in Brussels, officials of EPA a gigantic, high salaries. Moreover, they are not promoted based on performance but on the basis of seniority. Battistelli wants to cut costs, in part because patents approvals in his organization are expensive. So he wants to get rid of quite a few privileges of the staff. You are there for what to suggest, but that does not mean you just can decrease your staff count, the right to participate in a fair and independent appeals, let alone enter a culture of intimidation. And that is exactly what Battistelli has done according to officials from federal EPA.

Since EPO is an independent international organization, it should be working and be controlled by the rules of the organization itself. For example, there is an EPA office in Rijswijk, the Dutch law does not apply. Normally, international organizations actually look at what is common for national officials when it comes to the right as you to organize workers in a union, to communicate with each other about labor rights, and, if you are suspected of a violation of internal rules, appeal is to go to an independent commission, but not so at EPA.

All these rights, according to the staff of EPO, have been wholly or partially abolished. The union is forbidden to operate within the buildings of EPA and the existing council was abolished. An internal investigation established that it is often intimidating to work and people are encouraged to tattle on colleagues, as reticent. Moreover, there are questions about the integrity of the right hand of Battistelli, the Croat Topic, accused of corruption in his home country, but whose appointment there by Battistelli is pushed through.

The participating countries, including the Netherlands, have the last word in the administration of EPO. Recently, however, Battistelli was re-appointed for a term of four years. Apparently, the protest is something these countries have not taken seriously. That is first and foremost a matter for the House, but by the indirect involvement of the EU also from the European Parliament. Officials with whom I have been in contact wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. But their case should be heard in Brussels. That seems like a better response than the response of the petition committee of the EP who referred the case back to a complaint of officials tied to the Internal Appeals of EPO. And while the complaints are properly focused among others on the fact that the committee can no longer operate independently but has been put into receivership by Battistelli. As for me, here comes to the bottom of: trade union rights apply to everyone, including officials and even for highly paid.

If someone who is fluent in Dutch can provide an accurate translation, please do so below or mail us.

EPO Misdirections Debunked: Refuting Battistelli’s Nonsense and Bogeyman Theory

Posted in Site News at 1:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can a President who lies ever be trusted?

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

Summary: Battistelli’s ‘media strategy’ is getting ugly but potentially effective when it comes to silencing opposition, or in other words those who speak about his abuses

THIS SHORT article makes an important observation about the media strategy of Battistelli and his EPO thugs. Unlike the USPTO, the EPO has many violations in its hands and these need to be explained. Moreover, the thugs need to be ousted, potentially with legal action against them. Battistelli realises the severity of this issue (he could lose more than his job but also his career and maybe his freedom), hence the ham-fisted approach.

“Two months later it is easy to show that Battistelli talks utter nonsense because many groups from many countries, including some of his stakeholders (not just staff), speak out against him and make formal complaints.”People in the EPO are afraid but determined to oust the thugs. Across the whole board we hear from people inside and outside the EPO who are afraid of retribution and try hard to dodge Battistelli’s ‘stasi’. Watch how the Investigation Unit is perceived inside the EPO. Watch how people cover their face when they go out protesting against their employer. Is this a democracy? Is this a functioning facility that serves the European public (as in public servant)? Clearly something has gone wrong and Battistelli’s tyranny is about as undemocratic as it can get.

Earlier today we noticed that one site that protests against Battistelli and his thugs went dark. Maybe its operator is afraid of someone; it’s hard to think of other explanations for this. After quite a long time online it now states:

Sorry, the blog at icsfight4yourrights.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.

How odd.

We don’t know who runs that blog. It might be someone from the EPO, but it’s likely to be someone who is not. In Battistelli’s mind, however, all can be blamed on just ‘disgruntled’ employees (as if being disgruntled over a tyrant is in itself wrong). Sometimes Battistelli and Topić even use the race and nationality card, claiming to be victims of racism or international hostilities. That’s just bunk. They’re bonkers.

Let is be said that our sources range widely and Battistelli’s claim that the sources are EPO staff is patently false. Even some lawyers, not to mention proponents of software patents, have expressed concern. Judges too. Battistelli is cornered by a large number of groups, let aside his own staff. Standing next to him is a thug with notoriety, Željko Topić [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], whose alleged crimes (many of them!) we are going to write about another day. The many criminal charges on which we will elaborate in the future ought to show just what standards Battistelli really has. He needs “protection”, not “professionals”, and this makes the EPO look like a corrupt laughing stock that no lawyer will wish to take seriously.

Back in November Battistelli ‘struck back’ as follows:

Battistelli responded by claiming that there was a “defamation campaign” against him. As WIPR had by then run a series of stories on its website based on the EPO staff’s complaints, it appeared he was referring to us.

However, Battistelli said no. His complaint was broader. The EPO staff union, he said, was organising the campaign and had been “contacting the media throughout Europe” to complain about issues such as a perceived lack of transparency at the EPO and poor governance.

We explained that the complaints sent to us appeared to have come from individual staff members, who for obvious reasons had asked us to protect their identities, rather than from the union, although we couldn’t be sure. Battistelli dismissed this.

Two months later it is easy to show that Battistelli talks utter nonsense because many groups from many countries, including some of his stakeholders (not just staff), speak out against him and make formal complaints.

Microsoft’s Strategy for Dealing With Back Doors: Blame Google

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 12:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Closed doors keep the back doors out of sight and resistant to change

Closed doors

Summary: Microsoft willingly leaves Windows users exposed to costly attacks and surveillance, but its propaganda blames the messenger that warned Microsoft about the problem 3 months ago

BASED on Microsoft’s own actions, the company is not at all interested in security and as we last noted the other day, the company is now pulling out of (withdrawing) notifications of back doors, except for the NSA. One might guess this would appease British Prime Minister Cameron, who now openly calls for back doors in everything and a ban on everything without back doors, but will this appease the rest of us, including journalists (never mind banks) who require encryption for secure communication? We have put some related articles in our daily links for those who wish to know more.

“One might guess this would appease British Prime Minister Cameron, who now openly calls for back doors in everything and a ban on everything without back doors, but will this appease the rest of us, including journalists (never mind banks) who require encryption for secure communication?”For those who missed last week’s news, here is what the British press wrote: “MICROSOFT HAS ESCHEWED the first Update Tuesday, or ‘Patch Tuesday’, Advance Notification of the year to announce that it is killing off the Advance Notification Service (ANS) for the general public and, as such, from next month there will be no Advance Notification.”

This basically means that while the NSA, GCHQ etc. know about back doors (or bug doors) that are not patched, the rest of us will know nothing. Since it is secret proprietary code, there is nothing that can be done about it either.

Earlier this month there were also report about Microsoft knowingly failing to patch a serious Windows flaw. It took Microsoft 3 months to actually do anything and when it did do something it was after Google had forced it to. It was Google that originally told Microsoft about this flaw 3 months ago. Here is what a reader of ours insists on calling “Microsoft apologists” wrote about it. They basically blame it all on Google rather than chastise Microsoft for leaving a lot of Windows users vulnerable due to Microsoft’s own laziness. It is worth emphasising that “the problem was not fixed within 90 days.” That’s how much of a priority security is to Microsoft.

Amid the calls for encryption bans in the UK it is clear that everyone who cares about privacy should move to Free software. Software freedom is imperative for privacy because only when the code is free can one be sure there are no back doors and also remove any that exist. Proprietary software exercises unjust power and control over its user, as Richard Stallman said all along, and the calls to ban encryption in the UK reinforce Stallman’s views. Microsoft’s negligence and reluctance to patch known flaws which are very serious also prove Stallman’s point to be valid. It is almost as though Microsoft actually chose to leave users exposed. Remember that the so-called ‘Sony hack’ was due to use of Microsoft Windows, based on numerous reliable reports. Also remember that about half a decade ago Google prevented its staff from using Windows. That was due to recognition that Windows was Swiss cheese when it comes to security.

Failed Coup: The GNU GPL Still Dominant, Microsoft CodePlex Abandoned Even by Microsoft

Posted in FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 12:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The set of copyleft licences at above 80% in SourceForge, but inclusion of repositories like CodePlex or GitHub tilts the overall picture

OVER the past 9 years several firms such as Black Duck came out of Microsoft, liaising with Microsoft and Microsoft proxies such as CodePlex to convincingly sell the illusion (or a self-fulfilling prophecy) that GPL is dying. We have covered this for nearly 7 years and not much has changed. Professional FUD triumphs. Redmonk, which Black Duck and Microsoft had both paid, recently promoted this nonsense using invalid (biased) data. Another company which is in the licence FUD business (monetising fear of perceived issues), a firm called Protecode, continues adding to these perceived issues by releasing a report about GitHub and SourceForge. Protecode, to its credit, shows that the GPL is still dominant. As Phoronix put it the other day:

Protecode’s numbers show the percentage of copyleft licenses on SourceForge to be above 80% while for GitHub the percentage was below 30%. Their results also indicate that the MIT license is the most popular on GitHub followed by the GPL. On SourceForge, however, the most common license for projects was the GPL.

GitHub is a relatively new site that is based on software from Linus Torvalds and his colleagues. There is nothing wrong with GitHub; I have two accounts there; one for work, one for personal projects. Where it fails to present a balanced view may actually be the lack of scaling based on project size, impact, etc. From what I am able to gather, GitHub is littered with lots of tiny projects, some without code, mostly Web-based code, plus branches, forks, etc. A lot of the very big projects are not hosted on GitHub and some are not at all hosted on third-party servers. They can be managed locally in businesses using git (as we do in the company my wife and I work for).

“Incidentally, based on LinkedIn, Stephen Walli seems to have left Microsoft (again).”What’s worth noting is that Microsoft now approaches GitHub in the sense that it is willing to abandon Microsoft hosting for GitHub. That’s quite a thing given that the maker of git it also the maker of Linux and GitHub is predominantly Free software- and GNU/Linux-based.

Incidentally, based on LinkedIn, Stephen Walli seems to have left Microsoft (again). He was a key person in CodePlex and quite a mole inside the Free software community for a long time (we have written about him for 7 years). That departure might explain why we have seen no pro-Microsoft propaganda from him as of late and it may even be part of a broader exodus, including this news that may show CodePlex dying:

Microsoft hosts CodePlex as an open-source project hosting service where generally the Microsoft OSS projects call home, but it seems some of their own employees aren’t too happy with it and see a brighter future with GitHub.

Do any of our readers know more about the demise of CodePlex? Can it be put in numbers?

Microsoft Wastes Taxpayers’ Money by Fighting IRS After Evading Tax for Decades

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 12:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An accounting calculator

Summary: The nerve of Microsoft wasting taxpayers’ money in addition to evading tax, costing many billions of dollars to the US economy and countless billions outside the US while bullying regulators who dare to investigate the matter

ONE of Microsoft‘s very many abuses is avoidance of tax, not only in the US but also in Europe, Asia, and so on. The company hardly has a track record of obeying the law, so why make an exception when it comes to taxes?

“Microsoft continues to thrive in and promote lawlessness.”Microsoft really showed how arrogant it is when it attacked the IRS for merely investigating Microsoft (i.e. doing its job). It’s unprecedented bullying that one can expect from no company other than Microsoft because Microsoft has a past of criminal tax violations. It bribed people to make the charges go away and eventually settled with the investigators. Even Microsoft whistleblowers get bribed by Microsoft. Rich companies can get away with just about everything, provided they have government connections and enough money to bribe with.

Based on this new report, Microsoft is already abusing the IRS to the point where the IRS needs to spend millions of dollars on lawyers:

The software behemoth is battling the agency over whether it pushed profits offshore to skirt taxes. It’s the latest case to test IRS firepower in cracking down on similar tax maneuvers by other technology companies, which can save hundreds of millions using the tactics.

Both are playing hardball: The IRS, which is spending $2 million on outside legal guns to fight the case, also issued a summons to compel former CEO Steve Ballmer to testify, while Microsoft shot back with legal demands of its own, accusing the agency of hitting it with a “fusillade.”

The legal fees paid by the IRS are basically derived from tax budget. The bills are passed to the very same taxpayers which Microsoft deprived; so by attacking the enforcer over tax violations (over its own crimes) Microsoft basically wasted yet more tax money. How insidious is that? In Spain, a banker sued the judge who punished him for his crimes. This is even worse because the public pays the legal bills. Microsoft continues to thrive in and promote lawlessness.

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