Links 3/2/2015: Simplicity Linux 15.1, OpenMandriva Lx 3 Pre-Alpha

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Australia member numbers down by 30%

    The membership of Linux Australia is showing a downward trend, according to the minutes of the organisation’s general body meeting, with current numbers down to 70 per cent of the highest 2014 figure.

    The meeting was held on January 12 and the minutes circulated on January 31. During the meeting, the membership numbers were claimed to be the same as 2014 by one member, Michael Still, but the outgoing secretary, Kathy Reid, clarified that they were about 70 per cent of 2014.

  • How the 9 major tenets of the Linux philosophy affect you

    One of the comments I received from my previous article was that another operating system has just as much capability on the command line as Linux does. This person said that you could just add this software to get these features and that package if you want those features. That makes my point. With Linux, it is all built in. You do not have to go elsewhere to get access to the power of Linux.

    Many people left comments stating that they could see how it might be nice to know the Linux philosophy as a historical curiosity, but that it had little or no meaning in the context of daily operations in a Linux environment. I beg to differ. Here is why.

  • Windows 10 Will Not Kill the Linux Desktop, It Actually Needs It

    Microsoft is working very hard on Windows 10 and it’s baking everything on the success of this new operating system. This prompted some voices in the community that it’s the end of the Linux desktop, whatever that means, but I’m here to tell you that’s not really the case.

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • What’s New in systemd, 2015 Edition

      This concept builds further upon the socket activation. When restarting a service, systemd can push the used sockets/file descriptors of that service to the sytemd daemon and pass it again to the service once it restarted. This way, no sockets/fd’s are lost.

    • Oh, GAWWWD! Poettering’s Dreams Of Domination Don’t End With systemd

      I’m getting tired of the ever-increasing detailed fragility of systemd taking over the world. I despair of Debian Jessie ever being released at this rate. A lot of the release critical bugs are triggered by systemd because it meddles with so many knobs. Go read the following article and have a good cry… Maybe it’s all a bad dream.

    • Balancing Diversity and Creativity in the World of FOSS

      The Linux community is filled with friction and diversity. One of the advantages of open source software is the diversity that leads to innovative approaches to improve the computing environment.

      But can the diversity go too far? Is it a defining characteristic that kills programming creativity?

      The news cycle surrounding open source technology is fed by ongoing arguments about PulseAudio versus ALSA Sound in one Linux distro or another. Hotly debated discussions ensue about the merits of Systemd replacing init. Some disputes lead to key developers forking a project. Others force particular project developers or contributors to quit.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.31 Is Now the Most Advanced LTS Branch Available

      The latest version of the stable Linux kernel, 3.14.31, has been announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman, and this is the most advanced long-term support branch of the kernel.

    • Systemd – for better or worse

      The average Linux user can be forgiven for being mystified by the passion and anger that surround the arguments over systemd, which aims to replace the traditional init daemon and shell scripts that initialise a Linux installation. Shell scripts are the tried and trusted method by which the Linux kernel is instructed on the options for its startup processes, and are seen by many sysadmins as ‘the Unix way’ of doing things. Scripts can be changed at will and the kernel doesn’t need a reboot.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Mint, Ubuntu, and Desktop Environments

      Today in Linux news, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said that rolling release distributions are “gaining on” traditional releases and Christine Hall welcomes the “new breed of Linux users.” Reviews of KaOS and Linux Mint stood-out in the newsfeeds as did Jun Auza’s comparison of Mint to Ubuntu. Michael Larabel switched to back to Fedora and Robert Pogson is horrified at systemd creator’s future plans.

    • The best Linux desktop environment for your needs?

      There are tons of different options when it comes to desktop environments for Linux. But which one is right for you? That’s a tough call and can only be made by each individual, but Datamation has some ideas to get you started finding your preferred desktop environment.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • How does systemd relate to Plasma?

        It should be apparent that as developers there are parts we want to embrace as it. In many cases it allows us to throw away large amounts of code whilst at the same time providing a better user experience. Adding it as an optional extra defeats the main benefit.

      • 3D Cube FITS & Debayer support in KStars

        Recently I was finally able to close BUG#305960 where a user requested support for 3D Cube FITS support in KStars. The FITSViewer tool always supported monochrome images since its inception, as this is what most CCD cameras in astronomy use. But single-shot color CCDs and DSLRs’ utilization within the astrophotography world kept growing over the last few years.

      • Release date for Krita 2.9

        After a short discussion, we came up with a release date for Krita 2.9! It’s going to be… February 26th, Deo volente. Lots and lots and lots of new stuff, and even the old stuff in Krita is still amazing (lovely article, the author mentions a few features I didn’t know about).

        Then it’s time for the port to Qt5, while Dmitry will be working on Photoshop-style layer styles — a kickstarter feature that didn’t make it for 2.9.0, but will be in 2.9.x. A new fundraiser for the next set of amazing features is also necessary.

      • SoK : UPnP Media Server and Client; Its integration into PlasmaMediacenter

        It’s been a long time since I wrote my last post. In my last post, I had described my SoK project, how DLNA/UPnP media client works and my plans about implementing DLNA/UPnP media server.

      • Make it flat. Make it the all same. Make it Boring.

        So at the end of the Oxygen period, UX/UI design was reaching an inflection point. Gone were the days were graphical designers challenged its own illustrations skills in a perpetual “I can my candy more naturalistic silly than yours”.

      • SoK Final Report – Theme Designing for Pairs
      • Power Management in 5.3

        A few weeks ago Alex Fiestas passed maintainership of PowerDevil, KDE’s power management service, over to me (thanks!), and there have been many exciting things going on in the power management department. Let’s take a look!

      • Power Management Being Further Improved In KDE Plasma 5.3

        KDE Plasma 5.2 was just released a few days ago but for power KDE Plasma 5.3 are already exciting features building up, including greater power management capabilities.

      • February Bug of the Month

        The KDE Gardening Team selected the February “Bug of the Month”. Before announcing it, let me write about other bugs that got resolved recently.

      • Desktop Makeover!

        In other words, I got nothin’ today. A few ideas, but not the energy nor motivation to follow through quite yet. I’m blaming the Super Bowl, the outcome of which is unknown as I write this. I’m thinking the world will continue to whirl around real nice like, whichever way it goes. But I did find a few minutes to give my aging behemoth home PC a bit of a makeover. Really all I did was to change the wallpaper to a nice new Debian logo-ed 3D thing. Shiny! I’d been using this old one for a few years I think, and it was just getting boring I guess.

        Some of you may recall that I use Linux, Debian Stable (Wheezy!) to be exact, and the hard core savant types may recall that I also use, and love, KDE. Nobody knows what the K stands for – maybe Kool?, but the rest is desktop environment. One of the things that KDE allows idiots like me to do is to easily enable Desktop Effects. Eye candy. Things that wobble and spin and get all pretty like. I’m a sucker for this crap, and have even convinced myself that some of it is useful, even an aid to efficiency. Not that slothful inefficiency isn’t also charming under certain circumstances.

      • digiKam Software Collection 4.7.0 released…

        A new year, a new release… The digiKam Team is proud to announce the release of digiKam Software Collection 4.7.0. This release includes many bugs fixes from Maik Qualmann who propose patches to maintain KDE4 version while KF5 port is under progress.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Rolling release vs. fixed release Linux

      A rolling-release Linux is one that’s constantly being updated. To some of you, that will sound a lot like DevOps’ idea of continuous deployment. You’d be right in thinking so. In both cases, the idea is that users and developers are best served by giving them the latest updates and patches as they’re created.

      There are several ways of doing this. One is to deliver frequent, small updates, which is the model that Arch Linux uses. Another is to replace an old image of the operating system or program with a new one as changes are added to the software. Ubuntu Core is taking this approach.

    • Simplicity Linux 15.1 is now available!

      The final release version of Simplicity Linux 15.1 is finally available for download. Simplicity 15.1 is based on Slacko, and uses the LXDE desktop environment for Netbook and Desktop editions. Also, we are proud to announce the release of our first 64-bit Edition: X. X 15.1 is a 64-bit only release and uses KDE as it’s desktop. Netbook and Desktop Editions are our only 32 bit releases for this cycle. One thing we are particularly pleased to bring you this release cycle is the fact that Simplicity Linux can view Netflix content straight out the box. You do not need to update libraries, change agent strings, or anything else. Just use the shortcut or use Chrome to view Netflix content.

    • OpenELEC 5.0.1 released
    • You’re the Boss with UBOS

      UBOS is a new Linux distro that I like for two reasons. One is that it works toward making it easy for muggles to set up their own fully independent personal home servers with little or no help from wizards. The other is that it comes from my friend Johannes Ernst.

    • 2014 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award Winners

      The polls are closed and the results are in. We once again had some extremely close races and our first ever three way tie.

    • LQ Members Choice Award Winners Announced

      Every year Linux fans wait for the results of LinuxQuestions.org Member Choice Award Winners and today the end of 2014 results are in. What was the favorite distribution this year? Which was the most used messenger these days? Who brings the best office suite or desktop environment? You might be surprised.

    • Reviews

      • Linux Mint 17.1 Is As Good As It Gets

        Linux Mint is great if you are a traditionalist and you like the way things have pretty much always been.

        Nice little touches are built upon again and again and the improvements are steady but not spectacular.

        Linux Mint is just a really good, stable and solid Linux distribution and it is obvious why it is so popular.

      • KaOS 2014.12 review – Chaos and anarchy

        KaOS 2014.12 is a very slick, very beautiful product. But it is not the most refined operating system out there. Sure, in terms of friendliness and accessibility, it’s right there among the big names, offering everything a user might want or need. Still, to get to that point, you will need to sweat a little. Printing, installer errors, availability of software, all these are potentially critical obstacles that must be addressed before KaOS can become a familiar and well-recommended family name.

        You cannot fault the composition, the style, the setup. It’s really charming. Done with elegance. Maybe all my ranting has helped bring Linux aesthetics to a higher level. But while I do sometimes drool over pretty and shiny, I demand stability and predictability, first and foremost. KaOS has some catching up to do here. And so, it probably deserves around 6.5/10. Pitted against Manjaro, Netrunner Rolling and Chakra, it’s probably the second best Archy offering out there at the moment. The best? Well, read all those other reviews. Anyhow, this isn’t bad, but not quite good enough to wrestle with Ubuntu, Mint and friends. I shall definitely follow this distro’s progress.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Pre-Alpha OMA Lx3 is here – hot and fresh!

        Why pre-Alpha? Because we are eager to deliver you the freshest and hottest, and with your help this new release can start shining brighter even sooner! Have fun, report bugs, enjoy!

      • OpenMandriva Lx 3 Working On Adding Wayland Shells, KF5 + Plasma 5

        The pre-alpha of OpenMandriva Lx 3 features X.Org Server 1.16.3 and Mesa 10.4.2 as the latest for open-source Linux graphics, KDE 4.14.3 is the desktop environment while OpenMandriva is working on migrating to KF5 + Plasma 5, SDDM is the new log-in manager, LXQt 0.8 is available as the new lightweight desktop environment, and there’s various package updates.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • openSUSE 12.3 Is Officially Dead

        It might not seem like a long time, but two years for a Linux operating system is more than usual. Users need to keep in mind that this is provided for free, so its maintaining it for a long time is actually time consuming, especially since the same devs have released other versions since then, which are better and more up to date.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Snappy Ubuntu Core Is Now Ready for Raspberry Pi 2

            Canonical is already trying to stay ahead of the IoT (Internet of Things) movement and the company managed to have the latest Snappy Ubuntu Core ready just in time of the Raspberry Pi 2. At this point you might be wondering what the Internet of Things is and why Ubuntu is making a move for it.

          • Linux Top 3: Raspberry Pi 2, BackBox Linux 4.1 and Black Lab Linux 6

            The next generation Raspberry Pi 2 was announced by Raspberry Pi Founder Eben Upton on February 2. The biggest difference is the new quad-core 900MHz Broadcom ARM Cortex-A7 CPU which deliver up to six times the processing power of the Raspberry Pi B+.

          • Watch Ubuntu and Unity Desktop Transition from Mobile to Desktop

            For the past couple of years, users wanted to see how this Ubuntu convergence concept will come together and now their wish has been granted. More and more details have been revealed and there are a ton of videos that show how convergence works.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Atom based DIN-rail industrial PC won’t be rattled

      Axiomtek’s rugged, Linux-ready DIN-rail PC has a dual-core Atom E3827, remote IoT management, 4GB soldered RAM, and isolated serial, GbE, and DIO ports.

    • Faster Raspberry Pi 2 Says Yes to Ubuntu and Windows, But Where’s Android?

      Raspberry Pi enthusiasts started the week with some welcome news: A Raspberry Pi 2 Model B SBC that is claimed to be six times faster than previous versions is available for the same $35 price. The community-backed single board computer swaps out the old ARM11/ARMv6 processor for an ARMv7 system on chip that features four 900MHz Cortex-A7 cores. That, along with a doubling of RAM to 1GB, means that for the first time, the Pi fully supports Ubuntu. In fact, there’s already an optimized build available of Canonical’s new lightweight Snappy variant of Ubuntu.

    • Raspberry Pi 2 Is Faster, But Not Pricier

      The next-gen Raspberry Pi 2 is on sale now, and despite its souped-up memory and CPU performance, it is still just $35.

    • Linux-based robot controller targets FIRST robotics contests

      NI has launched a real-time Linux-based “RoboRIO” robot controller with a Zynq ARM/FPGA SoC and NI’s LabVIEW IDE designed for FIRST robotics competitions.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Samsung Galaxy S5 Android Lollipop Update Hits U.S. Phones

          The Samsung Galaxy S5 is finally getting the Android Lollipop update after weeks of speculation. The update will be rolling out to Galaxy S5 phones in the United States. The Verizon Galaxy S5 Lollipop update is the first Galaxy Android 5.0 update in the U.S., but it won’t be the last update for all U.S. Galaxy users.

          Samsung started rolling out its first round of Galaxy Android 5.0 updates at the end of last year. The company’s first update was the Samsung Galaxy S5 Lollipop update, according to Gotta Be Mobile. The update wasn’t much of a surprise for users since the Galaxy S5 is Samsung’s current Galaxy S flagship phone. The company typically rolls out updates for its current flagship models at the beginning.

        • Less Than 2% Of Android Devices Are Running Lollipop, Three Months After Launch

          I really, really like Android 5.0 (or “Lollipop” as it’s known by those of us who probably care too much about these things). It cemented my preference for Android, and has earned the Nexus 5 another few months as my go-to phone.

        • Unofficial Hearthstone Port For Android Phones Released

          Back in December last year, Blizzard finally rolled out the Android version of Hearthstone, the company’s popular and admittedly addictive free-to-play online card game. This basically means that the game is now available on iOS and Android tablets, but no smartphones just yet, although Blizzard did state that they are planning on bringing the smartphone version to iOS and Android devices this year.

        • HummingBoard-i2eX review, dual-core SBC which runs Android and Linux

          The HummingBoard-i2eX is a versatile board. It has greater performance than the Raspberry Pi 1 and includes more memory. At $110 it is more expensive than the Raspberry Pi, but you get more for your money.

        • Android 5.1 Might Launch End of February: What Changes Can You Expect?

          Android users who are unhappy with their own version of Android Lollipop could only have less than a month to wait before Google rolls out the first major update for the latest iteration of its Android mobile platform.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Simplicity Linux 15.1 Screenshot Tour
  • How Open Source Succeeds In The Cloud By Trading Freedom For Simplicity

    Importantly, these tools are largely being born within enterprises like LinkedIn that have serious Big Data needs that no commercial software can solve. Even the National Weather Service has jumped in, open sourcing the code that powers its global forecast system.

  • Benefits of Open Source Go Well Beyond Cost Savings, IT Pros Say

    That’s one of the key findings of research recently conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Zimbra, a provider of commercial open source collaboration software in Frisco, Texas. Open source “provides improved control over your software and inherent security and privacy benefits brought to bear by a development community,” said Olivier Thierry, Zimbra’s chief marketing officer, in an interview. “These benefits are tied to the transparent nature of open source, which is taken a step further by commercial vendor support, ensuring long-term viability.”

  • DataStax Acquires Open Source Graph Database Technology

    DataStax has acquired Aurelius LLC, provider of the open source graph database Titan. The Aurelius team will join DataStax to build DataStax Enterprise (DSE) Graph, adding graph database capabilities into DSE alongside Apache Cassandra, DSE Search and Analytics. Development of DataStax Enterprise Graph will begin immediately with availability announcements coming later this year.

  • My Week with Trojita

    Email clients have long been a necessary evil for anybody living in the information age. I have yet to find an email client that I like. Tolerate, yes. But not like. I have found web browsers that I like, note taking programs that I like, even text editors that I love. But email remains the proverbial thorn in my desktop side.

    For years now I’ve been using Mozilla’s Thunderbird, because while I don’t actually like it, it’s the one I hate the least. It has been stable and reliable all this time, something that couldn’t be said for the Evolution client it replaced. But it had flaws, and plenty of them. The biggest of which, in my opinion, is that it is slow. Not only is it slow when I’m doing something with it, it’s somehow even slow when I’m not doing anything.

  • Open Collaboration is Paving the Path for NFV

    I am thrilled to be joining OPNFV as its Director of NFV working directly with those who are committed to advancing open source NFV for all. I am excited about this organization, this technology, this community, and what the future holds for NFV.

  • OPNFV Adds Director and Member Companies

    The Linux Foundation’s OPNFV project for open source network functions virtualization technologies has appointed Heather Kirksey as director of NFV. It has also added new industry partners.

  • Enea, Korea Telecom, SK Telecom, Spirent and Xilinx Join the OPNFV Project
  • Balancing Diversity and Creativity in the World of FOSS

    The Linux community is filled with friction and diversity. One of the advantages of open source software is the diversity that leads to innovative approaches to improve the computing environment.

    But can the diversity go too far? Is it a defining characteristic that kills programming creativity?

    The news cycle surrounding open source technology is fed by ongoing arguments about PulseAudio versus ALSA Sound in one Linux distro or another. Hotly debated discussions ensue about the merits of Systemd replacing init. Some disputes lead to key developers forking a project. Others force particular project developers or contributors to quit.

  • 8 advantages of using open source in the enterprise

    I work with IT teams that are so passionate about Red Hat’s open source mission that they bring a “default to open source” mentality to every project we work on. We’ve been quite successful in finding open source solutions for many of our business needs. Naturally, we turn to our own open source solutions for our operating system, middleware, and cloud needs. Beyond that, we always seek out open source solutions first for our other business needs, such as user authorization and telephony.

    It’s through these first-hand experiences that I’ve reflected on the reasons why open source is a good fit for the enterprise. Here are some fundamental advantages I believe open source offers over proprietary solutions.

  • Apache(tm) PDFBox(tm) named an Open Source Partner Organization of the PDF Association
  • Recommendation engine ‘a la Amazon’ made open-source

    Alex Housley, 31, is the founder of Seldon, an open-source platform that generates user recommendations for any kind of company or industry.

  • To Counter Mass Surveillance, “SOS”: Secure Open Source

    Although it is not a universal remedy, open-source software is still an important ingredient in an EU strategy for more security and technological independence. The quality of the lifecycle processes of open-source software is crucial for its security – more than technology.

    Support and fund maintenance and/or audit of important open-source software: open-source initiatives, some of them widely implemented for security and privacy, need funding to keep going and be audited (with regard to both code and processes).

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Ups Ante for Security Researchers

        Google distributed $1.5 million in awards in 2014 for security vulnerability disclosures, money that was spread across 200 different researchers and included disclosures on over 500 bugs in Google’s Chrome Web browser. In total, Google has paid out $4 million in bug bounties since it first began rewarding researchers in 2010.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • VMware Rolls Out Integrated OpenStack Cloud Offering

      VMware today is delivering on its promise of providing an integrated OpenStack cloud offering. VMware first announced the VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) product at its VMworld conference in August, as the company’s full embrace of the OpenStack platform.

    • New Guides Demystify the Open Cloud

      If you’re bewildered by the number of open cloud platforms and usage models for them that are available, there are some useful new guides you should know about.

    • Once Again, Amazon is Shown to Dominate the Cloud Market

      With all the hubbub surrounding open source cloud computing platforms that are proliferating more rapidly than ever, it’s easy to get lulled into thinking that projects like OpenStack and CloudStack rule the cloud roost. That’s not even close to the truth, though. The proprietary cloud is going strong, and Amazon remains the 800-pound gorilla in the cloud space.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • You can now petition the European Union to ‘fix my document’

      Inspired by the pothole identification and alert site and app, fixmystreet.com, OFE, through its fixmydocument.eu, is giving a crowd-sourced voice to public frustration with software interoperability limitations that stand in the way of citizens who are seeking to communicate and interact with government.

      It should be noted, however, this is more than a vehicle through which to vent. Many parts of the EU are legitimately working hard to implement ODF, the open document format for office applications. Fixmydocument.eu will help them better identify software and documents that are presenting the most pressing and immediate problems. As an added benefit, it should not go unnoticed that more fully deploying ODF and other open standards will help the EU avoid vendor lock-in.

  • Funding

    • Open Source Initiative 2015 Membership Drive

      The OSI will launch our first ever Individual Membership Drive this year, coinciding with our 17th anniversary, Feb 3rd, 2015. Our membership drive goal is to sign up 2,398 members in celebration of our founding on 2/3/98 — “2,398 for 2/3/98″ — see what we did there? :-) The membership drive will also run in parallel with our annual Board elections, with nominations opening on Feb 2nd. The membership campaign will become an annual event.

  • BSD


    • Denemo – News: Version 1.2.2 is imminent
    • FSF adds Guix System Distribution to list of endorsed distributions

      The FSF’s list consists of ready-to-use full GNU/Linux systems whose developers have made a commitment to follow the Guidelines for Free System Distributions. This means each distro includes and steers users toward exclusively free software. All distros on this list reject nonfree software, including firmware “blobs” and nonfree documentation. The Guix System Distribution is a new and growing distro that currently ships with just over 1000 packages, already including almost all of the programs available from the GNU Project.

  • Licensing

    • Open Source Software: Update

      For software vendors, open source software (OSS) should be treated like a compliance issue – in the same way that corporate, securities or environmental compliance is a concern for many companies. The failure to manage compliance can be costly – just like it would be if a company ignored its environmental or securities compliance obligations. An environmental remediation order or a cease-trade order might result from compliance failures in those other areas.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • USGS releases open-source groundwater toolkit
    • Bringing open source cameras to the film-making industry

      The project plans to democratise camera technology and put the power back into the hands of the users. ‘It is a self-liberation by creating high end tools that we ourselves love to work with – fully independent of any of the big, established camera corporations,’ explains a member of the team.

    • Open Data

      • White House open-sources budget data on GitHub

        “This year we are releasing all of the data included in the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget in a machine-readable format here on GitHub,” the White House wrote. “The Budget process should be a reflection of our values as a country, and we think it’s important that members of the public have as many tools at their disposal as possible to see what is in the President’s proposals.”

  • Programming

    • DevOps culture needs to be created

      That seemingly simple question is sometimes a topic of heated debate, even though, if one digs into the details, it’s more a debate about how to think about transformation rather than a debate about the end state.

      Back up a minute—you can think about DevOps as living somewhere between two poles.

    • DevOps theory for beginners

      You can treat your cloud just like it was a data center full of servers with system administrators cracking the whip over them, but that misses the point of how to get the most from your cloud with DevOps.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Awful transit policy fails everyone in metro Detroit

    When we talk about the stalwart, hard-nosed relentlessness that ignites Detroiters’ souls, it’s hard to think of a better example than James Robertson.

    His story is so outlandish it seems certain to be apocryphal: His home is in Detroit, but his work is in Rochester Hills. He has no car, and our public transit system is a joke that’s played daily to brutal effect on people like Robertson. That means he hoofs it up to 21 miles per day, through whatever obstacles man or mother nature toss in front of him. Together, Robertson’s commute and his shift consume a staggering 20 hours of every day. This has been his life for a decade, since his old car died. Earning just $10.55 an hour, Robertson couldn’t save up for another.

  • Science

    • To the Parent of the Unvaccinated Child Who Exposed My Family to Measles

      To the parent of the unvaccinated child who exposed my family to measles:

      I have a number of strong feelings surging through my body right now. Towards my family, I am feeling extra protective like a papa bear. Towards you, unvaccinating parent, I feel anger and frustration at your choices.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ABC News’ Laura Ingraham Pushes Vaccine Myth That ABC News Called Discredited

      ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham falsely suggested there’s a link between vaccines and autism, which flies in the face of substantial scientific evidence and her own employer’s reporting on the issue.

      A domestic measles outbreak has highlighted the rising numbers of American parents who disregard medical recommendations and choose not to vaccinate their children, often for religious or personal reasons.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Ukraine Tipping

      The civil war in eastern Ukraine has continued fitfully since September, when the parties signed a ceasefire known as the Minsk Agreement. The ceasefire has often been more honored in the breach than the observance, but overall it has led to considerably less bloodshed, especially among civilians, than the previous six months fighting. In the spring of 2014, the level of killing escalated sharply, at U.S. urging, when the newly-installed coup government in Kiev chose to attack rather than negotiate with the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk and People’s Republic of Luhansk (now joined in the self-proclaimed federal state of Novorossiya). So far, only the Republic of South Ossetia has recognized these Ukrainian “republics” as independent countries. Only Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru recognize South Ossetia, which declared its independence from Georgia in 1990, but secured it only in 2008 with the help of Russian intervention.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • A Glimmer Of Hope for Julian Assange

      There is a window of hope, thanks to a U.N. human rights body, for a solution to the diplomatic asylum of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London for the past two and a half years.

      Authorities in Sweden, which is seeking the Australian journalist’s extradition to face allegations of sexual assault, admitted there is a possibility that measures could be taken to jumpstart the stalled legal proceedings against Assange.

      The head of Assange’s legal defence team, former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, told IPS that in relation to this case “we have expressed satisfaction that the Swedish state“ has accepted the proposals of several countries.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Croatia just canceled the debts of its poorest citizens

      Starting Monday, thousands of Croatia’s poorest citizens will benefit from an unusual gift: They will have their debts wiped out. Named “fresh start,” the government scheme aims to help some of the 317,000 Croatians whose bank accounts have been blocked due to their debts.

    • What About The English?

      The Labour Party supports austerity in England but opposes it in Scotland.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Centrist Anxiety at the New York Times

      It’s passages like this that make me hope that my child never falls in love with a centrist. “Purity” is bad, “pragmatism” is good–the latter defined as inherently in the center. Is the centrist position that acknowledges the catastrophic effects of global warming while expanding the extraction of fossil fuels really pragmatic? Or decrying the concentration of wealth while proposing policies that will do almost nothing to counteract it?

    • ‘Venezuelan Bomb Plot’ a Figment of FBI’s–and US Media’s–Imagination

      What’s wrong is that there was no “Venezuelan nuclear bomb plot,” and the scientist in question, Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, didn’t offer Venezuela anything. What Mascheroni was convicted of was telling undercover FBI agents, who were pretending to work for Venezuela, that he could give them nuclear weapons secrets. In real life, Venezuela had nothing to do with it.

    • Is Adblock Plus accepting whitelist bribes from Google, Microsoft and Amazon?

      Google, Microsoft and Amazon have paid Eyeo a significant sum of money to be automatically whitelisted in Adblock Plus

    • Google, Amazon ‘n’ pals fork out for AdBlock Plus ‘unblock’ – report

      Internet giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Taboola have reportedly paid AdBlock Plus to allow their ads to pass through its filter software.

      The confidential deals were confirmed by the Financial Times, the paper reported today.

      Eyeo GmbH, the German startup behind Adblock Plus, said it did not wish to comment.

    • Republicans Call for Imposing ALEC Zones on Poorest Neighborhoods of Milwaukee

      Two suburban Wisconsin lawmakers have unveiled an economic development plan for the lowest-income neighborhoods of Milwaukee, and their “solutions” for the Wisconsin communities hit hardest by deindustrialization come directly from a national right-wing playbook.

      Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) represent two of the wealthiest districts in Wisconsin and have no background in economic development, yet have proposed at 23-page plan targeting the majority-minority communities with the highest unemployment rates in the state — and have done so without consulting any of the elected officials who actually represent the area.

    • Cable’s Answer To A Changing TV Landscape? Stuff More Ads Into Every Hour

      As we’ve been covering, the cable and broadcast industry’s response to the shift toward Internet video appears to be a three-staged affair. Stage one was largely denial, with cable and broadcast executives either mocking (or denying the existence of) cord cutters, while going out of their way to try and ignore any data disproving their beliefs. Stage two is a one-two punch of desperately trying to milk a dying cash cow (like endless price hikes) while pretending to be innovative by offering largely uninteresting walled-garden services like TV Everywhere.

    • Muslims Are Nazis, USA Today Jokes

      It’s not a terribly hard cartoon to parse: Islam is the modern equivalent of Nazism, and threatens a new Holocaust. The cartoon lists entities that have nothing in common with each other aside from their connection to Islam–political movements like Hezbollah and Hamas, who have been the targets of far more violence than they are responsible for, along with groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, terrorist groups whose victims are primarily Muslim. Hezbollah and ISIS are actually engaged in intense warfare with each other.

      In case you missed the point, the cartoon puts one of the holiest phrases in Islam–”Allah Akbar,” or “God is great”–in the mouth of a Nazi skeleton.

  • Censorship

    • Bloomberg Latest To Kill Comments Because Really, Who Gives A Damn About Localized User Communities?

      We’ve been noting how the trend du jour among news outlets has been to not only kill off your community comments section, but to proudly proclaim you’re doing so because you really value conversation. It’s of course understandable that many writers and editors don’t feel motivated to wade into the often heated comment section to interact with their audience. It’s also understandable if a company doesn’t want to spend the money to pay someone to moderate comments. But if you do decide to reduce your community’s ability to engage, do us all a favor and don’t pretend it’s because you really adore talking to your audience.

  • Privacy

    • Tech pioneer Phil Zimmermann calls Cameron’s anti-encryption plans ‘absurd’

      David Cameron’s proposals to limit the use of end-to-end encryption technology in the UK are “absurd” according to Phil Zimmermann, creator of the email encryption software, PGP, and now president of secure communications firm Silent Circle.

    • Advice for Whistleblowers and Journalists from an NSA Spy and Snowden’s Lawyer

      There’s no playbook for leaking evidence of state and corporate wrongdoing. But with the uptick in whistleblower prosecutions by the US government, there probably should be.

      For now, studying past whistleblowers, from Daniel Ellsberg to Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, is a good place to start. Some whistleblowers, like former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake and former US Department of Justice ethics adviser Jesselyn Radack (now Snowden’s lawyer), have shown themselves willing to offer instruction.

      Drake and Radack, who appeared at the Berlin Transmediale festival’s CAPTURE ALL event to discuss the documentary Silenced, spoke to me about the challenges facing future whistleblowers and journalists. While they didn’t lay out a precise playbook, they did offer advice on how whistleblowers and journalists can better protect themselves.

      For Radack, it starts with understanding the Espionage Act. While the 1917 law was initially designed to protect against spies, not whistleblowers, the US government has taken to claiming that the leaking of classified information is equivalent of espionage. Espionage Act prosecutions under President Obama, in Radack’s estimation, have created a “backdoor war on journalists” and an “unofficial way to create an official secrets act,” which exists in the United Kingdom but not in the US. Educating whistleblowers and the journalists who work with them is of the utmost importance to Radack.

    • Google, gag orders and WikiLeaks: who’s lying?

      The political fallout of WikiLeaks has passed, but the fury of law enforcement has not. More than four years after the organization published a trove of U.S. diplomatic cables, federal agents continue to wage a secret legal campaign to put the screws to those responsible.

      This month, a new twist to the story emerged as lawyers for WikiLeaks accused Google of betraying its users by secretly turning over their communications to the Justice Department. Google shot back that it did all that it could, but the government stifled the company with gag orders.

      The dispute suggests someone is not telling the truth but, at a deeper level, points to the problem of secret rabbit holes in the U.S. justice system that obscure the existence of criminal investigations.

    • Citing Right to Privacy, Travel & Association, Rutherford Institute Asks Supreme Court to Prohibit Police from Gaining Unfettered Access to Hotel Records

      Citing a fundamental right to privacy, travel and association, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to prohibit police from gaining unfettered access to motel and hotel guest registries. In an amicus curiae brief filed in City of Los Angeles v. Patel, et al., Rutherford Institute attorneys are asking the Court to declare unconstitutional a Los Angeles ordinance that allows police to inspect private hotel and motel records containing information about the persons who are staying there without a warrant or other judicial review. The Institute’s brief argues that the ordinance, which is similar to laws on the books in cities across the nation, flies in the face of historical protections affording hotel guests privacy in regards to their identities and comings-and-goings and burdens the fundamental rights of travel and association, which the Court has long safeguarded from arbitrary government scrutiny.

    • Get your loved ones off Facebook.

      I’ve been a big Facebook supporter – one of the first users in my social group who championed what a great way it was to stay in touch, way back in 2006. I got my mum and brothers on it, and around 20 other people. I’ve even taught Facebook marketing in one of the UK’s biggest tech education projects, Digital Business Academy. I’m a techie and a marketer — so I can see the implications — and until now, they hadn’t worried me. I’ve been pretty dismissive towards people who hesitate with privacy concerns.


      Facebook has always been slightly worse than all the other tech companies with dodgy privacy records, but now, it’s in it’s own league. Getting off isn’t just necessary to protect yourself, it’s necessary to protect your friends and family too. This could be the point of no return — but it’s not too late to take back control.

    • No, Canada! You can’t keep cloud storage local

      This kind of request is not unique to Canada. Some European countries also won’t allow certain types of data to leave the country. However, Canada has been open about using technology from the United States in the past, so a Canada-only request is unusual.

    • Former CIA & NSA Boss: September 11th Gave Me Permission To Reinterpret The 4th Amendment

      Michael Hayden, the former CIA and NSA director, has revealed what most people already suspected — to him, the Constitution is a document that he can rewrite based on his personal beliefs at any particular time, as noted by Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic.

    • Snoopers’ Charter return gets dropped in the House of Lords

      A RECENT PUSH to get the incorrigible so-called Snoopers’ Charter into law has been stopped, freeing the UK, probably only briefly, from the threat of choke-strength communications monitoring.

    • No, ministers – more surveillance will not make us safer

      British politicians keep trying to sneak the Snoopers’ Charter into law – even when it is obvious that the last thing you need when looking for a neeedle in a haystack is more hay

  • Civil Rights

    • FBI put Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond on a secret terrorist watchlist

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation put Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond on a secret terrorist watchlist, according to confidential records obtained by the Daily Dot.

      The records further reveal how the FBI treats cybercrimes and shines a rare light on the expanding definitions of terrorism used by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

    • U.N. Court: Serbia and Croatia Didn’t Commit Genocide in 1990s in Balkans

      The United Nations’ highest court on Tuesday ruled that neither Croatia nor Serbia committed genocide against each other’s populations during the Balkan wars that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

      Peter Tomka, president of the International Court of Justice, said many crimes had been committed by both countries’ forces during the conflict, but that the intent to commit genocide — by “destroying a population in whole or in part” — had not been proven against either country.

    • Portugal to grant citizenship to descendants of persecuted Jews

      Portugal is to introduce a law granting citizenship rights to the descendants of Jews it persecuted 500 years ago, following Spain’s adoption of similar legislation last year.

      Cabinet spokesman Luís Marques Guedes said changes to the nationality law would provide dual citizenship rights for Sephardic Jews, the term commonly used for those who once lived in the Iberian peninsula.

      The rights will apply to those who can demonstrate a “traditional connection” to Portuguese Sephardic Jews, such as through “family names, family language and direct or collateral ancestry”.

    • Ulbricht tells judge: I’m not going to testify

      Ross Ulbricht’s lawyers began his defense case today, and it promises to be a short one—very short.

      The half hour or so of testimony today, which included three character witnesses, will be combined with an estimated hour of direct testimony tomorrow. Unless something surprising happens, closing arguments will take place tomorrow afternoon.

      The government has spent ten days laying out its case that Ulbricht is the mastermind behind the Silk Road drug-trafficking website; he could face life in prison if convicted.

      Ulbricht will not be testifying on his own behalf. That decision was put off by Ulbricht and his lawyers until today, but US District Judge Katherine Forrest asked Ulbricht about it directly after testimony finished today.

    • Finnish parents, teachers grapple with children’s online activity

      The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare says it receives a constant stream of questions from schools and parents about how to handle increasing internet use by children and youth. One school in the eastern city of Kuopio has tried to intervene in late-night messaging and internet bullying.

    • Malcolm X Was Right About America

      “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck,” Malcolm said. “Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, then capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • More bandwidth! The FCC defines broadband right at last

      If you haven’t heard, the FCC has officially defined broadband Internet service as 25Mbps down, 3Mbps up. This is more than six times the previous standard of 4Mbps down and represents a major shift in how the Internet is regarded by the U.S. government.

      Frankly, the 3Mbps upstream minimum is still too low, but the 25Mbps downstream is adequate. This means that suddenly, many Americans no longer have broadband Internet access — and realistically, they haven’t in any way but name for many years now.

    • U.S. Eyes Ban of Controversial Internet ‘Fast Lanes’

      A new Federal Communications Commission proposal expected this week has the potential to be a game-changer in the debate over net neutrality.

    • WSJ Adopts Broadband Lobbyist’s Language To Describe Net Neutrality Proposal

      The Wall Street Journal adopted the language of net neutrality critics to describe the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality proposal, deeming the new potential rules an “intrusive regulation.”

      On January 30, the FCC announced that it would “introduce and vote on new proposed net neutrality rules in February.” Although the official proposal has yet to be released, according to The Huffington Post, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler “suggested that Internet service… should be regulated like any other public utility.”

    • FCC may regulate the US broadband under Title 2

      The debate of a whether net neutrality should be a thing in the US has been going on for over a decade now. There is a clear rift between what the public wants and what the service providers want; ISP oppose net neutrality and any regulation whereas the public want a neutral net.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Two Leaks Reveal How TAFTA/TTIP’s Regulatory Co-operation Body Will Undermine Sovereignty And Democracy

      It has long been evident that TAFTA/TTIP is not a traditional trade agreement — that is, one that seeks to promote trade by removing discriminatory local tariffs on imported goods and services. That’s simply because the tariffs between the US and EU are already very low — under 3% on average. Removing all those will produce very little change in trading patterns. The original justification for TTIP recognized this, and called for “non-tariff barriers” to be removed as well.

    • Trademarks

      • Homeland Security Totally Misunderstands Trademark Law; Seizes Perfectly Legal Sporting Goods Anyway

        Homeland Security’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement group (ICE) has a history of seizing stuff without understanding even the most basic concepts around intellectual property. After all, these are the same meatheads who seized some blogs for alleged copyright infringement, and then had to return some of them over a year later, after they realized it was a mistake. ICE also has a history of using big sporting events to kiss up to the multi-billion dollar sports organizations by shutting down small businesses, protecting Americans from unlicensed underwear. And, of course, what bigger sporting event is there than the Super Bowl. Every year they make a bunch of seizures related to the Superbowl, and this year was no different.

    • Copyrights

      • In Memory Of The Liberties Lost In The War on Piracy

        The first of those things is that the copyright industry had a medical case of severe rectocranial inversion when they made the sloppy business assumption that an unlicensed copy of a movie or a piece of music was equivalent to a lost sale.

        The second of those things is that it wouldn’t have mattered even if it were true (which it wasn’t), because no industry gets to eliminate fundamental civil liberties like the private letter, completely regardless of whether the continued existence of civil liberties means they can make money or not.

        So we of the net generation knew all along that the copyright industry was not only wrong and stupid, but also that their assertion was – or should have been – irrelevant in the first place.


        So the copyright industry has successfully lobbied for laws that ban people from sharing and discussing interesting things in private, and done so from the sloppiest conceivable of false business assumptions. As a result of this dimwitted business sense combined with diehard foolhardiness, we’re left with nowhere to talk or walk in private.

More Press Coverage From the Danish Media About EPO Abuses and Protest at Danish Consulate

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO protest at Danish Consulate

Summary: The EPO staff protest at the Danish Consulate continues to receive attention from the press, which produces articles about the subject and explores the complaints of the staff

OUR series of exclusive reports about the EPO is about to continue with part 12, but before we press on, let’s look back at some of the protests that partly result from press coverage and also yield press coverage, making the abuses more widely known.

“We have not yet seen the EPO’s management effectively refuting the claims made by the staff.”A reader has sent us this copy[PDF] from the leading Danish daily Jyllands-Posten (~120,000 people in circulation). The caption on the photo of Battistelli on the front page of the newspaper reads:

Welcome to the battlefield

Allegations of autocratic power, violation of the rule of law and suppression of staff unions are circulating in the European Patent Office (EPO) which is responsible for patents throughout Europe.

The title of the article is: “The war raging in the European Patent Office”

Here is the text in Danish (raw), starting with an article about banks (Finans being the source):

[Front page]

Bankaktier er blevet vor tids obligationer

Der er begrænset risiko og en stabil indtjening i de store banker, hvilket gør deres aktier til en moderne udgave af obligationer, påpeger analytikere. Nordea er enig i analogien.



De store banker har siden finanskrisens
hærgen udviklet
sig fra vakkelvorne foretagender
uden økonomisk sul på
kroppen til velpolstrede og
konservative pengemaskiner,
der spytter udbytter ud til investorerne
i en lind strøm.
Senest annoncerede Nordea
onsdag, at 70 pct. af overskuddet
i 2014 – svarende til 18,6
mia. kr. – udbetales som udbytte.
Det svarer til, at aktionærerne
får 6 pct. i afkast af deres investering.
Samtidig offentliggjorde
Ringkjøbing Landbobank, at
banken både udbetaler udbytte
og skruer op for et aktietilbagekøbsprogram
for at pleje aktionærernes
interesser. Begge
banker offentliggjorde årsregnskaber

Rene udbyttemaskiner

»Bankaktier er ved at udvikle
sig til vor tids obligationer. I erkendelse
af, at det er svært at få
forretningen til at vokse, har
man som mål at give aktionærerne
et konkurrencedygtigt afkast.
Bankerne er blevet rene
udbyttemaskiner,« siger Bjørn
Schwarz, aktieanalysechef i
Sammenligningen med obligationer
hænger sammen med,
at de fleste banker har fået styr
på nedskrivningerne og efterhånden
er blevet forholdsvis
forudsigelige forretninger.
»Man kan godt kalde bankaktier
for vor tids dividendeaktier.
De har kapitaliseret sig i
de senere år og taget de nødvendige
nedskrivninger. Der er
ikke noget, der tyder på, at der
pludseligt kommer store afvigelser
i indtjeningen,« siger
Thomas Eskildsen, bankanalytiker
i Jyske Bank.
Analytikerne peger på, at
Nordea har førertrøjen på
blandt de store danske banker,
men at Danske Bank også ventes
at skrue op for udbyttebetalingen,
når storbanken i næste
uge fremlægger årsregnskab.

En AA-rated obligation

Ifølge Alm. Brand Markets har
Nordeas investorer udsigt til at
blive mere forgyldte næste år.
»Jeg anser Nordea-aktien for
at være en AA-rated obligation
med en forventet rente i 2015
på 7 pct.,« siger Jesper Christensen,
bankanalytiker i Alm.
Brand Markets.
Nordea forstår analytikernes
sammenligning med obligationer.
»Jeg kan sagtens følge den
analogi. Nogle bankaktier er i
dag attraktive, fordi bankerne
er tilstrækkelig kapitaliserede
og er i stand til at uddele en stor
del af resultatet til aktionærerne,
« siger Christian Clausen,
koncernchef i Nordea, der dog
understreger, at der er tale om
aktier og ikke obligationer.

Topchef for det europæiske patentkontor,
EPO, Benoit Battistelli har titel
af præsident og opfører sig ifølge
kritikere mere og mere som en sådan.
Foto: Andreas Gebert

Velkommen til slagmarken
Anklager om magtfuldkommenhed, brud på retssikkerheden og knægtelse af
fagforeningerne fyger i det europæiske patentkontor, EPO, som har ansvar
for patenter i hele Europa.

[Feature article]

Krigen raser i det europæiske patentkontor

KONFLIKT: Anklager om magtfuldkommenhed,
brud på retssikkerheden og knægtelse af fagforeningerne
fyger i den 7.000 mand store organisation,
der håndterer patenterne i hele Europa.

Ved Isar-floden i München bor en organisation,
hvor mange af de 7.000
medarbejdere tjener over 1 mio. kr.
om året og ifølge kilder betaler omtrent
6 pct. i skat.
En organisation, som er omfattet af immunitet,
og hvis bygninger de lokale myndigheder
ikke har adgang til.
Som behandler og godkender patenter for
milliarder, uanset hvilken valuta man regner
i, og som afgør, om en virksomhed kan
få eneret på sin opfindelse i op til 38 europæiske
Velkommen til European Patent Office.
Og velkommen til slagmarken.
For organisationen, der er helt central for
at sikre, at innovation betaler sig, er plaget
af omfattende stridigheder med protester fra
europæiske dommere og medarbejderne,
der offentligt har erklæret deres mistillid til
Læg dertil nedlæggelse af en uafhængig
revisionskomité og en demonstration vendt
mod organisationens formand, danskeren
Jesper Kongstad, for ikke at gøre noget for at
løse problemerne.
EPO har et budget på omkring 15 mia. kr.
og betegner sig selv som den næststørste europæiske
organisation efter EU-Kommissionen.
EPO er ikke en del af EU.

Fransk topchef

Den mellemstatslige organisation styres af
topchefen, franskmanden Benoît Battistelli,
der har titel af præsident, og som ifølge kritikere
i stigende grad opfører sig som en sådan
ved at centrere magten omkring sig
selv, bl.a. ved at hyre tidligere franske

kolleger til flere ledende poster og ved at svække
fagforeningen i EPO, Suepo, med nye strejkeregler
og andre tiltag.
Konflikten i EPO er indtil videre fløjet under
radaren i de danske medier. Måske fordi
patenter i det 21. århundrede er hypertekniske,
eller fordi ingen politikere er direkte involveret
i ledelsen af organisationen.
Bestyrelsen består af embedsmænd. Således
er den danske formand, Jesper Kongstad,
til daglig direktør for Patent- og Varemærkestyrelsen
i København.
Det Europæiske Patentkontor har godt 40
år på bagen og tæller i dag 38 medlemsstater.
Har man først fået et europæisk patent
på sin opfindelse hos EPO, kan man
udrulle det til næsten hele Europa og dermed
sikre sine rettigheder på et af verdens
største markeder.
Omkring en tredjedel af de i alt 273.000
ansøgninger i 2014 kom fra europæiske
virksomheder, mens resten var fra lande
som USA, Japan og Korea. Der plejer at
komme 1.500-2.000 fra Danmark.
Hvis der opstår uenighed om et patent,
kan man klage til et appeludvalg, og hér
skete der før jul noget, som i den grad har
skabt furore i patentsektoren.
Battistelli valgte nemlig at hjemsende en
dommer fra sådan et udvalg og forbød ham
derefter adgang til Isar-bygningen.
Furoren skyldtes, at Battistelli ifølge kritikerne
slet ikke har beføjelser til at hjemsende
en dommer, for dommeren skal være uafhængig
og vurdere klager over Battistellis
kontors afgørelser.
Battistelli henviste til, at hans dekret kun
var midlertidigt, hvilket dog ikke har fået
kritikken til at forstumme.
Hvad dommeren præcist har gjort, er ikke
blevet meldt officielt ud, men i flere af de
blogs og nichemedier, der følger patentbranchen,
vurderes det, at der var tale om et
personspørgsmål, nemlig at dommeren havde
begået ”bagvaskelse” ved at kritisere en
af Battistellis allierede, kroaten Željko Topi,
der har titel af vicepræsident og ikke vækker
udelt begejstring i sit hjemland.
Bl.a. har Juris Protecta, en kroatisk forening
for retssikkerhed, skrevet til EPO, at
Topis karrierestart i 1990’erne byggede på
forbindelser til regimet.

Revisionskomité nedlagt

Battistellis præsidentielle tilbøjeligheder ses
ifølge kritikerne også ved, at han i 2011 fik
nedlagt en revisionskomité, efter at den kun
havde fungeret i et år.
Komiteen nåede bl.a. at erklære sig »overrasket
« over, at de interne revisorer ikke
skulle holde øje med et stort nybyggeri løbende,
men først når det var færdigt.
Den påpegede også behovet for en whistleblower-

Et af medlemmerne, Paul Ernst, sagde efterfølgende,
at fraværet af bl.a. antisvindelregler
i EPO udgjorde en »betydelig risiko«.
Efter at revisionskomiteen var blevet nedlagt,
fjernede Battistelli også chefen for Intern
Revision, hvilket ifølge Suepo ikke havde
været muligt uden komiteens godkendelse
– hvis den altså havde eksisteret.
Efter komiteens nedlæggelse er der fortsat
et revisionsudvalg bestående af eksterne revisorer,
som i sin rapport fra 2013 bl.a. fortalte,
at rejsereglerne indtil da havde forhindret,
at man brugte lavprisflyselskaber. Samtidig
fortalte man om flere hundrede skattesager,
hvor nationale skattevæsener bl.a. har
angrebet EPO’s praksis med at give bl.a.
pensionister en skattegodtgørelse, når deres
arbejdsliv slutter, og de skal til at betale skat
EPO mener, at godtgørelsen i sig selv skal
være skattefri.

Konflikt med medarbejderne

Og så er der ikke mindst konflikten med
medarbejderne i såvel hovedkontoret i
München som den store afdeling i Haag og
et par småafdelinger.
Det foregår via fagforeningen Suepo. Den
har officielt erklæret mistillid til Battistelli,
og op til sidste års folkeafstemning om Patentdomstolen
skrev den direkte til den
danske erhvervsminister, Henrik Sass Larsen
(S), for at forklare, at Battistellis fremgangsmåder
havde medført »den værste konflikt«
i EPO’s historie.
»Som administrerende direktør i EPO har
Benoît Battistelli (FR) indført en dubiøs ledelsesstil,
som kan karakteriseres som autoritær
og uden respekt for rettigheder, der er
garantererede, fundamentale rettigheder i
demokratiske lande som Danmark,« stod
der i brevet, der fortsatte:
»Alt dette er sket for øjnene af den danske
delegation og Jesper Kongstads formandskab,
som altid har støttet Mr. Battistelli,«
hed det i brevet, som Sass Larsen aldrig besvarede.
Han ønsker heller ikke at kommentere
det over for Jyllands-Posten.
Netop Jesper Kongstads opbakning var i
sidste uge årsag til, at en Suepo-demonstration
sluttede foran det danske konsulat i
Suepos kritikpunkter er mange. Bl.a. er
der Investigation Unit, EPO’s interne undersøgelsesgruppe,
som man har »pligt til at
samarbejde med«, og hvor man ikke kan have
en advokat med, hvis man skal udspørges.
Desuden mener kritikerne, at man heller
ikke har retten til ikke at svare, hvilket
kan føre til selvinkriminering.
EPO forklarer, at metoden med den særlige
gruppe skal give en let arbejdsgang, og
skriver i et svar, at de ansatte »ikke er forpligtede
til at inkriminere sig selv«. I ledelsens
øjne skal de blot »handle i god tro og
med det højeste niveau af integritet.«
Medarbejderne føler også deres privatliv
trådt under fode, når de under sygdom er
pligtige til at opholde sig på deres privatadresse
i bestemte tidsrum, fordi EPO potentielt
kan sende en doktor forbi for at kontrollere,
om de reelt er syge, eller om det er
rent pjæk.
Desuden har Battistelli indført nye strejkeregler,
som betyder, at medarbejderne skal
bede ledelsen om at organisere afstemninger
om strejker, ligesom der er indført
restriktioner på, hvor længe strejkerne må
fortsætte, og hvor mange der skal stemme
Lønnen har de til gengæld ikke protesteret
over, men ansættelsesvilkårene i EPO er
også lukrative.
Sagsbehandlerne, der primært består af
højtspecialiserede forskere og ingeniører, og
som skal kunne mestre engelsk, fransk og
tysk, tjener fra 5.000 euro til godt 15.000
euro om måneden i grundløn – mellem cirka
37.000 og 111.000 kr.
De skal kun betale en intern skat på 6 pct.
ifølge kilder, og de kan lade sig pensionere
på nedsat takst som 50-årige eller som 60-
årige til fuld takst, som er 70 procent af deres
løn resten af livet. Og bosætter de sig i et
land, hvor de bliver beskattet af pensionsudbetalingerne,
bliver de i et vist omfang
kompenseret af EPO.

Ingen vil sige noget

Ingen medarbejdere vil udtale sig med navn
til Jyllands-Posten, fordi de samtidig er ansatte
i EPO. De frygter at blive straffet, siger
Det har heller ikke været muligt at få en
kommentar fra Suepo, men fagforeningen
har udsendt et væld af skrivelser, hvori den
afviser, at konflikten handler om almindelige
ansættelsesvilkår, men derimod om tilsidesættelse
af helt grundlæggende rettigheder.
Ifølge adjunkt Christian Lyhne Ibsen, der
er arbejdsmarkedsforsker ved Københavns
Universitet, er der intet til hinder for strejkerestriktioner
på det almindelige arbejdsmarked,
og de har flere steder vist sig effektive
for arbejdsgiverne.
»Man har set i både Storbritannien og
USA, at procedurer, der gør det besværligt at
strejke har været utroligt effektive, idet de
tager pusten fra de ansatte,« siger han.
Professor og arbejdsmarkedsekspert Bent
Greve, Roskilde Universitet, betegner overordnet
set situationen i EPO som »meget
usædvanlig« og peger bl.a. på strejkeretten,
lægekontroller i hjemmet og ytringsfriheden.
Medarbejderne må ifølge EPO gerne gå
med i f.eks. en demonstration, hvor man
med bannere udtrykker sin holdning. Til
gengæld må medarbejdere ikke have »omfattende
interaktion med medierne«.
De ansatte skal udvise »det højeste niveau
af integritet« og »forventes ikke at skade organisationens
image eller interesser«.
Bent Greve forklarer, at medarbejdere – så
længe de ikke udtaler sig på virksomhedens
vegne – normalt gerne må udtale sig om arbejdsbetingelser.
»Det her er derfor langt videre end det
normale,« siger han.
Ifølge den danske formand Jesper Kongstad
har de mange reformer af EPO været
nødvendige, fordi fagforeningen gennem
årene var blevet så magtfuld, at den nærmest
var den reelle ledelse.
Han understreger samtidig, at alle ændringer
af medarbejdernes arbejdsforhold er
besluttet af bestyrelsen – altså medlemslandene
– med mindst 3/4 flertal, hvorefter
præsidenten har fået til opgave at føre dem
ud i livet.
Ifølge Jesper Kongstad har der f.eks. slet
ikke været styr på sygemeldinger.
»Før kunne medarbejderne melde sig syge,
og så skete der ikke noget. Det har været
et rent tag-selv-bord,« siger han og føjer til:
»I perioder anede vi simpelthen ikke,
hvor folk var. Sådan kan det jo ikke køre,
når der samtidig er pres på den offentlige
sektor i hele Europa efter finanskrisen.«
Til Suepos store fortrydelse blev Battistellis
ansættelse sidste år forlænget til 2018,
hvilket tilspidsede konflikten yderligere.
Indtil videre har den dog ikke fået betydning
for kunderne, siger Jesper Kongstad.
»Indtil videre har vi kun set det modsatte.
En stor del af medarbejderne bakker op om
organisationen og dens ledelse, og produktiviteten
har aldrig været højere.«

Umuligt at gøre alle tilfredse

Præsident Battistelli siger i et skriftligt svar
til Jyllands-Posten, at det er umuligt at gøre
alle tilfredse.
»Hvis jeg altid forsøgte at please alle, så
kunne jeg aldrig beslutte noget.«
Battistelli forklarer, at han af bestyrelsen
har fået mandat til at gennemføre reformer.
Trods dialog og diskussioner har Suepo ikke
villet spille med på den dagsorden, men har
i stedet holdt fast i sine »erhvervede rettigheder
«, siger Battistelli og tilføjer:
»På et tidspunkt er man nødt til at træffe
en beslutning og komme videre.«

Benoît Battistelli, præsident for
European Patent Office, er havnet
i strid modvind.
Foto: Andreas Gebert

De ansatte på European Patent Office har demonstreret mod forholdene i organisationen og bl.a. krævet ytringsfrihed. Privatfoto


Det Europæiske Patentkontor

Mellemstatslig organisation med 38 medlemslande
fra Europa, herunder Danmark. Er ikke en
del af EU-systemet.

Modtog i 2014 273.110 patentansøgninger. Et
europæisk patent gælder i alle medlemslande på
en gang.

Hovedkontor i München og en stor afdeling i
Haag, Holland, samt mindre kontorer i Berlin,
Wien og Bruxelles.

Ledes i det daglige af franske Benoît Battistelli
med titel af præsident, mens danske Jesper
Kongstad er formand for Administrative Council,
der kan sidestilles med en bestyrelse.

Skal stå for implementeringen af den store patentreform
med bl.a. patentdomstolen, som
danskerne var til folkeafstemning om i maj

If any of our Danish-speaking readers can provide a decent translation to us, that would be great. In the mean time what we have is an automated translation as follows:

CEO of the European Patent Office, EPO, Benoit Battistelli, has title of “President” and behaves according to critics more and more as such.
Photo: Andreas Gebert

Welcome to the battlefield

Charges of absolute power, breach of legal certainty and suppression of unions drifts in the European Patent Office, EPO, responsible for patents throughout Europe.

War rages in the European Patent Office

CONFLICT: Charges of overreach, breach of legal certainty and suppression of unions drifts in the 7,000-strong organization, that handles patents worldwide.

At the Isar River in Munich live an organization how many of the 7,000 employees serving more than 1 million. kr. a year, according to sources pay approximately 6 per cent. in taxes. An organization that is covered by immunity, and whose buildings the local authorities does not have access.

As consider and approve patents for billions whatever currency it rains and which determines whether a company can be reserved for his invention in up to 38 European countries.

Welcome to the European Patent Office.

And welcome to the battlefield.

For the organization, which is central to to ensure that innovation pays, is plagued of considerable controversy with protests from European judges and employees, who publicly declared their distrust CEO.

Add to that the abandonment of an independent audit committee and a demonstration turned against the organization’s president, Dane Jesper Kongstad, not to do anything to solve the problems.

EPO has a budget of around 15 billion. kr. and describes itself as the second largest European organization by the EU Commission.

EPO is not part of the EU.

French CEO

The intergovernmental organization controlled by CEO, Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who has the title of president, which, according to critics increasingly behave as such by centering power around him itself, inter alia, by hiring former French colleagues to more senior positions and by weakening the union of EPO, SUEPO, with new strike rules and other measures.

The conflict in the EPO has so far flown radar in the Danish media. maybe because patents in the 21st century is hyper technical, or because no politicians directly involved in the management of the organization.

The Board consists of officials. thus the Danish chairman, Jesper Kongstad, Executive Vice President of the Patent Office in Copenhagen.

The European Patent Office has just over 40 year history, and currently has 38 Member States. Once you have received a European patent for his invention with the EPO, can rolled out to almost all of Europe and thus ensure the rights of one of the world largest markets.

About a third of the total of 273,000 applications in 2014 came from the European companies, while the rest were from countries like the US, Japan and Korea. There usually come from 1500 to 2000 from Denmark. If a dispute arises concerning a patent you can appeal to an appeal committee, and here happened before Christmas something which has so far created furore in the patent sector.

Battistelli chosen for repatriating one Judge of such a committee and banned him then access to the Isar building.

Furor was because Battistelli according to critics does not have the power to repatriate a judge, the judge must be independent and assess complaints about Battistelli’s office’s decisions.

Battistelli pointed out that his decree only was temporary, though this has not been criticism silenced. What exactly he has done is not been registered officially, but in several of the blogs and niche media which is patent profession, it is estimated that there was a person’s questionnaire that he had committed “libel” by criticizing one of Battistellis allies, the Croatian Željko Topic, who has the title of vice president and not arouse undivided enthusiasm in his homeland.

Among other things, has Juris Protecta, a Croatian association of justice, written for EPO that Topic career start in the 1990s was based on connections to the regime.

Audit Committee seeks

Battistelli’s presidential tendencies seen according to critics also know that in 2011, claims that an audit committee after it only had worked for a year.

The committee did include declaring himself “surprised ‘That the internal auditors are not should keep an eye on a large new build ongoing, but only when it was finished. It also pointed out the need for a whistleblower system.

One of the members, Paul Ernst, said afterwards, the absence of inter alia anti-fraud rules EPO constituted a ‘significant risk’. After the Audit Committee had been scrapped, removed Battistelli also the Head of Internal Audit, which according SUEPO had not been possible without the committee’s approval – If it is existed.

After the board abandonment is still an audit committee consisting of external auditors, which in its report from 2013, inter alia, told Travel rules until then had prevented that used low-cost airlines. At the same time told you about several hundred tax cases where national tax administrations including have attacked EPO’s practice of giving include retirees a tax credit when their working life ends, and they are going to pay tax again.

EPO believes that the allowance itself must be tax-free.

Conflict with employees

And then there is less conflict with employees both in the head office in Munich as the Grand Chamber in The Hague and a pair småafdelinger.
This is done by union SUEPO. the has officially declared distrust Battistelli, and up to last year’s referendum on the Patent Court writing it directly to the Danish trade minister, Henrik Sass Larsen
(S) to explain that Battistellis methods led to ‘the worst conflict’ the EPO’s history.
“As CEO of the EPO Benoît Battistelli (FR) introduced a dubious leadership, which can be characterized as authoritative and without respect for rights ensure readiness, fundamental rights democratic countries like Denmark, “stood in the letter, which continued:

“All this happened before the eyes of the Danish delegation and Jesper Kongstad Presidency which has always supported Mr. Battistelli, ” it was stated in the letter that Sass Larsen never answered.

He do not want to comment to the Jyllands-Posten.

Just Jesper Kongstad support was last week reason why a demonstration SUEPO ended in front of the Danish consulate in Munich.

SUEPO criticisms are many. Among other things, is who Investigation Unit, the EPO’s internal investigation group, which one has “a duty to cooperation with ‘and where you can not have a lawyer if you have interviewed.

Moreover, critics believe that, even not have the right not to respond, which can lead to incriminate itself. EPO explains that the method of the special group must provide an easy workflow, and writes in a reply that the employees’ are not obliged to incriminate himself. “In management eyes they just need to “act in good faith and with the highest level of integrity. ”

Employees also feel their privacy trampled when the sick are obliged to stay on their home address at certain times, because EPO potentially
To send a doctor over to check whether they actually are sick, or if it is clean truancy.
Moreover, Battistelli introduced new strike rules which means that employees must ask the management to organize polls strikes, as introduced restrictions on how long the strikes must continue, and how many should vote Yes.

The salary they nevertheless have not protested over, but the Conditions of EPO is also lucrative.

The case workers, consisting primarily of highly specialized scientists and engineers, and to be able to master English, French and German, serving from EUR 5,000 to about 15,000 euros per month in salary – between approximately 37,000 and 111,000 kr.

They only need to pay an internal tax of 6 per cent. according to sources, and they can retire at a reduced rate, as 50-year or 60- year at the full rate, which is 70 percent of their salary for life. And settle themselves in a country where they will be taxed on the benefits paid, they are to a certain extent offset of EPO.

No one will say something

No staff will speak with name to Jyllands-Posten, because they also are employees in EPO. They fear being punished, says the.

It has not been possible to get a Comment from SUEPO, but the union has released a wealth of letters from the denies that the conflict is about ordinary employment, but rather infringement of fundamental rights.

According to Assistant Professor Christian Lyhne Ibsen, who is labor researcher at Copenhagen University, there is nothing to prevent the strike restrictions
in the general labor, and they have several locations proved effective for employers.

“You have seen in both the UK and USA, to procedures that make it difficult to strike has been remarkably effective in that they takes the breath away from the employees, “he says. Professor and labor expert Bent

Greve, Roskilde University, denotes overall seen the situation in the EPO as’ very abnormally “and points include on the right to strike, medical checks at home and freedom of expression. Employees must according EPO like to go with, for example. a demonstration where with banners expressing its position. to In return, employees may not have ‘comprehensive interaction with the media ‘.

Employees must exercise “the highest level of integrity “and” is not expected to harm the organization image or interests. ‘

Bent Greve explains that employees – so long as they do not speak on the company behalf – usually like allowed to speak about working conditions. “This is far beyond the normal, “he said. According to the Danish chairman Jesper Kongstad they have many reforms of EPO been necessary because the union through years had been so powerful that it almost was the real leadership.

He also emphasizes that all changes of employees’ working conditions are decided by the Board – ie the member – With at least 3/4 majority, after which the president has been tasked to lead them out.

According to Jesper Kongstad has for example. delete not been mastered on sick leave.

“Before, employees calling in sick, and then nothing happened. It has been a purely self-service table, “he says and adds:

“In times did we simply do not know where the people were. How it would not run, as there is simultaneous pressure on the public sector across Europe after the financial crisis. ”

For SUEPO’s great regret was Battistelli’s employment last year extended to 2018, which further tapered conflict.

So far it has not had an impact for customers, says Jesper Kongstad.

“So far we have only seen the opposite. Much of employees support the organization and its management, and productivity has never been higher. ”

Impossible to please everyone

President Battistelli said in a written response Jyllands-Posten that it is impossible to do everyone happy.

“If I always tried to please everyone, so I could never decide anything.”

Battistelli explains that he of the Board have been mandated to implement reforms. Despite dialogue and discussions have not SUEPO wanted to play with on the agenda, but has instead stuck to its’ acquired rights,” said Battistelli, adding: “At some point you have to take a decision and move on. ”

Benoît Battistelli, President of European Patent Office, has ended in headwinds.
Photo: Andreas Gebert

The staff at the European Patent Office has demonstrated against the situation in the organization and include demanded freedom of expression. private Photo


The European Patent Office

Intergovernmental organization with 38 member countries from Europe, including Denmark. Is not part of the EU system.

Received in 2014 273.110 patent applications. a European patent valid in all member states on once.

Headquartered in Munich and a large department in The Hague, The Netherlands, as well as smaller offices in Berlin, Brussels and Vienna.

Headed in the daily of the French Benoît Battistelli with the title of president, while Danish Jesper Kongstad is chairman of the Administrative Council, which can be equated with a board.

Will be responsible for the implementation of the major patent reform including CPC, as Danes were put to a referendum in May 2014.

The automated translation above is far from perfect, but it’s comprehensible. Having read the above carefully, it can be summarised as follows: The staff of the EPO bemoans the management’s behaviour, especially for breaking rules, not just ethical violations. The management has been ousting oversight against the rules, trampling employees’ rights (against the European rules), and throwing out a judge (against the rules) for merely criticising a thug whose appointment appears to have had more to do with nepotism and cheating than qualifications. The EPO’s management sticks to its usual response and makes up a bogeyman or a straw man. Rather than respond to the allegations made (potentially refuting any) it embraces harmonies of sound bites and marketing. We have not yet seen the EPO’s management effectively refuting the claims made by the staff. That alone says a lot.

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