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02.01.15

Links 1/2/2015: Devil-Linux 1.6.8, SymphonyOS 15.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Navy’s Newest Linux-Powered Command Center Is Right Out Of Star Trek

    The DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer could very well revolutionize the way the Navy does its surface warfare business. One of its biggest innovations is ditching the cramped, darkly lit Combat Information Center (CIC), a fixture for many decades on past USN combat ships, and replacing it with the state-of-the-art, spacious, Star Trek bridge-like Ship’s Mission Center.

  • Desktop

    • GOL Survey Results: January

      Thanks to GOL reader Fedso, we now have month-by-month comparisons for the survey as well as an automated program which takes the raw survey data and makes graphs. This is pretty exciting stuff since now one of the main goals of the survey project has been achieved and we can observe trends over time.

  • Server

    • Report: Docker Not Yet Widely Used in the Cloud

      Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind the open-source Ubuntu Linux operation system, has published its latest Ubuntu Server and Cloud Survey, showing the emerging trends in server and cloud deployments.

    • CoreOS ‘Rockets’ Ahead With Docker Alternative

      Linux operating system distribution vendor CoreOs aims to expand its own vision for container-based virtualization.
      CoreOS is moving forward on its plans to displace the Docker application virtualization technology and expand its own vision for container-based virtualization. CoreOS got its start in 2013 as a clustered operating system project focused on the optimized delivery of Docker containers but has found fault in the Docker model that it aims to correct with its own Rocket approach.

    • CoreOS Linux: it’s how Google, Facebook & Twitter run at scale
  • Kernel Space

    • Witcher 2 Bug Prompts Linux Creator To Recommend Devs Play Steam Games

      It’s common for NVIDIA and AMD to tweak their drivers to optimise specific titles, but patches to operating systems just for games? Usually developers work around platform quirks, but that’s not good enough for Linus Torvalds, the man behind Linux. When crashes in The Witcher 2 were caused by Linux’s core software, Torvalds not only requested the bug be fixed, but that Steam games should be used in the future as “good tests of odd behaviour”.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Flattr Is the Icon Pack with the Flattest Icons for Linux Systems – Gallery

      Users who like flat icons might want to give Flattr a try. It’s probably the flattest theme that you can find on the Linux platform and it’s been recently updated.

    • Elementary Extensions for Python-EFL

      For those who are unaware the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries and Elementary are the tools that power the Enlightenment desktop and a growing number of other applications. To learn more about getting started with Elementary and python you should check out the full API reference here, the examples on git, or stop by #e.py on Freenode.

      I have been working on a number of small applications using Elementary. While building these applications I found myself reusing a few of the same gadgets in different places, so I had the idea others might find some of them useful as well.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Children’s book with Krita

        Today we’ve got a guest article by John Gholson. John is an artist who is currently working on a big project — an illustrated children’s book. As far as we know, it’s the first time an artist is using krita to illustate a whole children’s book project. So, over to John!

  • Distributions

    • If You Like the Terminal, You Will Love the Terminal-Only Alpine Linux OS

      Security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution Alpine Linux is based on based on musl libc and Busybox, which make up the terminal, has been upgraded once more and is now available for download.

    • New Releases

      • BackBox Linux 4.1 Is a Powerful Penetration Testing Distro Based on Ubuntu 14.04.1

        BackBox Linux is a distribution based on Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, that is built to perform penetration tests and security assessments. A new version has been released and is now available for upgrade and testing.

      • Devil-Linux 1.6.8 released

        Devil-Linux 1.6.8 has been released! This release brings lots of software updates and resolves the GHOST glibc vulnerability (CVE-2015-0235). Please see the change log for details.

      • Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 SR3 released

        Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 Service Release 3 or SR3. Black Lab Pro Desktop 6.0 SR3 is a major upgrade to our pro desktop line of distributions. With this release we worked on a few issues with memory consumption, security and speed. With the Black Lab Pro Desktop we deliver it in two different desktops, KDE and GNOME Shell . While these are commercial releases we do offer a cut down version of it available for download from our website. While we do not release for download all of the features of the retail release it is far from being crippled. The KDE release boots only consuming 480 mb of RAM and the GNOME Shell release boots using only 545 mb of RAM

      • Release: SymphonyOS 15.0

        I am pleased to announce the release of SymphonyOS 15.0. This release continues improvements to the Mezzo 4 desktop bringing it to a much more stable state.

    • Red Hat Family

      • ‘Enterprise customers are now more willing to implement open source’

        Jim Whitehurst expects India to play a larger role in NYSE-listed Red Hat’s global strategy, thanks to the rapid pace of infrastructure creation.

        “When a new system’s put into place, it’s increasingly likely that it may be built on open source. We like places where there is a lot of infrastructure going in,” Whitehurst, President and Chief Executive Officer, Red Hat, said. Red Hat is the world’s largest commercial distributor of the open source-based Linux operating system. Open source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. In an interaction with BusinessLine, Whitehurst throws light on the opportunities in the Indian marketplace for open source. He also explains why the company is keen to increasingly move more support functions to India.

      • Fedora

        • I Switched (Back) Over To Fedora As My Main OS & It’s Going Great!

          Before this long stint with Ubuntu on my main system, I was using Fedora (Core) and before that was openSUSE, Mandrake, and others. I stopped using Fedora (Core) due to some of the releases being less reliable than others with at the time less of a focus on shipping quality releases and at times just feeling like a dirty testing ground for RHEL. With being very pleased with Fedora 20 and Fedora 21 on the many test systems around the office, I decided to give Fedora another go on my main system. I’ve also been very interested in Fedora.Next and how Fedora 22 is shaping up. Fedora these days seems to be back on a solid footing for end-users with a bright future ahead; Fedora 22 might even ship on time for a change while not sacrificing quality! Fedora 21 brings back a lot of good memories for me of the early Fedora days.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi robot and hobby kit robot guide part 1

      The rise of our robot overlords is well underway – give it another five years and we’ll all be watched over by Pi-powered machines of loving grace. In the meantime, though, we’ve rounded up the very best DIY robotics kits available to buy right now that are designed to work with your Raspberry Pi, so you can get a head start on the inevitable revolution. Whether they’re Arduino or Raspberry Pi-based, we’re getting all of our robots to listen to our master Pi controller and showing you how to do the same with your kit. We’ll also be scoring these robotics kits to identify their strengths and weaknesses in terms of their build quality, functionality out of the box, the construction process and of course their programmability, to help show you which kit is right for you and where you can get hold of your own.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • 2014 was a record-breaking year for Android smartphones

          Apple may be selling more iPhones than ever before, but 2014 was a record-breaking year for Android too: New analyst figures show that one billion smartphones running Google’s mobile OS were shipped over the 12 month period. That’s a rise of 30 percent over the previous year and means that 81 percent of the mobile phones shifted in 2014 were running Android.

        • Android Wear just got very, very smart

          Google’s Android Wear software just got smart – very smart – simply because it integrates Google Now top to bottom. With an update to Google Now comes an update to Android Wear, and what we’re seeing today is an explosive update that’ll make the suggestions for directions and sports scores you’ve been getting so far seem like drops in a barrel of friendly, and I daresay helpful, updates from apps of all kinds. Everything from eBay auction updates to the ability to “Download Venice” – all on your wrist, very soon.

        • Some HTC One versions will get Android 5.0 later than expected

          Some carrier versions of HTC One (M8) and One (M7) will get updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop a bit later than expected. HTC initially promised to update all versions of its 2013 and 2014 flagship smartphone within 90 days of receiving the Android 5.0 code.

        • New Nexus 7 Android 5.0.2 Lollipop Updates Imminent

          After nearly three months of silence, Google’s finally spoken. The missing Nexus 7 Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for the cellular versions of the Nexus 7 2012 and Nexus 7 2013 will start rolling out soon and the two models will be getting bumped from Android 4.4 KitKat to Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, Google’s newest update.

        • Nexus 7 2012 Android 5.0.2 Update Review

          The Nexus 7 2012 Android 5.0.2 update is one that many users could not wait to install, but after a week of using the latest version of Android Lollipop on the oldest Nexus 7 tablet we came away less than impressed. It’s not out of the ordinary for old devices to run new software at a slower pace, but the Nexus 7 2012 exhibits annoying lag while using common functions like switching apps and opening apps for the first time since a restart.

        • Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Android 5.0 Lollipop update rolls out in Russia

          Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in Russia finally received the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop OS update, according to reports. XDA developers reminded Russian users to constantly check the notifications panel as the much awaited major Android update is now rolling out.

        • You can print 3D objects from Android App

          Makerbot has some of the most popular 3D printers which are powered by Linux. The company is now offering an app for Android devices which allows users to control your 3D printer right from your palm.

        • Android apps 2014 – A year in review

          2014 was an exciting year. We saw the release of Lollipop and with it, a whole new design standard we now call Material Design. It saw the release of Android Wear and the second themer revolution with the Android Wear watch faces. Games are slowly becoming higher quality with better graphics, controls, and premises than any prior year. It was the most successful year in Android apps and games of all time. Let’s take a look at just how it good it was on paper.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • A new kind of DDoS threat: The “Nonsense Name” attack

      There’s a new species of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack targeting name servers, which could be called the “nonsense name” attack. It can wreak havoc on recursive and authoritative name servers alike, and some of our customers at Infoblox have fallen victim to it—but it’s not always clear whether they were actually the targets.

    • Key rotation in OpenSSH 6.8+

      Something that’s bugged me about the SSH protocol is its lack of key continuity – key algorithm changes and key rotations are basically unsupported, as there is no in-protocol way for a client to learn updated host keys for hosts that the user already trusts. About the best one can do is cat /etc/ssh/*.pub once logged in to manually learn the host’s other keys, but this only works if you have shell access and is a kludge anyway…

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Retroactively Authorizing War

      They went largely unnoticed, four words President Obama ad-libbed during the State of the Union address last month as he asked lawmakers to provide legal cover for America’s military intervention in Iraq and Syria.

      “We need that authority,” the president said, adding a line to the prepared remarks on his teleprompter that seemed to acknowledge a reality about which his administration has been inexcusably dishonest.

      As the new Congress gets settled in, the debate over the scope and legal authority of Washington’s new war in the Middle East has resurfaced amid strikingly disparate views. The White House is consulting with lawmakers from both parties on the parameters that would retroactively establish ground rules for the bombing campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria that began in September.

    • Drones Are Now Appearing on Afghan Rugs

      When it comes to what to depict on rugs, Afghan weavers traditionally turn to what’s most familiar. So in the 1980s, when the Mujahedeen were fighting back the Soviet occupation, some local weavers abandoned flowers and water jugs to illustrate what their days consisted of back then: war.

    • Kadyrov Says CIA is Recruiting Russians for Islamic State

      Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has accused the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies of using fake social media accounts to draw young Russian men into the Islamic State and other terrorist networks.

    • Drone strikes kill at least ‘45 militants’ in Somalia

      At least 45 suspected al-Shabaab militants have been killed in drone strikes in Southern Somalia on Saturday, a government official said.

    • Book review: A Theory of the Drone – the morality of killing by remote control

      In May 2009, a former adviser to General David Petraeus named David Kilcullen wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling for a moratorium on drone strikes carried out by the US against al-Qaeda and its associates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The military advantages of using drones (the US Army defines a drone as a “land, sea or air vehicle that is remotely or automatically controlled”) are outweighed, Kilcullen argued, by their costs.

    • Conor Friedersdorf: Research on killer drones could backfire on Americans

      Americans would react no differently to a commencement of drone attacks on our soil.

    • Droning the truth

      For Pakistan, drone attacks have become something like the forbidden fruit. These attacks, which have suddenly increased since December 16, 2014, are decidedly illegal, immoral and they undermine the country’s sovereignty. A United Nations (UN) resolution urges member states “to ensure that any measures taken or means employed to counterterrorism, including the use of remotely piloted aircraft, comply with their obligation under international law, including the Charter of the UN human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality.”

    • CIA tested 25 bombs before helping Mossad kill top Hezbollah figure – report

      The US helped Mossad assassinate a top Hezbollah figure in Syria in 2008 by lending bomb expertise and surveillance on the ground, Washington Post reported. The joint operation marked CIA’s post-9/11 drift toward modern-day drone killings.

    • Focus on Research: Drone strikes: Legal weapon against terror or violation of the right to life? [pro-drones]
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • 100,000 flock to Madrid for Podemos rally against austerity

      Four years ago, Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square belonged to los indignados – an impromptu revolt of thousands, camping out for weeks and rallying against a political establishment felt to be out of sync with the people.

      On Saturday, up to 100,000 people again filled the square, determined to show the world that 2015 would be the year that the change demanded by the indignados would come about.

    • Thousands Attend Spain’s Left-Wing Podemos Anti-Austerity March

      Spain’s new party believes that politicians should “serve the people, not private interests,” and has gained huge support.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Facebook censors images of Muhammad

      Only two weeks after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a strongly worded “Je suis Charlie” statement on the importance of free speech, Facebook has agreed to censor images of Prophet Muhammad in Turkey – including the very type of image that precipitated the Charlie Hebdo attack.

    • How Mark Zuckerberg Should Have Responded to Turkey’s Censorship Order

      On Monday, Reuters reported that a Turkish court ordered Facebook to remove pages the government deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed. They even threatened to block Turkish access to Facebook entirely if it did not comply. As a result, Facebook has prohibited access to at least one page already.

      There was an alternative to compliance: Facebook could have refused to honor Turkey’s court order. And Mark Zuckerberg could have delivered the message himself. After all, who better to stand up for freedom of expression than the head of the world’s biggest social network?

    • Does Censorship Make Us Safer?

      Democratic societies are always exploring the proper relationship between security and liberty. We should not lose sight of the fact that our right to view websites such as North Korea’s, or to look at dirty pictures, however tawdry they might be, constitute important liberties that should not be surrendered without constituting a clear and present danger.

    • Thailand junta squelches forum on media censorship

      Thailand’s junta has effectively forced a German foundation to cancel a forum discussing new restrictions on the media, scheduled to be held Friday in Bangkok, raising concerns among journalists and right advocates about the junta’s efforts to curtail press freedom and political dissent in what has long been a relatively open society in the region.

    • Thailand Internet Censorship: Junta Defends Cybersecurity Laws, Orders Press Freedom Briefing Canceled

      Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is pushing for the country’s business and government sectors to be better integrated with the Internet, but he has brushed aside criticism that his junta government’s recent attempts to introduce cybersecurity laws infringe on freedom of expression and the press. At the same time, the junta has also ordered a German rights group to cancel a press freedom briefing scheduled to be held in a Bangkok hotel Friday.

    • Opinion: Bill to ban a word is just censorship

      But the willingness to violate the First Amendment and censor politically incorrect speech is not confined to academe. And proof of that is found in Assembly Bill 30, which would bar California high schools from using “Redskins” as sports team names.

    • The state of online censorship around the world

      In the UK, policies that restrict the flow of information across the Internet are generally met with outcry and consternation for contradicting our fundamental right of free speech, but for many individuals widespread Internet censorship is the norm.

      However, online censorship is much more pervasive than one might initially think, with Ethiopia, Russia and even the UK currently listed as Enemies of the Internet by the French non-governmental group Reporters without Borders (RWB).

    • China doubles down on counterproductive censorship

      China operates the world’s largest and most sophisticated Internet censorship infrastructure. Colloquially called the “Great Firewall,” this infrastructure blocks a huge amount of content deemed contrary to China’s interests as a nation. However, as with any such censorship infrastructure, people will try to access content despite the restrictions–creating a game of cat and mouse between censors, citizens, and online service providers.

  • Privacy

    • What Uber Still Won’t Say About Your Data

      Uber has since refocused its attention on riders’ privacy, rewording its data policy and hiring an outside attorney to conduct an investigation.

    • Shameless: rogue Lords sneak Snooper’s Charter back in AGAIN

      Last Friday, four rogue Lords copy/pasted the repeatedly defeated “Snooper’s Charter” spying bill into a pending bill as an amendment, only to withdraw it on Monday after the Lords were bombarded by an aghast public — and now, incredibly, these Lords have reintroduced the same language as a new amendment.

    • The Intercept’s Invitation to Criminality—and to Intelligence Agencies

      But let’s say I were with some other intelligence agency, either one allied with our forces or one hostile to it. I might noticed that The Intercept is trafficking in really neato stolen goods. They’re soliciting more. And what’s more, they’re advertising what could be a really great, so to speak, phishing hole—that is, a mechanism to send them files and maybe get them onto their computers. If I were a foreign intelligence agency, I’d be looking at this as a great way to send enticing-looking documents, maybe even real ones, that contain some nifty bits of executable code that offered visibility for me onto the activities of people with access to the Snowden materials, people who are talking to and recruiting other leakers. Or maybe I’d be drop some honey-pot files, some files that beacon their location. Or maybe I’d just use the opportunity to drop disinformation on journalists who have shown they will believe just about anything if it’s disparaging of U.S. intelligence.

    • iPhones Can Rat You Out To NSA, Snowden Claims

      iPhones have been getting a lot of heat from privacy advocates for years. It’s likely that privacy concerns will continue to be a public relations nightmare for Apple iPhones despite company efforts to include encryption features in its mobile operating system iOS8. Recent comments from Edward Snowden’s lawyer reveal that the NSA whistleblower doesn’t use iPhones due to professional concerns over security.

    • 45 Percent Of British Consumers Think Online Privacy Is More Important Than National Security
    • Mississippi Action Alert: Help Stop NSA Spying, Support SB2753

      Mississippi SB2753 would deny much-needed material support and resources to the NSA and all federal illegal spying operations. The bill must pass through the Senate Judiciary, Division A Committee before it can receive a vote in the Senate.

  • Civil Rights

    • Prosecutors used the same legal strategy against Barrett Brown as they did me. Are you next?

      When it happened to me, I dismissed it as an anomaly. The government – while trying to access the private emails of my company’s 410,000 users – made material misrepresentations to the courts in a coordinated campaign to portray me as obstinate and uncooperative. Their intent? To manipulate a judge into accepting an unconstitutional legal theory. It cost me my business.

    • Ladar Levison Weighs in on Barrett Brown Case

      Okay, Ladar has a piece in the Guardian today that you should read. As of 9:49 a.m. Central Standard, the piece appears to link to the same cache of hacked Stratfor information that Barrett got busted for linking to. (!) But that’s not really the most interesting part of Ladar’s story. Ladar reveals that the FBI agents that forced him to shut down his business (the email service that Edward Snowden used) were the same agents that busted Barrett.

    • My Post Cyberpunk Indentured Servitude

      Not long ago I was a mild-mannered freelance journalist, activist, and satirist, contributing to outlets like the Guardian and Vanity Fair. But last Thursday I was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison in a case that Reporters Without Borders cited as a key factor in its reduction of America’s press freedom rankings from 33 to 46. As inconvenient as this is for me, the upside is that for the first time in the two and a half years since I was arrested, I am at last able to speak freely about what has been happening to me and why—and what it means for the press and the republic as a whole.

    • The government loves the policy ‘technology for me but not for thee’

      Three seemingly unrelated events explain a lot about the federal government’s complicated and hypocritical reaction to the proliferation of drones and other technology – technology they love to use to track millions of citizens but to which they don’t want citizens to have access.

    • At retreat, Dem staffers escort reporters to restroom

      Reporters covering the House Democrats’ retreat in Philadelphia this week are having a much different experience than when they’re on their home turf on Capitol Hill.

      Reporters are being escorted to and from the restroom and lobby and are being barred from entering the hotel outside of scheduled events, even if they’ve been invited by a member of Congress.

      During Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks at the retreat Friday, reporters were required to have a staff member, usually a junior member of the press team, escort them when going to the bathroom or to the lobby. The filing center for reporters was at a separate hotel from where the retreat was taking place, so access was limited to members of Congress specifically made available to the press.

    • What it’s like to come home to America if your name is “Ahmed”

      Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is a respected journalist who holds US citizenship. Every time he returns to his home in New York, he is detained for many hours by the DHS, subjected to humiliating questioning and detention without evidence or charge, because he fits a “profile” that seems to consist entirely of “brown dude with Arabic name who visits the middle east.” He recently returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos and found himself detained for hours, despite having been assured that his name had been removed from the DHS’s watch-list.

    • CIA did use United Kingdom territory for secret terror interrogations, says top US official

      Terror suspects held by the CIA were interrogated on the British‑owned island of Diego Garcia despite the repeated denials of London and Washington that any such incidents took place, a senior American official said today.

    • Cameron hints at new independent inquiry into Britain’s role in CIA torture

      David Cameron has raised the prospect that Britain’s alleged role in torture could be the subject of a second investigation by an independent inquiry.

      The move, which would be applauded by human rights groups, could see the intelligence and security services forced to give evidence before a judge, which may present an unwelcome distraction for MI5 and MI6 as they seek to combat the growing threat from radical Islamist groups.

    • Westminster child abuse scandal: KGB and CIA kept secret dossiers on Britain’s VIP paedophiles

      Russian and US spies compiled their own secret dossiers on paedophile MPs and other VIP abusers , it has been claimed.

      Police are investigating missing files put together by UK campaigners which allege a powerful network at the heart of Westminister in the 1970s and 80s.

      The Sunday People can reveal that agents from the Russian KGB and the American CIA were also said to have compiled their own intelligence in search of “dirt” on key individuals at the height of the Cold War.

    • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, Updated Edition, by William Blum
    • Feinstein and CIA step up war over spying on Senate

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein intensified her long-running battle with the CIA on Tuesday, accusing the agency of trying to whitewash its spying on Senate computers when the California Democrat was leading an investigation into the government’s use of torture.

    • Tony Abbott dismisses social media as ‘electronic graffiti’, again

      The Prime Minister has dismissed as “electronic graffiti” a medium that his own government and corporate Australia spend millions of dollars a year monitoring and engaging in.

    • Australian Prime Minister: Social Media Is Like Electronic Graffiti

      That acceleration, and the loss of control it implies, probably goes a long way to explaining the fear and loathing that many leading politicians display towards digital technologies — and not just in Australia.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The NFL wants you to think these things are illegal

        The Super Bowl is the NFL’s flagship event each year, and the league has invested a lot in the event’s branding and broadcasting. In light of that investment, it’s understandable that the NFL would be protective of its trademarks and copyrights surrounding it. But that protectiveness has led to the NFL, and other businesses around it, perpetuating a number of myths about what you can and can’t do with the Super Bowl—including the words “Super Bowl.”

Boycott Cyanogen/CyanogenMod If Its Anti-Google Rhetoric and Microsoft Funding Continue

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 8:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CyanogenMod Microsoft

Summary: Cyanogen, which makes CyanogenMod, has become more of a Microsoft proxy than a real company, just like Nokia after Elop took over

BACK in 2013 we wrote that those seeking liberation from Google in Android should turn to Replicant, not CyanogenMod. CyanogenMod never really cared about software freedom and it is likely to make Android/AOSP more proprietary, not more free. Don’t expect freedom. It’s just not what the company is about. CyanogenMod is an alternative, but not the right alternative. In recent weeks CyanogenMod got even more provocative and we then found out that it had been paid by Microsoft, a company that is desperate to derail Android by any means possible. We covered it here some days ago, noting that Microsoft is now shoving Office/Outlook into Android and using CyanogenMod as a proxy against Android, just like Facebook and Nokia (never mind Amazon, which also hired many top-level executives from Microsoft several years ago, shortly before ‘bastardising’ Android).

Coverage about this important news from the Google-hostile and News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal has since then spread to many news sites. One said that Cyanogen’s “stated goal is to develop a version of Android that’s independent of Google’s control, at a time when the Chocolate Factory is putting increased pressure on smartphone vendors to ship their devices with an OS that’s more uniform and includes fewer customizations.” (this is a myth mostly promoted by Microsoft’s talking heads and Microsoft-friendly publications)

See articles like “Microsoft ‘showers gold’ on anti-Google Cyanogen and its Android alternative” or this analysis that says: “The potential investment hints at a larger battle to grab real estate on your phone’s homescreen” (not a very profound analysis, but it correctly serves to show that the goal might be to put Microsoft software on Android, out of the box even).

Microsoft targets Apple’s iOS in a similar way and some now warn that it attacks the underlying security of the operating system. As The Inquirer put it, “Outlook for iOS MICROSOFT’S NEW VERSION of Outlook for iOS and Android was released to rave reviews yesterday, but it now looks like it’s on a one-way ticket to Borksville, calling at Securitygeddon and Hackesberg.”

It is “no different than elsewhere,” a reader of ours has remarked on it, quoting the part that says: “The only advice I can give you at this stage is block the app from accessing your company’s mail servers and inform your users that they shouldn’t use the app.”

The original warning stated that “Microsoft’s Outlook app for iOS breaks your company security” (that’s the headline) and not just because Microsoft works closely with the NSA.

What we generally have here is a reminder that Microsoft bankrolls proxies, such as Novell, in order to facilitate infiltration into the competition (Novell did this in OpenOffice, Linux, and more). CyanogenMod is no exception to that and another recent example is Tuxera. It’s an extension of the “embrace, extend, and extinguish” (EEE) strategy which Microsoft champions.

Earlier this year we urged readers to boycott Tuxera file systems because Tuxera helps Microsoft inject its patent traps and fees into GNU/Linux and Android. We have just found this new article about Tuxera’s latest attempt to spread its proprietary file systems:

Tuxera released Tuxera Flash File System for Linux and Android, which is optimized to run on flash storages such as eMMC and SD.

There are already fine (and free) implementations of file systems for flash storages, so the last thing we need is dependence on a Microsoft partner that seemingly does not even obey the GPL (some say it is a GPL violator, but the company denies it).

Marketing Illusions Shattered: Vista 10 is Not ‘Free’ and Not Even a ‘Free’ Upgrade

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Windows at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is no free lunch at Microsoft

Gas prices

Summary: The truth about Microsoft’s pricing strategy is revealed almost a fortnight after Microsoft lied about it for the sake of diversionary publicity

A couple of weeks ago Microsoft was overwhelmed by bad news, so it launched a propaganda campaign to help distract from it all. It was probably an expensive campaign of lies and it relied on the obedience of journalists, maybe even bribing of some (yes, Microsoft bribes journalists and bloggers, as we have shown many times before).

“As Pogson correctly points out, this is about making more “slaves” who are dependent on Windows and then pressuring business to follow suit.”In our responses to the propaganda campaign we tackled the delusion of ‘free’ Windows, but this delusion refuses to die. Microsoft tries to keep the myth alive (Microsoft Peter persists with his 24/7 Microsoft advertising at Condé Nast, so Ars Technica has become a laughing stock in the area of software), but some realise what Microsoft is really doing. See Robert Pogson’s take on this news:

Microsoft has confirmed that, unlike your average Alice and Bob, enterprises won’t get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when the new operating system is finally released.

As Pogson correctly points out, this is about making more “slaves” who are dependent on Windows and then pressuring business to follow suit. It’s about creating a monoculture and monopoly. There is nothing ‘free’ about it. It’s an expensive mistake.

Crushing Software Patents and Patent Maximalism in the US Still Not the Goal of Political Actors

Posted in America, Patents at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

False alarm about “trolls”

Bell

Summary: The debate about scope of patents in the United States still misguided if at all existent as both Michelle Lee and the GOP obsess over “trolls”

OUR morning articles regarding the latest EPO propaganda and regarding EPC 2000 violations by the EPO focus heavily on violations and ethical issues in Europe, but what about north America? We have not taken our eyes off the ball, only accumulated information over the past week and a half. Today we would like to highlight some news and share a summary thereof.

As our readers may recall from last year, the GOP made noise about patent reform, which of course was inherently flawed (GOP exists to serve large corporations, not public interests). “GOP prepares assault on ‘patent trolls’,” said this headline from The Hill several days ago, but it’s quite an ambitious claim with little substance. Well, in the interests of big corporations GOP wants to crush small trolls, but not big trolls such as Microsoft. Here is what The Hill wrote: “Congressional Republicans see legislation advancing “early this year” to address the problem of “patent trolls,” and advocates are gearing up for the fight.

“Republicans are bullish on their chances of passing changes to the legal system to combat so-called “patent trolls” who are accused of extracting settlements with threats of frivolous litigation.

“Legislative action has support from both parties and President Obama, raising the prospect that a bill could become an early bipartisan achievement of the new Congress.

“At a time where there are a lot of differences between the political parties here in Washington, it seems to be one area certainly among others, where the White House, where Republicans and Democrats all agree that we need to pass legislation,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said last week, during the nomination hearing for President Obama’s pick to lead the U.S. Patent Office.”

What is the GOP’s plan for very wealthy and large trolls like Microsoft or its trolling proxy Intellectual Ventures? Passage of costs won’t stop them. It’s another political charade; both political parties (the US really has only two that ‘count’) claim they want patent reform, but both offer more words than actions and even the words — let aside actions — don’t echo the public’s best interest and will.

Michelle Lee, in the mean time, is receiving attention because she speaks about patent trolls. She is showing sympathy towards trolls, saying that the term “troll” is not helpful. Either way, it’s the wrong thing to focus on. The issue much greater than trolls is patent scope; the USPTO is boosting its ‘sale’ of patents, with 92% of patent applications ending up as 'success' and the number of granted patents growing rapidly (not a good sign as patent lawyers would like us to believe by conflation with innovation).

“Outlining her vision for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,” says the lawyers-centred site, “Deputy Director Michelle Lee—whose nomination to head the agency is pending before the Senate—on Thursday stressed quality and innovation in an hourlong talk before a Washington think tank.”

If she gets installed (promoted) as the USPTO’s Director, then we can expect little or nothing to change for the better. Like Obama, she would be just the “Hope” Director, of the fake “Change” Director. Look what a disaster David Kappos turned out to be.

While some sites continue trying to solve the troll issue rather than the scope issue (trying to pool together resources for fighting back, not reforming the system itself), we are left disappointed as the debate that used to exist (and thrive) over software patents is now marginalised. “Tracking demand letters is not the only defense,” wrote Steph, “I get that. But if those who have been hit by trolls would expose the details then maybe, just maybe, we could build out own Troll Field Researchers Organization, graph the information, hunt them all down, and rid the business landscape of this plague.”

How about just targeting their patents and those who issue the patents in the first place? It would tackle the problem at the root.

Last year SCOTUS undid what CAFC had done for decades (authorising the patenting of software patents). TechDirt says that SCOTUS “Smacks Down CAFC Yet Again: But This Time It May Help The Patent Trolls”. To quote TechDirt: “Another Supreme Court ruling… and another smackdown of CAFC, the Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit that handles all patent appeals. This regular smackdown of CAFC by the Supreme Court has become such a recurring story that it would almost be surprising if the Supreme Court took a patent case to do anything but smackdown CAFC. The key issue here is that the Supreme Court basically has taken away CAFC’s powers to review a patent directly to determine if the patent itself is valid or not. Instead, it can only review the district court’s findings, to determine if there was an obvious error by those district courts in handling claim construction. While this takes away power from CAFC, it actually is seen as beneficial to patent trolls, since (especially lately), the now-chastened CAFC has suddenly been rejecting patents left and right. But that might stop now as the CAFC’s ability to do that is now greatly limited.”

In other news, while Apple propaganda sites keep bragging about Apple patents on software [1, 2], including in my field of expertise (computer vision), the British media says that fear of Apple patents is decreased. “At the start of 2015,” says The Register, “various developments suggest that the playground bullies of the past will lose a lot of their power. Qualcomm is on the defensive in China, while the holders of fundamental mobile patents are hitting back against Apple.”

It is reported elsewhere that Namco’s patent on loading screens (yes, loading screens!) is now expired. “In 1995,” says GameSpot, “Namco secured a patent for loading screen mini-games, but 20 years later it’s about to run out. Danny investigates it’s effect on the industry, and what this might mean for the future of loading screens.”

Such patents should never have been granted in the first place. Just because you do something “on a computer” or “over the Internet” does not make it innovative. Watch this other news about yet more software patents dying in the US, this time affecting so-called ‘social media’ (surveillance) platforms. As Lexology put it: “The process of creating “link relationships” between documents and personal profiles used by Facebook®, LinkedIn®, and other social media platforms came under fire in October 2012 via a patent infringement suit filed by technology company Bascom Research, LLC. Facebook®, LinkedIn®, and three other network software companies were named as defendants in that suit. More than two years later, and in the wake of the seismic ruling issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, Bascom’s challenge came to an unsuccessful end when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California determined that Bascom’s patents for the linking technology were invalid as being drawn to abstract ideas.”

Here again we see an example where software patents are crushed by Alice. Don’t expect patent lawyers to cover a case such as this. They prefer to mislead or lie by omission, giving coverage only to cases where patents on software endure a Court’s assessment.

According to this new article from David Kravets, not only software patents are being crushed, narrowing the scope of patenting. “The Supreme Court in 2013 struck down Myriad Genetics’ patents of the human genes BRCA1 and BRCA2,” he writes. “Mutations of those genes have been linked to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The patents had given Myriad a monopoly over medical testing of those genes in a bid to detect early signs of cancer, often charging women $3,000 per test or more.”

“Patent litigation over human gene breast cancer testing is ending,” says Kravets, perhaps ending a sad chapter in the history of patent expansion.

Catarina Holtz From the EPO Boards of Appeal Explains Bad Behaviour of the Management With Regards to EPC 2000

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Catarina Holtz
Photo from swea.org

Summary: The violations of rules set forth by the European Patent Convention (EPC) are being discussed by an EPO veteran (now retired)

The European Patent Convention (EPC) is being violated by the EPO, as we noted a week ago. Now we have former insiders saying the same thing.

Retired professional Catarina Holtz wrote the following text three days after we had published our findings (maybe it was influenced by them) with regards to EPC 2000. It was published thanks to Merpel and it says:

The altercation at the EPO in December 2014 concerned a member of the Boards of Appeal who was ousted without any further ado by the President. This action was subsequently condoned in a suspension decision by the Administrative Council.

In legal terms this is a borderline case with regard to Article 23 EPC 2000, which gives the power to remove members exclusively to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The word “removal” suggests permanent severance from the position of member, but an action with no previous preparation should be avoided.

Article 23 is part of the necessary self-management of a court, in keeping with the European Convention of Human Rights, Article 6 (which deals with the rights to a fair hearing and a fair trial, and primarily to a court of law). Under Article 10(2)(h) EPC 2000, the President has the power to exercise disciplinary authority over employees. However, with regard to senior employees he only has the function to propose disciplinary actions, which are for the Administrative Council to decide upon. This rather suggests that the President cannot take action without a previous decision by the Council. Where it may be dangerous to delay, there might be a margin for actions by the President — but this is not in keeping with the organisation of a court, where the chief of the court would have the right and function to discipline colleagues, possibly with the help of a group of colleagues (for example, as in the EPO, the Enlarged Board of Appeal).

Decision R 19/12 means that the system in place, with the Boards of Appeal as part of the European Patent Office, is deficient in that the Boards of Appeal are not considered a court. The agreement proposed for the forthcoming European Unified Patent Court is a highly commendable model: it provides for the Boards, e.g. to be a separate body, and to have a transparent recruiting organisation, introductory education of new members and self management by the judges themselves as well as re-education during their tenure in the court and a well organised system for removal from office. Germany and Sweden have both operated such a system for several decades, with a separate patent appeal instance. This should now finally be done for the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office.”

Catarina Holtz, LLD, SSE, Stockholm (Retired appellate judge, Svea Court of Appeal Stockholm, retired member of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO)

In the coming week we shall have some very important articles about EPO and perhaps also SIPO abuses (if we find the time). This fiasco is far from over.

The EPO’s Paid Propaganda Campaign in the Media

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who needs facts, editorial discretion, and scientific peer review anyway?

Book

Summary: EPO buys (using public money) coverage that is favourable to its rogue management’s agenda, demonstrating utter disregard for scientific processes

THE EPO faces difficult times because the management is corrupt. Everyone suffers from this. There have been puff pieces and placements from Kongstad and his friend the ‘President’ (Benoît Battistelli), notably from patent lawyers’ sites, and there has generally been very shallow coverage from press that is associated with patents. It’s all about the money; services to European citizens are, in hindsight, not even an afterthought.

Watch Benoît Battistelli bragging about lowering patents’ standards (compromising quality) to increase output. They are operating like a production line rather than an examination centre and based on this recent post from IP Kat, people are now encouraged to “take on extra work”. To quote the relevant part: “DG1 is facing challenging production plans.”

Yes, production. It’s a factory’s mentality. “Examiner capacity for search, examination and opposition,” says the post, “is being maximised to achieve these goals.”

Production. Of what? Paper and pen marks? Printouts?

“Besides other initiatives to increase core time,” says the post, “all investments where examiners are involved in so-called “section Ill” activities, for support of projects or other DG plans, were revisited and rationalised. The “section lll” envelope covers the time budgets for projects and activities outside our normal operational business in DG1.”

This very well illustrates what the EPO has become. Battistelli runs it like a factory and then brags about production volume, not quality of the product. It’s a sham and it is a sham that benefits from ever-broadening patent scope (i.e. harm to many fields due to excessive protectionism). It is all about money now, not scientists. Will Europeans tolerate these? Patents on pigs, on algorithms, on human genetics?

The New Scientist recently sold out by publishing paid placements, even for the widely-maligned EPO that is desperate for some positive press. As Merpel put it: “Fresh from publishing the thoughts of a former member of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office, Merpel just noticed this article: A day in the life of a patent examiner appearing in the New Scientist.

“Merpel was immediately struck by the byline “The interview was produced by New Scientist in conjunction with the European Patent Office, which paid for it to be produced.” Need the EPO be paying for publication about the career path of an Examiner in order to attract suitable candidates?

“Merpel wonders what readers think about the article itself, and whether the EPO should be paying for placement of such pieces.”

The blog later wrote that the post “recorded, without criticism or comment, the fact that the European Patent Office had paid a highly respected journal to carry an interview with someone who, it now seems, may not actually be an examiner on life as an EPO examiner. This blogpost encouraged many of our contributors to fire off their salvos against or in defence of the beleaguered body.”

The EPO is a complete sham. The management resorts to what seems like the notorious fake testimonies strategy, having produced some softball ‘interviews’ in an effort to cleanse its reputation. Don’t let this spin go on unchallenged.

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