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04.21.15

9 Millionth US Patent Tells a Story of Failure and USPTO Misconduct

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTO: when quality does not matter, only the payment does

Rubber Stamp

Summary: The USPTO, much like FISA (notorious court for surveillance/espionage authorisation), has become a rubber-stamping operation rather than a patents examination centre, as new evidence and old evidence serve to show

EARLIER this evening we wrote about the OIN’s response to the growing patent problem, HBO’s (corporate media) misdirection, and now we turn our attention to the USPTO, which has been busy hiding or perfuming its systematic abuse.

The EPO, which is now working towards the Unitary Patent Package (see the latest in IP Kat [1, 2]) is becoming increasingly assimilated to the USPTO, where software patents are still, at least in principle, allowed.

“It has actually become a lot more difficult to acquire software patents in the US, let alone win with software patents in court.”“A look at the USPTO’s examples for patent eligibility” is the title of a recent article from lawyers’ media. As we have demonstrated hundreds of times before, patent lawyers work hard to deny the post-Alice reality, which disqualifies many software patents. This kind of bias helps distort people’s perception of the status quo. It has actually become a lot more difficult to acquire software patents in the US, let alone win with software patents in court. That is of course good news and a step in the right direction. This is what can possibly salvage some of the USPTO’s past reputation and perhaps make US patents worth more than the paper they’re printed on.

The lawyers’ site says: “This article is the second installment of a three-part series examining the USPTO’s Interim Guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility. The first installment describes the Interim Guidelines’ implementation of the Supreme Court’s two-part test for determining patent eligibility. Now, we will review examples published by the USPTO of patent-eligible and patent-ineligible claims.”

As we have noted here before, after the Supreme Court’s ruling the guidelines for patent examiners were modified. Surely this can reduce the overall number of patents granted, which in turn makes the USPTO look “less successful” (meaning less profitable, as quality clearly does not count when 92% of applications are "successful"). According to this lawyers’ site, “USPTO Can’t Be Sued For Not Axing Re-Exam, Fed. Circ. Says” and one patent lawyer’s site (vocal proponent of software patents) talks about USPTO fees. There are surely changes underway (less software patents) and many patent lawyers must be nervous.

“Surely this can reduce the overall number of patents granted, which in turn makes the USPTO look “less successful” (meaning less profitable, as quality clearly does not count when 92% of applications are “successful”.”As we mentioned the other day, the USPTO uses some dirty tricks to make itself look better. “US Patent Office Gamed The System To Make Sure Patent 9 Million Wasn’t A Crazy Troll Patent,” said the title composed by Mike Masnick. “As I’m sure you were carefully anticipating,” he wrote, “on Tuesday, April 7th, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued patent 9,000,000. As you of course are already aware, over the past few decades, the USPTO has been rapidly ramping up the number of patents it approves. That’s why, even though patents only have a lifetime of 20 years from the date of application, 1/3 of all issued patents are still in force today. Think about that.”

Watch the press release and self-congratulatory Smithsonian spin. If a country has 9 million patents and 92% of patent applications are eventually accepted, it does not mean the country is innovative, it just means it is too lenient when it comes to patent granting. It means it is unable to recognise real innovation. This is why the EPO (especially its examiners) must guard against the greed of businesspeople like Benoît Battistelli. As it stands, the EPO is not (yet) a laughing stock, only its management is.

HBO Helps Shift Debate Over Patents to ‘Trolls’ (Scale), Not Scope

Posted in Patents at 1:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More of that awkward shifting of the patent debate towards small actors who are misusing patents, not large conglomerates like Apple and Microsoft which use patents to destroy competitors, crush startups, drive up prices, and so on

SEVERAL people have already contacted us regarding the new video shown above (as always, since it’s HBO, not accessible to the British audience at all). John Oliver (working for HBO), who is ironically British despite his show not being accessible to the British public online, spoke about patents, but look at all the headlines it led to. We could find only the following:

With the exception of one headline (“Most Powerful Tech Lobbyist in the Country”), it’s all about “patent trolls”, isn’t it? That sort of sums up the case about patents, right? That’s what large corporations, such as HBO, would like us to believe. If John Oliver is acting as a “lobbyist” here, he sure helps lobby politicians to tackle the wrong thing. Scale of plaintiff isn’t the principal issue, especially given the strong correlation between patent trolls’ lawsuits and software patents (the large majority of patents that they use).

“HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver did yesterday a piece on patents,” wrote to us a reader, but from what we can gather (without having access to the video because of HBO’s silly policies) it overemphasises “trolls” without noting that large corporations often act just like trolls but at a larger scale and the real problem is patent scope, e.g. software patents, patents on genetics, etc.

We are planning/hoping to do many articles about patents this week, time permitting. We are going to show how the corporate media has been systematically emphasising the issue of “trolls” as the only (or main) issue with the patent system. It’s only make believe — made by large corporations and their lobbyists.

Software Patents Are Still Menacing to Free Software: OIN Expands Scope, HEVC Adds to MPEG-LA Burden/Tax, Google and Facebook Give in on Patents

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google, Patents at 1:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Making distribution of software strictly contingent upon payments

Wealth

Summary: A look at recent news about software patents and especially Free/libre software, which is inherently incompatible with them

SOME time ago the OIN announced that it was extending its ‘coverage’ of ‘protection’ for Linux-related packages. “For this update,” is said, “115 new packages will be added to the Linux System, out of almost 800 proposed by various parties. Key additions are the reference implementations of the popular Go and Lua programming languages, Nginx, Openshift, and development tools like CMake and Maven. This update will represent an increase of approximately 5% of the total number of packages covered in the Linux System, a reflection of the incremental and disciplined nature of the update process.”

It’s a shame that they don’t mention GNU at all, but let’s not get too pedantic about words and ‘brands’. Simon Phipps from the OSI covered this almost a week later (the technology media largely ignored the OIN’s announcement), writing that “Docker, Puppet, LibreOffice, and the Go language are the latest additions to the Open Invention Network’s extensive patent nonaggression umbrella” (patent pool may be more accurate a term than nonaggression umbrella).

“Out of nowhere,” the inventor and developer of Ogg wrote some weeks ago, “a new patent licensing group just announced it has formed a second, competing patent pool for HEVC that is independent of MPEG LA. And they apparently haven’t decided what their pricing will be… maybe they’ll have a fee structure ready in a few months.”

So a new patent troll emerges to attack Free software in multimedia, adding its weight (and tax) to that of MPEG-LA, a patent troll that’s already viciously criticised by Simon Phipps. It’s not getting much better, is it? The OIN has no way to protect against such patent trolls. If they are non-practising, then there is no way to retaliate with a defensive lawsuit, is there? That’s just why we deem OIN not part of the overall solution, just a sort of duct tape. The OIN does not lobby for patent reform that involves elimination of software patents. The OIN was founded and first run by proponents of software patents (it was initially managed by a man from IBM, perhaps the leading or biggest proponent of software patents).

“It is somewhat understandable that Google fears destruction by patents given all the patent attacks against Android, multimedia codes that are FOSS (VP8/9), etc.”Meanwhile we have noticed (last night) that Google goes deeper into the patents mess. “Google is a large company that has plenty of technology and many innovations,” says the report, “and in turn they hold plenty of patents on those technologies, but they still fell behind other big name tech companies last year for the biggest earners of U.S. patents. According to Fortune though, Google did rise up the list to reach being the company with the 8th largest amount of U.S. patents being awarded to them last year, gaining around 38% more patents in 2014 than they had the previous year which totaled a number of 2,566 U.S patents in all. With such a large portfolio it must seem like a daunting task to keep up on all the information related to patents in Google’s portfolio, and that may be true, but Google’s legal team has more than a few tools at their disposal to get the job done and one of those is an analytics software called PatentIQ.”

It is somewhat understandable that Google fears destruction by patents given all the patent attacks against Android, multimedia codes that are FOSS (VP8/9), etc. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and numerous smaller trolls that they are feeding (Rockstar Consortium and MPEG-LA, to name just a couple, let alone Intellectual Ventures, CPTN, MOSAID/Conversant, and Acacia) are usually behind it.

“Kudelski Group and Google Enter Into Patent Cross License Agreement,” said this headline very recently, adding not many details except this: “The Kudelski Group, a leading independent provider of media protection and value-added service technology, and Google, today announced they have entered into a multi-year patent cross licensing agreement.”

There is clearly a systematic issue here and unless we manage to get rid of software patents in the US, this issue won’t just go away.

Simon Phipps wrote another related article recently. Titled “Facebook gives in on patent grant”, the article explains how occasional patent bully Facebook tries to appease its critics:

Late Friday, Facebook announced it’s finally giving in to pressure from the open source community and fixed its open source patent grant. While most people felt the intent was good and welcomed the original version of the grant, it was worded in such a way as to give Facebook a significant legal advantage in any open source community where it was the initiator.

While current versions of modern open source licenses, such as the Apache License, the Mozilla Public License, and the General Public License, all include coverage to patent rights associated with the copyrights the licenses cover, older licenses like BSD and MIT include no explicit patent grants. Facebook was following common practice by giving a full license to any patents necessarily infringed by users of code in Facebook projects that incorporated the grant under those licenses.

For the Free/Open Source software world the patent situation has become very tricky, so in the coming few posts, spread across the coming few days, we are going to explain where we’re at when it comes to patent law. It’s not looking too good because large corporations diverted the entire public debate to “patent trolls”. The corporate media helps them do this.

The Latest Developments Around Microsoft’s Clever Attack on Android/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 12:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Show of ‘love’ by aggression

War crimes

Summary: Microsoft’s campaign of destruction, extortion, etc. against the most widely used Linux-powered operating system is revisited in light of new reports

ONCE upon a time there was a company called Nokia which dominated the mobile market and then started moving to Linux. It quickly became a top contributor to Linux, in the development sense, and later there were rumours about it embracing Android (or exploring it alongside MeeGo). But Microsoft killed Nokia (using a mole) before Nokia could actualise any of this and Nokia’s Linux ambitions were never realised, except in the company founded by former employees (Jolla). Tizen and Sailfish OS have yet to fulfill the promise of MeeGo, or else they will go down in history just like WebOS, which LG now owns and develops (Tizen is developed almost exclusively by the other Korean giant, Samsung).

It is now being reported that quite unsurprisingly Nokia may be getting back to Android endeavours, without any reliance on or affiliation with Microsoft. We have heard that for a while, but this time it sounds more substantial. Whether Nokia considers going down the same route as Cyanogen (‘Microsoft Android’, i.e. ‘Microsoft Nokia’ again) we don’t quite know yet. One thing we do know is that Microsoft attempts the embrace, extend, extinguish approach against Android right now. That’s what the ‘new’ Microsoft is trying to do. According to this new report about Ballmer, Sinofsky and other people who are no longer at Microsoft, “Steve Ballmer killed an early version of Office for iOS because it compromised Windows, Bell said. He added that Steve Sinofsky’s reign was marked by infighting, hampering Microsoft’s strategic response to competition from Apple and Google.”

“It is not atypical for the media, and especially for foes of Android, to rewrite the history of Nokia and how Microsoft destroyed it.”The takeover of Nokia had multiple objectives including patent extortion of Android. It worked only to a certain degree. Nokia revisionism has just been reported to us by a reader, who told us that this article from an Apple propaganda site includes “revisionism.”

“Elop killed Nokia’s phone division,” iophk wrote to us, emphasising the part which started with: “But the company was…”

It is not atypical for the media, and especially for foes of Android, to rewrite the history of Nokia and how Microsoft destroyed it. There ought to have been a European investigation into it, but it never happened. In December last year the New York Times wrote that “Google’s Detractors Take Their Fight to the States”. The author focused on Microsoft and said that Sony’s leaked “emails show the extent of the efforts with state attorneys general. The messages detail how the Motion Picture Association of America — the Hollywood industry group — and an organization backed by Microsoft, Expedia and Oracle, among others, have aggressively lobbied attorneys general to build cases against Google in recent years, sometimes in complementary ways.”

Microsoft also uses Nokia to attack Google and Android at a regulatory level, as we showed some years ago. A new article titled “The Google gold rush” says: “No sooner had Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, accused Google of violating antitrust laws last week than the mobile phones of Brussels-based lawyers started buzzing with messages from LinkedIn telling them that Microsoft’s local law firm needed two anti-trust lawyers — and fast.”

We have already written a great deal about Microsoft’s role in these anti-Google actions which coincide with Microsoft’s attempt to ‘hijack’ Android from Google. “Google’s Biggest European Headache Isn’t Search,” says this new headline, “It’s Android.”

Yes, it's all about using Cyanogen and patent extortion against Android while European regulators limit Google’s response.

Whether Microsoft’s embrace, extend, extinguish approach will work or not remains to be seen. Microsoft may have tried similar tricks before, e.g. using Nokia and partners like Facebook (Home), Amazon and others before. It never worked.

Here we have so-called ‘hackers’ bringing more Microsoft spyware (Cortana or Portaña is software that records Android users and transmits the audio to Microsoft) carrying water for Microsoft. One article explains that “Portaña is apparently communicating with Microsoft’s servers, and it’s not a strict port: the hackers have not recreated all the digital assistant’s features. Portaña naturally can’t interface and integrate with Android and its various features like Cortana does with Windows Phone.”

Either way, Microsoft benefits from this. It’s part of the notorious datagrab effort. One way to interpret the whole “cloud computing” buzz is a concerted effort to gather people’s data in very few companies servers’ (worldwide, by merit of replication), especially if these companies already have a special relationship (e.g. subpoenas, PRISM interceptions and so on) with spying agencies in many countries.

The Microsoft ‘Community’ is Maligning the Free Software Community

Posted in Site News at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Promoting the “will code for food” myth

Bread

Summary: Dishonest generalisations and baseless deductions portray the Free/Open Source software communities as a nasty place that leads to poverty and despair

Stephen Walli, one of Microsoft’s longest-standing moles in Free/Open Source software communities (we wrote about it even in 2008), joined Microsoft, left Microsoft (acting as a mole for a while), joined Microsoft again (in a more senior position, again as a sort of top mole), then left Microsoft again because Microsoft is shutting down 'open' so as to quit pretending it cares about Free/Open Source software. How long before Walli re-joins Microsoft (the third time around)? He is now at HP.

Weird articles from Walli are the rule rather than the exception. He occasionally mocks those who are not friendly to Microsoft’s agenda or are friendly towards the FSF/GNU/GPL/copyleft/Free software. Being a Microsoft booster, mole, etc. Walli does not do much to hide his affiliation. He is an on-and-off employee (salaried) of Microsoft and this new article from him, hosted by a Red Hat-run site (he habitually posts there), is attempting to preach what Free/Open Source software communities should be like. We find it disturbing whenever Microsoft people try to preach to Free/Open Source software communities what these communities should be like, especially because Microsoft is constantly attacking Free/Open Source software communities. That’s like the Pope explaining to Muslims how they should behave, or vice versa.

Yesterday we saw some guy called Derrick Wlodarz (not familiar with him) posting a vicious attack piece against Free/Open Source software communities. He uses misleading comparisons (apples versus oranges), selective quoting (even of trolls) and all sorts of old smears against migrations to GNU/Linux. It’s a really ugly piece of work and this anti-Linux piece comes from BetaNews, where trolling against GNU/Linux is common (usually it’s from Mr. Fagioli). “He holds numerous technical credentials from Microsoft,” Wlodarz says about himself. So here again we have the Microsoft bunch smearing Free/Open Source software communities, exploiting the fact that Free/Open Source software communities work out in the open, unlike proprietary software companies where everything happens secretly and marketing people help hide the nasty elements. Microsoft boosting in Wlodarz’s articles is quite the standard though; just look at his latest articles, titled “Migrating from Windows Server 2003: 12 best practices straight from the trenches”, “Windows RT: Did it really die? Absolutely not and here’s why”, and “Windows Phone 8.1: Why I ditched Android and couldn’t be happier” (not a single positive thing to say about Free/Open Source software, only negative things). Using systemd resistors to badmouth Linux (and by extension Free software) is just so easy, especially because the debate has been so open, as is always the case in the Free/Open Source software world.

“Some of the world’s wealthiest companies are using and also producing Free/Open Source software.”Last but not least, there is some FUD today in the Financial Times (FT is widely distributed). Longtime Microsoft booster Richard Waters attacks Free software in the FT and spreads this attack to other sites too. His premise is wrong and biased. It’s the “can’t make money from FOSS” smear. It is very baseless, it shows his ignorance, demonstrates bad research, and perhaps bad faith (he is loyal to Microsoft and has a long history of such hostility towards FOSS).

Many proprietary software companies are dying every day because they are not financially viable. Just because one Free software-based (not really FOSS, but FOSS-based) company died Microsoft boosters think they can legitimately generalise and make it seem as though supporting Free/Open Source software means being poor. Some of the world’s wealthiest companies are using and also producing Free/Open Source software. I myself have always made a living only by writing Free software; my wife does too.

Googlebombing ‘Microsoft Open Source’ Even When Microsoft Shuts Down Its ‘Open Source’ Proxy

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 11:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Putting news into reverse

Top gear

Summary: A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly ‘Open Source’ effort

Microsoft has turned the media into somewhat of a joke. The technology ‘news’ sites that we can thus far see covering the shutdown of Microsoft’s “Open Tech” proxy (we took a very comprehensive look) are simply misleading their readers on behalf of Microsoft. It’s an insult to journalism. There is no scepticism, no fact-checking. It’s what some people call industrial journalism and it’s clear which industry is being served.

Here are some Microsoft “Open Tech” articles that we wrote here before:

“Open Tech” is not ‘Open Source’ but rather a mole whose goal is to derail ‘Open Source’ as we know it. It’s about making ‘Open Source’ Microsoft-dependent, i.e. dependent on Windows, SQL Server, Office, and so on. “Open Tech” from Microsoft is better at anti-copyleft propaganda (or anti-Free software), as Microsoft’s former manager who founded Black Duck hsd been doing for years (even a decade ago). Here is a reminder from Black Duck, whose anti-Free software press releases are still being republished (we saw this one last night, following last week's media blitz). Black Duck, which came from Microsoft, began as an anti-GPL entity, by its very own admission. Microsoft is just joining it a little later. It’s a ‘divide and rule’ strategy.

To share with our readers some of the poor journalism, see this article which called shutdown “absorption” and see Microsoft’s booster Jeffrey Schwartz from the Microsoft-connected sites (a Microsoft boosting network) misleading readers [1, 2] in Redmond and elsewhere using appalling spin. “Microsoft believes enough in its open source commitment that it no longer feels it has to have an offshoot to emphasize,” he said. What utter nonsense. It’s followed by some more openwashing, such as: “Mark Russinovich, CTO for Azure, earlier this month raised eyebrows when raising the specter of Microsoft open sourcing Windows, saying “it’s definitely possible.””

So they return to the googlebombing of "Open Source" — a gross googlebombing campaign to which Matt Hartley too (despite being a GNU/Linux advocate) is not so reluctant to help/assist.

Saying that Microsoft’s shutdown of a so-called “Open” entity is proof of Microsoft’s commitment to “Open” is not just counter-intuitive; it’s total nonsense, it is make believe, and some fools are falling for it (or maliciously playing along).

We can understand why Microsoft boosters such as Mary Jo Foley and Darryl K. Taft would spread the lies and deceive for Microsoft’s agenda (they were among the earliest ‘journalists’ to cover this ‘scoop’ with ‘damage control’ embedded in it), later adding a Microsoft propaganda video. What’s harder to justify is reporting from non-Microsoft-affiliated sites doing the same, perhaps refusing to do the most basic research. They are repeating the shameless spin from Microsoft, casting something bad as “good”, so it is not really journalism, it is more like PR in disguise and they are complicit in it.

Witness what Microsoft apologists wrote or what Microsoft propaganda sites wrote. Also see some of the more colourful headlines, such “Microsoft Open Technologies to ooze its open source vibes through Microsoft proper” (what a bizarre way to explain a shutdown).

Brian Fagioli, at times a Microsoft troll and propagandist, did the same thing, but the most misleading headline, “Microsoft’s open source ambitions pick up speed”, came from TechRadar, an occasional Microsoft troll.

How can a shutdown of a unit called “Open Tech” be interpreted as “Microsoft’s open source ambitions pick up speed”? Are these journalists drunk, bribed, or just satirical? A better headline would be “Microsoft closes Open Tech open source subsidiary” (in the British press).

All in all, we hope that our readers do understand that the corporate media, saturated with Microsoft friends (pretending to be objective journalists), is lying through its teeth. The above is a complete summary, based on what we were able to find with search tools. It was extremely hard to find accurate reports on this. History is being warped/shaped/revised by friends of Microsoft and the biggest victim is truth itself.

Links 22/4/2015: Calculate Linux 14.16, SparkyLinux 4.0 RC KDE

Posted in News Roundup at 7:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 3.10.75 LTS Is a Small Update that Brings New and Updated Drivers

      After announcing the fifth maintenance release of Linux kernel 3.19, Greg Kroah-Hartman also published details about the seventy-five point release of the Linux 3.10 kernel, urging users of the 3.10 kernel series to upgrade as soon as the packages become available in the official software repositories of their Linux distributions.

    • LLDB Is Getting Into Shape For Linux 64-bit Debugging

      From Valve’s interest in the LLDB debugger to many other firms also being interested in LLVM’s debugger as an alternative to GDB on Linux, LLDB is getting into very usable shape for 64-bit Linux systems.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.39 LTS Is Now Available for Download

      After releasing the Linux kernels 3.19.5 and 3.10.75 LTS, Greg Kroah-Hartman had the pleasure of announcing the immediate availability of Linux kernel 3.14.39, an LTS (Long Term Support) version that is currently maintained for a couple of years with security patches, drivers updates, and bugfixes.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel’s Windows Driver Now Supports OpenGL 4.4, Linux Driver Still With OpenGL 3.3

        The Intel Windows driver is up to supporting the OpenGL 4.4 specification while the company’s open-source Linux graphics driver still doesn’t yet fully support OpenGL 4.0.

      • AMD Open-Sources “Addrlib” From Catalyst

        As part of AMD finally releasing the AMDGPU kernel driver yesterday along with initial Iceland/Carrizo/Tonga support in Gallium3D, they also open-sourced a component formerly within the Catalyst proprietary driver.

      • AMD Releases New “AMDGPU” Linux Kernel Driver & Mesa Support

        At long last the source code to the new AMDGPU driver has been released! This is the new driver needed to support the Radeon R9 285 graphics card along with future GPUs/APUs like Carrizo. Compared to the existing Radeon DRM driver, the new AMDGPU code is needed for AMD’s new unified Linux driver strategy whereby the new Catalyst driver will be isolated to being a user-space binary blob with both the full open-source driver and the Catalyst driver using this common AMDGPU kernel driver.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 72 Applications ported to Kde Frameworks 5 (KDE Applications 15.04)

        Great news for Kde fanatics since this is a month full of great releases. In fact, after the stable release of KDE Frameworks 5.9 and the up-and-coming beta of Plasma 5.3 there’s another important step for the Kde development: KDE Applications 15.04.

        With this new release of KDE Applications 15.04 we have the full porting of 72 applications to KDE Frameworks 5 and consequently to Qt5.

  • Distributions

    • What’s in a name?

      Hello all, from the first post on our new domain!

      Firstly we’d like to apologise for the downtime, confusion and general inconvenience of late. In short we’ve been involved in a naming dispute for the previously named “Evolve OS” project. On April 1st (yep, really) we were contacted regarding a naming dispute over the use of ‘OS‘. In the past the Evolve OS project had applied for a trademark in the name of “Evolve OS”, which was going through a 2 month period in which those opposing the mark can file their objection.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Gentoo Family

      • Trials & Tribulations: Installing Gentoo Linux With GNOME & Systemd

        Despite going four years without using GNOME 3 to any real degree, it felt familiar from the get-go, almost as if it was just mere months since I last used it. As I’ve had to do with Ubuntu’s Unity, I needed to find a tweaking tool for GNOME, stat, as many of its defaults don’t suit me very well. After figuring out via Web search that it was gnome-tweak-tool I was looking for, I was rather surprised to see that Gentoo had included it in that monolithic ‘gnome’ install. It’s really easy to see why.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora’s Christian Schaller Asks ‘What Can We Do?’

          Today in Linux news Fedora developer asks the community what can we do to get you to switch to Fedora? Elsewhere, the number of Debian 8 release blockers remains steady despite looming release date and Rob Williams shares his “trials and tribulations” installing Gentoo with GNOME and systemd. The former Evolve OS has a projected release date of the release of their newly renamed Linux and Simon Phipps reports on the latest Open Invention Network members.

        • Fedora Workstation: More than the sum of its parts

          Anyway, I thought this could be a good opportunity to actually ask the wider community a question, especially if you are using GNOME on another distribution than Fedora, what are we still missing at this point for you to consider making a switch to Fedora Workstation? I know that for some of you the answer might be as simple as ‘worn in shoes fits the best’, but anything you might have beyond that would be great to hear.

          I can’t promise that we will be able to implement every suggestion you add to this blog post, but I do promise that we will review and consider every suggestion you provide and try to see how it can fit into development plans going forward.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • CamJam EduKit

      When the Raspberry Pi launched in 2012 it was clear that it would rise or fall on the strength of the supporting material. And so it has proved; there are more powerful and cheaper devices out there, but the Pi has grown a huge community providing how-tos and projects, and several third-parties have popped up selling add-on equipment.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • 10 Android for Work Features Sure to Appeal to Enterprises

          There’s a new enterprise mobile platform for companies that are prepared to invest in Android. Google has introduced its long-awaited mobile device management (MDM) platform Android for Work. Android for Work gives IT departments and companies a more secure way for employees to access corporate data and applications with their Android mobile devices. It’s the Android equivalent of platforms such as Apple’s own MDM platform and others from Good Technology and BlackBerry. One advantage Android for Work has that all those others don’t, however, is that it can be used on more than a billion Android devices that are in users’ hands around the world. In other words, it’s an MDM system that’s destined to be adopted on a massive scale worldwide. But what in Android for Work will make it an effective management tool for the millions of workers who want to not only bring their Android mobile devices to work but use them productively for business? This slide show looks at the features that could make Android for Work an effective MDM platform for enterprises.

        • Android Wear’s biggest update ever takes aim at the Apple Watch
        • Android Wear’s Second Big Update Is Coming: Gestures, WiFi, And Better UI In The Next Few Weeks

          Word around the rumor mill was that Android Wear was about to get a pretty big update — and sure enough, such an update is officially on the way.

        • Android Wear adds WiFi support, always-on apps, emojis

          Google released a major update to Android Wear that adds always-on apps, WiFi support, a wrist-flipping gesture for scrolling, and emoji drawing support.

          Google just released a major Android 5.1.1 update for its Android Wear smartwatch platform, and considering the huge pre-sales for the Apple Watch, it’s not a moment too soon. Even with a nine month head start over the new Apple Watch, Google’s Android Wear hardware partners sold only 70,000 watches by the end of 2014, according to an early February estimate from Canalys.

        • I’m tired of getting excited about Nokia Android phones, but I can’t help it

          For years, I waited for Nokia to change its mind and start making the gorgeous Android handsets many fans wanted from the company. Instead Nokia steered clear of a path that may have brought it some success, and eventually succumbed to iOS and Android. Yet, Re/code has learned that Nokia is once again working on Android smartphones, something that was previously rumored as well, and I can’t help but get excited all over again.

        • Nokia phones expected in 2016: Android or something else?

          Nokia is planning a return to the smartphone market in 2016, after it sold off its handset business to Microsoft in 2013, sources tell Re/code. The timing is right: Based on the Microsoft deal, Nokia can’t sell phones with the Nokia brand until next year.

        • Sony’s Android-powered 4K TVs and new soundbars are coming in May

          After first showcasing its 2015 lineup of 4K TVs at CES earlier this year, Sony has now revealed pricing and release dates for most of the sets. All of them run Android TV, which replaces Sony’s previous, clunky software for a richer experience deeply tied to Google’s own software and third-party streaming apps. Most of Sony’s lineup is on the larger side when it comes to display size. Though you’ll find a few options available in the 43- to 55-inch range, Sony is putting the most effort into models that will dominate most home theater setups at 65 or 75 inches. It’s here you’ll find the flagship XBR-75X940C, a $7,999 TV that features full-array local dimming, 4K resolution, and support for HDR video output, which Sony will deliver through a firmware update sometime this summer.

        • Best new Android widgets (April 2015) #2
        • Android Lollipop OS update live for Sprint Spark-driven Samsung Galaxy S4 tri-band LTE users in US: What’s new

          After rolling out the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) OS update to Samsung Galaxy Note 3 users who have subscribed to its wireless network services in the US, Sprint is now seeding the much expected OS update to Galaxy S4 owners using its Sprint Spark service in the country.

        • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop almost ready for Nexus 9, WiFi Nexus 7

          You may be excited that your device is finally getting the Android 5.0 Lollipop update but others are already getting Android 5.0.1 (Moto E, and Moto 4 with 4G LTE, Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4) and Android 5.0.2 (LG G2 from T-Mobile and AT&T, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Nexus 7, original Moto X). Several mobile devices have even received Android 5.1 already like the Nexus 5, Nexus Player, HTC One (M7), Moto G GPE, LG G Pad 8.3 GPE, and the Sony Z Ultra GPE. And to further burst your bubble, sorry, but Android 5.1.1 is almost ready.

        • 8 great Google Maps tips for Android and iOS
        • ZTE’s Spro 2 Android-powered ‘smart projector’ will hit AT&T for $399.99

          How would you like a 120-inch screen you can toss into your backpack or purse? Yes, please!

          First announced at CES 2015, ZTE’s Android-powered smart projector Spro 2 is finally launching in the U.S. The 1.2-pound portable projector that measures 5.28 x 5.16 x 1.22 inches will be available on April 24 from AT&T.

        • Your favorite websites can now send notifications to Chrome on Android

          Support for push notifications was the most important feature in last week’s Chrome 42 release — and starting today you’ll begin to see why. Today, several websites including eBay, Facebook, Pinterest, Vice News, and Product Hunt will begin to offer Chrome push notifications on both desktop and Android. It’s that last platform that’s a big deal: websites that support Chrome push notifications can send out updates that look and feel like regular app updates even if the Chrome browser isn’t currently active on an Android device.

        • Google just unveiled a hugely ambitious Android Wear update – here are the 3 coolest features

          With all the hype surrounding the Apple Watch, you may have forgotten that Google has a smartwatch software platform of its own called Android Wear. To remind us of this, Google on Monday took the wraps off a hugely ambitious Android Wear update that adds three important features that the platform had been sorely missing.

        • Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge Receiving Android 5.1 Lollipop Software Update
        • Australia’s first Android TV device arrives with Google Nexus Player

          The player, which runs the Android TV platform, was released in the U.S. in October 2014. It will be sold at JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith from Tuesday for A$129. The device sits in the same market as Apple TV, and is the first device to offer Android TV locally.

        • Improve your game with the best golf Apps for Android

          These days, technology is just as much a part of golf as a good swing. Both professional and amateur players are constantly seeking an edge from the best equipment and engineering breakthroughs.

        • Nexus 5 & 7 Still Facing The Same Issues After Android 5.1 Update

          Usually with updates to software, developers try to address any bugs or issues that were present in the previous version. Unfortunately it seems that in the case of Android 5.1, Google has yet to address some problems that are still plaguing handsets like the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 7 which are no doubt rather annoying for its users.

          The issues in question are related to memory leaks in which after prolonged periods of use, the devices start to feel sluggish due to the amount of free RAM remaining which is less than ideal. This is an issue that Google had acknowledged back in Android 5.0.1 and was actually reported back in 2014.

        • Chrome’s push notifications reach your Android phone

          Chrome’s website push notifications are no longer confined to your desktop — they now surface on your phone, too. Grab Chrome 42 for Android and you can opt into alerts from websites that show up no matter what you’re doing. You won’t have to worry about missing out on breaking news, even if your favorite sites don’t have dedicated apps. You’ll also have an easier time adding home screen shortcuts for those sites if you always want them close at hand. It’ll be a while before many of the sites you frequent can deliver notifications (eBay, Facebook and Pinterest are some of the early adopters), but it’s worth upgrading now to get ready.

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Gigabyte Sandy/Ivy Bridge Motherboard Now Handled By Coreboot
  • Myth Busting the Open-Source Cloud Part 1

    On the contrary, open-source cloud computing products are designed from the outset with security in mind. For example, there are features such as identity management to monitor who has access to content, and data encryption to safeguard information while it’s at rest or in transit.

    Furthermore, open-source cloud software is peer-reviewed by community participants, leading to continuous improvements in the quality of security features and mechanisms. This community also monitors and rapidly discloses vulnerabilities and issues, and provides security updates to address them.

  • Why the Open Source Stars Must Align

    Open source projects like OpenStack, Docker, OPNFV and OpenDaylight are more supported and better funded than ever before. They mark a broader trend of large, active and well-resourced open source projects that are among the leaders in Big Data, cloud computing, operating systems and development practices. Open source has come a long way in 30 years – and its success marks a new era for the overall OSS community.

    But success does not come without potential pitfalls. One of the greatest obstacles to project success isn’t the proprietary competition – it’s the lack of communication between large open source projects like OpenStack and Docker.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Shuts Off NPAPI in Chrome

        With the release of Chrome 42 this week, Google fixed more than 40 vulnerabilities. But the most significant security change in the new browser is Google’s decision to disable the NPAPI, essentially turning off plugins such as Java and Silverlight by default.

    • Mozilla

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • German Greens want increased support for open source

      The Greens in the German parliament want the government to shore up support for open source, but are not sure how. The politicians are working with the Free Software Foundation Europe, to figure out the most convincing arguments and how to increase pressure on the federal government.

    • Germany’s Foreign Ministry Questioned Over Use of Proprietary Software

      Germany has been in the news many times with its open source policy, usually at the local level, but now the Parliament is getting involved, and it’s making some serious accusations towards its Foreign Ministry.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Sony CEO Michael Lynton Slams Middle East Peace Talks In Leaked Emails: ‘Let Them All Kill Each Other!’ PLUS Secret Chats With State Department

      Assange posted a massive collection of hacked Sony emails on Thursday, he explained that they show the workings of a corporation “at the centre of a geo-political conflict.” Indeed, RadarOnline.com can exclusively report that the leaked emails reveal extensive communication between SONY CEO Michael Lynton and the US State Department. And it wasn’t just business: Lynton was not shy about sharing his political beliefs via his work email. In one communication, Lynton bashes the Middle Eastern peace process and sniffs, “Let them all kill each other!”

      The disturbing email came as a response to an October 2014 article by Fareed Zakaria in The Washington Post regarding President Barack Obama‘s foreign policy in Syria. A relative had forwarded it to Lynton with the comment, “Brilliant.”

  • Censorship

  • Civil Rights

    • Guest Post: Undermining Attorney – Client Privilege Weakens Rule of Law

      The systems of surveillance that Edward Snowden revealed in both the UK and US depend on law for their justification, and are facing legal challenges in both countries’ legislatures. This might give the impression that, whatever the merits of these controversies, they will be sorted out through well-established, neutral principles of law. But a case in the UK has raised concerns about whether the impartial protections of the legal system are themselves being undermined.

    • Michael Eric Dyson’s Hatchet Eulogy for Cornel West

      In most respects, it’s very much a by-the-numbers smear, which credits West’s increasingly vocal antipathy to Obama to personal and professional decline, and the usual array of pathologies and character defects that prevent public figures from staying within the boundaries of permissible dissent: grandiosity, selfishness, envy, political calculation, hypocrisy and grudges. Y’know, Ralph Nader syndrome.

  • DRM

    • Apple and Sony emails on Wikileaks

      The leaks included Apple’s agreements to distribute Sony videos through the iTunes Store. This includes the original agreement between the companies covering TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels and Who’s The Boss that was signed in 2007 with term extensions, high-definition amendments, and “Virtual Storage Locker” – the service that we now know as iTunes in the Cloud.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights and Sony

      • The Sony hacking scandal

        The threat came from a group of hackers that had already caused havoc with a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, and leaked reams of the studio’s confidential information. Washington was quick to blame the hack on North Korea and many in the US media could not wait to do the same.

        [...]

        Pyongyang’s official response to the film – that releasing it would amount to an act of war – also struck people as a reach, but when you consider the way the country is depicted by Hollywood and take a closer look at what was actually revealed in the hack-job on Sony Pictures, you may reconsider.

      • Wikileaks reveals that David Cameron met with Sony before the Scottish Independence referendum to discuss the release date of Outlander

        I have no real time for conspiracy theories as people reading these blogs will know. Sure, some are fun but mainly they’re there to be dismissed so when before the Scottish Independence referendum there were people saying that the UK government had ‘blocked’ the broadcast of Outlander, a SF series set in 18th century Scotland I just treated these people pushing that idea with the contempt they deserved.

      • Leaked Sony email speaks of political ‘importance’ of Outlander to independence debate

        The Outlander TV series and its possible impact on the Independence Referendum were raised by Sony executives before a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron last year.

      • Sony Once Again Ridiculously Warns The Media Not To Report On Leaked Emails

        Back in December, when the Sony emails first leaked, we wrote about how Sony hired super-high-powered lawyer David Boies to send off ridiculously misinformed letters to media outlets warning them that they should not write anything based on information in the leaks. Boies took it a ridiculous step further, threatening to sue Twitter for not blocking screenshots of the emails. Both threats had no real legal basis.

        Of course, now that the emails are in the news again, thanks to Wikileaks posting the archive online and making it searchable, Sony is apparently shelling out more big bucks to Boies to send around another version of the letter. You can see the letter here or at the bottom of the post.

      • WikiLeaks Release of Stolen Sony Data Is ‘Just Wrong’ – Former NSA Director

        WikiLeaks made the wrong decision in releasing the cache of data hackers obtained from Sony Pictures Entertainment in November 2014, former National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander said on Friday.

      • WikiLeaks reveals new Springsteen contract, with release plans

        The document goes into a lot of economical details (higher royalty rates, a $31-million advance, a contract extension until June 2027, etc), including details of the benefits the 2005 contract brought to Columbia ($73-million on top of the $101-million paid to Springsteen)

      • WikiLeaks: What is written about BiH and Sarajevo in hacked Mails of SONY

        Three days ago, WikiLeaks released thousands of documents and e-mails which they reached after the company Sony has been hacked last year. Our country is mentioned as well in the published content.

        Among more than 170.000 e-mails, there are ones of the author Jennifer Rawlings who filmed a documentary in 2008 that investigates lives of several women that survived the war in BiH. Author of the movie “Forgotten voices: Women in Bosnia“, has frequently been visiting war zones, including BiH after the war.

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